On Amor Fati

Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth!”

Amor fati is not a concept but a formula for greatness. Amor fati is the greatest riposte to nihilism and life negation. We must concern ourselves, not with problems of analyticity and consistency, but with the embodiment of amor fati, with how it is to be lived, with the phenomenology of loving one’s fate: All that happens, happens, not for a reason, but for the good: from the greatest suffering, wherein life is confronted utterly, we gain the greatest depth; and with the greatest depth, whereby we swell with melancholy, we gain the greatest weight; and with the greatest weight is required the greatest strength, with which to cling to life; and with the greatest strength comes the greatest affirmation; whereby our melancholy, through the greatest revaluation, turns to melancholy pleasures.

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On Fallout 76

People seem confused as to why so many of us, especially the old school gamers, are disappointed with what we see in Fallout 76. Here’s my take. For me, the original Fallout games—and I mean Fallout 1–3 and perhaps Fallout: New Vegas—were meaningful, and that’s what separates them from Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. We felt the pang of melancholy pleasures as we roamed around the wasteland, completely alone; and loneliness was appropriate because civilisation had destroyed itself. The games were tragic, and we felt some sense of what could easily happen to the real world. Remember how close we came with the Cuban missile crisis? The games asked us to imagine what it might be like to lose everything and everyone. This was how we felt as we wandered around with Dogmeat or drifted in our trusty Highwayman. Great works of literature do the same, and the original games demonstrated why gaming is an important artform in its own right. Each game taught us about the absurdity of our species. There was biting satire and cultural criticism: when everything is destroyed, still there will be violence, because war…war never changes. We as a species would rather fight among ourselves than cooperate. Fast forward to the present. Fallout 4 was a meaningless game, farted out by Bethesda in servitude to the God of Profit Maximisation; and Fallout 76 seems to have vacated what little meaning remained. Meaninglessness with a map three times bigger is still meaninglessness. Bethesda has even managed to destroy the very sense of isolation and loneliness which gave the original franchise meaning in the first place by forcing us to play with other people. What little value there was has been diminished, diluted, lessened: as the Germans say, “shared pain is half pain”. There is nothing in this game, no soul, no content, only exchange value, bright colours, and the latest bells and whistles. It is a game for nihilists and decadents. The best thing is that all of this is to be expected. Bethesda has done what every human being inevitably does, given enough time. They have sold out, conformed, settled for mediocrity, and opted for money over meaning. Because they can. Because we… we never change.

Nature and Life

I have a hunch that in a thousand years or so, if I may speculate, we shall look upon Nietzsche’s use of the word “life” with the same confusion, the same strange smile, mocking and honest in its bewilderment, with which we currently look upon the word “nature” and the way it is cherished by the Stoa—that is, as a peculiarity, an oddity, a simplicity, a God of the gaps. “Nothing harmful is in accordance with nature”. After two thousand years this is almost unintelligible.

On Greatness

For a legacy which raises up the world, one requires an honourable death. One must die in subservience to the truthful and the good, and yet be recognised only posthumously. In one’s time one must be disdained, reproached, condemned, exiled, ridiculed; but the decent, honourable direction of one’s life must subsequently come to light. In life one must be enshrouded in mystery; and as fate stands, one must be judged unfairly. One cannot be understood in one’s time. One’s goals must accord, by chance, with those of the future, when one is eventually understood. It is not enough simply to be misunderstood: there must be goodness in understanding, honour in truth, the recognition of dignity in one’s commitment, and correctness in that about which one was honest. One cannot be loved in one’s time, for posthumous love is proportionate to antemortem hate. To die for the sins of man is to be hated. One must draw out poison and shepherd the bleating of hateful lambs. One must become the target; one must will the slings and arrows.

Posthumous writings

“It is mere nonsense, of which nothing can be made: anybody who has written such a thing is dead as a scholar.”

—Hermann Usener

1.

O Academia. Fill the mind with information, distribute it for money, and then die. There is so much seriousness, an air of seriousness in their faces, as though it mattered, as though their ideas were full of life. What? Prithee note propriety: custom is a low-hanging cloud in which thought is dampened. Flee from these corridors, from these bloodless men, from these sanitised sentences, from these sedentary self-enslaved systematisers, from these technological minds. Flee from those who have no playfulness, no need for experimentation in their souls. —Souls: they refuse to speak of illusions, and they will speak neither with excess nor in riddles, as befits the fashion… Well, and so they cannot even speak, not of depths and heights, not of life as it is lived. And how? …How and about what will these clarifiers speak in the future, once they have laid each word upon the block? Present words, so long, adieu. I shed a tear for thee. – ; and each word truly is a present, a gift, an inheritance! O Analytical Men: test yourselves, not words. Wear what you have been given, and show, for the love of God, a little gratefulness. Have I been understood? Have I, what? Blinks, and—oh, it speaks: “Analyse…at all costs! Initiate clarification procedure, purge all contradiction, immanentise the eschaton!” What? God, my ears, my nose! From Christianity to Science: bad air has given way to—detergent!

2.

Inheritance. Have you not learned? Great writings must be lived, and their teachings permit of no excuses. That is to say, they mean exactly what they say—really! How, positively how have you not realised this? All language is inherited and fades like a picture in time. Your words – courage, truth, morality – are hollow, for you have not grown into them, you have not filled your words with memories and experiences. Pardon? Come again? You deserve greatness? Why, because your words are the same as those who came before, because you “understand” what they meant in the past, because you have spent a great time considering their meanings? No, slave. Academia is a prison. Feel the unfreedom, sense it, taste it, smell it—or you will be where you belong.

3.

Fatalism as it is lived. “I suppose there is much wrong with the world, and if I tried to bear it in earnest I would no doubt end up extinguishing myself; but as it stands I am pathetically inclined thus to spill forth in a froth of meandering words the bilious depths of my wretchedness. Pah! As though anything would change. O Fatalism… I can see no other way. This truly is Sisyphean. Well, I suppose that more or less does it. Nothing more to add, simply keep on rolling and falling, struggling and smiling, climbing and climbing, straining and heaving, laughing and wheezing. If I make it through this, I will have made it through the world, I will have surmounted all that can feasibly be surmounted. For straight in my mind are all problems, all of them, every problem in existence readily conceived and anticipated, as though I had swallowed more food than I could digest, whereby the stench and decay began to fester deep within the recesses of my being, poisoning my bloodstream and consigning me to bed. Nothing can motivate me now, for I know always in advance that it will fail. Hopelessness prevails: this truly is true. Am I alone in this? I cannot see a way out, and even the temerity of Quixote or Nietzsche’s free spirited pessimism of strength seem bountifully naïve to me. It will all end the same way. But what does that matter? Words are mere words, and writing is mere therapy. Alas. Oh, alas.” —Nay. There are problems, by all means; but fatalism is your problem, a problem which you bring to the equation. “But why? How can it matter? Your optimism is a lack of understanding.” —Nay again. Not optimism, but acceptance: acceptance that nothing will change, not in the grand scheme of things, but that like actors we can deliver our lines with conviction. “Nay? What, are you a horse? Would that I were an animal, that I could graze with conviction.” —Nay, my sombre nihilist. Not a horse but a man, thus necessitated to think—as are you. “But I know the stage and the script too well! I know that it is a script! How can I act with conviction?” —The same way that any man acts with conviction. In the knowledge that one can act with conviction, that there is a way, that fatalism therefore is not fated.

The Fragility of the World

The world is bare, fragile—this we learn. Nations, cultures, lives: our slabs of stone rest on promises, and promises on sentences. Religious texts, the Holy Scripture: the product of animals. A revelation still, for still God flows with meaningful blood. With ease we could return to beast, and each of us to sameness. With ease we could each lose our breadth, our depth. The world is fragile, values are precious, meaning is frail. Always there will be values, but so it is for trees, which love the rain. Are we not more than trees? Always we will give meaning to the world, but so too does the lamb, for which summer is warm and winter cold. We are animals. But are we not more than lambs? We are at present, for we have through myth ascended, but now our laughter ushers in decline. Laughter at the earnest prophet, the divinely inspired, the banality of Christ, the psychology of the faithful, the convictions of millennia, the promises of words—of animal, all too animal words. Laughter at our ignorance; and thereby we will be found laughing with cattle. On what can any human world be based, if not on ignorance? Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft? How can these stones, these dreams, these worlds, these ideas, these values, these meanings, these beliefs, these practices, these traditions, these cultures, these aspirations—how can our words support them? How can we believe in belief? Is belief not permanently banal, explainable, trivial? Mountains and ravines, dissipating… A return to nature and indifference… One can see the world swept away like dust. Of course, there will always be a trace; there will always be a degree of meaning which distinguishes us from other animals—for we are by nature unnatural (moreso than other animals, but not exclusively): that is to say, we are by nature political, social, linguistic; we are by nature meaning-givers. (All life is by nature unnatural, for the concepts natural and unnatural are mythological.) But the breadth, the depth: this is threatened and is frail. The circumstances of our expansion were fanciful: what heights we reached upon the back of ignorance, what depths upon the tailfin of awe. —Awe at the “mysteries” of the world, at “divinity” and “God”, everywhere “God”. Expansion and contraction are eternal, archetypical, such is their generality. Ours is an age of contraction, decline, rejection, undoing. How to undo our undoing? How to reject our rejection? How to decline our decline? How to preserve, sustain, and protect? How, above all, do we expand? Incipit Zarathustra.

Quixote and Christ

The mindless fool I was. Pup, wain, unreflective—unable to reflect: a pair of eyeballs before which things flurriedly became. I was the storm within the fly, and I am now the fly within the storm: how well I know the wind! We schemers and formulators, anticipators and predictors! Always now the storm has many yesterdays and tomorrows, whereas before it was today and only ever today, only ever now, only ever this instant followed swirlingly by that. I have lived all lives conceivable—that of storm and weatherman; and, oh… Would that I could return myself to wind. Would that I could return to innocence and madness. But this is impossible. Don Quixote here was on the brink, truly: between madness and sanity, embodying both. While he was mad, he was aware—of chivalry and heroism and justice, with surprising wisdom. While he was mad – with chivalry and heroism and justice – he was aware, but not yet aware of his madness. At that moment, upon his deathbed, when he did become aware of his madness… Then the miracle, the gift, the impossibility, the bridge, the leap, the breadth, the transcendence, the immanence: all of this was severed, all of this dissipated. “Awareness of madness, of innocence, of unawareness.” —This is contradiction. Nevertheless, the divine and the profane touched in Don Quixote, and da Vinci’s fresco was completed. Likewise in Christ, in whom were both spirit and flesh. Thus Dostoevsky understands well the two most beautiful figures to have ever lived. In Alonso Quijano all was demystified; and so, too, in a psychology of Christ.