Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Conspiracy Against The Human Race



History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake- Ulysses by James Joyce

Herein lies the problem of consciousness. Before its refined emergence as the node called human, there is only sleep. An uneasy sleep, to be sure. A tranquility punctuated by appalling interruptions of rumbling stomachs and tearing flesh. No nobility in pre-solipsistic savagery, perhaps, but the agonies keep to their assigned beats and only bother those who actually cross their paths. A dream within a dream.

Then, the worst thing imaginable happens. The dream awakens within itself, becomes lucid. A shard of the latency breaks loose. Falls out of the sky. There is a sense of plummeting, of scrambling for altitude in the midst of obstacles. Worse yet, there comes an awareness of gravity, and of the maxim ‘What goes up...’. The dream becomes a nightmare.

In ‘The Conspiracy Against the Human Race’, a work of non-fiction soon to be released, acclaimed horror author Thomas Ligotti strikes at the heart of the lie we maintain to shield ourselves from the contemplation of that nightmare, lest we find ourselves face to face with the secret ‘too terrible to know’. The lie? That ‘being alive is all right’. And the unutterable secret? That life is ‘malignantly useless’. And so we shut our eyes to that particular horror, sleepwalking our way from one oasis of distraction to the next, as we grope by faith toward whatever version of Zion happens to suit our soteriological temperament.

But even as that nightmare is not of our own making, neither are our somnambulistic defenses against it. For we are puppets, one and all. Forgotten toys dangling from the imbecilic fingers of the First Urge, moved by the mephitic winds of heritage and circumstance, believing all the while that we are real boys and girls. Condemned to dance, and twirl, and dream of what it might be like to be autonomous, rather than automatons. Of course, none of us really want to believe this. Question: What do you call a puppet that refuses to acknowledge its patrimony of woodpulp and ashes? That claims not to feel the tug of the wire at its wrists? Answer: An optimist. But what of his counterpart, the pessimist? The ‘man with a morbid, frantic, shuddering hatred of the life-principle itself? (Lovecraft) Does he occupy some loftier position in the kingdom of wood, cloth and string, a perch from which he can gaze down upon this play of absurd passions with-dare I say it?-objectivity?

Herein lies the conundrum of the hard determinist, of which Ligotti is fully aware. How to build a case on reason, when reason’s foundations are ultimately no more secured than the sound of wind whistling through cracks in the mortar? Origins are lost to us in the stifling complexity of our causative heritage- we are stuck with who we are, and with what we think we know. Our perceptions have been handed over to us bearing neither manufacturer’s label nor warranty. This being the overriding circumstance in the duchy of puppetry, what is the justification by which we can possibly proceed to make our respective cases?

In the end, there is none. We push forward- or speaking with a tad more accuracy, perhaps, are pushed- weighing the quality of music issuing from our squeaking joints, as well as that conjured up by our ideological opposites, against the standard of sawdust between our ears. Knowing that we do not know, including the knowledge of our ignorance, splayed out against the leading edge of a juggernaut whose engines exist in a realm we’ll never be privy to, even after we’re torn to pieces.

We push forward. Make our cases. Pessimists have made their cases, though you’d be hard pressed to hear them in the midst of the Official Life Affirmation Choir and Jug Band. There are names- Schopenhauer. Nietzche. Sartre. Camus. Mainlander. Zapffe. Others. Some motivated by disdain, others by despair. Still others by misanthropic intellects unwilling to take their seats at ringside. Some of these held more or less true to their offending creeds, while others sought and wrought loopholes, straining for illusory beams of light in the cloud cover. Ligotti has made his case as well, drawing from his background of horror and phantasmagorical literature, polishing the mirror of our self-reflection to an astonishing degree, in my opinion. Each time I gaze into it, I catch another glimpse of the darkness behind my eyes. The emptiness. An awareness made more palpable by the knowledge of my own nothingness, realizing that that nothingness is everything I am. A nothingness that one day will be swallowed by its own shadow.

There’s a picture on my desk, a piece of paper confined within a frame of wood and glass. These are my daughters. Little bits of the Nothing that coalesced into temporary simulcra of something. They will remain briefly, moved by the wind, fading in the sun, and finally dissolved in darkness. Once they were not. Soon they will return to that former station, and it will be as if they never were. There is an infinitude of raw material existing in potentia, driftwood in danger of being lifted and shaped by the madness at the core of creation. Carved into the likeness of futility, given breath, and with that breath, hope, and with that hope, pain and dissolution. Carved into the likenesses of sons and daughters. Daughters like mine. At the end of the rainbow? Splinters of broken wood. Bits of rusty wire, and springs, scraps of cloth, and hope, and aspirations. A junkpile.

‘The Conspiracy Against the Human Race’ is a work of non-fiction by Thomas Ligotti, with a forward by Ray Brassier. It is an important contribution to the literature of pessimism, as well as antinatalism; of which, unfortunately, there is a paucity, especially in the contemporary sense. It is sober, insightful, and supports the feeling I’ve always had that fiction writers often have a better grasp on reality than philosophers. For those interested in the subject, I can’t recommend a better piece of reading material- well, unless...er, never mind :)

Sorry for the delay in getting this review finished, both to the author and to my readers. I’ve got LOTS of excuses, most of which I’ve previously enumerated, so let’s just leave it at the fact that I SUCK, and be thankful I trimmed it down enough so that I didn’t give the whole book away. Special thanks go to the author for giving me an advance copy, as well as giving me a blurb to use on my own book cover. It means a lot to me, and I brag about it often :)

UPDATE: For those interested, here's a very good review of the book. Check it out!

70 comments:

Curator said...

Jim, your book is so good it's breaking my heart.

metamorphhh said...

Curator,

Considering the utter respect I have for your writing and thoughtfulness, you have no idea how much you've made my day! It's very good to hear from you.

TGGP said...

I wonder if Woody Allen would endorse antinatalism:
http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/woody

metamorphhh said...

ATTGGP:

Thanks very much for this link. It's great for quote mining; as a matter of fact, I think I'll post some excerpts from it a little later on.

I've often wondered what Woody's position might be regarding antinatalism. I always knew he was a pessimist verging on nihilism (depending on how one defines that particular term), but I always thought he'd pull up just short of human extinction. Not sure why, other than the fact that most pessimists do, from Nietzche to Camus to, well...almost everybody, I guess. Some because it's so hard to let go of SOME imagined vehicle of transcendence, no matter how farfetched. Others because the notion seems so utterly futile, seeing the way human beings are in the aggregate. In that sense, perhaps their pessimism runs deeper than my own, since I hold to a slightly higher than zero probability for success, combining THAT with my feeling that the antinatalist philosophy is probably the most worthwhile message there is- which, put together, is the substance of my own fragile hopes.

Anyway, some great stuff there. I hope everyone checks out your link. Choice stuff!

Chip said...

Woody Allen's recent revisions of Dostoyevsky (see: "Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Match Point" and "Cassandra's Dream") suggest that his dalliance with nihilism is more than flirtatious.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the lifesucks.info site in the link section, and in that vein, you might find the following site interesting (though it is not an anti-natalist site; more like nihilist atheist; the author appears a bit frustrated):
http://www.everythingispointless.com
This is by a guy who used to be into parapsychology, but quit when he discovered it was nonsense. He's now a big fan of Schopenhauer and such, but apparantly has not heard of anti-natalism.

See also A Line of Spectacular Proportions.

Karl said...

The 'Everything is Pointless' blog is truly superb. I emailed the author to congratulate him on it, as I did with the lifesucks site, but neither replied. I guess they knew it would be pointless!

metamorphhh said...

Anonymous:

Another great link. I wonder what happened to the guy.

Anonymous said...

He checked into his YouTube account 4 months ago, so at least he was still alive then. You should contact him and convince him of anti-natalism. :)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of W. Allen, here's a recent quote of his that I thought you'd all enjoy: "One must have one's delusions to live. If you look at life too honestly and too clearly life does become unbearable because it's a pretty grim enterprise."
And this from a multimillionaire! Well now there really IS no hope for me! (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8684809.stm)

Compoverde said...

Anyone on here, but mainly Jim, Chip, or Curator..

Is there a way to defend Pessimism using a system built on the idea of deprivation? For example, Schopenhauer poetically elucidated the pendulum swing between survival and boredom that our species contends with.. All stemming from a pervasive driving force he deemed as "Will". Schopenhauer, for all his poetry and greatness into the negative aspects of living, had in my view, many flaws in his subjective idealism (based on Kantian, Platonic, and seemingly Eastern notions of reality.)

However, there are aspects of his philosophy which, I believe, can be useful when put in a different light. One that is more modernized and leaves out more speculative notions of Perfect Ideas, and other radical metaphysical speculations.

Schopenhauer's Will can be considered all our human subjective needs and wants. On introspection, using folk psychology as a starting point, it is inconceivable to go throughout our day, and not be motivated by some need and want.

It is my conclusion, that almost all these needs and wants can be categorized under three distinct groupings of needs and wants directly. These are needs and wants that fit under groupings of "physiological survival", "comfort related needs and wants directly related to personal comfort levels and socio-cultural expectations", and "boredom needs and wants, based on the idea that we do not like to stay at a state of uncomfortable stillness (since our big minds almost always need to be occupied in waking life)". The three groupings of needs and wants (survival, comfort, boredom), in and of themselves form the basis of a pervasive ever-present deprivation in the human affair.

My proposal is that it is this fact in and of itself, that our motivations. are motivated by, what I say at its root, is an all-pervasive Deprivation. It is Deprivation because we are lacking something. In and of itself, our species cannot be content to live and be in the world, but must continually follow a trajectory set out by the very Deprivation of existence (survival, comfort, boredom). If living was good in and of itself, we would be content without these motivations at all. Just pure being would be enough to satiate us. We would be in constant, perpetual happiness or tranquility or homeostasis or whatever you want to call it.

The fact is, with life as it is with this Deprivation, this happiness (or tranquility, or homeostasis or whatever you may call it) can never be had while living in this existence, since we are in constant need or want of something. You're only truly tranquil and fulfilled when you are not deprived, and you are not deprived only when you are no longer existing, or if you never existed in the first place.

Compoverde said...

I say all this above, for I believe this system of Deprivation I have elucidated on can be just as reasonable as David Benatar's asymmetry for why we should not have children. The only arguments I see against what I am saying are:

a) Our motivations (needs and wants) are what makes us most human, and hence we should embrace them as a positive thing. Our ingenuity in our cultural forms of survival through language and tool use is something to celebrate and though work can be drudgery and there are negative unforeseen aspects to the whole survival endeavor, it is on the whole to be seen as something positive. We need opposition and badness in order to feel the goodness and greater reward of overcoming any deficit. In other words, I am just projecting a negative spin on this whole "motivations of needs and wants".
B) Boredom is a state of mind, not a state of psychological reality. There may be people who are never driven out of boredom.
C) These are all value statements, and values are not real.
D) The system is unscientific, in that it mentions no mention of neuroscience, biology and the like to explain phenomena. What I say is nice poetry possibly, but adds no more truth to the insight of human nature than a good fiction book. It may invoke emotion, but is and of itself is just a product of one person's phenomenal subjectivity, which in and of itself has no bearing on reality. Pure science is the only methodology for conceiving truth, all other speculations are nothing more than the fancy of an author trying to make sense of the world.
E) My groupings are arbitrary.. Why not pick the basis for motivation, "Insecurity, Pleasure, and Power". It can just as easily be explained with those three categories. I am building a structure based on arbitrary terms which I have picked as being more important. There is no basis for them being more important or having any special status. In fact, I am doing what many evolutionary psychologists are criticized for doing, and that is providing a "just so" story to explain things so as to be more comprehensible than they truly are.

However, I think despite these objections (and possibly more that I haven't thought of) my basic premise of Deprivation (as being a negative thing which should be prevented)can be a basis for antinatalism just as much so as the utilitarian approach in the form of David Benatar's asymmetry argument. Does anyone have any comments on my approach (which I will label the "holistic")for antinatalism? Can anyone help me overcome some of the objections I have mentioned, or help me think of more objections that I did not think of assist me in overcoming them as well? I need to make a sound argument, and leaving big holes for pragmatists, optimists, nihilists, and all the rest is unsettling at best.

Thanks for your attention and assistance. May the antinatalist cause be voiced more profoundly and in greater numbers and success, so that the greater cause of preventing sufferings of untold billions will be realized.

Anonymous said...

If you view your term "deprivation" as what Benatar calls "pain" or "harm", how does this differ at all from the asymmetry argument? You are just classifying or defining in more detail what is meant by "pain", whereas Benatar keeps things general.

Garrett said...

Howzit Compoverde,

I completely agree with you that the deprivation aspect is probably the most horrific part of the sentient experience. I say "probably" because the "worst" parts are subject to personal opinion. Inevitable downturn from advanced age is pretty bad too. Coupled with the fact that aging isn't a process that's set in stone either. Cancer, for instance, can begin to slowly and painfully break you down at any given time so physical aging is clearly dependent on a roll of the dice. Octogenarians needn't always apply. Who says only the last ten years of your life are the bad ones? Oh yeah, Denis Leary said that... he's an asshole. He wrote a freakin' song admitting it too.

It absolutely floors me, that human beings will create insane little stories about how suffering is ultimately good for you. (Yes, I'm looking glaringly at you Christianity) I mean, sure, physical pain is a motivator given the proper context. We recognize at some point or another that touching hot things = burn, which is bad (unless you're a masochist that enjoys a bit o' molten wax on the nipples every now and again... sickos) Yet even they will recognize that if such behavior is taken to an extreme, that life-threatening infection can set in, thus creating a predicament for the continuity of perversion. For them... that's bad.

a) Our motivations (needs and wants) are what makes us most human, and hence we should embrace them as a positive thing. Our ingenuity in our cultural forms of survival through language and tool use is something to celebrate and though work can be drudgery and there are negative unforeseen aspects to the whole survival endeavor, it is on the whole to be seen as something positive. We need opposition and badness in order to feel the goodness and greater reward of overcoming any deficit. In other words, I am just projecting a negative spin on this whole "motivations of needs and wants".

So what if that's what makes us human? Who among us asked to be born as a human anyway? Some people find humanity repulsive in more ways than one. So embracing culture, language, and tools would be found objectionable. Work sucks. Period. If it weren't called work then it must be fun. No one gets up in the morning and says "Bye honey, I'll see you after fun!" If they did, then they'd probably be on the receiving end of a falcon punch from their spouse. So in order for me to enjoy lounging with my cat in the sun on a warm summer day, I need some asshole to throw rocks at me?! Fuck that! I'll kick that persons arrogant ass and send 'em packin'... then we'll see who's whole and complete :D

B) Boredom is a state of mind, not a state of psychological reality. There may be people who are never driven out of boredom.
Perception, it has been said, is reality. We must keep this in context though. If I perceive that something is ugly, then I'm simply stating my desire not to be in it's presence. If I find it ugly, then it's ugly TO ME. If I am bored, then I AM bored. The existence of boredom can be demonstrated this way because I have felt it and others have voiced their perception of it to me. Through our communication we agreed that it was indeed the same phenomenon. Simple really. On the other hand, if I perceive that I can dodge bullets and I decide to put my money where my mouth is, then I will end up maimed or dead. This isn't The Matrix were talking about here, c'mon! Or is it? ;)

Garrett said...

C) These are all value statements, and values are not real.

If values are not real then life as we know it certainly has no value either! Hell, let's just toss aside the desire for continuation that so many people have and start killing others in the name of our cause. Consequences be damned and forget the individual wants! Kinda creates a blaring hypocrisy, doesn't it? If one is consistent in reasoning, and respect for the individual and their desire to avoid suffering is taken into account, then one must logically and empathetically allow another to carry out their wish, so long as that wish does not come at the cost of another individual.

D) The system is unscientific, in that it mentions no mention of neuroscience, biology and the like to explain phenomena. What I say is nice poetry possibly, but adds no more truth to the insight of human nature than a good fiction book. It may invoke emotion, but is and of itself is just a product of one person's phenomenal subjectivity, which in and of itself has no bearing on reality. Pure science is the only methodology for conceiving truth, all other speculations are nothing more than the fancy of an author trying to make sense of the world.

Science is defined as "the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from misunderstanding or ignorance." Granted, antinatalism isn't comprehensively covered as are so many other fields of scientific study, but consider antinatal implications for future cataloged scientific research: there won't be anyone left to read their precious discoveries. Aww, Shame. I think a conflict of interest may be to blame. Evolution is merely a self-fulfilling (and ultimately destructive and doomed to failure) flight of fancy and, in fact, has less bearing on reality than discontinutaion. That's because physical existence is the hiccup in reality and it will eventually return to nothing. So why put other's that one "loves" through the stress and madness? Esoteric though it may be, antinatalism is most certainly a science. Just not a popular one :) Speaking of "making sense of the world", evolution is merely a theory as well. Perhaps certain humans are biased, and find the aspects of rising from and above ape ancestors as a thing to be proud of... weird. They may also be proud of their ability to dominate other forms of life by hunting and consuming them. Or worse, placing them in factory farms to be slaughtered at leisure for the sake of selfish hedonism or fear of becoming weak (for lack of muscle tissue in the diet) and in turn, being dominated by the strong. Irrational fears have a way of skewing truth.

Garrett said...

E) My groupings are arbitrary.. Why not pick the basis for motivation, "Insecurity, Pleasure, and Power". It can just as easily be explained with those three categories. I am building a structure based on arbitrary terms which I have picked as being more important. There is no basis for them being more important or having any special status. In fact, I am doing what many evolutionary psychologists are criticized for doing, and that is providing a "just so" story to explain things so as to be more comprehensible than they truly are.

We need to find a friendly and non-confrontational way to reason with people. I'm attempting a life analogy here so please bear with me ;) To help them understand that it's OK if you like inflicting injury on yourself if it brings YOU pleasure. However, that same joy that you may derive from such an experience is not mutually shared by all. If you wouldn't drag a person off the street and say "Hey buddy, I've got this wicked awesome electro-shock therapy contraption! Let's both go try it out together! By the way...I won't take "no" for an answer." To most rational people, such an offer would strike them not merely as crass but immoral and criminal to boot. Which brings me to this point: Morality with regard for the well-being of other sentients is NOT subjective. Treat others the way they wish to be treated, not the way YOU want to be treated. When you exist thinking that every living thing is just like you (or that they must secretly desire to become more like you) then we end up in this exact predicament in which we currently find ourselves: AWARE and HATING IT.

For an individual to make the claim that something cannot rightly exist without it's polar opposite constantly chewing at it's heels is utter garbage! It doesn't bode well for that person if they claim to love others. Life, in constant flux. Except on this point: It never ceases to consume itself. It is demonstrably malevolent as a whole. Nothing can exist or continue to exist without breaking something else down. I've actually had people tell me (with a straight face, mind you) that they found that process of decay to be a "beautiful thing". If someone could intelligently explain to me why we all have differing goals, interests, affinities, and perceptions of beauty and goodness, then that's a start. Nobody ever has.

Alleviation of negative states like boredom or physical pain are "good" or rather, they are not negative. If you haven't read David Benatar's book "Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence" then I highly recommend it. He goes into greater detail than I ever could on that subject.

You're right. If life were intrinsically valuable then every single being, without exception, would be perfectly content to bask in the perfection of existence. But to bring up Jim's parable of the rock: Bringing a rock to life isn't necessary. It doesn't do it any good to bestow desire upon it. If anything, all it does is prove how uncaring and selfish the "giver" of life truly is. The "giver" does so because they are sad and lonely deep down, but haven't the presence of mind nor the strength of individual will to admit to it and find alternate ways of dealing with the problem.

The insanity of the collective will cause humanity to fight the truth. It's their curse; it's self perpetuating. The best we can do is answer others honestly when they ask something of us. Truth doesn't need anyone to defend it. It stands on it's own merits.

Garrett said...

Sorry for being so long winded. It's 4am here at the moment and I've been having one of my restless nights. I hope it was somewhat intelligible at any rate :)

Peace out

metamorphhh said...

Garrett:

First of all, bless your sleepless nights! I appreciate the effort you put in here to address Compoverde's questions. Thanks very much!

Garrett:

First of all, bless your sleepless nights! I appreciate the effort you put in here to address Compoverde's questions. Thanks very much!

Compoverde:

It's great to see you hashing through all this stuff. I'll try to briefly address your points, though I may be overlapping with much of what Garrett and Anonymous had to say...

Firstly, I also believe that deprivation is at the heart of Benatar's primary asymmetry. Critics of the asymmetry tend to squash things down to a mathematical formula, formally or informally, with pain/pleasure on one side of the ledger, and -pain/-pleasure on the other, then ask "Where's the asymmetry? Seems perfectly balanced to me!" The antinatalist is then accused of cooking the books in favor of the pessimistic position, when in reality either position is ultimately arbitrary. A matter of personal taste, as it were.

What’s being missed here is that the assymetry is NOT merely logic-based, where one syllogism might do as well as another. Instead, what we have here is an imbalance based in human experience (and experience in other lifeforms as well to a probably lesser extent). This works out in several ways. One of my favorite examples is from Schopenhauer...

“A quick test of the assertion that enjoyment outweighs pain in this world, or that they are at any rate balanced, would be to compare the feelings of an animal engaged in eating another with those of the animal being eaten.”

Indeed, I would contend that the notions of pleasure and lack of suffering are almost indistiguishable. In this sense, non-existence embodies perfect pleasure at the negative pole (negative bliss), while at best all we can have while we exist is a mixture of pleasure and suffering.

Next I’ll address your itemized concerns.

metamorphhh said...

Continuing...

a. To say that deprivation makes us what we are, that is ‘human’, is to say nothing. Pus is what makes a pimple...so what? Furthermore, to say that negative experience MIGHT evoke more positive experiences down the road, doesn’t mean that we aren’t desperately trying to overcome those negative experiences all the while, and avoiding most of them as much as we can. And of course, there are negative experiences, and then there are NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES, many of which we wouldn’t foist upon our worst enemies; but which, unfortunately, arise unbidden from time to time in our lives, and in the lives of our children. I speak of the many horrors of existence which somehow our optimistic counterparts manage to overlook, or marginalize. Is my abhorance of the extremes of human suffering REALLY that arbitrary, or is it the universal human condition?

b. If boredom is a state of mind, I’d say that makes it a psychological reality, no? Granted, probably not everybody’s bored. Then again, boredom is only one item on the list.

c, d. Our phenomenal subjectivity IS our reality, and nothing else. Science is merely our experiential abstraction. I’m not diving into a solipsistic sinkhole here. Neither am I averse to reductionist models. However, even if subjectivity and its corresponding features are the end product of the unguided interaction of sub-atomic forces, that doesn’t make things like emotion and valuation any less ‘real’. In fact, subjectivity is the ONLY reality any of us will ever ‘know’...if you know what I mean :)

e. Let’s round up 100 folks at random, and smash their fingers with a 2 lb hammer. Will their initial reactions be arbitrary? How about their later logical extrapolations emerging from the experience, embodied in such statements as “Wow, having your fingers smashed with a hammer really SUCKS!” An arbitrary statement, or an almost universal subjective assessment of a shared experience? Philanthropic antinatalism starts with the assumption that most people don’t like most suffering, most of the time, conjoined with the assumption that most people possess the capacity for empathy. After that, we’re just dealing with logical extrapolation. Overlooked consequences of procreation. Social conditioning. Etc.

Hope this helps, Compoverde. And thanks as always to all who participate here. Every voice helps.

metamorphhh said...

"The insanity of the collective will cause humanity to fight the truth. It's their curse; it's self perpetuating. The best we can do is answer others honestly when they ask something of us. Truth doesn't need anyone to defend it. It stands on it's own merits."

What a great capper! Thanks, Garrett.

Compoverde said...

May 18 Anon-- Thank you for your comment. I would say Benatar's "pain" may include what I am talking about but it is not equivalent. As you state, his pain is more general and may encompass such things as "natural disasters, being born in abject poverty, disease, etc."

The difference with my system is that it accounts for everyone, even those that Benatar would consider to have a "charmed life". For example, how about Bill Gates' children? I am sure their "pain" as measured by such common factors as poverty, disease, are minimal.. maybe the occasional "stubbed toe" or minor accidents.. (of course I have no idea, I don't know what Bill Gates' children are like. I am just using the concept of someone born to much wealth as an example). However, with my system, these "external factors" are not needed to understand the suffering of existence. With the concept of Deprivation, all humans suffer, no matter what their external circumstances.. It is more of an internal psychological approach. The motivations that our individual existence's are predicated on, are the problem (not just the usual problems we one might think of like experiencing a bad experience from some external force we may encounter). So in this system, there is no escape.. being born, even in a charmed life, the individual must contend with Deprivation at the heart of existence itself and is there no matter what external factors we may or may not encounter.

This is why, Anon, I think that my system may be useful in explaining our predicament as related with the antinatalist cause. Does this make sense?

metamorphhh said...

"May the antinatalist cause be voiced more profoundly and in greater numbers and success, so that the greater cause of preventing sufferings of untold billions will be realized."

Compoverde, I appreciate your passion in approaching this subject. It's obvious to me that you realize the stakes involved. Keep up the good fight!

At this point, I should probably apologize for my on-again, off-again appearances here. I've been suffering from bouts of fatigue and vertigo for quite a while that interfere with my output, and which seem to be getting worse. I suppose I need to go see a doctor, though I dread the idea because of some past incidences where they've almost killed me. Anyway, I am especially appreciative of your efforts to pick up the slack, dear readers. I like to think of antinatalism as a virus which will one day infect everyone with clarity. The more carriers, the merrier! :)

metamorphhh said...

Compoverde:

I've always been of two minds regarding the emphasis placed on convincing people they aren't nearly as happy as they think they are. In one sense, can I really say that people lying to themselves to make themselves happy aren't actually happy? EVEN if that happiness is a direct result of self delusion? In fact, if that was all there was to it, I'd probably let them be.

The problem is, that delusional mindset generally translates to delusional ideas and statements about the world in general, thus justifying the perpetuation of the species, with all the horrors that entails. With that taken into account, I'm afraid the self-lie is a bubble that must be broken.

Compoverde said...

Garrett- Wow, thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed responses. I empathize with you. I suffer from chronic insomnia, and understand what it is like to be up at 4am and have nothing to do. I RARELY get REM, or deep sleep.

Garrett said: "So what if that's what makes us human? Who among us asked to be born as a human anyway? Some people find humanity repulsive in more ways than one. So embracing culture, language, and tools would be found objectionable. Work sucks. Period. If it weren't called work then it must be fun. No one gets up in the morning and says "Bye honey, I'll see you after fun!" If they did, then they'd probably be on the receiving end of a falcon punch from their spouse. So in order for me to enjoy lounging with my cat in the sun on a warm summer day, I need some asshole to throw rocks at me?! Fuck that! I'll kick that persons arrogant ass and send 'em packin'... then we'll see who's whole and complete :D"

You make sense here. Good points.

Let me toy with an interesting idea that goes along with the idea of work. Maybe "hard work" can be considered a "sleep-like" state. Why? Because we are not in the state of boredom which at its root has a sort of existential unease attached with it. Its like realizing that nothing has intrinsic tranquility and that we must propel our attention, thought, actions, and movements in another direction to flee this state of uneasy repose. Now, hard work is a way to keep one's attention in a dull anesthetized state so that this uneasy repose is overcome.

Hard-work may be part of "survival" but hard-work may be part of entertainment. Think of runners who do Iron Man races. They enter this "runner's zone" where they are in a very sleep-like state. Television has this effect as well, as do a lot of passive activities we indulge in.

Now consider this: as humans we love sleep. Even those who do not need much sleep value the sleep they get. So, if sleep is valued, and sleep-like states are valued, and facing the realities of existential meaninglessness are not valued, it seems that we value non-existence.

Better to keep that potential child non-existent rather than bearing it in only in order for it to continually look for ways to recreate (or rather mock) the state it was in before it was born. This is a newer idea I am toying with, related to my Deprivation system (though not equivalent to it). It really enhances however, the idea that we can never truly be happy as long as our motivations of survival, finding comfort, and fleeing boredom exist.

Compoverde said...

Garrett said: "B) Boredom is a state of mind, not a state of psychological reality. There may be people who are never driven out of boredom.
Perception, it has been said, is reality. We must keep this in context though. If I perceive that something is ugly, then I'm simply stating my desire not to be in it's presence. If I find it ugly, then it's ugly TO ME. If I am bored, then I AM bored. The existence of boredom can be demonstrated this way because I have felt it and others have voiced their perception of it to me. Through our communication we agreed that it was indeed the same phenomenon. Simple really. On the other hand, if I perceive that I can dodge bullets and I decide to put my money where my mouth is, then I will end up maimed or dead. This isn't The Matrix were talking about here, c'mon! Or is it? ;)"

I agree that this objection that "maybe some people never feel boredom" is a red herring. I see boredom as a special mental state of human existence. We are self-reflecting minds. This brings about a special awareness of existing. Even the Bushmen in Africa, or remote Amazonian tribe must have days where they are compelled from boredom to find some form of culturally contrived entertainment (maybe dancing, maybe mock fighting, maybe painting). We all have experiences of boredom at one point or another, and I contend that these brief glimpses might be overlooked as we don't like to stay in that state very long. Being overlooked, and downplayed, people who claim boredom as just subjective to certain individuals, are explaining away a real universal phenomenon.

Garrett said: C) These are all value statements, and values are not real.

If values are not real then life as we know it certainly has no value either! Hell, let's just toss aside the desire for continuation that so many people have and start killing others in the name of our cause. Consequences be damned and forget the individual wants! Kinda creates a blaring hypocrisy, doesn't it? If one is consistent in reasoning, and respect for the individual and their desire to avoid suffering is taken into account, then one must logically and empathetically allow another to carry out their wish, so long as that wish does not come at the cost of another individual.

To me, this sort of skepticism is callous. Suffering should be viewed in its proper place as a negative feeling to be avoided. If they think that ethics have no basis, and that minimizing suffering has no basis (as it is just a value and values have no basis), then maybe they should live a life of much suffering and rethink their stance?

Compoverde said...

Garrett said: "Science is defined as "the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from misunderstanding or ignorance." Granted, antinatalism isn't comprehensively covered as are so many other fields of scientific study, but consider antinatal implications for future cataloged scientific research: there won't be anyone left to read their precious discoveries. Aww, Shame. I think a conflict of interest may be to blame. Evolution is merely a self-fulfilling (and ultimately destructive and doomed to failure) flight of fancy and, in fact, has less bearing on reality than discontinutaion. That's because physical existence is the hiccup in reality and it will eventually return to nothing. So why put other's that one "loves" through the stress and madness? Esoteric though it may be, antinatalism is most certainly a science. Just not a popular one :) Speaking of "making sense of the world", evolution is merely a theory as well. Perhaps certain humans are biased, and find the aspects of rising from and above ape ancestors as a thing to be proud of... weird. They may also be proud of their ability to dominate other forms of life by hunting and consuming them. Or worse, placing them in factory farms to be slaughtered at leisure for the sake of selfish hedonism or fear of becoming weak (for lack of muscle tissue in the diet) and in turn, being dominated by the strong. Irrational fears have a way of skewing truth."

Science only explains the physical world, and its interactions. If anything, its simply a mode of survival that is culturally based on Western values, necessary to create new technology, and possibly another form of pure entertainment of the mind as well. However, science and technology does not give any insights into the human condition, it is only explanatory in how our species arose from random mutations and selection, exaptation, and processes of evolution. This does not give the subjective understanding of what it is to be a human and have to grapple with every day existence. I'll agree that science is probably the best methodology in discerning insights into the nature of how the universe developed and operates, however it is weak in giving any insights into existing as a self-reflective, social, existential being who must subjectively live in the world. I will also admit science and technology created from the culmination of historical events in Western history, has become a way for us to live with more leisure time to self-reflect about the nature of reality.. I tip my hat off to technology for that.

However, this is where the philosophy of pessimism comes into play. All I can discern as a subjective viewer of reality is that it is a condition of deprivation that is not a good thing. Aesthetic contemplation of art and nature are some small ways to overcome some of this existential deprivation, but it is not a complete or even a very good way to overcome the condition. Interpersonal relationships, might create moments of joy and laughter, but are also a source of tension and the moment you have that joyful moment, it also ceases in the onward rush of time as we move forward and the person dissapears. We exist, are deprived and must move forward.

Jim- I will take a look at your responses.

Compoverde said...

Garrett said: I've always been of two minds regarding the emphasis placed on convincing people they aren't nearly as happy as they think they are. In one sense, can I really say that people lying to themselves to make themselves happy aren't actually happy? EVEN if that happiness is a direct result of self delusion? In fact, if that was all there was to it, I'd probably let them be.

The problem is, that delusional mindset generally translates to delusional ideas and statements about the world in general, thus justifying the perpetuation of the species, with all the horrors that entails. With that taken into account, I'm afraid the self-lie is a bubble that must be broken.

Me: Jim, the heart of the problem to win hearts and minds will always be those who think life is just fantastic. These are usually Westernized, middle-upper class people who have lived a certain "charmed" life of their own. I am trying to overcome the simple retort from them that "life has far more good, and hence should be perpetuated for the next generation". For them, and their children, they truly think this is the case. Our job, at least my current conception of it, should probably be to reorient them. To make them question their perspective. Should we say they are delusional? That is an interesting question. Can we use another word for what they are doing? I think, perhaps they have a wrong assessment of the situation, or rather they have a very unexamined look. If we look at individuals throughout history, there does seem to be a pessimistic strain that leads to at least a foundation for antinatalism. Buddha, is of course one example, but there are traces of pessimism in many great minds who have reflected long on the human condition. Look at much of the ancient Greek schools of thought (Stoicism, Cynicism, Epicurianism), and Roman philosophers such as Lucretius. Look at Freud, and even the greatest scientific mind, Einstein. There is a pessimism in living in this human affairs, that most great minds have grasped. Yes, some will point to "other" great minds like Nietzche and those of his ilk, but then we can discuss what their motivations for their philosophies were, if more out of garishness than insight into the world. Was Nietzche just trying to be the opposite of Schopenhauer's outlook? Does the son resent the father and try to overcome him? But I digress.

metamorphhh said...

Compoverde:

Perhaps 'delusional' is too harsh a term, though I generally mean in the stricter sense, and not pejoratively. However, your points are well received. Interesting take on Nietzsche, although I tend to see his as just another attempt at sweetening the sour milk (Ligotti speaks to this in his book, btw).

Anyway, I'm off to work, but keep it coming. Always a pleasure...jim

Compoverde said...

Jim, now that I look at it, I wouldn't want to resort to a "great minds think alike" argument. Maybe we should focus long and hard on ways of overcoming their objections. Perhaps emphasize Pollyanaism, Adaptation, and Comparison that Benatar proposed. Maybe, we can find ways to better write and speak about the underlying Deprivation of the world and the three categories that I have expounded upon? What, in your conception, is the best way to go about convincing the bulk of the America, that existence is not good, and that we should not procreate this unto a new generation. I do not think the most effective way is to just say "hey, its a gamble the child may live a good life, but they may live a bad life and regret being born". That is too easy for them to say "oh well we'll raise it right, we have good genetics, and it won't grow up in any terrible circumstance of birth". What you are admitting to when say this is that there ARE some good lives. When we both know, even the charmed lives aren't that charmed. My theory of Deprivation contributes to the idea that existence is bad for EVERYONE, including the so-called charmed life person, and that they too should not procreate the human condition unto another generation.

The Plague Doctor said...

compoverde: "What, in your conception, is the best way to go about convincing the bulk of the America, that existence is not good, and that we should not procreate this unto a new generation."

Incentives. People do not respond well to logical arguments. They respond better to emotional arguments, but even better would be to change the incentive structure.

A blurb from Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization (at LessWrong):

"I leave you with a final argument from fictional evidence: Simon Funk's online novel After Life depicts (among other plot points) the planned extermination of biological Homo sapiens - not by marching robot armies, but by artificial children that are much cuter and sweeter and more fun to raise than real children. Perhaps the demographic collapse of advanced societies happens because the market supplies ever-more-tempting alternatives to having children, while the attractiveness of changing diapers remains constant over time. Where are the advertising billboards that say "BREED"? Who will pay professional image consultants to make arguing with sullen teenagers seem more alluring than a vacation in Tahiti?"

Compoverde said...

Thanks Plague Doctor, I'll check out the links. However, I'm not quite sure what you meant at the end when you said "Where are the advertising billboards that say "BREED"? Who will pay professional image consultants to make arguing with sullen teenagers seem more alluring than a vacation in Tahiti?"

Can you explain what you meant there?

metamorphhh said...

Compoverde:

"What, in your conception, is the best way to go about convincing the bulk of the America, that existence is not good, and that we should not procreate this unto a new generation."

In the short term, there is none. Perhaps in the long term as well. My hopes are grounded in the fact that success is slightly more than zero, combined with my belief that the message is the most important one in the world, therefore worthwhile pursuing.

Having said that, I'd also add that different people are reached in different ways. I'd like to see somebody produce some decent YouTube videos, since the general populace seems much more receptive to video messages than to the written word. Graphic imagery of suffering; make the reality of the situation sink in, you know? People tend to dismiss words rather easily, especially concerning things they don't want to hear. And a film would be GREAT, though finding backers, not to mention an audience, would probably be pretty difficult.

At this point, I'm just interested in helping to get the ball rolling. Probably the most important thing is clarity, and approaching the subject from many different angles certainly can't hurt in that regard. You never know when a marginal idea might suddenly get its place in the sun. I simply see myself as one man helping to pour the foundation of a possible future edifice built of self-honesty, knowledge and compassion. We each have our small part to play.

Compoverde said...

All good suggestions Jim. I know you are doing your part with this blog and your book. We need a marketing specialist!

metamorphhh said...

Plague Doctor:

Thanks for the link. I've downloaded 'After Life' to my nook.

The Plague Doctor said...

Compoverde,

Those were not my words; I just quoted Eliezer Yudkowsky's blurb from
Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization (at LessWrong)

I forgot the last sentence:
""In the end," Simon Funk wrote, "the human species was simply marketed out of existence.""

More realistically, the best way to reduce procreation is to convince rich people to donate money to a charity that forwards the money to people provided that they undergo sterilization.

Detractors might say that this "pressures" poor people more than rich people, but that is a good thing, because there is a very large correlation, both individually and internationally, between poverty and a large birth rate as well as between poverty and death in childhood, such that being born in a poor family is a horrible experience. Yes, rich children can suffer and should not be born either, but it's more urgent and better to start with families in poverty or bad mental or physical health (see also my previous mentioning of anti-dysgenics).

A model would be Project Prevention, a charity foundation whose stated goal is to reduce the number of substance exposed births to zero.

The Plague Doctor said...

Speaking of Simon Funk, here is an example of how the "life affirmation mythology", as Crawford has called it, gets perpetuated by selective presentation of the facts:

In this diary entry, Simon's mother is dying of cancer, experiencing genuine trepidation as "something really horrible is happenning..."

Meanwhile, Simon writes "Must focus on the good" and then proceeds to feed the kids at the school he teaches at the same kind of optimistic bullshit I was fed when I was younger (read here). And this is from a self-proclaimed rationalist, with "the desire to know the truth above all other considerations."

"Thus we pass through this world half asleep, as it were, playing these little games with ourselves; overlooking this, superficially re-interpreting that, being careful to keep the tentacles of our sympathy from reaching into too many dark places, lest they invite empathetic overload and fry the circuits of our precariously maintained axiological comfort zones. In short, 'ignorance is bliss'; emphasis on the 'ignor(e)' part."

I believe Simon reads his HTTP logs so he will probably pop up any minute to defend himself.

metamorphhh said...

Plague Doctor:

When it comes to the religion of life affirmation, infidels come far and few between. Here's an early piece I wrote about Richard Dawkins, the supposed scientific rationalist who's made quite a good living by attacking, rightly, the superstitious mindsets empowering traditional religious belief. But when you read the snippet I've offered of his book, it's plain to see that he's playing the same games, romanticizing and otherwise gerrymandering the facts to bolster his own life mythology. His solemn attestation revealing how 'lucky' we are to be here would seem at home posted above a stained-glass window with a hymn playing in the background, no?

Compoverde said...

Plague Doctor and Jim and all,

Can an author who so brilliantly expound the antinatalist argument as David Benatar has done with Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, also have poor arguments in other ethical manner? Look at this link to his piece on the philosophy of sex. I think in this case, his argument is poor and he makes a false dichotomy. Its just interesting to me how I disagree with his approach so much in this article, but be so steadfastly in line with his thought on his antinatalism stance. Any comments on this inconsistency?

http://books.google.com/books?id=-arJDCunTwEC&pg=PA325&lpg=PA325&dq=david+benatar+and+philosophy+of+sex&source=bl&ots=25vZ03sTlo&sig=PmdmjAPmhV

CM said...

Compoverde, have you read the whole article on sexual ethics? The Google books preview is missing several pages. Here's the full text just in case.

Is it possible that you fell prey to the following sentence in the intro (by yet another compiler who deserves to be beaten over the head repeatedly with a sock full of quarters)?

"If sexual activity has intrinsic worth as a source of pleasure, then casual sex is perfectly permissible but, at least in principle, sometimes that value, the pleasure, will outweigh the disvalue, the harm, done to unwilling people during rape or done to children in acts of pedophilia."

This is utter bullshit and that's not how Benatar represents the casual view of sex at all (in fact, he notes that under that view, sex is still subject to the usual moral constraints), nor is the above sentence Benatar's own opinion. The person who wrote the intro is confusing the casual view with ethical egoism. The article is much better summed up in the abstract in the link I provided, and in the second paragraph of the article itself.

Anyway, if I made a false assumption and you have other objections, I'd love to know what they are. I hope it's not too off-topic, Jim. Benatar is pretty badass when it comes to challenging established notions on taboo subjects, and so far I've enjoyed pretty much every article of his and found them to be very logically sound.

CM said...

Jim, I hope you feel better soon, with or without (or in spite of?) the doctors. Book reviews aren't going to write themselves, you know:)

metamorphhh said...

CM,

It is what it is, I guess. I appreciate your concern, though. As far as the review, I'm pretty content to advertise the book with this placeholder until I'm satisfied with my work. I so often tend to rush things out, and am later disappointed. And this is a really great book, deserving of care. Mr. Ligotti sees the underlying problems of existence with great clarity, and I'm doing my best to work a taste of his methodology into the review- which isn't easy, since I'm not half the writer he is. But I shall persevere!

metamorphhh said...

Here's a taste, just to prove I'm not utterly slacking...

History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake- Ulysses by James Joyce

Herein lies the problem of consciousness. Before its refined emergence as the node called human, there is only sleep. An uneasy sleep, to be sure. A tranquility punctuated by appalling interruptions of rumbling stomachs and tearing flesh. No nobility in pre-solipsistic savagery, perhaps, but the agonies keep to their assigned beats and only bother those who actually cross their paths. A dream within a dream.

Then, the worst thing imaginable happens. The dream awakens within itself, becomes lucid. A shard of the latency breaks loose. Falls out of the sky. There is a sense of plummeting, of scrambling for altitude in the midst of obstacles. Worse yet, there comes an awareness of gravity, and of the maxim ‘What goes up...’. The dream becomes a nightmare.

In ‘The Conspiracy Against the Human Race’, a work of non-fiction soon to be released, acclaimed horror author Thomas Ligotti strikes at the heart of the lie we maintain to shield ourselves from the contemplation of that nightmare, lest we find ourselves face to face with the secret ‘too terrible to know’. The lie? That ‘being alive is all right’. And the unutterable secret? That life is ‘malignantly useless’. And so we shut our eyes to that particular horror, sleepwalking our way from one oasis of distraction to the next, as we grope by faith toward whatever version of Zion happens to suit our soteriological temperament.

Chip said...

Well, I think you've captured the spirit of it just so. Carry on.

I think most people are ill-disposed to consider the quickening of consciousness in terms of "malignancy" for the simple reason they cannot imagine anything else (of course, Ligotti is wise to this habit, as he makes clear in his introductory remarks). The strength -- and downfall -- of deep pessimism is that it strives to get behind such firmly constituted preconceptions. Once the darker view crystallizes, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to shed. From the cosmic lens, there is no solace to be gleaned in the plight of so many "meaningless meaners" (to misappropriate Dennett's term) clamoring in the dumb show of force that an indifferent universe has unleashed through a sieve. The tragedy is epic, and at the same time, stupid -- or horrific. You get Nietzsche sobbing over a whipped horse for bound eternity.

Dispassion tells us that life is a physical disturbance, or occurrence. It starts and stops. An eruption. Fuck that. Although a God would be worse, so fuck Him, too.

My only criticism of Ligotti's great book is somewhat idiosyncratic. I wish that the lit-crit dimension had peered beyond the literature of the "uncanny" to consider how the titualar conspiracy is evinced in artistic expressions that are less conventionally situated within the horror genre. More than any living writer, Todd Solondz reminds me of Lovecraft. And I can't read Houellebecq or Handke or even Nabokov without encountering the ominous rustling of wind that provokes zero. Have you seen Nigel Cooke's paintings?

Anonymous said...

Chip said: "Have you seen Nigel Cooke's paintings?"

Not knowing anything about Cooke (except that there's a bit of one of his paintings on the cover of Brassier's Nihil Unbound), I decided to look him up just now. I found plenty of pics, and also an interview. The interview contains this tragic bit (making me think it's probably just as well that Ligotti didn't include a discussion of him; apparently the wind that provokes zero is worth just that):

CG: Recent months have been very busy for you. First you had a solo exhibition at Tate Britain in March. In April your show opened at Andrea Rosen in New York. And you're expecting a baby. Has this been a happy period, or has all the stress been difficult?

NC: I enjoy a certain level of stress because it keeps you critical of your own decisions. It's been one of the most productive and surprising phases of my work so far, creating a very close relationship between working and showing that is both exposed and constructive. And the baby is a great reward at the end of it.

from:
http://www.papercoffin.com/writing/articles/cooke.html

CM said...

If the mood you're setting with this review snippet is indicative of the tone of the book, it certainly sounds appealing. Just for the sake of the writing, if nothing else. I've never actually read any of Ligotti's other books since I'm not a huge horror fiction fan, but everyone keeps fawning over his writing style, so I'm curious now. In any case, books by antinatalist writers is probably one of the better things you can spend your money on.

Chip - I think Palindromes has one of the most fucked up storylines I've ever seen. And an all too probable one, too.

Chip said...

CM,

If I were to choose a film that is most relevant to the project being unlayered by the writers whose names come up here, it would be Palindromes (a close second would be The Seventh Continent). Most critics were misdirected by the surface politics (concerning abortion) and failed to notice what Solondz was really up to.

The Plague Doctor said...

Yeah, Houellebecq hits home like a kick in the groin. timcoojmans, being a programmer you should read his book "Whatever".

Journey to the End of the Night by Celine is supposedly also a good book in the same pessimist genre; has anyone read it?

metamorphhh said...

Chip:

"The tragedy is epic, and at the same time, stupid -- or horrific."

Both, at times. And of course, the tragedy is fed by all the wondrousness whose very incompleteness renders it all stupid in the end. My dog Gypsy was life. So was the cancer that took her away. And lest someone chasten me for neglecting the value of her presence in my life, I would remind them that soon I will go the way of Gypsy, and her cancer, and even her memory will be as if she never was. This is why people react so harshly to the idea of antinatalism. They believe they and their loved ones somehow survive through the thoughts and memories and even genetic heritage of those who come after. In this context, a child is much like a library built by a writer built to feature his own work. An edifice of ego, maintained at someone else's expense.

metamorphhh said...

Plague Doctor, Chip:

I got about halfway through 'Platform', but sort of lost interest. Then again, translations of fiction usually leave me feeling a little flat. I also have a copy of 'Elementary Particles'. Is that better?

Karl said...

'The Elementary Particles' or 'Atomised' as it's better known is a masterpiece. It is THE novel of our times and essential reading in my opinion. 'Whatever' was his first novel, but was a gem, and contained all of the themes of his later work.

'Journey to the End of the Night' is the most pessimistic and dark novel ever written and is essential reading for anyone with a leaning toward philosophical pessimism. Samuel Beckett said that after 'Ulysses' it was the greatest novel in French and English literature. You can't get a higher recommendation!

metamorphhh said...

Karl,

Thanks for the recommendations.

Anonymous said...

A question for Jim... I pre-ordered CAHR in late March from Hippocampus and still no book. Do you have a contact with these folks? When will it be published?

Btw, I have read your book. Great! The last part about your enigmatic neighbor was perfect!

metamorphhh said...

anonymous:

I'm afraid I don't, but I'd suggest that you might find out some information at the author's website-

http://www.ligotti.net/cmps_index.php

Thanks for the thumbs up on my book!:)

Anonymous said...

I wrote to Hippocampus asking what up on CAHR back in mid May, and they told me printing was behind, and that they anticipated "shipping at the end of the month". Of course, they didn't say WHICH month (or which YEAR, for that matter). Disappointing.

metamorphhh said...

Well, there's still a day left in May, so hang in there! Fortunately, it's a helluva book, and worth the wait imho.

timcooijmans said...

Plague Doctor,

Thanks for the personal recommendation. I'll keep my eye out for the book (and Celine's book too -- I hear many good things about it).

Chip said...

Boffo, my good man! You've transcended the form; this isn't a review, but an first rate essay composed under Ligotti's subfusc spell.

metamorphhh said...

Thanks! I hope I was able to convey some of the book's tone. I'm honored to have been offered the opportunity to review it. An insightful piece of work, and a damned fine read.

the Naked Arab said...

Good review, and I'm looking forward to reading that book and yours.

This is my first comment here, been lurking for a few weeks. I need to read over your archives. I found this site through Hoover Hog, one of my favorite sites on the net, been reading that one for a few years.

I actually just started my own site and did a quick review of the concept of antinatalism. It's mildly critical, if you get a chance take a look. Thanks!

metamorphhh said...

Naked Arab:

Feel free to lurk to your heart's content, but also thanks for contributing to the discussion whenever you choose to do so. I enjoyed your review, and will try to respond when I've had a little time to digest what you've said. Until then, welcome aboard!

Mitchell said...

I see the counter-conspiracy lives!

Compoverde said...

I must say, I like what you write in defense of pessimism but respectfully disagree with your analysis of antinatalism. You may be on to something regarding pessimism as a broader worldview with antinatalism being a sub-category within this broader view. However, in defense of the antinatalism "strain" of pessimism, I think it is really a moralist reaction to the pessimistic view. It is a cause which the pessimist can take up while living this insignificant life. We all know the institution of procreation will never truly be abolished, but it is the willingness to fight for the cause that is important. It is the only one in this reader's eyes that has any importance actually. It trumps all other political, social, and cultural issues because of the mere fact that every other issue is predicated on the act of being born in the first place. I think I have more to say about this. I need more time to gather my thoughts to give a more detailed response. However, I just wanted to at least give you some response and acknowledgement for your blog.

I too have a blog, though not as well edited and eloquent. You can take a look. One of them is www.conedemnedtoexistence.blogspot.com. I conceived of the anti-procreation movement, before I ever read Better Never to Have Been. Also, I think my blog predates even Jim's antinatalism blog. It is interesting to me that all of these similar thoughts have coalesced without coordination or foreknowledge.

Compoverde said...

That last comment I made was for The Naked Arab in response to his blog.

Josep said...

Congratulations from a Spanish reader. I enjoy (so to speak...) your blog very much.
I'm looking forward to receive Ligotti's book, and I intend to get yours soon. Lucidity today is a rare commodity, and I admire both of you for swimming against the tide with honestity, elegance and courage.

metamorphhh said...

Compoverde:

It IS interesting how we've all come out of the woodwork so recently, isn't it? Then again, we live in a new world, a world where anyone can publicly express themselves about pretty much anything and garner an audience of similar thinkers. And even though I acknowledge antinatalism as being an extreme minority position, I also believe there are more of us out there than might seem apparent on the surface.

Josep:

Welcome to my blog, and thanks for the support. Hope you enjoy the books!

Anonymous said...

Has ANYBODY received a pre-ordered Ligotti's CAHR from Hippocampus yet? My pre-order was made in late March.

metamorphhh said...

Anonymous:

Here's the latest word I've got- TCAHR will be taken possession of by the publisher on Friday, and pre-orders will be shipped immediately after that. Hang in there, folks, it's definitely worth the wait. I'll soon be starting my 5th reading! :)

Anonymous said...

'bout time!
Just received my copy of CAHR!

metamorphhh said...

Anonymous: Awesome!

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