Friday, 30 March 2012

I am living waste
David Pearce isn't so different, folks. I don't agree that we could ever make life a morally good action (if that's what he's saying), since there's no duty to create pleasure, but I'd agree that antinatalism's needs would be met if transhumanism were achieved, simply because the lack of suffering would result in being born being fundamentally neutral.

Burning pain this time. Sort of like my insides are falling out. But on the plus side, the anhedonia is showing signs of sort of letting up. I don't feel anything, but escapism is at least no longer painful, and music is, let's say, 'intellectually enjoyable'. I can't feel a damn thing but I can 'appreciate' that I should, and can differentiate between songs I would like and songs I wouldn't.

With me, I guess, it's not that I feel extremely bad depression. It's bad, but it's probably not the worst. It's that depression is all I have. My quite severe chronic derealisation/depersonalisation has essentially resulted in a lack of sense of self, and it is also means that as I have said, I behave in sociopathic manners when I interact with people (that is, adapting my personality to them), not out of malevolence, but because faking for so long has made me forget who I am, and the thing that comes most natural to me is copying the person I'm talking to. Rather badly, most of the time, due to the suspected autism. My depersonalisation is so bad that I often space out and think "I am really here right now?" or I have this indescribable feeling of being snatched away from one universe and placed in an entirely different universe and body and mind than I was currently in - this horrible one. Or I look into the mirror and can't recognise myself. And the thing is, when you suffer from 'blank mind' and you have no self to fall back on when times are tough, every little suffering is intensified. Everything makes me want to commit suicide, because I live every moment in a torturous present. Neither past not future can comfort me, because my 'self' has no concept of those things, being a disembodied randomised collection of thoughts and emotions. The only thing I really have that is stable in my life is my wish to die. Everything else changes so much over the course of the years, but the wish remains more or less intact as I go on. I have always been this way, apart from the wish to die. Since I can first remember I was incredibly spaced out - in fact, by most people's standards, I was pretty high. All I did was have this fantastic daydreams - most people have imaginary friends, I had a mythology of my own. But the point is, I was still a floating diffuse collection of thoughts. I was never under the impression that I had any sort of self. And while the self, I agree, in everyone is most likely an illusion, the fact that I have no such illusion is absolutely horrible. I see everyone walking around with their plans and their dreams and their preferences, and all I can think is that I am only copying them by saying I want their minds, or their lives. This is not what I truly think, because everything I think changes so often and I copy what I expect humans to act like. All I can really be justified in knowing is that I am trapped, and am forced to experience all this from a front row seat. I am in Hell's cinema, where no one may leave, and closing one's eyes only makes things worse.

Also, on another note, if you have noticed after a hundred or so blog posts, I am not very comfortable researching things and writing about them. There's the fact that it would require too much effort for it to be sustainable, and there's that I would always be second guessing myself. Research means evidence, and evidence might mean not enough evidence in favour of my side (without me knowing), and that would essentially mean humiliation, in my eyes. So more rants and thoughts from me, then. Sorry to disappoint.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Writing blocked, Writer's Block

I've said this and been wrong on numerous, numerous occasions, but I don't know if I continue posting in this manner. The feeling of being bitten by snakes in the stomach constantly, injecting their acid venom, has turned my attention span to dust, and now all I can really do is sleep and try to meditate. Meditation does nothing for me by the way, except help me drift off to sleep - I used to get slightly more pleasant states before my anhedonia went nuclear, but now I generally just clear my mind, space out, and fall asleep before I can even realise it.

As to why I don't commit suicide in this situation, it's little more than the harsh nature of reality which causes humans to ban the things that work and are peaceful, and to only allow those methods that don't work as well, or are significantly more painful. Plus there's the parents. But my empathy is slowly being overridden by black, black night. My only real option is to get someone to do this for me - say, take a trip to Dignitas. In decades, when they will actually allow me to go through with things. I don't know where the hell I can find somewhere with a high enough drop to hang myself (asphyxiating means a much better chance of 'rescue' if your neck isn't broken), no way am I doing anything with a low risk of death (and yes, I've heard stories: people have woken up to find their bodies have torn off exit bags while they were sleeping) and jumping from a height is only something like 90% certain, even from large heights. I used to like those odds, but not anymore. But as for any of you who are worried or something, I don't know, by this, then, don't be, it'll happen probably in decades or so, since Dignitas requires a lot of paperwork, and sneaking past tonnes of relatives is a hard thing to accomplish when you're young and in constant contact. Actually, it might not even happen at all if the pills work out - lifelong depression transformed into lasting happiness? I doubt it, but, life might become tolerable. Tolerable enough for me to not hurt my parents.

There's also the fear factor - when I imagine myself in any position of being about to commit suicide, I just blank out. Can't do it. Don't know why I'm afraid of dying - though it's most likely just a case of the ol' genes screwing me over.

So it'll be a long time yet. Hooray.
Sorry everyone, this was all I could manage to salvage from my broken mind to post to you today. In a while, I think, I'll eventually have some new material for you.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Genes versus Antinatalism

Genes quest for immortality and status. I officially don't, but because of these devious little miscreants I essentially do. Yes, suicide is numero uno on my bucket list. But why then am I writing a blog, and writing pretty often I might add? Status. Immortality. The quest not just to raise my present mood, but to raise the ability of my genes to spread themselves - more blogging means more status, which means more opportunity to impregnate females, and a better environment for said children to be raised in so they grow up to have as many suffer-machines as possible. This is disgusting to me, but the fact that blogging almost breaks through (ALMOST) my Great Wall of Anhedonia means that I am destined to do it mostly everyday.

Your genes were the blueprint for everything that is you. The only times you can violate their will (or rather, evolution's millions of years of work rooting out genes that don't spread themselves) are when there are glitches in the system. Pleasure is a good way to tell you you're doing something right. But when you take drugs, you are not doing something right at all. You're just fooling a (double-stranded) long polynucleotide chain. Which shouldn't be hard, I might add, except that you are actually made out of that same chain manufacturing proteins. So it is something of a miracle (which don't happen, ever) that you can 'act' against your genes at all. And as I've said, since miracles never actually happen (just low probability events), it is not the case that you can go against the 'intentions' of your genes at all. You can't. Everything you do that is not in the best interests of your genetic lineage is simply a result of numerous glitches created by (a society and (b memes. I view the fact that there are an awful lot of glitches about as simply a result of the death of human evolution (the less successful no longer weeded out due to medical care, our culture means having children with those with genetic diseases or who are physically weak is not wrong, but maybe even heroic), and how evolution works on far larger timescales usually than the initial autocatalytic event of human invention and tribal society conglomeration into truly massive 'societies'. The fact that memes - initially allowed by genes despite how truly glitchy things could become by using them (must raise fitness in some other way unknown to estnihil) - can work in ways so unbelievably against genetic fitness means that, not that we can 'act' against our genes, but rather we ARE against our genes' best wishes in some way. And the best example of this is this very community - by refusing not to have any (more) children, we are not in any way acting to propagate our genetic material, and our suffering.

But why does natural selection not weed out all these glitches - not just in humans, but in nature as well (animals often get high off of drugs for example, and some are known to masturbate I think)? It does. But only when that glitch reduces the ability to procreate or pass fitness onto genetic offspring by a significantly large amount. So antinatalists are definitely selected for, but since we are not born this way, we probably won't die out any time soon. But drug use and masturbation probably AREN'T simply because the time wasted on these pursuits does not decrease genetic fitness by much, and changing things would be far too hard to do (changing the entire pleasure system, or in the case of humans, changing the entire meme system). They may even make things worse initially, which as you may know from Richard Dawkins books, does not weed out glitches (like our reversed optical nerves leading to a blindspot), simply because going back would result in initial decreased fitness, meaning being at a disadvantage, frequency change in alleles, bla bla bla, I'm not going into detail on this one, this is not an evolutionary theory blog.

So be proud of your glitches. They probably make you happier than evolution would have actually intended - superstimuli (e.g. television, music), masturbation, fetishes, and psychotropic drugs. Remember too, that the reason you are an antinatalist is because of a major glitch in the memetic nature of the human mind. Genes 10^100 : Antinatalism 1. We have won the battle for now (though genes are winning the war).

Friday, 23 March 2012

Pointless post pointing out points about persons who post on pages on this blog

I want to make posting a habit, but making a post is just so damn hard for me to do. Writing isn't boring,  I am just getting a major mental electric fence around the act of doing so, and trying basically melts my brain, giving me the feeling that I should crawl over to the nearest ditch and die. It is impossible to write coherently here and also have a point to say - I can't even bring myself to write an essay plan, because that too is an act which brings my ever-the-comedian brain into a huff, forcing me to sit and stare blankly at the white background of my blog post editor, wondering why I haven't written anything for the past fifteen minutes. You also may notice how my use of language is a lot less fluent. Blame this again! I am in a horrible depression right now, not one that causes me THAT much pain (a little above background estnihil pain), but one that is robbing me of all my humanly functions, reducing me to a mere animal.

Instead I guess I'll have another rambleathon here. Ramble ramble ramble, my life is a shambles. What I was thinking of doing, possibly to give me a break from writing which may actually be the cause of not being able to write at all, is to make an Antinatalist Required Reading List. Essentially just a big list of blog posts I find particularly relevant to antinatalism - which really will take a while, considering how much has been written by the various blogsphere inhabitants over the years. I'd do one on suicide as well, but the only blogger who has really delved into that topic is Sister Y, and I can't write an overview on just one blog - that seems oddly creepy to me, and I don't have a clue when it comes to what's Creepy Old Mildred and what's Sociable Sally, so I am guessing it is actually ultra-creepy to normal people.

I notice a lot of the time that I keep reusing old vocabulary. I can't stop saying really and actually and simply and other words. I can't find good synonyms for them either, which makes me as angry as a yeast cell suffering withdrawal whose wife has left him. Which is, not very angry at all. But it's the thought that counts. My alternative to committing such a travesty upon you all and speaking so predictably (though I don't want to be unpredictable as in "BLARG the cow is the green arthropod sex home") is probably going to require a lot of post rewriting, which is hard given the foggy cloudy windscreen smeared with faeces nature of my current depression.

I had completely forgotten until I read muflax's great* analogy for suicide and one's loved ones the fun of playing around with hypothetical situations. Well, not fun for me, but fun in the teeny tiny insignificant little me that must feel the tingles I get as full-blown emotions (whether or not this exists is up for debate, actually). I might try that again, but then again, SCREEN OF UNPRODUCTIVITY, SCREEN OF UNPRODUCTIVITY. I am blocked from learning programming, I am shut out from learning physics and the door is firmly locked when it comes to acquiring Japanese. Now I am partially banned from blog-posting, except it's just stuff that matters that's ceased. No big deal, hahaha. I really hate you, depression. In any case I envisage this situation as being locked out of the house but I can sort of halfway fit through the cat flap. 

Right now the only time I am somewhat alive is when I write. I am officially a zombie when it comes to other things - especially school, and talking to people**. I just sleep, drag my feet across the ground, try not to cry out from the pain during class, go back home, go to sleep, and wait for the next kick in the balls the universe is so obviously planning. I never realised how bad things could be. I used to have sharp evil gashes to my chest whenever something bad happened, which was a lot, but nowadays I simply feel a constant, low-level dull pain that is never ending, except in sleep. But in the former case, I could actually feel some pleasure, and some feelings that weren't painful. I have been robbed.

I don't want things to end on such a depressing note so rainbows.

*There is that goddamn failure of vocabulary again. Can't fix this without also repairing my faulty broken brain. Did you know that I had actually wrote things far more poetic than what I have written for the entirety of last year? I can't do that anymore, because there is zero pleasure but tingles in anything I write now.
**I made a typo here originally as "poople". If I were not so depressed I would have laughed quite loudly at this, because that's what most people are.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Objective Morality

I am in one of those states of depression where my brain is completely and utterly fried. It is an extreme effort to keep typing this, since not only am I mentally fatigued, but no important or valuable insights come to me, and I can no longer keep talking in a consistent manner. So instead of giving you a post that might save you a little bit from boredom, I'll simply be reposting an important (well, to me) comment I made recently. Narcissistic, yes, but writing a post on this would just be a repeat of what I've already said.
Now the question becomes: why should we care about this thing you call morality?
Oh simply because the entire human race follows it. As individuals we don't have to care, though most of us will because it's instinctual.
As I see it, following your moral intuitions is just the simplest thing to do unless you're a sociopath. It takes effort NOT to think and act the way you are biologically programmed, and in the case of morality, it probably isn't worth it in the end as it is very, very hard to do without causing yourself a lot of suffering (I've tried).

There is nothing in this universe that screams morality except the human mind (and possibly alien minds). I guess what it all boils down to is: what is the easiest option, and hence the option that is followed through with most of the time. And that option is to follow one's instincts. Our instincts are to go away from pain and to be moral - not only does not having a morality violate the second drive, but it violates the first as well, because in the process of eliminating your own morality you are causing yourself pain.

Should we really follow our drives? The thing is, in this meaningless universe, it doesn't matter if we do or if we don't, but we probably will anyway, because we have very little control over ourselves. Not having a morality is a hard thing to accomplish and most people will not accomplish it. Hence, morality is relevant because most people think using it as a bias.

So my answer is: we don't have to care about it, but we will anyway.

Why is antinatalism relevant then? Because humans care about other humans, and the ultimate form of care is not creating more humans. You have a morality and you have the urge to become a better person (probably). And upon working things out with logic, it turns out antinatalism is a valid conclusion of this morality. Hence from now on anyone who is antinatalist cabn [sic] derive pleasure (if not anhedonic as I am) from spreading the word, not having children and converting others. Also, once one updates their morality, they can't downgrade it afterwards, so antinatalists are stuck that way.

Antinatalism is another case of lack of control. There is no reason to care about anyone, including ourselves. But at the same time because our moralities are so strong, or because we do not realise what I have been writing here, we cannot help but act on our antinatalist beliefs. And again, we can't get rid of them, either.

I hope I haven't lost you as a commenter after this: after a lot of thinking (from around 5 years ago or so), I've come to this conclusion. The world is only horrible if you have your morality-hat on. The world is actually a meaningless void with no emotion attached to it whatsoever, because suffering and emotion and morality are all inside human heads and not in the universe. Even if we apply solipsism to things, I still have no reason to follow my own emotions or morality. I only do it because going against biological drives is hard, and hence there are many blocks against me doing it to any success."

Anyone have any ideas how to correct me on this one? I would love it quite a lot if morality WERE based on something more than not being able to do anything but have our emotions tied up with it, but I really can't find any reason why that shouldn't be the case. Regardless, I'm still an antinatalist. My conscience won't let me have kids, and it will probably result in me trying to convert a lot more people into not having kids. I am also of the opinion that what has happened to me is so horrible that it should never happen to anyone, ever again, so it's not like being something of a moral nihilist makes changes anything about my beliefs - because I couldn't change them if I tried (they are firmly implanted with logic).

Also sorry Karl, haven't replied to your email yet because of the same problem I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Trying to, though.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Thanatos might pick you up a little earlier if you ask him nicely

Is Suicide a harm in the sense of the human general moral standard "Do no harm"? That is to say, was I wrong about suicide*? Could that selective loophole of utility that I had preached for so long be a blunder on my part – would its claim not hold up its weight in court?

First matter: is it really a harm? Can you say with perfect certainty, that you caused the suffering and agony of your loved ones? I definitely did not consider this before and assumed, as I initially did with the Doomsday Button (which I shall write about soon, don't worry), that non-suffering can cancel out suffering; that an overall reduction in suffering can make a harm not a harm. In no way could this be true: this is due to that 'Do no harm' standard I mentioned briefly at the start of this entry (I will show later on however that it is by no means unbreakable). Simply put, humans do not like doing things against their morality. This goes against certain fundamental drives, and thus is a very difficult thing to do - so few, in fact, do. Therefore, if such a principle existed, unless a specific example could be provided where suffering can be cancelled out by overall less suffering**, this would wreck the idea that an overall utility increase could provide an incentive to commit suicide, because the initial act of creating suffering would cause a harm, and that is something you cannot do under those circumstances. And it does exist.

 Think about attacking someone for little reason.  Feel as if you would not ever be able to, or at least, would need to be forced to? That's the 'Do no harm' principle. As a being striving for maximum utility, you can't do bad things without causing your own suffering***. And the goal of not suffering because of your morality (EMPATHY NOT EQUALS MORALITY) is just your morality as a whole.

So therefore, if committing suicide with loved ones still hanging on were a harm, we could not perform said action (unless there were a loophole of some sort - I'll get to that). So I ask again, is it a harm? The essential flaw in saying that you did not directly cause your loved ones' suffering is akin to saying that creating new people isn't directly causing them to suffer. Both are still moral harms, and for antinatalism to hold true, this must also hold true. Which means I was seriously misguided and, moreover wrong, about this loophole. But not about suicide being an okay to do in some circumstances (barring loners in which suicide is always permissible).

You see, there IS a get out of jail free card, of sorts, to 'Do no harm'. Rights can cancel out harm. If you stop a serial killer from killing, they may begin to suffer from the need to kill more people (it may be something of a compulsion). You are causing harm. But you also caused no one to be killed - their rights to live were not violated. This SHOULD not be correct by logic alone, but moral intuition says it actually is (note this: moral intuition comes first and foremost, whenever it can't answer a question, I use logic to fill the gaps). The same goes for self-defence - this causes suffering, but the right to not be harmed yourself means that it is null and void to state that it is wrong to retaliate.
      Are there rights at play here, then? Is there some sort of right to choose whether one lives or dies? Well consider this: a hypothetical elderly person is a burden to their family. Should they kill themselves even if they don’t want to? Moral intuition says no, even though their life is a harm to those around them, because if they did not live others would not suffer. And I am pretty sure that the reverse therefore must also apply to suicide, since this implies we have a right to choose whether we live or die.

       So you can kill yourself without regard as to your family and friends so long as you believe you have the right to choose whether you yourself live or die - living for others is the same thing as denying your freedom of choice in this matter. But don't rush off too soon, there, because there are still many more barriers one must cross before deciding. As for me, I find that my own personal need to not make my parents sad stops me from doing it. But there are more factors than that. No suicide method has a 100% success rate, there is, as Shadow said recently, an extreme biological wall between us and death (we literally cannot just take the plunge), and there are serious problems with trying to attain methods to commit suicide - this is due to legislation and safety regulations etc.
      Happy 100 posts everybody, woo! What a fitting post, right?

 I'd also like to ask: Where is everyone? What happened to all the chatroom frequenters? Diabasis seems dead, no trace of CM, or Schopy or Gottaname or Ben (there are countless others as well, but I've purposelessly left your names out so as to trick you into going onto the chat and telling me how much of an ass I am for doing so).

I apologise for the drop in writing quality - I'm still experimenting a bit.  Writing with an essay plan seems to give me a lot better ideas, but it takes away my, uh, bounciness in language, and I lose the ability to not sound like a monotone robotic suffer-bot, which in reality, I actually am.


*There are more posts of that nature in my Blog Overview. Also, note that this is not the case for Loner Suicide - I made a comment mentioning this on Karl's blog.
**There is actually a rather specific example that goes AGAINST this. Think colosseum and people dying for entertainment. People in the audience suffer less, perhaps overriding the suffering of those participating. But this is intuitively a moral wrong, and hence does not conform to our morality.
***I am using some new terminology here. I came to something of a revelation recently, in a comment I posted. I shall post it in full soon, but for those who cannot wait, here it is.

Monday, 19 March 2012

What does Social Isolation feel like?

Envision yourself, for some reason or other, bereft of all social skills. This is most definitely not a good thing. You may think at first, hey, well, other people are nice, maybe they'll go the extra effort to help me out when I do things wrong. No dice. This is not how things work, because we often don't see other human beings as people like us. We see characters in a play. We see villains, and creeps and most of all, we see the distinction: Good Person, Bad Person. How bad a person is really varies, and there are a lot of gray areas, but if you are one of the socially awkward people out there, you are most definitely not a person others want to be around. You are not a person they want to see saving the day. This is simply because lots of your socially awkward outbursts have contributed into an image of you in their brains - a dehumanising image. This is not the fault of other people - it is probably hardwired as a shortcut. You wouldn't want to start thinking a criminal is not a bad person, right? If you didn't, you might get harmed by them, say in a tribal early human community. Best to stay clear of them. Best to stay clear of suspicious characters. One such person, sadly, happens to be you.

The first thing you will notice as a socially less-then-perfect person is that odd feeling. It feels as if you are soaked to the skin with sweat in a clingy disgusting shirt, but worse than that, maybe that feeling times ten, if that's possible. That, my friends, is awkwardness. Every single conversation is awkward - partially through your scrambling to find words to make the other person feel good, but also partly because the person on the receiving end just wants to get away from you. If they don't, then they are a person who has great willpower, because it takes a lot to be nice to socially awkward people.

Eventually the awkwardness isn't limited to just conversations. It starts to seep through into the rest of your life - you start feeling it whenever people cluster together, and then when anyone at all is within a hundred metres of you. You begin to long for the past. Or if your past was like this, you simply detest your past and criticise yourself constantly over past mistakes. Which you probably can't learn from, not having an intuitive grasp of how social skills work. You hate the present, every moment, in fact, because every moment you are being socially isolated causes you pain, and every moment you are being socially included causes you pain, as you cannot maintain this. The future brings no joy either: although you have minor hopes of getting better at things, time and time again you have been proven wrong about this. All there is is agony and distraction and sublimation and such things.

But what about the future is bad, exactly? Ordinary relationships with people being hard for you to maintain, even ones with those who are misfits such as yourself, you will find yourself with an ever widening gaping hole inside you. Sexual relationships are worse: they bring an extremely large amount of pleasure, and you have little chance of attaining one, unless it is with some other tortured soul who happens to be like you (though this is incredibly lucky). You are missing out on some of the largest pleasure-sources in life, simply because you had the misfortune to be born this way, or to arrive this way through circumstances not under your control.

So what solutions are there? Accept it, practice social skills and fake a more attractive persona, or whore yourself out (act like a fool to get attention). The third method, by the way, works if you acknowledge your own crapness to people. Some people love to let go of their social inhibitions to attack the social retard, and it's okay if the outcast is also doing it, right? But the second method is probably the only one, I've found, that works to any noticeable effect. Despite leaving me utterly and soul-destroyingly empty. Though that might be the depersonalisation, or the lack of personality - I'll get to that in another post, maybe. Until then, bye.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Antinatalism Day!

Today is one of two days devoted entirely to talking about antinatalism, spreading antinatalism, and remembering its importance to your life (so sayeth estnihil). That is to say, when the rest of the so-called civilised world is celebrating 'Mother's Day' or 'Father's Day', we can focus instead on how horrible life, birth, and death ultimately are. Hooray!

And thanks, by the way, to google searchers out there, for reminding me to read Mitchell Heisman's monster work. I spend most of my day learning (traditional or programming) languages anyway, so it's not like I'd be missing out on much by reading it. Oh and sleeping. I do a lot of that. I am practically hibernating this year away.

Not much of a post today, simply because on this day of all days, I am still extremely tired, no matter how much I sleep, and still find sleeping a much more realistic alternative to living. See you tomorrow, if I post then.

Also I go on Jim's chatroom starting at around 10pm to 11pm everyday. The room's pretty much dead, so, I'd appreciate it if we all tried to revive it from its currently pitiful state. When have I ever asked you to do anything (except not have kids, not destroy the world, sterilise all animals, not commit suicide unless your suffering outweighs your loved ones' etc.)?

Friday, 16 March 2012

We are all victims

We were all born, causing us great harm*.
We will all die, causing us great harm if our future utility would have been positive and we did not wish to die - a great harm for most of us.
We can't stop being hurt, and we can't stop hurting others (except by not breeding).

But let's reverse things a little:
We were a all born, and that means almost all of us have experienced pleasure.
We will all die, but that might be okay because life is a 'gift' and we experienced pleasure along the way (?).
Most of us can't stop feeling pleasure, and it's hard to stop causing others pleasure (except by murdering them).

So is life generally a good thing then? Should it continue throughout the aeons, while we traverse the universe in optimistic ignorance of the oncoming heat death (or big crunch)?

The problem ultimately with this view is that it neglects the actual non-logically contradicting desires of human beings in favour of a belief system. The second paragraph there, was an example of such a belief system: ignore harm despite how humans feel no compulsion to make others happy, but feel a compulsion not to make others suffer (in non-conflicting instances**) and downplay the inconceivable existential horror of death and the rights of others not to experience such horrors. Pleasure is a good thing. This is why death is a bad thing for a lot of people besides causing suffering - it results in the ending of pleasure, turning positive utility to zero in moments. But a pleasure-based outlook on life simply does not work. You can't throw people to the lions to provide happiness (entertainment), because almost everyone finds that morally wrong - even if the happiness caused is greater than the suffering caused. You can't just say "I accept this because, uh, logic says so". Because logic doesn't say so. Morality is based on the collective will of the human race. That is not what we want.

Life, is not exactly not worth living for everyone. But it is clearly, CLEARLY against the collective morality of the human race. We do not want to cause harm, hence antinatalism. We do not wish to cause harm, hence living makes us uncomfortable if we take time to think about everyone we have hurt. We do not wish to come to harm, yet we will, and those of us who do not wish to stop living, will cease to move. Life is a not a good deal for us.

A world full of Unbreakables***, however, would be, well, okay. No suffering, a lot of pleasure, maybe high-tech hallucinogens in the mix to provide meaning to the world. It would be better than okay, actually. It would probably be great. Would harm still be done to those being born? Nope. That's my answer, after a buttload of thinking. You see, in my post on consent, I realised that since real-life consent never occurs without suffering (even if that suffering is only 'I do not want' accompanied by a feeling), consent is only an indicator of harm, and its breaking does not always constitute a harm by itself in hypothetical situations. Hence, Unbreakable is fine to create. (EXCEPT EXCEPT EXCEPT EXCEPT, Unbreakable will eventually die. And her positive utility will therefore decrease to zero. Is this a harm? No duty to cause happiness, so no duty to continue happiness, so no, it is not. Phew)

But quite obviously we do not live in such a world. And to wait for it to happen, as has been said by Jim in some post that I can't find, would be tremendous folly. Creating Unbreakable is not a good action. It is a neutral action, because we have no duty to increase the pleasure of others. And therefore, there is absolutely no reason not to stop this pointless, useless and most of all, painful game we play. The human race should be extinguished.****

*The extent your parents harmed you is equivalent to the sum-total of all your bad experiences. So if you have lived the happiest life ever, you have still been severely harmed.
**Mob violence and murder for pleasure and revenge go against this, but they are never the bare bones essence of our morality. People disagree with actions such as these, and hence the consensus is that these things are either wrong or contested (with revenge some people naturally turn the other cheek, some people think it is justice). Very few people disagree with not causing harm to others in general, so this IS the consensus, even if individuals may violate it.
***I am really scared that Diabasis will shut down soon due to the inactivity of its author. Hence, I shall post the main point now to this blog as a back-up: "[L]et us imagine a being — call her Unbreakable — who has an even better existence than One Pinprick. Unbreakable isn’t human, although she looks human and has human-ish goals. Unbreakable is capable of feeling things and has a utility function based on what she feels, but she doesn’t feel pain. Instead what she has is a pleasure gradient. When things go well (in terms her own goals) she feels ecstasy. When things go badly, say when she’s damaged in some way or her pursuit of her goals is frustrated, her enjoyment declines to something much more mild. Correctly tuned up, she works as hard to avoid damage and frustration as human beings do, but her hedonic experiences in doing so are vastly different.
Would it be wrong to bring Unbreakable into existence? (In our mad science lab, perhaps?) I very much doubt it."
****Not against consent, however. In this case consent is a marker for real loss of utility - the positive utility of some people living, and if they know about it, the suffering caused when they realise they will die and the human race will die.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sleeping and Pain Management: Part II - Why Hope is Sometimes a Good Thing

I think one of the luckiest things about being a human being is that I don't have to operate 100% of the time. For a good portion of these long, long days of boredom and pain, I simply either (a lose consciousness (the best thing in the world for a self-proclaimed consciousness nemesis) or (b experience the trippiest mental situations possible, without ever having to humiliate myself in front of a drug dealer. I don't know about you, but the emotions during the span of my dreams have always been incredibly powerful - like vestiges of ancient, mysterious and most of all, human-friendly worlds that do not, and could not exist. I remember being warned on a lucid dreaming forum once not to get addicted to sleep. I plan on potentially doing so if the pain gets bad enough, especially since sleep addiction isn't exactly life-threatening (though I could be wrong), actually, but the whole thing serves to reveal to you just how awesome sleep is.

On a side note, lucid dreaming is truly unbelievable. Though I only have memories of performing this spectacular (hyperbole) feat when I was a lot younger than I am now, they are still as poignant as ever, and I expect I shall use lucid dreaming as the benchmark for all future trippy experiences (I think I might try this again if I can be bothered, though previous attempts have left me empty-handed before). Imagine being able to control everything, but not simply imagining things. Instead, you LIVE those things. You can be who you like, do what you want to do, and otherwise have experiences that could last a lifetime. A simple exploitable glitch in the human computer allows you, for a very limited period of time, to rule the entire universe*. This is amazing, and deserves a lot more press than it gets.

Back to sleep: sleep is also something of a godsend simply because otherwise we would explode in rage from the stress-build-up of everyday life being everyday life. Most of us have or are planning to have children. This is seriously messed up and evil (though these people are not). Hypothetically if the Sandman decided to take a break, I'd fear we'd all turn into horrible murderers too. When I don't get sleep, I get cranky, angry and paranoid. Or well, more so than I'd usually be throughout the day. I expect that since most of us wake up in an alright sort of mood AT LEAST, sleep probably does have some mental-clearing effect on things, though I could be wrong. If I really went on a Sleep Strike, I think I'd soon be going on a Hunger Strike too, just from the extreme stress-build-up of being conscious day-in day-out. I would not be able to get myself to stand, knowing that more and more pain is in store. And that's the thing, sleep gives hope.

And is hope a bad thing? Well, it depends on whether it's sustainable or not. If you keep getting your hopes up, and Fortuna crushes you into a pea-sized human with a pea-sized sense of self-worth, then it's simply not worth it having hope. And remember too folks, hope is another leading cause of birth (THE foremost cause of death), especially hope for the future (optimism is intricately tied to hope in many ways), so keep that smile for another while, and replace your hope with sustainable, albeit somewhat painful, pessimism.

BUT, BUT, in the case of sleep, the hope and temporary mood-cleanse it provides really helps us endure the day. We don't end up dying in painful ways (HOPEfully), and we don't end up causing our loved ones' grief at our passing*** So hope isn't always a bad thing, even if it really is, most of the time, a delusional thing.

This post isn't exactly up to scratch. I'm sorry, but this is what happens when I force myself to write about a particular topic without meandering everywhere and making odd comparisons. Not sure I care whether I'll get better or not.

Until next time, this is me, signing out.

*Well, not always. In mine things were usually like that though sometimes the dream showed resistance. A lot of people have lucid dreams where they can control themself**, but not anything around them
**I haven't mentioned this before, but this is a gender neutral pronoun in the dialect of English I speak. It isn't a spelling mistake, so don't try to correct me or I will throw a hissy fit. 
**If everyone killed themselves however, no one would be there to be sad. So I might be a little bit wrong here, though I assume not everyone would kill themselves from lack of sleep.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sleeping and Pain Management

Quick! You are suffering from terrible mental anguish and can't see any escape! What do you do?
(a Distract yourself with entertainment
(b Masturbate
(c Write
(d Self-harm*
(e Sleep

What can I do?
(a General anhedonia not only means that this is useless and an exercise that simply reminds me of how horrible things are, but also means distracting myself is something that makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

(b I have the full set of 'anhedonia's now: first I had Social anhedonia, now I have General anhedonia as well, and quite recently I acquired Sexual anhedonia.

(c I wrote an entire page detailing how a general day of my life goes recently. I was somewhat proud of it (the intellectual knowing, not the emotion, which I can't feel), but other than that it did absolutely nothing. Writing on my blog is a little different however, since I still get 'tingles' when I do it, but I'm limited to one post a day (self-imposed limit, but whatever).

(d I had quite a bit of fun about a month ago sticking my fingernails into my gums to make them bleed (this is really messed up - I am fully aware of this). Now however, any form of self-harm just makes me feel physically in pain, and then empty and annoyed that nothing is working.

(e Sleep! Glorious sleep! This is, I think, the ultimate time waster. You can distract yourself all you want, and you can have as much fun as you like, but nothing makes the time go by as quickly as lying down and invading the land of Nod. This is one of the only good things about my medication - it makes me able to sleep basically at any moment I want to (and almost makes me sleep at other times when I don't want to). Another positive of sleep is that I can actually feel emotions in dreams. Not just the mental pain I normally feel, but weird emotions I didn't even know I had, like embarrassment. Crazy, right?

I plan to write, hopefully, a little more on sleep, especially since people seem to be searching my blog for it a lot, in the future. For now, with time restraints and how-much-I-can-be-bothered restraints, I can't really step up the prose or the content, so I'll make this a sort of little preliminary lead-up post to any post on sleep I do next.

*I don't recommend this for anyone by the way. The reward isn't worth the damage it does most of the time - it's only really worth doing if you don't care what other people think, don't care about being in physical pain all the time, and don't care about having the be taken to a mental ward. Which is a lot to not care about. I've only really done it in times of extreme pain - like where I'd otherwise scream from it.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Be thankful that you have eyes to see (your torturer)

I find it annoying when people tell me that I should be glad I'm intelligent (read: can memorise easily enough that exams aren't much of a chore). It's not the statement itself - you should be glad. I'm fine with that. I am glad I don't have to work in school, it means I have more time to sit around and type depressing words onto my blog.  But that's not what people mean when they say that. What they actually mean is "You have a great life, why are you so depressed. Cheer up!". Now while I have a tendency to dive for people's throats when they tell me to cheer up, in this case I don't mind particularly much simply because it's part of a greater misunderstanding. Not my most hated: "You can change your mood easily [last paragraph on this link]. Look I'll try being happy. See, I'm so happy right now! Here, you try", but rather that my utility function has completely forgotten about my quick learning ability. It hasn't. I'd feel a lot more pain if I had to work harder in school, and that would decrease my utility. I didn't somehow manage to leave that concept under a pile of dirty clothes, it IS taken into account automatically. EVERYONE'S UTILITY TAKES EVERYTHING INTO ACCOUNT AT ALL TIMES. This sounds like a stupid thing to say, but in reality, if something is going to make you feel good, it will, and it will contribute to the great big utility melting pot, as will something that will make you feel bad. So trying to remind me of the good things in my life in no way makes up for the fact that my life is crap. And no, that's not my opinion. Feeling bad all the time and not wanting to live is not negotiable, it's a fact. Yes maybe reminding people of the good things in their lives will make an ordinary, not cynical and misanthropic, person feel better for like, a microsecond (if they're barely even scratching the surface of the black abyss), but I doubt it could ever work for more serious cases of negative utility.

Does anyone actually, seriously, truly, believe that saying 'Be thankful' has ever helped anyone by a non-negligible amount? There's the part I mentioned about not being able to have hidden sources of utility in your brain*, and there's also the sad truth that anyone could make themself incredibly happy at any moment by simply going on a treasure hunt for all the things they forgot to throw into the utility camp fire. Feeling suicidal? You have all your fingers intact. Feeling better? I knew you would. Parents dead? You still have siblings, so everything's fine, stop crying so damn much. The fact that something bad has happened means positive utility has been taken away from the utility storehouse, or that negative utility has been added into it. Everything is still accounted for. Nothing was taken out to store more utility, the brain automatically takes everything into account, like a balance weighing hundreds of bees. It doesn't matter how many bees there are, the balance still copes, and weighs them like one massive, human-exterminating uber-insectoid. So too does your brain weigh all your positive and negative utility as one super-utility, which is your utility function.

Being a nicer person 101: Instead of saying "Be thankful you..." try instead saying "That sucks, is there anything I can do to help?". That's my take on things, anyway.

*Repressed child abuse is an exception to this, but in MOST cases you can't do this. You can't 'forget' about your ability to read or hear or see. The fact that you would feel bad if you suddenly became blind means that this utility is already accounted for, no worrying required.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

I think I owe you a couple of posts

Yesterday I was in a really, really bad depression. All I could do to stop the pain was sleep, and sometimes even then that pressurised container of lukewarm bulging hurt, normally known as my chest, managed to bleed over into my dreams. I'd wake up every so often, roll around in pain, trying to somehow get in a position where  giants weren't stepping on my stomach*, but against the laws of physics, they always managed to do it. And do it. I mainly hobbled about the place, getting up to switch beds to see if that would help, or to collapse on the floor for a couple of seconds from the fatigue. Everything I tried to do to take my mind of things failed in a comical way; for a few seconds I'd think, I'm fine, nothing to worry about, it's just a SNAFU, then after that I'd be bombarded with regular pulses of agony in my stomach telling me that I was trapped and that I'd never get out and that it would be like this everyday for the rest of my life. It was on a lower level than telepathic, really, since I didn't actually hear any words. It just sort of felt that way, which is odd to say, because the human brain shouldn't work like that.

But in any case, I'm sort of alright now. Think I'm going to sleep as much as possible these days, just because it's my last line of defence, really. I don't even get 'tingles' from things anymore. I can just stare at a screen for ages scrolling down a pdf, feeling absolutely nothing despite something particularly interesting going on. So I've decided to just keep focussing on a couple of goals, which as I've said before, should hopefully cause me to fall asleep in no time. The qualms I have about upsetting my parents with all this sleep don't fall into the equation anymore, facing reality is just far too hard to NOT convert every cell of my body into a component of one giant dream-machine.

Why am I posting? Well, when I come home, I always like to be greeted by some novel post on our cosy little blogosphere. And so long as everyone else likes that, regardless of the quality of the post (within limits, I suppose), I think it'd be cool if I could supply that to other people. Though since I can't really ever follow through with anything (what's this? It's been mentioned a third time?), I doubt this'll last all that long.

*It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't had depression why I always use physical descriptions of my pain. Mental pain very often can feel like it's physical pain, even though you can easily tell the difference when you are experiencing either.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sometimes the only thing to be positive about in life is a HIV diagnosis

I've been reading a couple of posts by people in forums about their lives being stupendously horrible. Moved, I scrolled down. What was the first thing I found? "What good things are there in your life?" The post is obvious: there are few to no good things in his/her life. This is the actual purpose of the post, and why they are saying life is horrible. Lives are not all created equal. People with piss-poor lives do not think this because they are focussing on the 'negative', it is instead because they are seeing what is actually there. But to the cult (a cult of billions, but a cult nonetheless) of life-loving suicide-denying and misery-ignoring people, the only way to rationalise the fact that some people have lives not worth living, is to pretend that they are mistaken and that their lives are in fact worth living, as every life is worth living. No I am not saying if there is nothing or next to nothing good in your life you should commit suicide right now. You probably shouldn't, because of your family/friends. But I am saying that simply flat-out pretending that people are lying when they tell you about how nothing good has happened to them is evil, and provides them with no comfort other than the comfort in the fact that the people around them probably understand less about the universe than they do (shallow comfort, I know).

You aren't making people better by telling them the bullshit you tell yourself everyday. This may sound like it will work in theory, but in practice you can convince desert nomads that rain never happens, but you can't convince someone living in the middle of Ireland of this. So what should you do when someone is feeling miserable? Well the comfort I'd like best would probably be for someone to say 'yeah, my life sucks too [story of life]' (misery loves company, which is horrible, but true), but if I had to settle for a happy go-lucky walking happiness well that drools pure laughter, I would ask them to say something like, "Yeah, your life really does suck. I'm sorry about that". That's all. You don't need to tell me I'm wrong or that I can fix all my problems by doing X. If I could do that, odds are I've tried it already and it didn't work. When you are feeling down, you spend most of your time trying to get back up there (not Cloud nine exactly, but at least above the centre of the Earth). Now I don't know about other people in my situtation*, or in other equally or MORE horrible situations, but I'd expect that those things are also what they would like to be told (and who knows? Maybe I'm right).

You see, happiness to the happy feels as if it is something they can control. It feels as if even when they are sad, they can just turn the whole life-mobile into reverse and start being happy again. Maybe they can. But I sure can't, and most people in various terrible situations can't either. Happiness is not a social construct. It is not something that everyone can be regardless of their situation (without drugs). This very 'fact' is used to oppress the depressed everywhere, with questions of "Why don't you cheer up?" and "Can't you stop being so depressed?" - along with refusals to believe, of course, that it doesn't exist, or it's just a phase, or that people are choosing to be that way.

*I'm not going to be modest about my life. It IS pretty horrible, though there are a lot of worse lives. A lot of people with most things going wrong can still feel pleasure. This is not a good thing to think about if you are me.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The streak has ended, probably

I've been posting crazily the last week or two, like almost once a day. This is something wholly unusual for me, and it is also something I probably won't be able to do in the future. This maybe the nature of my 'interest-span', as in, I get interested in something for a couple of days or a week or so then drop it like a dead slug. This is one of the reasons I can never really get good at many things to a great level, because it actually becomes painful for me to continue unless my intense gaze of interest is focussed upon the subject forever, and like Sauron's eye, my interest in things keeps shifting from one topic to another. I'll probably have another streak, I think, unless this will become a regular thing (therefore: hooray!).

As for me, I recently found out that despite what I had thought, I am being chemically castrated by these drugs. I don't particularly mind THAT much since intimacy freaks me out, sort of, but it's something to point out to God when he reads me my list of sins.* I am still bored of everything, and I'm really concerned that my reading things that give me no entertainment might spoil them the next time round when I actually, hopefully, have pleasure - re-reading isn't always the best. So what to do then in the absence of pleasure? Well I'm finding a little bit of comfort in lying down doing nothing at all but thinking. It's like meditation, but a lot easier. Oftentimes with the strength of my depression I found this pretty hard to do, simply because thinking means bad thoughts in those circumstances. Now with my brain being drugged to the moon (the hyperbole of the century) I can't really think those kinds of things, so lying still is pretty easy for me. I'm not accomplishing anything, but I can always blame that on mental illness. Not that anyone actually cares at all but me.

But what about this small comfort? I'm assuming at some point in the near future it'll stop working too. This is generally what happens to me. When one door is closed a window is opened, and then as soon as I go to look out, it's closed too. But look! Another window opened! Closed. These situations I often get into really have me thinking at times that I am in one downright evil TV show (a black comedy, I think). Though that's partially why I attempted suicide anyway (TV show cancelled), so it morphed into something of a delusion around that time.

You may notice that I can no longer write depressed. This is so-so. It's fun to be depressed when you can turn that depression into a pure concentrated hate-ball, but it's not at any other time. When you're mildly depressed with anhedonia, every hate-ball you throw misses all the pins and goes down the gutter. My situation is a lot better I suppose, to the point where if I could convince myself that no pleasure and barely any emotion is a good thing, I'd probably be set to wait for death for another couple of decades or so. But as things are, I'm probably going to struggle quite a bit. Not enough to make me reconsider my valiant quest to complete more than half of my lifespan, but enough so that everyday is another session with Guthwald the torturer.

*"That's all well and good God, but let me list YOUR sins against me". The Uber-God that made God (something can't come from nothing says our top intelligent design scientists) will obviously at this point send God to hell and let me into heaven.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Did you skim over this part?

Major Depressive Disorder is "characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities."
Because I did, despite having read this article a lot of times. Until I actually acquired anhedonia, I pretty much took it for granted that pleasure was always going to be something of a temporary relief in even the worst of depressions. Naïve, I know, but deep in my childish subconscious, I really did think that maybe I could have a chance at managing my depression if I just escaped from this pitiful sack of boiling intestinal juices world mentally. Now that I can no longer do that, I feel it's just another one of those times where I'm been convinced of something, only for reality to impale me with it.And the thing is, I'm barely even depressed now. Well okay, I am, but not as much as I was. Things aren't so much of a damn effort these days, even if they are still non-intuitive and boring to my (probably) aspie mind. I think I'm still feeling a lot of pain - if I just observe my mood for a couple of seconds, I can validate that pretty easily. But as it stands the medication I'm on seems to be pretty much forcing my mind to be completely unaware of that pain, and to forget that it even existed. It sort of sucks because to some extent that means it's only masking things, but on the bright side (I do not say that often on this blog), life is pretty much just a daze. No pesky bastard emotions injecting me with their toxic waste. Just nothingness and a low level residual ickiness, like I am wading through sewage. It's not a hard life. It's a life that's annoying because it could easily be better, but if I don't make that fatal error of comparing my life to other people's, then this is quite easily something I can just wait out before Thanatos rescues me. So in summary: I'm alright, as long as I can convince myself that little emotion is good.

Does depression make you expect a lot less of the world? Does it allow you to stop striving for fame and perfect happiness and love and such things, or are those things still included in the Special Package Deluxe Deal that is depression? I still get these fantasies of having my autobiography acknowledged after my death, but to be honest it wouldn't annoy me much if the world didn't really care if I had existed. It's not so much striving for fame, as wanting people to recognise that the world really pissed on me as a person.Not as much as other people, but it still did that, and I want to in some way tell the world "I hate you, too". But again, that's not the pain of a snipe-hunt. I don't think it is, at least.

Another ramble-a-thon again, sorry, I just sometimes need to let a post settle before I can fully address it - and one bad post is probably better than no post. Probably.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The non-intuitiveness of mental illness

The vast majority of my feelings not only can I not describe to neurotypicals, but I probably couldn't even described to my fellow world inmates. Even my resting state is basically "acidic low-level buzzing pain". This not only has no word in the English language, but is extremely hard to imagine well, if at all. And I am making quite a leap of faith in this instance that the same is the case for those who have other mental illnesses. But I'm not sure that it's quite that big a leap of faith, simply because ordinary people DEFINITELY do not know what a hallucination is like (unless they have partied particularly hardy) or the calm foreboding feeling before a bad episode comes into full bloom. And this is part of the reason, I've said before, that mental illness is completely non-intuitive to neurotypicals, making it harder to understand, harder to empathise with, and harder to even believe that it exists. But things don't need to be that way. The non-intuitiveness gap CAN be crossed, even if not everything can be explained.

Do Mental Health Awareness campaigns do enough to make people understand mental illness, if even to a limited extent? Probably. I don't really know, as I don't know the ins and outs of these things, but as it stands what I do know is that whatever they have tried hasn't worked yet. Do these campaigns tend to describe mental illnesses as simply as possible - as ABSOLUTELY simply as possible? The easiest way, I think, to bridge the non-intuitiveness gap is simply to come up with lots of little abstractions; hypothetical situations that don't describe mental illness in a clinical, detached manner (which might allow a reader to pretend it's just words and not a possibility). So instead of:
'Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as recurrent depressive disorder, clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder) is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.', let's try 'Imagine a world in which everything you try is shot to pieces. Your energy has been stolen away. Every step provides a 200mg dose of pain delivered straight into your bloodstream. Nothing can hold your attention for long, because nothing gets rid of the pain. You doubt the world's sanctity. You doubt your sanity, and you doubt even yourself. You cannot escape the pain and hence you feel worthless. The future looks grim.'.

My description may not entirely cover all everything in a depression, and may not exactly be true to every depression, but I'd like to think at least, that it forces any reader to place themselves into the position of a person with mental illness, instead of allowing them to simply skim over the symptoms and say "Wow mental disorders are so totally fake. Look at these requirements! I could even have them! It's obviously the government trying to scam us again.". Clinical specifications are sometimes so unnecessarily broad and lacking an emotional outlook that people can easily be tricked into believing that they are ill when they are not, or that no one is ill because of the lack of description of the suffering involved. There is never a disclaimer saying: "If you are not suffering to quite some extent, or if your experience of life is not vastly different to everyone around you, then you probably do not have a mental disorder - and if you do, it is most likely mild enough not to impair you significantly."

But we shouldn't get rid of scientific description entirely. We should simply place side-by-side descriptions of worst case scenarios beside them, to make sure that people drop their prejudiced attitudes and show a bit of sympathy.

(Of course, I don't know if Mental Health Awareness campaigns actually do this or not. But I've never really seen a description that adequately expressed to me how horrible mental illness is. In any case, it's at least important, even if it's done already, to bridge the non-intuitiveness gap and tell people what mental illness is like, rather than bombarding them with detached words and nicey-nicey language. It's awful. Don't tone it down and make it seem trivial - I actually have seen this in some leaflets.)

*Really sorry I keep talking about depression. I feel if I started trying to describe other mental illnesses I'd somehow characterise them wrongly having not experience them myself. Not that I have run-of-the-mill depression, I mean, I get delusions and hypomania (on a rare occasion) and somewhat psychotic episodes where imaginary people talk to me. But despite not being diagnosed with anything in particular, it's not like I can suddenly pretend I understand what other people are going through. I don't, and I'm not going to pretend that I do. But since I've been depressed for the vast majority of my life, I think to some extent I should be able to help other people understand it.