The Protestant work ethic once specified that “the faithful of the true faith” should dedicate their work to God and God’s purpose. In some ways, it resembles the fifth element of the Buddhist Eightfold Path, right livelihood.
But, as Nietzsche noted, God died, and so also did the Sponsor and therewith the foundations of the Protestant work ethic. Today, it lurks about like a zombie — merely a ghost and shadow of its original meaning. Today, one does not dedicate one’s work to God and God’s purposes for creation. Instead, one sacrifices oneself to Work, and without understanding why. Even workaholism, economism, and productivism have their roots in a decayed morality of the fallen — from morality into moralism.
It’s an example of how once vital principles decay over time into devitalised and unconscious ones, becoming mere ideology, slavishly obeyed and suffered like the devil’s whip upon the back.
Looking at this photograph of Anders Behring Breivik in The Montreal Gazette this morning — with his dead, soulless eyes bearing testimony to his own description of how he deliberately went about making himself inhuman, orc-like, the very picture of nihilism — I was reminded of a song by the Canadian folk rock band Spirit of the West called “Pin-up Boy”
You “Beautiful Souls” with your beautiful ways
And beautiful delusions…
Will learn the truths of Ugliness too
Some terrible day.