Nick’s Notes: This short essay was originally published in the Early Summer 2015 version of My Own.
My Own: Self-Ownership and Self-Creation against all Authority is an egoist pamphlet published by Apio Ludd.
I’ve republished this with Apio’s permission.
“Please support Apio by sending “…cash, stamps, love letters, hate mail, etc. to Intellectual Vagabond Editions P.O. Box 34 Williams, OR 97544 USA”)
My mind has been racing with thoughts tonight, and I hope to catch a few within a net of words – first of all for myself, to wrestle further with the ideas – and secondly for you, because I think (despite the limits of words), you may appreciate them. Sadly, not knowing where you are, I am capturing what I can of these ideas on this contemptible machine.
I was playing with an Italian translation of the words of a beautiful man (his photo – from the late 19th century – on the back of a book made me smile and dream of kissing his point beard and waxed mustache) and drinking nectar brewed from grains and hopes… Then a dance began in my brain …
I realized that if we are pessimistic (and nearly all anarchists I know -except the few who are delusionally optimistic – are, even if they try to hide it behind some quasi-deterministic “vision” of the future), it is because we are still too much of this social world, this “reality” we claim to hate. This “reality” is one in which our dreams are always in the future, always yet to come, something for which we must strive. The very talk of ends and means – discussed in oh so many ways within our milieus – itself reflects this… It assumes a future towards which we strive. And inevitably, in times like these, if you are not delusional (regardless of your political or anti-political views), it is nearly impossible to not be a pessimist. But what if anarchy, rather than being an end for which to strive, is a way to confront the world? What if insurrection and revolution are not means to achieve an end, but ways of living in the world? What if utopia is not a destiny, but an endless journey elsewhere for the immediate joy of it, an endless stretching beyond (the “no place” where you endlessly explore and experiment, not the “good place” where you settle, plant roots and vegetate)? This is the difference between Nietzsche and Hegel (and so also Marx). Hegel’s dialectic was a journey down a single path toward a specific end. Nietzsche’s “stretching beyond” (? – there is no precise English translation) has no end; it is an intense urge to encompass all that is possible and more – now, immediately. In this there is no place for either hope or despair, optimism, simply the joy of the immediate challenge and conflict.
My thoughts are dissipating but that isn’t important. I have dreams of the world I would like to live in, but they are constantly changing – unique in their place and time, like the one who dreams them… And they are of less important than my immediate confrontation with the world. They simply provide it with energy.
Pessimism, like optimism, eats away at creative imagination. I refuse them both.