What is the abyss?

What is the abyss?

It is a concept that you come across here and there in philosophical and occult literature: the abyss. Nietzsche speaks about it quite often – stare into the abyss and the abyss begins to stare back. In Hermetic Kabbalism, the abyss exists as a conceptual space between the ‘supernals’ Kether, Chokmah and Binah and the rest of the tree of life. Stories circulate about the difficulty of traversing this abyss, stories with myth-making effect.

What is the abyss?

Yet I think you can explain in the simplest terms what the abyss is. The abyss is the difference between ‘brilliant’ and ‘good’.

Those who practice knowledge in a somewhat serious manner know that this is where the difference lies. You can train most people to the level of ‘good’ in one way or another, but training them to the level of ‘brilliant’ is impossible.

The difference between ‘good’ and ‘brilliant’ is huge and almost impossible to bridge.

And therein lies a huge problem.


Because it is in the nature of man not to be satisfied with ‘the good’, if there are, for example, poets walking around who would claim that their work is on the level of a 7, I have yet to meet them. They usually act a little modest for form’s sake, but this is accompanied by an enormous belief in their own quality. Blame it on them, because what could be more depressing than having to network for life to be a 7 at the expense of the 9s and 10s.

Nietzsche and Crowley

My main objection to the latter was always that it was ludicrous that someone who believed he had to prove his ‘godhead’ with poems could write such mediocre poetry – in fact, you can no longer take the whole figure seriously. And if he had such a poor self-evaluation in the abstract realm of poetry (he rather loudly believed himself to be the best poet in the world) – who’s to say that ability will be any better in any other abstract realm?

Nietzsche, well, there of course we have a man who did everything he could to conquer the abyss. But did the man succeed? Did he write a truly brilliant book? He thought himself that ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ would be his masterpiece, but in my opinion, that book in particular falls short in many respects: Nietzsche had very little talent as a poet and such a book in which you have a sage constantly spouting aphorisms would require an enormous poetic talent to be truly brilliant. No, I think Nietzsche was at his most brilliant in his late work Umwertung aller Werte , and I would even say that is why he succeeded.

Enlightenment nonsense

Come up with a concept like ‘the abyss’, however, and you immediately have three kilos of enlightenment nonsense hanging off your leg from the psyborg. In the Yaqui system, there is no such thing as a singular enlightenment, it is also a very primitive idea if you ask me. That you suddenly have the right to behave like Zeus or Apollo because you wrote a brilliant work. Not to mention types who already behave like that with completely mediocre works!

In the Yaqui system, there is something they call losing the human form. But that is far from an end station for the warrior, it is rather where the fun really begins. And what’s more, to get there you have to become a perfect stalwart of your own self-worth – those who believe in their own divinity have yet to take the first step towards becoming warriors.

The warrior believes just the opposite: he believes in his own mortality. He knows that he does not have much time on this earth, and that every deed must count. In every respect, he is the exact opposite of the normalo artist who believes he is immortal.

The abyss only begins when you realise that you have fabricated your divinity and immortality yourself and it all means zilch, nada, squat. 


By their shhhroom shall ye know them

M.H.H. Benders is a most recognised poet of his generation, a student of the universal mycelia,  Amanita Sage and mycophilosopher. He wrote sixteen books, the last ones at the Kaneelfabriek (Cinnamon Factory). He is currently working on ‘SHHHHHHROOM a book on mushrooms and the Microdose Bible, which is an activation plan to restore your true identity coming next year. Keep in touch!

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