On Desperation

In life you need either inspiration or desperation.

Dualism of Desperation

The mass of men, lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” 
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Desperation is seldom talked about, perhaps for the good reason that the majority of the masses have never been truly desperate. Yes, indeed, they are “quietly desperate”, but they tolerate this existence. Because they see no way out. “It has always been like this, this is the way it is.”

Desperation often stems from the lack of an avenue. For if there was an even generalized path towards what they wanted, many would not be desperate. But uncertainty clouds their minds and the path.

They are trapped, both by circumstance and themselves. Life becomes quicksand sucking both energy and hope. Undirected thrashing leads to greater dismay. Till they are nothing but husks. They tolerate the mundanity and the desperation that follows.

People’s situations are ultimately determined by what they are willing tolerate.

Perhaps a controversial statement, but, if the World breaks you, you will just lay down and die.

But you know of another desperation, other than the Thoreau quote. The kind that rejects the quietness, that of maniacs and artists. Of the cornered wounded animal. It is an untamed ferocity, frenzied and deranged thrashing wildly to escape.

True desperation.

It is this, that we will explore.

Desperation & Devotion

The line between desperation and devotion is thinly veiled. Anxiety being the thread. You border upon madness. For no half measures can be taken. Desperation instills a desire rivalled by no other emotion.

The desperate man gets what he wants, but if he is willing to pay any price it must be something worth his very Soul. Artists are perhaps the most desperate because everything is at stake. Their job, their values, and their identity itself.

However, most do not take kindly to the actions of the desperate man for they consciously or unconsciously understand that the desperate man has no limits, no boundaries, no red lines. And Society operates on the idea of the expected notion of “Civility”. The desperate man is not “Civil” he is uncouth by his very nature, deaf, dumb, and blind to everything in the World except for the goal. The desperate man cannot be “Civil” for they cannot compromise on their goal. Nothing is depraved in this pursuit.

Their Goal is possessive in the most literal sense. The person you or Society has come to know, is not themselves, merely a homunculus for the Pursuit. Their eyes showcase their soul is transfixed upon it. The relentless ravenous yearning. Hence why the desperate have an “Aura” about them. Anxiety and instability permeates. They become berserk reckless with bloodlust for the pursuit. Sometimes even after the Goal has been achieved.

Desperation as a Tool

I don't think human beings learn anything without desperation. Desperation is a necessary ingredient to learning anything or creating anything. ~ Jim Carrey

“Those who play with the Devil's toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

Desperation as a tool to get out of circumstances can be, and is quite useful, however, the “Aura” stains the Soul if inhabited too long; for it leads to a one dimensional life. Everything revolves around the Pursuit. One can see this with addicts, converts or fad diet users. Their desperation for fulfilment leads to zealotry. Agree or scoff, but when was the last time you were as zealous as a vegan about anything?

But most do not want to make such a hefty commitment. The price for leaving comfortability is indeed steep. Hence some purpose a moderate solution. A half measure. For short period you are intensely focused. This is often called “Monk Mode” on Twitter, and it can be useful. Though this is not the essay to explain how to.

But even Twitter’s “Monk Mode” is half-hearted. If one can throw themselves into such a wild frenzy on command why do it some of the time? Why do it for such minor goals? Perhaps your achievements are small enough to be obtained, through these methods; but the wildest, and biggest achievements require true dedication. To be a jihadi for the Goal, the Cause. Whatever it takes, whatever it costs, the price will be paid. If it takes a week or a decade so be it. Achievement or Death. No other alternatives. It is the only reason why Benjamin Franklin even stood a chance.

We look upon the Addict stealing from their own flesh and blood with disgust, yet laud the Artist who did the same but made it.

It is the same mechanism all the same.

Because desperation is the other side of devotion.

People praise Elon for SpaceX, but do not know the true suffering of living on their friends couch unable to make the rent. To spend their last dollar chasing their dreams. To feel the helplessness and live in anxiety. To wonder where their next meal will come from. They see the result of the gamble, but have never been a gambler themselves.

The seconds when the outcome is uncertain, and everything is in Fate’s hands.

To use Desperation as a tool is to do a deal with God or the Devil: Devotion, tenacity, and an increased likelihood of success in anything, for the price of everything else.

Your wealth, health, relationships, reputation, livelihood


Desperation is most effective when it is not a willing tool. The effects of self imposition are minor in comparison to forced action. Cortez burned the boats for this exact reason.

True “Monk Mode” requires you to go to into the Abyss and lay upon the Altar everything and more. It is not a casual process that one just decides to do one Sunday afternoon. It is a blood pact, which is eternal until circumstances change drastically enough to warrant a new identity.

It is to gamble everything to pursue that of which is unobtainable.

So what say you friend, care to roll the dice?

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