The third level of being: beyond villains and victims

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is no merit in being a loser, whatever the losers tell themselves. But when wicked men prosper – people so vile that we cannot admire them no matter how we try – what are we to think?

I have been the self righteous loser, seeing all sorts of expediencies as beneath me. But the universe did not seem to share my point of view. My “righteousness” was not rewarded. Then it dawned on me: empirically, the bastards are more favored by the universe than those of what Nietzsche called the slave morality. But they’re still bastards. That makes the so-called humble worse than bastards. Blessed are the meek? It doesn’t look that way.

Realizing this, I have sought for a third level, above the bastards exactly as the bastards are above the losers. I think the most important clue is to observe how the evil fall. They do what is expedient – what works, but what works only up to a point. And they seem to me to lack self awareness. Aside from a kind of animal cunning, they are quite stupid. They don’t know – or care – how to do anything right except acquire and hold on to power.

But the “righteous” are even more stupid. The only reason the righteous don’t fall is that they’re already at the bottom. They say that if they had the power, they would use it better. But they don’t have the power, and they never will, so they will never do any great good deeds in the world. Their virtue is meaningless, because everything is meaningless without power.

This is part of my spiritual quest now, my empirical search for the true God. God is as God does, and His works constitute the universe. The third level is what the universe rewards, and thus is a window into the mind of God. It’s pointless to say “God is good” without defining the good. I reverse it: define “good” as whatever God seems to value. Ad how do you determine that? By observing what the universe rewards.

So there is short term expediency, and there is what, for want of a better phrase, long term expediency. And here’s the complication: the universe rewards some people at first, then – at some point, for some reason – turns on them. It’s not at all enlightening to say “divine retribution for their sins.” Why were these so-called sins tolerated for so long? “Because God is patient” adds nothing. It merely rephrases. Patient why? No, these facile responses won’t do. They won’t do because they don’t tell me what to do. Job was told to repent of his sins – by frenemies who couldn’t even say what his sins were. Not helpful.

This is the central question of all worthwhile philosophy or religion: how should we then live? Specifically, how? Anything that does not address that question is meaningless talk. Anything that gives the wrong answer is even worse.

I’m interested in the fall of the mighty, but not for the purpose of morally smug gloating. There is something sickening about how losers rejoice in the fall of the wicked, even when the downfall brings no tangible benefit to said losers. Pure schadenfreude dressed in sanctimony, spirituality at its ugliest.

In the meantime, it’s “just you wait!” Well, one gets sick of waiting after a while, feeling as if divine justice has stood you up. Then, finally, far too late, the wicked fall, and you notice that you’re no better off. Well, I notice anyway. Others are too stupid to care. The wheels of cosmic justice grind slow, and in the end justice just isn’t worth the wait. What do I care if the wicked get their comeuppance while the downtrodden remain in their lowly position? What good is it if the evil king is overthrown only after the kingdom lies in smoldering ruins?

Meanwhile, the “humble” do nothing to oppose the rise of those they despise. Nothing. They want to be peaceful, because they think that by being the slightest bit forceful they will thus stoop to the moral depravity of the ruthless winners. It’s a very binary way of thinking. They seem unable to conceive of a third option.

Certain thinkers have made good progress on figuring out how the wicked rise. It has to do with something called a Dark Triad. Whoever named it that had envy in his heart, but never mind. Now I want to know how they fall. I want to know the mechanism, and see if it can be avoided. Because if they fall as a result of their evil, then whatever turns out to be the exact cause of their fall must by definition be evil. But if they fall because of divine intervention, punishment without a crime is purely arbitrary, and there is no point in trying to appease an arbitrary God. So it still comes back to: what is it they do that leads to their downfall?

Here’s another clue: history is full of great men who made the world a better place while themselves prospering. Great inventors who enhanced our quality of life with their inventions. Great warriors who overthrew tyrants and then became enlightened rulers. These, surely, are occupants of the third tier. They are neither losers nor bastards. We should not merely celebrate them. We should study them, with a mind to emulating their successes.

Then there are those who simply never had any difficulties to overcome in the first place, but somehow remember to be humble regardless. I call these the Pain Virgins. They don’t do a lot of good aside from some questionable charity efforts. But they don’t do any real harm either. It’s no point trying to emulate these, because there’s nothing to emulate. It’s not actionable to say “be lucky and/or privileged.” We don’t have a choice about that. Some of them are aware enough of their privilege to feel guilty about it, as if it were somehow their own fault. This is stupid. It’s true they haven’t earned their advantage, but they haven’t stolen it either.

So the third tier is divided into these two parts: the immigrants who rose there by their own virtue, and the natives who were lucky enough to be born there.

Whenever you rise a level, you can no longer relate to your former peers in the same way. They will resent and envy your success. I think they also hate you for refuting their excuse of helplessness. This is no great loss. You can pity the losers, but despise the scoundrels. (There is no one to resent, but you left resentment behind you long ago.) Now you can bask in the well earned approval of the universe.

Are there tiers above this third tier? My reading of the book Of Job hints strongly that there is much more to the picture than just losers, scoundrels, heroes and the privileged. But this is going beyond what I know. As for what I’ve figured out thus far, I’ve made a chart:

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