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Poll: Would you have consented to all this?
Yes.  I'll take a few dozen laps around the sun. 12 / 60%
Nope.  This is not the life for me. 6 / 30%
Pancakes...it depends...I don't entertain hypotheticals...INRT...etc... 2 / 10%
20 total votes
 

notapplicable


Oct 14, 2012, 11:16 PM
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Seriously though. What if you could have opted out from the beginning. No birth. Knowing what you know now, would you have signed up for a lifetime on this planet?

I wouldn't have. I've felt that way since I was 15-16 and I'm 30 now. People always say time or circumstance will change my mind but it hasn't and it won't. Some things in our disposition are just fixed.

Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.


scott.nearing


Oct 15, 2012, 6:57 AM
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sometimes yes

But the good or just ok parts of life are worth dealing with the bad. Sometimes I lose that perspective in the midst of the bad parts.


Gmburns2000


Oct 15, 2012, 10:25 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
Seriously though. What if you could have opted out from the beginning. No birth. Knowing what you know now, would you have signed up for a lifetime on this planet?

I wouldn't have. I've felt that way since I was 15-16 and I'm 30 now. People always say time or circumstance will change my mind but it hasn't and it won't. Some things in our disposition are just fixed.

Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

well, the idea of an opt-out beforehand suggests that something else exists, so it's not an all-or-nothing choice. I don't like dealing with the shit that I deal with, but I'm satisfied overall. It depends pancakes on what the other thing is, though.


wonderwoman


Oct 15, 2012, 12:10 PM
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This makes me feel kind of sad for you. This world is full of amazing people to meet, wonderful adventures to be had, and crazy feats to accomplish. I would not change a thing about my life, despite downright horrible things that may have happened to me in this lifetime. I would have consented to all this. Sure.


iknowfear


Oct 15, 2012, 1:10 PM
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wonderwoman wrote:
This makes me feel kind of sad for you. This world is full of amazing people to meet, wonderful adventures to be had, and crazy feats to accomplish. I would not change a thing about my life, despite downright horrible things that may have happened to me in this lifetime. I would have consented to all this. Sure.
+1


dr_feelgood


Oct 15, 2012, 1:16 PM
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We're all just accidents of chemistry. May as well enjoy the fucking ride.


SylviaSmile


Oct 15, 2012, 3:07 PM
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Sometimes the best gifts are not the ones you asked for ahead of time. On the other hand . . . what happened when you were 15-16?


notapplicable


Oct 15, 2012, 9:26 PM
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wonderwoman wrote:
This makes me feel kind of sad for you. This world is full of amazing people to meet, wonderful adventures to be had, and crazy feats to accomplish. I would not change a thing about my life, despite downright horrible things that may have happened to me in this lifetime. I would have consented to all this. Sure.

I don't think saying you would have taken a pass diminishes the experiences you've had or the love you feel for those closest to you in this world. Once in play, it would be silly not to live a full and happy life. Clearly thats the superior alternative to walking around miserable or flinging oneself off a cliff and thats what I've tried to do. I've had a good life and I have no regrets.

None of that changes the fact that protecting, nourishing, maintaining and entertaining this meat suit of mine is a pretty tedious and unrelenting enterprise though. One that I never would have volunteer for.


notapplicable


Oct 15, 2012, 9:34 PM
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SylviaSmile wrote:
Sometimes the best gifts are not the ones you asked for ahead of time. On the other hand . . . what happened when you were 15-16?

Nietzsche, I suspect.


Tagc


Oct 16, 2012, 4:15 AM
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In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Great thread, thanks for posting.


wonderwoman


Oct 16, 2012, 6:30 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
None of that changes the fact that protecting, nourishing, maintaining and entertaining this meat suit of mine is a pretty tedious and unrelenting enterprise though. One that I never would have volunteer for.

Maybe you should engage in other activities that don't revolve around and are bigger than yourself, then. It may make you feel a little better.


lena_chita
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Oct 16, 2012, 7:44 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
Seriously though. What if you could have opted out from the beginning. No birth. Knowing what you know now, would you have signed up for a lifetime on this planet?

I wouldn't have. I've felt that way since I was 15-16 and I'm 30 now. People always say time or circumstance will change my mind but it hasn't and it won't. Some things in our disposition are just fixed.

Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

I know one person who thinks very much like this (or at least openly admitted to it in conversation with me). I feel very sad for him. He is a close friend, yet I do not know what I could say, or do, to change that.

He also says that he had felt this way since he was a teenager, and he can't wait for this life to be over. He is not looking towards anything in the afterlife, because he is a non-believer, doesn't believe in various gods, or concepts like karma, etc. And his life, at least to my eyes, looks pretty darn good: he has a good job, he is surrounded by good people, he is well liked by pretty much anyone who knows him, he is enjoying multiple aspects of life, be it cooking, or playing musical instruments, or athletic pursuits, and he is good at them...

So it is not like he has a miserable life, on the face of it. And it isn't like he believes something better is waiting for him after life. But he keeps saying, I hate my life, I wish I had never been born, and I can't wait for it to be over. (yet, at the same time, I feel very confident that he is not contemplating suicide)

I honestly cannot understand feeling like this. Even when I had gone through depression at one point in my life, I never wished I had not been born. And looking back at my life, while there have been rather unpleasant stretches, and while there are some things I believe I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now, I think it's been a pretty great life, overall.


notapplicable


Oct 16, 2012, 9:29 PM
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lena_chita wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Seriously though. What if you could have opted out from the beginning. No birth. Knowing what you know now, would you have signed up for a lifetime on this planet?

I wouldn't have. I've felt that way since I was 15-16 and I'm 30 now. People always say time or circumstance will change my mind but it hasn't and it won't. Some things in our disposition are just fixed.

Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

I know one person who thinks very much like this (or at least openly admitted to it in conversation with me). I feel very sad for him. He is a close friend, yet I do not know what I could say, or do, to change that.

He also says that he had felt this way since he was a teenager, and he can't wait for this life to be over. He is not looking towards anything in the afterlife, because he is a non-believer, doesn't believe in various gods, or concepts like karma, etc. And his life, at least to my eyes, looks pretty darn good: he has a good job, he is surrounded by good people, he is well liked by pretty much anyone who knows him, he is enjoying multiple aspects of life, be it cooking, or playing musical instruments, or athletic pursuits, and he is good at them...

So it is not like he has a miserable life, on the face of it. And it isn't like he believes something better is waiting for him after life. But he keeps saying, I hate my life, I wish I had never been born, and I can't wait for it to be over. (yet, at the same time, I feel very confident that he is not contemplating suicide)

I honestly cannot understand feeling like this. Even when I had gone through depression at one point in my life, I never wished I had not been born. And looking back at my life, while there have been rather unpleasant stretches, and while there are some things I believe I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now, I think it's been a pretty great life, overall.

Hmm, well it sounds like he might actually be depressed. Maybe not but "hating" your life and wishing it was over are pretty standard hallmarks of depression. I can't really understand feeling that way either.

I personally don't. Now that I'm alive, I'm rather attached to being so. We are wired for sentimentality and to enjoy sensory input, so it makes sense to be fond of life once you have it. Or at least it does to me.

For me it's seriously not about being depressed or unhappy with the way my life has unfolded. There is no anxiety or misery associated with my feelings on the matter. There is nothing to be changed or set right.

Hell, winter is my favorite season and it makes my heart swell every morning that I step outside and fill my lungs with the crisp air. I know whats on the way and I delight in it. I have friends and family I like, a job I don't hate and hobbies I thoroughly enjoy. Life is simple and good and I don't begrudge it.

It's just a dispositional constant for me. An understanding of who and what I am. I would rather have not been born.


notapplicable


Oct 16, 2012, 10:16 PM
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Re: [Tagc] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.


SylviaSmile


Oct 17, 2012, 12:08 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

So what you're saying is, you would have liked to have the power to choose to come into existence? Thus, power but no existence? It's past 1 a.m. but even so I can see that there's something wrong with that logic . . .


notapplicable


Oct 17, 2012, 12:45 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

So what you're saying is, you would have liked to have the power to choose to come into existence? Thus, power but no existence? It's past 1 a.m. but even so I can see that there's something wrong with that logic . . .

Ha! I'm rambling on about silly shit like preemptive self nullification and you're worried about logic?


SylviaSmile


Oct 17, 2012, 1:09 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

So what you're saying is, you would have liked to have the power to choose to come into existence? Thus, power but no existence? It's past 1 a.m. but even so I can see that there's something wrong with that logic . . .

Ha! I'm rambling on about silly shit like preemptive self nullification and you're worried about logic?
Well I'll admit, at first I was worried about you--which do you prefer?


notapplicable


Oct 17, 2012, 1:14 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

So what you're saying is, you would have liked to have the power to choose to come into existence? Thus, power but no existence? It's past 1 a.m. but even so I can see that there's something wrong with that logic . . .

Ha! I'm rambling on about silly shit like preemptive self nullification and you're worried about logic?
Well I'll admit, at first I was worried about you--which do you prefer?

The latter!


SylviaSmile


Oct 17, 2012, 1:20 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

So what you're saying is, you would have liked to have the power to choose to come into existence? Thus, power but no existence? It's past 1 a.m. but even so I can see that there's something wrong with that logic . . .

Ha! I'm rambling on about silly shit like preemptive self nullification and you're worried about logic?
Well I'll admit, at first I was worried about you--which do you prefer?

The latter!

That's what I thought. I've had enough melancholic friends try to wrap their shit in pseudo-intellectual babble to learn how to play along.


notapplicable


Oct 17, 2012, 1:59 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

So what you're saying is, you would have liked to have the power to choose to come into existence? Thus, power but no existence? It's past 1 a.m. but even so I can see that there's something wrong with that logic . . .

Ha! I'm rambling on about silly shit like preemptive self nullification and you're worried about logic?
Well I'll admit, at first I was worried about you--which do you prefer?

The latter!

That's what I thought. I've had enough melancholic friends try to wrap their shit in pseudo-intellectual babble to learn how to play along.

Your ruining my super serious thread!


Partner rrrADAM


Oct 17, 2012, 3:48 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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Hech yea, I would... I enjoy my life, tremendously, today... Even when I bitch about things.

Like John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans", and I enjoy the trip between destinations most of the time.

If I had made that choice in my teens, I prolly would've made a different choice, as I hadn't figured out how to live in my own skin yet... Always wanted to be someone else when I was young, or felt like a victim.

Giving up because it's hard or uncomfortable, would be akin to only climbing 5.9, because 5.12 is hard, and even painful at times. Some pain is worth enduring to get to the other side.


petsfed


Oct 17, 2012, 11:27 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
I know one person who thinks very much like this (or at least openly admitted to it in conversation with me). I feel very sad for him. He is a close friend, yet I do not know what I could say, or do, to change that.

He also says that he had felt this way since he was a teenager, and he can't wait for this life to be over. He is not looking towards anything in the afterlife, because he is a non-believer, doesn't believe in various gods, or concepts like karma, etc. And his life, at least to my eyes, looks pretty darn good: he has a good job, he is surrounded by good people, he is well liked by pretty much anyone who knows him, he is enjoying multiple aspects of life, be it cooking, or playing musical instruments, or athletic pursuits, and he is good at them...

So it is not like he has a miserable life, on the face of it. And it isn't like he believes something better is waiting for him after life. But he keeps saying, I hate my life, I wish I had never been born, and I can't wait for it to be over. (yet, at the same time, I feel very confident that he is not contemplating suicide)

I honestly cannot understand feeling like this. Even when I had gone through depression at one point in my life, I never wished I had not been born. And looking back at my life, while there have been rather unpleasant stretches, and while there are some things I believe I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now, I think it's been a pretty great life, overall.

Lena, it sounds like your friend got to the part in Nietzsche's philosophy that denies intrinsic and a priori meaning (e.g. the part where he makes the case for nihilism) but didn't get to the part where he argues that denying intrinsic meaning is not denying all meaning, and thereby rebuilds a reason to continue living.

A good fraction of the existential movement grappled with this very problem of "what's the point?" after denying that anything has a purpose. Nietzsche's solution is one that I still hold to: we don't know what our meat-suits, much less our minds, are actually capable of, so why not devote our lives to finding out? Absolutely, its pointless, but its no more pointless than any other pass time, and quite a bit less pointless than wanking ourselves into oblivion. We're still always walking that razor's edge above the abyss of nihilism, but if we won't (for whatever reason) kill ourselves, then we must at least manufacture meaning in our lives. This all presupposes that nihilism is basically antithetical to continued existence, an axiom I'm neither prepared nor inclined to defend.

notapplicable, I agree, the fact that our present existence seems to spring unbidden is troubling, and I think a good fraction of the metaphysical arguments for souls attempts to address that, or at least push it further up the metaphysical chain of command.


SylviaSmile


Oct 17, 2012, 2:16 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

It still intrigues me that it's THIS you pick as the source of your dissatisfaction with existence. Would you rather not have a body and just be a mind? Or would you rather have a body but no emotions attached to the having of that body--so no mediation between body and mind? I can kind of sympathize with feeling like life is a collection of accidents and that the person I am, and have become and grown to be, is largely not something I chose in any way. Something I try not to think about too long is why I was so fortunate in the circumstances of my birth, upbringing, etc., compared to others who experienced poverty, suffering, abuse, and serious wounding.


Gmburns2000


Oct 19, 2012, 8:36 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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Somehow I get the sense that this Aereogramme song would have been right up your alley: https://www.youtube.com/...eature=results_video


notapplicable


Oct 19, 2012, 2:55 PM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Would you have consented to all this? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

It still intrigues me that it's THIS you pick as the source of your dissatisfaction with existence. Would you rather not have a body and just be a mind? Or would you rather have a body but no emotions attached to the having of that body--so no mediation between body and mind? I can kind of sympathize with feeling like life is a collection of accidents and that the person I am, and have become and grown to be, is largely not something I chose in any way. Something I try not to think about too long is why I was so fortunate in the circumstances of my birth, upbringing, etc., compared to others who experienced poverty, suffering, abuse, and serious wounding.

The latter mostly but emotions can be fun. A better ability to moderate them would seem appropriate but I don't mind them in the abstract.

Mainly it's the incongruity between my lack of consent, or even desire, to have this life and how compulsively attached to and concerned with it I am. Its just strange to care so much about something I never asked for. It's illogical and that doesn't matter. I find that odd.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Oct 19, 2012, 3:00 PM)

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