On suffering

Arguably the ‘greatest’ atheist of the 19th century, Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote in The Gay Science,

“When I think of the craving of young Europeans to do something, I realize that they must have a craving to suffer and find in their suffering a probable reason for action and deeds. These young people demand not happiness, but unhappiness, that should approach from the outside and become visible. They do no know what to do with themselves and therefore paint the distress of others on the wall. They always need others, and continually other others!”

I find this to be a remarkably insightful remark. Man needs struggle, he needs burdens, difficulties, and yes, he needs misery. The great motivating force of life is unhappiness. When these obstacles are removed from life it does not make for better living, but worse. Just as liberating man from responsibilities does not make him any freer, only less human, neither does liberating him from misery make him any happier. Instead, it becomes a motivation to engage himself in the misery of others. He revels in helping some stranger rather than his own, because he sees his own as the one oppressing the stranger.

In modern western society there is no great struggle for the average person. So they must conjure up some demons to combat. They imagine something oppressing them since what makes for better misery, which one can act against, than oppression? Leftism always has cannon fodder because it can always invent new victims, oppressors, and injustices. This keeps the masses busy, believing they are fighting against some oppression that they had not before realized existed but now understand is making them unhappy. But because the people know their life really is not that bad, their crusade is often on behalf of those whom they perceive to have it worse.

To experience this suffering they engage in empathy, feeling the perceived suffering of the victim classes. What the engagement in projection demonstrates is two things. First – Man must have suffering to give him purpose in life. Second – Those who engage in this empathy are shallow since they have forsaken the spiritual war for a physical one. We crave suffering and, more importantly, the struggle against suffering, for its spiritual fruits. There is no spiritual reward for struggling on behalf of perceived victims. It is vanity.

A Christian realizes that the greatest struggle in this life is not against poverty, tyranny, or ‘racism’, it’s against sin and temptation. This is a personal battle, one that each person must fight primarily by themselves. There can be no movement to eradicate lust, sloth, pride, envy, or hatred in your heart. All there can be is you and the support of friends and family. The attention has been turned outward; where we were not meant to concentrate. We are called to help others, yes, but help them with their inward struggle. That is the point of Christian marriage, to help each other in this life avoid sin and temptation. It is also the point of loving your neighbor as yourself, for it helps your soul and the soul of your neighbor.

One important issue to note is that external struggles can also be internal. In war, you are not only struggling against the physical enemy but against your own spiritual enemies such as fear and doubt. What distinguishes that form of external struggle from the one based upon empathy is that it is centered upon your inner character. Your participation in it depends upon, and shapes, your soul. A physical struggle for purely physical ends is hollow. It provides no benefit to your soul. Those who are this world focused abandoned the spiritual war for the shallow, physical war.

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The end of (our) history

‘The Death of the Grave Digger’, by Carlos Schwabe

Progress, this great heresy of decay.

Charles Baudelaire

In 1992 Francis Fukuyama wrote a book entitled ‘The End of History and the Last Man’. The main idea of this book was that history has been gradually progressing towards a time, in the not so distant future, where there will be one liberal democratic global state. He believes we are living in the last stages before this global state, founded in Western style liberal democracy and capitalism. All the events of history were an evolution towards this most humane, rational, and ideal world order, a near utopia of sorts. We are now nearing the great ‘end of history’.

However, I cannot help but see this as a laughable notion at best. It is unfortunately a common sentiment shared by many who view history as being linear, and not cyclical. Not only linear, though, but also progressive. The instituting of liberal democracy must be accepted, by all polite company, as a progression in comparison to the preceding eras of monarchy, theocracy, and empires. It would be heretical to modern doctrine to accept anything short of this. Yet for all the boasting of our superiority over those of the past, which having progressed past them obviously implies, we are incredibly ignorant in comparison.

History is not linear but, if it were, I would believe it would be grounds for dismissing the notion of human evolution altogether. Oswald Spengler proposed a more reliable theory of history*, one which demonstrates the cyclical nature of humanity. We do not; as those who adhere to a Whig view of history would have us believe, constantly progress. Instead civilization cycles through four stages which correspond to the change of seasons. A civilization begins with its spring, moves into its summer, then begins to decline with its fall, and enters a dark age during its winter.

For anyone who has paid attention, we are certainly living in Western civilization’s winter. Culture has died, politics has been utterly corrupted, morality has been abandoned, and sanity has fled our shores. This is not the end of history, but it is the end of our history. Upon reflection it may be said the West was a Faustian civilization built upon a deal with the devil. We gave up Heaven to gain the world. But the riches of this world are fleeting. All our gold is sand, swept away in the winds of time.

Think of our haughtiness to suggest that this, our style of society, is the apex of civilization. So great is their pride, modern man believes his madness to really be a triumph. Unfortunately modern man is nothing more than Nietzsche’s der letzte Mensch (Last Man). His greatest wish is comfort and security. So long as this is provided to him, he shall keep up his endorsement of the current order. When one or the other is threatened, he becomes angry, but his complacency triumphs. Der letzte Mensch believes himself above the “ignorance” of the past. All that has really changed is his degree of comfort and security.

Unfortunate for him, nothing lasts forever. Society is not “progressing”, it is regressing. He shall soon pay witness to this regression. For the fortunate few, they will be secure enough to not concern themselves too much with the inevitable problems which shall become all too obvious for the middle and lower classes. Government shall become more abusive, moral decay shall continue, race replacement will accelerate, general wealth shall decline, and with each passing day the bright light which once shone forth from our perceived future shall grow ever dimmer. At such a point the realization will occur that his comfort and security were impermanent, that he was not above the problems of his ancestors, and that his idealistic image of reality was horribly flawed.

Man is the same today as he was five hundred years ago just with new technology and more outlandish ideas. There are heretics today just as there were during Middle Ages. Science is still being oppressed for its dangerous theories. And government is at best as insidious. You can change the name from “witch” to “racist”, the theories from “heliocentric” to “race and IQ correlation”, and government from “divine right” to “liberal democracy”, but that does not make man any more enlightened.

In ancient Rome the concept of savages being men before the creation of a civilization would be incomprehensible. Savages were instead the remnants of a civilization that decayed and became corrupted. There is nothing noble about them as many would have us believe. Man is not inherently good, but he has the inherent potential for good. The inverse of this is our modern way of thinking. People are naturally good but only do bad things on account of some external pressure. Remove these pressures and people will all live harmoniously.

Societies begin to decay at the exact moment they begin to abandon their attempts at striving towards virtuosity. When the eyes of man are turned earthward, rather than up, he falls. What necessarily follow are all forms of debauchery and sin. The greatest invested effort is towards nurturing the system which promotes these vices. Even with the immorality of Rome preceding its unforgettable fall it could never rival the transgressions of the modern West. Our fall, when it inevitably arrives, shall be distinctly different, most likely due to its gradual nature, but also more thorough. The risk is permanent elimination.

Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius (Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad), and we are completely mad. This is the end of our history, for better or worse. At least, it is the end of Western civilization as we know it. T. S. Eliot wrote** about the world ending in a more tragic way than complete destruction, I think it speaks best for the end of our Western civilization.

This is the way the world ends,

This is the way the world ends,

This is the way the world ends,

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

* The Decline of the West vol. 1, vol. 2

** The Hollow Men