Saturday, 30 June 2012

4 Reasons 'Free Disposal' is Incorrect

1. Tall buildings are often cordoned off
2. Suicide is incredibly hard to perform because of instinctual survival mechanisms, and because of love for one's family, friends etc.
3. There is always a chance of rescue, no matter how slim, and some people, like me, cannot afford to risk becoming paralysed with an even worse quality of life
4. Just because someone kills themselves does not mean all the suffering in their lives is negated. In fact, none of it is. In the immortal words of E.M. Cioran: "It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late". 

The fact that suicide does not mean suffering is cancelled is one of the many things antinatalism is based upon - because people should not be forced to suffer just because happy people exist. What would those happy people be deprived of had they not existed? Nothing, because non-existent people cannot be deprived of anything. What are depressed people deprived of? A lot.

Eat this, Bryan Caplan. 

EDIT: Super Duper Extra Bonus Reason: Suicide is often painful, which means you have to pay your way in suffering to actually get out of this horrible place. Which isn't exactly 'Free Disposal', is it, Bry-Bry? Was that in your plan, Caplan? Sorry, can't help myself.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Your life is not a story, not even a tragic one

This is probably going to be a short post, owing to the tremendous writer's block tying me down at the moment. I COULD review something, anything, but to be honest I haven't done enough yet to review enough to make a full-ish post. So I'll just keep things short and sweet.
EDIT: It didn't turn out to be all that short after all. Hooray!

We all know at some intrinsic level that we want our lives to be a story - generally a happy story, or a rollercoaster ride at least, but regardless of that, any story will suffice. People can even find meaning out of tragic stories, filled with unimaginable harshness. But the reality is, life is not a story. Things do not work out in a way that can easily be parsed by a human mind. Things are predetermined (or else random, even worse), but predetermined in a random way, or at least in a way that is not at all meaningful to the human psyche. So while we can make TV shows and books and the like showing what our hearts truly desire - for us to be entrapped in a reality is interesting from start to finish, or that always sticks to a particular formula.

But even if we can pretend so, or if we sincerely hope so, lives are not stories. Stories are well-defined from start to finish, and have a definite plot. They are not made by random number generation, nor by atoms colliding in a particular way. Why is it that human lives are not stories, exactly? Because (a they have long periods of nothingness (e.g. sleep) and long periods of relentless boredom. And while stories may often be boring, they do not contain constant boredom. Only boredom to serve a plot point that progresses the character of the story. Tragic stories do not even contain boredom, because it is not as suffering-heavy as other forms of suffering out there. Boredom is the most meaningless emotion, I think. Having most of our days (whether through work or school) filled with boredom does not a story make. If the rest of our lives did in fact fit the story pattern, there would be so little of that pattern that you could not consider it anything more than negligible.

But what if you still argued that lives were still stories even if the vast majority of them were filled by long spans of trash and unintelligible low-level suffering? The problem with that is that most of them still do not resemble anything meaningful. A typical life may contain divorce or an unhappy marriage, or at least a slow extremely painful decline into old age riddled with tubes and drugs and tears. Are all lives tragedies then? No, because they contain happy moments, and the ending is certainly not happy. Also the protagonists feel that their lives are good usually. Are all lives protest stories about how things can go wrong? No because they often get a lot better, then get worse, then get better again. Things just happen. Randomly. Are all lives roller-coaster rides then? No, because they are filled with much of the mundane. Only a few moments are actually charged with particular emotion. Add in the fact that most of us spend little of our lives now actually living and instead entertaining ourselves with REAL stories and you have a recipe, not for disaster, but for nothing at all.

Thanks to Sister Y, for introducing (as far as I know) the idea that people accept suffering because it makes their life into a story, here and in a few other places too, I think.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Cure for Autism

 I don't like it when people refer to autistics being not disordered, but 'differently ordered'. If I smash up a vase and glue it back together again, it's still in an ordered state, true, just one that doesn't work whatsoever. Now autism isn't quite so dramatic a change as that, but it has the potential to be devastating to any who have it. Pretending it isn't a brain disorder is only going to lead to more suffering in the world. Are most people out there who believe a cure should never be made autistic, or their family? Because more and more I'm starting to think that only someone without a debilitating condition that robs you of social interaction would be able to call any form of autism, whether low-functioning or high-functioning, a 'differently ordered' state of mind, or who would not seek a cure for such an ailment. Don't get me wrong I'm not sure a cure will be found for a long time without our knowledge of the brain increasing perhaps a thousandfold, but if it is found, it will probably stop a lot of despair.

It's easy to judge me as an evil person for thinking that autism is something that should always be cured unless the user wishes to keep it (if they can't give meaningful consent, I'd say curing should be the de facto stance), because it's a feel-good theory that there aren't so many people out there suffering because they are in a world that depends upon social interaction wherein they can provide little to none. People like to believe that the suffering in the world isn't really there, which is why Bryan Caplan, the Smartest Man Who Ever Lived, who Always Thinks Things Through Rationally, and who is A True Bayesian, thinks that living in poverty is a-okay because poor people have some happy times*.

In any case the prose upgrade has been downgraded for now. Sorry about that, but it's rambling short posts for now! I'd write more, but the Inspiration Fairy has gone to someone else I think.

*He seems to think that everyone adapts to things to become happy in them. Wonder why so many poor people are depressed or angry then? Are gangmembers happy when they kill others? Do you think if they had a million dollars (etc.) they'd still be in a gang?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

"Nothing left to say"

At many points during this blogging career of sorts, I've thought this and planned on abandoning the blog entirely - at one point I even tried putting it to another use. I never really could thanks to heartfelt memories, but that's been pretty much the only thing given the anhedonia, the concentration issues and the avolition. I'll go into them on my other blog.

But when this thought appears to rear its ugly head every once in a while, it always is vanquished soundly by a new surge of posting. Am I scraping the barrel with those new posts? No. The inspiration comes, and I write. I don't feel I'm repeating myself though maybe I am, and I'm probably repeating what others have said, but what it all comes down to is that I just don't care. I don't care about these things. This is writing practice. This is a link to like-minded people. And moreover, this is a constant reminder of the truth of reality, no matter how biting it may be, so lest my loins feel the urge to spring forth a portion of a new generation, I can correct myself and remember that I have no right to fool around with the lives of others.

I have probably not covered anything useful in my blog. It probably won't be of much use to you. I still don't care. And should you decide upon creating something of your own, or are already in the process, you shouldn't care either. Blog because it makes you feel connected, and blog because antinatalism has saved you from making the worst mistake of your life (or, not making the same mistake again, at least). Blog most of all, because other people, or at least I, will look forward to seeing your next blog post. You don't even have to add anything meaningful. Saying something as simply as: "I don't like the world. Could you give me all your reasons for not liking it?" and waiting for comments should give you pleasure and others pleasure in the same way.

So I'll try not to kick myself too much when I'm down and considering the ultimate end to my blogging voyage. There is always one more post you can squeeze out, is what the point of this is, anyway.

If you've noticed a warmth returning to my prose, it's probably a moodswing, or it could be something better! Who knows. Who cares. I'll discuss that on the other blog in due time, by the way. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Reasons to be antinatalist, and reasons pets are better

I'm thinking despite my tremendous writer's block that comes every now and again (read: when I'm depressed and my concentration suffers badly) I can probably write a little more, but in the form of lists.

A condensed version of antinatalism
1. Risks to child.
1.1 Immoral to gamble on someone else's life
2. Causes eventual suffering. By Do No Harm principle in human morality, this is wrong.
3. We do not notice how much pain there is in life. In actual fact there may be more pain than pleasure, due to boredom and tiredness due to constant school or work. If this is so, then from a purely utilitarian point of view, life creates more suffering than pleasure.
4. Pleasure does not matter at all in the equation because non-existent people are not deprived of any pleasure, so there can never be a reason to create a child.
4.1 Non-existent people turned into existent people do not benefit from pleasure (they were not deprived of it), but at the same time are hurt by pain, since before existing they knew know pain, figuratively speaking.
5. There is no duty to cause pleasure in others. Clowns are not heroes because they make people laugh. It is not required that you spend one hour each day causing someone pleasure by your morality, though to stop someone suffering is a different matter. We do not believe an action is moral intuitively that causes pleasure to others, that's merely a neutral thing - it is not immoral to neglect to cause another person pleasure if you can. An immoral action on the other hand is one that causes suffering to others - and neglecting to stop suffering when you have the chance (such as if you see a person about to be hit by a bus, and can save them with no risk to yourself) is generally immoral. Therefore it can never be argued that we should create people because making happy people is a duty.

Reasons pets are better than children
1. They stay cute forever
2. Won't grow to hate you unless you do something seriously wrong
3. Rebellious phase lasts at most a year
5. They are probably fluffy and warm
6. Teeth and claws may tear your skin, but a child's words will hurt you forever
7. They won't ever become smarter than you and start correcting you on things
 Probably a lot more as well that I can't really think of right now.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Update on my views on waiting periods

I've argued for waiting periods before a suicide to distinguish between the not-truly-suicidal and the permanently suicidal before, but I've never really explained in detail why. However, Franc's excellent post gave me enough incentive and inspiration to figure out why exactly my emotions tell me it is wrong to let suicidal thinkers (as opposed to those who are firm in their desire to commit suicide) commit suicide.

Just one thing: explain to me again why you don’t want a waiting period? My justification for the imposition of suffering was the violation of the right to live (the logic goes: they don’t really want to die, they are doing this to show people they are in a desperate situation – which is true of some people)* from those (and there are many) who could not give meaningful consent – and the only way to be able to give meaningful consent when you’re about to commit suicide is to show that you are firm in your wish to die and it’s not a one-off choice. I’m not sure now whether that’s the correct attitude to have or not, due to this article. *I try not now to talk about “future utility lost” because due to the nature of the universe, anything could lead to future positive utility being lost. You cannot be deprived of future positive utility because you do not own a particular future – that would make things, well, weird and unhelpful. Thanks to Bazompora

Francois Tremblay:
 Actually, I didn’t say anything about waiting periods, Gomi did.  I haven’t even considered the issue at all, in the entry or in my head. (text omitted about a mistake on my part) Anyhow, I think the main point is this: “the only way to be able to give meaningful consent when you’re about to commit suicide is to show that you are firm in your wish to die and it’s not a one-off choice." Okay, but why is suicide a special situation? Why do we not argue this for everything else? We should have waiting periods for new jobs, any sexual activity (including cuddling and kissing), as well as buying anything at all. Or maybe you can demonstrate that suicide is indeed a special situation re: consent. Either way I look forward to your reply (partially because I like you, and partially because you are a commentator on my blog who is not Gomi).

My reply:
I’m inclined to think that it’s a special situation because it’s probably one of the only situations where no more opportunities will arise. There should be waiting periods for incredibly risky things I feel – anything that could cause death, and suicide is related to that. Ordinary decisions can be recovered from – eventually if you get the wrong job your income could recover. If you kill yourself, you won’t ever have the chance to reverse your decision, while most decisions in life can be effectively reversed (e.g. marriage by divorce). So since non-reversible decisions could possibly have more of an effect than reversible ones, waiting periods should be installed before they are undertaken. If I weren’t against having children entirely, I’d say that abortion should have a waiting period (albeit not too long) installed.

Yes yes I'm a lazy narcissistic twat for not putting this into different words and making a proper post of things. But at least my views have levelled up a bit. Sorry, too many video games.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Every life matters

While one more life created certainly won't do much to the total suffering of the world relatively, it not only does a lot to the person being created (making them go through grief, anguish, fear etc. in the normal course of a life), but also cannot follow from human morality. Humans do not instinctively feel it is right to do harm. And therefore a variety of things, unless cancelling occurs (right to live cancels not harming an attacker for example), since they are wrong from the start, do not end up becoming right.

This is the same thing as having a child essentially. The wrong act of creating the child, even if it leads to good things, like say ending world hunger, is still a wrong act. It's still something, if you're following your morality, you should not do. Why is having a child wrong? Because you are causing another human being to suffer. That is something that is intuitively morally wrong. How are they being caused to suffer? Every human life goes through suffering, and so too shall this one. Was it actually caused by the parents of the individual, or was it out of their hands? It was caused by them, because without the child being born none of the suffering would have occurred.

I can't make this post longer without changing the topic, so I'll keep it short.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Robots and Aliens: The Reviews

I don't think I'm very good at writing reviews. And moreover there is nothing to recommend on the antinatalist end, or rather, there is nothing I can recommend given that I do a lot of mindless things. I'm not very high culture, and I don't particularly care. Well, I sort of do, but it's more in a "Hey maybe I could be like you guys and we could be friends" sort of caring, not a "I must be like this and will spend every moment of my day pretending that I am high culture until I become that way" sort of caring. I don't hate high culture things. I like reading old literature. I just play video games a hell of a lot more than I do that. Video games = instant rewards, as long as you put in the effort. Ancient Literature = a lot of effort for more long term rewards. My hamster brain can't fathom doing anything for anything but instant gratification, but sometimes I find myself veering off into the dark corners of my mind and reading things that are 'high culture'. In any case, on with the reviews..

District 9 is a standard Disney story about why you shouldn't be a prejudiced jerk when it comes to people who are different from you. The protagonist - neither hero nor antihero, but simply, a human, with all the realistic emotions associated with human beings, follows the standard protagonist not respectful of group, protagonist is in some way attached to group, protagonist and group member share common goal, end up saving each other's lives, and become friends (sort of in this case).

This is nothing new. It is not, you see, what the story was. It is HOW INSANELY BRILLIANTLY IT WAS EXECUTED. I cannot express to you enough how much I loved this. It broke through the anhedonia barrier and the depersonalisation barrier for me. It was just an incredible experience, full of incredibly realistic interactions between humans and aliens - or at least, that's the way it seems to me. There is one part that's a bit stupid, but was pretty necessary for the plot. I'm not spoiling it for you, so if you want to know what it was, just email me or whatever.

I've also been reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and I'm finding it pretty great so far. These classic sci-fi writers tend to have had seriously powerful imaginations, and it really shows here. You find yourself questioning who is an android and who isn't, and whether that really matters for the most part. What's the difference between an android and a sociopath? We won't know until we figure out what consciousness is. Maybe Roger Penrose is right and it's something to do with quantum physics - maybe computation alone just doesn't cut it. Or maybe computation DOES cut it and we are on the verge of creating a sentient being by mistake (which is okay antinatalists because it won't suffer - consent not violated as no true consent is involved where there is no suffering.) I don't know, so I'm not going to speculate much.

Also on robots, I've been playing a lot of the classic Megaman games. God, they're great. They take escapism to a whole new level once you aren't so annoyed at dying so much - the worlds you go through are just fantastic. It's strange how it's taken for granted that Megaman (or Rockman if you're Japanese) himself is sentient and loves justice. He isn't a cyborg - he's fully robotic. Always has been, always will be. Which is a strange move by game designers. Putting sentience in a robot so it can do chores for you or kill the robots who do chores for you badly isn't bad because no suffering occurs at all because of that. But Megaman and his robotic brethren have actual emotions, I think. Megaman is a murderer by commission. He doesn't try to talk his brothers down to stop them rebelling against humans, and he doesn't question why he always follows orders, he just kills them. It is not right to create Megaman, by the way. Robots with emotions and sentience that do stuff for us...or else? That's downright slavery. This entire video game series is about a high level slave going around killing the slaves who start rebellions. And I still can't bring myself to stop playing each game multiple times.