(Illustrated by Maurice Dessertenne, c. 1900)
In the year 1886, Friedrich Nietzsche warned that, “he who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” There are many ways to interpret this statement, one interpretation is that in order to face a monster, you yourself must become something monstrous. Even in it’s simplest symbolic form, the monster is a creature not to be trifled with, lurking in the darkness of some foreboding cavern. In order to best this foe, the “hero” spends a great deal of time in the deep, dark places of the world, where no decent person would ever want to go. The (hero or more accurately) adversary to the monster has a greater insight into the monster’s world than any other. Once besting the monster, often covered in blood, standing before some grotesque remains of the slain beast, the hero could take up mantle as the new monstrous tyrant to replace the old. Often, metaphorically, this is exactly what occurs. Maybe power corrupts, or it reveals what was always there, laying dormant. Regardless, the sentiment is the same, be careful with the monsters you attempt to tackle, because the fight (for better or worse) can/will change you forever.
What the “monster” is to someone, could be virtually anything. There have been instances where an individual has become obsessed with the realization of some “truth”. Perhaps, the understanding of an advanced mathematical concept. The concept, in itself is so difficult to comprehend, it is essentially (to most) an enigma. Whether or not the equation is solved or even eventually understood, the obsession can lead to different forms of psychological deviations and disorders. Thus digging too deep into an unsolvable enigma, you risk losing a part of who you are and becoming something of an enigma yourself.
“If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” When we gaze into the abyss, the all consuming darkness, what we see (or more accurately don’t see) is the unknown, a manifestation of fear and uncertainty. So when we stare into the unknown, we are actually peering into ourselves. The darkness, as a metaphorical consciousness is staring into who we are, as a summation of all we fear lurking beneath the endless veil of shadow.
The seeker needs to realize the implications of self on the understanding of the unknown. The darkness may seem alive, but it may be alive with your fears and nothing more. Unfortunately, no one in is incorruptible, there’s always a possibility emotions like fear can contort our perception. Alternatively, someone who initially goes searching for truth and does not find it, can eventually live to become a liar. Claiming they found a truth that never existed in the first place. Becoming exactly what they set out to find, something utterly false.
It is possible that the loss of self (to varying degrees) is inevitable with the realization of certain truths. But that in itself may be part and parcel to the way of the seeker. If (for whatever reason) you consider yourself a seeker, what is the price you would be willing to pay to find that which you seek? If knowing everything meant losing everything, would you consider that a fair trade? Seek and you shall find, but what you find and the validity of said finding(s), depends entirely on you.
3 thoughts on “ᴛʜᴇ SEEKER’S ᴡᴀʏ”
As always, C.M., you have written a contiguously eloquent piece from paragraph to paragraph, but it is those closing words that so brilliantly amplify your points all the more. They struck me when I read them. Those words inescapably resonate with me for the following reason. When my journey began, I understood the risk, in full. Ironically, the one simple thing I wanted most in life, was the very one thing I knew I could never have. Therefore, losing everything, was really losing nothing, because everything never even had a chance to exist in terms of reality. All that was left was the pursuit of truth. As a consequence, twenty years later, I am still at the quest, because there is nothing to lose, and maybe just a few more kernels of excavation to be gained. If I may borrow some wording from the surfer’s world, this wave I’ve ridden, has indeed, been totally off the hook, even though the wave chose me, versus me having chosen it.
LikeLiked by 1 person