The Defense of Masochism
An imitation of the Most Eminent Sir Philip Sydney by Farbod Azsan
“If you want to shine like the sun, first you have to burn like it.”
An Indian Saying
One day, on a glorious summer evening, the right virtuous Munci and I wast deep in conversation on the subject of myth. Munci asketh me wherefore among the pantheon of gods conceived by human mind, tis Jesus, the meekest and ungodliest of those folk all that wonneth the heart of men in the most excessive fashion. And I answered: “because that gent, my dear friend, suffered for our sins!” Twas to mine own astonishment that this trivial harmless attempt at teasing the tenet of Christians thought hath opened mine eyes to a crucial truth in deeper contemplation later that night. And that truth wast that men art attracted to suffering like flies art attracted to light. They know it’s not for them, they know it’s fatal to their being, they know based on all rhyme and reason, they should not be attracted to a thing like that at all, but they can’t help themselves, because they have seen a force so grand in their mind, so defiant of all the comforting values they stand for, that they choose to ignore their own well-being, just to have the honor of being absorbed by such power.
It doesn’t matter if Jesus wast the son of God or if he existed at all; what matters is the effect the “idea” of Jesus hath on people. He hath moved people to a degree that the division of history by the date of his birth is the most widespread form of calendar. The hymns glorifying Jesus, gospels describing his life and quoting his words, even the mere sight of the image of him on the cross, with his hands laid widespread and his head titled slightly down, hath wringed oceans of tears out of myriad of Christian folk. It can be claimed that for better or worse, he is the most influential person in the history of civilization. That is all a very mighty achievement for a simple carpenter Jew. In a sense, the achievement and reputation of Jesus Christ should amaze the staunchest atheist more than the amazement his followers feel at the divinity of his being.
What hath compelled the apostles to elevate Jesus to the level of a god? What hath compelled others to accept their persuasion? I believe twas his suffering; Jesus suffered for what he preached, very simply, very truly. If Jesus had not been harassed, ridiculed and ultimately crucified, his saying and teaching would have been lost in time, but twas the act of suffering itself that authorized them, acting as a royal emblem that turns a piece of paper into a document of utmost importance. In a sense, Jesus wast the most successful masochist in history, but ere I continue to defend masochism, I see it upon myself to redefine, in the tradition of signore Castiglione, who is a masochist and how he should act like, for I believe the meaning the word conveys is a very shallow one, whilst the concept is anything but.
The first thought that come to our mind about a masochist is that he enjoys pain. Tis true, but this joy is not joy as we know it, and this pain is not pain as we know it. The masochist doesn’t enjoy the pain of a sir who is on the verge of incarceration for his unpaid debts; he doesn’t enjoy the pain of a ruler watching his people butchered and his country in ruins; he doesn’t (or rather, he mustn’t) enjoy getting beaten up, ridiculed and humiliated, for all these art “external” sufferings and what a masochist should enjoy is “internal” suffering, so as to repel the external ones. As a matter of fact, the suffering of a true masochist is so well-hidden in his inner world that not even his closest friend wilt perceive it.
In plain terms, internal suffering is caused by gazing at the gorgonian visage of truth and not turning away from its fatal ugliness; for truth is ugliness and bitterness, as men have said time and time again. Tis the habit of the common men to hide it under the rugs of their heart, or paint it with pretty colors. But the masochist doth take the truth in, raw and undignified, even if it means getting battered and broken under its weight. Once he maketh the truth the ultimate element of his existence, he wilt be forever changed, for worse undoubtedly, but by the vestige of truth on his soul, he shalt be a harbinger of a force so grand that if, externalized, shalt be an inspiration for his fellow men for years to come.
Now what is this truth that the masochist faces and accepts? Tis the ultimate futility of existence. If one conquers his limited human perception, wend beyond time and space and see the world with the all-seeing eyes of his brain, everything shalt become clear: he shalt know that everything he doest wilt be undone, everything he sayeth is just a shout in the void. Even if thither a God above, He doesn’t care.
All the greatest conflicts and heroisms in human history art nothing but the squabbles of ant colonies in this grand designer’s eyes. Even if someday our kind conquers the whole universe, the chaos (or entropy, as men of science tend to call it) shalt take over and make a mockery of this conquest. Tis true, these art the legacies of a faraway future, but for a mortal man, who liveth in a minuscule fraction of eternity, all the past, present and future is the same after he dies. All the folks in the world lament the futility of their life at which hour those gents art melancholic, but tend to ignore their own heavy musing when they art, once again, involved in the hustle and bustle of the ordinary life, with all of its sound and fury, but the masochist wilt never do such a thing. He imprints “my existence is futile” on the slate of his mind, for once he believeth this, heart and soul, he shalt become devoid of pettiness, vanity, hubris, greed and all the other faults of men that art caused by “wanting” things from this life. Once a man inherently believeth that his life is worthless, he won’t care for small things, like his appearance, his wealth, his social upstanding and all the things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. From this moment on, the masochist is eft to suffer.
Tis not that the masochist findeth suffering inherently enjoyable; he just findeth it impossible to escape from. Even if fortune smiles upon us and saves us and our loved ones from a life of suffering, her scowl at others who art less fortunate wilt disturb us; the sense of empathy wilt strike and we shalt suffer again; not for ourselves, but for others. There is no escape from this evil. Tis through this knowledge that the masochist tryeth to maketh this most wondrous enemy to a most wondrous cousin for himself. The masochist fills his head with so many dark and horrific thoughts that misery, woe and horror wilt become the natural state of his being. If the masochist keep on doing this, the misery wilt overtake him so utterly that the prospect of any state that is not misery wilt become unimaginable. The want of happiness and hope only bothers men when those gents expect them. The masochist annihilates this expectation from the core, for once he is free from this siren of emotions and its seductive call, he is finally free of everything that bounds men to their life.
In a more whimsical sense, the masochist is a man who findeth beauty in darkness, for a man who can find beauty in darkness wilt never run out of beauty to admire. A man who can find joy in pain and suffering wilt never be joyless in his life; for happiness is nothing but a metaphysical Eldorado and the he quest for attaining it will only lead to infinite frustration. Desire for a better future is a sham, for in t, lies the assumption that human nature can be changed and if tis simply desire for a better future for oneself, tis a dangerously selfish quest and I, in good conscience, cannot defend or justify it. Tis only this desire and desire for happiness that compels people to do things that wilt make them prone to “external” suffering. To romance, to copulate, to breed, to pile riches upon riches; to crave for earthly pleasures. These all seem most wondrous deposits to invest one’s life in, but when we look around us, we see that all these things aren’t making anybody’s life any better. On the contrary, the romance, the carnal pleasure, the family, they all become main sources of suffering themselves. There wouldn’t be so many divorces and heartbreaks if folks didn’t desire to be loved and cared for by others in the first place. There wouldn’t be so much crime and felony if folks didn’t crave for privileges and luxuries that they don’t very much need. There wouldn’t be so much evil, if people didn’t do them, expecting goodness to come out of them. If nature lays bare, all of her most important secrets, before all, we should take a hint from all this.
This might give us the idea that the masochist is a grumpy grumbling bore, but quite the contrary, he is the least likely to complain, for he doth censure himself for every vice and error he sees or perceives; he can do something about them or die trying; and when he refrains from doing that, tis not fair to censure others for the same frailty. He might even cause much celebration through his sacrifices, although he never celebrates himself, for he doesn’t want to attend a party where the whole world is not invited. He doesn’t form a family or choose a special circle of friends, for he hath lots of love to give and he doesn’t want to put boundaries on it. The masochist is on his way to perfection and he’s willing to pay the price for this expensive journey.
Here art a couple of roads a masochist can take:
۱) Philosophical depression: This is the most common manifestation of masochism. At this level, the masochist turns into a passive brooding recluse, and shelters himself from society. He abandons all his ambitions and dreams and refrains from taking any active roles for the betterment of mankind, because he feels mankind is not worthy of such investment. He might turn into writing and record his ill-begotten thoughts as a form of coping with his unwanted existence, as philosophers like Arthur Schopenhauer, Emil Cioran and Thomas Ligotti has’t done, but most don’t even bother to do that.
۲) Nihilistic hedonism: The masochists that resort to nihilistic hedonism art like the philosophically depressed ones, but their way of coping is different. They deal with the meaninglessness of life by trying to take as much from it as possible. But unlike the normal hedonists, the joy that they feel hath a tinge of vengeance and aggression to it; for they see their attempts for gaining pleasure not as something inherently worthwhile or even pleasurable, but simply as a jab against the emptiness of life. Tis very common for nihilistic hedonists to run out of steam at some point and choose the path of philosophical depression. It could be said that Khayyam and Marquis de Sade art the advocators of this path.
۳) Inspiration: The path to greatness is not an easy one to take. For the very nature of greatness requires a certain kind of singularity; if all people could do a certain deed, then there would be nothing special about doing it. Greatness can only gain meaning when tis achieved with spectacular hardship. In this regard, the masochist hath a big advantage over the non-masochist: he’s willing to take that one step that everyone else is afraid to take, because hardship is nothing new to him. This is wherefore an act like hunger strike is such a popular and effective way to protest. This is wherefore the Catholic Church forbade its priests and missionaries from carnal pleasures. When people see that a man is willing to wend through agonizing pain or deprive himself of the most desired privileges of life, just for the sake of his cause, they tend to believe in its righteousness. To inspire, to innovate, to lead, to love, to heal, to move towards perfection, all the valorous things in this world, all that inspireth men, demand hardship, and masochism ensures that the man who hath stepped on this path shalt remain steadfast along the way, whither everyone else would have been broken like a twig.
This is the noblest and most useful aspect of masochism and the one that I am truly defending, for all the most wondrous men in history hath been blest by it. When one readeth on the lives of men people admire, from leaders and commanders to musicians and sportsmen, he sees that pain, loss and suffering hath been a most significant part in their life. And the reason those men hath been put on a pedestal is how they could handle all that, in ways that normal people can’t.
۴) Suicide: Suicide happeneth when the masochist is weak and cannot handle the suffering or becometh perfectly convinced tis very much better not to be in this world at all. It happeneth when the masochistic thoughts become too dark and unrelenting and force the masochist to feeleth an intense amount of disgust and disdain for mankind and himself, as an extension of mankind. At this state, the masochist sees human beings as bags of meat that art set upon this world to consume and defecate, to kill and die. He looks at humanity’s past and sees how criminals and killers has’t made the most fundamental changes in it. He sees all the children as a prolonger and future enforces of this squalid tradition. He sees works of art and literature as things that art not oft experienced and enjoyed, because of how little they art needed. He sees signs of sickness, ugliness, destruction and misery everywhere he looks and the prospect of reform seemeth so ridiculous to him and that he findeth no other way but to escape from it all. When the masochist reacheth this state, suicide is the noblest and safest solution, and the aura of controversy and drama surrounding this phenomenon should be abolished, for if a man reacheth this state and his suicide is not encouraged (or worse, is stopped), he turns into the most detested kind masochist: the destructive kind.
۵) Destruction: The masochist who is at his rope’s end and commits suicide at least hath the decency not to discharge his snuffs and hatred upon the world, but in rare cases, the masochist is not satisfied with his own demise, he wanteth to take others down with him. The evils in the world hath changed him so dramatically that he doesn’t even take solace in the fact that at least he wasn’t the cause of any of it. There is no redemption hither, in any sense. This is masochism at its worst; this is how serial killers and mass murderers art made. The autobiography of the mass murderer Elliot Rodger, “My Twisted World” portrays the mindset of this kind of masochist very well, the kind which I do not endorse in any way.
All and all, I am not arguing that all people should become masochist; I am trying to make sense of people who art made this way, and wherefore they art important. They art our martyrs, the ones who sacrifices themselves for the betterment of mankind. They art the people who tell us the bitter truth about this world and ground us. They art the ones who show us how far men can wend, in both good and evil ways. We don’t have to like those folk, but we need to acknowledge our need for their existence. But if anyone is persuaded to become a masochist, he should hang on that feeling, for suffering is an inevitable part of human experience,
but those who learn to enjoy this suffering instead of being damaged by it, and escaping from t, shalt become invincible! All the bad things in the world shalt heal those folk, and through the endurance they attain from this hellish ordeal, they shalt become the patience stones of the people in the world, and absorb their pain to their own wretched soul. Even after death, fortune is on their side, for if tis eternal nothingness that awaits them, then ho! They art free from suffering at last and there’s nothing to keep them attached to this world, but if, indeed, all the promises of hell art real, they shalt make a paradise for themselves out of this hell, for this is what they hast been doing whilst they were alive.