Author Topic: Nurturing Hopelessness  (Read 2124 times)

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Holden

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Nurturing Hopelessness
« on: May 27, 2015, 07:45:45 am »
Mr H. in one of his letters to me used very uncommon phrase “deliberately cultivating hopelessness”. I have been trying to do that.Like his,one of the last things my friend John said was"The good thing about being a pessi¬mist is that you’re never really wrong-footed; even before you’ve put one foot in front of the other you suspect that you’re likely to trip up, and that makes adversity much easier to deal with.”

He died three weeks later, lying in a bed in the Hospital. Not, you understand, that there was anything in particular wrong with his hearing; rather, despite the cancer that had metastasised from lymph to liver to brain, he remained highly attuned to the vapidity of yeasayers.

Indeed, I imagine the last thing he heard – and silently dismissed – before he slid into the coal-hole of inexistence was some well-meaning health professional or other, telling him it was all going to be all right.

That was a long time ago, but my friend’s valedictory wisdom has stayed with me, informing my life, refining an stoical attitude towards public events. For those who would dismiss pessimism out of hand, seeing it as a negative and self-fulfilling prophecy, let’s lay our jokers on the table right now: in respect of which of the major social and political developments of the past 25 years would optimism have been an appropriate attitude to take? If John would have read Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History?”. How he would have snorted derisively at Fukuyama’s assertion that the end of the cold war would be followed by the worldwide dissemination of benign western liberal democracy.

Of course, when the Berlin Wall fell the immiseration of the former Soviet Union was just a gleam in wannabe oligarchs’ eyes and the rise of Putin’s democracy lay some way ahead. The US was about to disengage itself from a range of proxy wars across the globe, in order to reinvest its peace dividend in the prosecution of a brand new range of hegemonic interventions.

A decade had already passed since the Camp David accords that were to have ushered in a peaceful era – but there was no sign of a lasting peace in the Middle East then and there certainly isn’t now. Indeed, US support of the Israeli state’s expansionist territorial aims remains to this day the festering pressure sore on the posterior of international relations. John would not have been in the least bit surprised about this.

Nor, I imagine, would he have kept his sunny side uppermost as the western coalition’s air forces vaporised the retreating Iraqi conscript army at the end of the first Gulf war. An optimist, of necessity, believes in a future typified by knowns, because if – in the rousing chorus of the Capitalist government’s accession anthem– “things can only get better”, then this must be in comparison with what already obtains. The pessi¬mist, by contrast, is fully attuned to Donald Rumsfeld’s unknown unknowns: the black swans that swoop down out of a clear blue sky to annihilate thousands of New York office workers. The pessimist does not sanction foreign wars on the basis that democracy can issue forth from the barrel of a gun – which is not to say that pessimists don’t believe in the need to defend democratic values. Indeed, the chief paradox of whatever still obtains in the way of  Western greatness is that it derives from Churchillian pessimism: while the appeasers were optimistically waving their brollies, Winnie was scurrying the storm clouds of the Nazi blitzkrieg. It was when optimism got the better of him – believing in the continuation of British rule in India – that Churchill’s Pollyanna intransigence contributed to the deaths of up to three million Bengalis in the 1943 famine.

No, in foreign affairs a healthy dose of pessimism – if by this is meant a willingness to accept that things may be for the worst in a less-than-perfect world – is definitely indicated. The optimism of the Thatcher-Reagan-Blair neoliberal consensus hardly seems to have been borne out. A bed in the early 2000s, receiving cancer treatment that may have been less advanced than that of today, but which nonetheless was administered free and on demand with no caveats, my moribund friend would have undoubtedly been right in taking a gloomy view of the sell-off of our public assets.

As we shiver our way through an interminable winter after having bartered our Public Sector Companies for a mess of banker’s pottage, the much-vaunted efficiency of the market seems like just another optimistic mirage. Food banks opening at the rate of two a week, sickness benefit claimants about to be struck off by private contractors without any recourse to justice – these are developments that wouldn’t have fazed him.

He regarded the auto-cannibalistic tendencies of capitalism not from a theoretical perspective, but with the weary eyes of child who witnessed his own father working 20 hours a day to keep the family afloat .

Indeed, what are speculative bubbles if not the purest example of optimism run wild? The same sort of loony thinking that once invested in perpet¬ual motion machines leads the contemporary credulous to believe that financial wizardry can conjure something out of nothing. The same glad-eyed and groundless enthusiasm for the Good News that the Redeemer’s arrival is imminent also leads people to believe that economies can continue to grow for all eternity, spawning more goods for more clap-happy consumers. I’m by no means the most eminent Cassandra to have pointed out that there’s a worm in the Enlightenment’s apple of knowledge; this distinction belongs to my one of my favorite philosophers John Gray(along with Mr H).

The optimist thinks that it is his willingness to entertain a better future that acts as a psychic midwife to its birth but the truth is the communist utopia is forestalled quite as much as the thousand-year Reich; both retreat in advance of time.

I have, as you have probably realised, a good deal of sympathy for that apocalyptic tendency that led Spanish anarchists to burn the town hall records and string up the priest.I am trying to temper it with pessimism.And Mr H perhaps unknowingly is helping me with it.
La Tristesse Durera Toujours                                  (The Sadness Lasts Forever ...)
-van Gogh.

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Kaspar Hauser

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Re: Nurturing Hopelessness
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2015, 09:46:30 pm »
Believe it or not, I have actually found that, paradoxically, cultivating hopelessness even helps me concentrate on studying material that might otherwise be quite boring. 

"Have you eaten yet?"

Really, this is what is important. 

"Have you got a place to lay your head?"

The demands we make become less the more hopelessness we cultivate.

I don't expect to be filled with enthusiasm about ANYTHING.  I don't expect anyone to be thrilled, excited, or amazed with anything I tell them.

Some might say, with an attitude like yours, why not just kill yourself?

Uhm ... because my body wants to breathe and stay alive.   It's what it does.  It (the Will) has a mind of its own. 

To the point:  How does deliberately cultivating hopelessness help me stay focused on difficult knowledge that I am interested in learning?   Well, first of all, sensing I don't stand a chance of mastering something, I am content with the mere process of exploration and investigation. 

So, yes, hopelessness does make adversity easier to deal with.  It feels liberating to say and write things that are just so counter to the mantras of polite ther-ape-utic society. 

Without hope of ever doing anything productive with what I am studying, it really comes down to raw will-less interest as a purely cerebral activity.

And yet ... I don't want to appear as though I am an ingrate.  Just because I am not enthusiastic does not mean I am not impressed.  I am impressed with what the Industrial World produces when it comes to computer technology.  No, I certainly don't want to sound as though I don't appreciate having a full stomach, access to textbooks to study if I am motivated to do so, and even the general education I received growing up.

How does one go about expressing inner frustration or general dissatisfaction without sounding like a "whiner".  Do I need to quote Thomas Ligotti for my own sake, since he expressed it so well?

Hearken well: “None of us wants to hear spoken the exact anxieties we keep locked up inside ourselves. Smother that urge to go spreading news of your pain and nightmares around town. Be sure to get on with things or we will get on without you.” (Ligotti)

Disillusionment can be a very desirable and empowering state of mind: Ligotti says, “At this time I’ve run out of other people that I want to be. My ideal persona these days is that of an inmate in a minimum security prison. That really seems like the good life to me.”

In Thomas Ligotti’s “My Case For Retributive Action,” the protagonist reflects, “I’ve even come to believe that the world itself, by its very nature, is unendurable.”

Thomas Ligotti wrote:

And if we do not feel good, we should act as if we do. If you act happy, then you will become happy—everybody in the workaday world knows that. If you do not improve, then someone must assume the blame. And that someone will be you. We are on our way to the future, and no introverted melancholic is going to impede our progress. You have two choices: start thinking the way God and your society want you to think or be forsaken by all. The decision is yours, since you are a free agent who can choose to rejoin the world of fabricated reality—civilization, that is—or stubbornly insist on … what? That we should rethink how the whole world transacts its business? That we should start over from scratch, questioning all the ways and means that delivered us to a lofty prominence over the amusement park of creation? Try to be realistic. We made our world just the way nature and the Lord wanted us to make it. There is no starting over and no going back. No major readjustments are up for a vote. And no nihilistic head case is going to get a bad word in edgewise. The universe was created by the Creator, goddamn it. We live in a country we love and that loves us back. We have families and friends and jobs that make it all worthwhile. We are somebodies, as we spin upon this good earth, not a bunch of nobodies without names or numbers or retirement plans. None of this is going to become unraveled by a thought criminal who contends that the world is not double plus good and never will be and who believes that anyone is better off dead than alive. Our lives may not be unflawed—that would deny us a future to work toward—but if this charade is good enough for us, then it should be good enough for you. So if you cannot get your mind right, try walking away. You will find no place to go and no one who will have you. You will find only the same old trap the world over. It is the trap of tomorrow. Love it or leave it—choose which and choose fast. You will never get us to give up our hopes, demented as they may seem. You will never get us to wake up from our dreams. Your opinions are not certified by institutions of authority or by the middling run of humanity, and therefore whatever thoughts may enter your chemically imbalanced brain are invalid, inauthentic, or whatever dismissive term we care to assign to you who are only “one of those people.” So get the hell out if you can. But we are betting that when you start hurting badly enough, you will come running back. If you are not as strong as Samson — that no-good suicide and slaughterer of Philistines — then you will return to the trap. Do you think we are morons? We have already thought everything that you have thought. The only difference is that we have the proper and dignified sense of futility not to spread that nasty news. Our shibboleth: “Up the Conspiracy and down with Consciousness.”


Quote from: An official antinatalist who goes by the user ID, dimasok
Its funny when you think that depression is actually not an aberration but the removal of all defense mechanisms and the stripping of consciousness to nakedness… how it flies in the face of all these mental institutions who want to to talk us into thinking “positive” or medicate us to correct the chemical “imbalance”.

Again, don't get me wrong.  I appreciate food, clothing, shelter, the computers, the access to text-books and other literature, tobacco, coffee, the presence of a mother who accepts me and even respects me ... It's just that I can't bring myself to be too enthusiastic about anything.  How instantaneously these comforts can be taken from us! 

I think I am afraid to become too attached to anything.  Look, can't you imagine?

I guess I am fortunate to be comfortable with being who I am, so comfortable that I am not ashamed to admit that deciding to dedicate myself to studying C++ STL and seeing how generic programming could become a mathematical discipline is the focus of my existence with no major goals in mind.  I am fortunate that I do not internalize the labels dished out by the System.  They presume to treat me like a child carted off to detention or coached into a dead-end job.

Cultivating hopelessness may make one stronger. 

« Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 11:04:10 pm by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

Kaspar Hauser

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Re: Nurturing Hopelessness
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 07:49:28 pm »
 ;)


Shakespeare Forever

I know why I've been focusing on math and programming so consistently, to avoid thinking about the reality of our situation.  I am not encouraging you to get sucked into Gary's world, but, since I know already that you dig his rhetoric, I figured I'd give a nod of recognition.   I can handle the truth.

I don't have delusionary rainbow sickness.

This graytaich0 seems to have created some compilations with powerful tragic/classical music in the background with Inmendham ranting ... I think these are well done.  It reaches something within me.

garytaich0

I'm happy to say I am under no delusion that I am accomplishing anything in this life.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 08:21:13 pm by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

Kaspar Hauser

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Re: Nurturing Hopelessness
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2019, 09:49:43 am »
I want to post links to 2 different articles, one being the 8 page "Ask the Puppet: Towards Thomas Ligotti," the other, research from the Netherlands:  The Dark Side of Food Banks? : Exploring emotional responses of food bank receivers in the Netherlands.

I read the latter and it gave me insight into Maman's mixed emotions concerning our visits to food pantries.  It seems she is feeling her diminished social status acutely, whereas I wear my "poverty" as a kind of badge of honor.   

https://youtu.be/OozIDOzGWH4

I do understand how tempting it is to want to bite the hand that feeds you ... It is what it is.   
Set the demons free and watch them fly?   It is tempting to wish to identify with the kernel of Nature, as Schopenhauer suggested.  That is, identify our social "identities" as the puppets ... and say, "This sow is mine!"

Our bodies will be stinking in the earth.  Why not identify with the earth?    The oceans are rising?  Why not identify with the elemental forces?   Why take social hierachies seriously?

When I witness just how very impressed Maman is with the "luxury" homes along the [dirty?] Jersey Shore, my morbid sense of humor can't resist informing her that, when this body is stinking in the earth, "I" or "We" will be returning as Great Winds, like Pazuzu ... I will not have lifted a finger as the fingers which type these words will have no blood making the bones (of the puppet) to move. 

And yet the "doll houses" along the angry ocean will be debris, with politicians crying over dollars and cents.  It's beyond good and evil, nothing personal, you see.   Shall we identify with our human puppet corpses, or with the Elemental Forces?   Who and what are "we" actually?

Maybe we favor our non-human, indestructible kernel ... Nature? Sorry, I woke up wanting to see if I could just lose interest in code and mathematics for a half a day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXJ5r7tbVz4

Meanwhile, like a boy grumbling under his breath, I resent having to drive this mother of mine to another store.   If Pazuzu would like to have a peak, I would not mind IT seeing through these eyes with the perspective of the great OId Ones, with the perspective far deeper than the inanities of "modern consumer culture".     Really, great creative destruction through natural/emotional connections to elemental forces ... I'll see you the day after tomorrow.   ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uufaH-xDMg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jvYLtociKk

What's this?   Click here to see ...
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 01:09:54 pm by mike »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

Kaspar Hauser

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Re: Nurturing Hopelessness
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2019, 05:42:25 pm »
From "Ask the Puppet" :

Quote from: Stanimir Panayotov
I am pointing at Metzinger’s paradox from Being No One which Ligotti reads meticulously and defines it as:

“You cannot know what you really are because then you would know there is nothing to know and nothing to know it.”

Someone is going to shoot me one day for not shutting up already about Schopenhauer, but he did say that a man will no longer fear being no thing in death who realizes he is already no thing while living.

Our consciousness is a by-product of sentient meat, which will one day rot when blood and water and air no longer sustain it.  The bones which give structure to the entrails will (already are) decaying.

It's nice to have interacted with the projected personas on the other end of these interconnected contraptions, but none of us really exists, per se.   :D

Is it just me, or does the "nothing" after death seem just a tad bit more definitive of ZERO-NULL-VOID-{ } than the intangible "nothing" of consciousness-connected-to-organism-in-environments?

In other words, while Master Troublemaker Schopenhauer was TECHNICALLY correct, does it work?

Even when I have wanted to end my own life, I found the animal body terrified of the actual death of its living organism, as though an alien part of my brain was giving directives to murder me.

What am I afraid of, that I won't ever get through all these fat books?  Who knows?  Only the honest Creature within knows, but I doubt I can be consciously privy to the contents of my own heart as it most likely is successfully silenced and censored by socializing processes.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 06:06:12 pm by Sic Bic »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

Kaspar Hauser

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Re: Nurturing Hopelessness
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2019, 09:09:21 pm »
"Everything is reduced to three stark principles:  first, that there was nowhere for you to go; second, that there was nothing for you to do; and third, that there was no one for you to know."     ~ Ligotti

Do you see how giving up hope of there being somewhere to go, something to do, and someone to know does indeed save one a ton of useless anxiety?

If we had never been born, we would not really be missing out on anything, really, as difficult as this is for self-deceptive liars to accept.   They will protest, "You do not know the JOY of being a father or grandfather.  How dare you claim there is nothing to do or know when there are so many of us who cherish our lives and the joy the Lord blesses us with."

OK, such responses are expected, especially by "couples" or "nuclear families."   

For those of us who refuse to be dupes of Nature, giving up hope means we do not believe in your "JOY" either.   We think it is a temporary "trick" played on you so that you will serve as a vessel for the Species.

Why is it that some of us can accept Ligotti's statement, while others think that as long as they continue to proclaim that their lives are different, that our lives in particular must be problematic, not life in general.

There is nowhere for you to go, there is nothing for you to do, and there is no one for you to know.   

What I do is prepare food to eat, and it appears that this occupation is shared by the majority of my species.   Others "order it" to be delivered, those with more cashflow.

So, what does Ligotti mean when he says that there was nothing to do?

-----------------------------------------------------
From H-165 (2014):

I can't resist noting this statement made by Thomas Ligotti during an interview.

When young, Ligotti wanted to be a rock star.  Then he wanted to be H. P. Lovecraft.

"At this time I've run out of other people that I want to be.  My ideal persona these days is that of an inmate in a minimum security prison.  That really seems like the good life to me."

That sure says a lot.   How would such an inmate get his hands on a collection of rare books?   Hence, minimum security: maybe the rules are less strict than maximum security - that is, maybe someone "on the outside" could send some books and blank notebooks.  Sade's wife sent him an entire library while he was in "custody."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"All actual lives are much worse than we think, and none of our lives are worth living."  ~ Benatar


« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 09:07:35 am by Kaspar Heinrich »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~