I am not necessarily opposed to hedonism, rather, I find it to be too shallow and spiritually empty. While I think that, in terms of physical enjoyment, hedonism can be quite grand, for the most part, hedonism simply encourages a form of living that is too materialistic. Hedonism attempts to be a method of escape that lacks any spiritual prowess. The goal of hedonism is to escape suffering, to try and enjoy as much of life as you can. But this enjoyment is based purely on material things, and it also fails to mention that pain and suffering are important tools in creating a stronger individual and thus are necessary for development. There is a reason why, when one thinks of a hedonist, one usually imagines an irresponsible, shallow and idiotic person. There is a reason why “hedonist” is used an insult and the word “ascetic” is not. One must understand that everything material is subject to change, and that materialism will only bring a short amount of joy but a long period of suffering. Hedonism, which is rooted in materialism, is a guaranteed way for a person to fall into spiritual oblivion, emptiness and possibly cause serious psychological or physical damage. One must live a life of adventure and pleasure, yes, but one must also have some sort of anti-materialist foundation to fall back on – otherwise all your materialistic and physical gains will quickly become meaningless and unsatisfying to you. Hedonism is therefore not “evil”, but it is shallow and misguided, and it’s philosophy is only appealing to those who lack any real sense of intellectual or spiritual character.
‘For as long as organized human societies exist, there will always be a division between the unconscious masses and the conscious individuals. The Christian religion may wither and die, but only to be replaced by another philosophy glorifying the qualities of the herd. It lies not in the nature of the herd to live by elitist ideals – their nature is to be cogwheels in the machinery of society, and the fact that they follow a philosophy which glorifies this quality is aesthetically nauseating to the heretic, but still necessary for society to function’ – Erik Olivier Lancelot
The quote above is, in my opinion, a perfect explanation as to why some ‘radical individualist’ or ‘anti-herd’ mentality people hold such elitist views. The term ‘elitist’ usually conjures up ideas of wealthy businessmen or billionaire tycoons or some other group of men that are ‘elite’ in the sense that they are rich and successful. But this ‘elite’ is merely a materialistic one, and like all materialistic gains it is rather minimal and pathetic compared to higher spiritual values. There is also an idea of an ‘elite’ in a less monetary way, such as an ‘elite’ athlete (meaning an athlete or athletes that are far superior to everyone else’s physical capabilities), or perhaps ‘elite’ can also mean those who are much more intelligent than the average person.
However, for the most part, these ‘elite’ (the wealthy, the physically superior, the geniuses), they are still, as Erik put it, ‘cogwheels in the machinery of society’. These elite are better than most of the people around them, but they more than likely still fall into the ‘herd’ mentality of those lesser than them.
The majority wealthy and the physically superior still abide by the laws, follow religious dogma, and for the most part, do nothing to go against the tide of society. Sure, it can be argued that the wealthy ‘exploit’ the labors of others, or cause serious damage to others less fortunate than themselves – but the wealthy for the most part prize order. They may cause damages to society but they are still very much focused on the task of preserving society. After all, without society and its laws, the wealthy would be unable to prosper. Society is specifically built in a way that makes it almost impossible for modern man to support himself without getting a job that, more than likely, is reliant on one of the businesses run by the wealthy elite. The wealthy elite also have stocks and other investments that can only function when everything is running smoothly. The idea of a ‘wealthy elite’ is a modern creation – as in primitive times this type of elite never existed. This ‘wealthy’ elite is existent only because of capitalism, materialism and consumerism – things that, although they have existed for centuries, have recently become quite gigantic, to proportions that no one in the past ever anticipated.
Thus, while I do not deny that the wealthy elite cause harm to others, the wealthy elite are still very much a part of the fabric of society. They want society to run smoothly – they want people to obey laws, to follow religious dogma, to support their military or to follow traditional norms – whatever keeps a society ‘in line’ is good for the wealthy elite.
Now, if we go to the ‘physically superior’ individuals, we see that they too are far better (physically) than everyone else around them, but they too are still cogs in a machine. Most athletes are quite religious, and have no hesitance in voicing their ‘praise’ to god for helping them win (which is quite idiotic). No – the physically elite for the most part are even more ‘integrated’ into the unconscious mass of society than the wealthy elite. The physically elite are perhaps even more pathetic too – for no matter how healthy a body is it will eventually decay with age (whereas wealth, when used properly, can easy last a person’s entire lifetime).
So, the wealthy and physically elite are nothing too special. Now, the intelligent elite, the ‘geniuses’ so to speak – are a higher category and, sometimes, they will have an ‘anti-herd’ mentality. The intelligent elite are often freethinkers or at least have some ounce of skepticism, which allows them to be weary of the ‘unconscious masses’. If one should choose between the three (wealthy elite, physical elite, intelligent elite), one should choose the third option.
None the less, being part of the intelligent elite is no guarantee for a free spirit. There are many geniuses’ in many fields who are still quite ‘unconscious’ in the sense that they are so integrated into society they fail to see their own individuality and potential, and thus sacrifice their ability to learn to please society. The most prominent example of this are the ‘research ethics’ that plague the scientific community like a virus. ‘Research ethics’ are merely a subjective lot of rather humanistic rules that prevent scientists from carrying out certain experiments that may be ‘harmful’ or such. I think this is rather foolish – as the saying goes, one must be willingly to break a few eggs to make an omelet. How else are we supposed to learn if not by experimentation? The scientists who abide by research ethics – these scientists who let some petty morality get in the way of their path to knowledge – these scientists are very much a part of the ‘unconscious masses’, scientists who would rather please society than actually take a chance and see what lies in the possible experimentation.
But I digress. The point is that there are several forms of elitism – wealthy, physical and intelligent – but the elitism that I am talking about is greater than these three. This is the elitism that is not a part of society (unlike those other three elitisms which are). The elitism I advocate for is an Elitist Individualism– one based off spiritual and intellectual elitism.
The reason why society discourages selfishness, violence, and chaos is simple – because these things disrupt society. The goal of society, of the unconscious masses, is to keep everything in order by maintaining a blind, obedient populace. Therefore, any values that go towards self-perfection are discouraged. Society discourages self-discovery because self-discovery often leads to the realization that many of the problems plaguing the individual are a result of society, and thus by discarding society one discards these problems. Self-discovery leads to the knowledge and consciousness that things like material wealth, traditional norms and societal expectations are merely subjective ideas that have been disguised as objective goals. Society discourages self-perfection and self-reliance because these things would lead to an independent individual – one who would not need to rely on societies protection or offerings.
In other words, the unconsciousness masses (society) will do whatever it takes to keep people in line, and thus those who truly think for themselves – those who truly are against the tide of the herd, will be deemed a threat and looked at as being crazy.
Elitist Individualism is therefore the highest type of elitism – an elitism that goes beyond the expectations of society – an elitist that is, as the name implies, made for the individual and defined by the individual. The reason why this is termed ‘elite’ is because only a select few, namely the conscious individuals, are those who purse this – because, as with all things, there is a price to pay, and what this price is varies from person to person and place to place. Nonetheless, those conscious individuals will not have fear in pursing their individuality, and if they do have fear it will not be the crippling type of fear, but the motivational type of fear – the fear that teaches them to be cautious and careful but nonetheless pushes them forward on their journey. Do not sacrifice your own ideals or wants for society! There is, as Erik noted, a division, or a ‘war’ perhaps, between the unconscious masses and the conscious individuals. This is natural and, if anything, should be used as a stepping-stool to reach a higher form of being.
There are many spiritual guru’s who teach that an individual should become ‘one with the universe’. They usually mean this in a positive way, although what the misguided spiritual guru’s fail to realize is that the universe is a cold, apathetic, chaotic place that has no regard for anything. The universe operates under its own laws – it has no concern for how these laws affect others.
Thus, I became ‘one with the universe’ by adopting a similar approach – I became cold, apathetic and chaotic.
I don’t like groups. I don’t think I’ve ever liked groups. Groups are literally the anti-thesis of the individual. As a Radical Individualist, I strongly dislike groups because they are in every way, shape and form a weight and, in some cases, a prison for the individual.
In a group, a consensus must be created. An individual’s own opinion or preference may be discarded or ignored because it is not ‘in accord with everyone else’s’. In a group, people must make compromises – they must co-operate, and this of course means that ones individuality is sacrificed.
Most groups have a leader, but even a leader must be careful of what they do, because if their actions cause unfavorable results this could lead to their removal as leader. Thus, even the most authoritarian and dictatorial of leaders will at times compromise their true desires in order to remain in power. Compromises are abundant in groups – such as political parties, activist organizations, company boards and so on – if one wants to get even more personal, one must compromise in a family, a relationship, and with friends. Even though these ‘groups’ are not based on an ideological consensus, they still require co-operation, sacrifices and compromising.
Obviously, each individual has their own desires and opinions. In a group, you have several individuals, thus you inevitably have differing and opposing views. The only way you’d have a truly ‘unified, all-in-agreement’ group would be one in which every member is too stupid to think for themselves and, without any hesitation, these members unanimously agree with everything their leader says.
No two individuals are alike, and thus, in a group, the individual is suppressed and cannot live as they truly see fit. Groups are inevitably a threat to individualism. A true individual does not need a group to support him or herself. A true individual is fine on their own. A true individual then, is their own group.