Warning: The following is a sinister and potentially depressing rant. Consume with caution.
Abstract personal and philosophical rant
Knowledge erodes hope
It occurred to me that the more I learn, the more I understand the world, the more I know why people and things are as they are, I am getting increasingly pessimistic about my chance of contributing to any real progress. I feel that I have become quite cynical, not about everything, but about a lot of things. Progress seems to happen in some areas, but in too few and too slowly. The effect of my desperation through understanding currently seems to dominate my psychology. Even if progress happens, my cynicism increases faster.
Or this is just an effect of being depressed
This perspective might simply be grounded in my current depression. Perhaps it’s much better to be blissfully ignorant and view everything with rose coloured glasses. The passion and enthusiasm that is bred by ignorance is truly remarkable. Knowledge and understanding have too much of a moderating “down to Earth” effect.
Umm, what’s wrong?
My general conclusion is that it’s our biology that is to blame. We really need to fix or overcome that. Everyone suffers from the shortcomings of human biology. We could be much better persons if we weren’t these incredibly pathetic creatures called humans. Humans are inherently unable to be really good persons. I’m not saying that other animals were better per se. The real problem comes from natural evolution taking its course, which is basically systematic madness. At the deepest core we need to fix evolution. Get a grip on that. Control the process of adaptation and enhancement. Make it compassionate, efficient and give it a positive direction. And then apply that to everyone and everything.
The nasty natural tragedy
Until then we will have to suffer through the process I call “natural tragedy”. The way events proceed naturally is bound to create countless tragedies. Should we embrace them? I mean, what’s the alternative? A descent into all-embracing darkness and destruction? Well, the natural tragedy is a necessarily painful process. We need to bear the pain, even though it’s driving us mad. Retain the glimmer of hope for the future in the face of a seemingly endless onslaught of the forces of darkness.
But the feels, bro!
Unfortunately, this doesn’t change how I feel about this situation, and my personal situation. It’s a maddening mess for me. The complications I face have made my life generally unenjoyable. I feel like I’m disintegrating on a root level.
I recognize a pattern there
Yeah, I’ve solved similar depression crises earlier, so why should this one be different? Well, I have evaluated how I got out of previous crises. The key to getting out of this mess seems to lie in a kind of change of personality and thinking patterns. I have done parts of this transition in earlier times of recovery, but I’ve always reverted back to my “normal” self. Unfortunately the change that seems to be necessary to rid myself of depression and desperation feels like a threat to my identity, to my integrity, to my current values which I’ve worked so hard to establish. It feels like I need to cut out my heart and burn it to ashes. And what will I be then? A heartless vampire? A person who lost his mind? I already loathe the person I would need to become, so why should I go down that path? At the same time I am deeply ashamed that I haven’t evolved into that direction already.
No quick fixes
Yet, I see no other sustainable alternative. My efforts to fix my depression with more moderate means have failed so far. At my current level of functionality I am basically useless for this world, and even for myself. Positive feelings and motivation have become frustratingly rare and weak in me. Even when I experience them they seem to fade away quickly and I am left with almost nothing. Thrown back to a desolate existence surrounded by beauty which I am hardly able to enjoy.
The future to the rescue!
It’s pointless. I need to get over this. If I need to become evil to do some real good, then so be it. Currently I am broken. Perhaps in the meanwhile I will be able to become broken in a more constructive way. I will be pathetic anyway as long as I still remain a mere legacy human being. My hope is that I will be able to fix myself in the future through technology.
Sudden attack of alienation
I feel extremely misplaced in this insanely primitive and barbaric world. Even though it’s my world, which I am not going to desert so easily. And even though I appreciate that it could be much worse.
Sadly, I cannot be a shining beacon of light in this world of darkness. My powers and strengths are far too limited for that. I am a madman among other madmen, hoping to be just a tiny bit less insane – or insane in a more constructive way. My existence so far has been an experience in humiliation. It deeply humbles me, and that just feels wrong for a transhumanist like me.
It’s nobody’s fault, really!
In some previous crises I used to be angry about others. Now that I understand more, that I understand that the others are suffering from the same tainted human existence, trying to cope with it with all their might and still only managing to get as far as they have come by now, I simply cannot reproach anyone. Could people have done something better? No, they have done the best that was in their capability. The problem is simply that their capabilities are so disappointingly small. Could they have created better systems? How, if those systems are rooted in human psychology and limited by human psychology? We simply live through the natural tragedy, because it’s the natural progression of evolution and history. There is no choice, it’s a merciless process that will continue to go on until we have become either dust or gods.
Perhaps needless morbid and weird spiritual tangent
Understanding all of this makes me want to perish and die. Yet, I cannot give in to this emotion. It’s irrational. As long as there is still at least potential for some hope, I need to drag my tormented mind forward. I feel like I booked a life in hell, but that it was my decision in the end, and I guess I should respect that instead of hoping that this game will be over soon. Even if that means that I have to live through countless horrors. Necessary horrors. I might just as well appreciate the process and experience. So, paradoxically, I feel immensely grateful for this existence even though it currently pushes me beyond the brink of insanity.
Trust in a higher purpose
If there are gods (simulators) who are responsible for this world, and all the messiness in it, not only have I already forgiven them, I am grateful to them. In their stead, I probably would have done the same. All of this may hopefully serve a higher purpose, even though we cannot know that for sure (even if we could know that this world is a simulation).
Have I become the devil’s advocate? Perhaps. And if so, I guess this is a necessary role. I never preferred an outcome like this. If anything, it is the result of my dispositions and my search for truth and wisdom. It’s both my curse and my gift. It compels me to move forward, to adapt, to change myself.
Knowing myself, I nevertheless predict that I will revert to my current depressed and dysfunctional self. That’s because I hope that it’s not necessary for the change to be permanent. That I will have made some kind of genuine progress. Even though I may expect that I am deluded about that, it is the hope for a better existence that will force me to regress to normality. Only a truly radical change could, no, must, force me to change my character and personality semi-permanently – that is until we can effectively upgrade our minds and bodies, at which point we might be able to overcome the pitfalls of human existence.
Free will is kaput?
I do not longer believe in the power of will (be it free or not). Reality and causality trump our feeble efforts at carving out our destiny for ourselves. Is that a psychologically dysfunctional belief? Maybe. In any case, reality is there and it is what it is. We can’t wish it away. We must deal with it. Adapt to it. Change our values. Change our goals. Change our strategies. Change our methods. Change our minds.
Is this a repugnant conclusion, a repugnant process? Yes, sure. Facing reality can trigger some of the worst feelings. Feelings we need to get over with. Is this world disgusting? Perhaps it is, but then we need to swallow our wishes that it was not. Wishing for a better world does not create it. Adapting to it, becoming part of the dirt that it is comprised of, is the only chance for any change. The natural tragedy has to be actively suffered through. Even though we will take damage to our psyches during that process. We will deal with repairing the damage afterwards.
Eventual destruction of identity
What will remain of us in the end? Not us in many ontologies of identity. Something good, if we are successful. We need to accept the complete destruction of the present in favour of a better future. Nostalgia for the present will only hold us back and prolong the natural tragedy.
Inserting quasi-Nietzschean slogan
Live dangerously with curiosity, courage, and the will to creative destruction or be doomed to nothingness!
We are necessarily nasty
It is part of the natural tragedy that we are required to inflict pain and suffering on others, even those we love, in order to progress on that path upwards. The motives don’t matter much. Hate, contempt, anger, envy, greed, fear, desperation, aspiration, love, compassion, understanding, all of those are part of a deep natural process.
From here, all paths lead to destruction
We are on an inescapable set of paths towards destruction. The only question is whether the destruction will enable the growth of something good, or not.
Less abstract, more concrete
Now all of this is mightily abstract. What am I really saying here?
- Natural evolution is a part of the natural tragedy. It’s bloody, wasteful, and creates immense amounts of suffering. But it’s necessary to get culture started.
- Cultural progress, including the emergence and eventual culmination of capitalism, is a part of the natural tragedy. It’s necessary for reaching a higher culture.
- Personal human suffering, our weaknesses, all the hurtful actions we inflict on others (or even ourselves), are part of the natural tragedy. They are inescapable, because we are a nasty (intermediate) product of natural evolution.
- All the future “interesting times”, all the loss and destruction we will face until the end of the natural tragedy. They are necessary to manifest a better future. They are necessary until a better future will have been manifested.
What should humans strive to become?
- More resilient
We can move towards that direction, but we cannot expect any kind of perfection in the state we are currently in. Perfectionism is appropriate for gods, but not for humans. True perfection even surpasses the realm of the gods.
In the meantime we have to come to terms that we need to be
- politely disrespectful
- creatively destructive
- compassionately hurtful
- comfortingly hard
- tentatively aggressive
- generously greedy
- proudly ashamed
- curiously indifferent
- rationally insane
- intelligently silly
- ethically immoral
- wisely foolish
- beautifully pathetic
- inspiringly contemptible
- fascinatingly boring
- confused by clarity
- strong by enduring weakness
- ennobling through humiliation
- knowledgeable, yet incompetent
- enlightened by dark delusions
- enjoying the torment
- delighted by tragedies
- wearing authentic masks
- persistently adapting
- straightforwardly paradoxical
- loyal traitors
- philosopher soldiers
- angelic demons
- inhuman humans
- converging to our balanced golden middle by embracing extremes
- embracing our humanity while striving to become gods
The sense all of this makes to you may be proportional to your progress. Or it’s really meaningless pseudo-zen. Whatever you choose to believe.
I still don’t know who I am and how I need to change exactly. I’m still in the process of figuring all of this out. It appears to me that I’m required to become more courageous, careless and communicative. Sadly, I am generally too anxious to pull that off sustainably. So, my plan will in all likelihood fail unless I find something that forces me to become less anxious. The path of strategic caution disguises itself as necessary rationality.
No, this rant is not enough
Needless self-disclosure is insufficient. I’ve been on this path for quite a while, and surprisingly I’m still alive and not everyone hates me yet. These outbursts are rather a result of desperation rather than true courage. Are they helpful, though? In the sense that writing and reflecting is helpful, writing in this style seems to have some slight benefits. And some people seem to think that I write interesting stuff, sometimes. I am not sure whether you find this interesting or not. Not that I really care a lot about that. My preference is writing helpful stuff. If it’s not, that’s also part of the natural tragedy.
So, what’s to be expected?
I will probably become less depressed over time, without arriving at a satisfying and sustainable resolution. An undercurrent of mostly silent desperation will accompany me. In other words: Situation normal, all fucked up! Or a miracle happens and I actually become a functional, stable, slightly happy and productive member of society. Currently I’m out of promising miracle generators, so that doesn’t appear to be very likely. Anyway, I should whine less and do more for the forum.