Against “Being Useful”

The number of people who want to be “useful” and learn “useful skills” and “add value” is absolutely absurd. Do you know what else is useful? A wrench. A hammer. A motherfucking Swiss Army Knife. But what are all of these? Tools.

For a tool, essence precedes existence — it has an ostensible purpose, a “use.” But for man, existence precedes essence. For man to attempt to become “useful,” to adopt this perverse Will to Usefulness, is for man to aim to be a tool for others! To allow others define his essence! To become a slave to the shadows of gods he does not recognize!

But for man to become man, to free himself from his shackles, to aspire to Selbstüberwindung, his goal must be radically different. For that goal can be but one thing … Uselessness!


The slave says to the nobleman, “We have discovered our usefulness,” and blinks. “So why are you useful? What value do you provide?”

The nobleman roars with laughter and proclaims: “A slave question from a slave mouth! I am not useful, I am not valuable — for I am use itself, I am value itself. For it is through my uselessness that I become who I am!”

The slave blinks, then returns to grazing in the quiet pasture.