Fighting Resentment


Vol III – No. 21

We don’t just live in angering times, we live in times in which we are told that that which angers us is not real or doesn’t matter as much as complete fictions.

We are being gaslighted constantly by the media, the puppets on social media who parrot the same vapid nonsense, our local authorities and governors and even the companies we are dependent on for goods.

In April, you were a monster for wanting to ‘steal’ masks from first responders, who would run out of them in a week. We were told that masks accelerate the spread of germs.

Now the same people are proudly saying ‘mask up!’ and socially weaponizing the latest in a never ending war of power to prove that they are the goodest good people.

Businesses and forests are being burned to the ground to strike fear into the faint of heart. What is happening, essentially, is bigger than a ‘culture war.’ It is something built into our way of life that we overlooked long ago.

It never matters if you point out hypocrisy because there are no rules. The extremes you are not willing to go, the lies you are not willing to tell, will always be held against you, and if you are willing to match extremes, you will be held to the very standard of honor your enemies forced you to abandon, and they will not be shown that this is a logical error, no matter how carefully you break it down. They simply don’t care. They don’t want a truce. They want what you have.

This can wear away at you after a while. It isolates you, makes you feel, not only that your days are numbered, but that the world is not a good place to be.

Pessimism is easy and one can hardly be blamed for sinking into it. At best, the world of people and their repetitious, idiotic behavior will make you callous and distant. At worst, it will make you resentful.

If you do not explore this feeling, you will grow to resent life itself. You might even develop an entire manichean metaphysic to try and explain it to yourself and others. You might even hold out hope for a future day in which things will be better. There is nothing wrong with this in itself, but it may cause you to forget to live in the time you’re in.

It’s easy to talk about ‘modernity,’ like gnostics talking about the false world created by the demiurge. While there is certainly much to reject about modern life, giving a home to resentment will ultimately sever your capacity to feel joy in what is still good, and blunt your ability to cultivate courage despite the odds.

I would encourage you to approach your observations about the world in the following manner.

First of all, understand that your very ability to recognize that there are fundamental problems with modern life – which may seem overwhelming at first – are an indication that you have an advantage. It means that you can actually act upon a problem rather than settling for a mediocrity everyone around you has been brainwashed into calling ‘progress.’ Even if the action you take is incredibly small, any action forward is better than default regression.

Understand that history is very rich. Things like this have happened before and will likely happen again. This humbles you, as you realize it’s not your responsibility to try to become christ and bear the yoke of your current time all on your own shoulders. History gives you a point of reference and something to learn from. It teaches you patience and might even inspire hope that nothing bad lasts forever either, even where powerful entities are in place to sustain the conditions.

Don’t get too wrapped up in symbolism. In other words, there’s not much of a point in getting too hung up on or disgusted with people who are really just trying to have a good time amidst it all. By no means should hedonism overshadow a balanced approach with your environment, but let’s not pretend that people didn’t get drunk and listen to music on breezy summer nights since time immemorial. Have a shot of whiskey and laugh with your friends. You can can clear your mind tomorrow and set yourself to work again. Celebrate your life because it is precious. It isn’t precious later and it isn’t precious at your expense. It is precious to you now. Some people like to take activities of celebration and associate them with regression and civilizational decay. This is incredibly exhausting. It’s good to know your limits, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw yourself away. You’d be no better than people who want you to think only of some stupid revolution. They create phantom futures because they hate life. Create real futures as an expression of your love for life.

Get off social media platforms. I mean the major ones. You are spied on there anyway and they’re crawling with feds and surveilling busybodies. You absolutely will not miss it.

Do something physical. Take walks. Run. Lift weights. Do 38-year-old-suburban-mom-yoga or even real yoga.

Start/continue a journal. Discover what you feel independent of echo chambers. You may discover a nuanced understanding of things and also actionable steps toward things you can actually do to improve yourself and your life.

Meditation is overrated. As an end in itself, it ultimately leads to pacification. I know this is going to sound completely unconscionable to some people who have completely internalized the sugar-cube of westerno-eastern ‘spirituality,’ but it’s true. Meditation should be like intermittent fasting or like de-fragging your computer. It can act as a cleansing mechanism, but what are you doing to maintain a clean mind? You can’t just clean all the time. There is no substitute for learning how to think.

Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dry method for learning how to think. You’ll have to develop your own means of doing so. The point is to internalize the sense of a universe operating around you of which you are a part. ‘Become the part in the whole and the whole in the part,’ as the Tao Te Ching says. Or, as Otto Weininger describes his concept of ‘genius,’ let your life – even in minutiae which would seem fleeting to another person – be an expression of a cosmic process. Live the whole of the universe through your actions. This may sound very lofty, but it can actually be very enjoyable.

Think of your life as a song, or even all life itself as a song, possessing internal coherence, balance, scale, repetition, order, but into which elements of surprise, exaltation, beauty, terror and everything else may be doscovered in full.

It would be quite idiotic to suggest that you should altogether ‘ignore’ politics, as you should always be aware, at the very least, of all things which could affect your environment, but you should figure out how to maintain a healthy distance from political discourse. Don’t bother arguing with people. Lose the missionary feeling that comes with your position.

Understand that the ‘representation’ offered by politicians in our electoral system is an illusion, and no substitute for genuine service to the people. I’m not suggesting you become an out and out anarchist, as such would simply be a means of giving in to resentment and fatalism. Rather, I’m suggesting that you should place no faith in man. Voting for this or that person might prove pragmatically viable in the short term, but having some Washington celebrity claim to ‘represent’ you when they don’t know you and who’d likely ignore your needs if they did know you is no substitute for knowing with absolute certainty what your values are and what boundaries you should draw up in light of them.

Most people are neurotic and would rightly be considered insane if we lived in an honest world. You cannot save everyone and you shouldn’t let them drag you down as they sink into self-destruction. You are made worse by pitying others. Pitying others is a form of narcissism, as it operates on the assumption that someone is worse off because they are not you. Benevolence, on the other hand, is a genuine attitude of charity which extends itself where possible to those in need and understands that nature/God/gods can sort out the rest.

Resentment is ultimately a paradox. When you take certain values of modern life for granted, even where they sound nice and fuzzy on paper, they lead down a path of misery in the long run because they do not take into account their internal capacity to undermine order and balance. Resentment, in other words, can be a reaction to a belief in these fuzzy things having been disappointed. Rather than living in disappointment at what isn’t, learn to accept what is. What is is often ugly but there is much beauty in it.

You are much closer to beauty when you eliminate false options and align yourself with how things actually work.