I seek not to complicate or to over-simplify.
I seek not the average or the prosaic, and I soundly reject all forms of spurious metaphysics, particularly that pertaining to fantasy and mysticism.
I seek not the golden mean or some mythical middle path and I spit out1 “moderation in all things”, the greatest excuse for complacency ever invented.
I seek to put all theories, assumptions, pronouncements, findings, and rules to the test, for surely they are all too readily taken in – into the shallows of untutored minds – without question.
I seek not to eradicate suffering for that would be to destroy too much. Happiness, whatever you contort that to mean, is not my pursuit, but neither is prudence, hard work or perseverance – the virtues of industry and commerce.
Similarly, pleasantness, tolerance, reasonableness and above the “above-the-fray” posture hold no interest for me. Wherever these dispositions are cultivated they are altogether too flimsy, too ephemeral for the great purposes of life. We need a higher degree of intolerance before the great injustices of the world.
The panaceas provided for troubled minds – gods and demons, heavens and hells, sin and redemption, faith and belief, karma, enlightenment, growth, progress or rabid optimism – all may offer temporary relief, but is that enough?
If the relief is sustained, is that of any value?
Theories about how things work today – such as those derived from theology, philosophy, psychology – the absurdities of political cant and make-believe economics or the cosmological musings about multiple dimensions and the multiverses, all provide a great deal of information but far too little clarity and rarely enough context.
Ideologies are formalized accumulations of nonsense and as such are perfectly suited for the world we have fabricated.
The sheer weight and substance of the “way things are” in that world lead us to believe they will always be that way. Better then to turn to inner worlds, whether religiously or secularly constructed. There, anything we want or need to believe can come true as we create a comfortable enough distance from the external.
Oh, I hear the voices rise in disbelief and defiance. Some of the religious terminology that once dominated our thinking has abated but its original intent still lives on. What we once felt to be abomination and apostasy is now couched in terms of pessimism, bad vibes and negativity.
So criticizing the way things are, is to spoil the mood.
Close this book now all ye great escape artists! Read no more of a true account of reality. Shut out all discord as ye always have. Yield not to the prophet or the contrarian.
Or, if you are a little curious, or – God or Devil help you – if you even find these words in the least bit invigorating, read on.
I seek to provoke you. The more you bristle and resist, the better. You will often disagree with me but in engaging with my arguments you will have no choice but challenge your most cherished thoughts and ideals.
I seek to provide another explanation; better put, another perspective, for what we have taken for granted and neglected to challenge or have otherwise accepted in resignation.
This is why the critique of Buddhism is central to this book. It may be the best religion that came out of civilization but too much corresponds too little to the truth these days, especially in its current manifestation as a global cultural phenomenon. Revealing these flaws helps us to understand the larger context of how lost we are our postmodern lives, where everything adds up to nothing.
I have had the great fortune to experience life near the bottom of institutions where low status and inanity blend in effortlessly. This combined with a preternatural sense of curiosity compels to make sense of things without letting up.
But I would have fallen short of a coherent picture if Nietzsche had not trained me to feel, to intuit and to think.
I want to know the real as it can be known and no longer obscured by the inner worlds of our design. I hold that no matter how ever reassuring your retreats and meditations, spiritual experiences, cosmological musings, faith in the market, allegiance to the nation-state, addiction to causes or profoundly-derived principles, the universe as it is will always be superior, and staggeringly so.
When we stop being bored or afraid of reality as it is, we find that we are capable of wondrous and mighty things. We can experience life with our entire being.
And we learn that the world our species has fabricated is but a faint shadow of what it could be. When we really take that in – down to the marrows of our bones — we naturally seek to rectify the problem.
To do this, however, we must learn to uncover the accretions of absurdity that explain and justify our creation, and which has nearly always prevented us from finding out.
Of necessity, these accretions must be rigorously scraped away if we are to obtain a glimpse of what came before and what could come after. This would finally allow us to imagine an effective alternative.
This is what I seek to do here. Destroy everything that hinders our path to wisdom so that we can once again, like children, ask good questions and learn what we really need to know, and do.
I speak not of any profound, majestic or ecstatic vision of the truth that magically restores us to well-being. Rather I speak of the simple truth that is always there, but which can only be wrested free with great effort – from the vast and dark entanglement of lies and confusion that we ourselves have made and accepted.
So, stay with me, chew on my words, if they taste good, then eat and digest them. They may whet your appetite – which, after all, is fundamental to our being – for more.
1 Revelation 3:16-18