Man’s Unwillingness to be Bad Makes Him Common (re-edited)
Because this distance is too alienating, isolating and existentially toilsome for most to emotionally bear, the average individual has no other choice but to acquiesce to the values doled out by the arbiters of culture - especially of the popular type...
The vast majority of men across the ages, to include nearly everyone alive today, can claim not a single “Word” at all for themselves – words seen here as linguistic victories one wins over the dominant moral assumptions a man inherits from his people and culture, victories that increase one’s liberality of thought but also distance him from his kin, an interval that neither he – nor they – can ever, unfortunately, regain.
Because this distance is too alienating, isolating and existentially toilsome for most to emotionally bear, the average individual has no other choice but to acquiesce to the values doled out by the arbiters of culture – especially of the popular type; acquiescence that mold a man’s inner thought life into a kind of incoherent moral mosaic, a slipshod amalgamation of the so-called “good” deeds of the “great men” of the past, they who set the culture’s aesthetic and linguistic course by the cobblestones of their mythical lives whose “truths” Time has, in every case, utterly obliterated.
This amalgamation, evidenced by an inarticulate rigidity of speech which tends toward the rhetorical, polemical and dogmatic the more an individual is morally challenged by a foreign viewpoint, characterizes the average level of aesthetic refinement and overall self-awareness of that seething mass known colloquially (among other appellations) as “the herd”.
For what is salient among the vulgar and common but the carelessness they maintain towards the very words they employ to communicate their inner “profundity” or, in most instances, lack thereof? – words which are as much the currency of a man’s thoughts as the vehicle by which he traverses the social plain of his fellows, they whose opinion he’s at all times concerned as if the ongoing state of his eternal soul depended on how accurately they interpreted and approved of his conformation to the collective will whose origins everyone is in some way ignorant. By modifying his language so that he may be accepted as a member of the moral ingroup as to gain the protection that their immense population provides, a man must each day sacrifice his individual authenticity – which is to say, his philosophical freedom – in service to the tranquility of the herd; authenticity demonstrated by the degree of linguistic liberty a man allows himself to deviate from the moral standard of his kin.
Should one desire to become more authentic, he must first untether himself from the dependence of their approval. Such “untethering” naturally requires a sharp edge, a blade of “malice” as it were, of sinisterness, and evilness even, particularly towards one’s own existential framework. For the bonds that tie an individual to his culture are so thoroughly reinforced that only the most devastating – no! unthinkable – weapons can manage the task. In order to even grasp such a blade, one must not only accept his own inescapable “badness” but also act upon it: he must in every way exercise his inalienable right to viciousness and ferocity toward “the good”, his good, all good; malice which alone enables a man to acquire honesty and through honesty, the penetration of Truth: that which opposes to the uttermost man’s natural instinct to condemn everything he sees with easy moral valuation.
The more one postpones, suppresses and otherwise surrenders his right to bless his own badness for the sake of his cud-chewing brethren, the more like them he undoubtedly becomes: a beast who cannot be anything “but good”, and innocent, victimized, as well as uncreative, philosophically flaccid and metaphysically ignoble, forever needing a Savior to redeem him from the curse of a life he cannot control nor make any existential sense out thereof.
For everyone who has hitherto achieved greatness of any kind has first had to slaughter the instincts of the herd within: slaughter of one’s current state of being; violence towards the best a man perceives in and of himself – even the best of God. He must commit these atrocities not merely through the refinement of his internal lexicon, but by emotionally living (or acting) that refinement out; life that requires that he desire not one thing different, no divorce from his reality nor forgiveness for his mistakes; no salvation from his present responsibilities nor hope of heavenly reward for “grinning and bearing” the endless assault of the world which is “oh, so a mystery”.
Devil walks into bar. Orders drink. Asks Philosopher sitting next to him: “And what do you do?”