Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The making of an antinatalist

What creates an antinatalist? What would turn otherwise ordinary folk going about their day into evil pessimistic cretins, knitting the fabric of reality into ugly curtains and such? The answer in my case has simply been a hatred of what goes on in the world combined with a hatred with what goes on in my life which led me to be susceptible to such claims. But what actually pushed me from "Ha well it would be nice if the human race died out but I don't think there's a moral reason for it" to all high-and-mighty, antinatalism spouting arrogance-master estnihil was just time. I just had to be exposed to the ideas time after time, and given time for the ideas to sink in, and after giving myself time to try to refute such arguments to no success, I eventually arrived at antinatalism.

And I expect the same is true of most antinatalists. I don't expect that every antinatalist hated the world and looked for reasons to justify their hatred - though a good amount certainly walked my path I'd guess. But what I do expect is that, for some reason or other, pre-antinatalists became antinatalists simply through repeated exposure, and possibly through innate susceptibility (caused by knowledge of world already). Now being exposed repeatedly doesn't have to happen through world-hatred per se. It could easily develop merely by hearing about antinatalism and viewing it as an interesting subject, even if untrue.  If you go through the arguments enough, find yourself constantly unable to pick out any flaws, then you will eventually find yourself becoming an antinatalist, as a rule, unless you are in some way biased in favour of natalism.

So no, we aren't all depressed freaks waiting for the bus, trying to pass some time by writing a blog (I am, though). Antinatalism does not require depression. It doesn't even require Weltschmerz. You don't have to hate the world to be an antinatalist - though it CAN help you get to that point. DON'T MISQUOTE ME, you really, really don't have to be in a comatose, destroy-the-world, I-wish-I-was-never-born kind of mood to favour antinatalism. I have met several such people who are not of that opinion (though they have no blogs). This post is for you, critics. Antinatalism is not a mental illness, nor is it revenge against the world. It is a philosophical position justified by a heck of a lot of logic. If you can argue with it, then fine. You're justified in saying it is wrong, and if I see your arguments I will change my position. But if you can only say "you guys are whiny/emo/depressed" or "antinatalism is absurd/unsound/based on faulty logic" and expect me to change my position, then you will sadly be mistaken.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Pesssimist Gap

What I have entitled the Pessimist Gap is the gap in reality-experiencing an 'unenlightened' person, let's say, and a Pessimist's experience. The Pessimist sees no reason to live such pointless lives where so little happiness is guaranteed, and where no one comes out alive, hence why there is no reason to breed. Hence when this very same Pessimist looks upon one who is not quite so pessimistic, they cannot see why exactly it is that the non-pessimist appears as if the horrible, desperate situation of life and the universe does not vex them in the slightest. It is the same for most non-pessimists out there, as far as appearances go. The simple solution is that things are not as they appear, and there is actually a gap between the realities that each player is perceiving.

This strangeness is explained by the fact that it appears perfectly obvious in the non-pessimist world that obviously we will be happier in the future, because we'll get that new bathroom suite we've always dreamed of! There is obviously a point to life, but we'll leave that for philosophers to figure out - common folk needn't worry themselves with such things. Death isn't final, or if it is, all the more reason to enjoy one's life and pass on the gift to others! The horrible situation we pessimists talk about is not at all horrible to anyone that is in 'Realist'-mode. Not even the absence of free will, which destines us to a multitude of suffering we neither wished for nor did our parents wish for, manages to knock people out of their trance. Don't think. Feel. That is the message of the Realists. As long as you feel happy, it's okay to have children. Don't question anything, so don't question the most basic premises of life to check if they are built on steady ground or not. Don't check whether the biggest decision of your life is the right one or not. Don't think - feel.

So are they brainwashed then? Does that not imply that the natural state of human beings is one of questioning reality? Well, that could be true, but we'd need a study done on existential thoughts in people first. I don't think genes would really allow that, but then, they don't control absolutely everything. It could be a universal fault impossible to get rid of that just comes with the territory of an advanced brain.
But if it is brainwashing, then in a lot of cases it is voluntary brainwashing, as a lot, A LOT of depressed people have these thoughts, and those who become cured basically still go on to have children, or to believe in (a) god(s), or to write happy self-help books about how life is great. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What do you do when someone is suicidal?

The answer should always be, whether you're pro-choice suicide or not, is to talk that person out of it. This is not out of disrespect for the possibility that they are fully aware of what they are doing, but rather cautious covering-all-the-bases in case they are not. You can't take the risk that by agreeing with them on the sorry and disgusting state of the world you are enticing them to commit an act that they would otherwise regret. You have to take things cautiously, ask them why they do not want to exist, ask them how long they've been steady in this desire, and moreover, if there is anything that would change their desire. There, are probably hundreds more questions you could ask to ascertain whether a person is suicidal because life is currently hard and it looks like a good way to escape, or suicidal because life has always been hard and it seems the best choice in this circumstance.

There's a reason you can't just walk into a Euthanasia clinic and not come out the next day, or rather come out in a body bag the next day. If you really want to commit suicide, not out of acute pain, but chronic pain, or a hatred of life, then you should be prepared to wait at least a little longer. If you cannot do that, then it may be possible you are correct in your wish to die, but it's actually more likely that you would choose not to had you been in a better state of mind. These are the suicide-attempters that can truly be saved. You cannot save someone who TRULY wants to die, unless you save them from life in assisting their suicide, which is illegal in a lot of places.

So is it right to force more suffering onto people to make sure other people who are not in the right state of mind come to the right state of mind? It's a simple trade-off. How many lives wasted are you prepared to see for wishes fulfilled? I think most people would come to the conclusion that making the suicidal wait to commit suicide is a valid alternative to having people who would otherwise not be suicidal if they were thinking straight dying unnecessarily. Therefore, you should talk people out of suicide or at least ask them to wait for a while before supporting them in their wish to die.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Why is life's preciousness an assumption?

Why is it taken for granted that life is always precious, as a whole, no matter what circumstances a person is in? Because it is finite, and unlikely to happen? Cancer often lasts for a finite duration, and is unlikely to happen. Why is it not precious, then, by the same reasoning?

I hypothesise the life is precious only if it feels to an individual person that it is precious. Never as a whole, because there is most likely no objective meaning or God to tell us what is worthwhile and what is not. What I mean by feel, is whether they think that their own life is precious or it matches up with their values to declare that life is precious.

Of course, there's probably no real definitive answer, because, as I've said before, you can't talk about subjective values on a universal scale, only on the scale of humans - and humans vary so intensely that it's hard to make sweeping generalisations. Life being precious for everyone sounds quite probabilistically untrue, as there are an extremely large quantity of ways you can arrange people so this life is precious, this life isn't etc. but only one way of all lives being precious. That's my simple analysis anyway. It could still be true, but is just quite unlikely. Life's inherent preciousness has no evidence for it as far as I can see, while life being given preciousness by subjective values has more evidence in that a lot of people DON'T treat their lives as precious (taking unnecessary risks - effective suicidality), which is odd due to the widespread meme of life's preciousness being ingrained into most people. What causes them to suddenly reject that? It's subjective evidence, but it's more than life's inherent preciousness has.

I've probably tied myself in knots doing this, and no objective values etc. makes things a lot harder and probably a lot more futile. Still, I don't like believing that my life is precious when it is quite clearly something that does not feel that way, which is hence why I personally reject any such claim. But that's based on absolutely nothing, so I'm still racking my brains trying to come up with something to refute something that sounds so baseless and intuitively wrong to me.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Being 'Pessimistic' is being Realistic

What do we want? Are we getting it? If not, pretend that you'll get it in the future. You are being a Realist.
What do we wish for? Will we ever achieve it? If not, pretend we don't wish for it at all. You are being a typical person.
What is there in life? Is there anything beyond the meaninglessness and the distractions? If not, pretend there is. You are being religious.

Anything else and you are probably being pessimistic, if I haven't neglected some other choice (which I probably have, given how many ways of pretending things in front of us are in fact daisies and sunshine). What's so good about this? Nothing at all, except that it helps us make the right decisions, for us anyway, though maybe not for emotionless cold robots. Such as antinatalism, for one. Which is not really for robots at all, since it does carry the little assumption "Ye must not like suffering". Which is a simple assumption for most of humanity, in fact, so that's fine as far as we're concerned. But not if you're a Boltzmann brain. But as for Pessimism, is it really worth following?

Well, it depends on whether you are a sociopath or not. I've already said that most of humanity cares about suffering. Sociopaths only really care about their own suffering, so as a result, can't truly be benefitted by following antinatalism, and will probably actually suffer more, since it's easier to just believe that everything is awesome and the world is a haven. Ordinary people however, have their moral values furthered exponentially, as they do not have children, and their children do not have children and so on.

So you can expect a very large return out of following antinatalism and not having kids, if you aren't a sociopath. But, well, the rest of Pessimism isn't the best really. It's only for people, I'd say, who tend towards preferring the truth over lies, as I do. And there is a lot about our worldly situation that is not rainbows and cookies.

So should the standard human being pick and choose which parts of Pessimism to follow? Or should they swallow the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Probably the former in my opinion, if they want to die of natural causes. Pessimism is the act of throwing Hope into the shredder and laughing at its screams. You don't get much further from the pursuit of Happiness than that. On one hand while this may be a good thing, as maybe you spend more time distracting yourself (more pleasure) than seeking things that you know won't come to any great reward in the end. Though to be honest, I'm not altogether sure whether seeking is for most people a state of pleasure, or a state of painful desire. If it's mainly pleasurable, then again it may be potentially less depressing to just be Pessimistic enough to maximise your morality, but not enough to send yourself into a coma.

So should we be spreading the Pessimistic word? Yes, if we want friends who are closely related to us in opinion. But I don't know for sure if Pessimism, over a long period of time, makes people happier or not. Zapffe sure didn't seem too depressed, but that's anecdotal, so I can't give an overall yes or an overall no. Yikes, an undecided post.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Stopping those meandering pity posts at the root

I'm not writing about my life here anymore. I've decided that if I'm going to do something, I might as well not do it half-assed. So if you somehow managed to salvage something out of my pity-party posts, you can email me and I'll tell you the address of the new blog I made for such things. The reason it's semi-private is because I don't want others associating my whiny rants with antinatalism, I've done that enough already. The aforementioned posts will still stay up on this blog, but I am currently going to try my hardest not to let any others slip by. Yeah it's my blog, I have the right to do whatever I want with it yadda yadda, but essentially what I want is to have an audience, write thoughtful things, and to somehow see if I can spread a little bit of that antinatalist joy we all talk about.

If I can't do that, I'll review various things. As long as I'm not writing posts like I did. I don't mean that I am completely ashamed of them, it's rather, they don't belong here on one hand, and on the other, I never really divulged anything particularly personal - as I said, I was doing things half-assed. I'm doing things full-assed instead, you might say, if you were drunk, on that other blog, and being as whiny as possible, in hopefully what is my true voice, or at least, a persona closer to my actual 'self'.

Also, one thing I've realised recently is that you can't argue with people on antinatalism (I should have learnt this a long time ago, I swear). Well, you can. But they're not going to listen. It's like saying the sky is green and it's immoral to think that the sky is blue. That's what antinatalism sounds like, I think, to people not especially prepared for it. But how does one become prepared for a theory like antinatalism? I've mentioned before, but it's possible that a little anti-bias training should help. It sounds that way, anyway. But in practice, I don't think a lot of Less Wrong or Overcoming Bias would be inclined to do anything else than pull down their lower clothing, prepare their anuses and launch a steamy turd over the things we say. It could be mortality salience, as Sister Y suggests applies to why this doesn't exactly work (see my comment there), and if it is, also suggested by Sister Y (ingeniously), then this can be worked around potentially by tricking any potential believers into thinking we are talking about something entirely different, but eerily similar to someone used to seeing these situations - such as virtual reality. I might try her questionnaire at some stage on some unknowing 'victims', to see if I can't break a few eggs. By which I mean egg cells, hoho.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Why Killing is Wrong and the Doomsday Button too

Killing is wrong, I decided a while back, not just because of the negative utility experienced by humans prior to their death because of the killing ritual, but because any human killed is effectively robbed of the positive utility they would have had after death, along with their consent being violated. In this case by the way it IS meaningful consent, as suffering, or at least loss of positive utility, will occur. Therefore, the Doomsday Button is probably immoral to push, as it essentially kills everyone on Earth.

EDIT: Look in the comments section. Thanks to Bazompora, who corrected me on this one, I now believe you CANNOT be robbed of positive utility, simply because the act of being robbed implies deprivation, which implies that the 'owner' had a right to their future utility - which is absurd, because owning one's future would have hilarious consequences (sort of). Anything can change one's future utility, so you can't say that the dog crapping on the street robbed you of 10 more years of life, even if you would have live 10 more years had it not set in motions a chain of events because of that.

You must before doing something like this consider that the vast majority of humans on this world want to be alive, and have a right to choose whether to live or die as they see fit (see this, especially the end). Therefore the Doomsday button is wrong because you a breaking a fundamental moral right, so says moral intuition. But is being robbed of positive utility really such a crime?

Moral intuition, again, says yes. If you slander someone and stop them from getting a highly-paid job that would have raised their positive utility compared to their state otherwise, you have quite obviously done a bad thing. So the Doomsday button is doubly wrong, sadly.

But can you just say, for the greater good, since more lives of suffering will not have been made? No, because morality does not take into account the greater good, it takes into account a harm, and a harm is something you cannot do if you do not wish to violate your morality, which people generally do not seek to do for feelings of guilt. For the purposes of this discussion, breaking of consent, violation of rights and loss of positive utility most likely constitute harms.

I'm a little rusty in my morality arguments, but reading over things I might get a bit better. If I can be bothered. In any case, until next time.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Transhumanism and Antinatalism: Siblings Separated at Birth?

You know, antinatalism isn't the last hope for the world. I think I may have said this before, but if transhumanism DOES work out, then all of antinatalism's qualms are pretty much sated, at least by my understanding (about meaningful consent and such). Now while I understand while people may say that waiting for a transhumanist society to spring up from nothing but pure scientific effort is literally torture for some people, and suffering for EVERYONE, CONSTANTLY, DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY, you know the drill, the world antinatalism thing just might not happen. People do not like being told to stop making others suffer. None of us are saints, and we all jump at the prospect to manufacture another being to be a personal love-sponge for a decade or two. Selfishness overcomes empathy, and actually masquerades as empathy (for people not even born!) in this case. Unless the whole world is ruled by a series of antinatalist dictators, antinatalists will always be outbred. Any single surviving person who goes on to breed continues the agony and passes down memes to spawn more genes to spawn more memes and so on. Antinatalism is an unrealistic kind of philosophy in that respect, I think*. Transhumanism has the advantage, however, of being something easily intellectually parsed - do you want to suffer less? "Hell yes!". And that way a David Pearce utopia is created. Well, not quite that easily. Some people do feel that they should suffer as this makes them 'stronger'. However, as memes shift with the generations, I predict that it shall become more and more 'trendy' (this meme will become more frequent) to say that suffering should be abolished. I wager this because I think that already people would agree to have their boredom or their stressing or their unfulfilled desires removed, and these people are the ones that are in the majority. Eventually they SHOULD outbreed those with said minority opinion - and if they don't, maybe the transhumanity majority will actively force the 'real' human minority to stop breeding, if they're really concerned with eliminating suffering in the world (maybe their empathy drives have been increased to stop crime?).

Of course maybe this is too optimistic. Maybe religions will dominate in the future, and prevent science from marching on once and for all. I really can't tell. But I do know that while it's better to espouse antinatalism in this lifetime, supporting transhumanism is also a realistic alternative to ending suffering - sort of, maybe.


*THIS IS NOT AN "I AM LEAVING THE COMMUNITY" NOTE. I will always be an antinatalist, don't worry.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Big Reveal

 An idea about a potential antinatalist post came to me in a dream last night. I forgot all about it.
I feel like something of a coward for never really revealing to all of you the ins and outs of my life, as this is partly, more than 50% if the stats are anything to go by, a mental health blog. But there are reasons for not telling you anything but the bare bones of my rather colorful (various shades of gray) life. One is the coward part - I'm pretty embarrassed about a lot of my life, generally because by society's standards, I should be. Now while I am generally not inclined to follow such arbitrary standards, my feeble yet effective emotions force me to not post things on this blog that would betray my true inner core of nothingness and pettiness. I can describe objectively how I am definitely that sort of person, but, heaven forbid I'd ever reveal to you my actual scattered thoughts that lead me to describe myself in this way. Newsflash, if I haven't warned you enough about my dastardly chameleon ways*, the style of writing here is not how I actually think, or how my internal monologue goes. I am writing for an audience here, and doing anything else (at the current time) would make me feel as if my abdomen were being slowly ripped open with each new word typed. But maybe in the future, I'll create a new blog for any of those interested, and type as who I really am, as opposed to this character, estnihil, that I have created**.

Another reason is that I am deathly scared of anyone I know finding this blog - my friends would not particularly care and would probably troll it, but that would be devastating to me all the same. My family on the other hand is an entirely different matter, and describing the process of my childhood in specific detail would certainly alert them to the fundamental nature of this blog. I don't dare even use my first name here for that reason.

Finally, I feel that by writing here I would be somewhat hurting my chances of eventually writing an autobiography before I die, just in case any of you will ever read such a thing - as I may not be bothered retyping and editing a load of stuff already done for me. But then again it could even help me, what with everything already having been typed out. So this is more a feeling that a concrete reason. Oh and, by the way, I don't think I'm an interesting enough person to have an autobiography made about me. I simply view it to be one of my life goals. It's kind of an immortality fantasy I think, one of the few I have left, but it's also a 'Fuck you world' fantasy, which I have a LOT of in stock for a rainy day. Given that I write an autobiography, I hope that it will serve to remind everyone of how messed up everything is - I'd also stock it chock-full with antinatalist material, if you're wondering how my amateur nowhere-near-as-bad-as-other-people's life could somehow provide others with some sort of Weltschmerz.

I never really know how to end posts, so I'll leave you hanging again using my brilliant charm and wit:
[These lines purposely left blank]


*Most chameleons by the way, DON'T blend in with their backgrounds, and instead of camouflage, use colours to signal their emotions. Also. there's more of that whining about how I'm not a real person boohoo and how I'm manipulative and horrible in the early social posts.

**I'm being a little bit harsh here. Estnihil is more a part of myself that rarely gets used that a complete ex nihilo conjuration from dust. It's still deceptive though, I'm nice enough to tell you how deceptive it is, but sadly horrible and evil and disgusting enough to continue on using 'him' as if nothing had ever happened. Sorry about that.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Should you forgive your parents?

There was a cause for your birth. And as such, if you do not, or have not personally wanted to be in this world, that cause essentially maintains full responsibility for your misgivings. That is to say, your parents are in the wrong, like billions of other such parents. It was their fault, yet it wasn't their fault at all. They were most likely deluded by the various happy chemicals surging through their thought-apparatus, or if your father is Bryan Caplan, simply were too arrogant to believe that you would come to suffer, or that your suffering matters at all because you are 'happy to be alive', or have 'easy access to tall buildings' with which to kill yourself.

Free will is flat-out a myth, I'll spare you the details of that, so it's not as if we can TRULY assign blame for anything. We can simply say, that person has consistently done harmful things to other people, they should be isolated from society to stop more harm occurring. Not so with breeders, however. You can't punish everyone, so says your typical schoolchild. You can't stop harm occurring if everyone is doing it - at least, not via that method. And equally, while you can certainly blame breeders, it's up to you whether or not you can get on with your life despite all the harm they are inflicting upon the world. And unless you become a hermit, you are going to have to interact with one of these people, most likely A LOT of these people.

The problem with blaming your parents for everything is that you should do this for everyone equally. If you are shunning them and acting cold to them for giving birth to you, remember that you don't act this way with other people - who are all equally guilty (well, depends on how many children they have but, for the purposes of this argument, equally). If you are to be consistent with the application of your morality, or in actual fact, your personal preferences for treating others who do wrong, then you should forgive your parents, or be equally angry with the entire world - which is practically a very hard thing to do. Besides, my main man here, JC is willing to speak a few words on the subject - break a leg JC!: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".

I did not think I had another antinatalist post left in me. I guess the antinatalism tag isn't going to starve to death quite so soon.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

What I've noticed and a review

I am sorry for the current quality of posts, folks. I know this. I cringe every time I read what I've written, and the only thing I can do to change things is delete, delete, delete. I just don't have the kind of motivation or inspiration to write anything anywhere near as, well, moderately not shit (generous) as I used to. But I'm still writing, because I can't let my writing muscles atrophy. I need to, at some point in the far-off future, write a book, and that's going to require a lot more than I have now.

Also I've noticed that depersonalisation/anhedonia (I'm not sure which, but pretty sure it's the depersonalisation) nullifies the effects of a lot of drugs. I used to get slight bursts of euphoria when I drank a lot of caffeine. No more. But today, I actually intellectually could describe myself as being euphoric but could not in anyway benefit or emotionally feel that euphoria. All I could do was physically find myself lightheaded and inclined to lie down, but with none of the lovely "screw the world, I'm going home to death" feelings I normally get when I'm in such a state. That's pretty weird. And also saddening.

Another thing I've noticed: don't scare yourself if you have severe depersonalisation. In my experience, that makes it a lot worse. Don't watch things you know will scare you, or play horror video games. It sent me from recovering slightly (almost) from DP/DR to straight back in the deep end. I can't stress enough how important this is for anyone suffering - I've heard of others who still watch horror movies and are fine, but just to be on the safe side, I'd suggest not doing it until you recover. Depersonalisation is supposedly the mind's mechanism to recover from some event that has triggered a large amount of stress - such as say, child abuse*, or a near-death experience. I'm inclined to believe that if you suffer more stress, it's only going to exacerbate the symptoms.

I might bring back the review side of things, simply because I don't really have much to say. I can't write anything except my scattered thoughts, and what my thoughts are mainly about is escapism, so might as well run with that. Just finished the Forever War, which was pretty messed up. Loved the sense of hopelessness - it's pretty much implied the protagonist would rather die than go back to Earth several decades into the future, as going back to war entails death. In fact, the overarching kind of despair combined with the atrocities of the army make this book something I quite 'enjoyed' reading, if you know what I mean (anhedonia - if you don't). Despite being told from the first person, you don't really learn much about the protagonist, except that he's a semi-homophobe (and not knowing anything about him REALLY sucks, making the book not the greatest in my opinion). The author isn't, pretty much, so it's not like this gets annoying in the book - I'll not spoil WHY the author probably isn't a homophobe, but you'll find out for yourself eventually. So it's a good book, but just shy of being a great book to me because the characterisation is a tad bad**, and also because the ending is a bit rushed.





*I'm pretty sure in my case it was bullying
**I am saying this because I like this book and am hence biased. Why it is not a great book to me is because the characterisation pretty much didn't seem to be there at all. Maybe I'm not reading between the lines enough, but every character apart from the two mutually violent lovers seemed to have the same cardboard cut-out personality.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Anhedonia advice

The internet, I think, is a good cure for anhedonia. Well, not exactly a cure but, something that takes your mind off of it at least. Searching for things is so remarkably 'light' on my brain that it doesn't cause me any suffering, while reading books and other things inevitably does. But that's something I haven't mentioned to you before; I discovered the Secret of Anhedonia. You cannot sit and contemplate your navel. You will get bored. And boredom with anhedonia is a horrifying experience where your stomach bursts open and spills acid onto the lower organs of your body. Or well, something like that. It hurts a lot, for reasons unknown to me. I guess it could be because even though you try and try your hardest not to think about the anhedonia, it doesn't work, and the horrible understanding of your confinement to this outrageous reality combined with your current boredom and hunger for pleasure makes you go loco, to say the least.

The SECRET to ANHEDONIA is essentially, I think, to just keep doing things, even if you get no pleasure from them, which you obviously won't, to keep your mind off the nature of your particular disease - that is to say, anhedonia. As long as you are distracted, and as long as the distraction isn't particularly painful, you should survive to live another day. I'm not sure if other people have discovered this or not, but it definitely does work for me (fingers crossed). Also, this is particular to me: my memories are not affected by anhedonia. I can remember something I watched when anhedonic and feel emotion over that thing. Not sure if this occurs with others, though.

My posts, by the way, can no longer be as long as they used to be, be-long-ing now to a different era (one in which I actually had motivation and drive and such). Sorry about that.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Posting for the sake of Posting

I can't write on any topic I want. I can't really do that anymore. The problem with hypomania is that it gives you unrealistic standards of what you should be accomplishing. And now that I've been hypomania-free for what seems like decades (actually probably a year to a year and a half), I feel that those moments of joyous ecstatic insight will probably never come again. But, thanks to my general lack of concern for the world, I don't particularly care - it's more a nagging "Ha, look what you could have done if X". It again brings into question, of course, what this odd 'self' thing actually is, if nothing about me seems constant. And thankfully, to stop all my frantic searching, it is probably an illusory concept anyway - one that is deeply rooted in all humans. Not that that's a bad thing. It's probably something that spares the vast majority of people a lot of pain, knowing that the world isn't this horrible trap that forces you to go on with no safe haven to hide in. Though I could be wrong. A lot of people tend to think that having no self would rid them of their problems, especially Buddhists, I think. My lack of sense of self tells a different story, but it's possible that's just the mental illness talking. Maybe I am better off without a self, but in fact cannot feel the benefits, only the horrifying, HORRIFYING implications, because I am prone to anxiously thinking about things too much.

I would quite like to have a self. I can tell from observation that it isn't such a bundle of laughs - you feel a lot more pain. But at the same time, you feel a lot more comfort in yourself, and can do things automatically. I have seen other autistics. They do things automatically too. It's not my probable autism that's the cause for me having to think through every single movement, but it is most likely my lack of sense of self, which makes every moment feel as if it is the only moment that has ever occurred, and is hence the most painful moment that has ever occurred. Talking is supposed to be a fluid action. Only in the rarest, the RAREST, of cases is it actually this way for me. I have to plan and plan to decide what to say, because I have no self to tell me what I would normally say in such a situation. And this tends to make people think I am a quiet person, because I don't have enough time to decide a response to what they are saying.

The problem is with me saying this is that most people who DO lack a sense of self as I do seem to find it as a source of enlightenment. That's a really big difference. And I'd like to say "it's because they're brainwashed to think that", but probabilistically speaking, they're probably right. There are a lot more of them than there are of me, and moreover, I have never really had a self so cannot compare, while they have once had a self but used meditation to get rid of it (in most cases - some people DO just lose their sense of self), so can compare between the two states.

I still don't know where my self went.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Becoming a social outcast

I am a social moron. To regular readers, this should not be surprising, given how much I ramble on about my social-boo boos and various ways to cope with being a semi-social outcast*. I cannot help non-conforming. I have been destined since my awkward childhood to being forever restricted to making friends only with those who have significantly lowered their standards. This doesn't bother me much, since I've had plenty of time to accept it for what it is. I say 'much', because though it does give me little niggling "Maybe I can change" hopes and "WHY IS IT THIS WAY" outbursts, most of the time it really doesn't impact on me at all. If you can find other outcasts, things aren't so bad, even if they are less outcast enough (grammar police be damned) than you that they frequently play annoying verbal dominance-submission games with insults and such. You get used to those as well. Remember, bullies can be social outcasts too.

I am destined to be this way, as I have said. I still practice the use of my few social skills to the best of my ability so maybe, just maybe they'll get better, BUT, since my progress has been incredibly slow for the most part, I doubt I will ever progress to the standard of most 10 year-olds. But what about people who can choose? Would anyone ever choose to become a social outcast of their own free will? Is that even a possible thing? The problem with non-conforming as a word, is that it frequently means sacrificing one group's ideals in favour of another group's. Antinatalism for example, if more of us publicly told others that we believed in such a thing, would be an act of TRUE non-conformation as far as I see it, as no real community exists around antinatalism - too few people, not enough eye make-up or headbanging, if you know what I mean (no group homogeneity). True non-conformation in my view of things is rejecting the mainstream group in favour of becoming a social outcast - not a social outcast who is not really a social outcast, like being a nerd with your own subculture and twenty other friends who are nerds like you. I think becoming a transsexual would be a good example of becoming a social outcast by choice. It is not entirely 'by choice' as there's a pretty large drive behind doing so usually, but what is by choice anyway? An even better example would be becoming a hermit, which is not social isolation by prejudice towards people like you as it would be if you became a transsexual, but rather it would be social isolation entirely by choice.

Is it ever a good thing to become a social outcast, either partially, or in the case of hermits, entirely?
You can probably base that off of how much pleasure you expect to receive, or how much pain you expect to be taken away. I am not sure if you can trust your own assessments of such things, but reading a lot of psychology on biases and such could help you plan out your life change appropriately. 



*Outcast due to lack of ability to interact socially, not due to prejudice or poverty etc.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

What is truly wasting my life?

A lot of what I do actively causes me pain. This is not surprising, given that I generally feel no pleasure (though recently I've been feeling a tiny bit more than that). This means that if I, like a lot of the more complex animals out there, want to minimise the amount of pain in my life, I effectively have to reduce those activities which cause pain. This is an incredibly stupid thing to say, since it's extremely obvious. However, I have included it for the simple reason that it isn't as easy as it sounds. To do so completely, I would have to completely turn my way of thinking around. No more striving for anything, much more sleep, less entertainment watching (pain caused from concentration and effort not balanced by pleasure of any sort), and more mindless pissing about on the internet.

It is ridiculous however how many protective mechanisms exist in my mind that prevent me from making this facile change to my current daily roster of meaningless crap. I really like sleeping. But on the other hand, I don't like its after-effects. By which I mean, "YOU'RE WASTING YOUR LIFE" screams from my personal Jiminy Cricket, and a vaguely nauseous feeling that I will definitely regret doing so, even though living painfully and STILL accomplishing nothing is probably something I think I'd tend to regret more.

Am I trying hard enough? Am I REALLY set on changing my fundamental course in life, or am I just too afraid of change? I'd probably go for the latter. But even if I actively set out to remove my fear of becoming a "dirtbag", it's not just an on/off switch (or rather, if it is, it would be 10 metres wide and tall and thus difficult to push). But instead of obeying my views from another time and place, I think I'd better start pushing that gargantuan beast of a switch.



Saturday, 5 May 2012

Technically anhedonia, actually depersonalisation

"Before I had heard about DP I thought I had anhedonia. But from my understanding it is a severe form of depression and with my case I really am not depressed, just nothingness. That still could be the definition of anhedonia but I think it relates to normal severe depression rather than what I experience." - http://www.dpselfhelp.com/forum/index.php?/topic/6784-do-you-read-books-watch-movies/

I'm not putting an end to my previous 'anhedonia' category. I'm much too lazy for that. But on the other hand I am going to say that I have had a revelation of sorts (so powerful, in fact, that it made me feel as if one cell on the surface on my skin had died), that my loss of pleasure is NOT in fact due to extreme depression, as my mood is not quite so terrible as it had once been, but is instead due to a lack of ability to connect to things - i.e. depersonalisation/derealisation. Now since the technical definition of anhedonia IS, I think a loss of pleasure, then I'm still set to call everything in the depression category anhedonia, though it is misleading to lump them together, because my anhedonia is most likely caused by depersonalisation, which was caused by severe anxiety in the past, which as you know, is an entirely different (though frequently comorbid) thing than depression.

What does this mean then? Well effectively it means I can get my psychiatrist to mess about with my anxiety medication (though I no longer have anxiety, I have its ultimate weapon jammed inside me, depersonalisation), or cut to the chase and just start treating me specifically as though I have depersonalisation disorder, which I probably do have given my lack of sense of self, my frequent 'spacing out' periods where I forget where I am and about the universe, and my constant "Who am I?" questions that lead to no answers. I am also fundamentally unable to connect to anything or anyone, because none of them actually seem real to me. School is over forever, and I will probably never see my friends again. This had the same effect as getting a hangnail would, if I'm being particularly generous about things.

Does that mean there's a magical cure for this? Probably not. That's because depersonalisation is still a pretty new topic in psychiatry, I think. Or at least, it's not something psychiatrists have had luck with finding drugs to cure it.