Thursday, 29 December 2011

Natalists; You hold the burden of proof!

I was thinking recently about death, again, and reasoned that, just like how a lot of atheists believe that the burden of proof rests with Christians, as the natural state of affairs is non-belief in any deity, the burden of proof rests with anyone who wishes to commit suicide, since although eventually we all do die, living is the norm. If you have no evidence that death would be better for you, then you must keep living, simply because the world is innately biased so that you will stay alive, not in a Schrödinger's cat-like state between living and death, if you are undecided as to whether you should live or die. And the same thing, I think, is true with regards to natalism and its nemesis. People do not naturally exist. Children are not brought to parents by storks, whether they want them or not. Babies do not exist unless we make them exist. So I think, to an extent, we antinatalists have never really needed to convince anyone of anything (if we lived in a world filled with androids, that is). The ball has never been in our court, as it were. If you wish to bring a child into this world, then everything rests upon you to prove that it is a good thing, for if you do not choose to have a child, no such child would be in existence - that is the natural state of affairs, the world is biased in this way.

The problem with this is, what counts as proof that children should be brought into existence? Well the usual manner in which we decide whether an action is good or not is to simply consult our emotions. But a human life, a human life that does not belong to you, is a lot more important than that. So no, I don't think you can use a selfish reason in place of a real argument here. You have to turn to that which humans SHOULD generally use for all things important, negative utilitarian moral reasoning. Are you reducing the total suffering of the world via this action? Possibly, since that child could become a moral paragon of virtue. But the more likely outcome is that the total suffering of the world will actually increase, via stress, boredom or general ill-feeling - in which case your proof for having a child being a good thing has gone out the window.

Again we prevail. Huzzah! But if any economist or 'rationalist' of Bryan Caplan's ilk does read this blog (which I sincerely doubt), do be prepared to either suffer an outright rejection ("Everyone thinks being born is a good thing so the burden of proof lies with you!") or reasons that go against negative utilitarianism (despite how ordinary utilitariansim has some weird consequences - like allowing humans to be tortured for the greater amusement of other humans). But you should be used to that by now.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Double Trouble

I think you can judge how non-sociopathic a crowd is by how extreme the dissonance is between their initial, then final emotions with respect to being introduced to antinatalist. "Hi everybody! How about we all start preventing suffering. Prevent it now! [note elation, cheering] We'll do that folks, with just one itty bitty pill - a birth control pill! Stop breeding, stop suffering, it's that simple. [intense hatred and shock]".Antinatalism is something of a gold-encased turd, as far as most haters are concerned. I've said before that a good part of antinatalism is common knowledge. It is the quintessential goal that unites the vast majority of humanity - the elimination of suffering. Now granted, that's normally the elimination of one's own suffering, but when people start applying it to their family members and their friends, then it really isn't a big leap to just go the full hurdle and apply it to all mankind. But that 'no breeding' thing has the same effect on some people as taking a dump in their mouths. What I've realised since the last post is not only is this non-intuitive from a cultural perspective, it actually might be non-intuitive from a genetic perspective too - especially since that 'biological clock' keeps on ticking.

But how hard does that make things? How hard is it to uproot a biological bias, as opposed to a cultural one? It has taken years for a lot of cultural suffering-imposers to be locked away in the archives of history, but as far as people are concerned, I'm not entirely sure it is particularly hard for anyone to overthrow our genetic overlords. Vegetarians don't go through a horrible detox, bodybuilders don't stop just because they're already strong enough to kill predators or prey, and chessmasters don't suddenly stop because they need to be doing something more genetically advantageous. I think we're actually okay as far as human biology goes, simply because our conscious minds can ALREADY override most of our instincts. Hunger strikes are another good example of this, by the way.

So it isn't doubly intuitive after all to have children. It's more like (culturally + 0.00001)x intuitive. And that's easy for us to beat, right?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Not even supervillains are antinatalist

And that shocks me a bit. The closest thing we folks get to a bit of fair representation in the world of the arts is the supervillain who wants to blow up the world, for undisclosed reasons. It's never specifically stated however that that villain wants to destroy the world to prevent future suffering (thus making them an antivillain, instead), but most of the time it's just because that villain is a generally hateful person, and needs to be taught a lesson so he/she stops being such a big meanie. I don't specifically understand how this culture has never even caught on to a even a fragment of this whole antinatalist idea, because to me it sounds like quite an easy way to make your show one to be remembered (which hence sells DVDs and the like). Doctor Mort D. Thanatos is putting sterilising chemicals into the water supply? Stop that fiend! He's trying to murder our unborn children! And so on.

Antinatalism is just not something that is... anywhere really. It is not a word in most people's vocabulary, and it is not an idea that can be processed by brains easily. It actually takes people a while to assimilate what you're trying to say before they start insulting you with regards to it. To me, this sounds like a world-wide conspiracy, which again, would be a great plot for a movie. And I think it could well be a conspiracy - orchestrated by our genes. Not that we could PROVE that or anything. But it does seem strange that even those of us who do not want to live, detest the world or hate the way things are, do not (generally) immediately come to the conclusion of antinatalism. At least in my experience, antinatalism has never been something intuitive. I don't know if other animals can commit suicide, but to some extent I expect that they may have drives to say, throw themselves to predators for the sake of their kin's genes, just because of the way evolution works (not going into that whole massive "that allele survives and its frequency therefore tends to increase over generations' thing). Suicide, despite how detestable most people find it, is emotionally available. It is a conclusion that comes naturally - without the need to ingest various logical arguments. But antinatalism, however, as far as I can tell from how few our numbers are, just doesn't. Obviously, you say, there is no evolutionary reason for it, so why should it appear. Except so many ideas in this world HAVE appeared and continue to appear every generation - say, multiple deities, our rulers are right, our rulers are wrong, let's be governed, let's not be governed.

But to go off track a bit (i.e. I came to a conclusion in the time it took me to write out that paragraph), I think maybe this post will have become outdated in the future (HOPEFULLY). While some ancient societies did have notions of sexual equality (SORT OF - Sir John Gibbs's book is all I have to go on here), I'm sure very few people back then would have found that concept intuitive. And the thing is, it seems pretty much intuitive now, as far as most people are concerned. There are two types of intuitive, then. That arising from the phenotypical effects of your genes (suicide - probably), and that arising from the culture you're in. And the fact that antinatalism is neither, means it isn't actually as strange as I thought. Yes, it's quite scary when people don't have a clue what you're talking about. But I'm sure early abolitionists and feminists probably felt the same way. In summary, I should learn not to be so weirded out by things.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Anhedonia update

Finally found a couple of good posts about anhedonia.

Most of the time this isn't really seen as anything more than an annoyance by most psychiatrists, simply because they think that the absence of pleasure isn't nearly as bad as the presence of negative emotion - and in my experience, in no way is that true. I would much rather prefer being my usual hateful depressed self than this robotic mindless husk of a person, but for the sake of keeping up appearances for relatives and the like - the illusion of me 'getting better', I'm keeping to my medication. It's another one of those cases where I could thrust suffering onto others, or keep it to myself, and in that regard I feel more in control when I'm facing something alone. I'd get horrible anxiety, for example, if I just let the people around me know that I'm, shock and horror!, going off medication. So I won't, and will simply be semi-content to bitch about it on the internet. Life is being a toilet bowl attached to a toilet that is never flushed. Sometimes there's delicious corn or carrots in there, and sometimes people get mostly carrot, but they're still being shat upon in the grand scheme of things. Thus ends my quick stream of productivity on this blog (I think, at least) as a christmas present to the fifty or so people that read it.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Things have changed. Do we have an obligation to die?

What I assumed most of the time here was something you maybe didn't notice, being a person culturally indoctrinated to believe otherwise. You see, it may be that you, dear reader, do not actually have to take other things into account when contemplating suicide. You may actually be the only person, only real person that is to say, in existence. Now while I certainly don't believe this, simply because the universe we're in doesn't seem like one tailor-suited to fit my or anyone else's needs (though I do sometimes toy with the idea that aliens watch and laugh at everything I do), it is however possible that you don't believe this (if I'm correct). It is possible that you are a Solipsist, and see me as either a figment of your imagination, a simulated being created by a computer, or a part of yourself. So let's put aside the fact that it should be technically impossible for you to commit suicide (owing to how the universe may in fact be you, the scientists won't let the virtual reality end etc.). Are you able, now, to do so? Are you obligated to live on? The problem I find with that reasoning, is that suicide is, and always will be, a decision born mainly from emotion - logic applied to emotion, such as how much 'utility' you get from life, but emotion nonetheless. Can you ignore you concern for those imaginary beings you talk to then? And the answer at first really appears to be no (absurdly), since you will feel bad (more bad) by attempting to get out of whatever crazy subjective reality your brain/overlords has or have concocted. But if we instead shift the focus from 'do whatever makes you feel good' to 'do whatever gives you the best utility', the clear answer is, if you are suffering and do not like to suffer, that you maximise your overall life-sum of experiences and exit. The imaginary or simulated beings you encounter do not factor into this because even though you care about their 'suffering' it doesn't really exist. As soon as you die, they will also die, so there are no booboos to kiss. And as for the consent issue, even if you are killing them, you are really just, say, shooting a rock with a raygun. No consent there, nothing to worry about.

Though in this situation we can say without a doubt that no one has an obligation to live, is it that the reverse is actually true? That we have an obligation to...DUN DUN DUN...die?! (Provided we are suffering more than we feel pleasure, would prefer to have a life-sum of experiences that is positive in value and have no qualms about dying).

Well, um, given those quite restrictive conditions, we actually would, it seems, have an obligation (to our values) to die. But I'm sure that in an actual scenario like this, these ideal restrictive limits would never really be met. People tend to not suffer too much, or if they do, they tend to not understand how much they actually suffer (and hence make the wrong judgement). People PROBABLY want a positive life-sum of experiences, I'll give you that, but I think most would be willing to settle with something that is zero, or slightly negative. As for the fear of death, thanatophobia, I think that to some extent everyone has an inherent Samaritans hotline inside them, and as I've seen from personal experience, sometimes one can be absolutely frozen with fear at the prospect of dying in a short period of time.

Regardless of how strange and absurd these conditions are, especially that of having good evidence you are in a Solipsist universe, I find it interesting how one could potentially find oneself either obligated to live or die. When people like say,Bryan Caplan, talk of how easy it is for one to kill oneself, they don't seem to understand how sometimes (or even, a lot of the time) there is very little choice in the matter at all. If you don't like your life, you can't just kill yourself, because you might actually be obligated, by your own moral values, to continue living. But if you were never born, then you wouldn't necessarily have that burden. Your joys wouldn't be there, but at the same time, why would an unborn being need any such joys? If you value non-suffering, then suicide becomes ever more unlikely. But if you value non-suffering, so too does having children.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Do we have an obligation to live?

I've touched on this quite a bit before, actually, here. But I've never exactly put this into words, as such. When we are forced into this world, I emphasise, without our consent, we might wonder how exactly we are to alleviate the suffering that has been imposed on us against our will. For some there's love, for others there's sex, some soap operas, others westerns, some psychotropic drugs, and some self-mutilation. And so on. But for those of us either burdened with an amount of suffering disproportionate to that dealt out to others, one might be tempted to start thinking around the required reading necessary for existence. One might turn to philosophy, for example. But for those of us who are maybe, a little more critical or sceptical than others, we still can't acclimatise to life. We still don't settle down into a neat fixed pattern, like the animals we actually are (despite our species's collective pretending). Eventually by word of mouth or otherwise, we come across the interesting theory that we might have a choice in this matter after all. That suffering need not be a necessary thing, and that it could be ended - though of course this would mean the end of all our joy, too. Though if the joy is almost negligible in our lives, then, no one should really be surprised if we do think about that act - suicide - a lot more than others. Now we may say, "I didn't want to be born, I didn't ask for all this pain, so why can't I end it if I so choose? It's only undoing the evil that was started so long ago", but there really is that looming presence of one's loved ones' wishes. Can you really just state that since you are being harmed, you are allowed to do everything in your power to stop being harmed? But that seems to me, to be looking at things in too simplistic a matter. It's not just you who is being harmed. Everyone is being harmed. Every second someone is being harmed. Your decision isn't based upon whether you can prevent your own harm without affecting anyone else, you will be, whether directly or not, causing harm to other people by acting in such a way. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you commit suicide, you will not suffer. But if you do so, others will suffer. So my main point is, I believe that if you have a lot of loved ones, you really must have an obligation to live, based upon your own morality, unless your potential suffering really does outweigh theirs. Which is actually quite scary, in my opinion. I like to believe that there is always an escape route, but with life, in some cases, unless, as I've said, you are a psychopath, there really is no escape at hand. You just have to wait it out.

So in summary: everything I've said before, except with that ominous phrase: "You are obliged to remain alive".

Monday, 19 December 2011

Most people are already halfway there. No Bon Jovi references please.

Antinatalism, in my eyes, can be reduced down to only two major statements, the second of which is taken as a logical consequence, whether wished for or not, of the first. I say now that a good amount of people will not accept the first of these, most likely because of their religious beliefs, and others may not be swayed one way or another as to whether they accept it or not as they do not much care for other human beings (psychopaths, for example). But upon their reflection, I sincerely think - or else my view of humanity must descend even deeper - that the majority of non-religious (or not strongly religious) people on this planet would accept the first proposition, and in doing so will only have to swallow another half of the red pill that is antinatalism.

The beliefs core to antinatalism are:
          1. The ultimate goal of humanity should be the reduction of suffering (just as the personal goals of most people all boil down to the reduction of their own, or of their loved ones' suffering)
          2. As a result of 1., people should not breed.

Of course, one could quite easily claim that I'm making an arbitrary division of thought here - I could quite have easily, you say, divided antinatalism up into 3 or 4 separate parts, and said that most people are 1/4 of the way there, or 1/5 of the way there, etc. But that isn't the point, I don't think. The point is, there isn't THAT much cognitive distance between antinatalism and the common person's thoughts. Or the cognitive distance between antinatalism and an ordinary person's mindset isn't as large as you might think. Once you have someone realise that they would prefer a world with less or no suffering, then it SHOULD be easier to convince them that a logical consequence of their original belief is the negation of their genes' conniving and scheming to produce more and more suffering. Of course, hypothesis doesn't determine what happens in reality, reality determines what you do with your hypothesis. And in my arguments with people, I'm not so sure that it is significantly easier to get my point across when I have convinced other people that the primary goal of human existence is to end suffering, though it does certainly sound as if that would help.

In other news, someone on an atheist chatroom recently told me that VHEMT has a humorous section debunking reasons why people think they should breed. Check it out, here.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Sorry for posting again, found a great video
The best description I've found yet of why Theological Noncognitivism is the prime reason for non-belief in any deity or deities.

Will things work out in the end?

Starting off here I'd like to say that yes, we will win. Human suffering will eventually end, because probabilities add up over an infinity of years, and eventually all humans will all die out. I can't say the same for alien species, since if there are multiple universes continually being brought into existence, then I must say that as antinatalists, we are well and truly screwed.

But on a shorter scale of time, are we alright? Will things go alright for us? Certainly I'd wager that most of us will be dead by the time antinatalism becomes anything that is in the vocabulary of most people, but as for whether or not it will have any influence on their genitalia, I can't really say. The problem with antinatalism is that it is so absolutely appalling in the eyes of most people out there who value their lives, and most influential people are generally of this kind, that it is unlikely that many people will come round to seeing things our way. Yes, there'll be a few converts here and there, that's just a matter of chance and our increasing publicity among economic and philosophical circles, but essentially there is such a large mental barrier blocking off rational discussion that I doubt that without widespread understanding of the arguments of antinatalism would it hold any kind of political power. As a personal anecdote, I'd like to say that the people I talk to in school probably know the arguments for antinatalism at least as well as I do,  YET STILL CANNOT EVEN CONSIDER THE IDEA. As long as it is so firmly entrenched within people's minds that having children is a right, that suffering is necessary for life, and that that elusive deity called meaning can be acquired through creating a non-consenting human being, there is little hope for antinatalism to spread.

 But I do think that even if it won't become necessarily popular enough in our time, there will be certain people susceptible to its ideas without much resistance - just as most of we, who frequent these blogs, came to understand antinatalism without much resistance. So while we may become the new pagans of our time, or satanists or what have you, I'd bet that the antinatalist population will grow significantly soon enough (ironic as that is). Whether or not things will work out only time will tell, but for the moment, fittingly, I am quite pessimistic about this whole affair. But I would say that the difference between now and Schopenhauer's time is simply that we now have the internet - now our voices are not suppressed, and anyone interested can simply search for us, and find us they will. And moreover, if we adopt children, we may actually defeat the whole 'natalists will outbreed us there is no point' argument. So there is SOME hope, but not a whole lot. Though I guess most of us being pessimists here, those are the kind of conditions we're used to. Have fun and take it easy, never forget to look after your unborn children. Bye for now.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

A final word on Speaker for the Dead

By the way, I'm not an atrociously slow reader. My method of best performing my daily acts of escapism involves rotating around over 50 forms of media, changing whenever one begins to bore me - and these days I bore very, very easily. Or at least, my tolerance for boredom is abysmally low. In any case I am basically with 100 or so pages to read, and despite how it may be interesting enough to people without a distractingly painful mind, I find anything past the middle of this novel boring, and I find the religious overtones really, really annoying. And consider this: I have on numerous occasions, for funsies, read the Bible and the Koran. In my lowly valued opinion this is not so much a science fiction book as an amateur theology/philosophy book, and a terrible one at that. Yes, the start is all exciting and you start to think Card has come up with another masterpiece. But past that, you may call me intolerant for this, but I could not look past how religion and forgiveness bla bla bla was maximised, while characterisation was basically minimised. Yes, the plot is really quite amazing when you get down to it. But TO get down to it you have to somehow make it through endless slaps in the face from the gigantic penis of theological bullshit. This is not the sequel to Ender's Game I had in mind. I may sound like a toddler having a temper tantrum here - but this is not what I wanted, this is not what anyone could have wanted, and this is not even in the same genre as Ender's Game. There is military science fiction, and there is defecating from your mouth science fiction, at least as far as Card is concerned. I am sorry I do not understand how 'deep' this book is, but in my ever-growing library of media to re-experience, this is not making the cut.

Hypothetical: would I change my mind about this book, had Card not set things up in a boring-ass Catholic colony, and had left his religious delusions behind closed doors? MAYBE, but the slow-release mechanism that is the plot essentially draws attention to the fact how, as I have mentioned several times, Card is not very good at characterisation. That is to say, it is extremely hard for me to distinguish one character from the next. In fact, Ender's Game had better characterisation that this - and that is one of the only aspects of it that I can actually fault. All in all this book was one I really enjoyed at the beginning, got frustrated with towards the middle, and towards the end simply accepted its inevitable inferiority to its prequel. Is it antinatalist? Card is a staunch Mormon, so you can count on it being as far away from antinatalism as possible. Would other people enjoy reading it? It has several awards to its name, great reviews, and is generally well-loved. And owing to how my opinion is representative of exactly one estnihil, and many people's opinions could easily be representative of the whole population of the world, this is one of those things I should like, but ultimately don't. Note how I used up a whole post for a novel most people probably have not read. Sorry about that.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Nothing is radical enough for depression. Save me DBS!

My personal experience with medication is an annoying one: any effect it has is generally either so minimal that it is almost impossible to contrast my previous experience with my current one, or it has the effect of robbing me of anything I previously had. Take creativity and drive, for example. I don't have those anymore. I can't even sit down and write a simple story, like say about aliens, for example. In conversation my one winning trait used to be my ability to make jokes. All my improvisational ability is  now gone to the wind. The only effect my antipsychotic/mood stabiliser seems to have had is that of stealing my personality, and my ability to feel pleasure beyond a tiny tingle in the back of my mind. Yeah sure, if I weren't on it I might go around thinking the walls were talking to me. Who cares? They never said anything bad anyway - it was just comforting. But to be honest, that's fine with me. I don't mind being a boring person, or a useless person, so long as I have the ability to feel good in myself. Which I don't, and never have had. When I took the antipsychotics effectively what happened was that I actually CREATED new problems that my fun old psychotic breaks helped me deal with naturally, such as a crippling anxiety, and a painful, stabbing kind of depression. The anxiety is more or less gone now thanks to ANOTHER pill - an anxiolytic - but as far as depression goes, THE ONE THING I ACTUALLY WANTED TREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE, nothing has any effect at all. Sertraline and Venlafaxine have basically only served to make me, not less in pain, but more alert, and thus, even more aware of how utterly horrible life is. That's the thing - it is very, very easy to treat things that are wholly atypical - such as psychosis and anxiety, because people rarely get those things anyway. But the thing is, depression being a natural part of everyone's life - a natural reaction to low social status seen in other apes, cannot be easily treated because, I wager, it is not something that should be evolutionarily easy to fool. That is to say, there is a point in being depressed - chimpanzees don't challenge their low social status, stay out of the way of the alphas and don't cause trouble, so they might, just might get the chance to breed. So if they say, ate bananas, and these bananas were natural antidepressants, they might be fooled into becoming cockier, and might challenge the powers that be, and ultimately die from fighting, being physically weaker. So therefore, bananas and other easily attainable substances are not potent antidepressants. And probably the same is true for any other chemical substances. It is harder to fix a problem that is not actually a problem in the first place - human brains THINK it's a problem, but evolution does not give a crap about suffering, as has been shown everywhere since millions of years ago. So as I was saying, it's not likely that you can fix depression easily, unlike anxiety or psychosis, simply because it's a natural thing. And that's why I think my low response to even the most potent of antidepressants (the most potent of the most potent of antidepressants - SNRIs, venlafaxine) is simply because pissing about with chemicals isn't going to fix something that doesn't want to be fixed. So my choices basically are: have more people like me (EXTREMELY UNLIKELY), or hit that been-there-so-long-as-I-could-think depression with something akin to a nuke - use ECT.

Yeah yeah, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I've seen that film. I want it. Branding, flagellation and burning are all forms of torture and yet that doesn't put certain sadomasochists off. And searching the internet, well for about a couple of seconds, I can find no real evidence that it was used in that way. In any case, regardless of how it WAS used, it makes no difference to the fact that it seems, to me, like the only thing that could actually work. My affect is so unbelievably blunt that almost nothing can give me pleasure. I am almost anhedonic every single day, and the only thing that takes my mind of it is the standard pain and boredom and anger I feel. And with no actual readily available suicide methods, I'm thinking the only way forward is to do something to really screw with my brain. And ECT, to me, sounds a little like shocking a heart with a defibrillator - like, uh, smashing the television set so it starts working again.

But sadly, our Lord who art in Connections, the internet, tells me that ECT, compared to placebo-ECT, doesn't actually do much. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to have to just wait for Deep Brain Stimulation to become available. If for example, they start testing it where I live, you can bet your ass off that I'm going to be one of the first ones on it. But I'm wondering really whether my desires are rational or not. Do I really feel that the only thing effective is another approach? Pretty much. But is something more radical the answer? It FEELS that way, but it isn't necessarily true. I could piss about, again, with diet and nootropics and the like, but to be honest the only thing I think that will actually, completely work is a partial brain transplant. Most people wouldn't understand why exactly I would want such a thing - they say, if your brain isn't normal, how can you know it isn't normal!! (i.e. wankers trying to be philosophical). I know my brain isn't normal from years of watching other people, and from empathy. Let me tell you: I can model other people's brains and they do not work like mine. I am not autistic, I am not sociopathic, but I am in some other way non-neurotypical, and it has made my life one damn thing after another. Unless something radically changes my brain, instead of, as I've said, messing around with chemicals and such, I don't think I'm going to ever feel anything like what anyone else has ever felt.

The main problem I think is with me attempting to smash and crunch my brain into a workable state is simply that I can't do it without going off the medication I'm already on (because they interact with other drugs, and hence force me into an emergency room), and this would entail notifying or fooling my parents. Which won't work. So as it stands I am utterly trapped. Whoopee!

No interesting features, news or reviews today, sorry. Just the ramblings of a sleep-loving, hopelessly ego-lacking robot waiting for death.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

An antinatalist FAQ

I'm sure someone has done one of these already, but it shouldn't hurt to add some of the responses I generally gave to people when they started arguing with me (almost verbally assaulting me, actually).

You can't be serious, right? You just want to be different, that's it!
Antinatalists are deadly serious about their views - it isn't a joke, and it isn't a cry for attention. No one would choose to be antinatalist if beliefs were something you just wore, like clothes. There is nothing inherently attractive about antinatalism - almost all of humanity, even those who suffer more than the majority, believe life to be the greatest free lunch in the universe. Choosing not to see having babies as a duty, or as something to stake your happiness on, or as something to show the neighbours, is an incredibly hard decision. Are we better for believing this? Yes, because we can prevent suffering in the world merely by the act of ceasing to breed. Do we just want to be non-conformists? Some of us do, some of us don't. We're people, just like you.
That's the most illogical thing I've ever heard! Your arguments are stupid!
Read with an open mind, and get your values straight. If you care about your fellow human beings, you will want them not to suffer. You will want suffering to be unnecessary. In doing so, you should see that we have a large amount of common ground between us
You're just angry at the world!
Some of us are, some of us aren't. But being angry at the world does not drive you to antinatalism. Antinatalism is created from empathy, not hatred - or at least, only in the rarest of circumstances does someone believe that people should stop breeding to satisfy their own selfish urges.
Do you really want the human race to end?
Some of us do, some of us don't. This is a subjective thing. The end of the human race is merely a side-effect of taking our beliefs to their logical conclusion. Do no harm. 
You're missing the point. Suffering is a part of life, you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
You assume that life has inherent value - and as any two-bit nihilist could tell you, nothing has inherent value. Only the things which we decide upon collectively to have value, have value. And what the human race, in general, has decided is that  suffering is something we do not want. Suffering is something we could do without. The human race does not desire life, for they already have it. They desire an end to suffering, and this suffering can swiftly be ended with the end of breeding. Yes, this will cause an end to life itself. But as humans do not wish to do harm to other living beings, they should not in turn wish to create new living beings, as those beings will inevitably be harmed. Why? Because if they had not been created they would not have come to any such harm.
We're not responsible for what happens to our children after we've raised them! Everyone knows that.
Had those children not come into being, they would not have been harmed, and the total suffering of the world would not have increased.
What about all the good things about life? Why are you ignoring them?
We have no moral responsibility to create pleasure - or else many people in an arena watching people being eaten by lions could be declared as moral. But we do have a duty, moral responsibility - or inherent need - to reduce harm, in any way possible. And the best way to reduce harm is to stop breeding.

Monday, 28 November 2011

First Look Reviews Vol. 3 Thrillers, a Widely Loved Manga, and a Wildly Hated One

Boogiepop Phantom - My god this is a great series (so far). Every episode has been dark, hazy and addicting, and in some ways I'd say that this is really what Paranoia Agent should have been, but wasn't. More on this when I get round to watching more.
Paranoia Agent - Satoshi Kon has a rather inconsistent track record with me; Paprika I absolutely adored. That is one film I don't think I'll ever tire of watching (the soundtrack of course, helping a lot). Tokyo Godfathers, was a heartwarming, alternative, and overall solid film that I honestly didn't get bored of for one second - a rare feat for most films nowadays. But Perfect Blue didn't click with me at all. Not that it was a bad film, just simply, it didn't elicit much of an emotional response from me, other than maybe the ending scenes - though of course a rewatch is in order one of these days. Paranoia Agent, another of his, I felt really went off track past the fourth episode or so, when the criminal is 'caught'. Past that point the tension just broke for me. Even though the series hadn't come to any conclusion yet, I felt that at that point, it could no longer satisfy any need I had for the atmosphere of the first few episodes to come to its rightful end. Still an interesting series regardless, I think - I especially liked the suicide pact one. That episode, as a standalone story, is definitely worth watching, especially if you have ever thought of suicide, simply for its comedic value.

I keep on doing these manga reviews solely on the vague hope that someone, somewhere, while google searching antinatalism and a manga, will find these reviews, and will say, hey, you know what estnihil, I thought either the same thing or something completely different, and that is my informed interesting opinion. Or well, not really solely. I also do them since oftentimes during the process of reading something I get the thought 'this is great because X', and X suddenly jumps from my brain down my hands onto my keyboard and onto the world wide web. But in any case, I will TRY to cover things that I think most people here will enjoy, such as literature, and (eventually) TV shows.

Black Jack - I have to admit, I really had no intention whatsoever of getting into Osamu Tezuka - none of his works really appealed to me, and I had a vague bias that his works, being somewhat dated, would not be up to standard. But upon wondering what a medical manga would be like (a completely medical manga - Monster was only partially like that), I started clicking away, and eventually found my way to Black Jack, and I have to say, it has not only completely changed my misconceptions about Osamu Tezuka, but it has also taken away some of my previous coldness towards episodic forms of media - that is to say, media with no overarching plot. What I see now instead is that it isn't so bad having a structure without a plotline that carries on through the series, SO LONG AS, like this brilliant manga, you manage to make each episode enjoyable to your audience.

Yu-Gi-Oh - The reviews of this manga are absolutely terrible, I should warn you. This is another one of those things that are special to me, as in, you will probably not enjoy this at all. But as for me, on the other hand, I grew up watching a censored, dubbed version of Yu-Gi-Oh on TV, and the neat, somewhat simplistic things going on in this manga appeal to my inner child greatly. The art is pretty good as well, if you're wondering. As for the antinatalist side of things, one could say that this card game springing up saps children and adults, real and fictional of their free time, meaning less time is spent upon courtship behaviour, less children are born, and the human population slowly and slowly dries up, until all that is left are ghost towns riddled with cards, blowing in the wind. An efilist dream!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

More on Berserk, and CLAMP again

Berserk is one of those things, I've decided now, that I continue to delve for extremely odd reasons - it seems to be just one of those things that are heavily intended for breeds of people who either enjoy greatly being reminded of the sufferings on the world, or on the other hand, people who enjoy the sufferings of the world on their own i.e. those people on the sadomasochistic spectrum. This manga is one that really does not bother at all with standard manga, or even media tropes at all. Instead of intending to make the reader feel good, as almost EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE is intended to do, it instead could almost be said to intend to make the reader feel bad. Horrible, in fact. When you don't like it, you feel horrible at the horrors depicted on each page. When you do like it, you feel horrible at yourself for doing so. I really wouldn't recommend this manga for anyone simply because I do not currently know anyone who would actually enjoy feeling horrible, though rest assured, for the benefit of the readers I will continue with this manga - or so I say to cover up my own queer affiliation for this manga, that weak as it may be now seems to be growing by the minute.
     In other news my love affair with CLAMP has been rekindled in passion, as upon giving Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle a second chance I was absolutely blown away. CLAMP having made quite possibly one of the best shoujo manga out there, seems to now be trying to create one of the best shounen manga out there, and is doing quite a good job of it, as far as I can see. The general feel of things isn't really standard shounen-fare. I mean, there is, obviously an extremely prominent plot-driving goal in place, just as in almost every shounen manga that dares to call itself that, but it doesn't seem, at the point I'm at, to be a goal that the protagonists are grinding for. What I mean by that is, shounen manga typically behave like RPGs - the protagonists basically keep facing enemies stronger and stronger, or train, in order to become good enough to fulfill their dreams. Now I do think, though it may be too early to tell, that the protagonists WILL get stronger, but there isn't a huge focus on this at the moment. Rather, more emotional and intricate things are being focussed on, as would be standard for a shoujo manga - which is of course what you should expect from CLAMP anyway.
     As for the books I'm reading: I can't for the life of me get back into Speaker for the Dead. While the plot does seem to be coming on in the neat, intricate way I've come to expect from Card (as evil as the man is), I don't really feel much at all at this point for any of the characters. That's Card's main literary flaw I think - his characterisation is terrible. While Ender's Game was fast-paced enough to basically breeze through any characterisation necessary, in Speaker for the Dead I really feel that not painting every character as a disjointed annoying wreck would have served him a lot better. I don't mind that he portrays humanity as weak, but I DO mind that the plot is such that it calls for characters who don't exemplify that every second.

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Bucket List

Upon reading this amazing article, my priorities have really been mashed and swapped and generally tossed about. My initial reaction was quite simply elation - though after that in the post-"I can escape" haze, I realised something that I hadn't quite realised before: there are still things I want to do in this world. One of those things, the capture and acquisition of Japanese, is easily going to delay me about 5 years or so. AT LEAST. But, back on topic here, this whole experience has essentially resulted in me planning to create an autobiography, a bucket list (or a 'Fuck-it' list, as in, 'Fuck it, I'm going to die soon'), and to finish those quests I've been undertaking since my childhood - I want to become educated, I want to have sex, and I want to experience those things said to be the greatest among escapist outlets. After I've finished taking what I can from the world, I'll finally bolt away, as a thief, before the world can take anything more from me.

Another thing I've been thinking about: on what chance can you risk your livelihood on, provided you are in the same kind of situation as I am? Only on 100% certainty of escape (natural death) or on something a lot lower, such as 50% chance of finding the exit (say, slitting your wrists). Personally, what with a fall providing me with perhaps a 95-98% chance, and with the added bonus of a lack of pain, owing to imperfections in my mental apparatus (though similar ones are most likely the reason for me undertaking this operation in any case), I would wager my life (or, more accurately, my death) on that. But I'm not taking this lightly. I really do think you have to take count of outcomes as well as risks. The outcome of death 0.95 x the amount of good it does me (-0.7 of a life to 0 for no life = +0.7 utility), gives 0.665, while the outcome of, let's say becoming paralysed, with very conservative estimates - saying it happens the other 5% of times, gives 0.05 x (-0.7 to -1.0 =) -0.3 = -0.015. So since the good outcome is significantly better comparatively, based on my rough, amateur estimation, I'd easily stake my mortality on that. But there are a lot of factors to consider. If my life were significantly better, for example, say it yielded me an average of -0.2 utility, then that simple change would completely turn my way of thinking about these things around (0.95 x 0.2 (0.19) compared with 0.05 x-0.8 (-0.04)). The choices would not be significantly different, and as a result, I could basically make NO decision, and would simply live my life regardless, since it would take least effort to do so.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Full Reviews Vol. 2 - Time travel and robots

Sometimes I lament a little that I am not as well-read as I'd like. I have a stack of science fiction classics that I've been meaning to get into for months, but as things go, reading is a lot like exercise: hard to start doing, easy to keep doing. But just as social skills generally tend to slip my mind, so does reading books. But in any case, on with the reviews:
The Time Machine (H.G. Wells) - Unlike the Invisible Man (boring and too slow, in my opinion), I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Words cannot describe how remarkably before-its-time this was. The strangeness and sheer plausibility of the evolved humans isn't something you would find in many books these days. In fact, it's a common sci-fi trope to have humans NOT EVOLVE whatsoever - even though environments will change, some people will be more adapted and will breed more yadda yadda. The descriptions alone are enough for me to recommend it. It's in the public domain too, which is always a plus.

Chobits - Don't get me wrong here. Chobits is a good manga, it definitely is. But after reading CardCaptor Sakura, I just came to expect a lot more of CLAMP. The story is good, the philosophy is pretty good too. But everything is just good. There isn't enough there to warrant a re-read, and the story is a little too simplistic to extract anything out of it that you hadn't already gotten. But if you're a fan of CLAMP, I'd probably tell you to go for it, because it is plenty heartwarming, like most of their works.

Too tired to write anything more. Until next time, I'm out.

Monday, 14 November 2011

First Look Reviews Vol 2. Incredibly Vague Job Descriptions and Sword-wielding Maniacs

Berserk - Berserk is one of those things I desperately try to like, but cannot really bring myself to do so, except when I'm in the right kind of mood. Simply put, I think this one would really benefit more from a re-read. The art is beautifully ugly, and the story is quite unique and delightfully misanthropic. The view of God as a being created out of the unfulfilled desires of man amuses me quite a lot, and I'm sure there are a hell of a lot more good things about Berserk. But as it stands, I'm either not in the right mood for it, or I'm not ready yet for something like this. As for the antinatalist take on things, there is really so much there. Gone are those ignorant 'good will always prevail', 'things will work out in the end' tropes, replaced by crazed continuous evil.
Claymore - Claymore is generally said to be a manga very like Berserk - in that it is probably one of the only so-called 'Dark Fantasy' type manga available. I'm not sure I really agree with that. While the visuals in both are stunning, and terrifying at the same time, Claymore isn't really much of a critique on anything at all, or at least, if it is, it's too deep for me to get. Not that there's anything wrong with Claymore for being this way, au contraire, it stands on its own two feet as a great manga without doing that. A warning however - it does really take a while to get into. It gets so much better, but you really do have to wait until it does. 
Hunter x Hunter - I began into this knowing of a few good reviews, somewhat hoping they were wrong, due to the sheer absurdity and vagueness of the premise. People who find rare things? Who cares, right? But as it turned out, a couple of chapters in, I was pretty damn captivated to say the least. It's one of those unique feelings that are quite unexplainable to onlookers - the bare bones of the manga is typical shounen fare. There are a lot of entertaining deviations from this, enough I'd say to place it as a quite a good manga, but there isn't actually enough bulk there to back it up. Of course, that's what it seems like from a rather harsh, critical viewpoint. The minimalism present, however, I find adds quite well to the setting, and even though the backstory isn't as adequately fleshed out as one would like, it doesn't have to be. It certainly goes towards proving that. Every shounen anime or manga I have fixed my eyes upon has had some sort of gimmick to both draw you in in the short term, and to addict you to in the long term. Hunter x Hunter, for me, as far as I have read, doesn't actually seem to have that. I really cannot pinpoint anything in it that I find particularly addicting, but still, the whole thing as it stands, is. This is in contrast to Berserk, which has many things within it that I adore, but that I do not, at the moment, like.

Speaker for the Dead - Ender's Game was by far the best science fiction novel I have ever read. Now it isn't like I'm exactly the go-to guy for that kind of thing, considering my relative inexperience with, uh, everything. But keeping that first statement in mind, I had really high hopes for this book. Now I wouldn't say they were dashed to the ground or anything, but I was a little, just a little, bit disappointed. I just think that the setting overall was a bad idea. Small catholic colony? Kind of boring, sorry. It took me such a long time to actually give a crap about anything going on that the first part of the book was just a blur for me. But now that I'm in the middle, I can judge this properly, and I can say that it's a good book, definitely, it's a well-thought out book, but it's not one of the best books.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Full Reviews Vol. 1 More Mechas, Demon Lords and the history of a drug-addled plumber

Full Reviews are essentially reviews of works I have seen through to their completion - and in this case, I shall be focussing on video games I have played somewhat recently.
Front Mission: Gun Hazard vs. Metal Warriors - While I am currently playing through the original Front Mission (and finding it quite good), I am looking back and comparing it quite a bit with a game I completed a few months ago that was something of a spin-off sequel to this one. Essentially, I would have to say, this game is remarkably deep, well-thought out, and most of all, incredibly fun. Now while I admit the levelling aspect of this made it a little too easy - especially near the end - I still managed to become almost completely immersed in the experience. The characters were a little aloof, or simply, a little bit too simple, and the plot 'twist' near the end as to the real motive behind the villains' manipulations was a little off, but not only would you make an allowance for this given that FM:GH is a Super Famicom game, but you would make an allowance for this given that it is a game at all - although I do not play most mainstream, new games these days, I would have to say that the ones I have played cannot compare to this, even though they are in 3D.

I wanted to compare both these games with Cybernator, but given that the SNES version was censored, and there remains no translation for the original (and my Japanese is still a work in progress), I cannot at this moment do so - despite the obvious similarities between all these games, being those in which you pilot mechas. The one thing I have to say about Metal Warriors is that what it lacks in story, it makes up for in gameplay. I think FM:GH really cannot compare to the amount of fun you can potentially have in Metal Warriors, though Metal Warriors in turn cannot really compare to the story and immersion in FM:GH. I also think that FM:GH was carefully calibrated to some extent to make sure that players would not find it hard enough to make them lose focus on the plot - while Metal Warriors had as little story as possible, so the fun element would be turned up to maximum. I'd say that Metal Warriors is not a game you should really attempt without savestates if you want to complete it, but then again, it still is fun enough that completing it isn't the thing most on your mind at the time, while FM:GH has the RPG elements in it that basically allow you to grind until everything is extremely easy, so completing it isn't really an issue. In summary, these games despite their similarities, appeal to entirely different audiences - but I'd recommend both to anyone who is a fan of mechas, war games and fun gameplay. As for the antinatalist aspect, I'd say that there is absolutely none. None at all.

Disgaea vs. Pokémon - I'm not sure whether I want to call Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness the best RPG I've ever played, but as it stands right now, my emotions tell me that it is. Not that there is anything wrong with it - simply, I can't shake off how it is often said that Chrono Trigger or the Persona series etc. are the best - and I loved Chrono Trigger in its own way, sure (haven't played Persona), but the only RPGs I have really played constantly for months on end are the Pokémon series and Disgaea. The fun I get out of these games is basically limitless - and with so much to do in them, I have often spent entire summer holidays, day after day after day playing them. But Disgaea holds a special place in my heart, moreso than Pokémon, simply because it is not only carefully made addicting to people such as myself, but it is innovative, it is funny, and it is immersing. Pokémon is more like junk food, really - I'll consume as much of it as I can, for as long as I can, but it isn't exactly adding anything to me. My antinatalist take on these games is that some monsters and classes in this game are too weak to use. Their lives are meaningless, and you should release them into the wild, or transmigrate them into better classes. Essentially, if the developers were antinatalist, they would have put them in to show us that nature is cruel, and that some people's lives are not worth living. It takes a broad stretch of imagination to see things that way though, ha.

Mario games - Is it me or do the Mario games just keep on getting better? From the original, to Super Mario World, to Yoshi's Island, and finally to New Super Mario Bros, I keep on having my expectations as to their value squashed, as their actual value is even greater in magnitude.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

First Look Reviews Vol 1: Magical Girls, Cyborgs and Mechas

What I mean essentially by a 'First Look' review is simply one that is incomplete - that is to say, one in which the subject matter has not been completely consumed by my brain, and hence cannot be completely reviewed. If that's not completely clear enough, I'd say for example that I've watched only X episodes of Y - therefore, I probably have the gist of the form of media, but cannot state anything based upon total knowledge. Note that in terms of foreign media, I will generally be commenting on subs, not dubs, and will try to find the least censored and most original form of the work possible. This applies immediately to Cardcaptor Sakura, my first entry, as this was so bowdlerised upon its dubbing and 'translation' that "Cardcaptors" is a show not only entirely different, but unwatchable in its mutilated state.
Cardcaptor Sakura 
This doesn't completely count as a 'First Look', simply because I've already read the manga form of this work. But still, there are a few changes that I'm guessing could sway my opinion a little as to which adaptation was superior that I can't really express here, not having watched enough to do so. In any case, I'd say, Cardcaptor Sakura is probably only one of two anime that have left me with this really strange feeling. Happiness? Contentment? It's around about there. Now I really don't expect others to have my opinions on this, but I'd have to say that ARIA and Cardcaptor Sakura easily constitute a rebuttal of anyone claiming that Utopian fiction is impossible, because these works are devoid of any kind of evil at all. And yet, to me at least, they remain entirely interesting and engaging. But putting on my 'different person' hat, I would expect that some people could be a little bit bored by this - and really, a lot of people would be put off by its target demographic: preteen girls from the get-go. Regardless, it's one of those top anime that I will probably watch quite a few times in my life,I wager. As for the antinatalist side of things here, I guess one could say that Cardcaptor Sakura is so fundamentally utopian that it should act to show people how messed up our world really is.
Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex
I've watched the movies already, so I've got a good idea of where this is heading - and let me tell you that the first film was one of the best I have ever seen in my life. Still, it's too early to tell, I think, but the themes expressed already - the abundance of computers integrated into humans, the blurring of the lines between machine and human, and the strange nature of human and artificial intelligence - are enough to keep me engaged for a long time indeed. And don't think it's too 'cold' either. There is quite an abundance of comedic relief in this show, and not enough to hurt any of the plot. From an antinatalist perspective, this is really a show about the early stages of transhumanism, and as such, should bring up that battle again in your mind "Is it better to wait for the advent of the technological singularity and transhumanism, or is it better to simply end suffering now?". I'd definitely vote for the latter, but I don't really think it'll happen anytime soon - whereas the former might.
Mobile Suit Gundam
I've watched Wing and SEED before, so already it's hard to express to you how good this show is, simply because I have a huge bias in this matter, in that I like mechas, and I like war-themed shows - especially how suffering on both sides is often portrayed, along with the fragility of the human condition. So far, things seem pretty good. The morality is quite grey, which is nice, and it doesn't skip out on the detrimental effects of the war either. Regardless this really is far too early to say anything about it - while another war anime I've been watching, Saikano, I could give a definite opinion on in my next post. Suffice to say, it is a brilliant portrayal and deconstruction of every major theme in war fiction out there. As for the antinatalist take on things, I'd say that war-themed fiction really helps people see that this world isn't as ordered as they think. There isn't much meaning here, actions are hard to judge as moral or immoral, and your kids are going to get conscripted and mutilated if they're born during a time of war, which is why you shouldn't have them in the first place.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A few thought experiments for natalists and an announcement

It's pretty well-known, whether scientifically or not, that time passes by a lot quicker when we're having fun than when we, well, aren't - it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, as contributing more time and thought on risky or dangerous situations, or searching more actively for things to do when we aren't doing much could possess certain survival advantages. But that's not what I'm focussing on here. Couldn't any anti-euthanasia, pro-life natalist etc. etc. hold true to the notion that more suffering is better, because a longer (subjective) life is surely a better one? If someone cannot accept this, then they must instead accept that some forms of life are bad, and that a shorter lifespan is actually favourable to a longer one in certain cases (of course, the life=a gift from God belief probably overrides this for theists). This, to me, seems to be something of a step in the right direction. If non-suffering is preferable to (extra) life in at least this one case, then, although it may be a stretch to infer this, then maybe antinatalism isn't such a kooky idea after all. And that's not all, folks. If you can ask someone to imagine that their life, their precious little life, were replaced instead with a fiendish monstrosity in which they could feel neither joy nor love, then you might, again, get someone on the long and twisting road to antinatalism. And after that, just ask them, when they say they would not live such a life (and they really can't bite a bullet that big), whether they would allow their child to have such a life. At least, if nothing else, they might come away from things with the knowledge that there are certain situations where no life is in fact a better position than life. Not that that will necessarily lead to any kind of enlightened new persona in that individual, but you could sow the seeds of doubt. These are just thoughts I've been having, to be honest. No vendetta or bloodlust against pronatalists this time.

As for this blog: you may have noticed that I have not been posting for quite a while. This is because not only do I have nothing much left to say, but venlafaxine makes me, at least in the background and while not at school, happier, and thus less inclined to right about, unfortunately, depressing topics. But it's not dead yet! I'm planning on writing reviews of media I have currently watched here. It probably won't be entertaining, as while my interests are not quite obscure, they are not for everyone. But regardless, I'll carry on.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Nostalgia and plagiarising James

I liked James's most recent post, and thought, why not steal it? And besides that - I wanted to tie in those stolen goods with something I've been thinking about recently: how unbelievably biased nostalgia is, and how untrustworthy our memories of happiness are. Not that I'm critcising your graph James (it probably averages out on the long term), it's just that, at least in my life, there are moments I look back on with extreme fondness, which with a lot of thought on my part, I've realised weren't even that happy at the time. My graph would go like this, if I were to rip it straight from my subconscious:
But controlling for nostalgia, and asking outside sources for mood information etc.:
As you see here, things are a hell of a lot different, but make a hell of a lot more sense. For example, my particular mood disorder, (probably schizoaffective - but who knows - not my useless psychiatrist) becomes pretty apparent around late adolescence (the pattern at the start was simply because I was depressed at school, absurdly happy at home - I mean euphoric at home).  Also about those dips in late childhood: yes I'm being honest, at around 8 years old, I think, I started thinking about dying and how, at those moments, I would have been better off dead. The "zero-line = will-to-live" rule still stands.
The main problem I find with nostalgia is simply that sometimes this thought occurs to me - that I'm happy at every point in existence but the present one. What I mean simply is, even nostalgia of previous months (where I am horribly depressed) likes to glue itself to my perceptions, where no spatula can remove it. But my extensive keeping of journals does help me appreciate that my life is actually, well, a lot worse than I estimate it at usually. And the same should go for everyone's life, I think. Were you really *so* happy at that particular moment, or was that moment just so perfect, from an OBJECTIVE point of view, that your brain is equating the experience with SUBJECTIVE feelings of happiness, like fluttering little snapshots into worlds that never existed. I don't think anyone could really be "so happy" on say, their wedding day, unless they had shot up with heroin just moments before. Nostalgia, I think, is another important reason why people vastly overestimate their lives - and more importantly, most importantly in fact, their children's potential lives.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Intelligence is wasted on me, rainbows, puppies, and other cheery things

I was going to start in here with some sort of rant about how intelligence is a curse and how people would be better off as chimps or wolves, and far better off as painless non-feeling amoebae, but as it turns out, I don't think there's any scientific data to back me up on that one. For all I know, people of greater than or equal to average intelligence may actually be happier than those that are below that mark - in fact I think I remember reading something that suggested that there is some kind of correlation like that. So I'm not going to go into how my specific 'the world must be like me' bias makes me assume that every person of any better-than-average neurological functioning is depressed and misanthropic. Rather, I'm going to talk about why I SPECIFICALLY think intelligence is something of a curse FOR ME. If I were at least at an IQ of <90 etc., I am sure that almost none of these circumstances would apply to me.

My brain has become such a little snob that most conversations tend to force me into that awkward state in between sleeping and living. Nothing stimulates me in conversation but things that only old people and mythical 'scholars' talk about. If I were not at my current level of intelligence, perhaps I wouldn't immediately start liking football, but at the same time, I wouldn't need such outsider interests to actually stay awake.

I don't mean to imply that anyone religious is an imbecile, I just mean that my brain has too many in-built defence mechanisms towards religion. These 'if God can cause itself why can't the universe's and 'How can a just God make a universe so horrible's really wreck every attempt at conversion I undergo, and in my opinion, stop me from experiencing any of the benefits of religion. Big Daddy who isn't your Daddy in heaven to love you, a large fanbase to mingle with and feel at home with, and a free ticket to imagining miraculous places without the inevitable 'that could never happen' and the subsequent depression.

Getting good grades in school has given me this ingrained, rather disgusting superiority complex. In every conversation, every day of the week, I am so acutely aware of the ways in which I have beaten such and such that I feel as if I am wasting my time. And what happens when the superiority complex is - goodness gracious me! - invalidated? I freak out, and feel this hot little well of hatred seething inside me. This would not happen if I had an IQ of 90. The outcome would be too hilarious for it to be possible.

Now you may say that if I were mildly retarded, then I might breed, so the large amount of bullshit I suffer is probably justified. But at an intelligence level where I would be legally recognised as disabled, however, I am quite certain that my sexual prospects would be just around nil. So bla bla bla bla I'm not dead, but don't have enough free time to write here, sorry.    

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Why can I never follow through on anything?

I'm a day late, and I really don't have anything to say about Bryan Caplan. He's moronic in ways I've never truly thought possible, but other than that, I don't have any passion with which to beat him over the head with. Eliezer and Rob, support him all you like in your Randian-esque cult of 'rationality', I don't really care. I'm past that for now, simply because I'm in the line of thinking that giving up will save me a lot of pain. People are not ready for antinatalism. Even if (or perhaps, when) we become posthuman pleasure-robot-geniuses, I don't think a sufficient, or even substantial proportion of the population will be ready. Human beings are deception machines. I'm pretty sure a hell of a lot of ordinary thought consists of nothing but simple lies to ourselves - justifications of purpose, justifications of hierarchy, justifications for living, just justifications. The only real chance I think that antinatalism would have would be if people were not given the chance to come to an informed decision on the matter - if by some stroke of luck, all the education ministers all over the world were antinatalist, and the next generation, the last generation, were brought up as antinatalists. Serious, serious problems aside, I find the whole idea quite amusing. But then again, maybe I shouldn't. Most people don't understand scientific principles - yet they believe everything a scientist will tell them, or at least, almost everything. What does it matter if you believe something that's right without knowing why? As long as it is actually right, then everything's hunky dory, really. Or is it? I can't be bothered thinking that one through (far too tired), so you can tell me what you think in the comments if you want. Bye for now, I guess.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Can you supplement social sub-functioning?

If you're moving to Africa and you happen to be a Caucasian, wear sun cream. If you happen to be particularly predisposed to eating all the crap you can find, take vitamin tablets and start exercising. In this modern world a lot of what was previously deficiency, can now be eradicated with simple daily habits. Is it the same, however, with our newly created social deficiencies, in this day and age? Could it be that this has already happened - that the various media out there are essentially, or at least in part, to do with the lack of social contact some of us may now experience away from the village lifestyle? Is it possible to make up for a life with few friends, for those of us who are socially inept, with the ease of sitting down, watching TV, and getting back to business? I've been wondering about this for a while, for the simple reason that it is personally something pretty key to my existence. You see, the thing is, at about the age of 10 or so - when I started REALLY watching TV, I realised slowly, that I didn't feel loneliness anymore. It just didn't come. Now while it's pretty easy to simply attribute that to the general emotional numbing I've felt over the years, the issue is still quite poignant, in that with my general misanthropy and Superiority Complex, I seriously consider, as pretty much a weekly thing now, whether it would be better to completely disconnect myself from all non-necessary social interaction. Or at least, from the people I don't find particularly all that fun to be with, which is probably about 95% of people my age. This isn't just a pipe dream by the way. I have this opportunity, what with doing university courses next year from home. In any case, what I mean is, my special little disorder makes most, if not all, of the social interaction I participate in, barring that which I perform online, horribly annoying. It grinds my will to live into dust. There comes a certain restlessness, I suppose, when I'm alone for weeks, say when I'm on holiday. But really, if I could somehow plan a routine - like how bodybuilders regulate what tablets they take - and stick to it, it being specific forms of entertainment that mimic the social stimuli I expect myself to be looking for, then it should be possible, nay even comfortable, for me to live a hermit's life (well, almost). So what do you think? Is it another pointless endeavour, a dream and only a dream, or is it another one of those benefits of living in a technologically advanced society? My gut says former, my heart says the latter.
I would post something less self-related by the way, but as you know, I have no real content left to share with you. There'll come a day, I hope, that maybe that tag-cloud will have antinatalism outranking everything else by far. But that day is not this one, ha.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The shortest riot in history

You guys must be clouds, because you've seriously been raining on my parade in those last comments of yours. Not that I'm hurt, or upset, or angry, or anything really - just on the verge of wavering in my faith. That is to say, I was so ready for an all-out war, a military campaign of sorts, as you could probably tell from my language. I'm still thinking of targeting Less Wrong etc., but now I'm really not sure it's going to do anything. To best spread the word I guess, I'm stuck with putting up flyers and such in the men's toilets - it works for prostitutes, why not for antinatalists? But yeah, anyway, here's the rundown of what's got sand in my urethra:
-Sister Y's comment decreases pretty significantly the likelihood I thought there would be of conversion happening. Most people would expend a lot less effort just laughing and calling us crazy. Conversion rate lowered.
-CM's comment reminded me of why I stopped reading articles on those websites. The ones not purely to do with rationality are completely idiotic. Conversion rate lowered.
-Lorraine highlighted the various uninformed memes floating about the community. I wouldn't be trying to nobly convince some accidentally misguided people, I'd just be trying to insert another meme (which happens to be correct to the people here) into the vast annoying memepool already established. Conversion rate in - just kidding - lowered.

I still feel though, that I have something of a moral obligation to do SOMETHING, despite how I don't exactly know what kind of something I could do. Maybe the fault lies in my thinking that I'm more powerful than I actually am. But regardless of that, I'm still up for a nice little trolling session when the time comes.

In summary I am not Stalin. Though I am 'Stalin' until something interesting pops into my head to write here. That is all.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Nicest Hot Dog Vender in Town

There's this nice lady you know working in the crowded town plaza. Now the hot dogs she makes aren't particularly good, in fact, sometimes they're not good at all, but still, there is one essential gimmick to these 'dogs that makes people come back there again and again. You see, this is no ordinary hot dog vender, though she looks like one. She is actually a multi-millionaire, who just does this kind of thing for kicks. Every hot dog she throws at you is free of charge - though the problem is, she's quite a fierce little woman. So much so, that you are literally required, not just obliged, to eat that hotdog as soon as she picks you from the crowd and chucks it at you. Big woop, right? Who cares? Free hotdogs are always good, who doesn't like free hotdogs? Well actually, Muslims don't, but there are too few of them to make a difference. The same with people who 'genuinely' (yeah right, everyone likes hotdogs) believe that they do not like hotdogs. Overall, the combined effect of those hotdogs being given out is a good one, so doing this means that this woman must be something of a moral paragon - in fact, the Catholic Church is announcing her sainthood next week!

But there lurks a growing crowd of naysayers, those who seem to think, for some odd reason, that these hot dogs are a bad thing. They say, "If someone is allergic to some of those ingredients and is made to eat one, then you have done a harm to that person - more so, than if that person had never been forced to eat that hotdog in the first place. Making people happy by giving them hotdogs does not, and never will make up for causing some of them harm, because suffering is harm and therefore immoral, while happiness is not harm and is therefore neutral. Besides, since every hotdog has some necessary bad parts, then the act of forcing someone to eat a hotdog is still a wrong one, because you have still harmed them (even if only slightly) in the process."

But that virtuous old woman, being a multi-millionaire, was able to get around those crafty fun-stompers with just a few simple calls. The hotdog meat was switched to top quality - so great that no one could ever say that they had been harmed by a hotdog - and those who were allergic, or muslim, or 'didn't like hotdogs' could simply be appeased by other, alternative hotdogs made on the spot. And do you know what those evildoers - those who would defecate on the prospect on free hotdogs for all - said to that? That "the fact of the matter is that no one consents to being given a hotdog, regardless of whether they like it. Just because you weren't harmed by something doesn't mean being forced, coerced or otherwise made to do it is a morally good thing. Rape is still rape, even if it feels good."
Ridiculous. Idiots.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A Call to Arms

I had a dream last night that I posted three entries on the one day. It was only 33% correct, so it wasn't much of a premonition. But in any case, my topic for today is Organised Resistance. And why we antinatalists don't seem to be doing much in the way of spreading the word. Now you'd be right in saying that the art of blog-posting is as good an advertisement as any as to the grandeur and loveliness of antinatalism, but the sad truth remains: not many of us even have blogs. And moreover, most of our blogs aren't even popular enough to make any significant impact on converting others. Don't act by the way, like a lot of religious people out there. If your idea is correct, then it stands to reason that you spread it to best maximise the likelihood that its conclusions are made reality. By that reasoning, we should all be missionaries of antinatalism! But still, look around you: Google does not recognise antinatalism as a word, no scholar openly espouses antinatalism apart from David Benatar, and most people still have the same knee-jerk response to attempts to convince them that they can't have children.  Something must be done.

I think the main problem is that we can't see each other. We can't meet up with each other and plan any kind of revolt or mass-advertisement, because on the internet it simply seems like all of us are acting alone when we try to spread the good word. But if we just get up the courage, kick ourselves in the ass, and start working hard to pursue the only thing in life that has any sort of value at all, maybe, just maybe, we can make a difference before we die. That's all well and good, you say, but you haven't even told us what to do? How can we trust you, estnihil, if you won't even offer a simple little example?

Well, I'll tell you. We start off with the Overcoming Bias community. My reasoning is simple: they have a serious pronatalist on their side (i.e. Bryan Caplan), and they obviously have knowledge of Sister Y's blog (Eliezer and Rob's comments), but they still don't buy into the truth of what we say. My plan? A two-pronged attack. Those of us with blogs mount a coordinated assault on a single day, September 13th (Positive Thinking Day), and those of us without attack their ill-thought out ideas on Less Wrong's IRC chatroom.   

Convert as many as you can. Godspeed, comrades.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Post Office Announcement: The Same Old Crap

I've done a lot of experiments in the past, as you know. The confidence thing failed, just so you know. I write a lot of things when I'm a little bit high, and most of them make about as much sense as putting fertility drugs into the water supply. One of the features of my malleable personality is that my writing style can vary quite a lot. It may not seem that way when you read the posts on this blog, but I've got a tonne of thoughts and the like that prove otherwise. Well, onto the point. What I've been thinking of lately is whether my little niggling anxieties about whether I should write or say something or not are holding me back from performing to the best of my ability. Of course the real reason I am not exactly en par with my former self, years ago, before this blog, is probably because the antipsychotics I'm on are stifling my creativity. But IF, a big if, IF it turns out that not saying or writing everything that goes on in my mind actually is somewhat hurting my chances of acting successfully like a real person, then it stands to reason that I should cut those little fears out and do whatever the hell I want.
        Not that that means I have any more content for this blog, I'm afraid. I used to be so good at putting my pain down into words, but that ability has left me these days, again, probably due to the antipsychotics. So I'm sorry to say that this is another one of those posts about why I'm not posting and how I can post more, with no disclaimer foretelling the inevitable failure this post will be.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Social Interest Triggering Social Skills

Apparently, there is no way at all I could have autism (or any other developmental disorder) given my childhood history, and general present abilities, says my psychiatrist. This was quite a...well it wasn't so much a revelation as much as an annoyance. When I was young I was just completely spaced out. I don't know if any other children were to that extent, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't what most other kids felt like, simply because they gave a crap about interacting with each other. I didn't. Now don't get me wrong here, it's not like I loved myself that much. I didn't really have any conception of myself at all, just like now - generally I'm guessing I probably would have been like other kids, have my imaginary friends not been ten times more interesting than them. But still, when I tossed those comrades in the trash, I found out that, for some reason or other, I wasn't exactly socially fit. Rituals and methods of interaction just sped right by me. Though from watching a lot of TV, I knew what most of them meant, and what to do when, I simply didn't do any of them because I really just didn't feel the need. I just didn't care at all. Now eventually, being friendless and alone, I did come to start pretending to be like other people, but that took a while to really become keyed into me. Still, even now, some things just don't come natural to me. I have to force myself to thank people, or to say please, for example. I just find all these rituals so damn empty and meaningless. The bulk of social interaction is not information exchange, as I once thought, it's actually a really pitiful kind of mutual masturbation. But since I am wired in such a way that I want that, I'm pretty much stuck having to kick myself into gear whenever someone starts talking to me. With the autism thing gone, I'm really at a loss at explaining why exactly this is. I'm thinking right now it's probably something to do with the fact that my life feels more like a movie than a video game - I forget I have to act sometimes to get results. And sometimes, I'm simply just so disinterested in what most people have to say I just can't be bothered putting up a front. But in case I'm wrong, I'm wondering if any of you have specific things you're not good at, socially speaking - small talk, formalities, teasing, making new friends. I'd hazard a guess and say that most of you don't even think about these things when you do them - they just come naturally to you. The difference is, really, they only come naturally to me when I'm interested in what other people have to say. When I'm not, my social functions just switch off, as if to maintain power. But you are antinatalists, and so it should be okay for me to expect that you have a lower tolerance for tedious crap than the average person. So, what I'm wondering really, is whether any of you have points where you simply cannot be bothered reacting in a socially acceptable manner - where you may have to force yourself to even try being pleasant to others. My hunch is that you don't, and the whole "Does thinking about things philosophically make people less tolerant of meaningless actions?" post can be binned before it's even started.
See also: Friendship and its Discontents

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Hello, Lost Property Office? Have you found any happiness recently?

I have a big file of all these experimental techniques and points of view I've been imposing on myself and documenting. This one, however, I think, will be the strangest of all. You see, I have realised in this life that my own happiness has never come as a result of me actively acting in some way - though I have mood-swings for the better, my natural state is quite a depressive one. In fact, as of now (the past few weeks), it is pretty much an anhedonic one. What I have acquired in all my years of searching for the unattainable, is simply the perspective that maybe happiness shouldn't be my main goal. In fact, maybe it shouldn't be my goal at all. Now this doesn't seem logical when you look at it first, but in depth, you'll see why I'm going to begin this experiment. You see, the innate drive for happiness (or more appropriately, the avoidance of suffering), is one so deeply ingrained into us that we think it an actual part of ourselves - like our personality, almost. Except, as I've talked about a bit here, there is no purely rational reason for one following that drive. But given this framework: that being happy is something that is most often the end-all of most activities, and that as a person, you believe that happiness must be a fundamental part of your existence, one can say that searching for happiness is rational provided that is said EXCEPT in one special case. My case. I'll get to that soon. Now when the strange scenario arises in which happiness is unattainable, or at least, comes at random points when one is not expecting it - when the search for happiness does not actually do anything at all, what does one do? Now there is some research suggesting that we can't actually change how happy we are, but if you don't trust that, then you can simply search for happiness, believing that you will attain it. And what's the harm? Except for the lost time, no one loses much by assuming they can find happiness. Except, again, for people like me. For me, not only is lasting happiness something I find to be unattainable, so the search is rendered futile, but moreover, the search actually pains me - it frustrates me to search for something and come back empty-handed each and every day. So in this case, if I really want to achieve my goal of being happier, I actually have to give up that very same goal! It seems a little absurd, really. But still, most of my previous experiments have been failures, so don't expect too much from this. One of the joys - or not actually, of being anhedonic is that everything conveys the exact same amount of pleasure to me: zero. So maybe, if things go well here, I can finally get some work done! Yippee!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Anhedonic Days: Remarks on the Antinatalist Population

(In summary of the first, rambling, and sickeningly pity-rousing paragraph, Anhedonia is a BAD thing. Depression is a BAD thing.)
Sorry for not posting recently, I've had another of my recent bouts of anhedonia. For those of you who don't know what this is, count yourself lucky. Anhedonia is something that is keeping me prisoner in my own body - it's an ever-present influence on everything I do, and it makes every waking day away from school just as boring as those days within my school's walls. Coming to theatres near you - I mean, it's essentially just the absence of pleasure. That doesn't sound too bad, of course, when you say it like that. In fact it even sounds rather alright - not good, not bad; an emotional null. Except when you actually get to the crux of the matter - when you begin going about your daily life in the natural way, you realise that this seemingly innocent clinger-on to one's mental apparatus is hellish in nature. Nothing brings joy, only frustration and boredom. Everything one does is never as a human, but as a mindless automaton. But that's my rant for today.
       On to the point: there are some strange things about the demographics of the Antinatalist population, as seen on Jim's chatroom, and this blogsphere, that I've been seeing a lot:
                  (i) Higher rate of mental illness than the general population (let's say 5/30 have one)
                  (ii) Sexual equality higher than that of other intellectual groups (e.g. the lack of female atheists, the lack of male feminists)
                  (iii) Low incidence of religious belief (approx 1/30)
                  (iv) Large number of non-native English speakers
(iii) and (iv) are quite easy to explain, so I'll start with them first. (iii) I believe is simply the result of the low number of religious believers who seek some sort of additional knowledge away from their holy documents. Even the few that do, will simply look up courses on theology and such - as antinatalism is neither a popular subject among theologians, nor a popular subject among anyone at all, it seems to stand to reason that a religious person could only have come to antinatalism through their own accidental realisation of the problems of giving birth. Of course you could say that the nonreligious wouldn't find references to antinatalism anywhere, but the problem with that is, that we as the nonreligious have no barriers to searching for things that affirm our pessimism, if we are so inclined that way. And in searching for pessimism on the internet, we could easily have eventually been led to one of the many antinatalist blogs out there, or even to Schopenhauer's (peace be upon him) works.
       The large number of non-native English speakers present (iv) is simply, I think, a result of the fact that we are on the internet! There are no barriers to anyone from any moderately wealthy country from congregating on the internet, besides government-imposed censorship laws. And due to the popularity of English, being almost a modern lingua franca, it stands to reason that a lot of newbie antinatalists are going to search for antinatalism in that tongue.
        (i) is quite a personal one. I'd love to say right now that (i) is because the mentally ill can see things far more clearly than the ignorant neurotypicals, but that's not exactly rational, let alone sporting. What I'd instead propose is that the mentally ill are prone to:
-Mulling things over for longer periods of time (deep thinking sometimes = antinatalism)
-Understanding that life is not all cheery from their own personal suffering (awareness of the suffering in the lives of human beings leads to antinatalism)
and to
-Looking for things on the internet related to them (searches for depression could easily lead to searches for pessimism, as I've said, leading to the discovery of antinatalism). As a bonus for the reader, this mentally ill person (me) found antinatalism by searching for suicide methods, and happened upon Sister Y's blog.
   As for (ii), I have hardly any idea at all. I thought that by putting it off for this long, something would come to me, but really, I'm not sure. I think that maybe I'm thinking of this from the wrong perspective. Maybe sexual equality in demographics is the most natural state of being - maybe those examples I've used are actually examples of things being portrayed as in opposition to a particular sex. Maybe the fact that atheism is male-dominated KEEPS it male-dominated - the fact that so many authors are male deters women from contributing (though there are some studies showing women to be more religious, I think). As for feminism, it's simply to do with image - those man-hating radicals deter any interested men from joining.     
  Of course one could simply explain everything away by saying the low sample size means any of these features could be a coincidence! Sorry guys.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Off on a Tangent

In the year 1000 AD (After Duxxan, the revolutionary inventor), chiwanity has reached an incredible era. Their binary brain systems have not been modified by much, having been declared as 'sacred' and the 'vessels for the 50 souls', which harbour each of the main chiwan emotional states as identified by the high priests. But the Duxxanites, and their heretical ways, still scheme away, and after almost a century of lobbying, have persuaded the governing elite to add into each child born, a simple, if elegant, mechanical switch wired to each of the main parts of their brains. Why, you ask? The proximate cause is that which was told to the pure, untainted senate - that the insomniac minority was actually a majority, and despite how maybe in a different society in a far off galaxy (if one could exist!) may have attributed this to some other underlying factor, the senate was simply told that this was a hereditary thing (for who could be as pure as the governors!). The switch was essentially designed to bypass the brain's natural course of shutting down, and 'turn people off' at the push of a button. But this is where it got weird for the governors: a mechanism was installed into people so that, when sunlight came, or when their brains had decided they had had enough sleep, their arms would automatically rush to their heads and turn themselves back on again. But for some strange reason, this only happened in about 30% of the cases - dropping as each day passed. People would simply not stop sleeping! But this was simply down to laziness, the 'voice of the people' said. New jobs were being created by employers so that the remaining 30% could go into the employees' houses and wake them up. And it worked. Most of the time. You see, those blasphemous Duxxanites were up to something: for the minimal fee of a few hours' between-network allowance, and the necessary knowledge of bypassing the governors' filters, a person could change their 'off-switch' to permanently keep them in a dream-state. At first this was simply seen in a few cases, but eventually, around 70% of the working population had succumbed to the disgustingly unholy vastness of the dream-scape. Operations were performed, brains were dissected, but all in all, it was discovered, that the Duxxanites had designed the switch to be so closely interlinked with one's brain that nothing, but death, could stop the endless stream of dreams. New cults began closely tied in with the ability to switch oneself off, but they died out as quickly as they formed. Not, as publicly stated, because the government shut them down for good, but because each member could not stand to be away from his or her dreams to spread the good message to the rest of the world.
     In 1050 AD only the governors remained. Each, in retaliation and due to the repugnance of the public's descent into non-reality, refused to press their off-switches. Reality is so good, they said, that one must experience as much of it as possible. Do you know that people spend a third of their lives asleep? What a waste! Reality is far too magnificent to do so. Each of them died in the agony that the fellow chiwans they had enslaved felt on a day-to-day basis. I remember only a few of the dreams I've had in my life, but every single one was better than what I have, and what lies before me. I wonder what people would do if they had an off-switch - if people had an easy way out, would far more of them take that way out? You may say that suicide rates not being particularly high is a reason why they wouldn't, but the simple fact of the matter is that suicide is painful, and hard, and the fear of death shadows every action a person makes. But if the endless sleep that many people like me so desperately crave could become a viable alternative to life itself, I think most people would come to understand soon what the most satisfying choice is. Life is like being a donkey, working your ass off for a single, rotten carrot. Dreaming is like finding out that you are so immensely important that the Earth literally belongs to you. Personally, I think, I'd take dreaming forever over death any day, but to use James's terminology, I'd say Dreaming > Death > Life, for me.   

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Further Explorations of the Ultimate

I've talked before about the fact that our care for the needs of others exists in tandem with the care we have for our own needs - so suicide is only really viable from a logical point of view if your sum suffering having to live is estimated to outdo your loved ones' total suffering after your death, or if you are simply a sociopath. I myself, believe that the first option could actually be available to me, but I do not dare risk it due to my own sense of morality telling me that harming people with my death is wrong - even if it is so, so right from a utilitarian point of view. What I've been wondering recently is whether I've missed something here. Sure, it's all fine and good to say that since your own needs and those of other people are balanced because following them is not based on logic alone equally as much, but  I didn't take into account whether changing these circumstances could change the "rightness" of suicide. If one was to break that moral compass of ours into a thousand little pieces, could you be justified in the act itself? The problem with saying this, I find, is that though it may be true that removing your own morality may be the thing to do in order to serve your own needs best, there is no logical basis behind doing so - your brain is human, and as a result, in this meaningless world of moving chemicals, again, serving your own needs is hardwired, like serving those of your loved ones. Even if you COULD remove your morality then attempt suicide, or if you COULD remove your ego-involvement and live a humble existence, you would have no reason for serving either one or the other. The only thing I can possibly think of that could condone thinking only of one's own needs is Solipsism - and that really doesn't seem to be the case, given that we live in such a random, uncaring universe. So the point still stands. I'm not happy about that in the slightest. Still, whoever said the truth will set us free? What a pack of lies. I can't have children and I can't die because of the truth. But still, even if I'm not better off because of it, I guess the world is.