Black Period Rite Of Passage

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Being young certainly has its advantages, but sometimes being young has its dark side also. I went through my “black period” a long time ago, but I bring this up because from the number of writers posting under the tag “death” this dark side may be a common “rite of passage” for many writers. The following post is a description of an event that opened for me a door leading into the light (although back then it still seemed pretty dark) and second, it is a post containing my musings concerning the writings of the philosopher, Fredrick Nietzsche, who helped me appreciate both my “black period” and escaping my “black period.” These events took place while I was living on the beach on a south Texas island.

Submitted: August 05, 2009

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Submitted: August 05, 2009

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End Of The World

Nov. 7, ‘70

Three Rivers Junction

 

 

The ride wasn’t boring!  My excitement was not prompted by any extraneous event. Instead, it was the result of a revelatory experience, an eruption of thought. This revelation deeply affected me; it changed my perception of reality. It was not however, the result of an inference or reasoned deduction. It had nothing to do with logic. The revelation was just that, a revelation that popped into my head (it had no voice attached to it). I was absolutely convinced of its authenticity.

 

On that night, it was raining hard enough to make driving difficult. I was doing my best to stay on the highway and still make good time. At 3 am, nothing was unusual. Mike and his chick were in the backseat asleep, and I was thinking normal thoughts (for me at least) like: How can existence be so paradoxical? What makes a person do what he does? Why am I never sure of myself? Then, for no apparent reason, something flashed in my brain. It was like words crossing the bottom of a television screen warning of an impending disaster. In my mind’s eye those words read: Flash…There is no such thing as human nature. Man is capable of anything…Flash…There is no such thing as human nature. Man is capable of anything. I didn’t know why or how the words came to be. I didn’t think them. Nobody spoke them. They just appeared, and reappeared, and reappeared. The question of whether to believe them did not arise. They were true. They are true. Suddenly, everything was so clear, and I couldn’t believe that it took me so long to comprehend such a simple truth. The question, “What is man?” had always perplexed me. I had always thought of him as a greedy, malicious, self-centered, egoist – a Hobbesian puppet, but human motivation isn’t like that. It’s too slippery to mold, box or explain. It can’t be contained in one cracker-jack theory. Where are the absolutes? There aren’t any!  Where are the valid labels? There aren’t any!

 

 I have not fully realized the meaning of this revelation. Perhaps it cannot be realized. Indeed, perhaps it can only be realized when I realize that it will never be realized!  You can’t know part of nothing, yet the affects of this nothing on the norms, mores, and morals are inundating to the point of becoming lethal. When there is nothing to begin with there is no divine law. Where is guilt? Guilt is no more! Show me guilt, and I will show you fabrication, hoax, and myth! I am the originator and terminator of my every action. I am everything and nothing simultaneously. I am all there is, and I only have to look to myself for the answers. I am the bestower of good and the creator of evil, and I am equally capable of both! I am the beginning and the end – of nothing! There isn’t any right or wrong! There is no redeemer or redemption! There are no wrong choices! When you enjoy, dislike, pity, love, and hate, you are doing these things to yourself. You are the center of the universe and the universe doesn’t even exist!

 

The ultimate truth of this revelation, - There is no such thing as human nature. Man is capable of anything-- I am only now beginning to understand. It will take more than my lifetime to fully digest what’s going on here. There are no essences, only annihilations. With this revelation, a feeling of total freedom filled my body, and simultaneously a feeling of rapt unimportance filled my body. After my revelation, I knew I would have to change my priorities; yet, I also knew that it didn’t matter if I changed my priorities!  I knew that from here on out whatever decisions I would make were only accountable to me, while I was meaningless and accountable to nothing. I spent the rest of the ride down to McAllen on this mental merry-go-round. Not at any moment, however, did I feel bored.

 

A little before daybreak, we came to Three Rivers Junction and that’s where I said good-bye to Mike. I slept under a tree and remained sleeping until the sun rose high in the sky. I started hitching back to Padre Island after that, but I was so entrenched in thought from the previous night’s revelation that I totally forgot to get out of the car when it passed by my destination. I had to backtrack fifteen miles. Instead of hitching, however, I walked the beach. There was nothing but seagulls and hermit crabs to keep me company. I needed time to reflect on the meaning of the previous night’s revelation. It was a cold and gloomy day, but I hardly noticed. When I finally arrived back at Bob Hall Pier, the bottoms of my feet were raw.

 

 

As Bad As It Gets, Nietzsche Still Makes Me Smile

Beach Life

Nov. 11, ‘70

 

I’ve really been living a solitary existence; the cold forced everybody off the beach. I ran out of money (except for the $5. stashed away for my 1500 mile trip home). Iva brought out a bag of groceries; I guess she wanted me to stick around. I’m pushing it now, leaving the beach is a certainty; I’m actually looking forward to it. One of the reasons beach life is less satisfying (besides the money) is my memory of Jolynn. I’m convinced I could love her, that is, if I don’t already. This loneliness is a bitch. The weather hasn’t given me any reason to stay either. It’s fifty degrees in the daytime, dropping to freezing at night. The only thing that’s been good for me is Nietzsche. As bad as it gets, after reading him, I can always count on a smile

 

I wouldn’t say that I agree with him on everything, but the more I read, the more I enjoy his style. First, I believe he is saying that a “will to power” drives life. Human nature is simply the use of this power to accomplish goals and satisfy desires. All we are, according to Nietzsche, are creatures of desire and need. We might think we want peace and tranquility. Forget it, it won’t happen. To make matters worse, we are burdened with this constant craving to speculate about “ideal existence,” when in reality we are and will always be simple rule followers. The rules that get followed, however, are only meant to work for some people some of the time. At best, we can look forward to a heard-mentality-existence, and then we die.

 

Its not a pretty picture! Nietzsche counters this vision of reality by saying that if we would just act in accordance with our natural instincts things would be different and better. The problem is that we think we know what motivates us when in reality mental causes do not exist. What’s in our minds, at any given moment, is only a reflection of some previous experience reconstructed. We reason phenomena to fit familiar patterns; patterns that are meant to neutralize fears and anxieties arising from life’s uncertainties. We create “imaginary causes” (Nietzsche’s term) in order to cope with this uncertainty. Religion and morality are prime examples. They are habitual responses to life’s disorder and uncertainty. Guilt, sin, and punishment, along with faith, hope and chastity are all products of our over active imaginations.

 

Only when morality is driven by the “will to power” does it cease being a product of imagination. “Morality,” says Nietzsche, “must be viewed as a means and not an end.” The “will to power, the will to master,” becomes the moral precedent for all morality. In nature there are few masters and even they, in the end, succumb to decay and death. There is only one true master and that master is the “will to power”; it is a moral imperative. Survivors conform and obey, or they cease to exist. There are no exceptions.

 

Traditional moral authority (religious authority) falsely commands against the natural instincts of the “will to power.” Society has misrepresented the moral precedent of obedience (the precedent set by the forces of Nature) by inventing the morality of “Thou shalt not.” Growth is stunted when this false morality is substituted for boldness, independence and freethinking. This false morality condemns free spirits to a life of moderation and mediocrity. By denying the moral precedent of obedience, “Thou shalt morality” becomes a contradiction in terms.  When “Thou shalt morality,” denies fear, (the source of all morality), it denies itself.

 

After demolishing traditional morality, Nietzsche develops his concept of “higher man” and higher morality. Higher morality is realized in the warp and woof of mankind’s unceasing, striving nature. When we learn to inexhaustibly affirm life in the face of adversity, when we learn to shrug off pain and suffering, then we also learn higher morality. In this respect, Nietzsche sets the “selfless man” (the sage who pursues renunciation) on his head.

 

In Nietzsche’s morality there is no protest against life, no purging the self in order to get beyond illusion. In fact, in Nietzsche’s morality, only when one wills (eternally) agony and anguish, is he able to celebrate the masquerade of appearance without the need to get behind it. One cannot have an appetite for life without also having an appetite for suffering, and in Nietzsche’s morality one’s appetite for life feeds off an equal appetite for suffering. Only at this level of affirmation is a person able to unlearn what has been learned, is able to dominate and command, and is able to spontaneously create his own morality, the morality of Nietzsche’s Ubermensch, or “higher man.”

 

 

 


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