In Brett Stevens Nihilism, the author introduces an article consisting of a series of twelve lessons which he describes as an awakening to the reality of life. A tinge of morality seemingly colors the lessons, but upon closer look, the prescriptions given are described in a way that one can see them arising from causal, qualitative observations.
In all this, there is, of course, the singular opinion of the author. In approaching a discussion and description of said ideas, the latter will be kept in mind, opting to expand, interpret and focus. Also, in order to respect the integrity of the book wherein these appear, they will not be spelled out either in their titles nor in their original exposition.
I. A secret compass
“You cannot change the seasons; you can change what you plant, who you associate with, what you buy and how you spend your time.”
In the modern landscape of dissolution and decadence, it is easy to become fatalistic. Many choose to give in or simply opt out of existence itself either by ending their mortal lives (good) or by becoming parasites (bad). Those who want to not only survive, but thrive, must make a compass for themselves that they may maintain a sense of direction amidst the disarray. There is no room for weakness or consideration for those who are invalid, and so one must avoid not falling into morbid complacency, but always challenging oneself. Happiness will come from succeeding, thus from challenging action overcome, rather than from stasis.
In essence, life today is not so different than it has always been: it is, it has, and will always be about adapting effectively. In finding and adhering to a personal conviction, it is important to have elitist standards, try and differentiate what works from what does not. As the poor and the mediocre reveal themselves, despise them, and in the manner in which they are despised, the higher will be adored even more, even if, at first, it is only by sheer contrast with the former. Speeding up this process can and should take the form of choosing a ‘teacher’, whose experience and expertise can give us structure.
The test for the effectiveness of adaptation is victory. The motivation must be inherent to victory itself, to being better, without the need for the acknowledgement of any being. In this, it becomes important to realize that the universe does not care about you. There is no ‘right’ to be claimed, and all insight, knowledge and subsequent struggling boil down to tapping into reality and maintaining an effort in achieving goals.
In understanding these constants of life, it is important to acknowledge, then, that joy and misery are created through actions, and do not originate inside us. A life well-lived becomes, necessarily, about learning, about knowing, as a means and way to uncovering the real simplicity and beauty of life. In this respect, faithfulness, respect and attention to the aforementioned teacher becomes important: as that person is satisfied with our performance, new levels of learning and structure become available. This is the singular power of Tradition.
II. The path of fire
“Wherever you are in the spectrum of abilities, you will need self-discipline and organization.”
Life is also a quest for self-discovery, and the best way to do so is through tackling reality: deciphering it —living it— yet also absorbing and digesting experience properly. And so, while rebellion against set standards is a good first impulse in order to achieve an independence of mind, this must eventually be followed by a building-up. At first, ignoring the opinions and ideas of others becomes crucial to clean the mind from all the filth and the unsavory mixture of confused ideas in the medium. Then labor and invention take precedence, as a path must be figured out that leaves behind preconception and rediscovers.
Self-discipline also dictates a rhythm, natural perhaps, but one that will keep you on your toes most of the time. Too long a rest leads to atrophy, and so to remain active in mind and body is the rule towards success. But the right questions must be set forth, for this is the first step in staying efficient. Activity for activity’s sake can be a complete waste of time, and so discernment remains always of the essence.
Now, The human condition is not about logic, it is wholly absurd. What we mean by this is that purpose and goals come from our longing for a desired result, and only then does logic come in a a tool to construct a road map to goals. At that point, self-discipline and your inherent traits (those dictated by genetics) decide your options and your probability of attaining specific goals. Realization of just what those options are is part of process of getting to know yourself, and whatever abilities and virtues you have should be loved and nurtured.
In cultivating yourself, you envision and forge your own future. A dialogue is started with Destiny, your genes limit your methods and so the paths, but you get to decide your destination through awareness and self-discipline. Look to the great individuals of the past for inspiration and template, and realize how their characteristics, decisions, mistakes and successes determine paths and outcomes. Take your cue from them and emulate, adapt and systematize those observations.
III. Higher sensibilities
“If you want to live well, live (mostly) clean, keep yourself and your place clean, and maintain what you own.”
The madness of modern liberal thinking would have us believe that every one is entitled to a distinction and conditions, no matter their decisions and actions. The real intention of this doctrine is veiled by distracting attention towards the intended’s opposite. It is not so much that they really want to protect a clinically demented criminal, but that they want to limit those who are superior to them and who would naturally ascertain much more. To this goal, they would seek to demean all human quality, all impulse to transcendence and meaning as central to life and society, and so all sensibility for the higher. (Evola)
It is in acquiescing to the natural needs of our species that we challenge these delusional impositions. Raising a family, living cleanly and accomplishing rather than posturing for social approval. In this process of acknowledging and tapping into the potential of what is natural, inclination towards particular virtues must be discovered, and the strongest or most suitable among those cultivated towards excellence. (Nietzsche)
In accordance to the laws of reality, the cycle of life, and the role of death within it, must be accepted, and indeed welcomed. Your deepest longing and love must not reside in the transient, but in the immanent, and let all that shall pass do so. In accord, your attitude and work should be an ode to the eternal, and must be built suitably upon stable and durable foundations. In that quest for beauty, balance and perfection, the struggle must be unending.
As we grow, learn and change (both mentally and physically), being prepared to change your habits as goals and conditions change. To achieve this state of fluidity, your centre must remain in the spiritual, and so the spiritual in and around you must be cultivated in the way that is judged most suitable. A natural eventual consequence, then, is also the readiness to live with only what is needed to live a healthy, clean and stable life, that the transcendent goals in your path may be attained. Thus, material affluence will be a function of your aims, always a means.
“What lives on? Your good deeds, your ideas, maybe, but your family definitely, if you do it halfway right.”
To live your life, as Nietzsche puts it, as though you would re-live it countless times, and to be proud of it, should drive your everyday choices. What lives on, from your mortal perspective are the things that you did, whatever those are. And so a life well-lived, in modern times, becomes one of unconditional affirmation “of all that is and of all that one is, of one’s own nature and one’s own condition”, as Evola remarked regarding the idea of eternal recurrence.
What lives on is also what triumphs, and through natural selection the effective are sorted out from the delusional, what asserts reality versus that which denies it. Nothing, no creature nor action, is exempt from time and the selection of the fittest, however complex and divorced from a conventional conception of morality that is. Every moment of every day, every decision is a step towards something.
Relish in this thought and become one with your purpose, minding no attitude or person of passing consequence. But towards a set goal, no possibility for surrender or going back must be admitted. This is better understood when we realize transcendental goals are discovered through the aforementioned discovery of inherent traits and the forging of self-discipline.
To be able to maintain this pace, of course, necessary breathing space and conditions is necessary. Most think that indulgence is the key, but liberation from the need to indulge is actually far more powerful and conducive to recuperation. How this is accomplished, however, is the subject of entire volumes and doctrines…
V. The intolerance of all limits
“You want to populate the world with things that work better, ideas that are smarter, symphonies that are more intense, anything that’s a goal you’re reaching for instead of something you’re running from.”
In order to achieve this perpetual crossing, this attuning with cosmic rhythms to coincide with the eternal, it becomes natural to move from a mode of thinking to another, from an action to the next, switching between methods. All bonds to ideologies, dreams, individuals and origins are severed in lieu of being determined by them. That is not to say that all must be disavowed per se, but that everything is a conduit and not the center of existence or a goal, in the transcendent sense.
Such an attuning and movement will place you well beyond the masses of simians who are “oblivious to reality”. Your source of pride should be always in progress, but never what chance bestows upon you, which reflects nothing that can be relied upon. The object of your goals, your creations, must be sought to have an effect on reality, a reflection and a working, and not simply diversions or ‘pretty/ugly things’. In contrast, such creations should be the recipient of reverence and devotion, that such attitude pours the best and most profound found in us into objects.
Nothing comes for free, and so what is not a result of your effort and ability, like chance, cannot be relied upon: be wary of others’ generosity, for it often hides less laudable intentions. In parallel, when you offer something, either to yourself or others, go the extra mile, that surpassing is always enacted towards your own excellence. Doing both of these will require you to develop unshakable powers of introspection and self-reflection, to be able to command oneself, but more importantly to obey oneself (Evola).
Finally, goals to strive for must seek to build something, even if destruction lies in the path of said goal. Said destruction may be the sacrifice of the contingent for the permanent, the lesser for the better. In enacting such sacrifice, we prioritize the lives of future generations and their potential, their seeds, feeding them with our efforts and the necessary quartering of the less worthy to pave the way. This effort, in turn, also elevates and gives meaning to the greats of the past.
“A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting.”