Monday, March 28, 2011

Hell or Non-Existence?

I've been leafing through forums this morning where the participants are discussing the preferability of an eternity in Hell over non-existence. Now to me, it's a no-brainer, but surprisingly most of the respondents tend to lean towards Hell as the more desirable option. How in the world can this be so? One person said something like "Yeah, Hell's really bad, but then non-existence is like, wow, you don't exist! That's pretty scary too!"

I think what we're dealing with here is some very primal, primitive brain stuff that has to do with FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN, something that's cutting right past the logic circuits and stabbing straight into the matrix of inchoate fears reinforcing (or entirely making up, perhaps?) our self-survival mode of being. It's a very personal thing, almost untouchable by abstract thought. For instance, if you were to ask one of these folk whether or not a potential brother or sister who was never conceived is in a bad place, they'd probably find the suggestion ludicrous- which would be the fitting, logical response. However, if they are then asked to hypothetically take the place of their imaginary sibling, suddenly the palms start to sweat and the hairs stand up on the back of the neck. They are at once taken back to the primeval wilderness, peering into the mouth of a dark cave, filling the silence with imaginings of undefined monsters and demons; or even, loneliness. And so, they accept the horror of the kind of torturous existence they at least THINK they can partially understand, and for what? Basically because they're afraid of the dark.

Of course, this preference for Hell over the lack of experiential existence is incredibly simple-minded, as I think I can demonstrate with a simple thought experiment:

Imagine that one day you wake up, and find yourself in bed in a prison cell. The moment you sit up, your jailer appears. He informs you that you will be locked up in this prison for the rest of your life. You then are given 2 options. Each morning, you will be offered a pill that allows you dreamless, undisturbed sleep until the next morning. If you choose not to take the pill, you will be savagely beaten, raped and otherwise humiliated without interruption until the following morning, when you will again be given the option of taking the pill.

Now, honestly, how long would it take you to learn that taking the pill is the better option?

I DID find one guy who 'bravely' chose Hell over non-existence just so he could join in making it rougher for some of his fellows. Which only goes to show how much internet tough talk is really worth.


Shadow said...

Jim, wtf?

you are on fire today!

metamorphhh said...


On fire? Seems appropriate, considering the subject matter. LOL!

cuntagious said...

Simple human egoism -- folks consider themselves too important to cease existing. Even eternity in hell validates their sense of self-imporance. But I'm with you man, GIVE ME OBLIVION.

Karl said...

Unfortunately even the great Samuel Johnson, a man otherwise keenly aware of the misery of life, also said he'd prefer an eternity of hell to non-existence. The power of the ego for most individuals is terrifying and unstoppable it seems.

filrabat said...

Re: Karl's Remarks

Three letters and one word explain this: D-N-A Programming (along with it's blueprints for how to build a brain). The DNA is simply acting on its programming - reproducing itself. But why does DNA have to (in a moral or urgency sense) reproduce? Because it's programmed to do so! It's a self-referential loop, one whose consequences are yet more people who will be born, breathe, eat, drink, expel waste, and reproduce - plus entertain themselves in some way order to keep from being bored (hobbies, activities, interests, etc). Worst of all, once a person's born, they're (barring people desperate enough to want to off themselves) addicted to living - or afraid of dying (usually a justifiable reason...obligations to others, not wanting to create strong anguish for surviors, etc).

So it's not surprising that even Mr. Johnson couldn't see the reality of life through to its ultimate conclusion