I recently saw a movie that touches in a very creative way, upon the greatest cultural disease of our civilization, namely the emasculation of the western man by the egalitarian conformity of postmodern society, which has left him fearful, lazy and entirely mediocre, in a world where nothing is important and everything is fake. A world where Nihilism has corrupted his soul to a point where man cannot identify a clear purpose for his existence, which is an endlessly repeating loop of insignificant events.
Existential nihilism, the believe that there is no objective meaning to existence, has become the dominant pseudo-religion of western civilization ever since the rejection of Christianity. The Zarathustra, the Persian priest-turned-prophet, Zoroaster, who founded the religion of Zoroastrianism, the first monotheistic religion in the world whose precepts would come to influence later faiths, warned the masses about the dangers of nihilism and the disability of values leading to the era of the so-called "last man," a period in which man, stagnates because of his lack of purpose. He therefore turns away from creation towards endless apathy, numbing the chronic meaninglessness of their lives with hedonistic consumption.
As it turns out people due in fact, end up conforming to the mediocrity of their peers, either because they fear the public shaming or are just outright lazy, which applies to most people. This exemplifies the German philosopher Nietzsche's idea of slave morality, which entails a mindset of obedience, conformity and acceptance. The result is postmodern society as we know it, which preaches weakness and pacifism as virtues, and elevates victimhood to sainthood.
The weak despise the strong and therefore, start to attack their achievements with vitriolic slander. The masses eradicate individualism from within and turn western civilization into an egalitarian and declining nightmare found more often than not, in Socialism.
According to Nietzsche, the emergence of existential nihilism coincides with the return of death anxiety. Western man has lost his faith in the afterlife as a positive outlook. The suffering experienced throughout a lifetime is therefore amplified, because there is no heavenly salvation to comfort the pain. Postmodern civilization is mostly concerned with numbing this exact pain. It denies suffering as a critical element of the human experience, demonizes any form of violence and promotes hedonistic escapism.
The desire to build a society that denies the value of pain and suffering, is a deeply utopian one, which leads to the constant expansion of the nanny State. It offers to protect its citizens from pain, while simultaneously providing pleasure and comfort. Nietzsche is disgusted by this idea, as he believes that the State, turns human beings into mere herd animals that live ignorant of their own potential and without purpose. Instead he proposes to face ones own mortality head-on, which is necessary to overcome death anxiety. He rejects the acceptance or conformity with ordinary life that the secular state offers to mankind.
In the movie Fight Club, The struggle with the character Tyler, whose real identity I will not disclose in case you haven't seen the movie, introduces the main character to the idea of embracing pain and suffering, as something that is as much part of the human experience as pleasure and comfort are. In the movie, the self-help groups the main character often visits, only served him to deny the inevitable physical destruction of his human body. Fights, on the other hand, allow him to confront his own impermanence.
Within a few weeks, a Fight Club is founded where men meet to fight on a weekly basis. In the basement of a bar named Loose Tavern, the disaffected men find spiritual salvation and violence, for they rediscover the purpose of masculinity, the evolution of testosterone was not an accident. A man's natural traits are increased strength and aggression. This was essential to protect and provide for one's offspring, a role without which civilization, would have never been possible.
Contemporary society supplants the traditional role of the individual male with the State's funded monopoly on violence. Consequently, it feminizes men by suppressing their biological tendencies. Some men, however, will never be pacified. The truth of the matter is that men, were created to toil and suffer in the struggle of life or death. Men were born to fight and therefore, men were born to destroy and create. Creation, however, is not a passive process as it requires the input of force. Nietzsche once formulated [that] every creation requires some form of destruction.
Nietzsche's Übermensch (higher-man) is aware that his life will end in annihilation. So he overcomes the plain will to live and rather embraces the will to power. He shapes his environment through force to create something that will outlast his short existence. But in order to do that, he has to accept enduring pain, suffering and destruction as part of the process.
In the end, the frustrated and subdued last men discover two truths in Fight Club. The first is that they have to confront hardship to truly accept the inevitability of death. The second is that they have to destroy their postmodern self-conception before overcoming their emasculation to create something new. They come to understand that the new will only emerge from the funeral pyre of the old as the Phoenix rises from it's own ashes.
Nietzsche himself believed, that the highest must come to their height out of the deepest depth, meaning that man has to hit bottom to truly grasp the finiteness of his own existence. Only then can he positively embrace his short life and evolve into the Übermensch, who creates his own purpose and takes action to fulfill it.
What the atheist Nietzsche accurately concludes is that the decline of christianity in Western civilization, inevitably led to the emergence of egalitarian mass movements throughout the western world. When Nietzsche, a few decades later, writes that God is dead, he means that Europeans are ceasing to believe that God exists, because the Enlightenment Age had “killed” the possibility of belief in God.
Contrary to popular opinion, Nietzsche was greatly disturbed by his loss of belief in God. "This death of God will lead," Nietzsche said, "not only to the rejection of a cosmic order, but also to doubts concerning whether anything has value. If we were created by God for some purpose," Nietzsche assumes, "the meaning of our life would be given by the goal that God gave to us. But now we are losing our belief in God," in what Nietzsche calls a moral world order.
Nietzsche saw the dogma of fundamental equality as a poison for mankind, because it is used by the mediocre mass to enforce slave morality. He despised both socialism and liberal democracy as unnatural ideologies that will lead to the dominance of the nihilistic herd of the western world until the end of the 21st century.
In Nietzsche's book God is Dead, the prophet Zarathustra, ultimately comes to the conclusion that the masses are unwilling to accept the significance of the Übermensch as the antithesis to the degenerate Untermensch (low man) for the sake of civilizational survival. Instead, he assembles a group of higher men in whom he sees the potential for greatness and a willingness to transcend the egalitarian grip of the herd.
All in all, Fight Club is not a simple story, but it is relatable to many men of our generation. It reflects Nietzsche's belief that western civilization had and still is, descending into perpetual mediocrity ever since the self-destruction of traditional christian values. Western men are suffering from a disease, that can only be described as emasculation resulting from militant feminism, existential nihilism, equality and equity activism.
Modern man, instead of heroically facing the inevitability of their physical annihilation, seek refuge in meaningless risk-free activities such as hedonism, consumerism and self-improvement. The resulting postmodern society is one, that is defined by lazy fearful and impotent "Untermensch" types that drag each other down under the pretense of equality.
Man was born a predator, a fighter, a killer. Not a caged and castrated pacifist. After all who is more virtuous? The conforming weakling who won't hurt a fly? Or the monster who voluntarily restrains his predatory impulses and instead takes risks to create? A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man in that he, has his violent impulses under voluntary control.
Fight Club depicts the spiritual path of one such man attempting to step out of his metaphysical impotence and ultimately the system itself, by embracing pain and suffering courageously. Only once he has sacrificed his psychological self-conception, can he regain his masculinity and win the freedom to destroy the old mediocrity and create a meaningful existence.
Inspired by Panzerknacker