Sunday, December 13, 2015

Birth of the Iconoclast

Of what are the greatest of those among us made? What allows us to express our truest nature; to reach into our greatest potential. Nietzsche says that what makes man great is that he is a bridge - that he is always a way to something. Pointed. Moving. Longing. Man is a process of becoming; of molding and transcending the self. The greatest of men stretch themselves across the great abyss of life, and become lovers of their fate.

But, to do this requires a great sacrifice. To become something new, we must always leave something behind - for that is just what it means to become something new. To become great, we must make the greatest sacrifice. We must dare to tear down all we are, and all we believe ourselves to be, to build a path to our better selves.

"You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame; how could you arise anew if you have not first become ashes?" - Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

No one and no thing is beyond reproach in this way. Rebirth is a baptism of fire, and all that cannot withstand its flames must burn and crumble. Great men are brothers in the flame. Survivors. The greatest thinkers, warriors, artists - they've all endured this flame. They've taken it upon themselves to destroy something once held sacred, and gave birth to something new in its place.

This is the bridge. To create is to destroy. If we wish to be more than we are; if we wish to be truly fulfilled - we must be prepared to engage in this kind of undertaking. We must confront our darkest fears, question our most sacred truths, and meet our trepidations headlong.

When we fail to do so, we commit the gravest of sins. Without movement, without rebirth, we stagnate. We die long before our bodies give way to our earthly mortality. We slip the bonds of a truly engaged life, in exchange for comfort. And, worse, we all know too well, upon the most superficial of reflections, exactly how empty that comfort is. We feel the striving for something more deep within our souls. And, yet, every day most of us fail to heed its call.

Why do we do this to ourselves; live these vacant, self-lacerating lives? We all feel its emptiness. We all know we want so much more. But, still, most of us, instead, slip into a slow convergence with complacence. We lose the curiosity and vitae of our childhood. Our dreams slowly lose their luster, and become buried beneath the sands of time. We settle, like bones in a coffin.

All in the name of comfort.

When we abandon our quest for that comfort, that is when we begin to awake from the dream that is the life of complacency. We must pull ourselves from the lull of cold comfort and easy resignation. If we want to truly live, we must do it deeply. Our lives must become overwhelming, and uncompromising. We must breathe in the world, and no longer ignore the cries in our hearts shouting, "More!".

Life, if it is to be worth anything at all, must be fought for at every turn. To become who we truly are, to be truly and deeply fulfilled, we must destroy the barriers to life. Some of these barriers have been erected by others, and many we have created within our own minds and hearts. But they must come down all the same. To destroy is to change. To change is to create. To create is to live. So stop, at once, the denial of the will to live. Instead, destroy what you once were, and become who you are.

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