Saturday, 28 April 2012

Happy Atheists



....are amongst my least favourite kind of people.

I mean really, what is there to be so pleased about? We live in a godless, entropic universe. Science tells us that we are DNA borgs, carriers and pawns of blind bits of mindless proteins and glob. Is that really something to be thrilled about?

The standard position of the happy atheist is ‘Yay! I’m free because Richard Dawkins tells me I’m free. Now I can do whatever I want’. Of course, it never crosses these idiots’ minds that ‘what they want’ is also the result of biological forces that they have absolutely no control over. So little of ourselves is self-chosen. To paraphrase Lawrence of Arabia, we can do what we want, but we can’t choose to want what we want. 

Here’s a funny story: about a year ago a friend and I logged on to AtheistIreland. Although both unbelievers, we’d always found the site annoying because of the smug teenagers who ran it and seemed to think they were the most enlightened and intelligent people on the planet. My friend went on in the guise of a Christian preacher, telling them they needed Christ’s love and so on; I went on as myself, an unhappy atheist who wanted to point out to them the logical consequences of atheism. Hilariously, they thought my friend was real and that I was a made-up character. One idiot even said, “There’s no way any atheist could think like this, it has to be a con”. Anyway, we continued to debate them and they reached such a point of annoyance that they actually ran URL checks on us to see where we were and if we the same person. Eventually the insults started being traded and we were banned from the site! There’s your liberated, open-minded, tolerant atheist for you.

On the broader front, the standard position of today’s western societies is ‘You are an individual. You have every right to gratify your every passing whim because you’re special and unique. Go for it! And oh, if anyone gets in your way, just scream about your ‘rights’ and threaten legal action’.

Of course, this attitude just leads to having a collection of 7 billion + hedonistic, selfish assholes hell-bent on ego-gratification no matter what the cost. And I mean, really, why would you care about such creatures? Why would you give a shit about what happens to them? This is why lately I’ve adopted a position of more or less complete quietism. I no longer read the papers or follow politics; it’s a total waste of time. All you’re doing is watching ego-machines smashing into each other in their endless, brainless quest for their synthetic cheese. Depressing and revolting.

I’ve also been rethinking my philosophical position. I’ve always despised positive utilitarianism, the pursuit of joy and so on, now I’m dubious of negative utilitarianism as well, in the sense of trying to reduce the amount of harm already extant in the world. I find it difficult to see how you’d do that, and furthermore, if the aim of most people is to gratify themselves why should I be helping them? (Antinatalism is a form of preventative negative utilitarianism, in that it prevents a nexus of potential harm from being created, so that still stands, of course. Or maybe it’s something else altogether. All I know is that it’s the non-creation of a site of suffering, so thumbs up).The only charity I practice these days is giving money to homeless people. At least I can be relatively sure that I’m helping them secure a basic requirement for shelter and food. Everything else after that is up for grabs. (Not that I do this very often, by the way, I’m as selfish an asshole as anyone else.)

So that’s where I’m at at the moment. Sorry for the bilious tone, but the vast majority of my fellow bipeds do not impress me. To quote Cioran ‘To have nothing in common with most people apart from the shared fact of being a human being’. 

Hope everyone’s as well as can be expected.

99 comments:

  1. Didn't know Lawrence was another incarnation of Schopenhauer...

    Apart from that, I know you wanted to have a more bilous blog but you mix a few things up here. Western society hardly accounts for the seven billion wrongful existences particularly since the pillowy western lifestyle leads to a reproduction rate below the critical 2.1 (?) units of offspring.

    Also, I have never really followed Richard Dawkin's drivel as it seems to be mostly old news but has he actually ever argued that his lovely vehicles for replication possess "free will"? Cognitive dissonance ftw!

    Anyway, i can see were anonymous's post (yesterday) comes from. We aren't so much analytical but mostly just bitter. Run a survey and more than half would show symptoms of depression, i fear.

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    1. Considering that the white populace have killed their way to become the majority on three continents where they didn't initially belong, I'd say that they (and particularly the English) are the most prolific breeders in modern history.

      You know, I have worked in social services and seen tousands of "western" families with litters of kiddies.

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    2. Martin, thanks for the comment. What I was getting at the fact that practically every one of the 7 billion + aspires to western standards of living. Poverty does not automatically endow special moral status. I know whereof I speak: I'm from Ireland, which up until the mid 90s was a middling to poor country. There was then an economic boom, fuelled by grossly inflated property prices. People went nuts, buying shit, running up enormous debt and generally turning into smug, arrogant assholes. The whole thing crashed and burned a few years ago and the country had to be bailed out by the IMF and has in effect lost its national sovereignty. Needless to say, people were looking for someone else to blame, anyone but themselves. 'Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil....'

      As for "also, I have never really followed Richard Dawkin's drivel as it seems to be mostly old news but has he actually ever argued that his lovely vehicles for replication possess "free will"? Cognitive dissonance ftw!" Dawkins did in fact famously proclaim the freedom of humans. The very last sentence of The Selfish Gene states (paraphrasing), 'we alone in nature have the ability to defy our selfish genes'.

      And bitter? Maybe, but the truth doesn't lead to happy thoughts!

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  2. As Schopenhauer said, optimism ("happiness" - Anon.) is a bitter mockery of the suffering of the world.

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  3. Enjoyed the bilious tone of the article Karl.Don't let those deluded optimists get you down:)

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    1. Thanks, lifehater! I know we're singing from the same dark hymnsheet!

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    2. Dark hymnsheet for the win!

      Actually, I believe that pessimism, as any kind of science is to be registered and guarded kindly against the threats of delusional optimism. It´s something that should be registered in dark tomes to wise people to read.

      This post was amazing as any, man. Let´s keep the black flag high up!

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    3. Thanks as always, Shadow!

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  4. If by Cioran, you mean Emile Cioran, then here's another appropriate quote from him: 'Since all life is futility, then the decision to exist must be the most irrational of all.'

    As for Dawkins: he is right about so much, but wrong about so much else.

    Keep up the good work Karl!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mr Graverol! And for the Cioran quote. Have started reading him lately. Never has he seemed so apt.

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  5. I have the same views about life.

    Gladly I just found antinatalists. Antinatalists are intellectually-honest. Finally I found some place where there's no delusional bullshit.

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    1. Thanks, Anonymous. Welcome to the gang!

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  6. no-mind no-toughts28 April 2012 at 07:01

    I know what you mean by quietism. I've stopped watching TV over 6 years ago; don't even have one in my abode. I've stopped reading newspapers some years ago too. Am even trying to stay as much computer-free as I practically can (I no longer keep a permanent internet connection).
    I've become more non-verbal as my understanding of the wold has progressed from illusions to pragmatism and pessimism.

    The world's full, as you say, of never-ending ego games and I just can't bear to be stimulated and stirred up by all of these dramas that the media and the barkers out there twist as it suits them better.

    Humans are not special, nor reasonable or compassionate by large. After all of these millennia of civilisation we still haven't evolved out of the jungle rules: work (aka make yourself useful to the right persons/organizations) or starve to death without a roof over the head.

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    1. My television broke last year and so far, I just cannot be bothered with getting me a replacement. I used to watch the news and elaborations daily before that.

      But I know I should get one eventually, because one can only keep his eyes of his enemies for so long - and that's what the big media outlets are part of. This became even moreso clear with the whole coverage of the War on Lybia (I refuse to dignify that with the epithet "civil war"), in which Left and Right, Native and Allochthonous, all were congratulating each other over the "democratic" conquest.
      People who otherwise seemed to be respectable fellow citizens were cheering and celebrating while Blacks were hung from street lights, children bombed into bloody heaps, women made judicially inferior by an unelected government, which also was throwing the Lybian assets up for EU grab.

      I think I became -too- sick of my fellow Earthlings, to even toss an angry look at them.

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    2. Anonymous, "I've become more non-verbal as my understanding of the wold has progressed from illusions to pragmatism and pessimism." Yes, silence, stillness and solitude seem like the only reasonable responses to this world.

      "I just can't bear to be stimulated and stirred up by all of these dramas that the media and the barkers out there twist as it suits them better." You've hit the nail on the head. I blush for shame when I think about how I used to get worked up over a story, follow its every twist and turn, thinking it was the most important thing in the world, only for it to fade after a few days. What a waste of time!

      Thanks for commenting!

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    3. Bazompora, yes Libya was a sick, horrific farce. I'm totally resigned, though. Syria, Iran and whoever else will be next on the list, no doubt.

      "I think I became -too- sick of my fellow Earthlings, to even toss an angry look at them."

      Amen to that.

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  7. Whereas about the philosophical position towards negative utilitarianism, I'm not sure I understand correctly what you're saying, but I see it quite obvious that NOTHING can be done about it. Salvation through not bringing out further life into existence and eventually blowing off the candle is individual. Actually, it comes to mind that I've read somewhere that "nirvana" means in sanskrit literally to "blow off the candle".

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    1. Anonymous, yes that's the conclusion I've reached. 'Salvation' in whatever guise it may take can only ever ben an individual undertaking. If the majority want to dance into the abyss, let them. You should only concentrate whatever gets you through yourslef. Cheers for the comment.

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    2. Yup, because powerlessness is part of the life package. Maddening.

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    3. Indeed. It's taken me many years to realise that trying to change anyone's perspective is pointless. People have to travel the road themselves. As Marcus Aurelius said 'You may break your heart, but men will go on just as before'.

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  8. If only my post could be deleted... I retract!

    I was talking about average fertility rates, not breeders of the Monty Python sketch flavor. Of course, if you were in social services you'll have a different selection of the populance.
    Yet here in Germany the lower one's social class the less children people will/wish (to) have statistically, if i remember correctly.

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  9. Karl, I understand your feeling, but I also try to remember that people are simply 'DNA borgs' and so not really responsible. We are simply pathetic.

    Anyway, thanks for your blog.

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    1. Thanks, qohelet. I know we're not responsible for our being here and so on, but I do still hold to moral responsibility. Let's call an asshole an asshole and be done with it.

      Am really enjoying your blog, also.

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    2. If that's your forgiveness, your hate might be preferable.

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    3. That was directed at qohelet not Karl, just to be clear.

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    4. Anon.- It's not forgiveness, I just don't believe in free will - although I realize we commonly feel like it's real.

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  10. So many points you've made resonate with what I've been thinking.
    Just today I was watching a short report on TV about a girl who came up with a rare lungs condition and who needed a transplant so they were trying to raise some money for her to go to a clinic abroad (in Ukraine you hear such stories literally every day on TV, and bump into on the net as well). And there I was starting to consider donating when they said 'she wants to recover and start a family'. So she can pass the curse on to a new generation! So her kids could have a risk of getting some stupid disease, too. Shit, why bother? You help one person, they just go and create more people who will need more help over, and over and over again... Damn, maybe I'll just stick with animal rights causes. And when they have a voluntary sterilization charity, I'll support that one especially.
    I'm always torn between misanthropy and philanthropy. People are skimming, hypocritical selfish beings simply chasing pleasures and trying to escape pain, but wanting to think of themselves as evolved, moral, special, immortal. But in the same time, when I remind myself that we didn't ask for this game, we're really in deep shit frightened and lost and hostages to our biology, I also feel sympathy for our species. ... And then I hear about some new atrocity taking place and the sympathy turns into anger and despair. And so it goes. Same shit, different day.

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    1. Thanks, Irina. Yes, why should we help people who want to perpetuate the misery? So they can gain some form of vicarious consolation through the lives of their own spawn? I think not. And yes, animals and, for me, the homeless are the only safe bets for charity.

      As for philanthropy/misanthropy, the latter is definitely winning out in me. As a species, nothing ever seems to be learned, misery leaves no impress for most, the roulette wheel is spun again and someone else loses, as someone must always lose, for the entertainment and gratification of the others, all for the thrill of the gamble in the first place. Not something I want to be part of.

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    2. Actually, I wonder if there any statistics available establishing how many Holocaust survivors procreated? One wonders how an experiecnce like that would influence the thoughts of those who lived through it regarding the idea of perpetuating life.

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    3. Yeah, I was wondering that, too... I'd hope such experiences would deter survivors from breeding, but I wouldn't be too surprised if they procreated at the same rate as the 'average' guy. I heard that after wars and any disasters that take away lots of lives, people are even more inclined to procreate to kind of prove they won, they 'survived' and their nation will be restored. ((

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    4. Yes, a part of me could hardly blame Holocaust survivors for regarding breeding as an act of defiance after having been at the receiving end of the most horrific extermination attempt in human history; unfortunately, the tragic irony is that by breeding, further hotages to life were being created.

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    5. It's depressing! After we've crossed off breeding as a source of "purpose" and "motivation, just when we try to find some motivation in helping existing people, we figure that they're set out to do exactly that, breed! =(

      Karl, there was recently a story about people who bred in some North Korean Prison Colony, and I'm not inclined to believe the Holocaust people would've been any wiser.

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    6. Hi, Srikant. Yes, it's become a big theoretical problem for me lately. Why help people who only want to join in the life party? What should the criteria be?

      And yes, I've read that Korea story. I seem to remember the father telling the kid when he asked for an explanation that it was just the kid's 'bad luck' or something like that. Clearly, the father thought he was doing the son an enormous favour by bringing him into existence, even in such clearly terrible circumstances. There's just no stopping people!

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    7. Since you mentioned animal rights causes ... strangely enough, many of these rescue stray animals from poor living conditions -- AND THEY STERILIZE THEM. I know fairly reliably that in India, Blue Cross and other organizations do that to the puppies they rescue. Why don't they do that to homeless and destitute people too?

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    8. Because they don't see mercy, they see eugenics, and they shit a brick.

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  11. from having to learn first hand what it means to be seriously disabled from birth (congenital disability)and then becoming more and more disfigured as time goes on and the condition progresses...i just cannot imagine being part of bringing a new life into the world. i cannot concieve a child, due to my condition, but if i could concieve and did, i would hate myself for it. i would not expect my child to love me (in fact i'd expect the opposite). there was an excellent programme i watched on cloning, and there was a discussion about serious birth defects being seen in cloned animals. and that if human beings were ever cloned, they'd be likely to suffer serious defects as well. yet there were still people on the programme saying they wanted animals and humans to be cloned. if humans could be cloned, they said, then infertile people could have a child. now if that isn't incredibly selfish and wicked i don't know what is. no one deserves to live a life like i do (with serious birth defects) just so mummy and daddy can have a child.

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    1. Anonymous, wish I could offer you some words of consolation, my friend, but I wouldn't want to patronise you. I only hope your life is as comfortable as possible. And yes, cloning. You can be sure they'll do it. People just don't care. Nuclear bombs, cloning, DNA warfare, the rule is if they can do it, they will. The assholes just find it all so exciting from the safety of their labs. I'd like to see them on the receiving end of their fiendish experiments!

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  12. It's revolting to see how they are so immature and stupid by making their sensory gratification a reason for live. They are just playing with the gratification they receive for satisfying their needs. Needs that didn't need to exist in first place.

    They scheme, abuse and mistreat each other just to fulfill their stupid desires.
    Evolution has created colossally selfish pleasure-seeking monsters who are capable to commit any atrocity to get what they want.

    Life is the worst thing that could have happened in the universe. It would be so much better if nothing existed. The non-state of non-existence is peaceful and immutable.There is no injustice,suffering, fear and agony there. I wish i had never come here.

    I don't want to bring kids to this horrible world for my gratification. I think life is a meaningless and useless anomaly that isn't worth being propagated.

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    1. You can make your sensory gratification a reason to live and still believe that it's better not to be born.
      Just FYI. You don't have to be a dick to hedonists.

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    2. Can't really disagree with anything you've written, anonymous. The sheer non-necessity of the whole thing boggles the mind.

      As for hedonists, I've rarely met a quiet, modest one who regretted his birth. Generally, they've been of the 'My life is great, everything's great, aren't we all having a fab time?' variety. That's why they piss me off. On the other hand, the quieter, more modest ones who go about their gratification business without blowing their own trumpets are fine by me. I've just never met any.

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  13. Antinatalism is pseudophilosophy.

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    1. How, EXACTLY, do you define "philosophy"? If you can't do that, then the by-now cliche "antinatalism is not a real philosophy" is just a bunch of propagandistic hot air. Notice that NONE of the people claiming it's not a real philosophy explicate (not explain, but explicate exactly what AN lacks that would make it a "real philosophy").

      After hearing such comments, one gets the impression that they believe the only "real philosophies" are those that affirm the correctness of our deepest drives and biases - for the simple reason that any drives and desires we have MUST be true. Never mind that our drives and desires often lead us into logical fallacies. Let's hear some REAL, DETAILED, and RATIONAL arguments as to why AN is not philosophy AND, very important, why other imperfectly argued positions throughout history still qualify as a philosophy while AN does not.

      Either put up or shut up.

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    2. Yes, Filrabat. I've realised from the Three Quarks debate that people are wedded utterly to their deepest drives. The people there just defend procreation because they have a FEELING and a BELIEF that they're doing the right thing. That's all that necessary for them, apparently.

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    3. I don't know if I'd call antinatalism a "philosophy". It's more of a conclusion (in the same manner that you couldn't really call atheism a "philosophy"). I suspect that some, like anon here, would like to point to flaws in the argument of someone like Benatar (a philosopher justifying his conclusion via philosophy). However, even if Benatar's philosophy is wrong, it doesn't mean that the antinatalist conclusion can't be right.

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    4. Absolutely, the idea that it is best never to have been born has been circulating since at least The Old Testament and Sophocles. Benatar's book is an admirable attempt to articulate it rationally, but it's not the be-all and end-all, and is rather annoying when treated as so. For example, a friend of mine rejects AN on what he perceives to be the absurdity of Benatar's pin-prick argument. This strikes me as a handy cop-out.

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  14. Your "happy atheists", ironically, are the ones who say "(supernatural belief system followers) are atheists too. We just believe in one less god than they do".

    In the same way, I say "'Happy Atheists' (per your use of the term) have a faith, too. They simply don't base their faith in supernaturalism".

    That they can't even see the irony in blindly affirming the "worthwhile-ness" of life (pardon the clunky grammar) while lambasting other faiths is TRULY a Gem!

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    1. For me the truly hilarious thing is that if you provisionally accept the first premise of happy atheists and religious people, the latter position is far stronger. The latter say: there's a god, he commands us, we are rewarded and saved. Makes sense within its own system. The former say: it's just matter in motion, with no meaning, morality or redemption, therefore it's great and wonderful, and what a fine time we're having. What a bunch of idiots.

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    2. Indeed. They remind me of the "gamers" (guys who try to teach each other—often for a juicy fee—how to trick girls into bed with them) who delight in the idea that love isn't real, so isn't it wonderful that we can just callously scheme to fulfill our carnal desires? "Love is dead" should be just as depressing a thought as "God is dead," but just like the idiot happy atheists they try (and I guess succeed?) to convince themselves that reveling in their status as biologically programmed fuck-machines makes them superior and deliriously happy.

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  15. Everyone, I feel obliged to draw your attention to an exchange between Bazompora and a douchebag named Sagredo over on the ThreeQuarks site. Check this:

    Bazompora - "So, all justification you need is a surplus of joy/utility in an overall net product?
    This means that if a victim, that won't be missed, is drugged before the rape, then killed while unconscious, gang murder-rape would not only be OK with you, but something laudable even?"

    Sagredo - "That would depend on whether the victim's future life has positive or negative utility. I think it's up to the person themselves to decide, since they're in the best position to know."

    I really think that's one of the most horrifying things I've ever read. According to Sagredo, rape and violence are fine; it all just depends on how the victim interprets the aftermath. This, surely, is the most damning indictments of utilitarianism I've ever read, not to mention it being the comment of a sociopath.

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    1. This, surely, is the most damning indictments of utilitarianism I've ever read

      It doesn't seem to affect Negative Utilitarianism as I understand it. NU seems to be based on the "least suffering" principle. It does seem to affect "hedonistic" and varieties, though.

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    2. Now, this would be the Bazompora who tells people that they should kill their pets to conserve resources, right?

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    3. He can only recall saying that to one person. Would that be you?

      But, all anthropomorphisms cast aside: do non-human animals have aspirations we can rob them of?

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    4. Other people can read your youtube account. How about you go tell your "all pets should be murdered" to other antinatalists? I'm sure Jim, Garret and Rob will just love it.

      Just a reminder to all you ANs out there: while you rant about how horrible all non-antinatalists are, this is the kind of person you let in your house. This kind of cold-blooded sociopath is someone you consider a friend.

      Think about that.

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    5. It seems you have a lot to learn still about 'ANs',
      because the euthanisation of non-sapient sentience, is far from a taboo subject to antinatalist discussion.
      In fact, I can't think of any possible taboos on the antinatalist echelon of the blogosphere: Srikant, above, reopened the can on sterilisation of the destitute.

      You don't seem to be so moved by that, though.

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    6. Oh? I skipped his post, I'm very sorry. Well he's a sociopath too then.

      "the euthanisation of non-sapient sentience, is far from a taboo subject to antinatalist discussion." Then why don't your bring it up? Jim had to put down his dog recently. I'm sure he'll appreciate hearing your opinion that he's immoral for not killing his beloved friend earlier.

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    7. I would expect sociopaths be more the kind to try and manipulate knee-jerk emotional responses; but I'm by long stretch no expert on the subject.

      I'm sure Jim is wise enough to realise that not everything he does should be approved upon by every other antinatalist, to remain in overall agreement.

      I didn't see the relevance of the euthanisation of animals towards an anti-NATAL-ist blog; I'm not hiding and certainly not retracting.

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    8. Okay, so you're a coward. Got it.

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    9. If a lack of incentive to create every opportunity for confrontation is cowardice, dear anonymous one, then I plead guilty to it.

      God less.

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    10. Anonymous, if you're so much the opposite of a coward, I dare you to tell this good woman to her face that she is a "sociopath", as you believe.

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  16. Anon. Y. Mouse2 May 2012 at 08:58

    Are you seriously going to sit there and talk about preventing suffering while bitching about atheists who, for whatever reason aren't suffering because of their beliefs? Really? REALLY?

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    1. If certain present 'happy atheists' aren't suffering, then lucky them! I'm not bitching about the fact that they think THEIR OWN lives are worth living.

      However, they completely ignore the fact that fate rolled a "Lucky 7" on their lives - particularly in regard to how the atheists themselves feel about their own lives.

      Unfortunately, there's no way to have perfect (or even 90% accurate) knowledge of a person's future - particularly decades down the road. Furthermore, you cannot give permission to be born, nor can you refuse to do the same.

      Lack of reliable future knowledge + Lack of consent = forcing people into a situation whose outcome is not certain. That's like forcing someone into a business contract if they had no opportunity to read its terms. Maybe they would benefit, but then again maybe they want. They don't say "life is a crapshoot" for nothing!

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    2. Yup, from my own experience the happy atheists generally has no sense of the contingency of either their existence or their happiness. This, in turn, leads them to a pro-procreation position, "I'm having a great time; my kids will have a great time". So while HAs may not be suffering NOW, they may suffer later and drag someone else into the world while they're at it.

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  17. What makes me really sad is the fact that sentient beings are suffering in vain. Sentient creatures are condemned to pointless suffering. People are born, suffer and die for no reason at all. This really depresses me.

    The only thing more unbearable than suffering itself is the meaninglessness of suffering.

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    1. Agreed, anonymous. And just to add it all, the pointlessness also becomes a cause of suffering! I think the futility of life has always been my main personal source of suffering. By average standards, I haven't had a catastrophic life, but if there's one thing that's hobbled me since around the age of 18 it's been the irresistible conclusion that all of this is for nought. I'm surprised more people don't feel like this, but perhaps they're better at distracting themselves than I am.

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    2. (previously posting as EO) The pointlessness of all the suffering is maddening. We are the wheels within wheels within wheels spinning in space. I do gain a grim satisfaction knowing our fearless leaders will be ash and bones one day. Their "brilliant" ideas that have caused so much pain will be forgotten. Nothing can save them and their petty conquests from the ravening jaws of time. The kings of Assyria once burnt whole cities to the ground and spitted captives just to strike terror into others. Where are these mighty kings now?

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    3. Hi, Attashata. Yes, all of our so-called 'leaders' plotting, conniving and planning, all of these alleged great man will be nothing more than dust and ashes one day. The only world leader I can think of who ever realised this was the great Marcus Aurelius. His Meditations should be on every AN's reading list.

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    4. Karl/Anonymous,

      Suffering comes and goes, but meaninglessness remains till our last breath. =(

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    5. Ending the species could be the only meaningful thing, as it would mean the end of its meaninglessness.

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    6. Non sequitur.

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    7. How could it be meaningful? Non-existence is as just as meaningless as life. Ending our species is so irrational and meaningless as keeping it going.

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    8. Depends how you look at it...

      Life is but a vicious cycle of wasted blood:
      you can pass on your genes, but they'll be distributed and redistributed until there's nothing like yours in the combinations anymore;
      you can persecute all the criminals and new ones will be born;
      you can keep making a generation wiser, but the wise die and the ignorant generate anew;
      you can elevate the disadvantaged and the advantaged will elevate themselves again;
      you can sensitise the masses, but the insensitive will trample them;
      no change or contribution remains meaningful in life.

      However:
      end the cycle of life ...
      ... and the future is changed forever in a meaningful way.

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    9. Beautifully put, Bazompora. You've summed up the whole pointless farago perfectly. For the species to finally wake up, realise that all of this carnage is for nought and to then set about applying its intelligence to achieving its peaceful demise would be the noblest thing that could ever be done.

      But no, the carnival must go on, no matter how high the corpses pile up....

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    10. Me, non-existence is neutral. It isn't meaningful but also it isn't meaningless. It's just nothing.
      Ending the species would be the less meaningless choice.

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    11. Not really.

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  18. another anonymous5 May 2012 at 14:26

    I've been reading this group of blogs since about the end of December. Although a convinced antinatalist for a few years, it's been by reading yours, Karl, and the other bloggers' ponderings that I really perceived the pointlesness and meaningless of existence beyond all hopes and illusions.

    I gradually became aware I acquired this anhedonia thing. Actually it's a HUGE state of confusion like I've never found myself in before! I have lost interest in all hobbies and pastimes and in the company of others, be it personal or social. I'm not taking it lightly - I'm actually panic stricken at it and my bain processor has been occupied for weeks with franically trying to think up a way out of this whole anhedonia thing. I concluded in my journal earlier today that a way out does not exist and all I'm left with is to see what happens if I just stay like this.

    I spend much of my day blankly looking at the walls, trees or into the air with an empty mind slightly confused about "what to do" while unable to feel the slightest drive to do anything. This wouldn't be much of a drama if it weren't becoming unsustainable for my material confort and untimately survival on a longer term.

    I was just wondering yesterday: "Has my suffering, my state of mental discomfort, increased since starting to read these antinatalist blogs? Or was I suffering just as much before, but was not fully aware of it due to distractions by varius hopes and ambitions (plus the suffering inherent to these)?"

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    1. Hi, anonymous. I feel somewhat guilty at the thought that reading this blog has contributed to your present state. I suppose all that I can say is that I use it as a platform for expressing my views on life, views which seem to have struck a chord with a few other people.

      I myself live very much in the condition you describe. To quote Eliot, 'After such knowledge, what forgiveness?' I also wonder what will become of me in the long run. I do what it takes to sustain a living, but thoughts of 'planning for the future' and so on, seem somewhat absurd to me. I can't see that life has a meaning now, so the idea that it will have a meaning in the future seems unlikely.

      All I can say is that I hope you can derive some sort of consolation from the knowledge that you're far from being the only one to think and feel this way.

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    2. It really helps me to read antinatalist blogs and realize others feel the same way I do about life. It is great to talk to other people who reject the "life is wonderful" attitude that is the mainstream. It is comforting to me that there are people who agree with me that life is an imposition, not a gift, and that it is wrong to start a new life.

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    3. Thanks, Stacy. It's always good to know that there are others out there thinking the same. One is not alone!

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  19. I find your blog very interesting and informative. And is it possible to tell me exactly what are the logical consequences of atheism?

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  20. Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for the kind words. Atheism, in my opinion, (quoting from the post)

    "leads to having a collection of 7 billion + hedonistic, selfish assholes hell-bent on ego-gratification no matter what the cost...[and] ego-machines smashing into each other in their endless, brainless quest for their synthetic cheese."

    Now, of course, it has been ever thus. I just think if a world where secularism/atheism comes to be the de facto postion it will become far more blatant and shameless. We can certainly see this in contemporary Europe.

    Philosophically, the best summation, in my opinion, is to be found in the posthumous collection of Nietzsche's entitled 'The WillTo Power' where he offers a highly prophetic and incisive analysis of the onset of serious philosophical Nihilism (as oppossed to the death-metal, 'screw what my parents think' variety). Although not a massive Nietzsche fan myself, it's well worth reading and has been entriely vindicated by the course of 20th century history.

    Having said all that, this may just be a symptom of the decadent west, and particularly its so-called 'intelligentsia'. Religious belief is actually on the rise across the world, particularly in the Global South, which appears to be where the focus of world history is shifting, so who knows?

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  21. Are you saying atheists can't be happy?
    Why should we live unhappy lives?

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    1. I'm not saying anyone shouldn't be happy; I'm just saying people should keep things in proportion and realise all the conequences of their philosophy, and that goes for atheists, antinatalists, religious people etc.

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  22. Met a really nice girl for the second time today, an atheist, who believes that life is pointless, except for enjoying the simple things, and who has attempted suicide in the past.

    She is smart as hell (was explaining a complex theory to her and she's the first person I've met to not only grasp it instantly, but to instantly in real time use it to make predictions) as well as reading me her (good!) poetry out loud by memory.

    Walked her home, talked honestly about everything including antinatalism and the high likelihood of my death by suicide, and gave her hug.

    She still wants to get together tomorrow. We'll see if she shows (she seems great, but she is a woman after all, and flakiness is not exactly unheard of.

    For a day at least, I'm abandoning my short-term suicide intention. So you'll have to deal with a happy atheist at least until tomorrow night.

    (Oh -- and she says that she doesn't want kids. For the same reasons we are talking about here, although this is her first time hearing the word "antinatalism". Not that she and I are likely to have a romantic relationship, but just saying.)

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    1. Best of luck with that, Christoph. Sounds like a woman worth cultivating:-)

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    2. My advice about dating is "play to lose"! Never actually been in a relationship myself. Not too many nice women here in the American Midwest. Closest I came was with a woman who felt she could not be with me because of my lack of faith...

      This topic kind of impinges upon Sister Y's recent post about self-deception. I "know" in my "heart of hearts" that it truly does not matter, being with someone, meeting someone nice. Buddhist and Stoic ideas help me intellectually, but still, that feeling gnaws on. Being part of this society certainly does not help!

      Such is humanity.... We lie to ourselves and then craft fantasies.

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    3. Strategically, we "lose" when we expose ourself to another,
      paradoxically, we "lose" when we don't confide in another.

      Well played either way:
      it was never meant, to be victory in the end.

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  23. If life is meaningless...
    What are the qualities that give something a meaning?

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    1. Meaning is the notion that suffering can be redeemed by pleasure. Since pleasure, as per the Benatar asymmetry, is worthless for the nonexistent, all suffering is meaningless as well. The only thing that could make life meaningful is a eternal being who suffers at the the thought of our nonexistence, i.e. God.

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    2. Nonsense.

      People feel meaning when they believe they're part of a larger story, as a rule.

      Look at all the meaning people find by being soldiers or firefighters or even doctors. It's not pleasure, per se, that's the main thing for most people.

      Now is meaning a form of delusion or illusion (9-part lecture on Terror Management Theory)? Sure. I'll by that.

      But "orgasms" and "cocaine" aren't what most people mean by meaning -- although I'm somewhat partial to the former myself.

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    3. What is a story? The story of a fire fighter is that his harm (suffering) is compensated by the benefit (pleasure) of the ones he rescues. However, the rescued might as well not exist.

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    4. Like the idea of a god who suffers by our non-existence, anonymous. If only!

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    5. Karl, why exactly do you "like" the idea? I find it just as terrifying as most other ideas!

      Maybe you'll find advaitam interesting:

      "Now the question arises as to why the Ishvara created the world. If one assumes that Ishvara creates the world for any incentive, this slanders the wholeness and perfection of Ishvara. For example, if one assumes that Ishvara creates the world for gaining something, it would be against His perfection. If we assume that He creates for compassion, it would be illogical, because the emotion of compassion cannot arise in a blank and void world in the beginning (when only Ishvara existed). So Adi Shankara assumes that Creation is recreation or play of Ishvara. It is His nature, just as it is man's nature to breathe."

      Oh wow, it actually goes this far, does it? I only remember reading the last sentence long back.

      It's pretty cool to know someone realizes that creating the universe out of 'compassion' is nonsense.

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  24. The idea amuses me because it flatters me to think that my existence/non-existence would be a matter of concern to a deity:-)

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  25. Another person here who finds life boring and pointless. To be honest, I have become like that in the recent years. I was a very ambitious child/teenager who would like to achieve big things and/or change the world (childish, I know!), after several failures and frustrations, I have lost my interest in almost anything.

    Nowadays I am living like a semi-recluse. My usual day consists of getting up, going to my job (which I dislike big time), tolerating all the nonsense, and then returning to home, only to find myself engaging activities just to pass time, until I go to bed, only to wake up next morning to go to my job, where I will do unimportant things (in the big scheme) to make someone else become richer!

    The natural action, which will break this cycle is, of course, suicide. And it is a constant thought on my mind and I think I am waiting for the moment when I will be fully ready. The main thing that keeps me from actually doing it is my parents (I am their only 'sane' child, my brother is a low-functioning autistic). They love me and try to support me as much as they can, but they certainly don't understand my views. They know that I am severely depressed and they wouldn't be shocked, if I actually did it, but still I am sure that they would be devastated.

    I told them a few times "I wish you had never come together", implying the wish to not be born, and they were pretty sad due to my "shameless words". But am I really shameless for saying that?

    Anyway, sorry for writing this lenghty rant, but gotta pour them out somewhere (Needless to say, I have no close friends). Also good to read somebody else(s) thinking about the meaning (or lack thereof) of life.

    Pierre

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    1. Hi, Pierre.

      Thanks for the comment and sorry for the delay in replying.

      I feel your pain, my friend. I, too, am in a strictly going-throught-the-motions mindset. How I'll ever discover enthusiasm for anything ever again is beyond me at the moment, as I suspect enthusiasm demands delusion and I'm clean out of that!

      Anyway, rant away here to your heart's content. I hope the knowledge that you're not alone is some consolation.

      Karl

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  26. I strongly disagree with this post. For what it's worth, I am pretty depressed at the moment and have been thinking about killing myself for the past couple months, so I don't think I qualify as a "happy atheist." Your average self-proclaimed "happy atheist" is probably a moron, but so is the average person. What's the use in such a statement? The statement "happy atheists are fags" would have been about as useful (except I actually endorse that statement).

    All things considered, I think the term is stupid anyway. It's an unnecessary modifier based around false preconceptions tacked onto a label of belief. Should we say things like non-terrorist Muslim? How about pro-gay Christian? The problem is that people think atheists should be unhappy just because we think existence is finite and that life isn't some big magical rainbow. Those really aren't sufficient reasons to be unhappy.

    When it comes down to it, I can put effort toward being happy or I can choose not to. I realize you're probably a determinist, but humor my illusion for a moment. Even if free will isn't the case, it's still a remarkable illusion.

    Being unhappy is so much work in and of itself. It's draining and demoralizing. It takes conscious effort to do the simplest things when you're unhappy. It just isn't worth feeling that way for no reason when you could try to pool your efforts into feeling better. Happiness does not require a delusion. Happiness stems from BEHAVIOR, not mindset.

    Why the fuck does it matter if existence is meaningless? I'm personally glad that there doesn't seem to be cosmic significance to my being; it takes a lot of pressure off of living.

    Sorry for the language, but I'm sure someone that admits to not really giving a shit about his fellow human being won't mind a few meaningless arrangements of text, right?

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  27. So much self pity... but I do agree that when a human being loses the ability to experience joy and pleasure life is meaningless. If I ever reach that point I hope I will have the courage to leave.

    Your position does seem to be coming from a typically privileged American upbringing in smothering security and never having been face with truly existential decisions by fate or by choice.

    The Universe and the human condition is what it is. We can find joy in the fact that on the whole it is currently better than it has been in centuries. Or we can find pleasure in doing what we hope will result in some aspect of existence improving for some number of people... whether it actually does or not, in the long run, is irrelevant in the moment. The world is too unpredictable to be able to calculate all the possible results of our action. We have evolved to find pleasure in the survival or ourselves our relatives and the Universe in general. We are still evolving.

    My friends grandparents took part in the Warsaw uprising in 1944. When the fate of the uprising was already sealed and they were just fighting to survive one more day they decided to get married. It was a night time wedding that lasted for 3 hours but everybody had a great time and for that moment in the midst of unbearable suffering, deprivation and carnage that small band of fighters experienced pleasure and joy... Only my friends grandmother survived to see the end of the war.

    Some people, in humility, see the world for what it is and can delight in what beauty and pleasure it offers some are handicapped by their pride because the world is not how they want it to be...

    Nirvana is not for those who value ideas more than they value themselves...

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    1. What a load of shit. Finding joy during shit times does not give life meaning. It's still meaningless, whether they had a blast for a few hours or not.

      And Nirvana, or oblivion as it is also known, is for one and all.

      Damn, you are just cholk full of delusions, aren't you...

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    2. All your irrational "feel good" story does is highlight exactly how absurd life is.

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