Nicolas Sampson

Sampson is a writer-producer based in Cyprus and the UK. His work has appeared in Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, The Scofield, and The Writers’ Magazine, among others. His short story Flames and Shadows was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize. Film projects include Behind the Mirror(writer/producer – winner of Best Thriller in the Manhattan Film Festival 2015), Vita and Virginia and Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall(executive producer). He loves Alfred Hitchcock films. And traveling. And the Cloud. And is currently working on a psychological horror script.

Even Gods Die

When all else fails we whip the horse’s eye. Jimmy screams. Nietzsche weeps. God dies and we lament, swept away by the madness of murder.

We are now beyond good and evil. Gods ourselves. Lonely. Bored. Prone to ending each other to pass the time.

What else can the omnipotent do than destroy themselves?

We give rise to creatures who destroy and replace us in turn. As simple as that.

The romantics among us frown in denial. Willful destruction is not an option. Divinity is nobler than that, free from circumstance and vice, they say.

God, they insist, does not play games.

It’s funny. One look at our world is all it takes to undo the make-believe. Our setup’s brutal nature rises to greet us, its camouflage of goodness in shreds. Reality is a representation of who we are. Dress it up all we want, or pretend we never saw behind the veil, but we can’t roll back the insight: our actions came – and come – with repercussions, the effects of which we have to deal with.

We love to blame God, the devil, or some other supernatural entity for our ills, but the truth points much closer to home: the human condition itself. The architects of our destiny, like it or not, are us. We live inside the world we’ve crafted, suffering our very own power. We ponder on our children, and our grandchildren, and our friends’ children, and our acquaintances’ children – life we’ve created from scratch – and realize that God is not out there, a conjuration of faith and religious dogma to Whom we may abandon ourselves, come what may. (What a copout that would be.) God, we realize, is down here, among us, within us. About us. Conscientious and active, an indefatigable presence that determines life.

In essence, we embody the divine at all times, our influence etched in our environs. We are gods ourselves, the core and soul of a world in the making.

Alas, Time, absolute ruler, takes its toll, as it should, and does. We suffer its unyielding advances without exception. Once upon a time rising, supreme and brilliant – peaking, cresting – we, the force and fire of the show, decline with age. We slump, recede, fall through the air, down on our faces and backs, on top of each other, on our slow way out, the slow drift of the years taking over, making space for our progeny.

A beautiful arrangement, but not without an edge. The changing of the guard is a painful affair. Our successors are ruthless. It’s their turn to rule and create. They mustn’t hesitate, lest they flounder. They must hurry. Before they know it the years will fly by, as they did with us, and they’ll be displaced by their offspring in turn, ousted and expelled so that the ascending may ascend and give shape to their own new world, ad hoc, ad infinitum.

It’s a brutal arrangement, natural but wicked, if you believe in good and evil. Children displacing parents, the youth eating up the old so that life may go on… It’s nasty and rough.

Our setup, in fact, feels saturated with evil (paradox abound) as abundant and pervasive as the morals with which we try to gloss it over. We reach for that camouflage again, desperate to make ourselves feel good about who we are and the way we operate. The mere notion of being evil terrifies so much, we don’t care if we are. All that matters is that we feel good about ourselves or appear to be good.

Appearances, it seems, trump essence.

(On a similar note, have you noticed how evil stands out? If there’s evil in what’s good, what’s good becomes questionable i.e. not good enough. If, on the other hand, there’s good in evil, it’s a compromised and cynical arrangement.

In other words, we’re obsessed with evil, desperate not to be associated with it, and yet can’t seem to shake it. Once conceived, it seeps into everything. Like entropy, time’s unruly child, it leaves its mark everywhere.)

Food for thought.

The more one thinks about it, of course, these terms – good, evil – are meaningless. Derivative. Value-laden. Presumptive and sanctimonious – a function of overanalyzing the world.

Good vs. evil: a made-up dichotomy, self-gratifying and insubstantial. The vocabulary that hosts it is terrified of its own shadow.

It’s also riddled with loopholes, cheat codes designed to uphold one’s a priori belief systems and the righteousness they serve.

The mental contortionism is astounding.

Rather than posture over something that shifts without end – my privilege, your burden, by the grace of Good – how about getting on with it, calling the process Life and worshiping IT (not Good)… worship and weep for Life itself. How about we fight for it, experience and savor it, as is stands. Kneel before it, if need be. Suffer it, strain under it, consumed by the savage grace with which the world suffers the lashes of those whose time is upon us.

Nietzsche weeps at the sight of the beaten horse. The horse dies and is replaced. Once glorious, now broken, like all things in the grip of time, the beast is a symbol of how things stand – or fall – in the wake of change. The world moves on. The carriage moves forth. The road is eaten up, one step at a time, one week, one year, one lifetime and generation in turn, and so is the rider, and so is the carriage and the wheel and everything else, substituted in due course. Like it or not, we are put to use – tested, fixed, and restored in some cases, remaining in operation until we’re worn out, discarded and replaced by those who succeed us. To live is to die, to rise and fall, making way for the coming generations, living and dying like mortal gods – the glory and the lash – until our world turns sideways and the tears mark the beginning of another age, another wave, ad hoc, ad infinitum.

PS – Here’s the opening scene from Béla Tarr’s / Ágnes Hranitzky’s iconic movie The Turin Horse, a story inspired by the beast that caused Nietzsche’s breakdown.

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