An Apologia for Human Life. (Should you bring a child into this world full of suffering?)

1. July 2017

I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure. – Agent Smith, The Matrix

“I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it. “- Agent Smith, The Matrix

Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why? Why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting… for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although… only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist? – Agent Smith, The Matrix

Can you feel it Mr. Anderson? Closing in on you? Oh I can, I really should thank you after all. It was, after all, it was your life that taught me the purpose of all life. The purpose of life is to end. – Agent Smith, The Matrix

The Antinatalist movement is a movement that wants the human race to go extinct by convincing people not to have children. They argue on both humanitarian and ecological grounds that it would be better if there were no humans.

The ecological argument is that humans cause harm to the environment and my retort to that is ‘So what?’ The harm done to the ecology only matters to us so long as it affects us therefore if there are no humans it hardly matters that the environment remains untouched for a while until it is destroyed again by some other event like an ice age or something, nothing lasts forever, therefore the ecological dividend after human extinction will most likely not last forever anyway. There is also the possibility that given enough time another sentient species which can experience suffering and fear of death just like humans may evolve once humans go extinct. The only way to get rid of suffering permanently would be to extinguish all life and not just human life or in other words the destruction of all ecosystems on this planet. And that would only work assuming that there is only sentient life on this planet.

This brings me to the humanitarian argument for human extinction, that life is  full of suffering or at any rate pointless suffering and that so we should bring it to an end as painlessly as possible by not breeding, antinatalists are in a way endorsing the ideal of a world with not pain by rejecting one full of pain and pointless suffering. I think the problem here is that reducing the birth rates to zero is not going to lead to some kind of utopia, on the contrary as the ratio of the working population to the elderly dependent population is going to be skewed that there will be fewer and fewer working age tax paying citizens leading to a collapse in the economy and living standards, the last years of humanity in a world where antinatalism wins would be very ugly, it’s true that there will be more resources to go around as the population decreases, but workers are an important resource too and without them the economy would grind to a halt. But what about when everyone is gone forever, wouldn’t that mean that there will be no more suffering nor struggle? Yes, there will be no more pleasure either. I don’t think there is a way to quantifiably measure the collective pleasure and collective pain of the human race and even if there were a way I think that in the end, it is up to the individual to decide for himself whether he thinks his life is worth living, we can’t decide that for others, not even for our children; Owing to the fact that suicide is not the norm I would say that life is at least worth living (for most) if not worth propagating, even people who are certain that they will be in heaven will not stand idly as you try to kill them, after all  dying is not quite the same thing as not being born, I will grant you that this is an appeal to the majority but in the end it is up to the individual to decide whether their life is worth living, and the only way to be able to make that choice is by being born and alive in the first place, therefore if you think that you have got the adequate resources to bring up a child with love and care (and discipline or at least a modicum of civility) then it would be highly disingenuous to deny them the chance to experience pleasure to save them from the inevitable grief, of course their life could end up being an absolute hell, but the odds are that they will live an average normal life full of little pleasures and sadness, but an antinatalist might say – but why should it be up to the individual to decide if their life is worth living, couldn’t the individual be wrong? And isn’t someone who decides to have children de-facto deciding that their child’s life will be worth living (after all killing yourself isn’t as easy as not being born)?To the second point I don’t want to argue in circles but as I said there is good reason when you have a child that they will have an okay life provided that the material conditions and the environment for an okay life are there, although nothing can be guaranteed a 100% and it is a wager that one is taking there even if it is in your favour. And to the first point, I don’t think there is any moral authority we can turn to decide if someone’s life is worth living, especially when it comes to the life of some hypothetical individual who isn’t even born in the first place, hasn’t done anything, or experienced anything, the only certainty is that they will die, of course, we can guess what the quality of their life will be like depending on the environment and material conditions they will be born into but I would hardly suggest that we should judge the worth someone’s life based on guesswork, therefore in the absence of such an authority all that is left is the individual to make that choice for himself after he is born.  I will end this post with a youtube comment from the comment section of the last video I embedded from this post.

“Only humans could invent something as insipid as love.” This is what is wrong with Agent Smith. He is forever alone. Pure logic without a dash of insanity called empathy, and love, has no meaning. It really does a good job at pointing out what the ‘point’ of life is. To enjoy yourself, and to help others also enjoy themselves. That is all. As far as red vs blue pills goes… it only matters once given the choice. Ignorance of that choice would make the question a meaningless one. This is why his answer was ‘because I choose to’. He chose to live simply because he had a choice, and chose to defy death. Any choice based in non-reason is something the machines cannot understand, and the reason they continue to fail to make a ‘perfect’ matrix.

A Personal View of Femininity

30. June 2017

“If the truth is a cruel mistress then a lie must be a nice girl. And so kindness itself is a lie.”

– Wataru Watari, Oregairu

“And yet who can fail to feel a sort of pleasure in seeing that fraud, feminine delicacy, exploded for once?” – George Orwell, Politics vs. Literature – An examination of Gulliver’s travels

The character traits most closely associated with femininity are kindness and empathy although the latter does not necessarily imply the former. After all, empathy is necessary to practice targeted cruelty to inflict the maximum amount of pain.

I often hear online about how feminists attack masculinity on the basis of it being toxic but despite this in effect women have adopted the same ideals and value systems of men while those of men have by and large remained the same. Is there such a thing as feminity in such an environment anymore? I think there is. In an earlier post where  I laid down my thoughts on masculinity, I said that I don’t think that masculinity is much of a way to differentiate men from women as much as it is a way to tell apart the men from the boys. The reason that I said this is that many traits which are considered to be masculine are also found in women and obviously traits like kindness and empathy are also found in men (and also not found in some women). What purpose does femininity serve then? To differentiate the girls from the women? Partly.

Are femininity and masculinity supposed to complement each other? Yes, but I see it more as something that happens within the mind of an individual and not necessarily between a man and a woman. One may be more one or the other but then what warrants the use of a gendered term like femininity then? Couldn’t kindness and empathy just be called kindness and empathy and not be associated with a specific gender? I think the answer to that is found in the way that courting works but it may lie elsewhere I don’t really care, the point I have been working up to is that femininity is fraudulent because its primary component, kindness is fraudulent.

“Our consciences take NO notice of pain inflicted upon others until it reaches a point where it gives pain to US. In ALL cases without exception we are absolutely indifferent to another person’s pain until his sufferings make us uncomfortable.” – Mark Twain, What is Man?

 

 


On an unrelated note I found this interesting discussion about anime backgrounds on youtube. Some of you may find it interesting, some of you may not. It discusses some of the history and changes in the way anime backgrounds are made and some of the types of anime backgrounds and goes a bit into how they are made too. I find discussions like these interesting but I often feel that they are not enough.

What is an Otaku? The New Passionate Romantic

28. June 2017

What comes to mind when one thinks of an otaku? A dirty young man obsessed with something, anything really- boats, planes but most probably anime, manga, video games, light novels etc… the image of someone living vicariously through fiction, pure escapism. But why? Because reality is hard and it is hard and boring to build up one’s reputation? Perhaps so but there’s always a glimpse of something more beyond the empowerment fantasies or perhaps around them and that thing is beauty.

A few months ago I found this wonderful essay and I wanted to share it with you:

The Romantic, Passionate Japanese in Anime: A Look at the Hidden Japanese Soul

By Eri Izawa

A Personal View of Masculinity

28. June 2017

I would say that a fairly conventional list of the minimum requirements to be a man presented to boys would consist of the following:

  • Financial Independence
  • Strength and Courage
  • Wit and Humour
  • Intelligence (Wit and humour serve to show some degree of intelligence)
  • A Competitive Edge. An ‘I will be the best at this thing’ attitude.

Masculinity is flexible, as long as the basic criteria are fulfilled a man can be good or he may be evil but he still is a man.  These attributes may be found in many women too and the reason for this is that masculinity isn’t much of a way to differentiate men from women as much as to tell apart the men from the boys. In effect, this differentiation is not so different to the distinction between a child and an adult but the differences which warrant a gendered term are in the details.

At its most fundamental level, the differences stem from the generalised experience of male to female courting. Just as the male gaze brings out certain behaviours in women so do the generalised preferences of women, for lack of a better term, the female gaze, define and select for what the characteristics of masculinity are. Of course, men may then impose such characteristics on each other but the contribution of each gender to its formation is unquantifiable so I suppose it is safer to say that society as a whole is responsible for it.

The two most common criticisms levied against masculinity is that it promotes violence and aggressiveness towards others and that it causes repression of feelings in men. To the first two which are essentially one I have to say that in some instances violence and aggressiveness are in fact desirable and the capability for violence especially in men must not be demonized, in fact being incapable of violence is not a virtue in itself, having the capability to overpower others and yet also the restraint not to exercise it irresponsibly is a virtue, therefore the lower rate of violence in women is not necessarily a virtue either. The bottom line is that men are not broken women.

The repression caused by masculine ideals is a product of how men generally prefer to deal with problems in a practical manner, that is to say that men generally see no practical utility in sharing their feelings with others profusely, of course they are human and may speak to other men or to some of their friends usually while engaging in some sort of activity predominantly practiced by men, like I don’t know playing some violent video-games or whatnot but in any case an approach focusing more on the practical problems of men (like say unemployment) rather than their feelings is more likely to yield results. At any rate, it would work better to try nothing than trying to emasculate men for sharing or for not sharing what’s wrong with them, if they feel like it then they will share what they feel if not then let it be and seek another avenue to try to help them if that is what one really wants to do.

The one criticism I will accept about masculinity tentatively is that it stifles individuality to an extent by pushing an ideal onto him, by discouraging some behaviours and promoting others, but who finds every human behaviour to be acceptable? Well, anyone who doesn’t is in effect pushing an ideal onto others and stifling individuality.

Does it matter if we don’t have free will?

27. June 2017

“Yes I have free will; I have no choice but to have it.” Christopher Hitchens

So long as the consequences, the outcomes are what they are? Does it matter whether you have agency or not? There are two reasons to want free will, the first is that it’s nice to have a choice, the second is that it is hard not to believe that there is no personal responsibility at least when it comes to the things that other people do, but in effect does it really matter why an action is done, so long as it is done, so long as the consequences remain the same? Does it matter why people do what they do as long as they do it? What if humans are just very complex machines like Mark Twain suggests in What is man?

Beauty is (not) in the eye of the beholder

26. June 2017

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what if the beholders have come to a consensus?

‘The cruelty of selection is what makes beauty, beauty.’/ ‘Beauty is beauty due to the cruelty of selection.’

– Masami Tsuda, Kare Kano

In practice it hardly matters whether the standard of beauty is objective or subjective so long as there is a consensus. And there is  always a subjective consensus, the problem is that you can’t get rid of consensus you can only alter it. It is subjective but only in a collective sense, and precisely because the standard of beauty is subjective the only point of reference that matters is consensus. This is true for beauty in art and also for beauty in physical appearance.

In the former case one only needs to look at what works are considered to be great works of art and in the end whatever measure is used to judge art, to select, amounts to subjective consensus, there is nothing objective about evaluating art but this does not mean that the artistic consensus does not matter, in effect it is the thing that matters the most, after all there  is hardly anything more important in human life than it after the basic needs have been fulfilled.

In the latter case this is even more true because while it is quite easy to ignore all aesthetic judgement directed towards art for most people it is much harder to ignore the aesthetic judgements directed towards them, and their physical appearance.

The question which arises then is, ‘Should we strive towards no aesthetic judgement? Is the ethical thing to do to abolish beauty?’ Which is a meaningless question because the consensus on beauty cannot be abolished and is by definition primed to be selective, if everything is beautiful then nothing is, even those who seek to adopt(i.e. promote) a standard of beauty diametrically opposed to the present one are not abolishing the consensus only trying to gerrymander it because they would benefit socially from an altered consensus. For example when fat models assert that they are beautiful (which is the equivalent of claiming that Peter Pan is as good if not better than King Lear) they are in effect expecting that the consensus will be changed in their favour, that other people will think that they are beautiful. After all if beauty is subjective all that matters is the consensus of beauty and if beauty were objective all that would matter would be the consensus anyway. Similarly those artists creating abstract art are just trying to change the subjective consensus to adopt their standards to something that benefits them. A deconstruction is after-all nothing more than a non-superimposable mirror image, a parody which attempts to displace what it parodies.

Note: I have done my best not to discuss whether there is an objective standard for beauty that can be derived from evolutionary psychology or from some other means because frankly such a topic is beyond the scope my knowledge and I would only end up making a fool of myself if I already haven’t. Let me know in the comment section.

Reputation is Stereotype

26. June 2017

Humans are pattern seeking animals. Stereotypes are common patterns found in a group of people, a sort of group reputation. It is irrelevant whether it is justifiable to superimpose a groups identity/reputation onto an individual as this will happen anyway, what can be done however is to gerrymander a group’s reputation through propaganda, by making caricatures of groups in the media, for example portraying the Jews as evil manipulators,  and women with achievements in five different scientific fields and able to beat up five men twice her size in the media, but such a thing will come off as nothing more than a caricature when the real thing is placed next to the false one, or in other words a lasting group reputation needs to have some basis in reality (i.e. Asians in America tend to have higher test scores). Stereotypes could become self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling prophesies to an extent but they cannot defy reality and ultimately individuals are responsible for their own reputation. It should be the individual who is being stereotyped to bear the burden to prove that he is the exception to the rule, and when there are enough exceptions to the rule it ceases to be a rule or a stereotype. Asking society to lift the stereotype is asking society to pretend as if the stereotype has no basis in reality and when someone does fall into the stereotype this further strengthens the stereotyped as society feels that it is being asked to pretend not to see what’s right in front of their nose.

For example if the African American ‘community’ would commit less crime then that would alter their stereotype in s in the media  and in the police. The root of the problem is the crime in the real world not the stereotypes in people’s minds. Convicting people for thought crime is ultimately useless.

Note: This post was made in response to the The Daily Prompt: Commit

The Patriarchy, or The Magical, Invisible, Omnipotent Cock and Balls in the sky

25. June 2017

I think the title of this post says all that I have to say on this subject.

An Addendum;

  • MALE MPs REPRESENT WOMEN AS MUCH AS THEY REPRESENT MEN.
  • THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS FOR WOMEN TO STAND FOR OFFICE (IN THE UK) NEITHER SHOULD THERE BE ANY SPECIAL INCENTIVES.

The Political Motive: Imposition

25. June 2017

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. – Oscar Wilde

But what if living as one wishes to affects other people? What if it compels others to act in a different manner in effect imposing one’s will on to others,  well this may be because their will is weak enough to be affected by someone else, but if “no man is an island” and if the ‘bell tolls for thee’ then can we really allow people to have personal autonomy regardless of how it will affect others? I am not talking about clear cut cases such as whether we should allow murder, of course we should not but what about something more subtle than that such as say a drug addict who is negatively affecting the life of his family,  a sexually liberal individual who is once again affecting his family negatively, someone who wants to divorce herself even if it will harm her children, someone who wants to have a late-term abortion or a racist or homophobic person, or a mysoginist who has an unpopular bigoted opinion which will negatively affect those to whom it is directed towards by spreading harmful stereotypes? The question is if society and more pressingly the state should impose limits on behaviour then how far should they go? Should these limitations stop at any point in any part of people’s lives at all? Should personal autonomy be banned entirely if possible? Is someone’s liberty always an imposition on someone else’s freedom? Well, Peter Hitchens and Karl Marx seem to believe that that is the case. And if that is the case why have any respect for liberty at all and why not treat it as none other than a temporary compromise because it is impossible to impose one’s will on every other ideological group in the country? Couldn’t Erdogan’s analogy of democracy being a bus ride that one gets on and then gets off once one has reached one’s destination, also be applied to ALL liberties?

Let’s say you are a part of ideological group A and you hate ideological group B and what they stand for. Now let’s say that group B gets into power, tell me, is there any reason that B should not impose its will unilaterally on  if B has the power to do so effectively? Why should liberty not be discarded in favour of whatever right-wing or left-wing ideology you may hold to be true?

Another problem however is the less violent of imposition in society, for example if you have certain conservative views about homosexuality, race and gender you may be denied employment in certain sectors especially if you can affect public opinion, isn’t this a form of imposition? However how can one be against this if one is in favour of impositions onto the side such as that two people should remain married whether they want to or not? In both cases innocent people are being affected, in one case minorities are purported to be affected by the spreading of harmful self-fulfilling stereotypes and in the other children may be affected negatively by the lack of a parent. It doesn’t have to something as heated as that, what about the proposition that there must be a day of rest every week, what right does the state have to be allowed to impose such limits onto businesses other than the simple fact that it has got the power to impose such a thing? What about taxation to help the destitute? Isn’t that an imposition too? It almost seems like all political motives(and this includes those of the religious right) have a way of degenerating into the pursuit of the power to impose one’s ideals onto others.

There is no solution to this conundrum but a step in a right direction would be to promote(once again at what level of level of ‘promotion’ does it become ‘imposition’) a belief that the state is not there to solve everyone’s problems, it’s just there to maintain stability and freedom so that we can each solve our own problems. I don’t think it is possible not to interfere with others, which must mean that according to Wilde we are all selfish, but that doesn’t warrant us to be as selfish as we want to be by going out of our way to impose our ideals onto others, and if we do so we immediately open the gates for them to try to do the same to us, which I suppose we can’t help but do.

On Holocaust Deniers, Lolita Hentai and Censorship

23. June 2017

I think that those who advocate for censorship ought to be given a taste of their own medicine and be censored into oblivion until they will squirm and beg for freedom of speech. I am afraid unless this is done they will never be able to grasp such a simple point.

What I like to point out to those moral busybodies is there are those find their tripe as harmful as they think that pictures in a comic book are harmful and many who find their beliefs just as if not more disgusting than lolita-themed hentai or holocaust denial.

I know that this may sound ridiculous to those seeking to censor others when public opinion is against that thing that they want to ban but if I were them I wouldn’t rely on the mob as much as the mob will turn on you. This is the reason that freedom of speech is there to protect the minority opinion no matter how reprehensible the majority finds it.  And if an artist is deprived the freedom to draw little children in sexual situations or a writer denied the right to pen an article denying an historical fact then the gates are opened for public opinion to simply decide which things can see the light of the day and it might just so happen that something you think will be unpopular unless if you have any individual opinions.

I am not saying that you should support Holocaust denial or that you should draw lolita-themed pornography but both of those things should be tolerated, people should be free to do these things.