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Old 11-21-2012   #21
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
Over-valuation of human consciousness seems likely to lead to problems with being anti-life.
Over-valuation of human consciousness seems likely to lead to problems with whatever the human species, or smaller groupings thereof, deliberately set out to do. And so what?

Does the possibility that we can never eradicate cancer, and that other species on other planets also suffer from cancer, lead to problems with being anti-cancer, as in trying to fight the disease as best we can?



I say they shouldn't have to fight it AT ALL!

This kid just wants to press the red button.

"Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius; please remember to pay the debt." - Socrates.
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Old 11-21-2012   #22
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
Over-valuation of human consciousness seems likely to lead to problems with being anti-life. To explain what I mean, consider the fact that we take the consciousnesses of anti-life writers and philosophical pessimists seriously as discrete entities, when these consciousnesses are in fact aspects of (or possibly programs being run by) biological masses divided into organs and cells, and these organs and cells are very much pro-life and very determined to reproduce themselves.
None of us experiences life from the direct perspective of biological masses. We all experience life as consciousness. So why should our valuation of life be from the imagined perspective of biological masses?

I think Sundog's cancer-fighting comparison is a good one. We may not be able to eliminate suffering, but it does not follow that therefore fewer suffering beings is not preferable to many suffering beings.
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Old 11-21-2012   #23
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
None of us experiences life from the direct perspective of biological masses. We all experience life as consciousness. So why should our valuation of life be from the imagined perspective of biological masses?

I think Sundog's cancer-fighting comparison is a good one. We may not be able to eliminate suffering, but it does not follow that therefore fewer suffering beings is not preferable to many suffering beings.
Again though, this assumes that anything we can do or decide is capable of making a difference. Assuming "no suffering" is morally or philosophically or in some other way "better" than "suffering" (or the assumption that suffering means consciousness and reproduction aren't "worth it") is fine, but morals are finally just opinions. I have no basis for denying anyone their anti-life ideals (though to be honest I am pretty indifferent as to whether life and/or consciousness is ended or not), but unless they're somehow acted on then they have about as much significance as "Oasis is better than Blur." Your reproductive organs are still down there like a mini Red Tower churning out little life robot programs and your immune system is working really hard to keep you around. I think there's a weird kind of optimism to the idea that human consciousness can generate opinions capable of affecting life or the universe in any way...not saying it isn't possible, but I have my doubts, even if the human race were united on a single and very determined anti-life front. At any rate entropy will eventually put a stop to everything, provided we (or some other beings) don't evolve into gods and escape to another universe, or some other unforeseen outcome...there will finally be no cancer, or suffering, because there will finally be nothing at all. If trying to speed up that timescale seems good or correct to your subjective consciousness, then you're welcome to try whatever you want.

So, "Some people don't like life and may be successful in the short term at preventing some of their genes from reproducing by deciding to be anti-natalist/anti-life" seems like an accurate statement, not sure what else can be said, though.

Just surprised that these discussions tend to focus more on morals/ideology than they do on practical solutions like physically altering consciousness, destroying the planet, etc. There may be other ways of removing suffering from consciousness that we haven't thought of yet - would be interested to hear what people can come up with.
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Old 09-03-2014   #24
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

Apologies for using technical meditation terms here: One response to suffering would be a technology that makes Enlightenment (assuming it exists and is attainable) cheap, easy and available to everyone. I've heard some Zen guys speculating on what if we could get large numbers of people to stream entry, or even begin churning out arhats (those who have seen through the illusion of self completely). In my limited experience, the maps of awakening are REAL and ritual magick is an effective way to "jump" past yr level and make rapid progress. Perhaps some Crowleyan figure will invent a psychedelic gas that would be sprayed over large areas, inducing the experiences recounted in the Therevadan literature: Arising and Passing, Dark Night, Equanimity, Stream Entry. It would be immensely destabilizing but if we could get over the hump, we'd live in a far different world. I don't believe truly Realized people are totally incapable of inflicting harm (many alcoholic lamas come to mind), but in my experience with this stuff, just getting to the Equanimity stage has extinguished most of my chronic hatred of other human beings (aggression is still there, thankfully, otherwise I couldn't play metal)
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Old 09-04-2014   #25
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

It occurs to me reading this that a lot of people are already aware--perhaps not in the refined and scholarly way Thomas Ligotti and many of his readers/fans/whatevers are--of what is in TCATHR. It doesn't follow from this at all that everyone would commit suicide or stop making art or stop reproducing simply because they are already aware of the these things.

As a person who likes to consider himself well read and a fan of Ligotti, I think we should be tolerant of people who don't off themselves just because of the harsh realities of our corporeal existence. And by that I mean who enjoy simple things and continue to live and have loved ones they have fun interacting with, whatever, not Nietzschean nut cases and that appalling breed of vainglorious people. I think all of us have ambition, or we wouldn't be on this site engaging in these huge and daunting ideas? And we probably would't write anything, either. Or do the myriad of things we still do despite our knowledge. An elitism of pessimism is just as a bad as an elitism of optimism, is what I'm driving at.

“The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.”
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Old 09-04-2014   #26
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

When you read TCATHR its more likely you will become... horror writer, than actually do something that book suggest - especially when its... self-destruction, in a way, maybe if its type of book that suggest destruction of someone else - individual or a group, then it will probably function.
Its just usual way that humans work, like Cioran said - gynecologist fall in love with their patients, gravediggers have children... and skeptics write. It may not be ambition, search for knowledge and ideas that are really holding us in a place but just lack of control. Still, "ambition, search for knowledge and ideas" are pretty good excuse - maybe the only one ?

Humanism will always remain, at least as a...advice, we need it as a excuse - it lack actual substance, both subject and object are not present, religion without followers.
I put my trust in conscience, because it avoids humanity and works directly from a "divine" and of course : when its to late.
Transcendence beyond human is necessary, even in defeat.

I knew that someday I was gonna die / And I knew before I died Two things would happen to me / That number one I would regret my entire life / And number two I would want to live my life over again.
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Old 09-05-2014   #27
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

Ambition is no excuse for anything. Though I know we are hardwired to be ambitious, I can't stand ambitious people as a rule, who bandy about and invariably choose the worst things to be ambitious about.

Then at other times I wonder--is there really any difference between a person arguing about John Cage's relevance and a person arguing with another about the latest Red Sox game?

What you say is why partially why I am not a secular humanist. I believe in God. Secular humanism is a generational roll of the "collective conscience" which barely ever gets out of our hands.

“The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.”
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Old 09-06-2014   #28
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

Quote Originally Posted by Coa View Post
When you read TCATHR its more likely you will become... horror writer, than actually do something that book suggest - especially when its... self-destruction, in a way, maybe if its type of book that suggest destruction of someone else - individual or a group, then it will probably function.
I don't think reading TCATHR will make anyone a horror writer. it might inspire some horror writers in one direction or another, maybe to write about a cult of pessimism growing around a ligotti-like preacher ("More Dark" comes to mind, I think Joe Pulver has a story about it too but I haven;t read that one yet), but I don't think there will be many career changes as a result of a book that explains how malignantly useless it is to try to do anything.

if it said some specific group was to blame for life being malignantly useless, it would just be hate literature, and lengthy discussions about it would happen in a very different corner of the internet.
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Old 09-08-2014   #29
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Re: Rationalism, Pragmatism, and Mysticism

Quote Originally Posted by Ben Cain View Post

On the one side, there’s rationalism which leads to something like TCATHR. On the irrationalist side, there’s pragmatism, which is mental servitude to what tends to be an ideology that serves the oligarchic status quo (“just keep your head down, work hard, and don’t ask so many questions”). But there’s another form of irrationalism, which is Eastern mysticism. A Buddhist, for example, might criticize TCATHR for presupposing the egoism that comes with an excessive use of reason. Descartes followed rational skepticism until he doubted away everything but his egoistic flow of consciousness. What really interests me here is the clash between existential angst, which is felt on the basis of following philosophy and science to their bitter ends, and mystical enlightenment which supposedly combines detachment with bliss. The skeptic, pessimist, or existentialist suffers from her alienation, whereas the mystic can doubt away the whole apparent world as an illusion, without suffering much, because she supposedly finds a deeper, more comforting reality, namely the oneness of everything.
There may be some neuroscience evidence to back up the Eastern criticism: Activity in brain networks related to features of depression -- ScienceDaily

It was also found that psilocybin induced mystical experiences shut down blood flow to the default mode network while ramping it up in other areas. They theorize that this may be why the drug can help relieve depression. I have a hunch that meditation can do something similar, although I know of no studies that have found a correlation between DMN activity and the results of meditation.

I think with all this "Mc-Mindfulness" stuff going around, with corporate executives learning basic concentration skills to help relieve the stress of being corporate executives (basically, nearly everything that Slavoj Zizek criticizes about modern Buddhism) its easily forgotten that the path laid out in the Pali canon involves periods of intense "Knowledges of Suffering" (the dukkha nanas) where one can experience vivid visions of bodily decay and various kinds of death. Indeed, the process unfolds so predictably that it resembles some kind of program, culminating in the experience and knowledge that the mystics are selling. My most intense moment was an experience of nothingness, but it was a deep and rich nothingness, not a blank as one would suppose nothingness to be. And I was told I had barely made it a few blocks into the Beyond.
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Old 09-09-2014   #30
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Re: Against Anti-Humanism and the Conspiracy?

An interesting parallel to this discussion is the idea of "neurological determinism" and the critique of free will in the books Blindsight and Echopraxia by Peter Watts.

Perhaps suffering is due to, at least partially, the conception of free will and its pervasiveness.
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