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tonalized
08-25-2011, 02:40 AM
I'm just curious about what kind of reactions any of you have had if you have ever brought up philosophic pessimism to a friend. Now I realized that Ligotti clearly stated that no one wants to hear you complain in TCATHR, but I didn't take him too seriously. Recently after reading Conspiracy and starting "Better Never To Have Been" by Benatar, I decided to bounce a few ideas off a few friends to get their response. The reactions have ranged from eye-rolling and basic frustration to outright screaming and insulting. The other night one of my friends went on a belligerent tirade about how I the only reason I might invite pessimism is because my life was so great and that I was basically just a selfish A-hole. Believe me, you guys are the only ones I will discuss this with from now on. Anyone else had similar experiences?

CHG

qcrisp
08-25-2011, 04:46 AM
I think that both pessimism and optimism are embraced in certain forms that are probably designed to maintain a particular status quo. 'Too good to be true' - it's hard to think of a more pessimistic expression, but it's also as common as mud.

I've noticed as much resistance to making optimistic comments as I have to making pessimistic ones. I'm not sure exactly what the pattern is, except that perhaps there's a middle ground of numbness which is the optimum of comfort for people.

Mr Loligo
08-25-2011, 04:54 AM
I think you've raised an interesting topic tonalized.

I haven't read TCATHR yet, but I do find myself firmly in the pessimism camp. I can well believe Mr Ligotti's angle that you mention; that no one wants to hear you complain. That is something I have found in my experience.

When bringing up such philosophy I was met with things ranging from slightly patronising and moronic platitudes such as "cheer up, you have to look on the bright side of things" to more aggressive attitudes where people thought I was deliberately seeking out pessimism, as if I was actively looking for flaws in the glass "happiness-bubble" where none could possibly exist.

The happiest people I have come across, which I found the most disturbing, were the people who seemed to live their life like a checklist of accomplishments...

Car - check
husband/wife - check
kids - check
promotion to puppet middle manager - check
pension plan - check
etc..

That's not to say to have these things is bad, more to point out that it's not essential to have them to satisfy some great cosmic recipe for contentment.

Conversing such matters with people of this mindset tends to lead down the route of them analysing which of these happiness ingredients from the checklist you must be missing!

For me it got to the point that you start to wonder if it's just you, because if enough people seem to be happy dancing on the end of puppet strings through their nonsense lives you can't help but doubt yourself...momentarily....

Mr Loligo
08-25-2011, 09:52 AM
I've noticed as much resistance to making optimistic comments as I have to making pessimistic ones.


This is a fair point that I hadn't considered.
I don't tend to make a lot of optimistic comments, so maybe my view is somewhat skewed.
:confused:

DoktorH
08-25-2011, 10:25 AM
all my friends are misanthropes such as myself, so pessimistic comments don't really bother anyone. I have a couple non-misanthropic, non-cynical, religiously-mandated-optimistic relatives, but nobody in the family likes talking to them so they are easily avoided.

Ascrobius
08-25-2011, 06:48 PM
Most people, in my experience, look at overly-pessimistic "talk" as a kind of "raining on their parade", if you will. In addition, it challenges most people's sensibilities or pre-conceived notions or beliefs about the world, and that shakes many people up. Or, they simply see it as whining or complaining. I have gotten to the point where I tend to avoid voicing my less than orthodox opinions to anyone other than those I know that tend to sympathize with them, at least to a degree. I don't like those that pontificate, so I don't try and sell a point of view, just as I don't buy other's that they may be selling either. I know there isn't anyone that can change my opinions about the things I am sure of, and I look at getting others to "see things from my point of view" a complete and utter waste of time. I am one of those men who leads a life of quiet desperation, and oddly, I like it that way.

qcrisp
08-25-2011, 07:25 PM
I've noticed as much resistance to making optimistic comments as I have to making pessimistic ones.


This is a fair point that I hadn't considered.
I don't tend to make a lot of optimistic comments, so maybe my view is somewhat skewed.
:confused:

Just something I have noticed and experienced.

Without wanting to write an entire autobiography, I have never seriously thought of myself as a pessimist, though a number of people have called me such. What I would say is that throughout my twenties I was intensely depressed, and perhaps slightly less intensely in my late teens and early thirties. So, I know intimately well how difficult it is to talk about these things, in the sense that, even the most sympathetic people you can hope to find will eventually say, "We're going round in circles", and will, tactfully or otherwise, change the subject.

After many years of this, I came to the very real conclusion that there really was no point in talking to people about the meaninglessness and horror of existence, etc. And I stopped doing it. Only falling off the wagon occasionally, etc. That's not to say I didn't feel those things any more - I felt them as much as ever. But I had learnt how to do without talking about it. I had mastered the art of the 'brave face'.

These days, by some stroke of luck, I feel a bit better about life, and in the past few years... not that many years, but two or three, have come to notice the opposite. It's really very difficult to be genuinely cheerful with other people.

People are odd ducks, really.

tonalized
08-25-2011, 07:45 PM
After many years of this, I came to the very real conclusion that there really was no point in talking to people about the meaninglessness and horror of existence, etc. And I stopped doing it.



This is the conclusion I have finally come to. I'm so grateful that I can find like-minded folks on TLO. Initially, I got eye rolls and sighs of frustration, but when a friend began screaming at me about it I realized that pessimism really gets under some people's skin, so maybe I had better just not blather about it. From now on, you guys will have to be my philosophical sounding board. Hope you can handle that.

DoktorH
08-25-2011, 11:51 PM
when talking to someone I don't know, I conceal all my actual pessimistic/misanthropic views in jokes to test the waters. positive response = maybe a pessimist i can talk with, negative response = don't bother talking to them again.

Cnev
08-26-2011, 01:07 AM
I have exactly 2 people in my life I call friends and I have known them both since elementary school. One is of the give-me-a-vagina-and-a-protein-shake-and-I'm-all-good variety, and the other is a U.S. army paratrooper who loves Jesus. I am Mr. negativity, a 29-year old who finds reality horrific and not worth the trouble. We get into it all the time, but always alongside laughter, tons of trash talk and deep mutual respect. I just don't take it all very seriously anymore. If I were to blow my head off tomorrow, they would understand. I'm very lucky to have these dudes.

As far as strangers go, I no longer bother. I just don't have the energy and I don't care to find any for argument. My daily routine is surrounded by people who think the epitome of the human experience is finding out what happens on the season finale of Jersey Shore. As the days go by, I find myself speaking less and less. I guess it's kind of a jerkish thing of me, but I just have very little to say to people these days.

DoktorH
08-26-2011, 01:56 AM
My daily routine is surrounded by people who think the epitome of the human experience is finding out what happens on the season finale of Jersey Shore. As the days go by, I find myself speaking less and less. I guess it's kind of a jerkish thing of me, but I just have very little to say to people these days.

you're actually saving yourself and them a lot of stress. Yourself the stress of having to explain more complicated points to an audience without the prerequisite knowledge to make sense of it all, them from hearing some pessimistic remarks that might disrupt their blissful ignorance.

qcrisp
08-26-2011, 07:07 AM
I have exactly 2 people in my life I call friends and I have known them both since elementary school. One is of the give-me-a-vagina-and-a-protein-shake-and-I'm-all-good variety, and the other is a U.S. army paratrooper who loves Jesus. I am Mr. negativity, a 29-year old who finds reality horrific and not worth the trouble. We get into it all the time, but always alongside laughter, tons of trash talk and deep mutual respect. I just don't take it all very seriously anymore. If I were to blow my head off tomorrow, they would understand. I'm very lucky to have these dudes.

As far as strangers go, I no longer bother. I just don't have the energy and I don't care to find any for argument. My daily routine is surrounded by people who think the epitome of the human experience is finding out what happens on the season finale of Jersey Shore. As the days go by, I find myself speaking less and less. I guess it's kind of a jerkish thing of me, but I just have very little to say to people these days.

I think this raises a good point. If a person needs help, that's very difficult. There are channels (depending on your location) and the effectiveness of these channels must vary according to the person and the problem. I never found any of the channels I tried to be anything more than a way of passing the time and keeping me from self-destruction. In other words, there was no 'cure'. However, I'm grateful to the people who did give me their time (usually in a professional capacity, though not always).

I think I must have got help in some way, simply because I feel better these days, but I'm not sure exactly what I did. (I have a sneaking suspicion that reading a lot of philosophy did actually help, despite what everyone says about philosophy being useless.)

On the other hand, if people don't need help, but just have a pessimistic view of life, that's a different kettle of fish, and the extent to which no help is needed is the extent of its difference, and it's quite possible (to get back to the theme of the thread) to talk to some people about such things in a more-or-less jokey conversational way as long as they don't feel under any pressure to do anything about it, which, you know, maybe they shouldn't.

qcrisp
08-26-2011, 07:10 AM
I think a meditation retreat was also at least partly instrumental. As I say, I can't pinpoint one particular thing.

Piranesi
08-26-2011, 06:51 PM
"Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you," wrote William Blake. And, as I think Quentin S. Crisp remarked above(?) it does not really whether you are manically or ecstatically propounding the one or the other extreme, they will glance at you queerly and they will look away. Anything out of the ordinary will do just fine.

Laird
08-28-2011, 02:03 AM
I like this take by the late great Bill Hicks.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMUiwTubYu0

sundog
08-28-2011, 08:17 AM
"It's just a ride.."

Is this supposed to be some half-arsed, imbecile excuse for putting new people on the ride?

I smell conspiracy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA_uEtO-LXU

DoktorH
08-28-2011, 07:59 PM
"It's just a ride.."

Is this supposed to be some half-arsed, imbecile excuse for putting new people on the ride?

not how I hear it. I hear it as "it doesn'tmatter how many people get on the ride or off the ride because the ride still runs regardless." Bill Hicks is a renegade mannequin savior, leading people to an amusement park paradise rather than a department store paradise. ride begins, ride ends. maybe you ride again. maybe you ride something different, or go get some cotton candy.

and what of that amusement park that contains this ride that is all we know? i suspect it is also only a ride. It's rides all the way down. it is neither a pessimistic nor optimistic thing, but a dont-take-anything-too-seriously thing, because the idea that we are riders on the ride rather than puppets along the tracks or operators of the ride could be, in itself, part of the ride.

Karnos
08-28-2011, 09:55 PM
Mr Ligotti is spot on when he wrote that no one wants to hear you complain... I don't particularly like to hear other people blabber about pessimism and existentialism to me either, not just because I already have had too much of that for myself, but also because when most of these people do it, they do it in such a way as if they are trying to tell me something horrific and mind shattering I have no clue about. I can't do anything else but roll my eyes and inform then that they're not telling me anything I don't know already and, for the most part, this turns these hipsters off, because that's what these people are these days, hipsters who like to toy around with nihilism, or at least in my own experience. Dark, somber, nihilism is by the day on the media these days; you just had to heard the rise on nihilist blabber from young people after they saw Heath Ledger play the joker in The Dark Knight...

As for myself, I really avoid to mention my views to family, friends and acquaintances since they already know, in one way or another, what my views are and, as someone already mentioned, I'm not in the business of selling my point of view to unwilling costumers.

And, like Quentin wrote, since there really is no point at all, I pretty much decided I'm not going to care about the horror anymore and just sit back and, like George Carlin said, enjoy the freak show. I've spent the majority of my twenties depressed and it has had its toll on me. Now that I am 29, I really want to just have fun and enjoy myself with the (many) distractions this world has to offer. There really is no point in crying a river if things are never going to change.... the realization will always be there, but at least I can laugh at it now, since, what's the best thing to do but laugh at it, after all?

Karnos
08-28-2011, 10:03 PM
"It's just a ride.."

Is this supposed to be some half-arsed, imbecile excuse for putting new people on the ride?

I smell conspiracy!



Not from Hicks' side. He was actually against having children. There are many different ways to see this world, some just take it more lightly and sardonic than others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mz7Ob4fNwE

Laird
08-29-2011, 12:21 AM
Mm hmm. Hicks struck me as masking his despair behind a comic mask. There is truth in jest. I don't know what Hicks knew about holographic theory, but he probably would've dug it. Holographic principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ascrobius
08-29-2011, 10:38 AM
AMERICAN: The Bill Hicks Story (http://www.americanthemovie.com/)

It's very good.

paeng
09-24-2011, 11:04 AM
I think pessimism goes hand-in-hand with the state of the economy. In my case, all of my friends and relations are optimistic, and those who heard me mention Conspiracy inquired only out of curiosity. My guess is that significant levels of growth in the Asian region is prompting such optimism. But when debt-driven economies start falling apart, I believe that more will understand Ligotti's points.

Dr. Bantham
03-17-2012, 07:04 PM
AMERICAN: The Bill Hicks Story (http://www.americanthemovie.com/)

It's very good.Very good, indeed. I was recently added to Netflix and I watched it today.
http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/American_The_Bill_Hicks_Story/70126749