Sunday, October 31, 2010

No desire has ever been fulfilled for anyone

Our desires as living organisms accomplish absolutely nothing; their continued reintroduction into the environment, therefore, only drives the problem of sentience into perpetuity. Here's why:

Imagine having a swimming pool in your backyard that you fill at the start of the summer. On the first day, you go swimming for a few hours and have a lot of fun. At the start of the next day, however, you go outside to realize that the pool is, once again, empty. So you fill it again and have a great time for a second day in a row, though you're also wondering what could have possibly happened to the original water content with which you'd filled the pool the day before.

Upon waking on the third day, guess what? The pool is empty again. You have to get out the hose, the chlorine -- everything involved in keeping the pool clean and temperate. You do this laboriously, but when all of the hard work is done, you only have an hour to actually go swimming, meaning that most of the day was spent preparing yourself for the fulfillment of your desire instead of actually fulfilling it. "The preparation, the process of getting to the point of being able to swim, is also fun," you rationalize to yourself. "The work involved is what makes it all worth it."

This goes on for two weeks. At the start of every day, you have to fill the pool all over again, and this consumes the vast majority of time dedicated to your pool-related activities. Are you accomplishing something? Are you solving the problem of there being no water in the pool? No, but the renewed problem, to your psychology, is a good thing, because it gives you something to solve every day. Unlike in other areas of your life, where solving a problem is perceived as a good thing, the renewal of this problem seems to justify itself based on the intensity of your desire to go swimming. After all, you feel like swimming matters, so it must, right?

But wait! You don't just have one desire. No, you have a multitude of them: cars to keep clean, computers to maintain. Now, every morning, in addition to an empty pool, you're also presented with a car completely covered in mud and a computer without Internet access. Every day, not only do you have to fill up the pool, you also have to wash off the mud and call your ISP. It happens every day, and despite all your efforts, none of these problems is ever solved.

Eventually, you get tired of putting up with it all, so you decide to ignore the pool for a few weeks. "It can stay empty for a little while, I'm sure," you say to yourself. But then, something happens: the deprivation created by the lack of water in the pool causes you to contract AIDS. You've been punished for ignoring the problem!

Are any of the above any different from eating, sleeping, having sex, obtaining money, or enjoying so-called fun experiences? Once we satisfy our deprivations, do they ever go away, or do they come back as strong as ever in a relatively short amount of time? If it's all in good fun, then why are we punished so powerfully for ignoring the deprivations as they deepen? Why is the chase sane or logical? Why would we impose it on a new generation, other than to satisfy our egos?

The imbalance between pain and pleasure

If I were to ask a sample of people whether they felt that life, in being full of the things they relished and loved, was ultimately worth living, even after prematurely contracting a double case of bone and stomach cancer while having no access to medical care or pain relief, I imagine that at least some of them would feel that it was; overall, they'd contend that their objects of adoration and enjoyment were worth the horrific pain.

Now, if I were to present that same sample of people with the same circumstances, but in the form of a deliberate offer, I imagine that the results would be quite different. Suppose that, instead of asking whether life is worth living in spite of contracting horrible diseases, I said, "I can give you everything -- everything -- that you've ever wanted in life, no matter how lofty or unusual. Love? Riches? Intense physical pleasure of various sorts? Simple contentment? Beauty? It doesn't matter. I can give you all of it. The problem, though, is that, in order for you to take these things, I'm going to have to make you pay by giving you both bone and stomach cancer, and I'm going to make them incredibly painful. Furthermore, I'm going to make it so that no medication can work to fight this incredible pain as you slowly die over a period of two years. Sorry, but that's the kind of energy sacrifice that I'm going to have to make in order to keep your life balanced. Still interested in the riches and the love and all the joys and wonders?"

I don't know if anyone would seriously consider the offer.

What is it about the former case that seems, at least to me, so dramatically different from the latter? If I were to guess, I'd say that it's the addition of mystery. Because the horrific pain and suffering are not being directly administered by a fellow human, there's something unknown and "beyond us" about it. Therefore, it's acceptable.

This, quite plainly, is a by-product of our evolution; when we acquired the capacity to reason by way of manipulating linguistic objects, we were not omniscient. Thus, if we were going to remain evolutionarily successful -- and, consequently, wrapped up in the meaningless agenda of life on Earth -- we were going to need to be in awe of that which we did not understand or control. Once you recognize that it's all manipulative psychology designed to promote your own survivability -- and the survivability of your offspring -- you realize pretty quickly that none of the above mentioned desirables are really worth their prices. Perpetuating them into the future by creating copies of ourselves, therefore, is incredibly idiotic, and quite criminal.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Three reasons for why nature sucks

1. There are no laws in nature.

2. There is no understanding of anything in nature. Anywhere.

3. Theft and murder are just as much a part of nature as beauty. If you value laws prohibiting murder, then it logically follows that you should value the outright reformation of nature.

A beautiful woman with a criminal record and penchant for sociopathy is best avoided, so how is nature any different? A few good apples do not make the rotten ones any less rotten. Being a nature lover is quite literally like lusting after a woman purely for her looks while completely ignoring her personality -- neuroses, flaws, and all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A simple enough premise

We don't need to know everything in order to act.

Generally, there is nothing about the process of augmenting a knowledge base that changes what had already been a part of the knowledge base beforehand. For example, if I have one rotten apple and no other fruits, then happen to discover four perfectly edible apples in the future, the four edible apples do not magically transform the rotten apple into an edible apple.

If we can basically assert that something is "rotten" about life, then becoming aware of some add-on component to the universe, or something that exists outside of the universe entirely, does not magically make that rotten facet of life something worth indulging in or perpetuating.

Strangely enough, though, the vast majority of people will tell you that life is worth perpetuating from one generation to the next -- in spite of hard suffering, the lack of purpose or accomplishment, and the inability of any one organism to ultimately survive; further, they'll tell you that hardship and suffering are essential, as without them, we'd be bored all day long.

So what they're saying, more directly, is that we must all eat a rotten apple once in a while in order to enjoy the good apples. Is this premise really accurate, or will our biological drives to consume fruit rich in nutrients remain in tact without this insipid indulgence? If most people are right, then you better get on making sure there's a nasty, disgusting, worm-ridden apple in each bag you purchase. You wouldn't want to have no real appreciation for the good ones, would you?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Amendments to "Repairing Reality"

In my original series of posts, entitled "Repairing Reality," I provided a decomposition flowchart for what I then perceived to be the two core problems of our existence. Since then, I've realized that, although these problems are still ultimately separate, the problem of emotion, desire, and sensation actually causes the problem of poor logic, culture, and preconceptions. This seems obvious, but the flowchart does not imply it, which was erroneous on my part when I was initially constructing it. Biological propensities compete for brain-space all the time, and when a particular emotion influences a decision in a manner which impedes rational decision-making, there is an evolutionary reason involved. Furthermore, even though culture causes many of the core problems that we face in terms of thought programming and meme management, it also had an evolutionary purpose. The first cause, and thus, problem, isn't that humans are trapped within paradigms of cultural assumptions and emotional biases; it's that our evolution as a species led us to become something incapable of being otherwise -- because all signs point to there being no grand cosmological interlocutor or overseer.

Even if obedience and assumption are not directly caused by a desire, they do aid in the perpetuation of life -- a crass agenda lacking in rational justification. Therefore, the core problem of our existence is the agenda of life. Desires, emotions, and sensations descend from this problem, as do any other derivative symptoms.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Representative bodies are nonsensical

Your country of origin says nothing about your productivity, mental capacity, or level of benevolence; thinking that the arbitrary spot on the map where you were born represents your values, therefore, is both nonsensical and dangerous. Germany does not represent Hitler; my parents do not represent me; your nation does not represent you.

Nationalism is just as useful as proclaiming pride in your neighborhood or county, but there's even more room for error in the case of the former, given the scale difference.