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The Counter-Currents 2019 Fundraiser
Do Not Throw Away the Hero in Your Soul

Finnish hero Lauri Törni

2,050 words

Our goal this year is to raise $100,000 in order to expand our efforts to build a metapolitical vanguard for White Nationalism. So far, we have received 80 donations totaling $18,115.92. We set our goals high because the task we have before us is formidable, but not impossible. And we need your help to succeed.


I sometimes wonder who I am writing for. I know that a couple of my friends read every essay I post (though recently, one of them has been falling down on the job). Now and then some very gratifying comments are posted. For example, someone will tell me occasionally that my work has made them feel more optimistic. This is the one-hundredth essay I have written for Counter-Currents since 2011, and most of my essays have been intended to inspire and to give moral courage to those in our movement who are feeling black-pilled and pessimistic. (A good example of this is the previous essay I published, “There Has Never Been a Better Time to be Alive: The Ultimate White Pill.”)

Greg Johnson described me somewhere, in some bio or other, as “Counter-Currents’ Underground Man” (an allusion to Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground). This is because I write from the perspective of a man who deals day-to-day with the complete and total alienation he feels from the modern world, and who struggles (just a bit) to hold onto his sanity. This is clearly on display in the very first essay I wrote for Counter-Currents, “I am All Right (A Cry for Help).” I knew from the beginning, instinctively, that many readers would identify with my struggle. And I knew that the most important thing I could do would be to try and give them strength. I believe in what I write, and I believe in our cause. I am profoundly opposed to pessimism and defeatism. Indeed, I feel I have a moral obligation never to succumb to them, no matter how dark my mood. My essays are, in large measure, an attempt to help others resist the black pill.

I recently returned to Nietzsche and reread a section of Thus Spoke Zarathustra that seems uncannily relevant to my mission, and how I see my relation to my audience. The section is entitled “On the Tree on the Mountain.”[1] Zarathustra has descended from his mountain and has been moving amongst the denizens of a town called The Motley Cow. He notices that one young man keeps avoiding him. One evening, while walking alone through the mountains around the town, Zarathustra comes upon this young man, seated under a tree. Zarathustra takes hold of the great tree and says:

If I wanted to shake this tree here with my hands, I would not be able to. But the wind that we do not see torments and bends it wherever it wants. We are bent and tormented worst by invisible hands.

This strikes a chord with the young man. Human beings, Zarathustra explains to him, are like this tree. The more men strive to grow, to “aspire to the heights and the light,” the more they are tormented. They strive upward, but at the same time “their roots strive earthward, downward, into darkness, depths – into evil.”

Isn’t this how it is with all of us, with me and with my readers? We strive to rise above the madness and decay we see around us, even if this means simply trying to understand it better. But as we stretch our branches ever higher, we become more and more alone. Other people start to seem humanoid, or even subhuman. After a while, contempt is just about the only emotion we feel towards them. We spend large portions of the day enraged. It becomes impossible to go anywhere without at least one thing (usually more) setting us off inside. And when, rarely, we encounter some small display of sanity or nobility, some kind words or intelligent actions, we are moved almost to tears. We are dark, dark, dark – and sometimes we feel we are losing our grip.

The young man says to Zarathustra:

I no longer trust myself since aspiring to the heights, and no one trusts me anymore. I’m changing too fast. My today contradicts my yesterday. . . . If I am at the top then I always find myself alone. No one speaks to me, the frost of loneliness makes me shiver.

We know with complete certainty that we are right in our convictions; right in the revulsion we feel toward this modern world. We know that we are superior; that we are justified in feeling contempt for the NPCs, SJWs, and soyboys; the cucks, the RINOs, and the plain-old cowards, weaklings, and scoundrels we see around us. But we become weary of our isolation, weary of the rage. We spend so much time apart, up there in the heights, that it becomes difficult even to converse on a simple level. Perhaps we have to rehearse the words in our heads a bit before speaking to the waitress or the salesclerk. And when the words come out, there is an odd look on their faces. They see our strangeness, but we have no idea how. Alone with our thoughts, we do not spare ourselves. Self-loathing begins to set in. Are we gods, or merely freaks? We feel, to borrow a phrase from Jim Goad, simultaneously superior and inferior to everyone we meet.

The young man asked Zarathustra:

What do I want in the heights? My contempt and my longing grow together; the higher I climb, the more I despise the one who climbs. . . . How ashamed I am of my climbing and stumbling! How I mock my violent panting! How I hate the flying one! How weary I am in the heights!

Zarathustra feels for this young man. He looks at the tree that looms over them and says:

This tree stands here lonely on the mountain; it grew high beyond humans and animals. And if it wanted to speak, it would have no one who understood it: so high it grew. Now it waits and waits – but for what does it wait? It lives too near the clouds’ abode: does it wait for the first lightning bolt?

The young man is profoundly affected by what Zarathustra has said. He begins to weep, and Zarathustra comforts him. After a while they leave that place by the tree on the mountain, and Zarathustra continues to speak. He reassures the young man that he is no freak; that the uneasiness he feels among others and their strange reactions are indeed a reflection of his superiority. “You still feel noble,” he says, “and the others who grudge you and give you the evil eye, they still feel your nobility too. Know that a noble person stands in everyone’s way.”

Nietzsche’s Zarathustra continually emphasizes the necessity of overcoming the merely human, and rising to the level of Overman. In order to do this, old values must be destroyed. Principally, these are the values that have turned men into “beasts of burden” (Zarathustra’s “first metamorphosis,” the camel); the various “thou shalts” of slave morality, the commandments of all life-negating ideologies, including “liberalism.” In order to do this, what is required is a will to destruction that would rage against the old: heap contempt upon it and tear it to pieces. (Zarathustra’s “second metamorphosis,” the lion.)

Nietzsche thus reminds us that we are not “conservatives.” Famously, in a passage in The Twilight of the Idols titled “Whispered to Conservatives,” he warns that we cannot walk backwards like crabs; a return to an earlier time is impossible. We can only go forward – we must go forward; we must create. And Zarathustra says to the young man, “The noble person wants to create new things and a new virtue. The good person wants old things, and for old things to be preserved.” (Here, the “good” person is the conventionally good person, who conforms to the old values.)

Truly, we are not conservatives. We are revolutionaries. But Zarathustra recognizes there is a great danger in the stance of the “noble” man, who would wreck the old order and negate its “thou shalts.” He says to the young man, “It is not the danger of the noble one that he will become a good person, but a churl, a mocker, an annihilator.”

Here, Zarathustra speaks to a danger that truly faces all of us – myself and all my readers. It is the real possibility that eventually, we might be unable to balance our great rage against the present, with the conviction that what we despise will pass away, and that new values will be created. The danger is that we will become overwhelmed with negativity and succumb to hopelessness. Then our “will to destruction” becomes purely negative, and not a necessary stage that precedes a positive, creative act. (The stage of Zarathustra’s “third metamorphosis,” that of the child.)

I see this possibility in my darker moments, and in the darker moments of my friends, some of whom go through “cycles” of pessimism and defeatism. They always come out of those and regain their optimism, and their fighting spirit. But sometimes the troughs of pessimism seem to go deeper, and to last longer than they have before. In my darkest moments of all, I face the possibility that I might one day fall into a bottomless defeatism and be unable to climb out of it. I’ve spent so much time bucking other people up, it doesn’t seem possible. But who knows what the future will bring? – as I age, and as I face still more disappointments, still more outrages. The worst fate is not to fight for a hopeless cause, but to give up fighting altogether and to turn into nothing more than a cynic, a venom-spitting naysayer such as I sometimes encounter in the comments section of this Website.

Zarathustra says to the young man:

Oh, I know noble people who lost their highest hope. And then they slandered all hopes. . . . [The] wings of their spirit broke, and now it crawls around and soils what it gnaws.

What is left for such people? To give up high hopes and “live for the moment”? To abandon themselves to self-indulgence, and distractions? If you believe that all is lost, that it is futile to fight, what else would you do?

How many comrades in this struggle have just disappeared after a while, and stopped answering our e-mails? How many Facebook friends have you seen becoming progressively more black-pilled, drifting from pessimism, to cynicism, to nihilism, then disappearing entirely, pages dismantled, as if vaporized by their own negativity? How many bloggers, gung-ho activists, and would-be streetfighters have seemingly dropped off the face of the Earth in the last few years? What are all these people doing now? Why, they’re “living life,” folks: going to work, watching Netflix, having drinks with a few of their more tolerable normie coworkers, playing video games, going out on rare dates, and suffering through a torrent of vapidity from some acceptable-looking normie chick.

“Once they thought of becoming heroes: now they are libertines,” says Zarathustra. “To them the hero is grief and ghastliness.”

His last words to the young man are among the most memorable in all Nietzsche’s writings: “But by my love and hope I beseech you: do not throw away the hero in your soul! Hold holy your highest hope!” If I had to choose an epigraph to precede everything I have written for Counter-Currents, I would choose these lines of Zarathustra. My aim is to amuse and to inspire; to give others like myself the spiritual fuel they need to carry on and keep the wings of their spirit intact, or to mend broken wings.

If this essay has at all inspired you, if this Website is a source of knowledge, inspiration, and (now and then) joy in your life, then please take a moment right now, before doing anything else, to make a contribution to Counter-Currents/North American New Right.

Thus spoke Costello.


[1] I am using Adrian del Caro’s translation of Zarathustra (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). The section in question appears on pages 29-31. Because all the passages I will quote appear within these three pages, I will not provide individual citations for each quotation.


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  1. Wallace Hartigan
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    This is one of the best essays I have read in a while. I have been prone to being “black pilled” lately and the way the interactions with non-WN people are described is very accurate.

    As an aside, the last few paragraphs struck me as I thought about how many gifted writers, talented podcasters, and intelligent online acquaintances I have seen disappear ever since getting involved in this kind of politics. Sure, it is healthy to take a break every once in a while but it is disheartening to see them seemingly drop off the face of the earth.

  2. John
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this, I’ve been in a Charles Bukowski kind of mood for about a week now – but this essay challenged that disenchantment and brought me back to myself.

    It is true, we are living in a dark time … but we ourselves can be as islands of light – stars floating against the bleakness of our epoch.

    I’d like to purchase a book with your name on it at some point – hook us up!

  3. T kaufman
    Posted July 5, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Those last three words were so right on, so hilarious, i could not resist reaching into my wallet—and believe me, im a penny pincher. Costello has accomplished what no one heretofore has been able to do!

  4. Collin Aisling
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    This essay came at a pivotal time for me.

    The Trump election and the rise of the Alt-Right had the effect of introducing a new social world of podcasts, paying actual attention to politics, and learning to adapt to the personalities and interests of White Nationalists who were less cerebral and more into entertainment.

    Each of us has to decide how best to use our talents and “spend ourselves to save the world”, and now I have the task of re-acquainting myself with that austere attitude that focuses less on video and audio content, and more on history and great works of art. Maybe I’m not alone in this experience.

    The real black pill isn’t “losing” in our metapolitical struggle. The real black pill is to have given up on having made a difference personally. To sit by passively and watch world events fly by like clouds.

  5. Alexandra O
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Don’t wait until the burqas begin appearing in your neighbourhood. I’m in Merrie Olde England, and it is quite depressing except when I get out into the countryside or into a 19th Century room at an art museum, where I usually have the whole place to myself. Art is no longer important to Millennials, Socialists, and/or most immigrants. Will be sending a donation by snail mail, since I don’t trust English internet. Thanks for all the great posts recently — it does keep me sane. Remember, I am in the country that does not — or cannot — fly its own flag.

  6. Matthias
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Excellent essay! I’m already a monthly donator – anyone can do something, and Counter-Currents is certainly worth at least a feckin’ dollar (lel).

  7. Afterthought
    Posted July 6, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    A worthy offering.

    But to the disaffected: Pessimism is unwarranted: we will win once we get a clue and realize America is dead and has to be swiftly replaced.

    The current doldrums of the movement is that of a fledgling peering over the edge of the nest, unwilling to take the plunge.

    Fortunately the Enemy is choosing Acceleration for us.

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