36, Egalitarianism, domination of the values of those with no inspiration, destruction of hierarchy. Ambition, aspiration.
168, Possible ambitions. The country squire. Opposite of an imperialistic colonising ambition. Somewhere in England, anywhere in England. Only one possible ambition. But one particular dream that could be clarified as such.
Scruton, riding to hounds. One particular example of phoniness, On the young fogey trip, which is anti-Nietzschean. Sees Nietzsche as foreign. As if English culture could ever be self sufficient. English philosophy as a way of life. The dry as dust pedants. Where the dandies, homosexuals.
233, In Drayton Green, talking so much to people and their concerns I feel depressed and demoralised and self doubt enters. Suppose democracy is right, and these people's desires are just as important as my own? Always I have to ask myself such questions. All the energy put into housing, and things like social surveys. My extra aggression comes from my background, but the aggression others of from a different background, is criminal and dangerous. Aggression and ambition in certain social strata are repressed. It is considered they have to be. Women worry about the drugs sold underneath the arches. Bad influences on their children. People's aspirations, the non-conformist mentality, always with its emphasis on sobriety, discipline and restraint.
Drugs are the same now as alcohol used to be then. For the drugs under the arches, take what people used to write about the pub, as in Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia, where not only would children hear bad language, but catch tuberculosis from all the spitting. The pub was considered a filthy place.
People complain their children are subject to bad influences. They complain the kids are without goals. To someone like me goal-less people can have a certain third world charm.
Their aspirations threaten my freedom. My freedom is seen as frivolous. One might even say that they have a great class interest to which I oppose myself, as they try and pull themselves and their kids away from degenerate habits and influences.
It might be said that my values of freedom actually oppose their aspirations
266, To be robust and shallow, to work hard for your living, and enjoy what you are given. To measure up to various standards, to play the games successfully by the rules that are set. That is normality or robust health. The competitive personality. The rules that are set, with all their negativity, the competitive personality may be prepared to accept.. The game I want to play involves the undermining of all those rules and their replacement by others more immediately congenial to my own tastes. I find interesting the kind of things that are forgotten, that are not noticed. Rules and values that condemn these I find odious and repressive. I cannot fit, not because I am not up to it but because I am perverse. ..so my ambition is to do with changing the rules under which I suffer. If the rules were different, if society were different, my ambition would take a more direct form, and it could perhaps be more directly competitive. I might aspire to some humble perfection for which I could be remembered.
43&, Weber has much to say about work obsessed forms of religion. Very repellent we find them, those of us who have different ideas. How much these forms of religion ever really existed may be open to dispute. What then could I define as the object of life? Satisfaction. Satisfaction of all present felt needs, of all the factors which disquieten and niggle. Work as such, considered abstractly, cannot afford full satisfaction. I consider the writer's relation to his readers. Also the mood or mental state that is the real object of the mystic's striving. What is the power that the writer is seeking? How much change does he need to effect on the world. Obviously he does not want to convert the whole world. He wants to draw his ideal reader to think precisely his own thoughts. This is a peculiarly satisfying type of relationship. Then perhaps his work may be continued. As for the mystic, his object is not a continuous state of deep mystic trance. He does not necessarily desire to die. Insofar as he is after a permanent state it is one of memory. He wants to put something in his storehouse of memory. Memory is the proper object of desire.
I repudiate the idea that everyone has a logical right to think whatever they happen to think. Your right to think whatever you happen to think is to be derived from philosophical first principles. The idea that anyone has a logical right to think whatever he happens to think is a principal objection to my mission in the world. People imbued with it are stolid, obstinate, impervious to persuasion.
226, What were the psycho-social reasons for Schopenhauer's intense pessimism? I would say it was the greatness of his ambition, together with his atheism. In your ambition the whole world is against you. You have no faith in a God to rescue you from your predicament.
The height of ambition. The ordinary pleasures of life that most people enjoy are not worth the having. Why not? Because there are desires that are unsatisfied that one has no intention of renouncing. To renounce such desires would seem the mark of contemptible soul. Therefore one sees an underlying frustration in everything. What has the holy man discovered who has passed beyond pessimism? Perhaps he would have discovered means of securing the will. And to have passed beyond atheism to a form of animism. Why this? Because one needs supernatural help. First of all one must utterly renounce the gods of this world. Care nothing for the opinion or favour of others. Try and express this properly. You are not to live in anyone else's opinion. One thinks of worldly, ordinary ambition. Say it is belief in God that renders people able to renounce high ambition. An authority above you to justify and reassure. But you cannot renounce because the pain wold be too great. But how could you achieve your ambition? There is no God to which you might appeal. Affirmationist philosophies have discovered the secret of securing the satisfaction of desire. But the point of view is far from that of the shallow optimist. The shallow optimist renounces high ambition. Though there is no God, nothing outside yourself, it could be that there are forces within yourself making for success. Personify these as spirits or daemons.
Consider the type of ambition that leads to frustration.. A form of care for the opinion of others. The path of success that seems to demand unacceptable renunciation. A contradiction in the centre of your desire. What is the path beyond that? In the world but not of it.
229, Naive optimism does not have extreme ambition. Such desires it has renounced. 'For what?' one might ask. For the approval of others. Seeking confirmation and justification in the will of others. Thelemism is a doctrine of finding one's 'true will'. We say that the ordinary will is theistic. There is an external set of values to which it submits, say an external set of values. The philosophy of affirmation involves extreme ambition. Bruno, Crowley. But it has to have passed through the nihilistic. Otherwise it would be enslaved in the world, in sets of values, in other people's rules.
The game of life with which one is presented is played for various rewards according to various rules. All these go together and the rewards are the very things one has learnt to regard as attractive. The person of extreme ambition desires all the rewards and more. As the rules go with the rewards he hopes to be able to master them quickly and have done. He finds the obstacles are overwhelming, that his goals are incompatible with each other and experiences frustration to an extreme degree. What is the purified will? It is what is left. It is the true will, the animal will, the will purified of social conditioning. For the rewards do not have to go with the rules or vice versa. Nor are the rewards necessarily entirely what he wants if they are understood in their fullness. The rules are irksome. But what he has been taught to desire is all tangled up with what he has no need to desire. What remains may be easier to obtain. Especially if he has no need to obtain it.
121, What is success? What is the value of wordily success? Insofar as it is power to exercise the will, it is a worthwhile aim, insofar as it is a submitting the judgement of oneself to the judgement of the world, it is not. Thus with any ambition, one should have a clear idea of the will one aspires to exercise. Social inequality is perhaps not as unjust as it seems in this respect. Certainly you may will something wildly outside your powers. But to will to be something quite other than what one is could be slavish.
Why do that? It is to be in search of an approving judgment, to wish to submit to this judgement.
137, 'Provided the rewards are there I don't care how hard I work in the early years' versus 'although prepared to work hard I want a quality of life outside work.' Some lunatics agree strongly with the first statement. The school swot is not an appealing individual, What rewards? What rewards are so great as to be worth sacrificing everything else for? And if they really are as good as all that, then perhaps everyone else might think of demanding a share. One may cheat and kill to be a king, a Richard III or Hitler, but is it really so marvellous to be rich in modern Britain?
237, To present myself as I am, instead of trying to cancel much that I aspire to and aim for. To admit my true values. But would I not seem to many people., most people even, a fool? For my ambition is so great, I could not be satisfied with normal success. If one considers oneself to be a god one must conceal it from one's fellow men. How many do that? How many young people consider themselves to be gods? If they go to Oxford they are taken in hand, and they learn to form a society with other such proud and vain people.
But who can be contented with the normal ambition that society has to offer? Who, whose ambition once stretched to heroic proportions, can tone it down and profess to be contented? Or if he admits to being discontented on such conditions, he will appear to be a fool, i.e. unrealistic.
218, Phases of life. My childhood was not especially happy, because I was not dominant, or in a position to be so. One may be a natural chief as a child. The same applies to each phase of life.
The youth cannot conceive the possibility of any worthwhile life after forty. Sexual union seems to be the supreme natural function of human kind. What worthwhile can be left when that fades? Surely only decline?
Any new phase of life is an entry into chaos.
One may look ahead and accept that there are pleasures, satisfactions, to be had in the new phase of life. But the concept of merely fitting into and imitating patterns laid out by the vast innumerable masses of other people is totally abhorrent. Self deification,. One has to escape such patterns.
Commonplace ambitions. Yang Chu. Chuang Tsu refused high office. Despised ordinary ambition What is the point in becoming prime minister of a home secretary? Or an opera critic for the Tatler? Or a Lord chief Justice?
Where is the reason for pride?
The Chinese Emperor.
The idealised picture of the Chinese court. There one perceives successful ambition. The highest aims of the worldly mind.
Yet as Chuang Tsu perceived, the fundamental frustrations of life are deeper than could be resolved by an achievement like that. That appeals merely to vanity, not to true pride of soul.
The mystery here, I think it is something to do with power. Need for originality, or at least for acknowledgment of the frustrations to which the lack of it give rise.
Otherwise we live in kind of slave culture, with slave happiness.
Perhaps the principal objection to slave happiness is that it operates on such a low level of enlightenment. Acknowledge these frustrations and there are various efforts at solutions. Even, perhaps, some kind of mystical philosophical resolution. Then life can regain an organic wholeness.
The sage, the Taoist immortal, he understands something of he conditions of happiness. Unlike the Christian saint, he seeks longevity, not because he believes that this is the only life there is, a brief shaft of light in an infinite abyss, but simply because he wants to live and enjoy.
A god is an image of fulfillment that is somehow beyond reason.
The Taoist perception of the vanity of worldly ambition (such as the aspiration to become a government minister) is not renunciation or weakness, but a clearer perception of priorities. One could become a government minister, but that would be a mere bauble, and a dangerous one at that.
'And pity Sultan Mahmud on his throne'.
Crude ambition pursues success according to the current scale of values. It strongly resents philosophy or the attempt to put into question that scale. Such questions throw into doubt the whole value of achievement, threaten self image.
The criticism is made that philosophy springs from envy and resentment, as if that is an unnecessary motive that we can well do without.
Against this, it is asked, if the ideas and values which govern society are not of the very greatest importance? Is not the rational control of these a most noble aspiration, comparable to the western scientific endeavour, or the urge to the finest artistic achievement?
35, What would be really demoralising would be the realisation that one's work really was obvious drivel. But if I really thought I was wrong I would be happy to give up all claim to originality and follow someone else. What I want essentially, to get my views heard, to get my thought across
47 Buddhist disillusion. Perhaps the Buddhists were as aware as any of the true path of satisfaction as some kind of worldly renown. Italian renaissance values. However, given the despotic conditions that prevailed in those days, personal ambition meant courts, and courts meant creeping before psychopathic sadists, i.e. personal ambition was really dangerous.
100&, Sa'adi. I do not find his commonsense wisdom trite,
there is much that may be fairly obvious on reflection but with which we
do well to impress our minds. The limitations perhaps of such an adequate
religion; with a more plainly inadequate religion one may rebel and become
a free spirit. What is the 'spiritedness' the Greeks spoke of but all conquering
ambition? Sa'adi is resigned. I support his advocacy of contemplative and
drop out ideals, but only as a stage in the exercise of the will to power.
Perhaps one of the advantages of Christianity is the absurdity at the heart
of it. Perhaps we could say that the Gulistan, rather than being against
striving, is only against the confusion that such striving is likely to
bring in a declining form of society. Where stupidity reigns the ambitious
must make themselves stupid.
359, Where did my original ambition spring from in the first place? Surely from an obscure desire for happiness. It must have been conceived as the most joyful expression of power, or vice versa. And yet it becomes a desire so important that one is prepared to renounce joy altogether. All the joy goes out of it and it becomes an obsession. ….
The ambition should merely be part of the will, a purpose, a destiny.
Conceived perhaps as a final crown, but it is self defeating to renounce
all enjoyment for its sake.
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