Sunday, 30 December 2012

Guns

Perhaps those so eager to bear arms should be encouraged to play Russian Roulette. That way, not only can they indulge their passion for guns without risking harm to anyone else, they will also have every opportunity to exercise their Constitutional Right to Non-Existence.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Can we wholly condemn Man?


                                  Can we wholly condemn Man?
                                  Take a look at his History and Character.
                                  Yes, we can.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Sleep Till Death


                                    sleep till death
                                    healeth
                                    come ease
                                    this life disease 


Samuel Beckett's translation of Chamfort’s “Vivre est une maladie dont le sommeil nous soulage toutes les seize heures. C’est un palliatif; la mort est le remède”

Sunday, 9 December 2012

To Himself


To Himself (A se stesso)

Now be for ever still,
Weary my heart. For the last cheat is dead,
I thought eternal. Dead. For us, I know
Not only the dear hope
Of being deluded gone, but the desire.
Rest still for ever. You
Have beaten long enough. And to no purpose
Were all your stirrings; earth not worth your sighs.
Boredom and bitterness
Is life; and the rest, nothing; the world is dirt.
Lie quiet now. Despair
For the last time. Fate granted to our kind
Only to die. And now you may despise
Yourself, nature, the brute
Power which, hidden, ordains the common doom,
And all the immeasurable emptiness of things.

                                                                         Leopardi

Friday, 30 November 2012

Life


Listen to the newborn infant’s cry in the hour of birth- see the death struggles in the final hour- and then declare whether what begins and ends in this way can be enjoyment.
 

True enough, we human beings do everything as fast as possible to get away from these two points, hurry as fast as possible to forget the birth-cry and change it to delight in having given a being life. And when someone dies we immediately say: Softly and gently he slipped away, death is a sleep, a quiet sleep- something we do not say for the sake of the one who died, for out talking cannot help him, but for our own sake, in order not to lose any of the zest for life, in order to change everything to serve an increase in the zest for life during the interval between the birth-cry and the death-wail, between the mother’s shriek and the child’s repetition of it, when the child at some time dies.
 

Imagine somewhere a great and splendid hall where everything is done to produce joy and merriment- but the entrance to this room is a nasty, muddy, horrible stairway and it is impossible to pass without getting disgustingly soiled, and admission is paid by prostituting oneself, and when day dawns the merriment is over and all ends with one’s being kicked out again- but the whole night through everything is done to keep up and inflame the merriment and pleasure!
 

What is reflection? Simply to reflect on these two questions: How did I get into this and how do I get out of it again, how does it end? What is thoughtlessness? To muster everything in order to drown all this about entrance and exit in forgetfulness, to muster everything to re-explain and explain away entrance and exit, lost in the interval between the birth-cry and the repetition of this cry when the one who is born expires in the death struggle.

                                                                                                                Kierkegaard

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Dazzling, Wearisome Mediocrity of Humanity


A few people have requested I put up a new post, as they were finding it awkward/impossible to access all the comments on the last one. Apparently, to read them all, you need to enable Javascript (thanks, Laura!). Having nothing new to say, I shall merely bitch.


I think the reason I loathe London so much is because it smacks the fundamental mediocrity of humanity right in your face; there is simply no escaping it. The bottom line is that most people are mediocre, they really don't exist as thinking, self-aware creatures at all. They suck up the shit dished out by their parents, the tabloids and television and never have a thought in their lives. I don't mean this in any Nietzschean Ubermensch crappy way, as I, too, am a mediocre, loathsome, self-serving, morally delinquent specimen, but merely as a sad statement of inescapable truth. Living here would have extinguished any notions I ever had about humanity if they hadn't all died a long time ago, but even then, to come and live here in the midst of the flood is something else altogether. I think that's why my fundamental feeling these days is a great lassitude and weariness. Humanity is going nowhere and accomplishing nothing; it's just pigs in a trough, and that's being unfair on pigs, who are very clean animals.

On Monday, circumstances forced me into taking refuge in one of those awful 'Pret a Manger' chain cafes. I tried to stick it out, but the awful food, the vapid music and the fake cheeriness of the staff inspired a desire to commit a Brevik-style massacre, so I ran out into the rain. That evening, while waiting for a Tube in one of the blandest of the bland London suburbs, I felt close to fainting, such was the nausea induced by exhaustion and the endless crowds of joyless, stone faced people all crammed on to the Auschwitz cattle-cars that are the Underground.

A lot of my more 'optimistic' friends are those who still live in small places, all frustrated and dreaming that 'civilisation' and 'culture' inhere in the big cities. Some even think I am 'living the dream'. I try to disabuse them, but to no avail.

There you are: humanity sucks!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Where There's Life, There's No Hope


For whatever reason Albert Camus has been on my mind a bit lately. His is a name regularly trotted out by pro-lifers who claim it is a necessity to affirm life and that we must welcome our fate as human beings. Now don’t get me wrong, The Myth of Sisyphus is a noteworthy book if only for the very fact that it assumes that contemplating the ordinary absurdity of the world could drive one to the brink of suicide, a position so different from the staid dullness of Anglo-American philosophy that we owe Camus a debt for that if nothing else. And yet, the awful last sentence: ‘we must imagine Sisyphus happy’. Really? Why must we? Surely a happy Sisyphus would be regarded as insane or at the least highly delusional. Would it not be more noble if Sisyphus were angry, pissed off, suicidal?

Furthermore, Camus was far from neutral about human life. He had no doubts as to its ultimate value. Proof? He procreated. In fact his daughter is still alive. So in spite of it all, Camus was yet another one who gave the thumbs-up to this world despite its madness and carnage. This is why he’s currently enjoying a renaissance in France as a proponent of that awful, shallow, vapid, quasi-Nietzschean 'embrace life and be happy' twaddle that passes for philosophy amongst the shallow-minded.



Last time round I mentioned James Wood’s decision to procreate in spite of his awareness of the reality of the world. Since then I picked up a novel he wrote before the book from which I quoted his philosophical position. Here’s the narrator reflecting on the possibility of procreation:

But I was, and am, sure that I did not and do not want a child....My real objections were metaphysical. What right do I have to bring life into the world? To create a person who might, at some point in his life, wish that he were dead? Who might complain – to me, his father – that he had never asked to be born? True, we cannot ask to be created; that would be like Baron Muchausen tugging himself out of a bog by his own pig-tail. So we cannot complain that we were never consulted in the matter. But knowing this does not alter the truth that life, however enjoyable or pleasant, being imposed rather than requested is a sentence on us. That which seems uniquely ours – our life – is not ours at all, since we were voteless at conception.

Atheists and anti-religious philosophers have often argued that though life is meaningless, we should not commit suicide, since to do so is to surrender the necessary struggle with the sentence of life. But I think this presumes too much of life; suicide is no surrender of possession if we do not possess our life anyway. If life is meaningless, then suicide is meaningless too, and the reason not to do it is that to add one meaninglessness to another meaninglessness is not a solution but merely akin to a double negative in speech, a blocked statement. Since we did ont ask to be created, we can never have been free enough for suicide to grow any prestige of freedom. We cannot commit suicide – because we are not alive; we cannot freely end –because we did not freely begin.

Do I have the right to impose this sentence on someone else? Clearly not. Do I have the right to pass on my unhappiness? No.

Personally, I disagree about suicide: it does end the problem. I agree, of course, with everything else.

James is married to a novelist and has one son and one daughter.


I mentioned in the comments last time that Cormac Mac Carthy’s The Sunset Limited is available to watch online. For anyone who missed it, here’s a link:


And here’s the truest words ever spoken in cinema. Fast forward to 00:30 if you can’t bear the anticipation:



Don’t know if anyone’s heard of the Jimmy Saville scandal in the UK. Saville was a TV celebrity who raised over 40 million pounds for charity throughout his life and was knighted for his efforts. It’s now emerged he was a serial sex offender who abused his status to gain access to victims. Doesn’t he somehow symbolise the fucked up nature of humanity itself? A guy who committed more evil than most will do, hopefully, and a guy who did more good than most will do, unfortunately. Get me the fuck off this planet of schizo fuckheads.



Was ruminating on religion’s deepest desire: to save humanity. Yet look at the species closely and you’ll see there’s nothing worth saving. What is a human being? An embodied consciousness constantly tormented, striving and groping for an unattainable happiness and willing to wade through blood (other people’s) to chase it. And this is something worth saving? Give me a break.


Jim/Metamorphh has a new blog where people can debate points raised on his YouTube channel. It's designed to facilitate a more sophisticated, in depth and civilised exchange than YouTube allows. It's the DebateYouTube blog listed on the sidebar. Well worth a look.


Hope everyone’s as well as can be expected. A particular shoutout to Bazompora and Garrett. Guys, I hope the silence lately is due to the cruddy nature of the blog rather than any personal misfortune. Keep safe, everyone.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Reflections, Movie Recommendations, Bitter Musings and more


Here’s an entertaining 2 minute rant from British impressionist Alistair McGowan on the annoying cult of children that prevails in the UK. As someone who has the misfortune to live in London, I can only give him the big thumbs-up!



There may sometimes arise debate as to whether the Internet is overall a good or a bad thing; it can facilitate all sorts of horrors such as terrorism, paedophilia, financial scams etc., but one of the undeniably good things about it in my opinion is the fact that it gives a voice to the previously voiceless, particularly those who want to express their misery and sheer unhappiness at being alive. Prior to the Net, the print media was dominated by official and professional optimists, whose main function was to cheerlead for society and existence in general.  Bar a few tolerated cultural and literary pessimists like Leopardi and Schopenhauer (whose real message was often pushed to the side and focus was instead given to their ‘style’), the main message of the media was, to borrow that awful UK phrase, ‘it’s all good’. Now thanks to electronic communication we can see that not everyone buys into the propaganda. Here’s an excellent example from The Experience Project: ‘I Wish I Was Never Born’:




Procreating atheists never fail to dismay me, particularly when they show an awareness of the awfulness of everything. My favourite example is the literary critic James Wood, whose writings I really enjoy, admire and recommend. In his brilliant book on literature and God The Broken Estate Woods writes about his worldview after losing his faith:

“True atheism understands the negative obligations of the revolution it has begun. My own position might be summarised thus: I can see no way in which it is a good thing for humans to have accidentally and pointlessly evolved on an earth which they must inhabit (irrespective of my own happiness). Life-under-God seems a pointless posing as a purpose (the purpose, presumably, being to love God and to be loved in return); life-without-God seems to me also a pointless posing as a purpose (jobs, family, sex and so on – all the usual distractions). The advantage, if it can be described as one, of living in the latter state, without God, is that the false purpose has at least been invented by man and one can strip it away to reveal the actual pointlessness.”

I agree with every word of this, as I daresay many regulars here would. And yet, what has the good James done in the years after writing these sage words? Had two children! I mean, how can you see the truth so clearly and yet do that? I can only assume his partner must be very hot indeed. Nature triumphs over reason yet again....


If you’re looking for a bleak-as-hell movie that reflects the grim awfulness and banal nothingness of existence, then look no further than Bruno Dumont’s 1999 movie L’humanite, a film that revolves around a child-killing and the helplessness of an innocent, child-like police investigator. Highly recommended:




Feeling extremely sick of everything at pleasant. This life is utterly pointless, no ifs, no buts and all excuses trotted out to the contrary are nothing but self-deluded, blah, blah, blah, self-justificatory nonsense. It would have been better never to have been born and suicide seems to be the only logical response. We are hanging around here for no good reason, bar habit, laziness, hedonic addiction, a guilt-inducing desire to not let others down and so on and so on. And all the while Time is eating us alive anyway.  Let’s not kid ourselves that there’s anything intrinsically good about the situation in which we find ourselves.


Why do angels have wings?

To get the fuck off this planet.



Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Don't mistake Compensations for Justifications


Having been thrown into this life we do our best to make it tolerable. Each of us finds things and activities that make existence bearable and affords us distraction from the realities of the human condition. Culture and Civilisation are the names generally afforded to the greatest bulkwarks we have against existential despair and the ontological mess.

Anyone clued in to the reality of the human predicament should be able to acknowledge that these things/structures/institutions are provisional, contingent and ephemeral. However, those hostile to AN thinking make a serious error in mistaking these compensations for justifications. They believe that Culture, Society, Civilisation and so on make human life meaningful and worthwhile. Rather than view the individual human life as being the first and most important datum of existence, they afford this consideration instead to those abstractions. Hence they enable themselves to ignore real human suffering, and focus instead on concepts such as ‘Progress’, ‘the Future’, the Human Race’, ‘Culture’, ‘Society’ and so on. Consequently, whenever they encounter AN or any form of pessimism, they respond by referring to a supposed need to maintain the existence of any or a combination of those abstractions, regardless of how much individual (ie, real) suffering is required to perpetuate these things.                                                                                 
 Now obviously it is undeniably a good thing that people have access to electricity, water, heating, distraction and entertainment rather than not. But we need to be aware that these things are palliatives and defences against the sheer nakedness of our existence. They do not form a reason bringing new people into existence. Think of how odd it would sound if someone said ‘I want to have a child so they can enjoy double glazing/ sit by a heater in the winter/ surf the internet/ admire the painting of Van Gogh’ etc. Yet this is a common gambit taken by those who defend life and procreation, although it is generally phrased more vaguely along such lines as ‘I want a child so as to give it a good life’ or some such variation.

As stated, certain facets of life may make it more bearable than otherwise, but let’s not reach too far. In fact, I would modify Benatar’s distinction between ‘a life worth continuing’ and ‘a life worth starting’. Strictly speaking, I believe no life is worth continuing; it may simply be bearable, and that’s it. If you talk about a life worth continuing, then an opponent of AN can say ‘well, if you think a life is worth continuing, then surely it has been worth starting’. To my mind, there is only the grim reality on the one hand, and distraction/diversion/delusion on the other. I don’t think life is worth starting or continuing. If I haven’t committed suicide, it’s simply because I haven’t yet reached the point where existence is absolutely unbearable, but perhaps that time may come some day, and that applies to everyone, AN or not. 

So by all means, let’s try and make existence as bearable as possible without treading on anyone else’s toes, but let’s bear in mind that all we’re fundamentally doing is administering palliatives, not finding justifications. Just because there were examples of heroic self-sacrifice, humour, comradeship and courage in Auschwitz doesn’t mean that it was a good thing that Auschwitz existed, and this goes for life as a whole. Bandaging our own and each other’s wounds is a necessary and noble thing, but it would have been better had the scenario in which this is the best we can do had never come into being in the first place.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Quick Update

Just a quick update. Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post: I'm glad good poetry is still appreciated in a world of plastic shit:-)

I've nothing much to say at present. I turned 36 last week and am feeling pretty blank and bored. Even though current finances dictate that I should be out hustling, my non-interest in the world prevents me from engaging with it.

I definitely think that what seperates me, and I daresay other people of an AN disposition, from the mob, is the lack of what I referred to a few posts back as ontophilia: the natural love of being. I definitely don't have it, and as a result feel hollow and empty at the core.

If you love life, you're motored by delusion, whether it be Religion, Art, Family, Nation, Career, Progress, Nature or any of the other capital letter words.

If you've seen through all of humanity's self-important nonsense, then your only recourse is distraction/diversion. I really don't see any other viable way. Delusion or diversion; the choice is yours.

Anyway, one of the commenters on the last post inquired about having a 'How I became an Antinatalist' forum. Seeing as how I am too mired in sloth to set up such a site, I'm happy to let anyone tell their story here if they wish.

Hope everyone's well.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Al-Ma'arri, Arabic Poet of Antinatalism


A big thanks to KaBoem, who put me on to this topic. Cheers, sir!

Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri was an Arabic poet of the 11th century, of a profoundly pessimistic disposition, who rejected religion and condemned procreation. The poems and writing quoted below are taken from Reynold Nicholson’s 1921 book, Studies in Islamic Poetry and Mysticism, available to download online at the following address: http://openlibrary.org/books/OL7029984M/Studies_in_Islamic_poetry.

 If you enjoy what’s below, there’s plenty more in the book.

Nicholson describes the poet’s themes as being ‘the pain of life, the peace of death,
the wickedness and folly of mankind, the might of Fate and the march of Time, the emptiness of ambition, the duty of renunciation, the longing for solitude and then to rest in the grave. The pessimism of the Luzum [the poetry collection] wears the form of an intense pervading darkness, stamping itself on the mind and deeply affecting the imagination. It is an old philosophy and its poets have been many, but I can think of none who in sincerity, individuality, and eloquence has surpassed Al-Ma'arri.’

The words Luztimu md Idyalzam signify "The obligation of that which
is not obligatory", which is how Al-Ma’arri saw the business of living.

If ye unto your sons would prove
By act how dearly them ye love
Then every voice of wisdom joins
To bid you leave  them  in your loins

The rich man desires a son to inherit his wealth, but were the fathers intelligent no children would be born. Procreation is a sin, though not called one. A father wronged by his sons pays the just penalty for the crime which he committed against them.  To beget is to increase the sum of evil...It is better for a people, instead of multiplying, to perish off the face of the earth. The first condition of happiness is that no woman should have been created.


 This world, O my friend, is like a carcase unsepulchred,
And we are the dogs that yelp around it on every side.
A loser is he, whoso advances to eat thereof;
A gainer is he, whoso returns from it hungry still.
If any be not waylaid by calamities in the night,
Some ill hap of Time is sure to meet him at morningtide


This world is such an abode that if those present here
Have their wits entire, they will never weep for the absent ones.

Would that a lad had died in the very hour of birth
And never sucked, as she lay in childbed, his mother's breast !
Her babe, it says to her or ever its tongue can speak,
"Nothing thou gett'st of me but sorrow and bitter pain."

'Tis God's will a man should live in torment and tribulation,
Until those that know him cry,
" He hath paid now the lifelong
debt."
Give joy to his next of kin on the day of his departure,
For they gain a heritage of riches, and he of peace

O Death ! be thou my guest : I am tired of living,
And I have tried both sorts in joy and sorrow.
My morrow shall be my yesterday, none doubts it;
My yesterday nevermore shall be my morrow

Nor birth I chose nor old age nor to live :
What the Past grudged me shall the Present give?
Here must I stay, by Doom's both hands constrained,
Nor go until my going is ordained.
You who would guide me out of dark illusion,
You lie your story does but make confusion.
For can you alter that you brand with shame,
Or is it not unalterably the same?

 Ah, let us go, whom nature gave firm minds and courage fast,
To meet the Fates pursuing us, that we may die at last.
The draught of Life, to me it seems the bitterest thing to drain.
And lo, in bitter sooth we all must spew it out again

Were I sent out to explore this world of thine by a band
Migrating hither, from me no liar's tale would they hear,
But words like these: '"Tis a land whose herbs are sickness and
plague,
Its sweetest water distils a bane for generous souls.
Oh, 'tis the torment of Hell ! Make haste, up, saddle and ride
To any region but that ! Avoid it, camp ye not there !
Abominations it hath ; no day or part of a day
Is pure and clean. Travel on, spur fast and faster the steeds !
I tell you that which is known for sure, not tangled in doubt;
None drawn with cords of untruth inveigle I to his harm."
.
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