Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Pleasures of Misanthropy

"...for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool."

- Francis Bacon

I'll play the Morning Star and offer the opposite: posit it, in fact, as another truism to revolve around Bacon's position, as a dark twin, a double sun - or, as I like to think of it, the one basic, true, never-failing tenet of modern existence - if not all existence, for all time. Why not? If one is going to rise to the occasion and spread eternal verities across the table - eternal so as to not collapse in the weaks hands of posterity, carried along by supreme confidence if nothing else - then phrases like 'all time' and 'all existence' are called for: they are the buttresses of monism, and all other single notion determined philosophies. But all disclaimers aside (it is a bad habit of mine, and shows a lack of self-confidence or, rather, that modern curse: self-awareness) what I am offering here is a total, all-embracing view of my emotionally charged sometime-philosophy of life: utter all-embracing hatred, for any and all human beings.

If a general philanthropy is the sign of a love and earnest desire for the particular without, at the present time, an object, abstracted outward to apply to the masses instead of a single person - as a sort of misplaced love, then I also believe misanthropy - the true opposite of philanthropy, taken with its ancient meaning: not only hating mankind in general, but striving to cause the masses (the external) harm instead of good - is a misplaced hate, slipping from its pursuit of a single object or person into a general condemnation of all. It is a trite cliche that all misanthropists are wounded lovers - that at some point in the past they were disappointed on a personal scale, and being unable to revenge themselves on a single object within their own lives or spheres of immediate influence, they have cast their malignity wholesale, across the face of the entire species. It is instructive to notice how our closest relationships often form the pattern of our relation to the world at large. But these cliches aside, I also believe misanthropy is not just the bleeding of a series of wounds, but also a survival mechanism, as I have said in an earlier essay. When the world has become a reaping machine and nothing else - a cultural, spiritual graveyard - it is natural to hate it with a passion: to hate it because that anger and ill will protects one from the effects of a twisted, ever-degrading 'worldliness'. The difference here between misanthropy and Christianity is that one bases its degradation of humanity on the belief that humans are corrupt by nature, the former on the idea that humans are corrupt by personal choice. One almost always hates what turns the tables of power - what places one's life, sense of purpose, spiritual strivings, attempts at emotion, history, etc. at naught and places the mark of the cipher (the nonentity) upon our heads. I think it's perfectly natural - admirable, even - to hate the world as it is now, and everything (or everyone) in it. What is the world worth as it stands now? What have humans done to existence? And I state, further, that because the world as it exists now is the result of the beliefs and values of the majority of the human race - their petty thoughts, their useless loves and lies - because the world as it is now exists in their minds and receives its harm from that source it is quite natural to hate the human race as well...not only to hate it passionately, but to wish its eventual disgrace, downfall, and death.

But this is just a surface value - ephemera - after all. We, as a weak and corrupt species, can not survive the maintenance of a long-held belief or lasting emotion for very long, can we? Hatred, so bracing, victorious, and empowering, ultimately corrodes us from the inside out, like any other strong poison - love, for instance. I say: treat it as you would any other fermented, prepared tonic: sip it slowly, savor it like a fine wine...and then toss it aside when it no longer complements the internal. One of the first lessons of misanthropy is that humanity is not even worth the hatred it inspires.

But I believe the word 'misanthropy' has lost all of its former value. Like any other term that slips into common usage, it gradually loses all color, strength, and meaning; and like a miracle cure or strong tonic, once it has been handled, swallowed, guzzled, digested, and spat out again by system upon system, mind upon vacillating mind, touched in turn by all the hands that are seeking 'salvation', its blanched skeleton arrives at a place reserved for all terms of the common parlance and 'vulgar tongue': it is spoken to drown out the sound of silence. Slipping the lips and mouth around its breath carries one, once again, that far in a removal from thoughts of suicide. And how close are the majority to suicide? About as close as they are to killing each other, which they do almost painlessly...without a second thought. The only upholders of the instinct for self-preservation now, I believe, are the multitude of fears that plague us regarding our bodies, what we leave behind, the thoughts of our 'friends' or 'family', the disgrace our corpses would encounter - in other word(s), vanity.

But this is beside the point.

As social beings, we are usually/overtly taught from birth to reserve love, as a special antidote, and to respect its proceedings. This is the party platform of humanity - what we tell ourselves. Hatred is to be left on the side, ready to be summoned at the bidding of our masters to power the practical consequences of their own passions - greed, conquest, revenge, etc. In this age, in the last century, we have watched hatred unleashed on a grand scale, with predictable results - when hatred is fed continuously, sponsored as a grand modus vivendi, as a philosophy even, the result isn't difficult to predict. As hatred is a corrosive - the urge for destruction and death, an abstracted and mass-multiplied passion, when it is manifested on a universal scale it calls for our own suicide. This is the logical end of destructiveness: ultimately it loses its focus on the external and turns inward. Maddened by one grand passion, we lose our reason - as it is with any other emotion: love, envy, etc. Because hatred is treated this way - almost as something to be ashamed of, as something that we can not control, that we don't have the right to control, as the pure basis of all madness - we fear it as we dread anything we have been told is beyond our grasp or understanding. This is just another illusion. To reclaim one's own reserve of hatred, to draw it in, remove it from the spheres of nationalism, political movements, biases, irrational prejudices - to seize control of our own hatred once again, make it personal, learn its ways and methods, focus it on a direct object instead of unleashing it at the beckon of mass movements or 'social' directives...this is a worthy goal. This is a step towards the maturation of personality...

To hate when one should love is just as useless and ultimately pathetic as loving when one should legitimately hate. And even though I believe the occasions/scenarios/events that call for love are rarer than any other emotional situation - the rarest of all minutes in the life of a man - and that the reserve/faculty of love is completely debased and misunderstood at this point in time...I don't hesitate to assume or sponsor its legitimacy. Hatred is the common emotion of mankind, however...to watch/look at our world and its ways and to somehow see love in its proceedings is, of course, just the expression of a Christian nihilism that inverts all values insanely...no, hatred is our native emotion, our overruling drive, the energy that promotes action, and it is the one basic and natural standpoint of humanity...even though we are removed from its understanding, told by the Christian/Suicidal masters to fear it, when it rises within us we feel like Lords of the Earth, as we should...there are few life-affirming emotions like the experience of a burning hatred for a direct, defineable, reachable target or object. Action is prompted, and in the carrying-out or procession of those actions - whether they be destructive or suicidal or homicidal - we feel stronger (and more at peace - an interesting paradox, in a calm at the center of a hurricane) and more legitimate than at any other time. Why? Because destruction is its own end and means, its own justification and philosophy, its own judge and jury...whereas in love we lose our reason in the quandaries of personal relations and the rules of attraction/repulsion which we can never completely track or learn the methodology of, under the yoke of hatred we know our goal, our instincts are pure and feel strong under our hands, and we proceed to action and an end without doubt...if only for a few minutes. This event - feeling all doubt and questioning and confusion melt away - is what I believe prompts the repetition of hatred and its corresponding behavior...because men, at the center of this self and life-affirming series of actions, and beneath the mastering passion of hatred, which braces and holds up the mortal frame as no other emotion can, is for a time at the center of the universe (he has an identity) - exactly where he wants to be. Hatred, as a religion, is temporary - as it brings about our own destruction eventually - but when viewed in time, as it proceeds, for a space and short sequence of moments or days, it becomes one of the most beautiful capabilities/reserves/functions of our nature. The paradox that breeds in its heart - that it is beautiful, life-affirming, pleasing, cheering, warming, etc. yet at the same time suicidal and ultimately completely self-destructive - is really just another expression and avatar or manifestation of the nature of reality and our own lives: what is most cheering or bracing is the most temporary, and happiness is as fleeting as any other emotion or passion.

One of the more pathetic ideas abroad in our present culture is that happiness is somehow a permanent state, one that can be reached in this lifetime through technological/social progress, and that a 'permanent' happiness is what one should seek throughout one's life. This illusion is one of the most nihilistic and self-destructive ideas ever stumbled across, I believe....look around you and examine the result of this philosophy. Men, living always for tomorrow, waste their entire lives building a stockpile of future happiness, only to discover at the end of their immense labors that what makes them happy is feeling the rushing of time, as the eternally young - always living in the present - and that they have dreamed for years with their eyes on the future, and while asleep like this their single life - the only time they will ever have - has been stolen from them...or that they gave it away for a future that would never come...

"Hell is...other people..."

- Sartre, in No Exit

Besides, this widespread and generally-sponsored idea gives the lie rather easily to Christians and their empty, useless ponderings on the nature of reality or life and death. They speak of Heaven, but none of them live as if they were quite convinced it exists...one has to laugh at their childishness, their meaningless hypocrisy. Caught between a deathwish, a longing for extinction and the afterlife, and their natural inclinations towards reality and this life, they flounder in a sea of guilt and doubt, unsure of where to go or how to proceed...hating their own instincts, terrified of a death that they also long for - fleeing the confusion of life into the comforting embrace of extinction and/or unconsciousness, they seem to want to destroy this world (to push it slowly out of reality and existence into the shadow world of dreams/nightmares/wholesale destruction) in order to make their own deaths and the afterlife somehow seem more real...

But this is an oversimplification.

Because pity has been made the supposed modus operandi of all our actions - the ruling passion that seemingly guides our lives, our futures, and all our motives - we are left helpless, powerless in the face of universal proceedings. Pity, abstracted and applied to the entire human race, is useless - as is hatred or love or any other emotion. Pity, which is only the mourning we feel for those struck down by the universe, which we are always at war with, only has meaning and value when it sponsors action that removes its source - that is, when we help those who are close to us, the only other humans that somehow matter in our lives: our friends, our family, those within our sphere of influence. Much like hatred, it has to be applied to a direct object or it is meaningless...the 'feeling' of universal pity, of a pity that can be applied wholesale, on a grand scale, is an illusion, and in Christian history there was only one man who could even attempt it: Jesus, who was the son of a god, and half illusion himself. Most Christians completely misunderstand the meaning behind the crucifixion, and in seeking to apply a universal pity throughout their lives render themselves utterly useless...corpses without a soul, the walking dead...

This is easily seen in the lives of Christians: professing a universal regard for humanity, or a pity applied wholesale, their own lives are nightmares of dysfunction...with their eyes on illusions, reality degrades them immeasurably, as they are helpless when confronted by their own existence...they are caught in a vicious circle: because life is not worth living to them, they slip into dreams, which make their lives even worse. Every time they look up from contemplating the Word of God, their own lives are defiled further because of their inattention and nihilistic concentration on degrading existence to match their corrupted inner world. The result can only be despair, which Christianity understands and manipulates expertly.

Universal pity is also destructive in another fashion, and this is at the root of the nihilism present in the 'healthiest' functions of society and our culture: because pity assumes, from the start, that humans are somehow naturally 'handicapped' or 'universally weak' and can not measure up to the challenge of living in reality, it degrades our own ideas of our value. Convinced that life is not worth living - that it brings only pain - and that the 'afterlife' is somehow going to be far more valuable (even while really not believing this - most people are caught in bad faith, between two worlds, and can not decide what to believe), we give ourselves free license to indulge our worst propensities and the most corrupt faculties of behavior. Why not? If we are weak, should we be surprised at the horrors that we bring about? Does it surprise anyone that the phrase 'human nature' is now synonymous with corruption, degradation, self-destructiveness, sickness, decadence, and suicide? Isn't it a matter of habit to explain tragedy (read: stupidity) by saying 'he/she's only human after all'? When did being human become a handicap?

It is because life has been 'handicapped' in this way - because we are taught such things from birth, chained and shackled and enslaved in our consciences and consciousness - it is because of this that I embrace misanthropy...is it not natural to hate one's oppressors? To hate those who make life unbearable? Those who, because they are helpless and confused and in despair, cast a shadow over the world? Those who degrade life in order to render themselves in a higher position by comparison? Is it not natural to hate, with a passion, those who render my life not worth living, in its extreme moments of anger and hatred? Those who have given me the gift of hatred, but not supplied me with an object - and then who seek to destroy me when I naturally find an object of my own? Is it not natural to try to destroy those who are trying to destroy me?

And because I feel misanthropy is basically a useless passion (as a general, wholesale-applied emotion), I wholeheartedly urge its application to direct objects. Misanthropy, as a watered-down, meaningless version of hatred, must be drawn into the soul again, concentrated, felt, and pressed to energize destructive action. Instead of hating all humanity, extracting an abstract from the particulars I have come across, I must concentrate that abstraction once again into a powerful form of hatred, and supply it with an object. Thus hatred becomes the inspiration of further creation, even as it destroys a past/obsolete order or object. This is the only way to achieve peace after the war of constant hatred - find an object in one's own life, within one's power to bring about change, and effectively work to either destroy that object of existence, whatever it may be (a rule, law, institution, idea, individual, group, etc.) and create a new order...

An object, or a single...person...

U. Amtey
29 November 2000