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Old 07-13-2016   #31
Ibrahim
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

There is a delicate balance of power between near-despair at the utter hopelessness of the human position & the gnawing suspicion that i could very well be wrong in my (hopelessly subjective) assessment of our predicament. In this regard, i would remark that the Lovecraftian perspective of our cosmic insignificance seems in many ways hopeful and optimistic- as if it somehow matters, this insignificance of ours...the mystical branches of most religions deal in far more profound awareness of our essential Non-Being.

I guess i'm not a pessimist yet.

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Old 07-13-2016   #32
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

I have already not existed for countless millions of years. I don't like to repeat myself.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 07-13-2016   #33
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Lovecraft and people who argue for the cosmic insignificance of life generally point to its physical smallness in comparison to the vastness of the non-sentient universe. I agree with the view that it's a horrible fact of our existence that we're in an unintelligent universe that's indifferent to what happens to the life in it. But I don't agree that the vastness of the universe makes life insignificant. It's the quality of sentience that makes life significant. It would follow from the "insignificant in the vastness of the universe" argument that, although everyone would be insignificant by being small compared to the universe, short and thin people would be slightly more insignificant than tall and obese people.

I also think there can be reasonable certainty about whether a philosophical world-view is true or false. It is possible to avoid being hopelessly subjective and fallible. If, hypothetically, you were given a description of the worst suffering that happened in the world on a given day, and a description of the most enjoyable experience that happened in the world on a given day, and you were told either you could experience both consecutively for an hour each, or you could experience neither, aversion to the "both experiences" option would not be out of irrational subjective bias. The aversion would be a result of recognizing the comparative qualities of the degree to which something can be horrible, and the degree to which something can be enjoyable. That is one example of knowledge that's supportive to some world-views and unsupportive to others.
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Old 07-13-2016   #34
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

I don't really find it horrifying my life is insignificant and meaningless. I was never given sufficient reason to believe otherwise.

This may be part of why I'm moving away from cosmic horror. I'd be more frightened if Jesus returned today throwing crazy magic everywhere and telling the world that all us sinners were damned for eternity than if we discovered there were big aliens out there who didn't care about us. One of these would completely change how I view reality and myself, whilst the other is accommodated to fit modern reality. Me being some tiny mote in an indifferent universe is less frightening to me these days than me having some sort of unseen and unfair divine purpose that damns me in an undreamable eternal way.

Somebody posted an Alan Moore video recently about how Lovecraft invented a horror for the modern age, but to me it seems a materialist atheist horror is basically compatible with everyday life now for most young people. I think the pendulum has swung and spiritual horror would be more troubling. I have started to find Le Fanu more frightening than Lovecraft recently. The universe not caring about is is less terrifying to me than the idea of the universe hating me.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 07-13-2016   #35
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Cosmicism isn't responsible for the major part of my own pessimism, though it had certainly sown some of the seeds.

Cosmicism has actually enhanced my appreciation for the natural world. The natural history of the Earth, for example, dwarfs the seemingly epic human history to the point where it looks utterly pretentious. (Sorry history buffs )

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

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Old 07-13-2016   #36
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Yes, I find cosmicism comforting also. If there is no meaning to life, then I'm not a failure. If life is some complex divine sacrament I have failed at and shall be punished with undreamable terrors it's so much more frightening to me. Damnation is a very powerful nightmare concept. I have seen non-existence already. The idea there is no escape from my horrible existence into non-existence and instead we move on to an unimaginable level of nightmare reality to torment us would be a worse scenario.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 07-13-2016   #37
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

I agree with you on your views on "materialistic "horror in our dystopian nightmare of a world, James, but I personally don't find "spiritual" horror more terrifying than "materialistic" horror in itself conceptually.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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Old 07-13-2016   #38
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

It's been a slow transition for me over the last year as I have moved away from cosmic horror and toward 'ghost stories'. Aickman, de la Mare and Le Fanu's works really trouble me. I have horrifying nightmares almost every night about being in hell. There is no fire or anything. Mostly bright colours and the strangest of shrill noises. Every morning I feel like I'm a ghost who clawed his way out of hell to experience banality. I'm going ####ing crazy.

de la Mare's The Three Friends is very relatable to me. Shame Tartarus didn't include it in their collection.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 07-13-2016   #39
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Prince James Zaleski View Post
I'd be more frightened if Jesus returned today throwing crazy magic everywhere and telling the world that all us sinners were damned for eternity than if we discovered there were big aliens out there who didn't care about us. One of these would completely change how I view reality and myself, whilst the other is accommodated to fit modern reality. Me being some tiny mote in an indifferent universe is less frightening to me these days than me having some sort of unseen and unfair divine purpose that damns me in an undreamable eternal way.
I would also be frightened if any of the religious icons returned "throwing crazy magic around", because the magic would be crazy. I would welcome something that arrived to direct the events in the universe intelligently. If the universe behaved according to rational judgment, it would be better than it is currently.
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Old 07-13-2016   #40
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
I also think there can be reasonable certainty about whether a philosophical world-view is true or false.
Well, perhaps. And certainly in the case of the example you describe, James; but comfort & discomfort aren't so much philosophical ideas as knowable physical realities, upon which it is that much easier to base a choice. In the realm of philosophical world-views however, we may or may not be in Plato's cave, so to speak...

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
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