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.