What serves the higher type of men as nourishment or delectation must almost be poison for a different and inferior type. The virtues of the common man might perhaps signify vices and weaknesses in a philosopher.
Whatever is profound loves masks; what is most profound even hates image and parable. Might not nothing less than the opposite be the proper disguise for the shame of a god? A questionable question: it would be odd if some mystic had not risked something to that effect in his mind. There are occurrences of such a delicate nature that one does well to cover them up with some rudeness to conceal them; there are actions of love and extravagant generosity after which nothing is more advisable than to take a stick and give any eyewitness a sound thrashing: that would muddle his memory. Some know how to muddle and abuse their own memory in order to have their revenge at least against this only witness: shame is inventive.
It is not the worst things that cause the worst shame: there is not only guile behind a mask — there is so much graciousness in cunning. I could imagine that a human being who had to guard something precious and vulnerable might roll through life, rude and round as an old green wine cask with heavy hoops: the refinement of his shame would want it that way.
A man whose sense of shame has some profundity encounters his destinies and delicate decisions, too, on paths which few ever reach and of whose mere existence his closest intimates must not know: his mortal danger is concealed from their eyes, and so is his regained sureness of life. Such a concealed man who instinctively needs speech for silence and who is inexhaustible in his evasion of communication, wants and sees to it that a mask of him roams in his place through the hearts and heads of his friends. And supposing that he did not want it, he would still realize some day that in spite of that a mask of him is there — and that this is well. Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, ever step, ever sign of life he gives.
-Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Sections 30, 40
As always, the bolded emphasis was mine.
I love Nietzsche. I make no secret of it. I devour his works. I have discussed him before on this blog. I obviously don’t agree with everything he said, of course, but I think there is much that he got right, and those matters on which he was wrong he was not 100% wrong.
I don’t consider myself a Nietzschean, as I’ve never met a self-proclaimed Nietzschean who didn’t selectively interpret Nietzsche in such a way that removed all the subtlety and nuance; cherry-picking passages that stroked the ego while overlooking the caveats, implications, and true substance hidden beneath the superficial meaning.
I did the same thing when I styled myself as such. Then I made the effort to actually read Nietzsche, and I realized that in my shallow interpretation, I was not giving the man nearly enough credit.
But enough about Nietzsche. I have no doubt that I shall return to him another time.
Let us talk about anonymity.
Who am I? Donovan Greene. Who is Donovan Greene? Does it matter?
Donovan Greene is a lie. It is an illusion. It is a front for someone who reveals far less of himself than he is letting on, while at the same time revealing of himself so much more. It is a mask for one who also called himself “Legionnaire”, styling himself under the aegis of the eagle before trading it in for a white raven ensconced in black fire.
Have my words changed since I began? Of course. I am smarter and older and wiser than I was when began this blog, back in 2013 not too long after the Cambrian Explosion of Neoreaction. I expect to look back in 2017 and feel much the same way about my current work as I do when I look back to my beginnings.
I am a better writer and a better thinker now than I was then. I reap these benefits in my “personal” life, that life in which my mask is my face and my face is a mask, but am I truly any less anonymous when I wrap myself in my physical features as opposed to when I speak from behind the veil of the blue and the gold? You will not see my true self either way, for I could stand in front of you, naked and uncovered and speaking nothing but unvarnished truth, and yet still be as mysterious and inscrutable and opaque as I am when I speak from the mouth of the raven. Is one approach really any less anonymous than the other?
Who am I? Donovan Greene. Who is Donovan Greene? It doesn’t matter.
Among the many things I do, I happen to have a few blogs. I use one of these blogs as a platform to communicate with and write for Neoreactionaries and other rare folk who are delving in strange places and doing strange things. It does not follow from this that I must dedicate my life to fighting for the “cause of Neoreaction”. It does not follow from this that I ought to charge into the breach like a good little soldier so that I can join my “comrades” in dying like so many chickens.
That’s all a metaphor, of course. Points if you get the reference, too. I’ve mangled it and paraphrased it, but the essence is still there and it is still recognizable.
I love people who feel that great urge to mass together and charge, of course. They make great underlings, especially when you need someone effective yet dispensable. Let your hammers be your hammers and let them do what hammers do. Just make sure to keep them out of the high command. That’s where you want people with more than one trick.
Not directly relevant to this post, and not all that great a documentary either, but it is informative and it has a good narrative and it does a great job of demonstrating the point that I have just made.
I am a Neoreactionary. So what? Am I under obligation to proclaim this matter to the world? This line of thinking strikes me as identical to the impulse so common among many in the LGBT movement who think that someone who is not straight is obligated to come out and obligated to share who they are with the world.
They are not. You are not. I am not. I am under no obligation to share every meaningless facet of my entity with anyone and everyone. You want to do that? Go for it. You do you. There is no higher advice than “just be yourself”, after all. Be you, but do not make the mistake of assuming that I am like you. I have no doubt that no matter how similar we may be, there are many traits on which we differ, especially if you harbor a strong desire to proclaim who you are. That is an impulse I do not share, Millennial though I am, and raised in that great sea of narcissism and self-indulgence though I was. I am a ship upon those waters, but though the deck gets splashed when the seas froth up and rear their ugly waves, there is little that is touched by the swell.
I am perhaps the one member of the selfie generation who has no desire to parade what I am for all the world to see, who does not need to reaffirm daily that I exist and that I am seen because I knew very well that I exist and that I am seen and I know for a fact that I never need fear that incomprehensible horror lurking in the hearts of my peers: to be ignored, overlooked, and irrelevant.
That great nothingness is the true fear of the internet generation, but I do not fear the nothingness, for the void becomes me and I traverse both it and the world of being and being noticed like a salamander, with a foot in both worlds and eternally comfortable no matter where I am.
I do not understand those who clamor to drop the “anonymity”. I do not understand those who are driven by the impulse to confess their sins or who feel so defensive about their beliefs they seek to actively manage what people think of them by preemptively airing their “dirty laundry”. I must confess the lack of reserve makes no sense to me. Do you bring your resume on dates?
But fine, let’s reframe this to make it about some grand neoreactionary cause. Perhaps you might argue that it is our duty to stand up and suffer whatever consequences may arise from doing so, that it is our responsibility and our burden, and that those who are not willing to do so are cowards who do not deserve to label themselves as Neoreactionaries.
I’m glad for you. I’m proud that you aspire to be a sacrifice. It’s very noble of you, really. I wish you all the best.
What a brilliantly remarkable case study of a natural servant, just begging to be ordered forward into the enemy. What fascinating insights into the mind of a such a creature. Look at how many assumptions are being called into play by this beast!
I have no qualms about releasing the hounds, but there is a time and place to do such things. You really want to make Neoreaction a crusade to which you will dedicate your life? Good. Neoreaction needs crusaders, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that even a metaphorical charge of the cavalry will usher in sweeping reform in the vein that most pleases you. You might hate the modern, but you’ll need the modern to fight the modern. If you aren’t willing to do that, then you’re not in this to win. You’re in it for glory.
Never fight the way you want to fight. Fight in the way that will be most effective for you given: your strengths and your weaknesses, the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent(s), and the context in which you find yourself.
If you are one of those who want to make this into a fight, that is the best advice that I can give you.
(Update: For the purposes of clarification, I wish to make it clear that I do not forthright condemn those who dispense with anonymity, only those who do so out of narcissism. My invective does not apply to those who are merely behaving in accordance with an open, honest, straightforward character).