261. Influence (V)
A man enjoys pie and chips with a beer; he celebrates this as a typical British meal. Asinine nihilism: another man comments that beer originates in Iran, pie originates in Greece, and chips in France; therefore, this is no typical British meal—and we can, he thinks, all feel very smug about that. Although not put forward in good faith, the problem here is that the nihilist does not go far enough; for the potato is from South America, presumably a redskin tribe fried a potato long before the French; and the Iranians were probably not the first to ferment grains to make beer. If we carry on in this direction consistently, we must dissolve any particularity entirely; we arrive at the beginning of time, once you break everything down far enough this is the final termination point: it is the true origination for all things. The nothingness at time’s beginning is truly non-discriminatory; it makes no division—non-existence is equitable.
“Truly,” we could insincerely reply to our nihilist, “pie, chips, and beer come from God, from the beginning of time and eternity itself. You’ve reminded us to step over national particularism and praise God for pie, chips, and beer.” His unarticulated reply, underneath the cleverness, would be: “It’s all nothing. It’s just atomic soup when you break it all down.” When he says pie, chips, and beer are not British he really wants to break everything down to that level. “It doesn’t even come from God, mate. It’s nuthin’. It comes from nuthin’.”
God always starts with division—he creates when he divides the Heavens from the Waters—and, indeed, the ancient Greek daimon, our tutelary spirit, derives from “to divide”. To perceive the world—to create—is to divide; and so the nihilist wants to go beyond the divider; he wants to go to pure nothingness, pure death. This is why all liberal and communist movements end in mass death; we are only equal in death, the place where there is no division; and there is only truly no division when everyone is dead—otherwise there is, at minimum, a division between the living and the dead.
The nihilist finds the nothingness unbearable, since it means he is not so special; so anytime he sees another person who enjoys more than “nothing” he must spoil it—joy brings his “nothingness” to consciousness, he must push it away. The liberal nihilist’s political duty: when people think there is more than nothing, they start to make concentration camps, bombs, and so on—and so even to praise pie, chips, and beer as particularly British shows a dangerous tendency. Today you say pie and chips are British, tomorrow you reinstate the transatlantic slave trade; consequently, all particularity must be stamped out. This view, as many have observed, makes no sense: it smuggles values into nihilism; if there is no God and nuthin’ prevails absolutely, then there is nuthin’ wrong with the slave trade and concentration camps.
The asinine nihilist smuggles values back into his belief system—minimum values, we should cause no pain—because he cannot face nothingness; it is more than ressentiment, he really uses morality to conceal death. If he went to face nothingness—if he orientated fully towards death—he would be overawed and he would make a division: himself (alive) and nothingness (death). After he makes this first division, he will make more divisions; perhaps eventually he must concede—whatever the culinary genealogy—that there is a particularly British type of pie, chips, and beer.
Hence the solution to nihilism is to go fully into the nothingness; few do so, they fear that the nothingness will eliminate their ego. To avoid death, they moralise; because, deep down, they think if nothingness prevails then death will end: ironically, in their anxiety to avoid death they support a moralised ideology that must, by its own logic, kill everything. Yet you only kill death if you accept it; if you avoid it, you will cause it.