It’s Your Life

by Frost on February 22, 2011

This is a guest post I submitted to In Mala Fide. Please read and comment on it there.

Modern society will kill you.

And I’m not talking about chemicals, oestrogenics, TV, over-medication, or high-fructose corn syrup. Although there’s that, too.

But even if you survive the physical toxins, there is worse around the corner. Living a conventional, semi-successful American life in the 21st century can suck the life force out of you. I’ve seen it happen. I’m watching it happen. Could be, this blog is the only thing keeping it from happening to me.

We’ve all seen them. Corporate drones, sleepwalking through their days. Clocking overtime to avoid their nagging wives and angry, ungrateful children. Dark eyes. Beer guts from self-medicated evenings and weekends. Hunched shoulders from years in a lumbar-crumpling Aeron and a general lack of manly vigour.

What happened to these men?

One possibility is that office life killed them. Men are not designed to write briefs and tinker with spreadsheets, to suck up and play office politics. We are not created to sit at a desk, clack at a keyboard, and fill out cover sheets on TPS reports. Spending 8+ hours in a stale, fluorescent-lit office is antithetic to health and happiness.

Do I believe this? I think there’s truth in it, yes. But I also know a few men who work in offices, whose fires still burn bright.

The crucial difference is that they are doing real, actual work. They are in consulting. B2B sales. Politics. At the end of each (often 12+ hour) day, they can point to a result and say, “I did that! I created something, conquered someone, acted on the world rather than passively let the world act on me!” Give a man a reason to take pride in his work, and the rest will take care of itself.

The emptiness, the inner death, the quiet desperation, only strikes men who know, deep down, that what they’re doing is pointless. The majority of jobs in law, finance, government, the foreign service and academia fit this description, as do a growing proportion of jobs in the corporate world (i.e. HR and anything to do with regulatory compliance). The fraction of Americans actually producing is shrinking every day.

A healthy society would revere those who contribute to it, and shun those who do not. But like so many aspects of the 21st-century western world, our reality is the exact opposite of the natural order.

Parasitism is high-status. With a few exceptions (and fewer every year) Our best and brightest are drawn to unproductive fields, and rewarded with power, wealth, prestige and babes. Blue-collar tradesmen and computer geeks – i.e., those who actually create for a living – get nothing. Women are the ultimate currency over which men compete, and what woman would rather date a plumber or a software engineer, than an ibanker, lawyer or FSO?

So there’s your explanation for the hollow look in so many men’s eyes. Either they’re working to make the world a better place by creating something others want, and getting shit on for it, or they’re tossing a fresh piece of their soul into the maw of post-modern society with every day that they spend shuffling papers, bureaucratizing, cranking gears on a giant machine that everyone knows doesn’t actually do anything.

But that’s still not the whole story.

No man wants to be a cog in a bureaucratic perpetual motion machine.

So fucking what?

No man ever wanted to work his hands into unfeeling calluses, die slowly trapped in a collapsed mine, or lead a charge through machine-gun and artillery fire onto a cold, grey beach. But men of previous generations did all of that, and more. And they sure as shit didn’t write whiney blogs about how horribly hard it is to be a twenty-five year old, upper-middle-class asshole with a sweet job, loving family, and all the time in the world to eat, drink, fuck and play sports.

Our grandfathers had much more demanding lives than almost anyone my age does. And yet, they stoically and unselfishly did what needed to be done. They did it because it was their duty. They did it because they had a loving wife and kids depending on them. They did it because they had put on a uniform and were representing a nation that they were a part of. Men are capable of incredible feats of courage and self-sacrifice, in the service of  causes greater than themselves.

But those were our grandfathers. We are not them, and their world is not ours.

In the 21st century, marriage is a sham. Your family can be destroyed, at the drop of a hat, by a system that has been consciously designed to destroy you. That is, if it’s even your family. Are you going to give your life to that institution? Are you going to take it as a matter of faith that your relationship will be an outlier?

And what about that country you’re willing to die for? Do you really want to risk having your legs blown off by an IED because political correctness prevents us from actually waging and winning wars?

I didn’t think so. Making sacrifices for a higher cause is noble. But in a generation with no such purpose, there is no such virtue.

The only reasonable response to the western world of 2011 is complete and ruthless selfishness.

This does not preclude having friends and family for whom you would fight and die, if that’s what you want. It doesn’t preclude military service, charity, or shovelling your neighbour’s driveway. But every kind gesture, every decent act that you perform, should only be done if you can search your soul and conclude that it’s what you want to do.

Once upon a time, there was a social contract that imposed certain duties on our society’s young men in exchange for certain rights. That contract was breached a long time ago, but we are still being asked to uphold our end. We are told to work crappy and/or soul-destroying jobs to pay for social security, welfare, and never-ending wars. We are told to treat all women with unwavering respect, no matter how fat, brash and entitled they are.

There is only one possible response a man can give to this world: The middle finger. Live your own life, find your own happiness. Fuck the obligations, and fuck anyone who calls on you to “Man Up.” Pursuing marriage and a career under the outdated assumption that the virtuous are rewarded is a fool’s errand. You will wind up an empty, hollow, disillusioned shell of a man.

Instead, Nut Up. Make yourself better and learn game until you’re getting laid like tile. Embrace your parasitical job if you’ve got one and Go Galt if you don’t. Disconnect from the anesthetising morphine drip of mainstream news media and live in the intellectual world of the Alt-Right Blogosphere and Google Books.

Perhaps, one day, some worthy cause will present itself, and our lives will take on a meaning they currently lack. Until then, it’s your life.

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