He will come, and his name is the man-god. – Kirillov, Demons.

Free from the confines of traditional religion, the spiritual halves of our selves wants for fulfillment; thirsts for answers; wanders aimlessly in a world becoming increasingly rooted in materialistic consumerism. The ever-pervading consternation over the existence of a God plagues the mind and soul with grief and torment. However, consider the question in a different light: does the absence of an omniscient metaphysical entity necessarily entail the non-existence of the metaphysical? Or can this God be found elsewhere? With this in mind, let’s look at this supposition of Kirillov’s: If there is no God, then I am God … [If there is no God], the will is all mine, and it is my duty to proclaim self-will. Is it possible that we are God—that I am God? Or that God is tied with my being; my consciousness—my Unique?

Perhaps the concept of an inner deity—the essence of the man-god—may be found or at least be related to the idea of the Creative Nothing. As Max Stirner puts it in The Unique and Its Property, I am not nothing the sense of emptiness, but am the creative nothing, the nothing out of which I myself create everything as creator. The creative nothing is not something easily comprehensible; it is the essence of our beings free from external influences, human-defined concepts, and fixed ideas—it is our Unique. Our perceptions of reality are shaped by the will of our Unique to accept or reject external concepts. Let’s take the simple example of the concept of stealing. The majority of people see stealing as morally wrong, and view that those who steal are those who are morally corrupt. The ire of the people is directed towards petty robbers (e.g., shoplifters). My reality differs. My reality is that the conditions of society make robbery inevitable. As to petty robbers, are they really to blame when they steal from Targets and Walmart, when all the Targets, Walmarts, Amazons, and so forth exploit—that is, steal—our surplus-value every single day? The bourgeoisie are the great robbers of our time and live in profligate and rapacious excess at the expense of the exploited. Yet, the greatest robbers, in modern times and all of human history, are admired and revered; as Zhuangzi pointed out, He who steals a belt buckle is executed, but he who steals a state becomes a feudal lord. And as to the existence of great robbers, Zhuangzi sardonically explains:

To guess where the treasure is hidden is sagacity. To be the first to go in is courage. To be the last to leave is responsible conduct. To judge whether a job can succeed or not is wisdom. To distribute the loot equally is humankindness. No one can become a great robber without these five virtues!
To put this in another way, the introduction of human-defined concepts and morals leads to the existence of great robbers. More generally, building up the concept of good necessarily begets the concept of bad, much like yin begets yang. What do our Creative Nothings have to do with such flimsy and deleterious rubbish? But this rubbish—this indoctrinated propaganda—is what leads an average person to hate a local shoplifter rather than the bourgeois baron robbers.

The bourgeoisie get away with their robbery through—propaganda. Indeed, propaganda is used to alter the reality of subjects as to have the subjects believe in a reality that benefits the propagandist. More generally, anything that alters or attempts to alter another’s reality is propaganda. Put even more simply, to quote George Orwell: all art is propaganda. The intention of whatever we create as a piece of art is to alter the reality of its consumers—consider the fact that the intention of this essay is to alter your reality. The power of the man-god lies in our power to change reality.

But first, how does art affect reality? The answer lies in the Hegelian dialectical movement of experience. This concept explains that our consciousness actively creates experience from inputs from the external world. These experiences are subject to our own interpretations, and one external input can create differing realities for different people. Each external input we experience, no matter how minor, changes our conception of reality by changing our relations to the external world. On the subjectiveness of our reality based on our relations to the external world, Zhuangzi explains:

For to be a ‘this’ is in fact also to be a ‘that,’ and every ‘that’ is also a ‘this.’ ‘THAT’ is then itself already both ‘this’ and ‘not-this,’ both a right and a wrong. But ‘THIS’ is also itself already both ‘this’ and not-this,’ both right and a wrong …. A state where ‘this’ and ‘not-this—right and wrong—are no longer coupled as opposites is called Course as axis, the axis of all courses.”
Indeed, external concepts, fixed ideas, reality—all of these are fluid and subjective. The broadcasting of “this’s” and “that’s” is what changes the reality of others. The artist—nay, the propagandist—changes reality by modifying our relationships to “this’s” and “that’s.”

So, creation of a work of art imparts new realities onto others (i.e., observers of our art). In tandem, the creator and the observer develop reality—both the material and the metaphysical irrecoverably change upon experience. From a meta point of view, the common consciousness of all of humanity creates all of observable reality. In this way, we are all connected by a metaphysical force beyond comprehension and (perhaps) scientific observation; in this way we are all—individually and collectively—Gods. Those whom flow with this force—whom delve into the creative nothing; whom exert their will on reality—become Gods. Those who create become God.

  1. References and quotes to Demons by Dostoeveski refer to the Pevear and Volokhonsky translations
  2. References and quotes to Zhuangzi by Zhuangzi refer to Zhuangzi—The Complete Writings translated by Brook Ziporyn
  3. References and quotes to The Unique and Its Property refer to the Wolfi Landstreicher translation

Have any thoughts, comments, or criticisms? Please feel free to contact me at kirillov88@protonmail.org