Monday, 20 May 2013

Chasing Cheese is All We Need


I've been watching some of the debate (or row, to be more accurate) between LudditeReturns and Inmendham on YouTube. It's raised a few interesting issues which I thought I'd bring up here. I may simplifying the positions somewhat, but even if I am my outlines will serve as a general delineation of a standard quarrel between ANs and their opponents.

As far as I can make out, LR defends life on the grounds that the hedonistic chasing mechanism that constitutes our existence provides enough pleasure for its participants to justify itself. Or in other words, people find fulfillment in pursuing desires and find pleasure when those desires are fulfilled. That's just what human life is and to desire it to be otherwise is misguided. LR claims that Gary is judging human life from an unjustifiably third-person perspective and finding it wanting. LR claims there is no need for "meaning" and that Gary is making all sorts of category mistakes when condemning the process as a whole. People in this camp also state that the activity of pleasure seeking is in and of itself enough to provide meaning if someone feels the need for it.

In reply, Gary is arguing that the hedonistic wheel is turned entirely by a fundamental lack or deprivation in our existence. As Schopenhauer pointed out, we are fundamentally incapable of being satisfied as every desire leads to a new one and all satisfaction is but temporary. So consequently anyone who realises this is therefore bound to realise how futile and undignified the whole cheese-chasing process is, and will also most likely suffer a loss of appetitie for the game as a result.

More importantly, (and as far as I know LR has failed to address this so far, but I could be wrong) the perpetuation of this hedonistic chase causes an enormous amount of unjustifiable and unredeemable suffering. The question for anyone then becomes how can the perpetuation of the chasing game be justified?

Of course, there are those who claim it doesn't need to be: party on, and if there's "collateral damage" that's just tough and let's barrel on until the axe falls. This is the position Gary rages against and terms 'nihilism'.

In conclusion, it strikes me that LR and all of his ilk willingly put on the blinkers and ignore the bigger picture of suffering in order to revel and wallow in their own egos. Regardless of the issue of meaning, anyone who enjoys the cheese-chasing is surely obliged to acknowledge that the issue of whether it is right to create a new cheese-chaser/boulder-pusher is a legitimate one that demands justification. Can the creation of a new consciousness destined to go through all the usual stages of life, and all the accumulation of suffering that necessarily entails, and which ends in a return back to the Nothingness from whence it came really be as unproblematic as the Yea-Sayers claim?

I think not.

35 comments:

  1. Folk psychology.

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  2. Luddite is really a big fucking slob of incomprehensibility. He is engaged in a typical Pollyanna thinking that he tries to daub with linguistic mumbo-jumbo (oh Wittgenstein would have a field day with that prick!)

    You said it all Karl. All of them have their blinkers on and willingly engage in ego-gratification for the sake of it and fuck everything else. The hedonic treadmill (and that's all it is really) never had and never will have any rational justification beyond the whims of the ego that wants to engage in more trivial crap to satisfy its own yearning for more life.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2327185/Queue-Everest-Photographer-captures-crowds-tourists-pay-50-000-climb-worlds-tallest-peak.html

    This article is a great example of this. Who the fuck cares whether anyone continues to conquer Everest? Its a fucking mountain on the face of the planet. It doesn't need any humans on it (who left garbage and their own rotten bodies there since the expeditions begun) and the only "achievement" exists in the heads of the assholes thinking that climbing to the top is an accomplishment.

    Oh, and of course it boosts the economy when people spend $30,000 for a chance to climb it so Everest now became a consumerist item just like every other piece of matter out here.

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    1. You might disagree here, but I think is is very difficult, if not impossible to tyrannize and oppress a rock.

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    2. You are completely missing the point. The point is that the pursuit is vain and futile, the achievement is non-existent and the implications are that people continue to breed other vermin like them to continue chasing the same cheese and propping up the same consumerist nightmare.

      If you want to troll, you can at least do it with more elegance.

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    3. Dima, one day if you don't end your life soon, you're going to have to face the fact that people can impolitely disagree with you in all earnesty.

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    4. GM, you might want to consider that your characterisation of AN on your blog is utterly vapid and your claims re certain ANs political positions disgraceful slander, but I guess that doesn't bother you.

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    5. Sorry, I have yet to do a blogpost on your variety of antinatalism. I'll come back when I've done so and maybe you'll be more receptive to debate.

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    6. Giordano, given the sort of slanderous crap you wrote on your blog, I will earnestly and politely call you on your bullshit right here.

      To answer your accusation directly, I will vehemently and with extreme prejudice call people on their bullshit. Anonymous completely misconstrued what I was trying to say so I corrected him.

      99.9% of humanity disagree with me as it is. So what? The truth is the truth regardless of how many people believe in it.

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  3. It seems to me this guy LR is not interested in honest debate. But he's got a point though, Inmendham insist in the reality of objective morality, which seems odd in light of his existential nihilism. I mean, if life is pointless, that suggest to me that morality is groundless. So you can't bring a binding prohibition of procreation for all people, of all mindsets. In other words, there can't be a watertight proof of the truth of antinatalism, because it is a question of values, not facts. In the words of Thomas Ligotti: "Nothing definitive supports the opinion that humanity should persist in being, just as nothing definitive supports the opinion that humanity should cease to exist."

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    1. I agree. This whole idea of objective morality is pure bogus and Gary is not being honest with himself and his other thoughts when he keeps saying that it exists and that sentience is precious and all that other crap. No, sentience is the same shit as everything else but it just so happens to be replicable and humans continue to replicate themselves despite the obvious futility and absurdity of doing so.

      For me, antinatalism/efilism merely support existential nihilism but for Gary, apparently the objective morality that he speaks of comes first and nihilism comes second.

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    2. Yes, nihilism and awareness of the vacuity of everything come first. Gary is confused, or at least makes confusing comments, re objective morality. He assumes everyone shares (or should share) his values, and that consequently there is objective morality. He also, as Dima points out, talks about 'beauty' and 'dignity', which are as subjective as any mush he cares to indict normally. Also, his notions about 'productivity' are incoherent. He claims we should lead 'productive' lives, ie leave less of a mess than the one we caused, but bar not reproducing I don't see how this could ever be quantified. Although LR is painful and full of himself, I think he does show that Gary needs to be more systematic and careful in his definitons. Unfortunately the latter is just too used to going unchallenged, so I can't see it happening.

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    3. The objective vs subjective is a red herring. Even assuming the very core rationale(s) of all values are 100% subjective, the objective fact still remains that some people's subjective self-assessment of life[b]*[/b] will be that it's not worth it. Given we cannot predict any individual's subjective assessment of life (esp. those that don't yet exist but could well exist in the future), it's simply gambling with the future well-being of another person (even if that person merely could but doesn't yet exist).

      *Whether their own life, the prevailing tendencies of human behavior, or the unalterable chemistry and physics behind the way the world operates (i.e. people who could not consent to come into existence in this realm are subject to an amoral [at best] set of "rules").

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    4. I believe Gary made that very point in his last response video. LR has made a new video, which I'm struggling to find the will-to-watch but judging from the comments he seems to be claiming that Gary's AN comes from hating his own life. So in other words LR and his ilk just want to massage their own egos and claim that anyone who doesn't share their perspective is just 'depressed'. A very typical, smug, middle-class form of egocentricism.

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  4. Good distillation of the argument/row. Some of their confusion comes from the use of the words "hedonic" and "hedonistic." "Hedonism" is often used to refer to pleasure-seeking, especially reckless pleasure-seeking, and the one who engages in this is called hedonistic. However, both hedonic and hedonistic are also often used to mean, "of the pleasure-pain spectrum" or something to that effect. The hedonic asymmetry can only refer to the latter definition.

    Another source of confusion is the definition of nihilism. In its most general definition, it refers to the absence of valuing. An unqualified nihilist is one who does not value anything. Partying on regardless of collateral damage wouldn't be nihilistic presuming the person values partying on. Psychopathic, but not nihilistic.

    I've seen another meaning of nihilism frequently in play: the absence of valuing anything positively. Someone whose highest value is the absence of extreme suffering and who prioritizes this over all positive values is a "nihilist" under this definition, for example. I consider this an abuse of language, given nihilism's primary definition referring to the absence of all values.

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    1. Its really all a matter of semantics and I agree with Gary that Luddite simply throws around his own definitions for the sake of sounding smart. He is loquacious and articulate to the most disgusting degree since none of what he says makes any rational sense outside of his own little head.

      I don't like to use the words "hedonic" or "hedonistic" because they obscure the issue. All sentient action depends on the initial deprivation that they seek to alleviate, whether that action is considered to be selfish or altruistic it really makes no difference. ALL action is necessarily EGOCENTRIC and it doesn't matter whether one pursues pleasures for the sake of pleasures or virtuosity for the sake of pleasure or what have you. A person will always do something because they are deprived. As Cioran said, "Action is the vice of all creation".

      For me there can only be one form of nihilism and that's the existential nihilism that permeates every aspect of being. Nothing matters and everything is futile.

      However, with that being said, as an AN I will not behave in a way that would hurt other people or cause more suffering (something nihilists are always accused of) unless I find a way to press the red button and end it all in the most pain-free way imaginable so that all future suffering would forever be prevented.

      Does that mean that I value suffering as an AN/Efilist and therefore I am NOT a nihilist? Of course NOT! That's again a futile participation in a game of grammar which human beings continue to participate it just because they have linguistic faculties that never did them any good.

      I don't value suffering as I don't value anything else because its all futile and pointless when all is said and done. However, its a horrible thing to perpetuate suffering nevertheless because its REDUNDANT and the satisfactions of the deprivations are all insufficient, temporary and valueless anyways.

      What I am trying to say is that one can be against suffering and its promulgation and still be a nihilist and not value anything (including the suffering itself) at the same time without experiencing cognitive dissonance.

      I think me and Karl (and some people on the facebook group) are very much like me in that they are all antinatalists/efilists and yet they don't believe in objective morality and are existential nihilists.

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    2. I think I'm a nihilist because what oppresses me more than anything is the sense of futility. Even if we lived a pain-free existence it would still be futile, but, as Dima points out, to then throw in utterly useless and redundant suffering really makes things horribly unbearable and oppressive.

      When I hear of new lives coming into existence my first reaction is 'what's the fucking point?', even more so then 'more useless pain on the way!' Even if we lived in a transhumanist utopia, I think the pointlessness of it all would still get to me.

      And nihilism is a word that is always going to cause confusion. My understanding is that it equates to a lack of objective values, but Gary tends to employ it to refer to 'indifference to suffering'.

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  5. I would say that the pursuit of pleasures is not an enjoyable thing. It's hard work, tons of energy expended, no guarantee of success, spurred on by our natural desires to impress each other and feel comfortable. It's more of a compulsion we're under. If our lives were good we would not be frantically chasing after anything or anyone, we'd just be content with things as they are. When we do have a desire fulfilled there's much anxiety about trying to hold onto it and eventually it's ripped from our hands. I don't think anyone wants to play this game other than those who get life handed to them on the silver platter.

    For me the great mission I have in life, the goal to be chased, is to find a way out of this impossible labyrinth of existence and make my way to the stars (I like to imagine when I die my spirit will go to join the stars...sorta like at the end of my favourite movie gattaca). I wish so much that I could have been spared this chase, but since I was not spared, I have set my aim THERE at eternal rest and peace and cannot be satisfied with less.

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    1. Agreed. I think once you realise that most of your desires are fairly random, not freely chosen and rarely amount to anything other than at best fleeting satisfaction, then one will gradually lose one's appetite. That's certainly what's been happening to more over the past while. My cheese chasing facility is practically non-existent. I do what's necessary to survive, but that's about it.

      I like the last paragraph. Although an atheist and so on, I thoroughly share the sentiment!

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    2. Karl I feel like a mouse in god's gigantic experimental maze (what is the purpose of this brutal experiment and why did anybody sign me up for it?). After many years of mindlessly running after the cheese I've stopped in my tracks. Why am I trying so hard at a game I can't win? I can't run fast like the other mice and I don't want to trample weaker mice on my journey. I'll sit back and watch the other mice scramble. Maybe I'll be glad I stopped, maybe the end's just a mousetrap. Reminds me of the excellent book, the Maze Runner.

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    3. Yes, I remember the game 'Mousetrap' from when I was a kid. You had to build a more elaborate and efficient trap than your competitors. Little did I realise I was an unwilling participant in a somewhat bigger version of the game:-)

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    4. -- with a VERY different role too! =(

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    5. The name of the game isn't getting the cheese, it's getting out of the maze, which is really hard to do, no glowing "exit" signs, no easy way out, fellow mice (people) spurring you on towards the cheese, experimentor (god?) always watching

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  6. Apropos of nothing, I just feel like posting some Bill Hicks concerning the miracle of life:

    Mewling Cabbages

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    1. Yeah, it's a classic. Doug Stanhope has similar material worth having a look at.

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  7. Loved the comment about the mice and the experimental maze above.

    Off topic: Karl, would you consider making a future blog post about methods to endure life for people who don't enjoy living but can't/don't want to kill themselves? Like "A Guide to Life for People who Hate Life"? I have found some decent advice among some of the ancient authors, like the Cynics and the Stoics, but because they lived in very different conditions they don't address some of the problems unique to the 21st cent. Anyways, just thought I'd toss that idea out there :-)

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    1. Don't worry, I think about that topic every day, and the reason I haven't written anything about it is because I've no idea how to cope! As the saying goes, good health, a big bank account and a bad memory, is probably the best to hope for!

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    2. I'm thinking of starting a second blog called "Antinatalist Yoga." Google should have a great time with that... I find moments of relief in nothingness.

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  8. Speaking of mice, we are in a trap of our own egocentric making: babyboom

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    1. Oh that was great!

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  9. Hey Karl, thanks for adding my blog to your blog list. I will put such a list on my blog aswell as soon as i find out how to do it ;)

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  10. Yeah, life is quite hard but i dont want to be alone, and i will need someone to take care of me when I get old. It's selfish but procreation is a need.

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    1. A need that can be catered for in other ways: adopt a child that needs as home/ get a pet/ save the money you would have spent on raising a kid for a nurse in your old age etc etc

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    2. Anon, my biological parents created me to fulfill needs of their own without considering what was best for me. I have no relationship with them whatsoever.

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  11. Sorry Karl, I didn't want to insult you with the xknowledgeisfreex comment. He surely is a very sick individual (like outsidemendham, both german fucktards), but so am I and I should likely be put to sleep, no one's willing to do it, though. I also thought a lot about blacksundog's disappearance, it really haunts me. That he did it! That he had the courage to do it! Even Cioran, the master of pessimism, didn't go so far. And Ligotti is still alive, too! Maybe if Thomas met Thomas, things would have turned out differently, but maybe not. Sigh.

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    1. Ah, sorry. I thought the xkonwledgeisfree thing was some troll.

      Yes, Sundog's death is haunting. As you say, what courage! I was thinking earlier today that if one doesn't do it by 30, one should almost punish oneself by slogging on. Of course, any of us may be driven to it at any time, so who knows....

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