Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Fatalist and the Master

Any and all action begins with this - "What is the way through?"

For the fatalist, there is no "through." What is, is only what is. And our part in what is, is simply what was. The now is bound to the past. And the future is bound to the now, which is bound to the past. The fatalist surrenders both the now and the future to the past; regret and scorn are the coins of his realm. His life becomes a grand ritualistic indulgence; a sacrifice of all that could be on the altar of all that could have been. There is no light here, save the perpetually dimming silhouette of his own.

He is at once a slave to the world and dead to it. He can no longer see with eyes of his own. For him, all possibility is forfeit. A troubadour of his own trappings, he has joined the ranks of the greatest death-cult. Happiness has been stripped from the seeds of his own existence. Only a husk of a man is left - trying desperately to hold itself together. His sign is that of the martyr.

"Why?" asks the master. "What you've inflicted upon yourself, you've inflicted upon all those around you. What you offer is a disease - denial and sorrow. We want no part in that world, as you clearly have wanted no part in ours. There is death in all that you worship. And so, you are fated."

"Through" pervades the world of the master. His world is unbounded. It is open. What was is what was. He no longer has a part in that. The future is bound to the now, and we are creatures of the now. We live. We breathe. We are embodied intellect. The extent to which the master surrenders is simply the extent to which the world is out of his control...he offers nothing more. Life is the envy of the dead. And death deserves our scorn.

His sigil is the sword. He has made his life into a blade - cutting through death at every turn. All that is banal in his world is the choice that diminishes life. It's on display in every decision he makes. The path of his life is a trek from shadow to light. He embraces life in spite his misfortunes. In spite of his mistakes. In spite of the moment he refuses to let pass by. He drinks from its chalice, and does not let regret, anger, or self-pity bend his destiny.

Strength. Love. Reason. These are the virtues of the master. And they are the source of his antipathy towards the fatalist. What are these things to one who chooses to reject life? The fatalist has no use for virtue, just as the master has no use for the fatalist. The master loves the world because he loves his own life. He wants to learn. He wants to love. He wants to grow. The fatalist hates the world because he hates his own life. He learns nothing. He loves nothing. He prays to death.

There is no reconciliation between these men and their positions. They share no goals, no loves, no bond. They are tethered only by their mutual perplexity of one another. The master extends his hand, hoping to pull those around him from the clutches of fatalism, and onto the path of life. The fatalist reciprocates; either to pull himself up as a master, or to pull those that would help him into the dirt. Regretfully, it is almost always the latter; a fait accompli.

Life is full of beauty, wonder, and tragedy. We choose what we make of each piece. We choose, namely, between strength and resignation. And what good reason could there be for us to ever choose resignation? Perhaps, for some, there is comfort or self-pity in taking that path. But, here, the master must part ways with the fatalist. The master sees no value in such things if they have not been earned - if they aren't the rewards of his own tireless efforts. When death comes for the master, he'll have no need for self-pity. And comfort will come from his knowing that he was in love with life, and did not let it go to waste. This is what it is to "live and let live", to master your own life, and to reject death. The way through is, always, to become who you are. Learn, love, and grow. Become the master.

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