Higher Reference Points

Mark Thomas Shekoyan
2 min readMay 1, 2023

“I know of no better life purpose than to perish in attempting the great and the impossible.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Immortality in Taoism is the path of human perfectibility through alchemical self-cultivation. Similar to Tantric Yoga, it seeks to produce a state of being that has mastered and overcome the human condition.

The Chinese character for an Immortal (Hsien) 仙 is made up of two components: 人(man/person) and 山 (mountain).

This implies that those who practice the disciplines of self-cultivation leading to ascension dwell high above the concerns of the valleys on mountains deep in nature, close to the Sun, and the rarified and potent energy of the universe.

Like the Ubermensch Nietzche describes in Thus Sprach Zarathustra, Immortals focus on profound and lofty goals beyond the social and political squabbles of duality.

Our culture’s highest values now are commerce, spectacle, sensation, and identity politics, but in the grand scheme of things, these are petty and ephemeral concerns compared to ancient goals like the quest for ascension.

A culture that loses such higher transcendent reference points as Immortality only has the churn and burn of duality. In such a world people suffer accordingly without something more worthwhile to aspire to.

Idiocracy is the end game of modernity, while paradise is the potential end game of those who seek something higher and deeper.