Friday, 27 April 2012

...And Avolition too!

I used to be pretty driven. I could, uh, do things, and drive for a better future, even if no such future could ever possibly exist (which is most of the time, if we're being honest). I can't do anything now. Writing this is a horrible struggle that I do because I just have an inkling I'll regret not doing it. I can't convince myself to do anything at all, and the that prodding-me-with-a-pitchfork anxiety is no longer there to force me to do things. The last two days I spent sleeping entirely, with only a few hours reading things on the internet. This is not by choice - my depression is not that bad*, I am simply (a extremely tired and (b utterly and entirely unmotivated to do anything. Or at least, I may have the desire to do certain things, but no motivating emotions are present. There's nothing there. So I'm sorry if I haven't posted for a while, it's simply because I have no drive left to do anything - and besides that, even if I did have the necessary motivation to flagellate myself into blogging, I would be crippled by the fact that my depression has clouded my brain and made me a way shittier writer.

 But I'm alright overall. My life at the moment is probably better for me than for you, in that, you won't be seeing even dog testicle quality posts here for a while, if you're into bad quality posting that is. Or I could be wrong. Often saying this I run into the great Fuck You estnihil universal law, wherein the universe decides to make my life as hilarious as possible. I say I'll do this, I'll do that. It can't possibly get worse? It can. They like me? They really like me? Nope.

Writing more would be taking a nice long piss straight down your oesophagus, so I won't for now. Not until I actually have some idea of what I'm going to write that would actually contribute something. Goodbye for now.
*Not that bad for me. I still think about dying a lot, but most of the time I can just get through the school day in a haze, letting my subconscious mind take over.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Does Suicidality cause Apathy?

Unlike the many anxieties in my person that should NOT by any means be there due to my outright lack of caring about life (decreased with medication), suicidality has penetrated into the recesses of my mind, and resulted in a personality change of sorts. I care little about social situations and do not exactly mind my autism* showing (this is, naturally, equal to or worse than my genitalia showing). I no longer care about 'wasting time'. Well, not exactly. I do. It is just that it is in complete contrast to my previos thoughts ("Work as much as possible, make every second count!") - that is to say, I aim to get through as much time as quickly as possible so that my life ends naturally in a period of time shorter relative to what its original death date was. I am not exactly seeking pleasure per se, though I do seek for my brain to perceive time as flowing as quickly as possible, which is highly related to pleasure (can't be bothered finding studies to show this). I also still somewhat care about achieving my goals, but this is showing some signs of waning, especially with regards to the sciences and mathematics. In actuality, I consistently enjoy them both when not anhedonic, but since I haven't partaken in learning them much over the last few weeks, as the saying goes, 'out of sight out of mind', and I have ended up disregarding whether I become fluent in the languages of logic any time soon. In any case, besides the rambling, my point is this: I have changed. Possibly permanently. All because of my suicidal thoughts - I wager. I am quite sure this is the case, because now that I wish for a quiet death (but not in a painful way), I feel acceptance of a great many things, especially where social skills and romantic relationships come into play.

This brings me to a question: are all the apathetic symptoms of depression caused by suicidality? Or am I mistaking my own suicidality for the apathetic symptoms of depression? Knowing which one to choose is a toughie - though it is something of a false dilemma. I guess SOME apathetic symptoms could be caused by suicidality, others by general depression. Here's my main thought experiment for this: some depressed people desperately wish to do things, but simply can't, while others do not care at all whether they accomplish anything (and if my hypothesis is correct, this is because they want to die very strongly).

It is generally thought that suicidality will go away once depression has been defeated, but in my case, it is now a constant in my life. I can become happy to an extent (for me), and still know that given an opportunity that would not hurt my family or friends, I would probably take my own life. Suicide has become ingrained into my mind. Instead of being possessed and haunted constantly by that evil spirit of destruction, I believe myself to have embraced said spirit, and incorporated it into my very soul. Now I don't actually know if I really should (hypothetically - probably will never do it in my lifetime due to loved ones). If I get better, will I be able to convince myself that the fleeting moments of joy are not absolutely demolished and cast aside by the abundant suffering in our universe? And to be honest, depression having 'enlightened' me, I feel that I couldn't convince myself of that. I am relatively high right now (antidepressants seem to be working for once), and I can still say that I do not like life at all. In fact, I despise it. Not at the moment, but as an absolute concept.

I do not want to live in a world filled with suffering. Even if I could live somehow without the constant torment of work and social rejection, I intuit that the suffering of mankind would still drive me to hate the world. But maybe I am equating suicide with destroying the world? But the thing is, there is little I can do in this world anyway to prevent suffering - I have no way of knowing whether my acts will backfire on me or not and cause more suffering - I could help out a professional torturer get through a divorce. It is better to opt out than to cause more suffering. If you are entirely happy, there may not be anything you can do to prevent the suffering of those around you - save someone's life, and they may repay you by conceiving a child. Even by simply living you are probably causing someone, somewhere to suffer. Things are disgustingly interlinked that way. So I could never be entirely happy, knowing what goes on in this world (including one of the most heinous of crimes - birth). And that also means not being entirely deluded as to what the point is in attaining more and more pleasurable feelings in my brain. I am not saying that everyone should commit suicide, I am simply remarking that my mind is such that I do not think I could ever be in a situation where I would not flick an off-switch, if easy means were available to me and no one would suffer at my death. If no one suffered, and my social skills existed, then we'll talk about me continuing to exist. But even then there would come a time when I would be so tremendously bored of the 'perfect transhumanist utopia' that it would take many many opiates to convince me to live on.
Take samples of depressed patients who say they are not long-term suicidal, and those who say that they have been suicidal for a long period of time, and compare the symptoms across the board. More acceptance of the horrors of this world, more lack of volition and goals, less caring about social norms and customs and less caring about the consequences of actions? If this is demonstrably associated with suicidality, then the correlation might point to suicidality causing these things (it could also point to apathy causing suicidality, or another factor causing both). How do you prove it's suicidality causing this and suicidality alone? Monitor patients for the first signs of apathy, and see when suicidality appears along with it, or vice versa. I can't think of anything else at the moment, being a mediocre amateur at this kind of thing. I'm only just an adult, and not at all a genius.

*Still not god damn diagnosed. Enough cause for them to do an assessment on me, but still not diagnosed. Why oh why are psychiatrists so incompetent? I suppose it's not as high priority as fixing my longstanding depression, but come on. If you can't fix my depression or act like you give a damn abut it, at least teach me something about myself that would explain a lot.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Should we be achieving things in life Part II

Refer back to this and this

I said previously that achieving a goal just might raise our positive utility. I do not see now, how in any way this is the case. Unless the act of attaining such things brings CONSTANT pleasure, or short bursts of MUCH pleasure, then essentially Escapism is always a better method of diversion from our nightmarish pile of filth we call life. I found out recently after some contemplation that goals have always caused me pain, not just when anhedonic. Unless in specific circumstances (like the starting euphoria of a new goal), most of the time achieving things that are hard just brings me a LOT of pain, and if that thing isn't worth achieving, then the promise of a future sustainable happiness being an outright lie as we know (hedonic treadmill), means that it is a far better (and it can probably be argued a more moral) action to just watch TV instead of trying to learn a subject you won't enjoy.

Have I left out anything here? Well the thing is, you can't actually know, as I've said before in those previous two articles, if you're goal-oriented or otherwise, unless you try things out for yourself. Goals give pleasure in a number of ways - firstly, the initial burst of energy and joy that comes with starting any project, secondly the between step "this feels good that I'm accomplishing things" feelings, thirdly the "I've done it this is great" (EXTREMELY SHORT-LIVED) feelings, and lastly the "Did you know I did X?" "Wow you are awesome!" "No, not really" subconscious boasting manoeuvre. My bets are on the last one and the second one being the only reasons you should accomplish things. (a Because it gives you positive utility or (b because it will signal and give you status in the future if you accomplish it - or it will otherwise make life easier. The rush through the starting gates is essentially a nice little delusional kick-start to make sure you actually go through with things in the beginning. But that, like the suicidally short-lived "I've accomplished something!" feelings, is far too short-term to ever condone your long-term suffering for the goal. And trying to accomplish a goal IS long-term suffering, unless you thoroughly enjoy what you're doing.

And I don't. But I'm learning Japanese for another reason: I feel compelled by anxiety and "you must do this before you die, idiot" feelings.

Should we live for positive utility? I think the reason comes down to what I said in Objective Morality: we don't have to, but we probably will anyway. There is no real way to get away from positive utility, because everything is tied up in it. Think you should help other people instead of yourself? That'll still give you positive utility. Think you should live to avoid hurting other people? That is avoiding negative utility (guilt), so the same thing applies. The only real way to purposely go against this is to try to suffer as much as possible, and again, this is probably impossible, so you'll end up living for positive utility anyway, or you'll enjoy it if you're a serious masochist, in which case you are doing it for positive utility.

I know, I know. I haven't said anything of use to anyone in this post. BUT, there's probably more to come, given that my anhedonia has somewhat retreated. I don't feel a lot, but I feel some things now. First time in months.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ha, and you thought I'd give this post a proper title
"There’s also something about experiencing anhedonia that makes it feel like you’ve lost something that you can never gain back. The realization that pleasure and fulfillment are subjective and depend on some kind of physiological process going on inside my brain never stops haunting me. It puts a subtle veil over every joyful experience. Even when I’m feeling recovered things are never same again. Happiness never feels quite as concrete or real as before the experience of anhedonia. Every time I experience some amount of joy there’s this subconscious part of me waiting for it to end. Reality itself is not as solid in my mind either. Everything is fuzzy and open to question. No real lasting security or comfort exists."

Not going to bore you all with another anhedonia post again, I mean, I would do that because I love the sound of my own voice (not literally, it sounds average and unexceptional), as I have said many times before, BUT, right now I am again in a state of depression where I can do nothing at all but sit back and read accounts of other people's severe depression/anhedonia - hoping they state that they got better, even though in most cases they never do. Not on the internet, anyway. So no posts for a while maybe, though I could be wrong.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Antinatalist Burnout: Potential Causes

Is it that antinatalism intrinsically is a theory so depressing, so horrifying that one cannot talk about it for long periods of time without falling into endless despair - unless of course the curse is removed and one simply refuses to engage any longer in this, Our Great Community? Or is it rather, that these mysterious disappearances all over the board have been simply due to personal reasons (from the boss making people grind too hard, to even suicide)? A final explanation I think is that blogs have become obsolete in the antinatalist world; I say this because I do not have a clue in the slightest about what goes on on youtube and such, as being an antisocial person I tend to read more than I watch videos.

The first explanation I think probably depends, as I often say, on the person we're dealing with. Yes, human beings can be quite different from each other, whether by genetics, environment in the womb, or outside of it. And I think it really depends on who you are - how well you'll take antinatalism that is. You may feel enlightened as I did, since I never really planned on passing on my horrible depression to my kids anyway, or crushed as others have, but not enticed by prospect of deluding yourself. But there are two more categories you can divide that further up into: initial pain, and long-term pain. Some people (maybe everyone, I don't particularly know at the moment) can acclimatise after a brief period of collapse after learning of antinatalism, even if said fall was particularly brutal - for others on the other hand, antinatalism may be a constant battle against mind, body and soul voodoo magic, one that ends, either with a complete retreat from a community that shall only bring them pain, or even a delusion injection into the brain. Are most people in the first category of those who feel grief from the antinatalistic revelation? Well, to me it would seem that most humans eventually do adapt to circumstances - even tremendous loss, and antinatalism surely can't be that great of a loss. But then again, tell a person they can bring back the dead, and they surely would, feeling happy from that moment onwards. Loss might be internalised somewhat in our utility value - they say the pain never really goes away, but simply becomes more manageable (the only loss I've felt was the death of a pet - and though I still feel pain at the mention, I don't think it STILL impacts on me now, but I don't really know to be honest if it applies to other people's situations). So perhaps some people, while they CAN cope with the possible hurt caused by negative utilitarianism's implications, are enticed by possible futures where they can pretend it isn't so. And that, could be one possible reason why the community is not so active as it once was. I truly cannot tell. I have no evidence. You should expect that of me already.

As for the second reason, there is definitely a grain of truth somewhere in it, in that, one person's 'disappearance' has already been explained away by this. So could mass workload increases across the board be causing this sudden slump? It's not as unlikely as you might think, possibly because of the recession, though again, I know next to nothing about this. What about other factors that may be holding people back? Well, as far as I can tell, we are not all depressed. In fact, the majority of us most likely aren't, though we may have depressive characteristics in thought - well, OF THE VISIBLE POPULATION THIS IS TRUE. Of those invisible viewers of blogs and such along with anonymous commenters, I am not so sure. Depression not equals suicide and vice versa, but the constant bombardment we often subject ourselves to about the evils of the world, it could be argued (though not by me), have caused suicides. Especially since helping someone might not make the world a better place in the long run (utility goes up, person goes on to murder or worse, have a child and continue the cycle etc.), suicide might seem a valid reaction to this harsh, cruel world (depends on whether you value positive utility or not). So while not depressed, people may still go on to commit suicide and hence leave our tight-knit (sort of) little community. There are also numerous other personal reasons as well, like say moving to a country without internet, or something along those lines.

That "Blogs are becoming obsolete!" suggestion sounds seriously flawed. Sure, there are a LOT of videos on youtube, but there are quite a lot of blog posts as well. Not as many, I'm sure, but so long as I have no evidence to suggest that people are just packing up and leaving in favour of video-sharing sites, I suspect it's not really the case unless people really do hate reading nowadays. You see, there are valid advantages to both mediums, and as long as one is lacking in one regard, people are not going to flock to one or the other (unless they have simply become tired of reading (and particularly commenting on) blogs?). In any case, I can only speculate as to what has caused this sudden decline - or perhaps I have been wrong all along. Maybe there is no decline - maybe this is how things normally are, and I joined at a particular time where there was a significant boom.

In any case, brain wasn't SO soaked in piss today, managed to not ramble. Boring post, I assume, but I did not ramble.  

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Suicidal thoughts are like psychotropic drugs

Failure is how you learn. And instead of getting all freaky about me failing this post and making some monstrosity unfit as toilet paper, I'll instead make Frankenstein's monster, say "Hey, we all make mistakes, no mistakes, no learning" and attempt to run before the villagers impale my head on a pitchfork. It's better to welcome people with a new blog post, even if it has too many eyes or feet, than to just sit there thinking "I'll write a great post in X days, just gotta wait for my brain to start working".

Suicidal thoughts* are like drugs. I shall give you that, freedom-crushers. Suicidal thoughts, those that are either involuntary or involve fantasies, are not the best of things. In fact they haunt us and hurt us and often cause us despair that we cannot act on them. Like all drugs I think, they're something to be used in moderation. Use the lovely "I'm no longer trapped!" feelings when you're down in the dumps, to put it lightly, or not so lightly, as no light will be getting to you down in the toxic sludge. Then the hangover - make sure you're probably going to be on a high when you have this one, because otherwise you're going to do something you'll regret (messy suicides aren't actually suicides - they're ways to use up emergency room beds and get scolded by whoever you're in contact with). And as for withdrawal, don't ever think too much about suicide (this is probably involuntary, but TRY at least) that you get addicted. That way madness lies. First, your tolerance builds up. No longer do you get those initial "THE WORLD IS GOING TO COME TO AN END! WOOHOO!" feelings, but rather, you feel hurt and lust for more intimate methods of getting your drug. You make notes, and detailed plans. You savour these things until, eventually, only the real act can give you any pain relief. And at that point, even if your life was bad enough that your suicide would be justified from a utility perspective, you did not make the choice. It was forced onto you. Do not pass go, do not collect £200.

So what is the gist of this? Essentially I'm going back on what I previously said. Maybe suicidal thoughts can help, but generally you should be wary of abusing them - REALLY wary. Though I do understand, by the way, that there is an involuntary element (humans have VERY little choice in anything they do - actually no choice if you are looking at things objectively rather than subjectively). So don't take what I say seriously if you most definitely have no choice in the matter - only if you can find that point at which you might have a suicidal thought, might not, and can influence your mind at that point. It's not always better to abstain from suicidal thoughts, they are coping mechanisms, but they are definitely not something to be taken lightly.

*Not the calm type of suicidal thought.  The niggling "DO IT DO IT DO IT" sort of thought or fantasy.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Cheerful Clone

Maybe I should go out and experience the world. Maybe I should embark on a spiritual journey across mountainous lands, or harsh desert sands. Or I could just blog. I'll go with that.

Why is it that my writing ability has dived into a sea of nothingness and slightly uncommon words? I used to be able to sound like I was really, really pretentious, more than I sound now, and that seemed pretty damn cool to me. As soon as I started taking antipsychotics, all this impulsivity and creativity business just jumped right out the window, leaving me with a poverty of words. I have to really think, now. I have to actually try when I want to make something sound like it hasn't been shoved into my nether regions and covered in faeces and maggots and pineapples (I hate pineapples). Still, people aren't trying to read my mind anymore, and the walls aren't telling me to off myself*. So I guess this is me now. Lovely old me.

This is going to be another rambling post; you have been warned.

I was thinking recently about a little thought experiment: what if you have, all your life, loved life, and never faltered in this belief even once, and are completely sure you will never falter. Can you then go on to create your own clone? But I pretty much decided against this because of the environmental things that would make that clone, not an early science fiction clone, but an actual clone, like a twin. The clone could easily decide it doesn't like life from the get go if subjected to a harsh enough stimulus. You can't really be sure you have the consent of the clone, even if it has the same genetic code as you. But still, even if you could control the environment perfectly, this reeks of the whole Robin Hanson creating only people who want to live fiasco (leading to the Pathetic Golem). Is it okay to create someone even if you have their 'consent'? Well a lot of things that cause suffering are basically justified by consent - I could easily ask someone to chop off my arm, and it'd be perfectly moral for them to do so, even if a little stupid. So the whole thing rests with whether liking your life counts as consent or not - in the Pathetic Golem case, which turns out to be non-intuitive. In this cloning case, If you keep environmental conditions the same, or mostly the same, the clone will actually think at some point: I consent to this action in advance, and will make another clone - if the environmental conditions are kept similar. Is that alright? Or is it because they are not exactly the same person that there's no real consent involved?

Brain fried again, can't really think. Don't know if I could even answer that if I tried. But if you want to, here's the outline:
-Clone to be made (=genetic code the same, no mutations during cloning process)
-Pre-clone human believes life good, 'pre-consents' to being created 'again'

-Environmental conditions kept pretty similar throughout life SCENARIO 1
-Environmental conditions kept exactly the same throughout life SCENARIO 2
-Was the 'pre-consent' valid morally? Can you consent to making a clone? What if the clone is actually you in every way?

This may not be fully what I intended, simply because again, brain is burnt into a crisp. Make it better if you want, I'd be delighted if you did. 

*I never had full hallucinations - just really involved delusions. To some extent I knew those strange voices were coming from me, but I couldn't really stop them or modify them. Hard to explain to anyone who hasn't been inside my head.

Monday, 2 April 2012

I would do anything for you, but I won't have your children

Everybody who is anybody has kids. I find it almost impossibly difficult to find anyone over the age of 30 who hasn't already thrown a kid into this world, or who isn't planning to do the deed. Maybe babies are like little meaning parcels, delivering meaning and purpose to adults along with a lot of poop and vomit. And, as Shadow has said before (can't find the link), parents can then pass on the meaning-baton, the burden of meaning, to their little bundles of love. Aww, ain't life great?

BUT, in my view, tossing children into hot lava, i.e. this world, is only the most meaningful thing in this world not because it holds any meaning - IT MOST DEFINITELY DOES NOT - but because it releases a lot of love and pleasure chemicals into the brain. And I suspect that's exactly what people mean when they talk about meaning and purpose - happiness. Everlasting happiness as opposed to an actual purpose. Great happiness or fulfillment basically equals meaning, even if there is no purpose involved at all. I have said this many times before, but if the purpose of life were to kill puppies, then day in, day out, we should all be perfectly happy killing puppies to serve our Lord and Saviour, Khat F. Eline (if the intuition about meaning were correct). This is why Christians are not perfectly happy - meaning doesn't automatically (auto-magically) create happiness, and create it forever. It gives you something to do, but unlike what people associate with the term 'Meaning of Life', you'll probably get bored and unfulfilled within a certain amount of time.

But is that it then? Does it only take one child, and then people have had their fill of meaning, understand the meaning of life, and can check out in peace? Most certainly not. Why else would people have more than one child then? To keep feeling those new baby pleasure chemicals. To keep messing about with the amount of suffering in the universe. But I digress. Some people may indeed find that children give them endless meaning, but a lot of people, when the 'endless' joy simmers down to a stable love, simply find that they feel the whole thing has been a waste of time. That the pressures and pains and boredoms (serves them right says the resentful fellow in me) of raising kids eventually culminate in feelings entirely antithetical to the initial 'I have discovered the meaning of life' surge of emotions. How many people truly believe having children was the best thing they ever did? How many people don't? It would be impossible to tell unless we could read minds. But it makes you think that perhaps this childrearing business isn't so tantalising after all. Look left, look right, don't have kids, don't run across the road.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Fake happiness, not orgasms

What is the most valuable thing you can do socially as a member of the ever-growing family of depressives out there? My response is: fakery. Fake when you have to, when you want to and even when it's not necessary, for practice. No one likes a depressed person, except other depressed people, so when you talk like you're carrying the world on your shoulders, which you probably are given the nature of depression (most people either don't know or don't care, however), people start to think you're being melodramatic. "My friend in Mexico City was depressed and she never said anything like that! You're giving depressed people a bad name!" But those are all justifications - calling the depressed melodramatic, saying they are just whining and could withstand more pain, and finding the whole depressed mood thing annoying. That's not the real reason people exclude depressives socially. The real reason is simply that people tend to be empathetic, and if you're empathetic, you're going to feel the emotions of whoever is around you. Bunk with happy-acting people, and you're set for a fun-filled life. Hang around the depressives, and you might just become one yourself! (The theory goes)

Why is the most valuable thing to do in such an instance to go against your instincts and talk as if you aren't depressed? Well, for one, so so many depressed people do it already. Including me, for instance. Though I am not REALLY faking as such when I talk in a happy(ish) manner (since it's become so ingrained into me these days that it most probably IS me, though I am barely definable anyway (see other posts in the social category)), at one point I got the idea in my head to stop being so depressed and angry outwardly and instead just put my drama class skills to good use and start copying television characters. And from the depressed people I know, and those I read about on the internet, I'm pretty sure that this fakery is not just a great way of gaining a little bit of comfort (in maintaining social expertise), but is also something that works and continues to work in practice for many, many people.

This situation, I think, looks incredibly horrific. And it probably is, but unlike how one might think initially, it's no one's fault. Yes, society is technically forcing the depressed to act happy or be excluded, just as it forced me to get social skills or lose the right to friendship. But it's not one little ruling elite doing this. It's biology. People naturally don't like hanging around the depressed, or those with piss-poor social skills. It's no one's fault, and there's no one we can fight to stop this. Stopping short of indoctrinating the crap out of the next generation of kids (even more than we usually do), if you are depressed and want friends, and can't find friends who are depressed like you, you are going to have to fake to fit the fuck in.

(I don't know if women do this too, but some men fake being fine even when their loved ones have died. Or try their best, at least. This is incredibly messed up. In any case, the 'fake it till you make it' mantra is not just localised to the depressed segment of the population.)