We are surrounded by more people than there are persons; contradictory as this might sound there are, in fact, more people in our midst than there are bodies. The each of us serves at a minimum to be a vessel and for the spirits and souls of our ancestors as they move from one generation to the next.
If you haven’t realized it yet we all grow up to be replicates of our parents. Frightening, no? In any case you owe it to your parents to carry their torch into the future. We were each the light of their lives and now we all must carry their light within us. As with anything in life there are folks out there who don’t do a very good job of this or fail entirely to respect their family and people by choosing a life of degeneracy, homosexuality, drugs, or violence. Those people who have extinguished or let die that light of their people are hollow replicants: a person without a soul, a house without warmth.
If you are nothing more than a replicate of your parents then you might be likened to Roy Batty from Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner: just a shell of a person who manages life through the most rudimentary of expectations and life experiences.
Roy Batty and his friends wanted to find a way to cheat death and to simply not die so soon. Roy knew his death was coming and the only thing he wanted was more physical life and to enjoy that life with his doll of a woman, Pris.
Again, Roy wants to be happy with his woman. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy a relationship or to be happy with a significant other. This is a valid life goal with its own valid ascetic learnings. But, that’s not really what Roy is after– he just doesn’t want to die. Everyone knows that he and all the other replicants were cheated out of their lives and even if Roy had not been born a replicant his desire to dodge death would still be a fool’s errand, or as we might instead call it, “the replicant’s folly.”
The replicant’s folly was believing the goal in physical life was to wring as much happiness and pleasure as possible from personal accomplishments. This is a eudemonistic worldview; it’s a worldview characterized by holding happiness and the search for more happiness as the highest ideal. Having been cheated of so much physical life Roy never learned that a Greater Holy War might grant him spiritual immortality
Enter Nux from George Miller’s Fury Road.
Everybody knows Nux. If not, what the hell is wrong with you? He’s only the greatest action movie hero since ever. Nux is a man who wants eternal life in a spiritual hall of heroes where he can McFeast for all time and walk with the Immorta. How could anyone be opposed to this? Long term plans are happening here, folks… No, but, seriously…
For Nux, happiness is a wild goose chase: uncatchable, fleeting, elusive. Being a half-life warboy is an unhappy existence dealing with the grim post-apocalypse reality of terminal cancers and warring on Fury Road with the only happy escape being death in battle. A death on Fury Road defending Immortan Joe’s convoys was a ticket to ride eternal all shiny and chrome, an admission to Valhalla. Whether or not Nux “cucked his tribe” by supporting Max, Furiosa, and the wives is outside the scope of this argument and you can find this written about elsewhere. The focus here is about how Nux fought the Greater Holy War and won.
The Greater Holy War is about conquering the barbarian within yourself while the Lesser Holy War is about fighting the barbarian without yourself. A parallel may also be drawn here about the ends of each struggle. The Lesser Holy War is about achieving material comforts and worldly greatness whereas the Greater Holy War involves a quest for a spirit that dominates your physical desires and earthly wants.
Nux desired nothing more in his miserable life than to achieve a spiritual greatness and find unity with the gods of Fury Road, whatever they might be. His conception of the Greater Holy War defined the nature of his Lesser Holy War and along the way he managed to achieve spiritual fulfillment and victory over fear of suffering and dying.
If all you do in life is cleave to that which is right in front of your eyes then you are going to die alone, miserable, and surrounded by your worthless trophies gained of a selfish life. The light of your family and your ancestors will have long since died for your own negligence and with no warmth of the spirit and soul of your people you shall surely die.
So, are you a replicant or a warboy? A replicant dies, a warboy lives. A replicant lusts, a warboy loves. A replicant obeys, a warboy fights. A replicant rebels, a warboy serves. Don’t be a replicant, be a warboy. Build that light of your family and ancestors and make a great roaring fire of it. Protect the light of your identity and it shall warm you against the cold death of living in the hollow World.