§ The Event
Around the age of six, most probably even before that, a child may become aware of the huge rift that separates their pure understanding from the complex and often twisted way of seeing things of the adults. As children who have just come into our basic rational and logical faculties, some of us quickly realize the degree of contradiction and nonsense that seems to drive the adult world. I cannot be sure what percentage of the population suffers this subtle awakening right after leaving the toddler stage, but if they do, few make it to their teenage years —not to mention their young adult age— without having complied with the system to a certain degree and given up on their inner compasses.
What has prompted this memory in me is Brett Stevens‘ illustrative story in the earliest section of his new book, Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness And Eternity. Although set in a very different context (for I was not a suburban, Generation X kid in “America”), the general feeling and experience remains the same, with the exception that unlike the kid in the story, I outwardly displayed the necessary behavior patterns that would mean the authorities leaving me alone. Like him, I told myself that I would not forget myself, that I would not forget that children know and understand much more than the condescending and nonsensical adults knew.
“In that clearing, which would soon be bulldozed flat to make room for more houses, he made a pact with himself: he would see things as they were here, always, no matter what the adults said. But he feared the day he would become an adult, too, and worried that the hidden thing inside people would take him, too.”
—Brett Stevens, Nihilism, Introduction, page 131.
Brett Stevens also makes a point of describing that his impression of the adults’ motivations and guiding emotion is fear. In world dictated by fear of the natural, raised by a fear-driven family and society, there seems as if there is little else to hold on to but nihilism. As paradoxical as that may sound, the simple answer is that nihilism is in accordance with reality to its furthest consequences, materialism and duality on the other hand and as Brett Steven explains, are self-serving denials of it.
“Nihilism grows from a conceptual seed: neither universal truth nor subjectivity exists. Both are human constructions designed to remove fear of unknowns in our world. All we have is reality and our ability to adapt to it.”
—Brett Stevens, Nihilism, ‘Nihilism’, page 162.
§ An Innocent Self-Initiation
What this act of solitary mental contrivance ultimately resulted in was an unwitting self-initiation into a state that insulated a perceptive and logical internal system from the communal delusions which held this fragile system. For frail and disconnected from reality it is, and this is precisely the source of fear in which this society and civilization lives. It knows it is at odds with nature, but it is too selfish and lazy to change. In its narcissism and mediocrity it damns what is truly excellent and attuned with reality with words pulled out of a ready-made cache of buzzwords. Rather than face up to the facts, hallmark epithets drilled into the minds of sheep through brainwashing education will make sure no manner of reason will defeat their emotionally-sealed myths and beliefs.
It was a self-initiation in the sense that it consciously set my mind on a different path, even though this was to be confused and then buried for a while. My own weakness and stalled inner death played tricks and delayed advancement. In the end, I owe a debt of gratitude and respect to those who gave me the gift of their mental nursing, those who distinguished a seed and deemed it worthy enough to prevent me from hitting rock bottom. I myself do not cower from it, and it may be that in the future I choose to forcefully enter the abyss against my loved ones’ wishes and better judgement. But when that day comes, it will be in conscious steps and not pure nihilistic free fall.
Nihilism is a curious concept which, much like the trials of an initiate, may serve the double function of separating the worthy from the lesser as well as exercising a transforming effect in the individual. He who is both willing and awake enough to go through a spiritual self-immolation may, like the Phoenix, return to the egg and then rise victorious upon a wider arc.
“To create new values that, even the lion cannot yet accomplish : but to create itself freedom for new creating that can the might of the lion do.
To create itself freedom, and give a holy Nay even unto duty: for that, my brethren, there is need of the lion.
To assume the ride to new values that is the most formidable assumption for a load-bearing and reverent spirit. Verily, unto such a spirit it is preying, and the work of a beast of prey.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, ‘The Three Metamorphoses’
§ A Path (Re)Discovered
I do not believe in accidents not anymore, at least not in the conventional sense. Occurrences lack of purpose or meaning in the human sense, perhaps, but they are not devoid of an ulterior motive. Synchronicity —discovered through awareness in real life, not merely theorized— has allowed for a new way of seeing life that allows one to move like water, at least mentally and spiritually. An active will, then, allows one to move like fire —a much more rare and volatile characteristic found in the spirits of a very few only.
Like the child in Brett Stevens’ Nihilism, I too grew through abrasive nihilism, although my own experience was much more furious and long-winded, having developed an intense and passionate Christian faith in my early years as well. My childhood was defined by both that promise and the natural and secretive Christian initiation I was led into; the reconciliation of both resulted in a concept which functioned as a knight’s armor against modernity. It would rust and fall into disuse throughout my teenage years, and it would be cast off as utterly outdated in my young adulthood.
Nihilism had then finally taken me to its utmost confines, leaving me spiritually naked and alone, no matter what the optimistic reassurances of others may be —such is the nature of extreme and empirical realism. How does this differ, then, from empiricism and realism? It differs in the psychological extent and emphasis which leads not to a mediocre accepting of reality, but rather to an extreme unveiling which ultimately leaves two options: suicide or heroism.
Heroism here is not to be understood in the mundane way as sacrifice for the (often physical) welfare of others, but in victorious and willful transformations. The hero does not seek to either control the universe nor leave himself at its mercy, but to be in an ever-changing state of knowing that implies a changing through its motions as the cosmos within and without are eternally explored. Control is achieved, but not in a greedy manner nor in wanting to bend nature. It is rather the gradual acquiring of a deeper and vaster consciousness which, through understanding the occult workings is better equipped to adapt and act accordingly to reach its own goals within that wondrous transcendent reality.
“But tell me, my brethren, what the child can do, which even the lion could not do? Why hath the preying lion still to be come a child?
Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea.
Aye, for the game of creating, my brethren, there is needed the holy Yea unto life: its own will, willeth now the spirit; his own world winneth the world’s outcast.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, ‘The Three Metamorphoses’
§ Towards the Unknown, Into Darkness
The Path will surely not be easy. It will involve much learning and much suffering. Or more precisely, learning through suffering. This is not to say that suffering itself will be sought, but the path that maximizes the balanced (thus staying within the path) obtainment of knowledge incurs in more suffering. Why is knowledge and learning to be paid for in suffering? Is this masochism? No, and no. Anything of worth requires payment in time, attention and effort. In short, you pay for these things with your life.
The mental aspect is the first of the tripartite spear of development to pierce self and kosmos with. Out of the three, it will come easiest since it comes more naturally to those of us used to dive into books. However, since time is of the essence, it will be of far more importance to discriminate and know what lies on our own path. Furthermore, here lies the piercing side of evaluation that many a modern occultist shuns, usually as an excuse to indulge in their own feelings and narcissism, which they confuse with intuition or empathy.
The physical aspect will surely be one of the most difficult aspects of this journey, for it requires gradually pushing boundaries till reasonable limits are reached. While I am used to physical training, the life I have led until now has always steered me away from full engagement, full commitment, to the physical aspect of my being. This has been gradually changing in the last few years, within reasonable boundaries and cycles. However, in looking forward to the upcoming change and new life, my conscious grew with a vitality and purpose for training that I had never before experienced. Some of us need a transcendent and spiritual dimension to everything we do, apparently. Still, running 32 kilometers in 2 and a half hours will require more than a little willpower and elan.
The spiritual aspect I associate directly with the power of intuition and the receptive agencies — and thus with the feminine and naturally noble side. The two others are but ways to solidify this last aspect that engulfs our whole being and moves between them. To know the darkest and yet the most luminous to then be able to move beyond both and into an attunement with and apprehension of nature at every level is a goal that immediately resounded with me. The internet being what it is, I had already bumped into the necessary information several years ago, but I was not ready for it at all. To immediately recognize the way when you see it is a characteristic of esoteric paths; to find the teacher when you are ready for the lesson. Sometimes that teacher is yourself, sometimes it is life itself. Learn from life, and especially from death; rejoice in death for only in death does life acquire meaning.
“And then-but I beheld not, nor can tell,
What further fate befell:
But this is sure, that Calchas’ boding strain
Can ne’er be void or vain.
This wage from justice’ hand do sufferers earn,
The future to discern:
O secret of To-morrow!
Fore-knowledge is fore-sorrow.
Clear with the clear beams of the morrow’s sun,
The future presseth on.
Now, let the house’s tale, how dark soe’er,
Find yet an issue fair!
– So prays the loyal, solitary band
That guards the Apian land”
—Aeschylus, Agamemnon, ‘Antistrophe 6’. Translated by E.D.A. Morshead
1 “Thou art the death of me. I am slain in my love for Thee, O devouring serpent, O immortal python, O crushing Wisdom.”
2 “Strike! O, take me now, in an instant. Strike! with the passionate strength of thy love to overwhelm this silly thought I have of Thee, this struggling artifice. Flood the channels of my nerves with the lightning current of Thyself.”