Written quite some time ago, this was intended to be the beginning of a fictional madman’s ramblings, and perhaps I will still one day happen upon the feeling of extending it proper. But, for now, it has sat long enough.
Confident that a life of “comfort and privilege” will never produce greatness — for greatness comes from struggle — but will also never confront the dream of greatness directly, leaving it to brew in a very self-aware hopelessness, the madman contemplates suicide: but he is not even brave enough for that. As what happens in the movie 300, when the Spartan King wishes the traitor, “May you live forever”, and intends this as his culture’s most penetrating insult, the madman in the text can imagine nothing more terrible than to live his life forever, being too weak to reach his dreams, but also too weak to even put up a valiant effort in defeat; merely existing. As action drives the dialectic, revealing what can and cannot be; as confrontation drives success and failure, revealing possibility; etc., the man who is incapable of action, but dreams of it, is never forced to confront the impossibility of his dream, destined instead to live forever with it.
The dream, rather than an expanding, invigorating force, draws the madman into despair. Similarly, the dream, rather than an object to coddle for warmth and in faith, is cold and unwelcoming in direct relation to its projected vibrancy. In this self-indulgent world, where faith itself is scoffed at, and where the practical robs man of the moral — where evil does not exist, but all is measured and sympathized — man must find in himself something evil, something alien, something worthy of destruction.
But, of course, this world is one of utter solipsism, since it fails to see the suffering of others, seeking instead the reification of its own suffering in the form of masochistic fantasies. This world, however, can also be seen as the consequence of a kind of intense moral relativism, where, again, great evil is not recognized, man instead engages in purely petty struggle, and the conditions for greatness are lost.
Shit belongs in the toilet. Dreams belong against the wall behind a blindfold, or gutted like a sheep by some fanatic’s knife. The body gives out blood; the neurons, pain; the mouth, a scream, a cry, a plead — anything but the names of your brothers in the plot. Spill only your literal guts. Go out on anyone else’s terms, if you can — especially the enemy’s. Never go out on your own.
But we are not so lucky. Dreams stay inside heads for decades, never realized but never dying, they stumble forward like a too-drunk boy still looking for that lay he’s never getting while the party’s been reduced to scattered couples giggling mockingly in separate bedrooms. That is their privacy. This is his. Talent never met and one day fading is the new reality. Genius is a premature spurt to the great few and an unreliable well to the greater and fewer. The well feels empty and the pale heavy, not of content, but to weak, untested arms. Those who doubt this take a dive. Do they plunge or splatter? Steel against steel is strength. Steel against flesh is a massacre. Steel against the wind is a waste — and the wind up here is so thin. Steel turned against itself, then, must be justice. Take that dive.
If you’ve got the guts, never-ending suburban delusion belongs projected on the peaceful white shutters of your childhood bedroom, above a chair, behind the remnants of a face unrecognizable. The particularly romantic ones belong in the bathtub as sinking red giants. Go as the Romans went, I thought. A show of a death for a show-trial life. Never stood a chance.