By Greg Johnson. Original: On Potential, published on Counter-Currents Publishing/North American New Right on February 27, 2013. (Deutsche Übersetzung: hier)
German translation here
I’m too young to be giving you “fatherly” advice, and you’re too old to welcome it, but we need to push past such merely personal inhibitions and focus instead on the reality of your situation and the truth of what I have to say.
You’re past 30, and you aren’t happy with your life. You feel that you have not lived up to your potential, that you’ve got little to show for your time and efforts, and you’re right. I don’t wish to slight your very real accomplishments, and neither should you. But we both know that you could have done more, and that awareness gnaws at you.
I have seen this in a lot of young men around your age. I would almost call it generational, but it straddles the end of Generation X and the beginning of the Millennial Generation, say 1980 to ’85. I suspect that it has peaked though, since with each passing year young white men are facing diminished objective possibilities.
It is only natural to praise the young for their potential, since they haven’t had the time to accomplish much. But being a bright young man is fleeting. It is the nature of things that there will always be brighter, younger men coming up behind you. So of course people look for real accomplishments as time passes. “Unbounded potential” is high praise at 20, but it rings hollow at 30, and by 40 it is just a euphemism for loser.
What is your potential? Potentiality is what you can do, what you can become. Potentiality is more than just abstract possibility, mere conceivability. Potentiality can be actualized. A potential that cannot be actualized is a contradiction in terms. It is just a dream. Potentiality is the possibility of accomplishment. But it is more than just possibility, it is also potency, the ability to accomplish something.
We always have more potentialities than accomplishments, particularly when we are young. When you are in high school, you can contemplate going to college, going into the military, going into a trade, staying at home, etc. But when you decide on one course, you close off others. When you get to college, you can choose many different majors and career paths. But choosing one closes off others. Any real potentiality can be actualized, but you can’t actualize them all at the same time, in the same life. In short, decision and action destroy potentialities, i.e., they close off options; they make potentialities into mere dreams. But decision and action are necessary for accomplishment.
Great potential is a gift, but it is also a curse. Oftentimes, people with less potential accomplish more, because they tarry less in weighing their options and setting their course in life.
Closing off options is often painful and tragic if you ardently desire a whole range of incompatible possibilities. But, in the long run, keeping your options open is far worse than closing some off, for just as action destroys potentialities, keeping one’s options open impedes action and prevents accomplishment. Accomplishment requires decision, commitment, focus, and hard work, but these are incompatible with keeping one’s options open. Accomplishment is possible only by closing off options, killing incompatible potentialities, including letting go of some dreams that can no longer be realized.
Very few people have second careers, and virtually nobody has two careers at the same time. To refuse to decide between two options is, in the end, to decide on neither of them, for you will end up doing neither of them well. The best that most of us can hope for is a successful career, a successful family life, and a couple of hobbies. You can’t have two careers, or two families, without in effect reducing them all to hobbies, which means you’ll never amount to much. The reason that Renaissance men are confined to the Renaissance is that with the subsequent development of the arts and sciences, it is virtually impossible for one man to excel in more than one field.
These necessities weigh even more heavily on White Nationalists, since we are aware of a terrifying possibility: the extinction of our race. This awareness entails an immense and all-consuming imperative: to regain control of our racial destiny — to wrench us off the path to extinction and to resume the path to the stars. That imperative forces us to make momentous choices: are we to be part of the problem or part of the solution? Are we to be explicit White Nationalists or secret agents? Are we to make a career of White Nationalism or a mere hobby? We need all of the above, but we don’t need people who vacillate constantly and never really become anything.
In short, before we can make any of those choices, we have to make a more fundamental one: we can to choose to be something, to be something actual, which closes off other options and gives our life a distinct course and meaning — or we can choose to be nothing in particular, to preserve our potentialities, to keep our options open, and thus to drift through life without focus, accomplishing nothing and thereby failing ourselves and our people.
Of course nobody would choose the second option stated so baldly. But choosing to be something or someone in particular means putting many cherished dreams to death, and many people are so enchanted by their dreams that they lose sight of the cost of preserving them. The greater one’s potential, the more options one must sacrifice for self-actualization.
Others fail to realize their potential because they live in the past, consumed with guilt, regret, and “what ifs . . .” This is just another form of dreaming, since the past cannot be changed. It might have been different, but once events have taken place, they cannot be undone. One cannot live in the past or act in the past. Those options are closed. One has to accept that fact and return to the living present, where we can choose to pursue one of the futures that are still possible for us.
In the end, if you refuse to let go of the options that you are keeping open, the dreams you are cherishing, and the wounds you are licking, they will be extinguished anyway by death. Your only real choice is whether you will look back at the end of your life on a long record of solid accomplishments — a finely crafted edifice — or a junk heap of false starts, unfinished business, moral failures, and childish dreams.
I know you have the intelligence to understand your predicament and the courage to face it. So in the end, I have no doubt that you will make the right decision.