I have been frail for a big part of my life.
I have been brought to tears, again and again, by the lamest of teasing. Any mention of father issues could pierce through my armour. How predictable. And how it hurt! Every single time. I was defenceless and sad and puny. And from the bottom of the pit it is not possible to pretend there’s poetry in frailty, that there is some value in being the shy one. You can’t pretend this is right, you just can’t, because this is not pain, it is not sorrow, it is a deeper suffering than that, it is to know that you are the worst. You are everything that is opposite of good. This is not something someone told you, it is not an opinion, it is. It just is.
So, from the bottommost you know there is only one direction, there is only one thing. There is only up. This defines existence.
And to crawl your my way from that to the point you can face life on equal footing, the point where you can look in the eye of the tiger, is a long road. And along this road you must learn some tricks. And it often comes to pass that someone who fell and then learned to rise again, as he had to learn those tricks, he rises higher than other people. He’s firmer in his self-standing, because he knows he did it by himself. So i want to teach, or talk about, one of those tricks, something that helps me, something that makes me stronger.
And the trick is that there is no good or wrong. That there is no single direction, that there is no value or high road or peace or human rights or equality or morals or freedom or anything else.
I don’t mean that everything is relative, or to be precise i do mean everything is relative but if you frame the issue with those words i can know for sure you have no idea what i’m talking about, so it is very important, if you want to learn from these words, that you avoid thinking that everything is relative.
There are many ways to be good, each and every one of our enemies does have his own way. We do too, and this does not make us special, nor even different. And still, we need to believe that our way is the only way. It is not enough to be our vision, it must the one vision that is better than our enemies.
But in the end none of it is about rightness. It is all about enemies. We don’t want to be good, we want to hurt our enemies. And we pretend to goodness just to be able to hold the group together through the war.
Now that the whole world is compelled into worshipping the Atom Bomb, it is easy to forget that the older of the hurt technologies is the group, it is community. Our rights and our kindness are just tools to keep community. All the moral standards are just cogs into the big machine that keeps the War ready to happen.
And by now i either convinced you into accepting my words blindly, because i am against war, and war is bad, so i must be in your team, or contrarily i got myself into the other team and you’ll disagree with me no matter what. In any of the two ways the picture i drew of the world, with war and morals and other characters, the fences i erected, are firmly planted on your head. Both the anti-war partisans and the anti-relativism partisans depend on fences. I didn’t force you into my team, but i did force you into being against something. I killed your curiosity. And now you’re mine.
But in fact i am pro-war. I feel that the war impulse, the hurtful impulse, i feel it is part of the energy that got me out of the bottom of the wheel. I think it is one of the things that got me on my feet again. And as i said, when i was down there was just one direction.
But when i knew that one direction, the part of my brain that was being activated was a very different part than when you think that war is bad/good. When i wanted to grow, i was not splitting existence into two fields. But splitting is exactly what morality does. It is the essence of morality. It is not about qualities, but about getting some things and avoiding others. It is a very old impulse, indeed: Reptiles could do it and that is why the part of our own brains in charge of this is called the Reptilian Brain. And if you stop to think about it, it is not a value, it is more like a trick. A procedure, a method. In nerd-talk it is like an app that runs in our brains. But it is more like an operational system. It goes deeper and stronger than our conscious thinking. And that is why it is so easy to exploit it in others, so easy to trick them into dividing up the world into sides. Just like any other tool it can help and it can hurt. But it is more than a tool, in a way, it is an infrastructure of our beings. It is one of the pillars that keep our selves upright. And its name is: FEAR.
Fear makes fences. Fear discriminates. This is important. It is fear that allows me to know who i am. Being so basal, so entrenched, so primary to our beings, fear is part of every other thought and every other feeling. The Reptile is always with us, helping us. But sometimes it controls us.
Fear can make you grow, but growing itself is overcoming fear. You don’t escape fear or turn it off, you control it.
You become lord over fear.
But fear is mischievous.
To overcome fear you must cope with its blow, with the full panic that flows white and cold overwhelming you. This is painful, this is difficult, and still you can focus on it. You can see it coming and face the panic. But to overcome fear you must stop it when it whispers very gently too.
If you worship not-fear, you have divided the world in two, and thus you fell to fear again. If you say everything is relative, you are already opposing something you just invented, absolute thinking is also anti-relative and thus you are against something. There isn’t clear and dark, there are different kinds of light, so many different kinds of light you’ll never see them all. There aren’t good and bad: There is good and also a bunch of other stuff.
Fear discriminates. This is good. The risk is that fear will paint the whole experience of the world in just two colours. Life is always more complicated than that, and fear makes us forget this. Fear closes our eyes. With eyes closed we are imprisoned, we are locked inside the tiny cell of our own prejudices. But we can open up, there are ways to open up, there are tricks that can help us deal with the roar of panic, and there are also a trick that can deal with fear when it hides in prejudice.
The trick is to think: And what else?