"The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him, you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in upon us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead; God remains dead. And we have killed him.
How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us- for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, The Parable of the Madman, from The Gay Science
Few in human history embodied so completely the terrifying danger of profound philosophy as Friedrich Nietzsche. He sought after dangerous ideas; he longed for them, as a man longs for a woman- and often found them. And he is well known for his Parable of the Madman, in which he declared, "God is dead; God remains dead. And we have killed him."
Shallow theists condemn him outright for the declaration, while equally shallow atheists praise him as a philosophical harbinger of their own animosity towards religion. However, Nietzsche is far from what either believed him to be. For although it was true that Nietzsche did not believe in God- or rather, not in anything that would be called God by a westerner (his conception of der Wille zur Macht- the Will to Power- sometimes bordered on mysticism)- it is entirely untrue that he somehow looked forward to atheism. Nietzsche saw in the death of God a world-historical event- and was rightly horrified by what would follow.
Nietzsche knew that man desires something to serve above all, and that in absence of a God, he would find something else- the State, perhaps. And indeed, shortly after his death, fascism began to spring up all over Europe, for the State had indeed taken the place of God. It does so today, as well, wherever socialism takes root in the world. For the deification of the State is almost a necessary consequence of the abandonment of the Old Way.
Man wants to serve; man must serve- and will serve- something.
However, we live in a secular society. The West- whether European or American- has been infected by the very materialism that Nietzsche and other existentialists feared, Fyodor Dostoevsky included. For Dostoevsky viewed the West as a looming specter, as a diabolical power, destroying God wheresoever it went, and so he feared it; he condemned it. And he would have wept for Russia, just as Nietzsche would have wept for Germany; both nations became exactly what their respective prophets feared.
Nihilism predicts the rise of the tyranny; worse, it rots the soul no matter what governmental form it takes- for nihilism is the death of meaning.
Currently, we in the West are experiencing a kind of soft nihilism: It is the nihilism of materialism; it is the nihilism of commercialism and consumerism; it is the nihilism of luxury, of having too much, or those who wallow in their comfort, like pigs at their trough. But though a soft nihilism may very well be pleasant, it is far from healthy. Nihilism rots the soul; nihilism also rots family, faith, and fatherland; nihilism rots the very ground of human civilization, the vertical relationship between man as an organic individual and truth in the abstract. And this movement has taken on a name of its own: Post-modernism.
For post-modernism is nothing but the philosophy of nihilism called by another name: Post-modernism asserts, as Nietzsche would say, that "the highest values have devalued themselves," or that "God is dead; God remains dead," but without any indication of horror. In fact, the post-modernist looks at the death of God with satisfaction, imagining- incorrectly, but imagining- that with the death of God will come freedom. But he misdiagnosis the problem, for it is not God that has chained him; it is his own mind that has chained him- his passions, his instincts and impulses, his wrath and his doubt and his greed, what a Buddhist might call klesas, the stains that defile our perception of reality. We are enchained by our spiritual disintegration; it has nothing to do with our social system and everything to do with what we focus ourselves upon.
We are torn in a thousand directions; everywhere we look, we are drawn by desires, few of which even existed before we were infected by them through media. So we are told what we should be, and what we should think, and what we should say, and what we should want, and what we should feel, and what we should long for- but all of these commands come wrapped in pretty packaging, and so we go gladly to the slaughter. More than ever before in history, our cravings are cultivated in every nook and cranny of human society. And so it should come as no surprise that we find ourselves fragmented, that we find ourselves weak and sick, that we find ourselves gelded before the world, uncertain as to who we are, or what path we should take, without passion, and bereft of meaning.
Now we find our faith in God destroyed, our families broken, our boys lost and intent upon self-destruction- either through drugs or through gangs- and our girls equally lost and destructive, though in a different fashion- shallow, materialistic, and fixated upon toxic relationships. Then we find that we no longer share anything in common with our neighbors; we find ourselves isolated and alone. So we balkanize; we break up into tribes, and we throw barbs at one another, as though we were at war. But war has been condemned; we have created the conditions for mutual and perpetual animosity, and yet, war has been condemned- but not pettiness and vengefulness, which proliferate endlessly.
This is the world we find ourselves in.
And we must save ourselves, for although we are wealthy, we are rotting within. The world hears us cry out, and offers us- another job, another distraction, another pill, another dress, another drink, another one-night stand, just more, more, more...because eventually, it will be enough. Someday, somehow, eventually, it will be enough...right?
But no, it will not be enough; it will never be enough.
Because the solution does not address the problem at all: It is a material solution to a spiritual problem. And so the way forward is no longer to be trusted; the truth lies behind us, for it is we who have abandoned it, and not it that has abandoned us. We must double back; we must re-discover what we have lost.
It will be hard.
We must face the truth, and find within ourselves a strength sufficient to live it- vigorously, virtuously, as men before God.
This is the Old Way; this is Virilis.
Why Psychology Fails
Psychology has failed on a number of fronts, largely because it makes some very serious errors insofar as its fundamental tenets are concerned. First among these is its understanding of the Hippocratic Oath.
The Hippocratic Oath is one of the principle tenets of medicine, and later of psychology understood as a medical field, and is generally rendered, "Above all, do no harm." However, modernist psychologists tend to look at harm as a synonym for pain, which it is not; pain is very often necessary in order for us to be healthy. We require stress; without stress, there is no growth. So by equating harmful with painful, we remove from human development what is most necessary for its effectiveness: suffering. Man requires suffering if he is not to remain forever a boy; the same applies to women, of course, though in a slightly different way. Suffering makes us resilient, and thus actually reduces suffering in the long term, whereas a lack of suffering makes us overly fragile, and thus more susceptible to suffering- a paradox lost on modernists, who are very often influenced by 18th and 19th century utopianism.
Modern psychology, at least in terms of its practical applications, has been largely divorced from reality. For there is usually a very significant gap between theory and praxis, between the hypothetical and its actual form of manifestation in reality. And academics are oftentimes prone to errors in this regard, specifically because they only very rarely "put boots on the ground." Their ideas remain forever ideal, safe and secure in the hypothetical; they are rarely tried, rarely tested, and so when they are put into practice to disastrous effect, the ego of the academic rebels.
"Something must be wrong," they say to themselves, "but it could not possibly be the idea itself, which seems to perfect in my head." This is a prime example of cognitive dissonance: The ego rebels; the academic doubles down on madness. We see this in the Marxist's fanatical adhesion to communism and socialism, in spite of a veritable infinitude of evidence that they are entirely untenable; we see it in the post-modernist faith in nihilism, globalism, feminism, pacifism, and all the other -isms, that have accomplished little if anything in the world. And finally, we see it in education, where its expression has destroyed the minds of entire generations of children through a warped and distorted pedagogy.
And so by focusing not on resilience but rather on avoiding uncomfortable truths and on re-engineering the world to be less painful, psychologists have in actuality created a breeding ground for psychological cripples.
Resurrecting the Hero's Journey
Although it may not be clear to everybody- clarity is an uncommon quality, and especially so in today's digital world- the path forward must necessarily entail a revitalization of the past. The world has lost something that must be regained, and without which it cannot sustain itself; we have seen the consequences of our abandonment of all our old school principles- of strength, wisdom, fearlessness, and nobility. For centuries, these principles, deeply rooted in the classical tradition of philosophy both European and Oriental, served as guiding lights for humanity. And we have abandoned them to our great loss.
It is true that we must continue moving forward, but that does not mean the past must be forgotten. In fact, the past must revitalized; the tree of man must be nourished again and again, and it can only be nourished through the cultivation of those principles that we all share as human beings. The way forward and the way back are the same; they are not at odds with one another. And so the resurrection of the old way is not only desirable; it is absolutely necessary. After all, the principles of the classical tradition are deeply rooted not only in metaphysical truth but in human psychology itself.
Yes, the way forward and the way back are the same.
The old way is the only way.
For more about Virilis, ParaBellum, and ParaBellum: Tactics, please follow the links below: