I had no idea whenI was going to write anything again on this site but here it is. Been 'inspired', if I can say so about something utterly depressing and demotivating, by this documentary series from AlJazeera featuring people living AND breeding in Philippines slums.
One feeling I couldn't shake off while watching this series is 'how does one not kill herself having to live like this?' Yes, I realize the sense of well-being is relative, people's standards of 'acceptable life' may and do vary, but the lives shown in this documentary... no words! I guess, the least relateble were the people there who've appeared content with their lots. Praising God and making do with daily struggle to survive in order to continue breathing, eating, producing more waste while living on the pile of waste and making more babies to inherit the slums.
I've asked myself, suppose you and those people were all trapped in some prison for a long time or they were the last people on Earth and you had no one else to ever talk to, would you find something in common with them then? Wouldn't you find solace in at least having such memebers of the same species to possibly have a little conversation with and feel a tad less lonely?
I actually do not judge the majority of people all that harsh, even though I am picky with friends and those I maintain any sort of regular connection with. They may be miles away from where I stand on antinatalism and even pessimism, I still see a lot of things in commoon between myself and random people I meet in real life or online.
But here, frankly, I don't think having a smiling person deeming the life inside a huge garbage dump as acceptable would ever be of any solace to me if they were, pardon the cliche, the last man on Earth.
I'd rather have a dog or a cat or a pig living beside me. And I'm not saying this with any sort of passionate anger, I actually feel sorry for their circumstances, it's rather utter disappointment and resignation, it's that
See, cats, sheep, dogs - they are the authentic representatives of their own species and you don't expect much from them, in fact, you are surprised when they act especially smart or "human-like". You don't expect these animals to strive for anything more than satiating their hunger, following their sex drives and fight for survivaval until outside forces end their lives. You don't think 'oh, what an especially stupid cow doing nothing but chewing grass and shitting on the same field it eats from' - they all do that, that's what being a cow is. But when you see a human being, who is supposedly smarter and more complex than other animals acting basically the same as a stray dog or a monkey, living and perpetuating life that is about nothing more than what the rest of the animal world is doing, you start to feel so disappointed and wonder what does make a human being - human, besides the physical charachteristics? A human being living the live of a roach and feeling content with it is still a human? The same species that the greatest artist or a scientist or philosopher is? It's just mind-boggling.
So this made me wonder what was the suicide rate in Philippines in particular. I realize there's not just slums in Philippines but I expected maybe a report how people offed themselves in those particular areas more often, but no! And what I've found in general seemed a bit counter to expectations of 'the worse people have it - the more people end their lives'. The European Region had the highest suicide rate in 2015 (WHO).
And so I started Googling the topic and found this interesting analysis of suicide rates vs national IQ.
«Cultural Differences in a Globalizing World» By Michael Minkov
The same study is mentioned in TheTimes.co.uk's Only the bright commit suicide:
The study itself seems to be available for purchase here National intelligence and suicide rate: an ecological study of 85 countries.
Now, I'm not thinking they're all happy there, and they admit themselves they're not all the times cheerful.
But their coping mechanisms are so strong, much stronger than their rationality, which is sad because it's the latter that in my view distinguishes humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.
I know it's highly unfashionable today to judge any groups of people, especially the so called 'disadvantaged', 'the marginalized', 'the oppressed' etc. But here's the point: these are the people who will inherit the Earth while the 'awful, judgemental, prejudised, elitist, privilleged' will die off by breeding at a rate below the replacement level and by offing themselves. This is the dying breed. I myself was not born in a rich country and am not rich today and the majority of the people living in Ukraine are poor by international standards. But it's frowned upon to be breeding children into extreme poverty and misery and people limit themselves to 1.5 on average. There was this post on Facebook the other day asking for some money for the family with 5 kids adopted, but by a single woman who's apparently poor as it is and a photo of them standing in a room that looked the way a poor person's room does. And the response which received many likes was 'why adopting children you can't support? how did this happen?'. This is the mentality prevalent in Europe today, even the poor Eastern Europe, but not so much in Africa, and apparently, not in Southeast Asian Philippines.
So while I applaud the next video on the necessity of licensing parents, and completely agree with the philosophy behind it, I do not think it will ever be applicable in the real world, because good luck convincing those people who are happy to live in cesspools their whole lives that they have no right to have their 6 or 9 kids. No, you'll only convince those having 1.5 at average to not have any.
That's basically the only prospect of a 'voluntary human extinction movement' in today's world: to convince the most intelligent people to not procreate. And I'm not saying don't do that, I rather think it's just a natural course of events: the smartest part of the humanity is slowly checking itself out while those who still find this circus meaningful and joyful are being fruitful. It would not be right to ask those who are not impressed with life to keep breeding to take care of the dumber members of the human species. Yes, they may face more difficulties and sorrow when left on their own, but they also seem to be more immune to hardships and eager to accept them just to live to poop another day.
Hey, it just may be that we are truly a 'glitch' of overly clear self-awareness that should have never hapenned and has no place in this 'harmony' of species and the cycle of life feeding off of each other to survive and reproduce. Too much thinking only brings up painful questions with no good answers.
'Apathy gene' - I totally understand that. Today when I write, if I write something on the topic of antinatalism - it's only for my own sake, and for the sake of the rather unlucky few who happen agree with my views. But there's always 'newcomers' and they still feel inspired to attempt to change things by spreading the message and I won't try and stop them either.
Btw, in the end of the even more recent David Benatar's debate (with Jordan Petersen this time) he admits he's not naive enough to think antinatalism will ever be adopted globally, and that humanity will be eliminated by other forces, beyond its control [link]
I've listened to the one with Sam Harris too. It was not bad.
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There was an 'Aroma' slums? LOL, I've missed that!))) That's beyond hilarious.
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At the time of writing this post I've only watched 4 episode, I believe.. Today I've quickly browsed through the 5th. The Philippines has one of the highest birthrate in Southeast Asia in part due to Catholic church's stance against artificial contraception https://youtu.be/PEOX8aT_uSQ?t=280 So on one hand it helps them keep their shit together because 'God's will and he loves you and all happens for a reason, and there's heaven to go to after death' but on the other it tells them to keep breeiding themselves deeper and deeper into poverty. Oh well...
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I haven't been quoting Artsybashev in a while, have I? See, one use for our complaining online may not be any sort of prospect for change and improvement in the future. But my personal existence is made considerably better by being able to read about other people having similar feelings to mine:
The whole history of the human race is the history of martyrs and heroes perishing, and every epoch is a triumph of platitude. The best of people, those, who are worshipped by humanity, perish and perish, and walking on their corpses is a huge human herd. Heroes and martyrs of ideas are only here in order to glue together with their blood those bricks of communal happiness, and every floor of the building they'll raise will primarily be populated by the triumphing pigs, snorting back in their direction with contempt. They, the dumb animals, will get everything: new inventions, beautiful buildings, luxury, wealth, freedom and beautiful women, and the suffering, the agonizing pondering and the self-sacrifice is reserved for those who selflessly believed in the right of the future generations to their soul and their life. This is how it's always been and always will be.
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Oh wow this is a find! Ham Sarris! LOL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOQ1ZCeMY4
Hey, D! Thanks for your comment.
I think from the point of view of 'there's no free will' - none of us have a choice to become anything other than what we do become. I know some keep emphasizing on the distinction between fatalism and determinism but my brain at its current chemical (im-)balance appears to be determined not to comprehend that nuance Also, it seems to prefer not thinking too much about its own lack of free will, haha.
I was intrigued the same way, about that mentally ill woman. As in, was she not explaining why she is acting strange because she doesn't have a clue herself and is just that: sick, having a glitch in her system, or was she not saying much because she knew she wouldn't be understood by any of the surrounding people and so decided to just shut up about the reasons of her melancholia? Guess we'll never know. In theory, there could be both kinds of cases taking place in those shitty neighborhoods.
Same thing I keep asking myself as well. Seems easy to say that dumb is better, but guess only if an element of luck is also involved and where the dumb person's dumb decisions in finance or health or mingling with wrong people don't make their intellectually light lives too hard in the survival/interpersonal relationship spheres. Or, the most important factor would be, if the dumb person believes he/she has to achieve something in life, something that may prove unattainable to them. If these people are being brought up in the slums and aren't necessarily expected to make much of themselves, then they sure would benefit from being dumb, but dumb YET ambitious - gotta be an unpleasant combination. I guess I'm just writing the obvious now)))
Hey Kirk! Great to see you back to comment, too!
I wasn't really hoping for much of an audience after that long break but I'm pleasantly surprised)
But in spite of it all, I think I was the happiest for her in an informed and loving way, almost a bit envious, in fact, because she fell asleep, suffered a heart attack, and probably never woke up. She pulled off an escape almost without a hitch, and really IS in a better situation, as you understand my meaning. She achieved your "kill me surprisingly and quickly" mantra, Irina. ;)
In cases like this I feel some sadness for the living who will grieve the sudden death of their loved one, but not for the person who'd actually 'drawn a lucky number' with regards to how peaceful they left this world. No terror of upcoming death, no ruminiscing through unfinished business, unfulfilled dreams, the pain of parting with those you love and seeing them heartbroken as they are preparing to let you go forever, into the great unknown, and go on without you, the physical torture of disease and oftentimes the disability, the dependance on others for daily physiological needs, the loss of privacy... all the terrible things that await us at the end of our lives or lives of those we care about. Those who avoided that? Lucky, I say. They truly are.
Yep, and so know that'd be my ideal croaking method - while asleep)))
But my possible passangers, beware, 'coz I'm learning to drive and I've mixed up a clutch pedal with the breaks the other lesson!!))) Poor guy behind me climbing on the hill must've had a micro heart attack. Oh well, should've kept his distance from the car with a huge learner sign on top. Actually, should've kept good distance knowing how people drive in Ukraine and that we have like 10 mortalities from accidents every day, and many more injuries, of course. Actually, it's quite scary, driving in here, I don't think I plan to much at all, abroad - yes, back home - only after some additional defensive driving courses when I'm confident I can escape the bad situations created by reckless drivers. Dying slowly, squashed inside a car with broken bones isn't on top of my preferred ways to go, naturally. And a lot of the drivers around seem to think they're immortal. That being said, people get run over while crossing zebras and pedestrian crossings with traffic lights, or while waiting for a bus on a bus stop, someone just decides to ram into that at an insane speed.
If anyone wants to amuse themselves about how crazy driving can be in some countries like mine you will find a lot on Youtube, i.e. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWoD5l8SOIc Oh yeah I'm learning on this kind of roads https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj5wL1L_pxc
They teach you to navigate holes in the ground from day one, lol, that's fucking stressful, and out of nowhere a stray dog comes running and barking, getting under your wheels, all this while you'll trying to remember the basics you've only been introduced to a lesson ago.
Some might find it amusing that a pessimist who claims life is tragic and pointless and it's better not to exist is so careful not to get into an accident. But it's precisely the awareness of how bad things can get and that terrible shit can happen to anyone, oneself included, that is both adding to pessimism about life and instructing a rational person to stay away from danger because no angels are watching over. Pessimist doesn't mean a mosachist. Wanting to not exist doesn't mean not being afraid of suffering or death. So I'm trying to be careful in life, unless, once in a while, risk just feels too good and I allow it to myself a bit of it as a small treat))
Yet what always surprised me was the ability of the human mind to delude itself, thinking that if just this or that changed then their lives would be so much better, and that their current situation was even tolerable, until it wasn't
I can see how your having worked as a teacher has provided you with a glimpse into the lives of people with different backgrounds and socio-economic statuses. And that you noticed the capacity for self-delusion and our ever-pervasive optimism bias. Overestimating our abilities, trying to compare ourselves mostly to those less fortunate than us so we feel better, not to those more lucky, of course. I've gotta admit, those things worked in my youth as well, I was much more optimistic, because, you know, I didn't know life, I was hoping I could wish good things into my life like magic and avoid trouble just by denying it could ever really happen to me. That seems like a lifetime away now...
Anyway, I should be back to studying the driving code for my exam. Should have more time in a week. Unless I fail my first attempt.
I completely agree, Julien. Although it's not just ennui, it's the awareness of the possibility of great harm coming to yourself or loved ones and the inevitable separation with them by death, and dying itself, getting older and weaker, etc. All things hardly boring but highly disturbing and upsetting.