ConspiracyThe Conspiracy Against The Human RacePosted:

Eli
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Motto: "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far." H.P. Lovecraft
Preamble

This is going to be an uncharacteristically long topic for TTG as of late. There used to be a lot more posts as lengthy as this one, but that's another topic for another time.

It is also going to be a topic which many will find juvenile, edge-lord-y, unnecessarily depressing, stupid, or all four of these things.

Hopefully though, for a few unlucky souls, this topic should be enlightening. It should be as though someone performed a biopsy on your unconscious body whilst you slept, extracted your innermost feelings about the nature of existence, and put them into words as you never could, or never wanted to.

For those unlucky few, I hope that this post allows you to know yourself better, as reading about this worldview did for me.
If there is any optimism to be found in this topic, that was it.

I am well aware of how this kind of worldview is viewed by the masses.
It rarely comes across as anything but whining or smug intellectual grandstanding.
Neither of these are my intention, although I am sure they will both be attributed to me in the minds of those who disagree.

I feel I should also point out that I expect that this topic will probably get no replies due to its length, which I am perfectly fine with.
For those interested, this is to be read and understood - For those not interested, this is to be ignored.
Neither require engagement, although I'm sure it would be interesting.

I will be using some ideas and concepts I have encountered through my reading about this subject, and where I cannot phrase something better than the original author I will directly quote them and the work in which the quotation appears.
For instance, the title of this topic is also the title of one of the books from which these quotations will come.

I wouldn't go so far as to call this a health warning, but I wouldn't recommend reading this topic if you have a tendency towards depression, or depressing thoughts cause you great harm.
It may sound incredulously stupid to put a health warning of sorts on a TTG post, but we all should know how infectious an idea can be, and how much an idea can influence our behavior.

Some may be wondering, "if this is such a horrible topic, then why bother making it?"
Those who care about truth, or the principles that guide us towards truth, should not need to ask a question like this.
I make this topic to inform others, to let others know that they are not alone, and that their views are not insane, but are instead shared by a long line of philosophical champions.

Religious people will find absolutely nothing of value here, except a look at the other side of the coin perhaps.

If this topic makes you uneasy, disturbed, or outraged, then that is only an indication that you are still sane.

The body is not one member, but many. Now are they many, but of one body.
- Corinthians 12:12


Consciousness

Nobody knows exactly when it happened, all we can say is that it did happen, and we can't say much more about it for a fact than that.
Some time in the history of our species we began to look at things differently.
We looked up to the sky for the very first time and saw it as big, and us as small.
We looked at the cold corpses of our fallen family members and were afraid. Afraid of death.

As far as we know, we were the first and only species that this unfortunate development happened to. This development had wrenched us from the grasp of nothingness and insisted that we know what we are.
Bags of flesh, stamped with an arbitrary expiration date. This development was consciousness.

It is hypothesized that this evolutionary development occurred in order for us to survive more efficiently.
However, one of the most influential and well known evolutionary biologists of the modern-era, Richard Dawkins, has said that he does not know of any conscious act we are capable of that we could not also be capable of unconsciously.

What he is essentially saying here is that consciousness was not required for the survival of our early ancestors.

Thus, in my estimation, consciousness was a great blunder by the natural world. A botched mutation which has slowly spiraled out of control, and of which humans have been the primary victims.

Some species of animals show signs of consciousness, a lesser amount than was inflicted upon us, but some amount, nevertheless.

What should we say to these animals if we were capable of communicating with them? "You have lots to look forward to. You don't know yet of your impending death, but you will soon. Good luck trying to push the thought to the back of your furry little head whilst you are marched along in the abattoir of existence."

In his essay The Last Messiah (1933), which has become a keystone of pessimistic philosophy, Peter Wessel-Zapffe states:

Despite his new eyes, man was still rooted in matter, his soul spun into it and subordinated to its blind laws. And yet he could see matter as a stranger, compare himself to all phenomena, see through and locate his vital processes. He comes to nature as an unbidden guest, in vain extending his arms to beg conciliation with his maker: Nature answers no more, it performed a miracle with man, but later did not know him. He has lost his right of residence in the universe, has eaten from the Tree of Knowledge and been expelled from Paradise.


Free will

Neuroscienists are discovering more and more about the role of free will in our lives, and it is a wonder why many of them haven't walked off the roofs of their laboratories due to the discoveries they are making.

Free will, it is often said, is an obvious fact of life. We can choose to do or be just about anything, we are the authors of our actions and the thinkers of our thoughts.
That is the great illusion that consciousness foists over our heads like a kidnapper bagging his newest victim.

"From the position of conscious awareness (free will) cannot be true. Everything you are consciously aware of in every moment is the result of causes of which you are not aware, and over which you exert no conscious control." - Sam Harris


Consciousness of our thoughts is the last step in a long chain of neuro-physiological events which created those thoughts. Therefore, we cannot choose our thoughts.

Just as we cannot choose what we do with those thoughts because our choices are also the result of a long chain of neuro-physiological events of which are are not aware.

We are puppets, unaware that we are dancing on the end of strings pulled by the strings themselves, pulled by chaos itself.

The puppet master has gone home for the night.


The Conspiracy

Most of us continue to exist in this world only by severely limiting what we let ourselves be consciously aware of.
Our sense of self wants us to think sunny thoughts so that it will not leave this world at the end of a self-tied rope.
We do this in a number of ways, the four easiest to understand were laid out by Peter Wessel-Zapffe in The Last Messiah, here summarized:

1) Isolation - Although we may know all about the dire facts of being alive, we relegate these facts to a spare room in the attic of our mind. They are the lunatic family members we pay no attention to.

2) Anchoring - In order to forget about these facts, or avoid learning of them in the first place, we put our lives in the hands of an institution or three. God, religion, our country, our families, etc. which inebriate us with a sense of being safe from the jaws of non-existence.

3) Distraction - The most widely employed trick of the mind, we use just about anything to distract us from these facts. Video games, music, movies, the foreign policy of a certain government, a cataclysmic event in a remote country. We do this because it is better to kill time than to kill oneself.

4) Sublimation - The least used of all four, this is used by those of us who make horror movies, write horror stories, or create nonfiction about the horror of life. We create an artificial version of the dire facts of life and place it at arms length from oneself, acknowledging its existence, but keeping it far away enough and fun enough for it to not cause us to fall into screaming fits of terror.

This is the conspiracy of silence that the vast majority of us have bought into in order to continue reproducing and surviving.

Carlo Michelstaedter in his 1910 dissertation: Persuasion and Rhetoric states the paradox that we are:
"Man knows, which is why he is always two: his life, and his knowing."


Biographers suggest it was his inability to disentangle himself from his puppet strings which caused Michelstaedter to commit suicide by gunshot the day after he published this dissertation.

What Michelstaedter is saying with this quote is that we are beings who know what we are and yet we are struggling every day to not know what we are.
We do not want to know that we are hunks of spoiling flesh, and yet we do know, and it is this knowledge that we try with every waking moment to forget or salve.

This is the struggle that we live with, but like the puppet which wants to become a real person, it is not a struggle that we can win.

If we are lucky enough to have written on our headstones, "He didn't see it coming," then we may succeed in this struggle. However, the vast majority of us will see it coming, with terror and bated breath we will watch it slowly creep towards us. Sharpened scythe and glistening teeth in the night.

What good will sunny thoughts do once we are within reach of the jaws of non-existence?


Antinatalism

Sleep is good, death is better; but of course,
The best would be never to have been born at all.

- Heinrich Heine

Hailed by many to be the most disgusting worldview to ever rear its malformed head, antinatalism has persisted as an idea for thousands of years.
The idea is, quite simply put, that we should cease to produce children and let our species die out.

There are many different reasons why someone would subscribe to this belief, but I believe the most well thought out argument is by contemporary South African philosopher David Benatar, in his book Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence.

In this book, David Benatar lays out the most sustained assault on the pro-natal bias and orthodoxy existent throughout the world.

For the sake of keeping this brief, however, I will only outline the arguments most basic philosophical points.

1) The presence of pain is bad.
2) The presence of pleasure is good.
3) The absence of pain is good, even if that good is not enjoyed
by anyone.
4) The absence of pleasure is not bad unless there is somebody
for whom this absence is a deprivation.

Here is the same argument laid out in diagram form:

https://image.prntscr.com/image/8nSeKT3MSMyspxGvwdqcXg.png

We always like to believe that we are living in the best possible time to produce children. Yet we can scarcely think of a time in the past when it would have been the optimal time to produce children. Would we like to have been born in 30,000 BC, where a mere tooth ache could signal your impending death? Or should we like to have been born in the Middle East in 100 AD, or the Americas during 1300 AD?

We all look at the past and thank our lucky stars that we were not born then, yet we should be horrified to think that a future generation will look back on us and thank their lucky stars that they were not born now, in such a barbaric age where humans had made such little progress towards the alleviation of suffering.

Here is a brief history of suffering, all times in which people thought it was a good time to produce children:

- More than fifteen million people are thought to have died from natural disasters in the last 1,000 years,
- Approximately 20,000 people die every day from hunger,
- An estimated 840 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition,
- Between 541 CE and 1912, it is estimated that over 102 million people succumbed to plague,
- The 1918 influenza epidemic killed 50 million people,
- 11 million people die every year from infectious diseases,
- Malignant neoplasms take more than a further 7 million lives each year,
- Approximately 3.5 million people die every year in accidents,
- Approximately 56.5 million people died in 2001, that is more than 107 people per minute,
- Before the twentieth century over 133 million people were killed in mass killings,
- In the first 88 years of the twentieth century 170 million (and possibly as many as 360 million) people were shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hanged, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners,
- There were 1.6 million conflict-related deaths in the sixteenth century, 6.1 million in the seventeenth century, 7 million in the eighteenth, 19.4 million in the nineteenth, and 109.7 million in the twentieth,
- War-related injuries led to 310,000 deaths in 2000,
- About 40 million children are maltreated each year,
- More than 100 million currently living women and girls have been subjected to genital cutting,
- 815,000 people are thought to have committed suicide in 2000
- It is estimated that someone commits suicide every 40 seconds, (more than 800,000 people per year).

For the pessimist, it is never a good time to produce children, and it never will be.


What now?

As history confirms, people will change their minds about almost anything, from which god they worship to how they style their hair. But when it comes to existential judgments, human beings in general have an unfalteringly good opinion of themselves and their condition in this world and are steadfastly confident they are not a collection of self-conscious nothings. - Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race


Whatever you think about human existence, it's importance or un-importance, whether it is all alright or a biological nightmare we wake up to from the solace of unconscious sleep, it is only what you think, and nothing more.
There is no definitive method by which to say whether or not being alive is a good thing because there is no scale by which we can measure suffering and happiness.

What we can say is that in the final moments, when the strings are finally cut, and the puppet master returns to place us into our box, we all fall down.

We all stand, stark naked before the mirror of non-existence and see the skull inside ourselves smiling back at us.
We will have a sense that there is someone there, but there is no one there.

You may survive long enough to live a life free of any major trauma, but you will not survive your survival, nobody does.

Many philosophers have taken their philosophical works to this brink and slipped out the back door with optimistic endings. I'm no philosopher, so I shall not grant you that courtesy.
There is nothing to be done about the state in which we find ourselves.

Go insane and move into a mental hospital, retreat back into your anchoring or distraction, or prematurely cut your own strings and fall down before the puppet master returns to cut them for you.

None of it matters.

Whatever you do, if you want to continue living a normal life with friends and a job, you had better not mention any of these revelations to your co-workers or any happy go lucky friends you may have.

Keep these thoughts to yourself or else we will carry on without you. Take your chemically imbalanced brain to therapy and get your mind right. Try to be realistic. No depressed headcase is going to ruin our disaster.

If this world is good enough for all of us, then it should be good enough for you. Stop being ungrateful for the gift you were given when you were born into our disaster.

Stop being so depressing and join the party.


... 'What now?', indeed.

If truth is what you seek, then the examined life will only take you on a long ride to the limits of solitude and leave you by the side of the road with your truth and nothing else. - Thomas Ligotti


TL;DR

Life is an excellent thrill ride from the first moment to the very last.

The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Eli For This Useful Post:

Nathan (12-05-2017), Lily (12-05-2017), BJP (12-05-2017), Yin (12-05-2017)
#2. Posted:
Lily
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I read all of this yesterday and it's a very interesting read, it really sets the mind off into thinking.

What most of humanity doesn't comprehend is that we are indeed just rotting bags of flesh; but I don't personally agree that we should just let go of every thought of finding purpose in ourselves.

Yes, some people waste their lives dedicating themselves to silly causes (such as religion) to try and fill themselves and try to avoid the inevitable (at least once in life) question of: "Why the hell am I even here?" But I still find that everybody has to have a purpose in life, something to distract themselves from the depressing and frustrating fact that every day is just a day closer to death. If there weren't any existing distractions from this fact, I believe that very few members of the human race would be alive today. For with no purpose, what reason is there to live? Knowing the decomposing bag of nerves, organs, blood, oxygen and vessels we humans are made of is slowly but surely reaching death can take a very large emotional toll on people, which is why the brain creates this distraction; it's "the puppet master" working the strings, as your post says.

Again, quite an amazing read and yes, this read isn't for those unsure of themselves.
#3. Posted:
Eli
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Motto: "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far." H.P. Lovecraft
Lily wroteI read all of this yesterday and it's a very interesting read, it really sets the mind off into thinking.

What most of humanity doesn't comprehend is that we are indeed just rotting bags of flesh; but I don't personally agree that we should just let go of every thought of finding purpose in ourselves.

Yes, some people waste their lives dedicating themselves to silly causes (such as religion) to try and fill themselves and try to avoid the inevitable (at least once in life) question of: "Why the hell am I even here?" But I still find that everybody has to have a purpose in life, something to distract themselves from the depressing and frustrating fact that every day is just a day closer to death. If there weren't any existing distractions from this fact, I believe that very few members of the human race would be alive today. For with no purpose, what reason is there to live? Knowing the decomposing bag of nerves, organs, blood, oxygen and vessels we humans are made of is slowly but surely reaching death can take a very large emotional toll on people, which is why the brain creates this distraction; it's "the puppet master" working the strings, as your post says.

Again, quite an amazing read and yes, this read isn't for those unsure of themselves.


I used to think like that, and I do agree with your point that everyone needs to find some purpose in their lives, otherwise face madness and depression.
If you reach the point where you can't delude yourself into believing you have a purpose any more then you are essentially undead.
A walking, talking thing with no real meaning besides what your biological imperatives dictate; walking and talking until you eventually fall down for good.

Nobody can actually feel like this though. You can accept it on an intellectual and logical level, but you can never feel it in your conscious experience and remain a rational actor in the world who goes to work, maintains relationships with family members, etc.
If you begin to feel it then you're destined for either an early departure from life or a psychiatric hospital.
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