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JBC
04-03-2014, 08:58 AM
Hi everyone!

I have though for quite some time - even before joining the board - to start this thread. I have read about how people on the forum feel about Ligotti's philosophy, and I know that not everyone shares his world-view. That being said, I would consider myself a pessimist and antinatalist much in the same vein of Ligotti, Cioran, Benatar and others, and I have been struggling to embrace this fact for years. To be honest, my philosophy has made life increasingly difficult.

More specifically, I have been struggling to make peace with my world-view and simultaneously trying to lead an ordinary life. I have kept my philosophy largely to myself, because I was always afraid friends and family would shun me for it (and I'm still convinced of this). In a way, I would even argue my philosophy defines me, even though basically no one knows about it. I have only spoken to a few close friends know about my antinatalism, and even though they try to understand me, I feel like there is no common ground. After discussing philosophy, things go back to "normal", and they treat me as if I had never spoken ill of life. And I don't blame them; after all it is true what the Yellow Jester wrote: When it comes to pessimism, you're either in or you're out.

And this has worked for me so far. However, as I get older, people around me are slowly starting to "settle down", as they say. They start marrying, start thinking about having kids, the usual. And yet, I feel helpless: How do I cope with social surroundings that are so fundamentally different from what I believe in?

For example, do I criticize long-time friends for investing in a "future"? Do I try to convert them? Do I talk to them about my world-view? Do I congratulate friends I dearly care about on their child, even though I think they are criminals? Should I be blamed for not trying to discourage them?

I think it is striking how little philosophers have touched upon this problem. I don't think even Benatar, one of the most considerate and intelligent voices in this debate, has commented on how antinatlist should approach their surroundings. How does he do it? Okay, being the head of a department of philosophy and having written a singular treatise should get him some respect, but what about others, people like me?

Long story short, if you feel like me, how do you cope with the ever-present chasm between you and everything else? I'm truly interested in other opinions, as I feel like time is slipping away, and I will have to find a way do deal with myself and others. And I feel like this forum might be the right place to find helpful contributions.

Malone
04-03-2014, 09:45 AM
I can empathise with a fair amount of this, but all I can really offer is the fact that as I get older I tend to care less and less what people think. I'm of the opinion that you get more respect if you let people know your beliefs in a firm, but non-aggressive manner. There's no point in shoving your opinions in the face of others, as no one wants that and it can threaten friendships. You must also respect the right of others to differ.

As for congratulating procreating friends, I find 'I hope mother and child are healthy' conveys sincerity without compromising one's convictions;)

njhorror
04-03-2014, 11:16 AM
Not very well, thank you.

DoktorH
04-03-2014, 12:38 PM
And this has worked for me so far. However, as I get older, people around me are slowly starting to "settle down", as they say. They start marrying, start thinking about having kids, the usual. And yet, I feel helpless: How do I cope with social surroundings that are so fundamentally different from what I believe in?

Why do you feel like you have to cope with other people's choices? They want to have kids, get married, etc, that is theirs to cope with. you can just ignore what they are doing and put your time and energy into something you enjoy. Other things to do with your time include...

cooking! Learn to make delicious things to eat. if you want to rub your freedom into the faces of the people you must "cope" with, learn to make elaborate labor/time intensive dishes and share. They get to envy all the time you have to make such wonderful things, you get to make and eat good food and be admired for your culinary prowess. brush up on your knife skills and be the Hannibal Lecter of your social circle!
collecting. knife collecting, pokemon card collecting, My Little Pony collecting, a collecting-based hobby has the fun of tracking down hard-to-find goodies (like out of print Ligotti books), the pride of showing off your goodies in pictures online, the joy of playing with whatever you've accumulated.
Books. This is a forum for an author, after all. Pick an author you are interested in and read everything you can find by them. repeat as necessary
Movies/TV. great way to spend a lot of time. a Netflix subscription can be helpful.
Exercise. Level up! see how far you can walk/run, how much you can lift, make yourself stronger/faster/fitter. If nothing else, you will have better health than when you started.
Crafting! learn to make things. clothes, stuffed animals, tools and toys of wood/metal, robots, pottery, whatever. When your peers whip out the baby pics, you can show them all the wonderful things you made that don't scream and fill diapers.
Sleeping. All the people I know with small children don't get to do much of this, so i do LOTS and brag about it, to annoy them and try to make them regret having kids
Gaming. Video games are purpose-built to take up as much time as you've got to fill. Whether your poison is puzzles, MMOs, or platformers, console, PC, or mobile, there's a time-sink out there waiting for you!

For example, do I criticize long-time friends for investing in a "future"? Do I try to convert them? Do I talk to them about my world-view? Do I congratulate friends I dearly care about on their child, even though I think they are criminals? Should I be blamed for not trying to discourage them?
To answer these questions in order:
1. No, if they want to spend their future raising kids and trying to stay in a spouse's good graces, that's their mess to clean up. Best to just sit back and get your schadenfreude on.
2. If they really had any antinatalist inclinations, they wouldn't be thinking about kids, so it is best to write them off as lost causes.
3. only if they ask you about it.
4. If you can't say something nice, avoid them and go do something else.
5. You are not responsible for their life choices. Their favorite TV shows are.

JBC
04-03-2014, 12:59 PM
I can empathise with a fair amount of this, but all I can really offer is the fact that as I get older I tend to care less and less what people think. I'm of the opinion that you get more respect if you let people know your beliefs in a firm, but non-aggressive manner. There's no point in shoving your opinions in the face of others, as no one wants that and it can threaten friendships. You must also respect the right of others to differ.
That sounds like a very reasonable approach. I never intended to be aggressive (well, maybe cynical and passive aggressive), and I do respect the right of others to do want they have been told to want. But not caring for what others think seems very difficult to me. Either because I feel morally superior or because, over time, I feel like an outcast. Both of these do not feel like good alternatives to me.


As for congratulating procreating friends, I find 'I hope mother and child are healthy' conveys sincerity without compromising one's convictions;)
I have thought about a phrase as well. I might try that and see how I feel with it. Until now, I've been using "Ah, great! More meat for the meat grinder!"

Not very well, thank you.
I'm sorry to hear that. I truly am.

JBC
04-03-2014, 01:17 PM
Why do you feel like you have to cope with other people's choices? They want to have kids, get married, etc, that is theirs to cope with. you can just ignore what they are doing and put your time and energy into something you enjoy. Other things to do with your time include...


[...]
But I do enjoy other people. Occasionally. In small numbers. I'm not trying to numb my mind with other entertainment, I'm trying to life a somewhat ordinary life as a pessimist. And this, to me, includes social activities. Just retreating into distractions will only carry me so far. Apart from that, collecting knives seems like something I should look into.

To answer these questions in order:
1. No, if they want to spend their future raising kids and trying to stay in a spouse's good graces, that's their mess to clean up. Best to just sit back and get your schadenfreude on.
[...]
2. If they really had any antinatalist inclinations, they wouldn't be thinking about kids, so it is best to write them off as lost causes.
[...]
4. If you can't say something nice, avoid them and go do something else.
Some of these options seem utterly sinister to me. Which is fine and was to be expected. But as I've said before, I do enjoy the company of some people. And I do care for their well-being as well as the quit peace of their unborn. The argument, that people are lost causes, seems weird: There is practically no channel that would offer an alternative to natalism. I suppose most of us came to that philosophy by accident and in written form only, not because there was a personal debate with friends surrounding that topic. Why should I not try to offer this alternative to people I care about, and also make clear how grave our responsibility as people is?

ramonoski
04-03-2014, 01:51 PM
There was a piece in the old Art of Grimscribe website (or the old TLO, I forget which), a collection of notes and aphorisms from Mr. Ligotti. There was one that said something along the lines of "when I look at a baby I can't help but think of all the nightmares already growing in that little brain." That's pretty much how I feel when I'm sent photos of babies or pregnant bellies by friends or relatives, who are leading the 'normal' lifestyle of growing up, settling down and forming a family.

I could protest, try to explain to them the core concepts of antinatalism (though doing so when they already have the damn baby in their arms might be just a bit futile)... but, well, over the years I've learned that tolerance does wonders in the way of allowing me to live with as little stress and anxiety as possible. Of course, this tolerance sometimes crosses into plain "well, I really just don't care but I'll nod and move on" territory... but still, it does the trick.

I already find it too stressing to talk about myself to others. Talking to others about themselves is somewhat of a bigger chore, so I try to avoid that as much as possible. So I guess my method of “coping” (unsure if that's the right word for me) is a combination of tolerance, lack of interest, and a ‘path of least resistance’ approach.

qcrisp
04-03-2014, 02:21 PM
I don't know if this helps:

I assume we're all morally compromised. I try to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle for what are, technically, moral reasons, but I have never felt superior to people who eat meat.

I think when people hear about antinatalism they might be taken aback, and feel threatened, but I don't see that there's any more immediate reason for them to feel threatened than a meat-eater is by a vegetarian.

If you did want to talk to people about it, and thought the analogy fitted for your case, the above might be a way to explain yourself to people so they don't feel as threatened and can have a conversation.

DoktorH
04-03-2014, 02:35 PM
But I do enjoy other people. Occasionally. In small numbers. I'm not trying to numb my mind with other entertainment, I'm trying to life a somewhat ordinary life as a pessimist. And this, to me, includes social activities. Just retreating into distractions will only carry me so far. Apart from that, collecting knives seems like something I should look into.
Many of the activities I suggested can be as social as you want them to be. particularly gaming, exercise, and crafting. You can do these things with your friends or use them as a chance to make new friends. Sleeping is pretty solo. Knife collecting is one of my favorites! There are a lot of forums, websites, youtube channels, etc for the knife enthusiast. Knifethursday.com is a good place to start. for forums I use EDCforums.com, as they cover knives, flashlights, pens, and other everday carry gear.

I suppose most of us came to that philosophy by accident and in written form only, not because there was a personal debate with friends surrounding that topic. Why should I not try to offer this alternative to people I care about, and also make clear how grave our responsibility as people is?

If they are asking about alternatives to the marriage/kids lifestyle or having doubts about it, then definitely discuss it with them. if they've already made up their mind, there's no sense having an argument about it. Rereading the original post, I think I may have overlooked the main question.
How do I cope with social surroundings that are so fundamentally different from what I believe in?
try different social surroundings. Hobbies/distractions of various kinds can provide social surroundings that don't contradict or even address anyone's philosophical beliefs by providing them with non-philosophical things to argue over instead (Fluttershy is best pony, Chris Reeve knives are better than Strider knives, and Hannibal is better than The Following). invite your existing friends to join you as a way to interact without their kids/wives/etc being an issue, or use it as a chance to make new friends.

yellowish haze
04-03-2014, 03:27 PM
There was a piece in the old Art of Grimscribe website (or the old TLO, I forget which), a collection of notes and aphorisms from Mr. Ligotti. There was one that said something along the lines of "when I look at a baby I can't help but think of all the nightmares already growing in that little brain."

Seeing a mother holding an infant in her arms. How does one avoid imagining all the nightmares fermenting inside that tiny skull?
http://www.angwa.de/Ligotti/essay/heartofhorror_e.htm

Justin Isis
04-03-2014, 03:43 PM
Whether you choose to have children or not is no one's business but yours, provided you're honest and consistent in your outlook. Recognizing this also means recognizing the validity of other people's choice to reproduce.

I would also advise against basing your identity too much on pessimism or antinatalism if it leads to you taking an antagonistic "us vs them" stance, which can be an insidious way of feeling groundlessly superior to others. A while ago there was an antinatalist here called Dimasok. I offered him what I considered reasonable advice for attempting to spread antinatalism in a way that would interest people who aren't into obscure academics or pessimistic horror writers - for example, by framing it in terms of women's reproductive and lifestyle issues. And he completely ignored me in favor of teen angst-style ranting. Don't be like him. Please.

Personally I've found that other human beings are more interesting than consumerist time sinks like video games or films. The "everyone but me and five other people is deluded" approach to life is lazy and dishonest, but it's easy to fall into when you're alone or feeling down. So make an effort to be social. And don't rely on the Internet - get outside and attend some events, meet new people, challenge yourself. Don't even worry about being "normal." Be different, but compellingly different. Start conversations with strangers. If you're not into the family and stable job scene, seek out people with alternative lifestyles. This can be difficult if you live in the middle of nowhere, but if you're anywhere remotely urban it shouldn't be hard. I don't think human life is anything special and I hate having to go Tony Robbins on people, but I also hate to see people locking themselves away because of a philosophical position or imaginary sense of difference.

symbolique
04-03-2014, 04:56 PM
nil

Waffiesnaq
04-03-2014, 06:05 PM
How do I cope with social surroundings that are so fundamentally different from what I believe in?
If you don't mind a life of solitude you can always become a hermit, but since you've stated that you value being around people this may not be a viable option. So you're faced with the life-long prospect of living in a global community of other bipeds who by and large don't share your philosophical predilections. My advice for ameliorating this quandary? Suck. It. Up. Learn how to deal with disappointment. Challenge yourself intellectually. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_XCGHqFzXY) You have the most evolved mammalian brain on the planet, a tool any chimp would kill to acquire. Look what Thomas Ligotti did with his! There're thousands of things you could devote yourself to, and the good brony has already provided you with a plethora of projects for the next few decades. Follow his guidelines, with or without other people, and before you know it you'll be an old man who's lead a pretty pleasant life. You might realize at this point, sitting in your old man's chair, that your friends are still popping out babies all around you, but it won't take more than a quick shudder and a geriatric shake of your fist before this thought is forever erased by your death -- and with it, all frustration for the future. So cheer up. Try to not look upon pleasurable pastimes as escapism; make them make you realize the good things in life, the aspects of it that you do endorse. Your friends are creating something you think is wrong and shouldn't exist, like a bad artist carving out an ugly sculpture, one that burps and spits and will maybe get STDs. I get it, it's revolting! But the best thing to combat this exercise in bad taste is to create something you think should exist. I can only speculate, but I would not be surprised if Thomas Ligotti, despite his anhedonia, felt a profound sliver of satisfaction when he finally saw TCATHR unleashed after all those years of hard work. I bet the published authors of this site will tell you they did as well regarding their own work. Try to follow their footsteps in your own fashion -- look at the people you admire and ask yourself what made life work for them? As for the people you think are living life the wrong way, leave them in peace to experience existence the way they find most meaningful (even if it's at the cost of bringing other people into the world, which I fully understand is a cataclysmic bummer and the crux of your discomfort). Don't get entangled in your friends' personal issues unless they ask you for really honest advice -- and even then, tread carefully. We're talking about people's lives here, not just your own, and in my view an antinatalist preaching to parents or potential parents about the sin of reproduction is like some health freak bothering fat and skinny people about their eating habits. People aren't you. Realize they will continue to run around and eventually fling themselves headfirst into their graves, with several substitutes strategically placed around the hole to mourn them -- and these people too will jump into a crater someone has already dug for them, ad nauseum. Accept that and move on. Collect knives. Don't grow bitter. Smile.

qcrisp
04-03-2014, 06:27 PM
I am tempted to post 'Stretch Out and Wait' by The Smiths.

On a slightly lighter note, Polish philosopher Leszek Kołakowski asserts that God is not happy:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/dec/20/is-god-happy/

If even God's not happy, I think the pressure is off the rest of us to crack a smile when we don't feel like it. Personally, I find I function better with the pressure off.

gveranon
04-03-2014, 07:01 PM
Thanks for that link, Waffiesnaq! That's what this site needs -- motivational speeches! We are in luck: There is one man who is both a motivational speaker (http://andrewwk.com/about/page/6) and a Thomas Ligotti fan (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/nyregion/for-andrew-wk-sundays-are-for-sleeping-till-noon.html) . . . the man who will save us: Andrew W.K.

Andrew W.K. On Party Hard Philosophy - YouTube


Warning: Andrew W.K. is not an efilist.

waffles
04-03-2014, 10:21 PM
...

Long story short, if you feel like me, how do you cope with the ever-present chasm between you and everything else? I'm truly interested in other opinions, as I feel like time is slipping away, and I will have to find a way do deal with myself and others. And I feel like this forum might be the right place to find helpful contributions.

I find it easiest to just be myself. I don't try to make people like me. If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable (e.g. a lousy job) get out of it as soon as practical. I've been fortunate to find a small group of friends that I love to be around. I have interests and hobbies. I have a routine - e.g. checking in on this website everyday. I feel like I'm not coping, but apparently I am. Best of luck to you.

DoktorH
04-03-2014, 11:02 PM
There're thousands of things you could devote yourself to, and the good brony has already provided you with a plethora of projects for the next few decades.
if I'm the good brony, I don't want to meet the evil ones. ;)

Collect knives. Don't grow bitter. Smile.
should I start a knife collector thread in the off topic section?

Frater_Tsalal
04-04-2014, 01:06 AM
I'm just curious how people cope with reality period, not even getting into philosophical/moral outlooks!

beetlebox
04-04-2014, 02:03 AM
. . . the man who will save us: Andrew W.K.

"We should be doing what we like all of the time"

I'm sold, where do I sign!

Mr. D.
04-05-2014, 12:24 AM
I Think that you are fortunate to belong to TLO. A lot of the members agree with you and even the ones who don't, like myself, will take you seriously. That's a big break. I empathize with you and your situation. Most of my life I have been an oddball outsider with "Different" views. I have never fit in anywhere. When I was in my 20s I used to be very sensitive about this. Eventually I realized that I was actually fortunate, and so are you. You are able to see the world differently from most others. This should be very educational - and a lot of fun. Yes, fun. So what if most people don't understand you. So what if their experiences lead them to do things that may be repugnant to you. Find the humor in the situation.
Let me give you an example. I work as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer (badge and a gun. The whole bit). I've been doing this for 24 years, mainly because no one would pay me as much to do something else. So, I'm a tiny cog in a massive Federal bureaucracy. I Haven't fit in here any better than I've fit in anywhere else. Most of the people I work for voted for G. W. Bush. TWICE!! Talk about hell on earth. Anyway, last Friday most of my class 2 uniforms were dirty so I work the class 1 uniform; long sleeve shirt, tie, tie clasp etc. My bosses (all bad bureaucracies have more that one boss) noticed and commented. They said, "Nice uniform." All that I said was, "Yeah. Job interviews." Some of them spent a good part of the day watching me to see if I was really going out for a job interview on government time. It was one of the best days I had at work in a few weeks. I hope that I wasn't being too cruel, but it's my rogue attitude that gives me many avenues for pleasure. I recommend that you develop your sense of the absurd as well.

ChildofOldLeech
04-05-2014, 02:18 AM
Well, personally speaking, that depends on what I'm coping with; I've been dealing with chronic depression since 2005, ibs since 2000, and moderate asperger's and a severe anxiety disorder since pretty much always. Ligotti mentioned it once himself, but Kafka's line about not knowing when he first stepped on a staircase how he would feel getting off sums up so well my own experiences that I have to reference it. Much of my anxiety is hypochondriachal in nature, so it has always been that the likes of a sudden cramp, racing pulse, seeming swelling, or some other perceived potential symptom can instantly destroy my equanimity and throw me in a welter of worry for hours on end; as a grade-schooler I often quizzed my parents about signs of heart attacks and brain tumors, while panic attacks and migraines were not infrequent throughout adolescence. This obsessive catastrophizing hallmarks my social and generalized anxiety as well; and as can be guessed, the perception that danger was omnipresent and inescapable limited my interaction with the world from a pretty early age. I turned to reading, which along with anxiety, has been the chief influence upon my life. The written word has always felt like my natural element; a way to experience the world without being in it, while at the same time providing an escape from the constant mental corrosion of anxiety. Almost as soon as I began reading I turned to horror fiction, discovering both Goosebumps and Poe in first grade; and although my father has since grumbled that the fixation with horror damaged my outlook, I feel that I embraced horror because I was so accustomed to being afraid, instead of becoming fearful because of it. Instead of morbidity, I dare say that horror has been a boon to me, for what is horror if not literally chronicles of our struggles against life's demons, and the resolutely real-world horrors that plagued me - disease, violence, chaos - were rendered slightly less implacable when compared to the myriad eldritch abominations I read about. In fact, I attribute coming out of the worst of my depression to my return to Ligotti and supernatural fiction entire back in 2007. And while I have yet to throw the black dog off my trail - antidepressants keep him from nipping at my feet, at least -, and never known anything but a perpetual nervousness that has by now been sublimated into countless rituals, obsessions, and behavior patterns, the self-awareness of these anxieties, and the ability to recognize their subjective nature allows me to, if not overcome them, then at least check their advance upon an ever-shifting battlefield. If all else fails, then there's always books, and other manifestations of the gold of time. Baudelaire once wrote that the only way to get through life was to be always drunk, whether it be upon wine, opium, or poetry, and I have become more or less satisfied with drinking my fill of the latter.

JBC
04-05-2014, 11:23 AM
Thank you all for your insightful contributions. I will try my best to answer to your posts, even though it might take a little while.


I think when people hear about antinatalism they might be taken aback, and feel threatened, but I don't see that there's any more immediate reason for them to feel threatened than a meat-eater is by a vegetarian.



That is a really helpful analogy. However, I always felt like there is an additional layer of danger to antinatalism, because it is so complex and defies so many commonplace notions on life, human suffering and the “future”. In a way, I don't think I myself have grasped all its layers, which is one reason why I have opened this thread.

But to really lay out the philosophical foundation of one’s belief would depend on people wanting to listen and wanting to not dismiss antinatalism immediately as unreasonable etc. But how many people are really interested in having their world-view challenged? If so many people feel threatened by vegetarianism, isn't antinatalism beyond reasonable discussion to most?


[...]
invite your existing friends to join you as a way to interact without their kids/wives/etc being an issue, or use it as a chance to make new friends.
That is also a related issue. How do you interact with your friends' children? I think this is an issue that will inevitably lead to conflict, not only with others but with myself as well. I do like children in a paradoxical way - "mother nature" does have a few tricks up its sleeve to make us care for them, and sometimes, they work on me. And I think I would like to spend time with them (and I would be happy to see my friends finding happiness, even if it comes at somebody else's expense and is only temporary), but it would also be very difficult for me at the same time.

How do you do it? Do you constantly try to avoid your friends with children? Or do you just embrace them as a part of your life and accept them as something beyond your control? And if your friends know about your stance, does it not cast a shadow on your relationship? As some have already mentioned, I suppose apart from deliberate estrangement from friends, there is no other answer to these questions than to accept and move on, is there?

JBC
04-05-2014, 12:29 PM
My advice for ameliorating this quandary? Suck. It. Up. Learn how to deal with disappointment. [...] Accept that and move on. Collect knives. Don't grow bitter. Smile.
Very well written post, thank you for that. But the issue of generally dealing with pessimism as a philosophy is not my main concern. I should have made this more explicity in my initial post: I have found ways to deal with the ticking of the clock; I could distract myself for two lifetimes. I will be a good, tax-paying citizen for the time being and not feel bitter if I can avoid it. I do have a sense for the absurd, but I also have a deep feeling of empathy for others.

And that's why the "nigthmares fermenting" inside other people's skulls are an issue for me. I don't know how I could simply embrace other people's horror. Solipsism seems like an empty way out, and in a way, the hedonism and "Dionysian impulse" many of you have been mentioning is nothing but solipsism. Even if I were to accept my own boulder and mountain, it seems increasingly difficult to just sit idly by while others are forced to live, even though I could have tried to do something about it. Is it really that easy for you to accept defeat and to accept that nothing can be done?

And finally, one more thing I haven't mentioned: Have any of you ever blamed your parents for your birth? Or at least talked about pessimism with them? It seems like a futile thing to do, but if I were to come clean about my philosophy, this would seem like a logical place to start. I would be really interested in what they would have to say for themselves.


To Mr. D. and ChildofOldLeech: Thank you for sharing your stories. I truly appreciate it.

DoktorH
04-05-2014, 01:13 PM
[...]
invite your existing friends to join you as a way to interact without their kids/wives/etc being an issue, or use it as a chance to make new friends.
That is also a related issue. How do you interact with your friends' children? I think this is an issue that will inevitably lead to conflict, not only with others but with myself as well. I do like children in a paradoxical way - "mother nature" does have a few tricks up its sleeve to make us care for them, and sometimes, they work on me. And I think I would like to spend time with them (and I would be happy to see my friends finding happiness, even if it comes at somebody else's expense and is only temporary), but it would also be very difficult for me at the same time.

Since I was talking about using hobbies/activities of various kinds as a way to connect with your friends even though their lives are going in a different direction, you would interact with the kids in the context of the activity. if it is some sort of sport or game, you'd be one of the grownups teaching them the rules and giving them pointers. if it is crafting, you could show them how to use the tools, choose materials, etc. or you could suggest these activities to your friends as a way to get away from the kids for a while if you don't want kids around.

Do you constantly try to avoid your friends with children? Or do you just embrace them as a part of your life and accept them as something beyond your control? And if your friends know about your stance, does it not cast a shadow on your relationship? As some have already mentioned, I suppose apart from deliberate estrangement from friends, there is no other answer to these questions than to accept and move on, is there?

most of my friends are friends from my job, so i see them at work and work-related events. They know I think children are horrible screamy little plague-bombs and won't show up to anything that has lots of kids around, just as they know I watch Hannibal and My Little Pony and can converse about those shows but don't care for Dr Who or Game of Thrones and can't contribute to conversations on those topics. since we work together, there's no real sense of estrangement. There's also no expectation of having to include everyone in every aspect of our lives - we all have things in our lives that our friends (and even family) are not part of.

DoktorH
04-05-2014, 01:37 PM
And finally, one more thing I haven't mentioned: Have any of you ever blamed your parents for your birth? Or at least talked about pessimism with them?

I've known they were responsible for it. statements like "we made you and we can replace you" appeared in my chewings-out as a kid. Once my sister was born, I assumed they were making good on their threats. I also know they did whatever they could think of to keep me healthy and comfortable while under their care, and that i was planned for and welcomed into the family after multiple unsuccessful attempts to procreate, so I bear them no ill will over my birth.

My parents don't really care about philosophy. Neither do I!

gveranon
04-05-2014, 07:50 PM
. . . But the issue of generally dealing with pessimism as a philosophy is not my main concern. I should have made this more explicity in my initial post: I have found ways to deal with the ticking of the clock; I could distract myself for two lifetimes. I will be a good, tax-paying citizen for the time being and not feel bitter if I can avoid it. I do have a sense for the absurd, but I also have a deep feeling of empathy for others.

And that's why the "nigthmares fermenting" inside other people's skulls are an issue for me. I don't know how I could simply embrace other people's horror. Solipsism seems like an empty way out, and in a way, the hedonism and "Dionysian impulse" many of you have been mentioning is nothing but solipsism. Even if I were to accept my own boulder and mountain, it seems increasingly difficult to just sit idly by while others are forced to live, even though I could have tried to do something about it. Is it really that easy for you to accept defeat and to accept that nothing can be done?


Yes.

And it's not necessarily solipsism, hedonism, etc. Just a little bit of wisdom about other people and the ways of the world. If you want to have a positive effect on others' lives, it seems to me that you would do better by being fatalistic about things you're not going to change, and then being sympathetic, tolerant, supportive, etc. For example, I've always admired the way some elderly people are a benign presence in others' lives while having a world-weary acceptance of things they know they can't change. But they're accepting bad things! Yes, what's the alternative? You're not going to help anyone by not accepting what they naturally see as the integrity of their own lives and decisions. People will automatically reject that kind of help. They'll find it easy to dismiss you as a pain-in-the-ass and a crank.

I should say that I'm a solitary sort, and me giving advice about how to be sociable is like me giving advice about how to have a lucrative career. Don't listen! Run! Still, I think this is right, not because I'm this way myself but because I've observed other people being this way successfully, beneficially, and to my mind quite admirably. But they didn't stop the perpetuation of suffering and evil! Was that ever an option? Activism sometimes has good results, but the small and real benefits of quietism shouldn't be overlooked or scorned.

teguififthzeal
04-05-2014, 11:48 PM
gvernanon--


I have to question something in your post. You posit an attitude of fatalism as being a good antidote to helping others. In this attitude, which has become more popular as the "Selfishness Gene" line of thought and the work of, say, Ayn Rand has become more popular, I have to say I call an intellectual straw man, and even a willing one.

<<And it's not necessarily solipsism, hedonism, etc. Just a little bit of wisdom about other people and the ways of the world. If you want to have a positive effect on others' lives, it seems to me that you would do better by being fatalistic about things you're not going to change, and then being sympathetic, tolerant, supportive, etc.>>

How is being fatalistic about an issue, or an individual's problem, the way to assist another person? If, for instance, you want to prevent car accidents on a certain road, you might want to go to the mayor of that town and talk to them about the potholes before there's a grisly and horrible accident (or another one, as the case may be).

Putting up a roadside memorial later on, after some horrible accident happens, is a cop out of sorts. Where was your responsibility in the first place?

Just a thought

Cnev
04-06-2014, 01:43 AM
"There is no purpose. We do whatever we do. You either blow your brains out or get on with something." -Roger Waters

While Waters was referring to his artistic purpose within Pink Floyd, his sentiment here is something that is applicable throughout most of my life. I have always been a deeply depressed person with severe anxiety issues stemming from chronic depersonalization episodes, but I found I could deal with myself as long as I had an interest in something deep enough to disappear into.

What I can't deal with is anhedonia. Over the last year or so, I haven't been able to cope with much, honestly. I cut back to part-time hours at my job in December and also took this semester off from college. My anxiety has evolved into mini panic attacks whenever I am forced to talk to someone, and my withdrawl from people after my breakdown several years ago makes me feel like an alien when I'm on campus or in social situations, leading to panic attacks in classroom settings. In brief moments of clarity when I feel like picking up the guitar or sitting at the piano, the long-term effects of these prolonged stints of anhedonia are apparent, as I can't do anything but sit there blankly, without a clue in the world as to what I'm supposed to do. Even the things that I have spent my entire life deeply invested in are now completely foreign to me. My entire life feels like it's just passing by and I'm completely helpless to do anything about it. I don't fully understand it and it is incredibly frustrating.

As far as antinatalism goes, well, I never could justify forcing a child to drudge through this mess for seemingly no reason. But, i don't identify myself with antinatalism, mainly because I cannot stand broad labels such as these. Things just aren't that black and white to my mind and I feel no need to join a cool kids club to justify my personal beliefs. My sister has two boys, the oldest three years old and the youngest 11 months( I think). My sister and her husband have molded their entire lives around their kids and while I might not agree with them on the justification for having children, I respect them for understanding the weight of their decision and meeting such a great responsibility with the caution and care that they have. The same cannot be said for a great deal of parents. How audacious it would be for me to criticize my own family when there are so many other parents out there doing absolutely horrific things to their children. I look forward to a day when society actually respects the responsibility of raising a child, and does see a parent's inability to meet it as criminal activity.

You know JBC, you sound like a very self-absorbed and lonely person. I could be wrong considering I myself am a very self-absorbed and lonely person. But honestly, my friend, as long as your friends are doing all they can to care for their children, then you really shouldn't press the issue. You're never going to convince the world that you are right, and people are going to do whatever they feel is appropriate, especially considering how strong the biological urge to procreate is. You might plant a seed, but they have already had the kids so the only thing you are going to achieve by forcing your opinions on them is making yourself look like a condescending and judgmental jerk who thinks poorly of his supposed friends. If you really believe they are criminals, well, then I question why you are even friends with them.

I've always felt the same way about having children, but I never made it point of contention between any of my non-romantic relationships, except for one guy I knew in high school who claimed he wanted to have a child because it would be good for him. When dealing with this kind of issue, I think it's a good idea to look at intent and go from there. I would never write my sister or friends off simply because they chose to have children. That's ludicrous. It's also silly to reduce your love for your friend's children as nothing more than a trick thrown by mother nature. It's also a slippery slope to be heading down because you can apply that to pretty much any positive feeling you have toward anything. Any interest you have in this life can be written off a nothing more than another trick from the ol' lady to keep you playing her game. But when presented with the option to either play hide and go seek with my 3 year old nephew and give him and myself an afternoon full of goofy foolishness or sit on the couch with my arms crossed denying the experience altogether because it's nothing more than another stupid trick thrown by the hippie old hag, I'm choosing fun because in that moment, there is no reason not to unless I just want to be a dick. Even if my interest in playing hide and go seek with him is just a trick, why would it even matter? In that moment, he would feel rejection and disappointment at my refusal to play, and I would feel like a big meanie. You have to face the fact that ultimately, no one cares what you think and people certainly aren't required to believe what you believe. It's also not pointless to make others happy even when the world, or nature, tells you it is.

Anyway, I'm really tired and my eyes are glazed. All the best to you on your journey, JBC.

gveranon
04-06-2014, 01:51 AM
gvernanon--

I have to question something in your post. You posit an attitude of fatalism as being a good antidote to helping others. In this attitude, which has become more popular as the "Selfishness Gene" line of thought and the work of, say, Ayn Rand has become more popular, I have to say I call an intellectual straw man, and even a willing one.

<<And it's not necessarily solipsism, hedonism, etc. Just a little bit of wisdom about other people and the ways of the world. If you want to have a positive effect on others' lives, it seems to me that you would do better by being fatalistic about things you're not going to change, and then being sympathetic, tolerant, supportive, etc.>>

How is being fatalistic about an issue, or an individual's problem, the way to assist another person? If, for instance, you want to prevent car accidents on a certain road, you might want to go to the mayor of that town and talk to them about the potholes before there's a grisly and horrible accident (or another one, as the case may be).

Putting up a roadside memorial later on, after some horrible accident happens, is a cop out of sorts. Where was your responsibility in the first place?

Just a thought

Please read my post in the context of what I was responding to -- JBC's posts in this thread. In his comment that I quoted, he refers back to his initial post in the thread. JBC is an antinatalist who asks how he should deal with friends who are having children. He seems to feel that he has a responsibility to seriously discuss the morality of having children (he's against it) with his procreating friends. I think he will only alienate them if he does this, and against his contention that not doing it would be retreating into solipsism and hedonism, I give the example of kindly elderly people who are wisely world-weary and fatalistic about things they know they can't change, but who are quite beneficial and helpful to people around them nonetheless.

Your example of the road with potholes is a bad analogy because the road could easily be fixed, whereas I was recommending fatalism about things you're unlikely to be able to change. I thought my post was pretty clear about that.

What I was saying has nothing to do with the "selfishness gene" or Ayn Rand -- talk about straw men! First of all, Dawkins didn't posit the "selfishness gene," he posited the "selfish gene," and the difference is crucial to understanding his concept. He was claiming that evolution is about the reproductive success of genes rather than about the reproductive success of the organisms that bear them, and "selfish gene" is a metaphor to express this reductive concept. It has nothing to do with people being selfish! Dawkins is actually in favor of altruism and has a foundation that raises money for disaster relief and other types of aid. And, just for the record, I despise Ayn Rand.

Also, while I'm issuing corrections, your signature line ("The old woman dies - the burden departs") probably doesn't mean what you think it means. For Schopenhauer, the old woman was a burden that he was relieved to see depart, because he owed her money as court-ordered recompense for assaulting her.

Pan Michael
04-06-2014, 05:32 AM
I honestly think that our decadent, postmodern civilization causes me more suffering than all of the big existentialist questions combined. That is, I think I could endure the thought of a meaningless, pain-filled cosmos far better, were I not living in such a grotesque and horrific culture. It's one thing to know that it's all vanity and a chasing after the wind. But it's far worse to know that, and still have to live your remaining days in a completely alien and inhospitable cultural environment.

At all events, I'm sure that many an 18th century gentleman wrestled with these same questions of meaninglessness, suffering, oblivion, etc. But I also think that having a more sane cultural backdrop must have made these questions seem less immediately terrifying and overwhelming. In other words, in earlier times (Yeah yeah, I know, perhaps I'm just romanticizing here!), you at least had a shot at a good beginning (barring all the childhood diseases and so forth), and possibly a good middle, even granting that it still ended poorly. Now, however, we sort of have a bad beginning (Pubic Education, hurray!), a bad middle ("Welcome to the suburban nightmare"!), followed by the same bad end. Somehow it doesn't seem fair! How preposterous to have to struggle though something so unpleasant--only to get to nowhere! Not that it wasn't that way before, but at least in the old days the higher moral and aesthetic values hadn't yet been universally stamped out; and at least you weren't constantly tormented with Facebook, cell phones, Reality TV, Twitter, Huffington Post articles, celebrity culture, I Pads, Pop music Stars, televised Presidential debates, universal rudeness, incivility, vulgarity, etc. etc.

I wonder: are people suffering from anhedonia, panic attacks, and depression, simply because they know that reality is equivalent to what's adumbrated in CATHR? Or is it rather that the modern world in general is just such a hellish, sucky place? I can't speak for others, but for me, it's the latter that is actually harder to deal with in many respects. I'm not saying that a meaningless cosmos pleases me either; but I think I could handle that fact far better if I lived in a world that wasn't in such a state of hopeless and rapid disintegration.

qcrisp
04-06-2014, 08:41 AM
Even if I were to accept my own boulder and mountain, it seems increasingly difficult to just sit idly by while others are forced to live, even though I could have tried to do something about it. Is it really that easy for you to accept defeat and to accept that nothing can be done?

And finally, one more thing I haven't mentioned: Have any of you ever blamed your parents for your birth? Or at least talked about pessimism with them? It seems like a futile thing to do, but if I were to come clean about my philosophy, this would seem like a logical place to start. I would be really interested in what they would have to say for themselves.


To Mr. D. and ChildofOldLeech: Thank you for sharing your stories. I truly appreciate it.

I have spoken to my parents about this. I won't repeat what they have said, partly because it wasn't all that memorable to me, but partly for privacy issues.

I'm not sure what to say here except that in my case it was at least possible to talk about the subject. Not to say that it wasn't a touchy one.

I have also had the experience of a friend being hesitant to tell me news of his becoming a father - wary of my disapproval. I must admit that I never feel much like saying "congratulations", but I do like children, and I wish well to those who are here, even if they might have been better off not coming here (or especially for that reason).

I think my case is different to yours at least in this much though (and probably in other ways): that I have never felt myself to be right about anything and so have never been inclined to intervene in other people's decisions. There are all kinds of terrible things happening around the world. If I wanted to intervene in something, maybe I should volunteer to do aid work in Africa or something like that.

Having said that, I do have the simple problem, even without the need for intervention, of whether to say what I think when the subject comes up. I'm afraid I'm one of these people who tends to put diplomacy first (which you might not guess from the attitude of the friend I mentioned). Perhaps there isn't an ideal way of dealing with the situation, but maybe one thing is simply to work out your priorities. For instance, mine, in this particular case, and for the time being, is diplomacy. If I find I can't let another "congratulations" pass my throat, it might become something else. (Actually, I'm more diplomatic these days than I used to be, because I've found that conflict tends to get me nowhere, and for various other reasons; I used to simply say nothing at the birth of a baby. I wonder if part of my new-found diplomacy is the fact I have since had to work 'in business', which has numerous undesirable side-effects, diplomacy being one of them. - Please imagine a smiley here indicating the rascally irony of that last remark.)

qcrisp
04-06-2014, 09:04 AM
I honestly think that our decadent, postmodern civilization causes me more suffering than all of the big existentialist questions combined. That is, I think I could endure the thought of a meaningless, pain-filled cosmos far better, were I not living in such a grotesque and horrific culture. It's one thing to know that it's all vanity and a chasing after the wind. But it's far worse to know that, and still have to live your remaining days in a completely alien and inhospitable cultural environment.

At all events, I'm sure that many an 18th century gentleman wrestled with these same questions of meaninglessness, suffering, oblivion, etc. But I also think that having a more sane cultural backdrop must have made these questions seem less immediately terrifying and overwhelming. In other words, in earlier times (Yeah yeah, I know, perhaps I'm just romanticizing here!), you at least had a shot at a good beginning (barring all the childhood diseases and so forth), and possibly a good middle, even granting that it still ended poorly. Now, however, we sort of have a bad beginning (Pubic Education, hurray!), a bad middle ("Welcome to the suburban nightmare"!), followed by the same bad end. Somehow it doesn't seem fair! How preposterous to have to struggle though something so unpleasant--only to get to nowhere! Not that it wasn't that way before, but at least in the old days the higher moral and aesthetic values hadn't yet been universally stamped out; and at least you weren't constantly tormented with Facebook, cell phones, Reality TV, Twitter, Huffington Post articles, celebrity culture, I Pads, Pop music Stars, televised Presidential debates, universal rudeness, incivility, vulgarity, etc. etc.

I wonder: are people suffering from anhedonia, panic attacks, and depression, simply because they know that reality is equivalent to what's adumbrated in CATHR? Or is it rather that the modern world in general is just such a hellish, sucky place? I can't speak for others, but for me, it's the latter that is actually harder to deal with in many respects. I'm not saying that a meaningless cosmos pleases me either; but I think I could handle that fact far better if I lived in a world that wasn't in such a state of hopeless and rapid disintegration.

Can't say how much I agree with this.

Recently, I watched this, which may also have some relevance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drv3BP0Fdi8

He contends that depression is a "disease of civilisation" - we're not yet adapted to our fast-changing environment.

There could easily be something in this, but I'll make a couple of critical observations:

1. I spoke about this yesterday to someone who works in mental health and he told me that he knew of some recent "meta-studies" (I think he said) that contrary to what the man is saying in the clip, suggested that exercise has minimal effect on levels of depression. Therefore, we always have to question the data or the interpretation of data, or, anyway, not swallow it whole.

2. My own personal observation was that, apart from his mention of there being less "face time" in modern society, he doesn't even suggest that there might be reasons beyond physical health why people might be depressed or not. He does, though, say that sadness and depression are not the same thing. I sometimes wonder about this - maybe there should be more research exploring the grey areas and their relation to each other. Maybe there is, and I just don't know about it.

The figures he cites for the rise of depression in America, are, though, quite suggestive, whatever the causes might be.

Recently I read Helen Keller's autobiography. I dare say she was exceptional both in her family background and her personal ability, but I was very much struck at how amazing her education was. I don't have the exact references in front of me, but I believe that at the age of seven she started learning language through her teacher writing on her hand with her fingers. And by the age of about 12 she was learning French, German, Latin and Greek. This was the end of the nineteenth century. I couldn't help feeling that the different social fabric of the time, with greater value placed on education and culture, made such a thing possible. Nowadays, culture seems like a dirty word, as if it's a toy we've all stolen from the rich kids so we can stamp on it.

Malone
04-06-2014, 09:53 AM
I, too, can empathise a lot with Pan Michael's statement, while also, like him, being aware of the danger of romanticising the past.

It puts me in mind of Lovecraft's letters, where he frankly states that his stance as an 18th century Providence gentleman is his only protection against the void, and I think this was far more important to him in that regard than his identity as a writer. He also frequently alludes to the fact the increasing mechanisation of society will make life more and more unbearable to those with aesthetic and philosophical interests, and makes a few remarks to the effect that he's glad he won't be around to see the worst of it.

I know the obvious rejoinder is accusations of oversensitivity, elitism, and so on, and yes, happily guilty, there are elements of that, but I also feel there's plenty of truth to it. People may also retort that with the increased flow of information and communciation there are more outlets for outsiders (such as this site) and yes, it is true, but of course we also have to deal with the deluge of crass rubbish and human idiocy which we are all drowning in.

No wonder Huysmans' Des Esseintes is one of my favourite fictional heroes....

Coa
04-06-2014, 01:31 PM
What Pan Michael said. While human condition is ( to say at least) hard - way we deal with it is main problem, civilization/history as catalyst of entropy, humanism as cannibalism and religion as necrophilia. Real horrorshow.

DoktorH
04-06-2014, 02:01 PM
I wanted to go back to the original post, see if i get anything different out of it.

I would consider myself a pessimist and antinatalist much in the same vein of Ligotti, Cioran, Benatar and others, and I have been struggling to embrace this fact for years. To be honest, my philosophy has made life increasingly difficult.

More specifically, I have been struggling to make peace with my world-view and simultaneously trying to lead an ordinary life.

things i should have asked when I first joined the conversation:

What constitutes an ordinary life?
which bits of your definition of Ordinary Life are clashing with your worldview?
is Ordinary a top priority for you, or are other qualities more important? I'm thinking of things like Comfortable or Interesting, but it could be anything




how do you cope with the ever-present chasm between you and everything else?

I don't think there is a chasm between me and everything else. i think it can very easily look like there is at times, but I am pretty sure that is just a trick of perspective.

teguififthzeal
04-06-2014, 06:07 PM
Gvernanon--

I know, as regards my quote. I'm highlighting a different side of Schopenhauer I don't often see discussed.

mark_samuels
04-06-2014, 11:21 PM
My life of late seems to consist of an endless round of the following:

Prayer. Smoking cigarettes. Listening to happy tunes. Going to Mass. Drinking real ale or wine alone. Feelings of complete worthlessness as a writer and human being. More ale or gin. More cigarettes. Prayer. Anti-depressants. Thinking of writing a new tale. Not doing so. Seeing a few close friends. Ale or wine. Philosophical or artistic discussions in a pub. Prayer. Hangovers. Insomnia. Doctor's appointments. Dwelling on the past. More Insomnia. Listening to miserable tunes. Eating food I don't particularly like but which is cheap to buy. Feelings that I have completely wasted my life. Regrets. More cigarettes. etc etc etc

Mark S.

Druidic
04-07-2014, 12:07 AM
Mark, it sounds to me like you’re really paying your dues for the next story you write. Personally, I want to read it very badly.
Last night I was too tired to go hunting for a particular volume so I reached out and found Jones’ Best New Horror vol. 17 and chose Glyphotech. The fact I didn’t fall asleep until I finished is a tribute to the power of that little tale.
I’m looking forward to more, damn it! It's one of the ways I cope.

mark_samuels
04-07-2014, 12:43 AM
Probably not the right thread to discuss this, but I had serious doubts whether I'd want my next weird fiction collection published. Having first got the stories together I felt nausea looking over some of them. This was followed by acute indifference from a couple of folk whose judgement I value, and it almost made me think it best to file the tales away indefinitely. I'd obviously lingered too long on the stage.

Luckily, Egeaus picked me up and, the last time I looked over the tales, I thought they held up pretty well against any of my earlier tales.

Mind you I was drunk at the time, so, what do I know.

And, oh hell. Nothing could ever beat my one and only mainstream review of The White Hands from the Guardian newspaper in 2005: "merely the re-ordering of a few velvet-lined cliches ... the infinity which torments me is the image of a darkened library filled with endless volumes of this stuff."

Better, by some distance, than my expected couple of lines in a Locus obit ...

Mark S.

Druidic
04-07-2014, 01:32 AM
I suspect Stephen Jones knows quality in the field better than The Guardian.

Malone
04-07-2014, 05:19 AM
In regard to Pan Michael's lament over contemporary civilisation, I saw this yesterday: a lady going to Dignitas, and citing that reason:

Retired teacher, 89, ends her life at Swiss euthanasia clinic | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598102/They-say-adapt-die-At-age-I-adapt-Retired-teacher-89-ends-life-Swiss-euthanasia-clinic-disillusioned-modern-life.html)

qcrisp
04-07-2014, 11:54 AM
In regard to Pan Michael's lament over contemporary civilisation, I saw this yesterday: a lady going to Dignitas, and citing that reason:

Retired teacher, 89, ends her life at Swiss euthanasia clinic | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598102/They-say-adapt-die-At-age-I-adapt-Retired-teacher-89-ends-life-Swiss-euthanasia-clinic-disillusioned-modern-life.html)

Completely agree with her. My impression reading the article is that she knew what she wanted to do and that this was perfectly justified suicide.

I recently wrote something in a notebook under 'vote by suicide' - the idea being that there could be suicide booths that are also, as it were, voting booths, not for any particular political party - simply that you make the strength of your feelings known by leaving a statement before you go. 'Voting with your feet', in a way.

That is an idea that could be abused, and may be somewhat crude, but the above article makes me think there is something in it.

The human race seems to have scored a number of Pyrrhic victories (if they are any kind of victory at all) and I personally find it hard to avoid the sinking feeling that we are lingering into undignified absurdity.

I haven't expressed myself well, but I do think that something has gone very, very wrong.

Pessimist
04-07-2014, 01:12 PM
In regard to Pan Michael's lament over contemporary civilisation, I saw this yesterday: a lady going to Dignitas, and citing that reason:

Retired teacher, 89, ends her life at Swiss euthanasia clinic | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598102/They-say-adapt-die-At-age-I-adapt-Retired-teacher-89-ends-life-Swiss-euthanasia-clinic-disillusioned-modern-life.html)

The side-bar articles on that page say it all.

gveranon
04-07-2014, 04:12 PM
In regard to Pan Michael's lament over contemporary civilisation, I saw this yesterday: a lady going to Dignitas, and citing that reason:

Retired teacher, 89, ends her life at Swiss euthanasia clinic | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598102/They-say-adapt-die-At-age-I-adapt-Retired-teacher-89-ends-life-Swiss-euthanasia-clinic-disillusioned-modern-life.html)

She reminds me of Alice Sheldon, who wrote science fiction under the name James Tiptree, Jr. The resemblance seems uncanny to me, although maybe it's just a few superficial details and my overactive imagination. Anne (the only name given for the woman in the article) was born in Kenya. Alice Sheldon spent part of her childhood in Africa. They were both in the military. Anne was an art teacher; Alice Sheldon was, among other things, a painter and an art critic. They were even similar in appearance, judging by photographs. Alice Sheldon killed her elderly, ailing husband and then herself. Her own suicide, at least, was something she had planned for years.

Although I don't usually feel suicidal (I just keep getting by in minimal ways; cf. Christopher Lasch's The Minimal Self), I am beginning to think that by the time I'm elderly the world will have become such an inhospitable place that I will no longer find it possible to live. This will help reconcile me to death.

I would guess that within two or three decades, we will all be under 24/7 surveillance -- by governments, by neighbors, by anyone who wants to surveil. And this will include types of surveillance undreamt of today. I can't imagine living like that. If it sounds like I'm prone to paranoia, well, I don't think I am -- at least not unusually so. I remember reading privacy alarmists back in the '90s and early '00s (cypherpunks and others) and being blithely unconcerned. Now I have to admit that they were prescient, they were right.

As for the state of our culture, I'm reminded of a comment I've seen several people make about C. P. Snow's "Two Cultures": We don't even have one.

Malone
04-07-2014, 04:34 PM
Noah, you wasted all that time and wood on the Ark, baby! Should have let all the mofos drown and saved us all a lot of trouble!

teguififthzeal
04-07-2014, 11:19 PM
A friend of mine had a kid not too long ago, and though we've had innumerable conversations about whether it is fitting to bring a child into this world or not, she just seems happy. The child will be well supported, go to "good schools", blah blah. She's married. She's just not mentioning anything we talked about for a few years now. I'm the last to be a buzzkill, I don't know.

JBC
04-09-2014, 09:16 AM
Sorry for the delay. I will go trough the thread and try to answer as many posts as possible. Thank you all for contributing, some of you have been of great help!


In regard to Pan Michael's lament over contemporary civilisation, I saw this yesterday: a lady going to Dignitas, and citing that reason:

Retired teacher, 89, ends her life at Swiss euthanasia clinic | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598102/They-say-adapt-die-At-age-I-adapt-Retired-teacher-89-ends-life-Swiss-euthanasia-clinic-disillusioned-modern-life.html)

Completely agree with her. My impression reading the article is that she knew what she wanted to do and that this was perfectly justified suicide.



Just ignoring for a second that this is the Daily Mail and thus not worthy of consideration, I think that woman's logic is flawed beyond belief.

First of all, that woman does not know the first thing about technology. The good old truism of "the internet is the reason for the decline of human interaction" is simply not justifiable. This very board is the perfect example of how technology is giving people a voice who have always been unheard before.

Apart from her juvenile environmentalism, the notion of "contemporary society" being somehow superior to society in the past is flawed as well. Based on what? The very technology she despised allowed her to become 89. The social progress in Switzerland allowed her to take her own life painlessly and without repercussions for her family. Considering these advances, her (and your?) weird romanticizing of the past seems so incredibly disingenuous to me.

JBC
04-09-2014, 09:44 AM
And it's not necessarily solipsism, hedonism, etc. Just a little bit of wisdom about other people and the ways of the world. If you want to have a positive effect on others' lives, it seems to me that you would do better by being fatalistic about things you're not going to change, and then being sympathetic, tolerant, supportive, etc.
[...]
Activism sometimes has good results, but the small and real benefits of quietism shouldn't be overlooked or scorned.

I agree with much of what you wrote here, but I think what it comes down to is this: knowing when to be quiet and when to speak up. I don't think a life-long quitism and fatalism is the right way to go. I think there is room for discussion, and that room should be persued. Not with everyone, but with some people. Who exactly these people are is probably something that cannot be generalized, which is partly why I opened this thread.

Who knows how many lives have been spared as a result of the work of Ligotti, Benatar and others? Even if both acknowledged the limited appeal of their arguments, I'm sure that they have made changes in some peoples' lives, including mine. That's why I feel like fatalism is an admittance of defeat: I feel the goal of a depopulated earth is attainable, and all of us share this responsibility. If everyone tried to "convert" only one friend of theirs, who knows what could happen?

That is why letting go of this issue is so difficult for me. Seems like I'm just a dreamer after all.


You might plant a seed, but they have already had the kids so the only thing you are going to achieve by forcing your opinions on them is making yourself look like a condescending and judgmental jerk who thinks poorly of his supposed friends. If you really believe they are criminals, well, then I question why you are even friends with them.

You have to face the fact that ultimately, no one cares what you think and people certainly aren't required to believe what you believe. It's also not pointless to make others happy even when the world, or nature, tells you it is.

Anyway, I'm really tired and my eyes are glazed. All the best to you on your journey, JBC.
I specifically mentioned that this will become a problem in the future, and that it is not right now.
Because following your logic, what it comes down to is not trying to prevent people from harming others and calling this
"forcing one's opinion on others". Of course, that is what I'm doing, but isn't trying to change something or trying to
direct people in different directions always a way of forcing one's opinion on others?

The belief that "no one cares what you think" is so paradoxical. I care for what you think, otherwise I would
not have started this topic. And what people are telling me is challenging and changing the way I think - including your post.
Even though none of us know each other personally! So why would I not try to do the same to personal friends?

In any case, thank you for your comment.

qcrisp
04-09-2014, 11:20 AM
Apart from her juvenile environmentalism, the notion of "contemporary society" being somehow superior to society in the past is flawed as well. Based on what? The very technology she despised allowed her to become 89. The social progress in Switzerland allowed her to take her own life painlessly and without repercussions for her family. Considering these advances, her (and your?) weird romanticizing of the past seems so incredibly disingenuous to me.

I suppose we all have the contradictions that we can tolerate and the ones we can't. Isn't there a contradiction, for instance, in saying that the woman being kept alive till she was 89 was a good thing whilst also saying that being allowed to kill herself was a good thing?: I.E. It was clear she was finding her life to be too long.

Also, if we can admit that being allowed to kill oneself - or anything else, for that matter - is an advance, then that should open up the conversation as to what is an advance and what is a decline. In other words, you can't invoke the concept of advance without also invoking that of decline, and therefore it's perfectly justifiable for people to express the opinion that some things mark a decline, especially if they experience this to be the case.

Anyway, I really only wanted to post here a quote from Schopenhauer's 'On the Suffering of the World' as, for some reason, this very simple passage has been much on my mind of late:

History shows us the life of nations and finds nothing to narrate but wars and tumults; the peaceful years appear only as occasional brief pauses and interludes. In just the same way the life of the individual is a constant struggle, and not merely a metaphorical one against want or boredom, but also an actual struggle against other people. He discovers adversaries everywhere, lives in continual conflict and dies with sword in hand.

I am very aware these days that I don't have long left. I haven't slept properly for weeks. I want to sleep well and die well.

So, sweet dreams, till the next time, if there is one.

Druidic
04-09-2014, 04:19 PM
Proselytizing, to me at least, is pointless; even if you win someone over to your point of view it only means they were already headed there.
Some scientific studies have shown the brain activity that normally signifies the attempt at interpreting new information is absent in such discussions; and, instead, we get brain activity corresponding to an engine in ‘neutral’…just idling.

Logic is never good enough and, at times, the brain ignores it…

But did we really need studies to tell us this? Remember the old saying: “In one ear…”

Pan Michael
04-09-2014, 06:03 PM
I think Druidic is correct that proselytizing is pointless. When someone looks out on the morass that is contemporary American society and says to me, "These are WONDERFUL times to be living in, stop sniveling and complaining and get with the program!"--all I can do is shake hands and wish that person the best. Some of us are just so radically far apart in perception and temperament, that I don't think there is even a meaningful lingua franca in which we might attempt to misunderstand one another! I say that without any harshness or judgment, and simply offer it as an observation.

So.....yeah, that is another thing about this modern nightmare-world that I don't particularly care for: being completely alone in my detestation of it!

Mark Cooper
04-09-2014, 07:07 PM
That's why I feel like fatalism is an admittance of defeat: I feel the goal of a depopulated earth is attainable

Unfortunately, I don't believe that the goal of a depopulated earth is attainable, at least not in the immediate future. All of the ideologies currently circulating through the world all take for granted that life is a good thing. Even if many people are presently living lives that aren't worth living, social changes of one sort or another will remedy the problem. Life will be worth living for everyone if only we heed the better angels of our nature and make the necessary changes to our way of being in the world. The assumption that life is in and of itself a good thing and that it should be perpetuated is nearly universal at the present time.

For my part, I'm one of those pathetic middle-aged loners living in their parents' basement, so I don't spend much time talking with other people about my worldview. On the rare occasion that I do find myself discussing the big questions with other people, I'm usually pretty straightforward and open. I don't hide that I consider life to be tragic.
At the same time, I don't have the zeal or the energy necessary to become a tragic missionary.

Since my late teens I've coped by immersing myself in the culture of pessimism. The Greek tragedies, the medieval Japanese Buddhist writings on the futility of life, the poetry of Leopardi and Trakl, the philosophy of Schopenhauer, the fiction of Ligotti and other modern writers within the pessimist tradition -- reading and studying and keeping alive the works of this marginal tradition helps me cope.

Although I think it's more than likely that there will be a renaissance of the pessimistic wisdom of the past, I don't believe that it's going to be anytime soon. So I don't think the time is ripe for a concerted attempt to persuade humanity that extinction is the only real solution to our problems.

teguififthzeal
04-09-2014, 07:38 PM
<<That's why I feel like fatalism is an admittance of defeat: I feel the goal of a depopulated earth is attainable>>

That's not gonna happen until some nutcase who is just a bit more unbalanced than a Putin, BinLaden (or McCain probably) blows up the world, and people will survive even that I'd bet somehow. All it takes, though, is one guy with enough power who doesn't fear his own death (or care about the death of others) because he's caught up enough in some crazy ass megalomaniacal fantasy. And that hasn't even happened yet, and it has been quite awhile in earth time for it not to have occurred.

Michael
04-12-2014, 07:12 PM
Think everyone pretty much covered it. But, and if this was already stated along the way I apologize, I might add one more. Going back to JBC's original question of how, nuts and bolts, do you cope while simultaneously living in the world my simple method is I wear a mask.

I don't think this is the best way and would discourage against it because it's perhaps not even a healthy way to cope but it is the only way I've found. There was a time I physically isolated myself and tried to live with as little human contact as possible. Things changed, the circumstances of which are too long to go into here, but then (and now) I find my life situation and vocation that of being perpetually surrounded by people. Part of this is choice, part of this is as someone already posted, if you feel there is nothing of worth in this world, attempt to create something of worth. Regardless, I am around people more than I ever have been and find that the only way I am able to cope is by wearing this mask. The mask smiles and remains positive and affirms the human condition amidst the obvious failings of this world that Ligotti, Cioran, Schopenhauer, etc. have already eloquently described. But the mask basically prevents the people I'm around from being scared s#*tless by what is truly beneath the surface of things.

The mask has functionally helped out a LOT. But, the obvious downside is that it gets very old very fast having to wear a mask. I only have a very, very few number of people in my life who have seen me without the mask. It's about 50/50 who runs away and who stays. I honestly, without sarcasm, consider myself fortunate that I have anyone who has stayed after seeing me without my mask and if there is anything to affirm in the human condition it is, perhaps, that. But, at the core of it, having to wear the mask highlights in stark colors that I am an alien for all intents and purposes in human society. Like I'm another species, like I don't belong in a metaphysical sense. I'd say it's lonely but that's not accurate because, as Hannah Arendt stated, solitude is when you are by yourself; loneliness is when, all by yourself, you desert yourself. I don't feel like I've deserted myself in a long, long time but the isolation is very much felt, the alienness is very much felt.

I don't know if that answers the question or is just me babbling so I apologize yet again.

Speaking Mute
04-13-2014, 02:06 AM
Dispel your belief in free will. Your problem then isn't so much humanity as Nature itself. The most subversive - and I dare say liberating - aspect of philosophical Pessimism is that it places the blame on reality itself rather people or circumstances.

Parents are enacting a program. The programmer is God or Nature. So God or Nature is to blame.

JBC
04-13-2014, 09:39 AM
[...]
But the mask basically prevents the people I'm around from being scared s#*tless by what is truly beneath the surface of things.

The mask has functionally helped out a LOT. But, the obvious downside is that it gets very old very fast having to wear a mask. I only have a very, very few number of people in my life who have seen me without the mask. It's about 50/50 who runs away and who stays. I honestly, without sarcasm, consider myself fortunate that I have anyone who has stayed after seeing me without my mask and if there is anything to affirm in the human condition it is, perhaps, that. But, at the core of it, having to wear the mask highlights in stark colors that I am an alien for all intents and purposes in human society. Like I'm another species, like I don't belong in a metaphysical sense. I'd say it's lonely but that's not accurate because, as Hannah Arendt stated, solitude is when you are by yourself; loneliness is when, all by yourself, you desert yourself. I don't feel like I've deserted myself in a long, long time but the isolation is very much felt, the alienness is very much felt.

I don't know if that answers the question or is just me babbling so I apologize yet again.

No need to apologize! In many ways, I have felt the same as you and can relate to your story. I've gone through the same phases of isolation and alienation and have decided to "confide" to only a select number of people. As I have already pointed out in this thread, I consider uncompromising pessimism to be absolutely incompatible with society at large. I'm convinced that most people would consider me a threat if they knew about my beliefs. The fact that there are people who are accepting of pessimists without accepting their pessimism is indeed incredible - and I am incredibly lucky to have found people like that.
(I am thankful to this forum and consider it a treasure for this very same reason.)

Dispel your belief in free will. Your problem then isn't so much humanity as Nature itself. The most subversive - and I dare say liberating - aspect of philosophical Pessimism is that it places the blame on reality itself rather people or circumstances.

Parents are enacting a program. The programmer is God or Nature. So God or Nature is to blame.

In a way, that is a call to fatalism - or at least stoic indifference - as well, which has beeen uttered in this thread a few times. I think what it comes down to is that I will have to refine my belief in personal responsibiliy - other people's as well as my own. My belief in antinatalism as a cause, however, will not be challenged by this - even though people like Benatar have fully acknowledged the futility of their endeavour in light of contemporary society, they still stuck to their convictions. And they still wrote important books, despite their limited appeal, and that is something I admire.

Commenting on the thread as a whole, I was hoping some other people would share stories of what actually happened when they talked to their family and friends about their beliefs. If I remember correctly, when Cioran's mother read his first book, she told him she would have aborted him if she had known what a miserable being he would become. But that can't be the only outcome of a discussion like this, can it?

qcrisp
04-13-2014, 12:40 PM
[quote=Michael;101069][...]
Commenting on the thread as a whole, I was hoping some other people would share stories of what actually happened when they talked to their family and friends about their beliefs. If I remember correctly, when Cioran's mother read his first book, she told him she would have aborted him if she had known what a miserable being he would become. But that can't be the only outcome of a discussion like this, can it?

It's not the only outcome, but in my limited experience, I've never known anyone to say, "You know what, you're right!" I should probably reiterate that I am not a person with much conviction, anyway, so I tend not to pursue subjects that cause friction.

I would say that I have noticed, "If you/they feel that way why don't you/they just kill yourself/themselves?" is often enough not actually a response of anger but of puzzlement, as in "I don't get it!"

I was watching the pre-film adverts at the cinema last night, and from adverts about spine-injury research to adverts on Santander bank, they were all steeped in the invisible (to those holding it) assumption that it's good to be alive for its own sake. These adverts are an expression of ostensibly secular optimism. We're all improving medicine and technology and our bank accounts are getting more convenient and we're getting closer and closer to a perfect society. I think most people basically accept that view, but with one or two reservations. I say 'most people' - I have no way of knowing, really, and maybe I'm just talking about Britain, where I live, not the world.

But, for me, while curing spinal injury certainly seems like a good thing in itself, what I notice is that in the world of this secular optimism, all relatively good things are taken for ultimately good things. I can't help thinking, "Yes, yes, it's all very well, but what for?"

And, in fact, if you don't have, somewhere, a conscious or - more likely - unconscious assumption that existence itself is good, then the illusion of a parade of relatively good things equalling some ultimate good very soon crumbles, since they are only good relative to some bad thing which one is forever trying to escape and ultimately cannot.

I think the point is that there really is a major divide here between those who think existence itself is good - as I say, probably unconsciously - and those who don't, and the factors that go to make up such a difference might be yet as unexplored as those regions of the deep sea where the sun never shines.

I should also add that I don't believe in neat dichotomies. Yes, life is good, and no it's not, can obviously form two major and opposing views, but not everyone falls neatly into one or the other. I'm afraid I am, myself, rather piebald in this respect.

Anyway, in basic terms, there are, I think, as yet unrevealed strata of emotional, cultural (and so on) assumptions that render the language of the pessimist incomprehensible to the optimist and vice versa.

Sunflower
04-17-2014, 07:15 AM
I keep to myself, for the most part, and keep busy. Writing, reading, studying, youtube videos, music, I'm going to learn how to make digital art soon, and thinking about learning a couple of languages. Basically I just try to keep busy, mainly with solitary endeavors. So far, it's working pretty well. I have some health issues but when those aren't acting up too much I find it pretty easy to live.

JBC
04-17-2014, 09:39 AM
It's not the only outcome, but in my limited experience, I've never known anyone to say, "You know what, you're right!" I should probably reiterate that I am not a person with much conviction, anyway, so I tend not to pursue subjects that cause friction.

I would say that I have noticed, "If you/they feel that way why don't you/they just kill yourself/themselves?" is often enough not actually a response of anger but of puzzlement, as in "I don't get it!"
[...]
But, for me, while curing spinal injury certainly seems like a good thing in itself, what I notice is that in the world of this secular optimism, all relatively good things are taken for ultimately good things. I can't help thinking, "Yes, yes, it's all very well, but what for?"

And, in fact, if you don't have, somewhere, a conscious or - more likely - unconscious assumption that existence itself is good, then the illusion of a parade of relatively good things equalling some ultimate good very soon crumbles, since they are only good relative to some bad thing which one is forever trying to escape and ultimately cannot.
[...]
Anyway, in basic terms, there are, I think, as yet unrevealed strata of emotional, cultural (and so on) assumptions that render the language of the pessimist incomprehensible to the optimist and vice versa.

I agree with most of what you write here! The belief in an illusionary "future" that we should strive towards and that should helps us to survive for as long as possible is of course a horrible sham and you gave great examples. But there seemes to be an inherent divide between short-term and long-term aspects of life, an over-arching reductionism that helps to ignore the malginant uselessness of everything. And trying to argue against this deepest of beliefs does indeed seem like a lost cause.

But: The point about people talking in different languages about life and death is very interesting. That is something I should look deeper into: whether there could be a sort of meta-language that would help us to overcome the pessimism/optimism dichotomy and would help to circumvent the Pollyannaism mentioned above . Maybe art could take that place, as it did for me. An appeal at someone's emotion might indeed be much more fitting - albeit possibly more disingenuous - than outright making an argument for antinatalism.

teguififthzeal
04-24-2014, 02:28 AM
[quote=Michael;101069][...]
Commenting on the thread as a whole, I was hoping some other people would share stories of what actually happened when they talked to their family and friends about their beliefs. If I remember correctly, when Cioran's mother read his first book, she told him she would have aborted him if she had known what a miserable being he would become. But that can't be the only outcome of a discussion like this, can it?

It's not the only outcome, but in my limited experience, I've never known anyone to say, "You know what, you're right!" I should probably reiterate that I am not a person with much conviction, anyway, so I tend not to pursue subjects that cause friction.

I would say that I have noticed, "If you/they feel that way why don't you/they just kill yourself/themselves?" is often enough not actually a response of anger but of puzzlement, as in "I don't get it!"

I was watching the pre-film adverts at the cinema last night, and from adverts about spine-injury research to adverts on Santander bank, they were all steeped in the invisible (to those holding it) assumption that it's good to be alive for its own sake. These adverts are an expression of ostensibly secular optimism. We're all improving medicine and technology and our bank accounts are getting more convenient and we're getting closer and closer to a perfect society. I think most people basically accept that view, but with one or two reservations. I say 'most people' - I have no way of knowing, really, and maybe I'm just talking about Britain, where I live, not the world.

But, for me, while curing spinal injury certainly seems like a good thing in itself, what I notice is that in the world of this secular optimism, all relatively good things are taken for ultimately good things. I can't help thinking, "Yes, yes, it's all very well, but what for?"

And, in fact, if you don't have, somewhere, a conscious or - more likely - unconscious assumption that existence itself is good, then the illusion of a parade of relatively good things equalling some ultimate good very soon crumbles, since they are only good relative to some bad thing which one is forever trying to escape and ultimately cannot.

I think the point is that there really is a major divide here between those who think existence itself is good - as I say, probably unconsciously - and those who don't, and the factors that go to make up such a difference might be yet as unexplored as those regions of the deep sea where the sun never shines.

I should also add that I don't believe in neat dichotomies. Yes, life is good, and no it's not, can obviously form two major and opposing views, but not everyone falls neatly into one or the other. I'm afraid I am, myself, rather piebald in this respect.

Anyway, in basic terms, there are, I think, as yet unrevealed strata of emotional, cultural (and so on) assumptions that render the language of the pessimist incomprehensible to the optimist and vice versa.

I *instinctually affirm* that curing spinal injury would be a good thing without even thinking about that cerebrally for a millisecond. I know a guy who paralyzed himself diving into a pool at the age of 8 and has to work a full time job--he cannot receive disability under any circumstances whatsoever. A judge has reiterated to him more than once: "If you can wheel yourself up here and be so animated, you can work!" We did just that together at the Local Food Bank a few weeks ago, and while he is a card carrying optimist, I do notice that he has some outbursts of bitterness and impotent rage that almost seem homicidal at times.


I've seen people actually respond to those who daresay in some emotional state of distress,"I wish I was never born!"--"Why don't you kill yourself, then?"

There are times when pessimism seems to engulf me entirely. I still function, but I may as well be walking through an empty set and shaking people's hands who I don't know. Other times, I am literally overtaken by the intuition (and conviction) that there is a common grain somewhere, or something that illuminates my being which can never be destroyed, and that it has a face and a name.

I also wonder at times if willfully despising life is a sort of intellectual hubris, a death serum which allows what I call evil to continue to triumph, day by day, on socioeconomic, political, and on just about every other levels know to man. I will never go the full route with pessimism because it makes me visualize some pair of white, gloved hands feeding me vials of smoke. It's that simple.


This is the kind of behavior and phenomenon which does not allow me sink into a despair which may be legitimate, but also allies itself with those who created it through *submission*.


Daniel Berrigan: Some - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGzQ9wEdjeE)

qcrisp
04-24-2014, 05:00 PM
I don't think of myself as a pessimist, hence my remark about being piebald, but it's hard for me to ignore the fact that I lack something that I observe others around me to have.

If I simplify and simplify, my central observation is this: for me it's clearly not a question of theist and non-theist - if someone has children, and it's premeditated, they are doing something that is beyond my comprehension.

And in all the conversations I've had on this topic, people either understand me, or they never understand me, no matter how I try to frame the matter.

There are perhaps one or two ambiguous people, maybe more ambiguous than myself, who have children accidentally and are not very enamoured of life. I am personally deeply intrigued about what it must feel like to exist in a mental condition where it seems okay to have children. I find it that bizarre.

It's probably no secret or surprise any more that my sympathies are closer to theism than atheism, but even so, I basically think, if the pre-birth or after-death state is so good (of course, it might be horrid), then why don't we just stay there and cut out the troublesome middle bit? I have phrased this in a juvenile kind of way, but if, for instance, I read Plotinus, I find that he sees the earthly realm as entirely superfluous, so if such an eminent philosopher can hold such a view (though I'm not sure of his views on childbirth), I don't think it is entirely frivolous in my case, either.

I would also like to add that I don't see myself as cynical and even dislike cynicism - I don't think I understand the motives behind cynicism. I don't despise life... it's always hard to make such sweeping statements... I suppose I basically have that bewildered feeling that I presume everybody has in their different ways, that I am not being as wilfully perverse as everyone thinks I am, and am being entirely natural and honest - give or take a little fribbling around the edges due to social pressure.

Which paragraph was meant as a prelude to my saying I believe I know what you mean about the intellectual hubris that allows evil to triumph.

teguififthzeal
04-24-2014, 06:06 PM
I think people have children for a couple of reasons.

1) They never really thought of participating or doing anything else with their lives seriously, and if they did, it was only in a hypothetical sense.

2) They are too temperamentally lonely not to participate in a familial context.

3) Have only read about, but not experienced, an experiential wound that put them outside these rubrics.

I absolutely understand the desire for a girlfriend or a wife, as it makes one less gloomy and serious, usually. But one has to put up with a lot of BS, like family gatherings, relationship dynamics and the rest of it, and those things are considerably straining and unavoidable.


I do understand cynicism. It is, in large measure, a response to the overt optimism of culture and often is a sign of intelligence, at least as I've observed it in others. I have sneered at life and other people without thinking twice or feeling bad about it at all. That didn't change until I became interested in spirituality on some level.


I saw a "new baby" the day before yesterday. A girl I grew up with said "Check out what's in the back of my car!" and there the baby was. I'm not sure I really know how to respond in those situations philosophically. Maybe one day I'll see the child who will turn out to be the next great liberal thinker, or the next Stalin or Hitler. All of this has happened before.

Coa
05-19-2014, 08:24 PM
Like the "guy" on my profile picture said - Everything is going to Hell, but we should smile all the way.

Murony_Pyre
08-29-2014, 09:47 PM
It is thanks to honest visionaries such as Ligotti, Lovecraft, Machen, Osman Spare, Fulci, and others that I am still alive and here to-day. Otherwise I would have been dangling from a dormant tree long ago or simply have been a lone voice in my chosen form of aesthetic expression.

Just to clarify, the "Fulci" you mean is Lucio Fulci?

If so, please explain.:)

teguififthzeal
08-30-2014, 03:12 AM
Yes, please explain. Lucio Fulci helps inspire you to stay alive?

mark_samuels
08-30-2014, 11:17 PM
I really don't know how far I could go down the road of claiming outlandish film directors are deserving of artistic significance alongside the likes of my literary idols. I mean, I could do so, but I don't know I'd be taking myself entirely seriously and not travelling the slippery cultural relativism road of PoMo.

I have a soft spot for Umberto Lenzi, but compared to him, Fulci is probably some kind of dedicated visionary...

Strike Commando -- Reb Brown kicking ass - YouTube

1:42 "Nice!"

Mark S.

mark_samuels
08-30-2014, 11:35 PM
Actually, reviewing the above clip, I wonder if where I've not gone wrong (in terms of my U.S. market) is being too much like Fulci (Samuels) and too little like Lenzi (i.e. the likes of Laird Barron). Being a well-advertised black belt in karate, or some such branch of the martial arts, can make up for any number of artistic deficiencies.

Mark S.

waffles
08-31-2014, 01:30 AM
That clip is what I imagine a film adaptation of The Black Mass would look like.

Coa
08-31-2014, 10:18 AM
I personally don't think that Fulci is "outlandish" or that he lacks "artistic significance ", that's totally subjective anyway, other artist that H-G mentioned like "Lovecraft, Machen, Osman Spare" are for the most people exactly what defines "outlandish" and irrelevant in terms of culture, and we here all know that's not the case, but that wont change perception of the horde.

ramonoski
08-31-2014, 12:38 PM
It's been ages since I watched Lucio Fulci movies, but I liked them quite a bit. If I remember correctly my only complain at the time was basically "these movies would be perfect if it wasn't for the cheesy rock music", which I saw as a major distraction. But nowadays I have a broader taste palette, so perhaps it'll click on a rewatch and I'll enjoy it. We'll see.

I have a soft spot for Umberto Lenzi, but compared to him, Fulci is probably some kind of dedicated visionary...

Nice... :D

That was great. Kinda reminded me of the better known Commando movie, which I'll admit it's a guilty pleasure of mine. Perhaps not even that guilty...

But yeah. For some reason cinema doesn't seem to have the same footing to me as literature does. Is it because of how they work using different parts of the brain? The immediacy of pictures vs the cumulative power of words? I've no idea. And it's something I hadn't considered until you just brought it up. Why is a Lovecraft, a Ligotti, or a Holst indispensable for my existence, but filmmakers whose work I admire (Kubrick, Tarr, et al) don't seem to rank in the same league? Maybe it's a matter of perception. Maybe I'm just thinking it's like this because you put the idea in my head (Inception!). I don't know, really :confused: Interesting topic. Good food for thought.

Mr. D.
08-31-2014, 08:24 PM
I nominate that fight scene for an award. It's called "The Least Realistic Motion Picture Fight of the Year" award. This scene could win three or for years in a row. The sterling dialogue adds to the lightning fast technical expertise. And, talk about your defensive skills! I think that they both managed to get hit by every punch and kick that their opponent threw. I'm not familiar with this martial art that teaches you to block blows with your face.

Murony_Pyre
09-01-2014, 04:56 AM
Thanks for your reply, Hell-Ghost. I liked Fulci when I was young, too. I especially appreciated the style of Zombi 2. Unfortunately that was also the first film by Fulci I watched, which I feel spoiled me for all the others, since I always felt that Zombi 2 was still his best and the others were just good for the odd image/scene but not cohesive as a whole. It would be more truthful to say that this more critical view of his work was in retrospect; the films were a lot of fun at the time.

I have a similar feeling to Ramonoski re: film as a medium.
I prefer the way my murky inner-eye decodes words in a sequence and how they (somehow) form images which seem to coalesce into something I can "really" see, something that never has been here on Earth in the first place--not really. Film makers--like painters, it must be admitted, at times make wonderful images which I can appreciate but--even to my dull mind--very little can beat my homemade witches brew.

mark_samuels
09-01-2014, 07:07 PM
I personally don't think that Fulci is "outlandish" or that he lacks "artistic significance ", that's totally subjective anyway, other artist that H-G mentioned like "Lovecraft, Machen, Osman Spare" are for the most people exactly what defines "outlandish" and irrelevant in terms of culture, and we here all know that's not the case, but that wont change perception of the horde.

I think "outlandish" probably says more about me than being a criticism of Fulci. Yesterday I watched "The Zombie Flesh-Eaters" film and realised, on his own terms, there was a certain degree of artistry involved.

You'll have to forgive me if I hold, say, the likes of a Jacques Tourneur in far higher regard. When we're talking artistic criteria I can almost but not quite see where I've overstated myself.

Mark S.