The Cowardice of Optimism

Written for Operation Werewolf by Craig Williams

What if I told you there was no hope, no solution? Would you continue to move forward? Would you continue to give life your all?  The modern world and the machinations of commercialism have trained the mind to expect something, to feel “entitled”, to repeat over and over “what’s in it for ME?” Regardless of what the advertising gods or Men’s Health magazines sell you, you are guaranteed NOTHING. The media-mind tells the exact opposite: everyone deserves everything. Life is marketed and sold as an accountant’s notebook taking inventory of what life is rewarding for all of your hard work; if something or someone is not returning a profit, it’s worthless and must be eliminated and replaced by a more profitable source.  This addiction to results and optimism based upon reward is rampant in the modern era and infects all aspects of life: friendship, spirituality, and physical training to name just a few areas wherein this commodification of life is reflected.

We can see this infection incubating in the environment of friendship. Individuals seek a profit from others, “what can they offer me?” or “if I do this, then they must do this”. We are trained to see friendship on a profit scale. Friendship is treated as a commodity and individuals are discarded if they do not return a profit or “entertain.” Is it any wonder why so few individuals today have true brotherhood? For the mature individual truly seeking to grow, the realm of friendship should be a sanctuary from the infections of the modern world. Ideally what we truly “gain” from the environment of brotherhood is presence, the resonance of another individual walking the path of life. This is not a profit or a gain, rather a rare experience of the Numinous manifesting in the flesh! If you seek true brotherhood and friendship, stop expecting to receive some type of payment from the people in your life. Rather seek to find individuals whose life expression or Elan Vital radiates into your own life expression and the harmonic resonance of this rare experience infuses the flesh and blood with a rare glimpse of the Cosmic Eternity. This reflection of presence can occur due to the environment of two individuals walking the path of life with passion, courage and fearlessness. These qualities become beacons of light in a dark world signaling to others on this unending path to connect and share experiences, the exact opposite of the modern commercial friendship based on gain and profit. Contemplate on this idea and watch your relationships shift and transform, some dying and some growing deeper, some revealing a new unseen depth.

The infection of profit also insidiously seeps into the realm of spirituality reflected in the expectation of results. The realm of the Gods becomes transformed into an ersatz marketplace which must “provide for us.” We can clearly see this disgusting expression with individuals obsessed with “prosperity rituals” and magic spells for money treating the Cosmic Mystery as a bank ignoring the fact that their lack is a result of their own ignorance and sloth. This is also reflected in the modern occult marketplace where “magical grimoires” are bought and sold to the highest bidder in an embarrassing game of spiritual materialism coated with the veneer of elite esoteric impotence. Our relationship to the Numinous is much like our relationship to our true brothers: we seek a shared experience or presence not a profit. The meaning of ritual is the literal creation of a sacred space and a sacred time outside of modernity; a shared experience of something beyond the modern world and modern conception of profit / loss economics. We must protect the environment of our spiritual praxis just as we protect the environment of our true friendships! Seek the Cosmic presence in spiritual experience and allow this to transform perspective and reveal the path of mystery, do not allow the spiritual realm to feed the modern ego in its quest for never-ending profit and gain. The only “thing” we can hope to gain from our spiritual practice is a deeper perspective outside of the influence of modern myopic illusion which can guide us in the often mysterious path of our lives.

We can even see this modern economic virus infect the world of physical expression / training.  Individuals seeking reward shop around for martial arts schools which “guarantee results” or “provide their money’s worth.” Very few individuals truly seek to deeply learn martial arts and allow the nuances and subtleties of traditional martial arts training to transform their minds / body. Some seek competition trophies while others seek belts as bragging rights; neither of these provide any help or assistance in a street fight. It’s not uncommon for students to become frustrated if the teacher or coach asks them to commit to a long-term plan or short-term study of basic ideas. When this occurs instead of an instant “pay off”, the student will often seek another teacher or another school which is more “profitable” or more likely to buffer their weak ego. This is much like seeking out friends who rather than challenge us to grow and transform, reinforce our status quo and become “yes men” to any idea or behavior. While we can be encouraged by seeing results from our hard work in the gym or dojo, we must also realize the subtle changes which happen over years of training without glorious results, without trophies, without rewards.

What if I told you there was no solution? How many times can I tell you to read the important books? To find a mentor?  To Challenge yourself? Few listen. The modern world has created the idea that there is always a solution for our problems, always an option, always a brighter age. I don’t believe there ever was a golden age nor ever will be a golden age. Yet what does this change?  For the average man this idea is depressing or pessimistic. Yet for the Rare Ones, nothing changes. The howling of the Soul echoes eternally within the flesh and blood of the few regardless of the profit of the age. The merciless path continues regardless of the outcome of the battle or the zeitgeist of the age. The Rare Ones play the dice game of Shiva regardless of a win or loss; there is no other choice but to continue the journey, glorious or not. The words of Oswald Spengler call out to us from the eternal past and remind us to continue our journey, seek our brothers and train our minds and bodies regardless of the “payback”:

“Only dreamers believe in ways out. Optimism is cowardice. We are born in this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue. To hold on like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died because they forgot to relieve him when Vesuvius erupted. That is greatness; that is to have race. This honorable end is the one thing that cannot be taken from Man.”

What if I told you there was no hope, no solution? Would you continue to wage the battle?  The Rare Ones are calling…………