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On Potential

hamlet1,121 words

German translation here

Dear X,

I’m too young to be giving you “fatherly” advice, and you’re too old to welcome it, but we need to push past such merely personal inhibitions and focus instead on the reality of your situation and the truth of what I have to say. 

You’re past 30, and you aren’t happy with your life. You feel that you have not lived up to your potential, that you’ve got little to show for your time and efforts, and you’re right. I don’t wish to slight your very real accomplishments, and neither should you. But we both know that you could have done more, and that awareness gnaws at you.

I have seen this in a lot of young men around your age. I would almost call it generational, but it straddles the end of Generation X and the beginning of the Millennial Generation, say 1980 to ’85. I suspect that it has peaked though, since with each passing year young white men are facing diminished objective possibilities.

It is only natural to praise the young for their potential, since they haven’t had the time to accomplish much. But being a bright young man is fleeting. It is the nature of things that there will always be brighter, younger men coming up behind you. So of course people look for real accomplishments as time passes. “Unbounded potential” is high praise at 20, but it rings hollow at 30, and by 40 it is just a euphemism for loser.

What is your potential? Potentiality is what you can do, what you can become. Potentiality is more than just abstract possibility, mere conceivability. Potentiality can be actualized. A potential that cannot be actualized is a contradiction in terms. It is just a dream. Potentiality is the possibility of accomplishment. But it is more than just possibility, it is also potency, the ability to accomplish something.

We always have more potentialities than accomplishments, particularly when we are young. When you are in high school, you can contemplate going to college, going into the military, going into a trade, staying at home, etc. But when you decide on one course, you close off others. When you get to college, you can choose many different majors and career paths. But choosing one closes off others. Any real potentiality can be actualized, but you can’t actualize them all at the same time, in the same life. In short, decision and action destroy potentialities, i.e., they close off options; they make potentialities into mere dreams. But decision and action are necessary for accomplishment.

Great potential is a gift, but it is also a curse. Oftentimes, people with less potential accomplish more, because they tarry less in weighing their options and setting their course in life.

Closing off options is often painful and tragic if you ardently desire a whole range of incompatible possibilities. But, in the long run, keeping your options open is far worse than closing some off, for just as action destroys potentialities, keeping one’s options open impedes action and prevents accomplishment. Accomplishment requires decision, commitment, focus, and hard work, but these are incompatible with keeping one’s options open. Accomplishment is possible only by closing off options, killing incompatible potentialities, including letting go of some dreams that can no longer be realized.

Very few people have second careers, and virtually nobody has two careers at the same time. To refuse to decide between two options is, in the end, to decide on neither of them, for you will end up doing neither of them well. The best that most of us can hope for is a successful career, a successful family life, and a couple of hobbies. You can’t have two careers, or two families, without in effect reducing them all to hobbies, which means you’ll never amount to much. The reason that Renaissance men are confined to the Renaissance is that with the subsequent development of the arts and sciences, it is virtually impossible for one man to excel in more than one field.

These necessities weigh even more heavily on White Nationalists, since we are aware of a terrifying possibility: the extinction of our race. This awareness entails an immense and all-consuming imperative: to regain control of our racial destiny — to wrench us off the path to extinction and to resume the path to the stars. That imperative forces us to make momentous choices: are we to be part of the problem or part of the solution? Are we to be explicit White Nationalists or secret agents? Are we to make a career of White Nationalism or a mere hobby? We need all of the above, but we don’t need people who vacillate constantly and never really become anything.

In short, before we can make any of those choices, we have to make a more fundamental one: we can to choose to be something, to be something actual, which closes off other options and gives our life a distinct course and meaning — or we can choose to be nothing in particular, to preserve our potentialities, to keep our options open, and thus to drift through life without focus, accomplishing nothing and thereby failing ourselves and our people.

Of course nobody would choose the second option stated so baldly. But choosing to be something or someone in particular means putting many cherished dreams to death, and many people are so enchanted by their dreams that they lose sight of the cost of preserving them. The greater one’s potential, the more options one must sacrifice for self-actualization.

Others fail to realize their potential because they live in the past, consumed with guilt, regret, and “what ifs . . .” This is just another form of dreaming, since the past cannot be changed. It might have been different, but once events have taken place, they cannot be undone. One cannot live in the past or act in the past. Those options are closed. One has to accept that fact and return to the living present, where we can choose to pursue one of the futures that are still possible for us.

In the end, if you refuse to let go of the options that you are keeping open, the dreams you are cherishing, and the wounds you are licking, they will be extinguished anyway by death. Your only real choice is whether you will look back at the end of your life on a long record of solid accomplishments — a finely crafted edifice — or a junk heap of false starts, unfinished business, moral failures, and childish dreams.

I know you have the intelligence to understand your predicament and the courage to face it. So in the end, I have no doubt that you will make the right decision.

Your friend,


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  1. An actual Australian
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 5:23 am | Permalink


  2. Peter Quint
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Good read, from what I read I agree wholeheartedly. I am a loser by all conventional standards. You cannot choose your parents or the conditions you were born into. I am a high school drop-out; I have no job; no wife; no children and no mortgage. However, I did retire from the army after twenty years. I now have an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts; a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Psychology. All of them useless degrees of course, but I still made the best of my opportunities. I lie, cheat, steal and pollute when I can–why, because I despise the culture in which we live. But, having said all that, my point is that my life still has meaning. I have rejected contemporary standards of success; I am a White Nationalist and while I have the breath of life within me I will contribute and work for my people. Every year I set a goal of contributing a little more to our cause. I know I have a good and meaningful life because I strive for my race. For those that are unsatisfied with life read of our ancestor’s trials and tribulations. We live like kings and queens compared to them.

    • Mimir's Well
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


      While I believe that the very pinnacle of success must include procreation, I applaud those that do have not, but recognize that “failing,” and contribute in other meaningful ways. Thank you for your service!

    • Jaego
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      The Desert Fathers left the dying Greco-Roman Civilization and laid the foundations of Monasticism – and the Civilization to come. Some of us will have to do the same perhaps. How can a new Civilization come into being if all the intelligent people are still identifying with the old one?

  3. Evan
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    We’ve never met. How did you know what I’m going through?

    Well-written. Thank you for your work.

  4. WG
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Very wise. This should be required reading for young white men. I can see it being published at a Manosphere blog.

  5. Mimir's Well
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    ““Unbounded potential” is high praise at 20, but it rings hollow at 30, and by 40 it is just a euphemism for loser.”
    Great line! Much wisdom encapsulated in that one sentence.

  6. Il Gattopardo
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this Greg. Wise words.

  7. Pete
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Good advice, felt like you spoke to me directly;)
    I´ll will start focusing my thoughts and actions in one particular way.

  8. Jim
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Good and sensible words. Although I will add, that sometimes resistance to being co-opted or pigeon-holed by approved Capitalist “roles” in the market place can end up looking (and feeling) very much like the example of the man who has failed to live up to his potential(s)…and therein lies a dilemma.

    • Hyperborean
      Posted February 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Well said. I have spent the last several years struggling with this dilemma.

  9. Rodger
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant article. I have spent many years trying to work out how to get self-actualize; but now I know why I, at 31, I have lived the life I have.

    I think the concept of potentialities and cutting off options is something I’ve always struggled with. I think, maybe due to an inherent independence of mind, I have often tried to be empirical about my own abilities (taking IQ tests, asking people for ”honest” evaluations, etc.); but I should really just do what I’m good at: nothing!

    No, I am a good ground worker and I reckon I could have made it as a professional boxer if I wasn’t so dam insane. Thanks, I have learned something that many years of ”thinking” has never achieved.

  10. Ulf Larsen
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink


    Greg, Trevor Lynch ought to review the brilliant Swedish film Play (2011):
    (It is available with English subtitles, both on DVD and torrents.)

    It is documentary style drama about the interaction between black and white kids in today’s Sweden, and about how the grown-ups around them react (that is, not at all, since they are PC). It is the most (unintentionally) honest portrayal of black behavior I have ever seen on film – although the (failed) purpose is for us to feel sorry for them, for reasons I can’t imagine. This is about the everyday experience of Swedish kids in multicultural Europe: if you don’t feel the urge to fight for nationalism after seeing this movie, you are lost.

  11. Hyperborean
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    This is certainly an article that I can relate with. After turning 30 this last fall i’ve been left reflecting on the fact that i’ve done nothing with my life since my existential crisis at the end of college, and basically retreated from the world to my family farm.

    This drives my family nuts as they’ve always considered me their star pupil, overflowing with talent which I do nothing with; and frankly I cannot blame them, although their disgust does little to motivate me.

    After the breakdown of my Marxist worldview I cannot bring myself to care about pursing the conventional Western lifestyle of building a career, making a family, and paying the mortgage. That path has nothing to offer me and is no longer capable of giving any real meaning to my life. Why invest time and energy building a life on the sinking ship that is Western Civilization? Instead I find myself waiting for the collapse to come, or for a movement to appear which is worth investing in.

    My family and peers are incapable of understanding this, and all my efforts to enlighten them have been wasted because the last thing they want to do is let go of their illusions and wake up. I have grown quite disillusioned and no longer waste my time trying to teach the blind to see.

    I feel like Neo waking up from the matrix and realizing that is entire life had been a lie, that his culture was just an illusion, and that everyone he knows and cares about is basically a brainwashed drone working as a willing participant in their racial destruction. Although I am always searching, I have never met another person in real life who has managed to wake themselves up from this talmudic mind control matrix. I find the alienation crippling to the point of being unbearable at times.

    Perhaps Greg can offer some advice? I would like to devote my life to fighting for our race but it seems their is little one can do at this point besides trying to educate ones peers and my efforts in that direction have accomplished little. Perhaps you could follow up with an article on how to apply ones “potential” the most important way possible, helping to save our race.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks for this. I would be happy to talk to you about your life specifically. But if you want some general, one size-fits-all advice, here it is. Be a good man first. Then think of how you can advance the White Nationalist cause.

      1. Find a way of making a living, and do a good job of it. Try to be self-employed, if possible, because you will be more independent than if you work for someone else.

      2. Find a community in which there are a number of like-minded but personable people. Just being a WN is not good enough. They have to be decent people all around, or you are better off avoiding them altogether.

      3. Develop healthy habits: don’t smoke, don’t drink to excess, eat well, exercise, etc.

      4. If you are of good stock, with no racial admixture or genetic defects, find a similar woman and start a family. Ultimately, the only serious answer to the existential problems of meaning and mortality is to carry on your family line.

      5. Become a respected member of your community. Take on some civic responsibilities, and do a good job. Become someone that people admire. If you are cut out for leadership, this is how you learn.

      6. At that point, decide on whether to be an explicit WN or a secret agent, and act accordingly.

      7. Do not waste your time and energy posting comments in WN chat rooms. Spend that time and energy improving yourself, your livelihood, your family’s life, your community, etc.

      • Mimir's Well
        Posted February 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Great response to what was in essence the question, “What is the purpose of life?” Especially number 4!

      • me
        Posted March 1, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Greg wrote: 7. Do not waste your time and energy posting comments in WN chat rooms.

        I guess that means we shouldn’t be posting here in the comments section?

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted March 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          You shouldn’t be wasting time on it.

          • me
            Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

            Years ago, I had a button that actually said “Don’t waste time reading buttons.”

    • Sandy
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 3:47 am | Permalink

      Instead I find myself waiting for the collapse to come, or for a movement to appear which is worth investing in

      There won’t be a collapse and there won’t be a rapture. If the dollar fails assets will boom: life goes on. Civil unrest is apparent in the Ukraine, Venezuela, Spain and Thailand. It will be here soon enough as people get fed up of government corruption.

      As for saving the race. Well, you live on a farm so deep down you know that trees must be pruned and from time to time the herd must be thinned. Its that time. You are here so you have found your “movement.” Greg gave some excellent advice which you would do well to follow. Also,you are young and blessed to be alive at a time of rejuvenation. There is nothing new under the sun and what was will be again. There is a time to love and a time to hate,a time to gather in and a time to cast out. You live in a wonderful time Hyperborean (and Peter Quint), a wonderful time. Seize the moment.

  12. Jaego
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Great advice for ordinary times but perhaps not now. The more specialized one’s position the more one fears to lose it. Thus the longer for job could become a Sword of Damocles over the head of the White Nationalist who fears discovery. Of course it we develop our own businesses and whole economy, then we will be in much stronger position.

  13. Zarathustra
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    This resonated so deeply with me. Thank you Greg. I like to think that the intelligent mature like a fine wine. It takes us longer to become centred, unlike others who resemble moonshine, but when we do, we are something more complex and beautiful.

  14. Jim
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I would recommend that everyone reading this take particular note of Greg’s “explicit WN/secret agent” dichotomy. Read the links he provided, if you haven’t already done so.

    This is a very important strategy. I can personally attest to the cost of vacilation on these two approaches. If I had been in possession of the “secret agent” idea back when I worked in a major company in a major field, I could have acquitted myself in a more personally satisfying way, and done something for my people.

    As it was, I either felt traitorous half the time, or was digging my own grave the other half. Which added up to 100% of the time feeling miserable and doing my people little, if any, good.

    I urge everyone who is still “on the grid” to think very hard about what Greg has written above. Also think of how the Left used institutions on their “long march”. This stuff works, it just takes time and some subterfuge. We WNs tend to mistrust (and even be disgusted by) subterfuge, but our enemies sure employed it well, didn’t they?

  15. N.E.M.
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I wanted to post this comment to bring attention to readers and the editor of an upcoming video game that could potentially be reviewed and critiqued from a New Right perspective, “Wolfenstein: New Order” coming out in May.
    Before I am accused of superfluousness, let me point out that there are many movie reviews on this website by Trevor Lynch, including of the film “Inglorious Basterds”. If there is value in critiquing movies, then surely there should be value in critiquing video games? There are two reasons why WN should pay attention to first-person-shooters.

    1. First-person-shooters are the most profitable and most consumed games. That is to say that millions of young White men in this country and abroad are playing and being influenced by them.
    2. The history of the first-person-shooter genre is somewhat tied in with racialist thought and perspective as the first popular FPS game was 1992’s “Wolfenstein 3d”.

    Here is a trailer for the game, that is blocked by youtube (probably much to the publisher’s chagrin). I have used the useful hack in which one replaces the /watch?v= with /v/ in the url so that you may view it without a youtube account. The second video is a gameplay preview that I found.

    The story takes place in an alternate 1960’s London, where the Third Reich won the Second World War and have conquered the world. In any case, I just thought I would bring this up so that perhaps the editor could have one of the younger writers play, review, and critique it.

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