Thursday, 30 June 2011

Escapism and Me: Comfort away from Comfort

I don't think I've ever been good at dealing with life. Infancy - a blur, Childhood - a mirth-filled mythology of imaginary companions and places yet few real ones, Adolescence - the eventual horrible awakening, and the frantic scrapings at getting back to what I had. Now I'm almost an adult, I'm slowly coming, subconsciously and consciously, to the conclusion that I won't really get that back again. Everything I've done during this terrible period has essentially been to bring me back to that dreaming little place, I think. This blog, as I've said was an attempt like any other. I'm also starting to think that a part of growing up is learning to trade in those grandiose dreams for more sustainable pleasures - Milton was wrong in my opinion, happiness is most likely something intrinsic and set in stone once we are a certain age. You can't make a heaven out of this hell we live in, but with my antidepressants, my books and my video games, I can at least fool myself temporarily until sweet sleep settles in again. Going off track here, I like how in Greek Mythology, Hupnos (latinised=Hypnos), Sleep, was the twin brother of Thanatos, Death. I spend a large amount of time these days sleeping - perhaps maybe 16 hours a day. When I'm not sleeping, I'm praying for its brother, or recording the remnants of my excursions into the Dreamlands.

      Back on track again, I'd like to say that I feel that anything I haven't had before I surely won't have in the future - what I mean by this, is that if I don't show any sign of having the beginnings of skills, I most likely won't attain those skills later on. Social skills for one. I've spent so long in my own little worlds I don't really know how to react to things. I don't even have a fully formed personality - mainly what I do and say is either out of habit, because it's to do with my ego (such as this post), or because I'm chasing the past again. The next thing I'd say I probably shouldn't be too hopeful about is romance, closely related to social skills. I won't have my first kiss until years after most people have had there's. As you can probably imagine I don't flirt well, because I simply seize up when I realise that things are real - anything that snaps me back from my usual dissociative state isn't going to end well.

      But I have some hope, as the post's title eludes to. Work, hellish as it shall be, will distract me from the abyss that is life. When I'm not working, I can be reading. And when I'm not reading, I can be sleeping. As long as I don't wish for anything more, as long as I don't start devising all these stupid plans for attaining my heaven again, I should be able to palliate my pain. Is this what ordinary people do? Is this what they do when they give up their millionaire fantasies for an office job,  two kids and a house in the suburbs? I wonder. When I get the time I shall write a less rambling post on what I am currently obsessing over: Eternal Recurrence.

    As a final word I'd like to draw something to your attention: do you know how easy it was for me to write this? It took me barely any time at all, though upon reading it again I definitely doubt it is up to standard. But still, it just goes to show how easy I find it to write about myself. I try to hide it with a lot of self-deprecation, but deep down I'm a straight-out narcissist. Not that I care much.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Sunset Limited Review

 "Banish the fear of death from men's hearts and they would not live a day." - 'White'

Last post in a while, as I've said. In summary of this post, I shall say simply: watch this film. It was amazing to me how well-made this was - the slow breaking down of the character 'Black', combined with the slow opening up of the character 'White' takes care of every avenue of thought that any optimistic viewer may have, culminating in the eventual victory for pessimism, as the final speech that 'White' gives throws 'Black' straight into the deep end. There is no action in this film besides some of the stories told by mouth, but if I thought that would stop you, I wouldn't even bother myself writing this. Simply put, for depressives around the world wondering if their Weltschmerz has any basis in reality, this is for you - a complex reminder of the futility, the meaninglessness and the horror of life. Though it only really takes place in one room, the film really flew in for me - it felt as if no time had passed at all. What this is essentially about, if you are still unsure about whether to watch this, is to do with a professor, an atheist, having recently almost attempted suicide, having come to a conclusion about the evils of the world that will never stop as long as humanity is around, who talks to a poor ex-convict, a Christian, who is convinced that he is the atheist's guardian angel of sorts. In the end however, it must appear more to any Christian watching that the atheist is more of a supernatural character than he is - but rather a demon, or Satan himself, by his ability to 'tempt' the Christian, 'Black'. 
      Watch this movie. Please.

Vanity and the Quest for Celebrity: What is Wrong with Me?

It has come to my attention recently that this blog - this whole charade, is merely another fleeting attempt on my part for acceptance, for celebrity and for fulfillment. But I shall never fill the void - no one shall ever fill the void. I have stated before that the main purpose of my life, before I commit the ultimate in around 30 years, give or take a few, is to be happy. And this blog is not going to make me happy. No - it will simply make me suffer at every statistic I yearn for, for every comment that never was. The human race is not much of a thing but I am not even much of a human myself; I am a directionless soup of stupidity and ignorance, lacking in all personality and only dependent upon my painful little desires being fulfilled. But I have a temporary escape route: escapism, aptly named as it is,will be my saving grace for these years. The social sphere I cannot burst into, achievements I cannot attain, but pleasant distraction - that's possible. So I won't be writing here very much anymore. It will only cause me more pain. If I feel like it I might, but in general, I won't. The last post of mine on this streak I have been on will be a review of The Sunset Limited. After that, you need not tire yourself on my idiocy any longer. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Crux of Antinatalism: Morality

I pondered recently on the act of creating a census of everyone that I’ve seen on Jim’s chatroom – but by the responses I received from them, and the general aura of boredom I received from myself, I decided that it was best to leave it for someone else to do, being hard-working and responsible as I am.

      So what to do for today's post, then? I have absolutely no idea. I am beginning to think, actually, that I've said everything that could be said on antinatalism without pillaging and plagiarising from Jim and Sister Y - but as it stands, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. Today I shall be looking at why morality is something I (or even a person) must follow - I myself have had brief encounters with nihilism and egoism as philosophies, but am glad to say that now, I am quite set on following what feelings of pity and guilt that I have. It is for two reasons that I do this: one, I say that the main basis for a negative utilitarian morality among humans is simply that each of us could have been born as another person at some point - there are no rules, as far as I know, determining where consciousness arises. Although I will probably run into some logical troubles saying this, there was probably no determining factor that makes you, you - why I am estnihil and not Sister Y is going to be another philosophically tricky and unsolvable problem, but I still retain the belief that 'I' (not the real 'I' of course) could have been conscious in another body - and because of this, I believe that since I could have been anyone, I must necessarily treat others as I would treat myself, or thereabouts. The other, less logical reason, why I act with respect to what I believe to be right is simply that I am hardwired to feel this way - you may say that just because I am a certain way does not necessarily mean I should continue to be a certain way, but ultimately, as with all living creatures with brains, I seek to avoid pain - and in doing so avoid harming others. You may try to make this an argument against antinatalism, by saying some people are just hardwired to have children, but if they were directing their emotions with logic, they would indeed, feel pain at the thought of bringing another life into this world without its consent. Yes I restrict morality to Negative Utilitarianism. This is because, again, I feel less indecision and pain about moral conundrums when I think in this way. No, you don't have to follow me. You can be a moral nihilist if you want, give birth to as many children as you want, and so on. But with my specific wiring, and with my care for my non-existent children, I will never follow you.

         I hope I do not have any kind of significant backlash from this post; I simply do not know of any other arguments for morality among living creatures. If you believe I am wrong, and that nihilism is right, or there are other reasons why humans should follow a moral code, please feel free to comment and tell me.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Happy Ending: What Do We Do As the Credits Roll?

It is 2136. Every person currently alive has the nanotechnology and genetic enhancements to realise the ultimate truth: the advent of the complete eradication of suffering is not worth waiting for, and every conception is morally wrong as a result of the continued (though far less) suffering of people that are born. As a vote commences, the World Government announces on every TV and every television feed plugged directly into viewers' brains that every single person, 100% of people living, has decided unanimously that bringing children into a meaningless, painful world is a sin. However, the last child born in the world, inquisitive as they are, asks 'What do we do now?'

   Yes this is wishful thinking. But if it does happen (a big 'if' there), what would we say to that child? The problem I have is that the antinatalists I have asked do not seem to have thought this far - they believe that humans should simply live out the rest of their days, committing suicide as they please or indulging in the last remaining pleasures. But, inspired by the work of David Pearce, even if he is not strictly an antinatalist, I believe that we still have more work to do (Gary Inmendham may have talked about this - I do not know). Why is it that we are so focussed on humans? Can animals not suffer? Some even have rudimentary memes - are they not worthy of our help? The main problem is, however, that no animal can adopt an antinatalist viewpoint or understand our arguments other than, I believe, humans. So strictly speaking, we would have to act without their consent. But still, I think the ends would justify the means here; wiping out every living thing on this planet, to make sure nothing ever evolves to suffer again is surely a noble cause, is it not? I know that the issue of consent is quite a tough one here, but I really don't understand what other way we could have of stopping this endless cycle of birth and suffering and death on this world. But I would like to hear any alternative theories you may have on what we must do.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Mental Illness and the Right to Die

One thing that really gets under my skin these days is the trivialisation of mental illness and the constant belittling that people like me can suffer. I have recently been pleasantly surprised at Dignitas's plans, due to their new-found treatment of mental illness as if it were physical illness - no more messy suicides, no more 'rescues' and no more horrible, crippling failures. You see, although people don't seem to realise it these days, mental illness is every bit as painful, disheartening and life-wrecking as physical illness is - perhaps even more so in some cases. Yes, I have a disorder which causes me to contemplate suicide most of the time. But no, in no way does that mean my wishes are not completely sincere - I've been thinking about this since I was around 9 years old or so (don't expect me to go away anytime soon, though). The thing is, just because someone is 'out of their mind' enough to think about suicide does not mean they should be coddled like a child and told that they now cannot make an informed decision about the matter. In fact, the very fact that someone has thought about suicide, even if they have a mental illness, to some extent justifies the act of suicide! What I mean by this, is that anyone with such a degree of ennui is obviously suffering to a large extent - large enough in many cases, that it would actually warrant the act itself.

    The other complaint that is shouted almost at verbatim is that mental illness is 'curable', while terminal illnesses are not. The problem with saying this is, treatment isn't as simple as just a course of antibiotics, or an antitoxin in the bloodstream - it's a long, gruelling process that eventually culminates in a lot of lost years, a lot of lasting scars, and the pain of knowing too much - of knowing what the world is really like. Yes, you can make the choice to stick it out. But at the same time, one could quite easily think that the wait isn't worth it. A large, unparalleled amount of suffering for a slightly content few decades? Should we make people suffer for that?

    But I know that there probably are a lot of people who might change their minds about wanting to die, so I am definitely in favour of waiting periods, counselling classes, etc. for people who want assisted suicide. But I am most certainly not in favour of any long-term suffering.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Frightful Fable

This is my last post today, I'm really sorry about this. I'm afraid if I don't post it sooner rather than later, it'll delete itself from my brain.

Imagine a world where superpowers exist, and imagine one handsome, muscular young man and one gorgeous, buxom young woman (as the portrayals generally go in superhero movies). These particular 'heroes' have a rather sinister power: by touching each other in just the right way, the Roulette Ranger and the Slot-Machine Saviour can 'gamble' on a person's life, without it ever affecting their (the superheroes') lives. Now, don't get them wrong here. It doesn't always work out bad, sometimes the lives they affect work out great! But the question I pose to you now, is whether it is right that they should be able to gamble at all - even if they generally get good results. Is it ever right to gamble on a life? Is it ever right to gamble on your future children's lives? Is it ever right to breed?


This one differs from the previous one in that its conclusion does not ultimately lead to antinatalism, but I hope that you see, as I do, that its conclusion is altogether ridiculous as well.

Let us start out with a simple little argument. What would you say is a morally good thing? Giving to the homeless, lending out money, helping a friend in need? Let's go with the first one. Now pretend we live in a better world - a world where everyone is moral and kind, you know the drill. Would homeless people even exist? The world would be so full of giving, sensitive people, that it'd ultimately be quasi-communist. But this isn't an argument against Communism. What I'm trying to say is, isn't that world a better one that this one? Isn't the world where everyone does the morally righteous thing a better one where only a select few do?

      Now starting with such things as helping each other out, this statement works fine on most of the morally 'right' things we test it on. But if you take having children as being the right thing to do - then we run into some problems; in a world where everyone does the morally right thing, Tokyo city would look like a ghost town. There would ultimately be so many people that everyone would be poor, there wouldn't be enough food to go round, and people would be literally climbing over each other to get to places. Overpopulation, thy name is justice.

      The problem here is that saying that breeding should halt at some point is akin to saying that we should stop giving to the poor at some point; the whole thing makes little sense if we take breeding to be a morally righteous thing to do.
     Comment if you think you've proven me wrong; I'm sure you have, I thought this up after my latest bout of mild-ish insomnia.

How could you possibly counter Antinatalism? Part II

In summary of my last post, what I'll be doing here is playing the Devil's Advocate on the two main pro-natalist positions. I will try to then to link the possible conclusions one might draw from these with antinatalist thought.

Breeding is Neutral
The major problem with following through with this statement is that, although breeding is taken to be MORALLY neutral, it does follow that it is a completely neutral action. What I mean by this is essentially that, in a lot of cases, having a child is not actually in the best interests of the parents. The goal of life can generally be stated as the attainment of happiness, by most people (ultimately it must be happiness - charity work, creating a great work, being remembered etc. all lead to happiness, that is their point). So keeping this in mind, when is it right to have a child?

Financially: In this modern era, with mobile phones, computers, video games and televisions, it is becoming increasingly costly to have a child. While I know that goods (by psychological studies) often don't bring us happiness, experiences have been shown to do so. And is it not far easier to go on holidays when you are not financially burdened in such a way? 

Immortality: I think most people, even at only a subconscious level, believe that they will somehow 'live on' through their children. This is a lie perpetuated by your selfish genes; no, of course you won't. Just because your memory lives on for a few decades does not in anyway mean your consciousness lives on.

Job Satisfaction: To have kids, you need money. To get money, you need to work. And to work, you need to suffer. The more you work, the easier it is to have kids, but the more you work, the more you suffer from boredom, stress and general pain. If you don't have kids on the other hand, you don't have to work so hard - getting fired doesn't matter as much, and neither does bringing home so much money.

Meaningfulness: Some may say that children have brought meaning to their lives. But what if they don't? There is no guarantee that your child will love you, and no guarantee that they won't turn out to be a criminal. You cannot simply cash in your receipt and bring the child back into the womb. This reason perhaps is more based on risk: having a child could be a good thing for you, or it could be a terrible thing for you.

Stress: Having a baby is stressful, they cry at night, they demand constant care. Having a child is stressful - they could easily hurt themselves or get into various sorts of trouble. Having a teenager is stressful - they will inevitably drink, have sex and party. Stress reduces our lifespan, and is an experience pretty far off happiness.

As you can see here, if parents thought rationally about having children at all, they would eventually see that the good, unless they knew they were baby-crazy etc., is outweighed by the bad. In this case, though antinatalism itself would play no part in the consequences, antinatalism's goals would be almost met - so few people would breed that eventually the population should reach a cut-off point, causing the human race to slowly go extinct. This is already happening in Japan and Germany, by the way (though it may be more to do with parents marrying later and focussing on their careers more). Note that I'm not fully behind this logic one hundred percent - I've never had children and don't intend to,  so I'm pretty sure that I am missing a lot, and perhaps would even be happier with them. But still, this is just a trial run - I only want to show people that the very things that pronatalists take as a given, may in fact be unsound.

Sorry if my prose is not exactly up to its previous standard; I simply cannot be bothered rewriting paragraphs at the moment.
More in Part III

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

How could you possibly counter Antinatalism? Part I

Upon reading about Antinatalism for the first time, I felt it just click into my brain like a missing cog. I knew that my world, specifically, contained more pain than pleasure. I knew that other people too, although maybe not so much, with their tedious jobs, ephemeral love and their slow decay into dust, were most likely not entirely all that happy themselves. But at no point did I think that life being so detestable meant having no children. It's such a simple idea, yet it's also such a brilliant one. Personally, I never wanted children. Aside from the fact that I find them quite annoying, I really could not cope if a child of mine acquired my mental illness - I would feel personally responsible for their pain. What I never realised, however, was that I would always be responsible for my child's pain, regardless of what genes I had passed on!

     But I know you know all the arguments for it, so I shall not bore you with my paraphrases and meandering - you can read about this on Jim's or Sister Y's blogs. What I would like to talk about in this post and the next, is just how, for funsies, any opponent of Antinatalism could even try to counter it at all. But there are two things they could be actually arguing for, so I'll get into that now:

1.That having a child is a completely neutral action morally, so even if parents have them for selfish reasons (fulfilling their own unfulfilled desires, finding the 'meaning of life', keeping up with the Joneses etc.), they can just claim that they aren't hurting anyone
2. That having a child is a morally sound action - that people should have as many children as possible, so more people exist to feel the absence of sadness.

I'll go into more depth, if I can, later, but for the moment, in summary, I shall say that if we take the first stance as being truthful, then it ultimately leads to only few people having children if they look at things reasonably - that child-rearing may not actually be all it is cut out to be. The second stance, on the other hand, I believe, leads to the Repugnant Conclusion. If this all works out, perhaps I shall have proven myself an antisocial adolescent not entirely worthy of his life, but if not, no big deal - I can always start a new blog!

Testing, my reasons, and other useless things

Reasons for my, perhaps early, entrance onto the blogging scene: I am deeply fond of my own voice, as you shall soon see, even though I won't technically be hearing it on this blog. Also, I am quite, as you may have suspected, desperate for like-minded friends, being an antinatalist, a pessimist and a depressive. But the real, deep, underlying reason why I haven't done this before is my ever-present paranoia - which
I have just recently deemed somewhat irrational; it is quite unlikely that anyone will find this blog, and if they do, I am not entirely sure I should give a crap. My parents, too, haven't used my computer in ages - and I don't think they've used my e-mail address in possibly years. I will be doing a degree after my A-Levels - meaning I'll still be staying in my parents' house for the foreseeable future. I simply cannot wait that long.
    I am reading a lot more these days and am trying to get round to reading all the classics, over the summer I shall work harder at learning Japanese (50 kanji RECOGNISED per day, not learnt, though), and I am currently forcing myself, or trying to force myself, or trying to try to force myself, to write a novel, or something. I'm a brat, weened hardly any time ago, pretentious and egotistical. So with that being said, and without further ado, here is my blog.