The Fifth Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Give Birth to Yourself and Trash the Past
In order to do them at all, I need to entirely focus my mind, so it's a little difficult under the circumstances. Frankly, I'm still surprised that I can do it at all, and I sometimes wonder if it's a finite process, like an athletic career, or perhaps like a songwriter. With a few exceptions, a songwriter will have a brief period of what you might call "artistic grace," during which time they produce great music with effortless creativity. For most, it seems to last for about five years. Rare are those who remain creative for much longer than that, like an Irving Berlin or Duke Ellington.
This daily writing is not something I could have ever done before -- at least I don't think so. As I have mentioned before, writing the book wasn't like this at all. That was like searching for water in the desert, while this is much more like sitting under a waterfall with a bucket.
At least most of the time. There's still a rhythm or a cyclicity to it, and I sometimes wonder if I should pay more heed to that. In other words, just as a field must occasionally lay fallow as part of the growing process, I wonder if I should avoid trying to compel my writing. Doing so feels a little like exploitation -- like giving hormones to a chicken in order to squeeze out every last egg.
Anyway, we're up to the fifth of the first five commandments of nihilism. In each case, the nihilist does not actually believe in nothing -- which is impossible -- but in the opposite of something. In other words, any nihilistic philosophy -- which would include secular leftism -- is by definition reactionary and parasitic, just as darkness is parasitic on light, disorder on order, falsehood on truth, and death on life. As such, the commandments of nihilism are just a reversal of the cosmic order, including the Ten Commandments.
For example, one can only say that meaning doesn't exist in a meaningful cosmos. One can only deny God by first positing his existence. This is why nihilists do not just deny God, but rebel against him. If this were not the case, then the philosophy of nihilism would produce saint-like people and cultures approximately 50% of the time, but it doesn't. Rather, it produces the opposite of the reality it denies.
Speaking of parents, my in-laws are leaving today after a week long visit. It is interesting to talk to my father-in-law, who grew up at the epicenter of America's cultural high-water mark, to mix a metaphor. He was born in Manhattan in 1931 and is extremely cultured, so he lived in real time through what in hindsight we recognize as an almost impossibly culturally rich period in terms of film, theatre, and music.
The first notion we must dismiss is that realizing the value of our cultural past represents a form of nostalgia. It is no more nostalgic than recognizing that there was something special about the classical musical period. Yes, nostalgia does exist, which represents an indiscriminate romanticization of the past and a consequent inability to appreciate the present. In my opinion, nostalgia is actually a sort of hypnotic drug, a flight from reality which has no value except the value any mind-altering substance has (which is not nothing, by the way).
My father-in law is an... interesting fellow. For one thing, he is an unabashed atheist who is absolutely dismissive of any form of religiosity. He has no coherent philosophy that he has ever articulated, but I suppose he would be equally a Greek Stoic and Epicurean, in that he is not the least bit sentimental and lives by a very strict ethical code, but is a pleasure-seeker of the first rank. For example, while I pretty much eat whatever is put in front of me, he is a gourmet. He is the only person I know who obsesses over the restaurant where he will be having dinner while critiquing breakfast and making plans for lunch.
You've probably seen Meet the Fockers, right? I've only seen parts on TV, but imagine Robert DeNiro looking at you with a penetrating gaze and suspiciously eliciting your feelings about oysters. "Bob, you like oysters?" I've been through this many times on every conceivable subject, so it's a much more complicated question than you might realize. You can't just say no, and you can't just say yes, or else you're in for a debate about where the best oysters come from and why it is so difficult to get good ones these days. Either way, the conversation ends with, "I'm going to bring you back some oysters," especially if you think you don't really care for oysters. I've had the same conversation with regard to wild game, snails, eel, grasshoppers, squid, octopus....
Since he is irreligious, my F.i.L. wants to make sure that we inculcate our son with the proper cultural education. You might say that he frets over this in the way we fret over his spiritual development. Yesterday he informed me that he will be purchasing the 16 CD complete Ella Fitzgerald songbooks for our son's musical edification. Yes, he's only two years old, but it's never too soon to expose him to the timeless and transcendent works of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Geshwin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Rodgers and Hart, Johnny Mercer, and Duke Ellington. I agree, by the way, as it may inoculate his ears against musical garbage.
Except that my father-in-law doesn't believe in transcendence -- even though he actually does, as I have tried to explain to him on many occasions, and which I will do at his funeral just to get in the last word and piss him off. But he is very much in the anti-nostalgia camp, and never wants to be perceived as being unhip to current cultural trends. He would never want to be thought of as someone who is "living in the past." Therefore -- hard to know whether he actually believes this -- but he will insist, say, that P. Diddy has produced a body of work that is comparable to the Great American Songbook. But you will notice that he is not spending a few hundred dollars on the complete works of P. Diddy so that I can pipe it into Future Leader's crib.
Where was I.... Yes, honoring our mother and father. Especially in this postmodern world of ours -- which, you might say, is a world created by adolescents with no input from the grown-ups -- we are susceptible to the opposite tendency of nostalgia. Which is to say, the postmodern nihilist not only fails to appreciate the wisdom and beauty of our cultural heritage, but more likely, actively devalues and denigrates it. And in fact, as we shall see, this devaluation is definitely a reflection of the fifth commandment of nihilism, which is to say that you shall not honor your father and mother.
This is how we can have reached our present intellectual nadir on leftist college campuses, where children are taught by children and other Naders that America's founders were nothing more than white European slaveholders who were just looking after their economic interests, or that America is rooted in the genocide of the Indians, or that we have done something to deserve the psychotic rage of Muslims. The pervasive impulse of the left to "blame America first" is simply the impulse to blame the parents first. (Check out Cho's college textbooks -- TW Mizz E.)
In short, to say that America is always wrong -- which they do -- is simply to say that mommy and daddy are always wrong, and that we know better. Again, it is purely reactionary and formulaic, like that dailykos diary I linked to yesterday, expressing the opinion that the mass murderer Cho was actually a victim of America. Yawn. This attitude is the product of the death instinct -- thanatos -- and is largely responsible for the death culture. This is because progressives are always looking backward and rebelling against the parents of their imagination.
Is this not obvious? No one is more oriented around George Bush as their axis moondi than the angry leftist with Bush Derangement Syndrome (which afflicts almost everyone on the left). When it comes right down to it, my life is pretty much the same no matter who is president. Not so for the leftist, who is somehow living in a kind of personal hell of their own creation. As I attempted to explain to a hostile liberal correspondent last weekend, George Bush is not responsible for his unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. Even if Hillary Clinton is elected president, I mustn't allow it to affect my personal happiness. After all, it is still a wondrous time to be alive.
No, this attitude is not narcissistic (though it can be). For one thing, I realize that life is difficult. It is a struggle, and always has been. To imagine that life only became difficult when George Bush was elected president -- or conversely, that it will only be difficult when a Democrat enters the White House -- represents an abject failure of wisdom, among other classical virtues. No matter what happens, life will be a miracle and life will be a horror, as always. The difference is that the conservative realizes this, and therefore doesn't overreact to it. Because when we overreact to it, as do leftists, we create solutions that are worse than the problems they are designed to address. You cannot cure human nature -- especially if you don't even know what it is. Feminism cannot cure the condition of womanhood, any more than a government program can cure the condition of spiritual poverty.
In short, nihilism is the doctrine of psychological parthenogenesis, or autochthony. An autochthon is "one held to have sprung from the ground he inhabits." Thus, leftism is a specifically anti-humanistic doctrine, for it omnipotently denies now we got here, which was in the human way, thorough parents that came before us.
Running out of time. Future Leader just opened a birthday present which he received from his aunt and uncle last night, after he was in bed. Very cool -- a garbage truck, which he loves. But I can't help noticing that it is a politically correct garbage truck. Indeed, one thing that leftists fail to appreciate -- since they do not even acknowledge the vast differences between adults and children -- is the innocence of children, so they politicize childhood instead of just leaving them be. For the left, it's never too early to begin the brainwash. (Just so it is clear, I am not referring to his aunt and uncle, but to the whole climate of childhood indoctrination of leftist ideas.)
Anyway, I notice that it's not really a garbage truck. Rather, it is a recycling truck with the recycling logo displayed prominently on the side. Also, I notice that 50% of the trashmen are actually women. This is bound to be confusing for Future Leader, since the girl next door, who is also two years old, doesn't have the slightest interest in trucks, tractors, back hoes, ambulances, fire engines, and every other kind of working vehicle with which my son is obsessed. Therefore, why the trashwomen? I guess so he won't realize that he is a boy, or that boys are different than girls. But this is simply the inevitable reflection of a culture that has already effaced the most elementary distinction, that between adults and children.
Well, I really didn't have sufficient time to get into this commandment. Here is a review of what I wrote about the real one last summer:
The fifth of the first five “vertical” commandments is “honor your father and your mother.” This is an important point, because the verticality of this commandment means that it is clearly not just referring to our earthly parents. At the very least, the commandment implies a link between the earthly and celestial dimensions, filtered through the family. The trinitarian family of father-mother-child is an intrinsic reflection of God's design, another instance of the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm (“as above, so below”). Also, being the last of the vertical commandments, it is somehow an important link to the next five "horizontal" commandments that allow the wider human community to function properly.
Naturally, a large part of the leftist project is to undermine this commandment and to de-sacralize the family, so that it essentially becomes "just anything." Thus, the vertical family that is ultimately oriented in a hierarchical manner toward the divine is reduced to a wholly horizontal unit in which the members are only oriented toward each other. A family is “any two or more people who love each other.” Not “honor your mother and father,” but “honor your father and father,” or worse yet, honor just earthly love. But earthly love alone cannot sustain a family, which is one of the reasons for the increased incidence of divorce. If you go into a marriage thinking that another person is going to make you happy and fulfill all of your needs, you are bound to be sorely disillusioned.
Some may think that the onus of this commandment lies with children to honor their parents. But I believe this is a misunderstanding of the total context of the commandments. For the burden is actually on the parents -- especially the father -- to be an earthly reflection of the celestial father and to therefore be worthy of honor. Indeed, this is a father’s only claim to legitimate authority -- the extent to which he is a dignified and noble man through whom divine authority radiates outward and “downward.”
Parents do not own children -- this was one of the radical innovations of Judaism, in contrast to other ancient peoples who practiced infanticide and other forms of systematic abuse.
In raising a child, you are deputized by the divine to help usher your child from his earthly caretaker -- i.e., you -- to his celestial benefactor. Even if you are not particularly religious, this is still the aim of your parenting, but it will merely go by another name - -for example, instilling good values. Few people outside the Muslim world actually consciously want to raise their children as antisocial, homicidal beasts. And even these Moloch-worshipping parents are under the delusion that they are on a divine mission to raise their children in this perverse way.
Arab parents are now naming their children “Hizb’allah” and “Nasrallah,” a genocidal group and a genocidal fanatic, respectively. These children will surely grow up to honor their father -- the Father of Lies. These parents are spiritually unfit to bring children into the world, because they inflict the worst possible psychic injury to the child: failing to provide them with a parent worthy of honor. Like most any abused child, the child will still do his part -- he will honor his parents -- which will have the practical effect of making him lower than the beasts, unless the child somehow sees through his warped parents and locates his father “who art in heaven.”
In short, to the extent that our parents are worthy of of honor, it is because the archetypes of our otherworldly Mother and Father are revealed to us through them. Not only do many parents fail at this fundamental task, but they even usurp God’s rightful power, becoming bad gods and “lording it over” their children (as undoubtedly happened to them).
More generally, the pure love we receive “vertically” from our parents is like a seed that is planted deep within our psyche. Children can have no idea how much they were loved until they have children of their own. This is as it should be, because the task for the child is to spread this divine-parental love horizontally, out into the world. If children loved parents as much as parents love their children, it would be very difficult to break out of that closed circle and evolve psycho-culturally.
And just because we have left our earthly parents, it hardly means that we have no further need of parenting. Again, there is something primordially true in the trinitarian arrangement of father-mother-child. In order to continue to grow spiritually as adults, we must in some way "become as children" and establish an ongoing rapport with the divine masculine and feminine. As such, the commandment also implies that we should honor worldly representatives of the divine, for example, the avatars, saints, and spiritual masters who, just like our own parents, have made incredible sacrifices for our benefit, and who extend truly priceless wisdom, guidance, and even salvation. Thanks to them, the vertical hole in creation is always accessible.
Straddling the present, one foot in the past, one in the future.
"Apple boo-day dee yow" (that's how he sings "happy birthday to you").