"Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up th' access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th' effect and it."
"Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry "Hold, hold!"
Macbeth (Lady Macbeth)
There is a plague of nihilism throughout civilization just as Nietzsche predicted there would be. You cannot escape it with any of the means the civilization offers because they are all contaminated by this sickness that reaches right down into your dreams. Where then can we go for help but down deeper than dreams.
It is a touch of Shakespeare's genius that Lady Macbeth is a sleepwalker. Sleepwalking is, par excellence, the image of divided identity.
Before darkly blossoming into a sleepwalker, she asks the spirits and the night to assist her in her intent to be free from conscience and remorse before, during, and after the murder she intends. She is asking that they "unsex" her and assist her transformation and thickening into something impervious to any compunction that her feminine "nature" might be vulnerable to. But she is not just asking and intending to become more 'masculine' than any man, rather she is asking and intending to become totally free from the whole dualistic realm of such ethical and identity considerations. And it has become a convention to see her bloody-handed sleepwalk as evidence of the power of conscience to pierce through its dark denial, but I think this narrowly moralistic view misses something crucial in Shakespeare's vision. There is no necessary reason to assume that Lady Macbeth is trying to repent against her own will with sleepwalking as the effect of this. Whether there is any repentance remains an unknown buried in the depths of her private darkness. What is certain is that Lady Macbeth is a divided reality that a desperate will to power cannot unify or make coherent. She sleepwalks because she is more than one identity, not necessarily ethically, but structurally, in her very make-up. She is an incoherent creature because the various opposing elements in her do not add up to a unified whole in her consciousness. It is this condition she wants to escape. It's not that she wants to be evil for its own sake, she is not a mere Sadist, but rather she wants to be so filled with evil that evil (or good) no longer has any meaning in her condition of unrestricted power. She wants to completely escape the divisions of the mortal condition and its apparent powerlessness. And I want to follow her down to this level beyond ethical considerations, down to the dim edges and roots of consciousness itself, down to the very structure of her human being.
The simplistic idea that allowing herself to have a conscience would rid her of this incoherence does not address the fact of the world around her. She knows that she is surrounded by creatures that have a conscience and pious beliefs and that this quality does not free them the torturing cage of incoherent mortality. Lady Macbeth is not an incoherent creature in a world of coherent creatures. (The oligarch nihilists are not invading aliens as some people would claim - they are human beings.) She is an intense (stretched) incoherent creature in a world of incoherent creatures not so tightly drawn as she. And it must also be understood that she sees herself as a superior creature with the evidence of this superiority being precisely her intensity as opposed to the slow loose mediocrity of most of the creatures around her. (If one of these common creatures upbraided her with such a self-affirming reprimand as, "I would never dare tread the dark unholy paths you have ventured onto!" The Lady would respond, "You? You, thick simple slug, would never dare anything!") The madness that crushes Lady Macbeth in the end is not a realization of ethical reality, but rather simply the effect of her burned-out inability to make herself coherent, free from division, by the pursuit of power. The intensity of her pursuit intensifies the very reality she cannot escape. Reality prevails and the basic human incoherence, that is, the divisions in human identity that I referred to in Part One, remain unaltered. Macbeth and his Lady remain nihilistic suicides in the end, more than willing to take down the world with them. So we need to go back and look more deeply at this incoherence of congenital human identity before we can meaningfully address the subject of standing up to oligarchic Macbeth madness in our present world. I mean: what is it we are standing up to and is it to be found only in the oligarchs? Or are they just what we might have been and could still become?
I am one of those peculiar people who have an entire articulated, worked-out 'philosophy' of reality. Most of my 'thoughts' move in the same self-enforcing though open-ended philosophical framework. I don't follow any historically established religion or philosophy because I have one of my own which I consider to be on par with any in history. It is a very far-reaching philosophy that has taken a life-time to form. This philosophy is not made up of beliefs. It was born mostly of experience in what would by many people be called 'altered-states' (I am not a drug user). This philosophy is made of recorded experiences. I am not asking the reader to attribute any positive or negative value to any of this, but only making it known because I sometimes make what appear to be 'bold' leaps in my expressed thought without always clearly tracing the intervening steps that justify that leap. But to me those steps are always there in plain view because I have been over them countless times. I know them in my sleep. I understand that this is not true for the reader and this is why I need to make this statement and why I am willing to discuss things at length. So let me make a few important things clear before proceeding into the subject of this article.
I am 'well-educated' in the areas of world religion and philosophy. I once taught the history of religion at a small seminary. I am also 'well-educated' in art history including literature. I am a musician, a writer, and a painter. I have traveled around the world and have known (worked with) a number of 'rich' and a few 'wealthy' (oligarchic) people though I have lived most of my own adult life on the edge of poverty. I have lived with dirt-poor curanderos in the Sonora desert. I have in my adult life twice been on the very edge of death because of serious illness. I have no doubt that there is non-material reality as well as material reality. The non-material reality that I know (which I usually refer to as psychic reality, and others refer to as spiritual reality) did not create material reality; it does not precede material reality; and it is not superior to material reality. It is simply the opposite-equal of material reality. Non-material (psychic) reality is a living but non-conscious reality. Just as material reality is living and non-conscious. Consciousness is something different. It is not brain activity nor is it disembodied spirit. It is the result of the fusion of non-conscious material and non-conscious non-material (psychic) reality. Consciousness is not the same as material or psychic reality, but it cannot exist without them. It is the fusion of these opposites. All reality is made of opposites. And all opposites are moving toward fusion and some form of consciousness. We are approaching a time of archetypal opposites fusing and it will be 'apocalyptic'. There is nothing mumbo-jumbo or confused about any of this. It is all quite clear and I can articulate it to anyone who is interested. Now I return to the subject at hand.
What are we and what can we be? The problem isn't one simply of what to do in the world. We are limited in what we do by what we are. Something that needs to be done might not even seriously occur to us precisely because of what we are. I don't need to ask people outright to know that there are many well-intentioned people in the world who secretly or openly fear that there is really nothing we can do at this point to prevent global catastrophes brought on by oligarchic agendas. This view is arrived at by a process of thought and emotion rooted in accumulated experience that has a definite working idea or picture of what human beings are and what they are not and what is therefore possible to do and what is not possible. These people simply can't imagine anything that can be done by humans as they are to prevent catastrophe. And they can't stand lying to themselves about it. They honestly feel that despair is the most genuine posture they can assume, however terrible that is. I can easily sympathize with this. I know they really believe it. But in addressing this fully we must hold on tightly to the crucial distinction between what we believe and what we are. It is precisely what we believe, even when the belief is 'positive', that keeps us from knowing what we are. To believe that you can stand on the moon and to stand on the moon are qualitatively different things. To believe that you can raise someone from the dead and to raise someone from the dead are qualitatively different things. To believe that science can understand everything and science understanding everything are qualitatively different things. To talk positively about becoming something in the fire of reality and becoming something in the fire of reality are qualitatively different things. Beliefs are something that stands between you and reality even if the beliefs appear to be in accord with reality. To overcome the nihilism of the oligarchs, what we need is not beliefs contrary to theirs, but contrary realities. We need to become something different from what they are. And that doesn't mean that we really believe it. It's not a matter of what we believe. It's a matter of what we are.
People form beliefs to numb the pain of being born an incoherent creature. In this way, the pursuit of beliefs and using beliefs to form a self-image is the same as the oligarch's pursuit of power. It is an addiction pursuit of the evasion of reality. There are no beliefs that will save one from the nihilism of the oligarchs. This is because under the beliefs one is the same frightened and incoherent creature that the oligarch is. And the oligarch knows this. The oligarch knows that beliefs have no power over reality and are therefore not a threat to the oligarch's power. The oligarch doesn't care what you believe. The difference between the oligarch and others is that the oligarch has taken power addiction to the point of psychopathy while others addiction to 'good' beliefs remains merely 'neurotic', that is, in conflict with reality on a much less intense level. This difference is why the oligarch will always know how to outmaneuver and control others. He/She is deeper into and better at the game of desperate addiction than others are. Way better. So we have to go back to our original reality of congenital incoherence and explore the reality of it rather than covering it with beliefs. The society we live in, in fact this entire world civilization, was primarily constructed by power addiction that is at bottom suicidal nihilism. We have to build a different civilization and we can't do that unless we are different from the builders of this civilization in ways that go deeper than mere difference of beliefs. So now we get down to it: How do we actually become something different that can escape the tyranny of oligarchic nihilism?