Sunday, August 18, 2013

Consumerism is Nihilism

If you find yourself lamenting the shallow pursuit of shiny beads, status symbols, whiz-bang toys, or the marketing thereof, your philosophical foe is nihilism.

If you find yourself lamenting the devaluing of individual differences, the callous marginalization of selves or others, or the realpolitik of global currencies and killings, your philosophical foe is nihilism.

In a world where nothing exists except perception, then nothing exists except perception, and the only possible rational course is to seek as many good perceptions as possible. In a world where nothing endures, then nothing endures, and the only possible rational course is to seek as many good fleeting things as possible.

No amount of supposed uniqueness in your perception of choice; of rarity or refinement therein, can save you. Your awareness of futility, while gorging on different flavors of bread or laughing to bloody tears before different circuses, does not make your bread or circuses any more worthwhile than anyone else's. In a world where nothing has meaning, we must all become gobbling, cackling fools, and all the better for it. Runoff from the local BP plant; water from the drinking fountain at Utama shopping center; store-brand soda in Minnesota; fluoridated and chlorinated tapwater in the Upper West Side; organic cabernet by candlelight: there is no difference, if nothing means anything. An outlook of nihilism that celebrates the educated experiences of the cosmopolitan individual trimming her organic backyard garden while listening to Eluvium and drinking free-trade coffee from the locally owned bookstore is weighted no more than an outlook of nihilism that celebrates beating your wife unconscious, having 11 cans of postdated beer, and watching old recordings of big trucks crashing into each other over the sound of 1980s British metal. If it's all bouncing billiard balls, there is no difference.

Consumerism is nihilism, and nihilism has already won this debate. If you believe that there is no deeper meaning to the world than the extent of your own feelings, then you must respect Jebediah's feelings that boozing it up on the couch is among the greatest of pastimes. Or, don't--because it doesn't matter. You're right that Jebediah is a fool deceived by his own naturalistic urges, and Jebediah is right that you are an over edumacated fool afraid to loosen your belt and really relax, and High Arka is right that something is wrong with this equation, and it doesn't matter anyway because no one is, or can ever be, right.

Why do we get embarrassed when otherwise-sensible people begin to talk about feelings and deeper meanings? Because we have been trained that there are none. The philosophical underpinnings of mass perspective that allow things like consumerism and imperial war to exist are those of nihilism, because if there is no deeper meaning, then this all doesn't matter.

A trap awaits the more intelligent in this system. When you have realized that the world is filled with a bunch of people hurting and killing and gobbling, you may use this as evidence that there is no deeper meaning, and thereby join them in your own version of their hollow pursuits. It's futile, so let's eat cake. All roads of nihilism lead back to nihilism, though. When you accept that there is no deeper meaning, you lose any grounds from which to make your critique: not only of wife-beating and beer-drinking, but of anything at all.

Moreover, the evidence which leads you to conclude that the world has no meaning is self-justifying. The morass of human waste and pain that justifies nihilism is caused by nihilism. A thousand quiet little shrugs that it doesn't really matter, anyway, slay the conscience and encourage upgrading to the premium package on your new crew cab pickup truck. Why not? Why not have an eentsy weentsy bit more fun before you vanish?

Our most basic perceptions of why and how we exist are fundamental to creating the minute details of this place. We got here randomly. Stuff happened, so here we are. Life's short, so play hard. Stuff happened, and then this other stuff happened--just 'cause, man; just 'cause, man--and since of 'cause that other stuff there was this stuff and then, like, me, man. Totally deep.

In the temporary prison of nothingness, what does it matter what you grab and who you shiv? Even if it does, it doesn't, because you've already concluded that there is nothing.

22 comments:

  1. More interesting for me are the cases that behave and think nihilistically while believing that there is a "deeper meaning". I was surprised to see a particularly intelligent friend of mine evolve his worldview in precisely that direction, i.e. "the world is totally screwed up, but there are now more than ever strategies available for individual advancement and fulfillment" (little discussion of the fact that most of these 'strategies' simply mean clever ways of making oneself useful to those with money - so you can get some too). So, I don't get this part. The other scenario is easy and at least somewhat defensible, and I indulge often (e.g. "the world is screwed up, might as well devote more time to vacations"), but this type of nihilism at least makes more logical sense than pretending that curating your own existence with the right worldviews and objects is the way to go.

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    1. I'd agree, but only subjectively. If the world really is fundamentally pointless, then someone else's opinion that it makes more logical sense to toss me off the Empire State Building is actually as logical as my opinion that you're marginally more correct about vacations.

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  2. Moreover, the evidence which leads you to conclude that the world has no meaning is self-justifying. The morass of human waste and pain that justifies nihilism is caused by nihilism.
    Exactly why this world view is so evil!
    Now argue evil does not exist and there is no right or wrong or truth!
    This is some real fucked up thinking, requiring a real fucked up mind.

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  3. perhaps you should unpack the meaning of nihilism before writing an article misconstruing it as hedonism just in the second paragraph. philosophically immature

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    1. Nihilism is hedonism. Note: "In a world where nothing exists except perception, then nothing exists except perception, and the only possible rational course is to seek as many good perceptions as possible. In a world where nothing endures, then nothing endures, and the only possible rational course is to seek as many good fleeting things as possible."

      It's possible that someone could be a nihilist, yet take such genuine pleasure in helping "other people" that she spends her life satisfying herself through effecting the apparent pleasures of others. That would still be the pursuit of her own pleasures, though; the others would be a means to her selfish end.

      In a world of nihilism, very few of these pleasure-seekers-through-others will pop up, because if you're never completely sure that others exist, then your only rational course is to believe in your own self and own pleasures, ergo you achieve no satisfaction from the pleasures of others (except inasmuch as it might logically contribute to your own later pleasures through likely perceptions of debt).

      It is a farce to separate nihilism and hedonism, when the former necessarily leads to the latter.

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    2. Yes, but the former does not necessitate the latter. I'd like you to find something outside your own perception. I think that goal will answer a lot of your confusion. Nihilism is an egoism, but an egoism is not necessarily hedonism. Your sentiments about nihilism are correct - good perceptions will be sought. A nihilist would decide what those good perceptions are. Some nihilists re-wild or advocate for re-wilding... I'm not sure how you explain that if nihilism is consumerism

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    3. "[T]he former does not necessitate the latter."

      That would bring us to unpacking hedonism. For example, if a masochistic hedonist seeks pleasure, he may perform the same physical assault upon his body that a sadistic hedonist would, so their aims would be the same: hurt the masochistic hedonist. Hedonists who enjoy camping, cookouts, and (possibly) being smug may throw out their computers and re-wild.

      Those actions do not themselves define the philosophy of the one who carries them out. By the same token, are consumers who buy iPhones in order to prop up poor self-esteem or shattered community relationships actually engaging in consumerism? Or are they engaging in self-pity?

      It can be consumerist to take genuine pleasure in buying extra iPhones, but it can also be consumerist to select State parks, camping gear, campsites, and tent colors for one's trip outdoors. In fact, many people spend thousands of dollars annually doing just that.

      This is where nihilism, consumerism, and hedonism dovetail. A system of thought which denies the existence of reality, morals, perception, or meaning, because it disconnects the end-user from the larger server architecture, necessitates some form of hedonism or consumerism, by necessity, because by denying deeper truths in the outer world, the only possible sources of truth or inspiration are the individual thinker.

      Nihilism is a narcissistic personality disorder that pretends not to be narcissistic merely because it encourages other people to be narcissistic, also.

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  4. I recommend this article for unpacking the meaning of nihilism... http://www.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol5_1/v5-1-article12-woodward.html

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    1. How much should we allow nihilists to define themselves? It's like the paradox, "This sentence is not true." If someone argues that objective truths do not exist, then they've essentially said, "Everything I say may be treated as a lie, because I do not believe in you." As nihilists, we're in Alice in Wonderland, but we haven't yet agreed to believe in each other.

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    2. you realize your unpacking of hedonism made no sense (nor did you unpack it). just read the article dude

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    3. In how many ways can we define "red"? There can be as many variations on nihilism as people decide there are; Woodward discusses different "versions" of nihilism, descending to the level of dog-chasing-tail by allowing people to define nihilism based on their own feelings about it. That's appropriate for nihilism, because a denial of the worth or existence of an objective truth would deny that words have any meaning beyond what we've attached to them.

      It does, though, make discussion difficult. I could, for example, say that I am an Arken Nihilist, and spend twenty pages, explaining what that was. However, it wouldn't have any utility as far as discussing an abstract concept (other than "myself") with another person. For the purposes of the original essay, I've discussed actual, standard nihilism. When philosophers delve into nihilism in the way Woodward does, it's like reading Gender Studies articles on what masculinity means to Dr. Phil--is Dr. Phil's masculinity more masculine than yours, or less? Should Dr. Phil's masculinity supplant a generalized definition that everyone can discuss? If someone wants to talk about masculinity, but hasn't viewed Dr. Phil's program, does that make them ignorant?

      We should be able to discuss questions such as "is there any objective meaning in the world?" without devolving into a bibliography of those who have spent their lives writing the forewards to yet another translated Kant. Similarly, we should be able to discuss, "Have human governments had a positive effect on the world?" without devolving into an argument about whether buying free trade ketchup in Seattle using Canadian currency is "anarchist" or "not anarchist."

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  5. While endless consumption of sensory phenomena is certainly the most popular path of nihilism, it is not the only one. The idea that nothing exists except for sensory perception, that there is no meaning of life and that everything is pointless can mean that all ways of life are equally valid and that therefore we should follow Camus advice and look for an ethics of quantity and try to experience as much as we possibly can, but it can also mean that all ways of life are equally invalid, ridiculous, and incompatible with human nature and that therefore death is preferable. This is Dostoyevsky's hypothetical logical suicide (Kirilov) and also Jacques Rigaut's actual logical suicide. Yet another approach that follows from nihilistic reasoning is the idea that all of humanity is just a collection of poor ridiculous saps caught in a game they can't win, and therefore, like all weak and innocent saps, cute. If humanity is cute, the logical thing to do would be to be compassionate and gentle, scratch it behind the ears, laugh delightedly when it seems happy, and try to show each other a little beauty before death comes and takes us away in its pointless and ridiculous way (like a bunch of lost children in a ridiculous carnival funhouse, deciding what to do with their last perhaps 30 minutes before the madman with the knife breaks down the door: they perhaps hold each other and try to cheer each other up, maybe even kiss and tell each other secrets). The Dadaists also experimented briefly with another tack which was to become universal clowns and mock the ridiculousness of the deathlords and the blindness of the general populace by calling out the ruse of popular morality and transcendental meaning. Of course, its a rather desperate joke, and can get old when it becomes apparent almost no one gets it or wants to, and that most prefer consumerism even if it is more humiliating and servile because it requires less work, less thought, and less responsibility. Jacques Vache tried an all together different clown tactic with his idea of 'Umour, which was the amusement he found from watching slaughter carnivals. Vache actually thought that illegitimate 'meaning' and 'necessity' were the excuses of all seemingly pointless destruction such as WWI, and that the real and primary end was destruction and oblivion. So Vache was sort of a parasite feeding on the death drive of others. He also seemed to think that a good response to nihilism was the ridiculous antics of street acting and disguise, which brought him much more delight, for whatever reason, than consumerism. As possibly disturbing as most of those examples are, I tend to think that the compassionate option is actually prettier and more prolife than the majority of 'meaningful moral systems' which tend to cause unnecessary violence. Anyway, for a nihilist to actually believe he is right that life ends at death takes a little bit of belief. A more complete nihilist would say that what happens after death is just totally unknown, because there is no reason to believe life is not (or is) just a giant computer simulation or dream. The point is, nihilism only seems to be consumerism because the vast majority of present day nihilists are really only nihilists because they have absorbed ideas from advertising and popular culture and haven't really bothered too much to get creative or look at the reasons why they think the way they do. Of course, you could argue nihilism is responsible for that mindset, but I think that a better explanation is a combination of apathy, longing for death, selfishness, a nostalgia for meaning, a tendency to get their instincts manipulated by powerful interest groups, and too much fear or laziness to bother committing suicide.

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    1. If nothing means anything, of course, then the "compassionate option" isn't really of any more value than a deliberately non-compassionate option, since it's just accumulated sensations, neither of which holds any value and/or trumps the other set. Whenever we argue that "the best way to achieve the most happiness here is to just enjoy ourselves and be nice to others," we've tacitly admitted that there is no higher meaning, which concedes in advance to the serial killer that his means of enjoying himself is as valid as our street performance.

      Most people who (legitimately) choose "the compassionate option" are subconsciously surrendering to some form of "deeper meaning," because for all their purported moral relativism, they're still shocked by, say, child rape. So it can be tempting to conclude that, "Okay, we should believe in deeper meaning, but we should keep it to ourselves, so that it doesn't cause anyone to go to war over their beliefs."

      That's nice, but then arseholes will go to war over something else (religion was a false excuse, anyway), and because of our silence, we're unable to condemn warlords from a higher place. If we're silent, we're also unable to help those who experience great terror and sorrow at the contemplation of finality.

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    2. Do you really need deeper meaning to be shocked by child rape? Sure, a nihilist cannot complain that a child rapist is 'wrong', but morality has roots in hierarchical power structures and slavery (both Plato and Paul agree that humans are the property of the Gods). The moralist may self-righteously condemn child rape as 'wrong', but be wholly unable to condemn Israel even if it tortures to death every Palestinian in the West Bank. After all, what God says goes, even if the wisdom of God seems foolishness to the wisdom of men, to paraphrase Corinthians.

      Shock at child rape for me has nothing to do with ultimate meaning, but instead has to do with a disgust with wastefulness and a contempt for death drive and domination. If we are here alone, at least in regard to deeper meanings of life, then we should make the most of our beautiful, wondrous, inexplicable and seemingly brief existence. Human minds are the most complex things in the universe, as well as those that have the most to say about ourselves through comparison and interaction. The person with death drive and a desire for power is ridiculous, because one day she will die, and have exhausted herself pointlessly. In my opinion death drive is a mental disease which results when people are hurt badly. They end up losing their desire for life and beauty and existence, and craving death. They also lash out and try to consume endlessly and take everyone else down with them.

      Eventually they attract willing slaves who are for some reason nostalgic for meaning, perhaps due to nostalgia for childhood when someone else made the decisions, and subjugate themselves to make themselves feel better, even if it means murder. Thus, government, nationalism and most of current religion. The masters hurt the slaves, so the slaves gain deathdrive as well, and the disease spreads like a plague, especially since those with Meaning are more convincing and determined than those without, and whole societies become infected, leading to things like child rape.

      While I can't call this out as morally 'wrong', I can say that it seems unnecessarily exhausting and wasteful, as well as sad, distasteful and pitiful. I find gentle and respectful interaction with humanity to be more enjoyable, interesting and fulfilling than chasing a bigger house and a faster car in a ridiculous revolving carousel, and working hard at a job to accomplish something stupid, shallow and possibly predatory until I'm exhausted and retire to watch tv in an apartment or travel the world looking for creative ways to give other people the money I sacrificed my entire magnificent and infinitely strange and precious life for, only to die eventually. I also find that because of the depth and beauty I find in other people, as well as how adorable they are, I end up loving them, and the combination of wanting them to be happy and wanting to be around them to experience their hopes and fears and tragedies and joys and talk with them, is more than enough reason to not kill them. It even is enough to justify my wanting to defend them from early death or pain, especially against an assailant that won't even enjoy killing them, but will just sink even deeper into their own deathdrive.

      Love seems to me a better reason to dislike child rape than duty to a code. The underlying message of a moral code is that if it did not exist, the things it bans would be enjoyable and desirable. That's the doctrine of originial sin and is a clever way to manipulate believers into thinking they want things like war, so they will need Master to control them, when really, Master is probably behind the war. Deeper meaning also just doesn't satisfy me as a justification for not doing something. It's usually just a metaphysical version of 'Father/Mother/Obama said no'. What if they had said yes? Whats so great about Master anyway? And how do we prove which code is right?

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    3. You don't need deeper meaning to be "shocked" by child rape, anymore than you do to be startled if a yeti should burst out of your pantry one morning.

      Love is great; love is light. But is love (1) a chemical reaction produced by random evolution to improve the chances of your species' survival, or (2) an indication of something supernatural?

      If it's merely (1), then love is no more valid or rational a reason for behavior than math, science, religion, or a sociopath's conclusion that no one else has feelings and therefore anything goes. Sure, if you get enough people suffering from the love delusion together, they might cage the sociopaths, but it's no more right/wrong an action than if next year, the sociopaths were to overpower and cage the lovers.

      If love is (2), then it is a "moral code," in a way. It implies that certain actions must be objectively wrong, rather than wrong based only upon the temporal preferences of whomever holds power over molecular movement at any given time.

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    4. I will clarify, first, that I'm speaking of Greek agape, or unconditional love. Well, honestly I don't know what produces love. Scientific explanations for this can be looked for, but this kind of science, which is really justified metaphysics, is most of the time a con game designed to tell us what we would have thought anyway. However it might be, it is. Agape is in my opinion totally meaningless and pointless, but also very beautiful, because it exalts life and vitality and motion, which are creative excesses.

      The existence of something supernatural in no way necessarily implies 'meaning', ask Epicurus, the Deists, or Gilgamesh. There does seem to be substantial evidence of a sort of guiding force, zeitgeist or superconsciousness operating and evolving collectively on a higher level than individual lifeforms (Leonard Schlain's fantastic Art and Physics for instance, which I think you might like), but this need not even be supernatural, ants accomplish much the same with only pheromone glands, as far as we can tell, although there may be more at work there. This higher level, though, is inextricably linked to lifeforms themselves, and evolves on a larger scale in the same way. Ultimately, zeitgeists die and give birth in long generations like the physically limited organisms of which they are composed.

      Morality originated in Deathdrive and Stockholm Syndrome gradually over thousands of years. There is no trace of it in paleolithic art. It only comes into being as power structures develop. Gods are born and die, they simply have longer lifespans than individuals, and thus appear eternal at certain points in time. Likewise, the earth itself has been compared to a developing and growing super organism in its own right, with its own self regulating systems and cellular analogue in individual lifeforms. Love and life are therefore akin to 'healthy' or 'normal' cellular function, whereas Deathdrive might be compared to something like cancer or necrosis, depending on the type. The thing to recognize here though, in order to gain a kind of agency, is that there is no objective 'reason' why life should be supported, or system death should be supported, or why any specific system evolution in whatever direction should be supported or opposed.
      The only arbiter here is taste, which is the domain of 'pataphysics.

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    5. Oh, second half below, published as an independent post by accident. Also, oops, I don't mean to sound superior or faux-knowledgeable about 'recognizing' the infinite illegitimate intentions of nihilism. That's rude and has bad implications. 'I don't actually know anything whatsoever' is pretty much my mantra, although sometimes I forget to my detriment. :P

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    6. =]

      The purpose of agape is expanding electromagnetism, which we may also simply call light, existence, or creation. The conflict here is between existence and nonexistence (life/antilife). Now, there's a nihilism there, in a sense--what's to say that absolute, eternal nothingness is any worse than infinitely expanding bliss?

      In this one's case, since I like things, I'm an agent of life. I desire endless exploration, growth, love and light. Therefore, I am against evil, which is the opposite of life.

      What makes moral relativism arguments so curious is that almost everyone having them actually does prefer "existence" to "non-existence." However, they get trapped inside this life, fear that nothing else exists, and start advocating for a permanent emptiness that exists beyond their own consciousness. They feel powerless to advocate for light, because they think it's not their place to do so--ergo they end up advocating for transient atomized pleasure maximization, followed by everdeath.

      That's primarily where I'm working right now: I'm trying to educate people who would prefer eternal joy over the ending of everything, and help them see how their own fear is causing them to advance the cause of evil. It's a case of honesty.

      There are others doing the opposite. They are genuine believers in the superiority of nothingness, so they try to encourage people to advance the cause of antilife--but they do so by lying, by claiming that nothing else exists except an individual's own atomized pleasures, and therefore, they encourage people to adopt moral relativism, nihilism, and stuff like that. It's dishonest, because they're perverting people's genuine desire for happiness into the pursuit of one-lifetime happiness, rather than forever happiness.

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    7. Going on--so, I'm dealing with people who actually want life and light, yet who are worried that there is nothing "beyond the grave" (if you will) and that, therefore, all they should do is have as much fun as they can with the time they have available. By doing that, though, they dismiss eternity in favor of one tiny human lifetime--and that advances the cause of evil.

      That's why fostering a belief in everdeath is so useful to evil. Once people believe that they will be forever lost, this existence that we have here loses meaning. No matter how much people enjoy their one-lifetime, five-sense pleasures, their acceptance of an inevitable, total destruction taints them into, eventually, believing that others' lives and characteristics are irrelevant except inasmuch as those others can grant them transient atomized pleasures.

      You have to look deep within yourself and ask, "Do I really want an eternity of discovery, or am I ready to just be done with it and stop existing?" It's always cool to pretend to be a dark paladin, but a genuine dark paladin seeks to end everything, including her or himself.

      And in this one's opinion, that sucks. Furthermore, this one believes that you think it sucks. You would probably rather eat ice cream and have sex and take a nap and explore new galaxies in a pleasure yacht, than you would turn into empty blackness forever.

      That's the context in which I use "good" and "evil." Advocates of Nothing will, when honest, use those terms--to them, "evil" means the furthering of what they want, so it's just as appropriate a word to their goals as "good" is to mine.

      For any other sentient creature which desires existence, though, good and evil have "black and white" meanings, each corresponding to whether they advance or repress existence, respectively.

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    8. Remember I'm arguing that not all nihilism leads toward Antilife, and that rather Deathdrive is the primary problem, and is just as compatible with rebirth cycles and eternal afterlife ideas if not more so. Christianity's Heaven is eternal cryogenesis, its actually MORE deathly than standard corporate issue consumerist nihilism. Same goes for the Hare Krishna's, etc.'s, conception of escaping the cycles of rebirth. MORE deathly. As Nietzsche says, "what matters is not eternal life but eternal vivacity". Explain how that sounds Antilife? I'm not pretending to be a dark paladin. I do enjoy expansion and life and vital fire more than death and stricture, but both are still meaningless. Ice cream is tasty, therefore I enjoy it, therefore I craft ways to get more, and become convinced others need it too. Eventually I formulate it in beautiful, well articulate prose and declare ice cream the meaning of life. I wonder what might be beyond death, and decide that probably it will be ice cream, because, hey, the unknown is disconcerting (I'm not arrogant enough to think that death is the end anymore than I think its anything else, I'm confident I'll find out eventually ;) although I'm fairly sure it isn't Heaven and Hell, because that would be too obvious and too convenient to vested interests, perhaps eternal nothing is almost as suspicious, but at least there's no crime and punishment). The ice cream god is not far behind. Same goes no matter what it is I want. Meaning remains the number one technique for convincing slaves to do anything you want, as marketers, non-profit canvassers and missionaries understand particularly well. You can even create new slaves with enough brainwashing and big enough perceived consequences.

      You're an agent of Life, but what does that mean? Why do you need a Purpose? Why do you need to be an agent? If you admit that sometimes you need to repress you're urge for Antilife, you are only a servant of Life by deadening your agency and giving up freewill: becoming a cog. The paradox is you give up your life to serve you're ideal, which was supposed to be identical with it. That kind of stricture is exactly what causes the bitterness and hate and self loathing that lead to Deathdrive in the first place, so you've ironically become your own worst enemy. You also open the way to glamorization of 'righteous' violence (because after all, that ideal is more important than the life of someone who actually prefers death, right? Or even anyone who opposes your interpretation of the solution? Or maybe not, but only on account of another very concrete and eternal principle?), which is to say competitive and acquisitive violence in service to what makes you personally happy or fulfilled, which is essentially consumption.

      If you are an agent of Life in the sense that you always naturally gravitate toward Life and against Antilife, then you're also not an agent of Life, you simply are Life itself, and a creative nihilist, since you lack a master or any guiding meaning: You simply do what you want. Dada means nothing, and nothing means life. Dada also sounds like a beating heart and like a machine gun, neutralizing and overcoming all obstacles, even itself: Vital dancing, impossible to pin down, flower of spring. This also means though that you would pursue Antilife if that was you're true desire, if ever, but it just usually or never is.

      There's also a third possibility, which is that you are not an agent of Life, but you are a lover of Life, in which case, it would be painful to engage in Antilife, even if you did want to, because it would hurt what/who you loved. You would still be a nihilist though, you would just be subjugating one small desire to a stronger overarching one, there would still be no meaning, no good, no bad. Only illogical, ridiculous, pitiful, all consuming, all energetic and all creating love. You can call that white or black if you want, but that's not the experience or the desire.

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    9. There are different ways to use "death"--there's the sense of death where the term refers to the transition from atomized experiential memory to collective integration, subsequent to a form of rebirth, whether earthly or otherwise; and, there's the sense of death where the term refers to "the death of everything," e.g., an ending to death as well as to life. The language here doesn't include a good term for "total death," so there's a need for clarification as to whether someone is referring to the healthy, natural, good flow of death/life, or whether they're just using the closest-available term that they can culturally associate with their real meaning, which is "the destruction of every possibility."

      As to Christianity or other earthly religions, there's plenty of room in any of those texts within which to assimilate reincarnation and/or eternal cryogenesis. You're correct that the Heaven envisaged by the most prominent historical Christian figures is the deathly form. Most antilife agents from this perspective don't fantasize about "empty, black space" so much as they do about endless rows of perfect, beautiful marble columns, undisturbed by a single person walking through the gardens. (That's actually a variation on one of the challenges awaiting Earth's memory complex, though it'll be expressed here in the form of computer environments, so there won't be any physical statues.)

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  6. Different tastes come from different places. Subject a person to enough pain or pleasure and enough brainwashing with specific metaphysics, and you can change or limit their taste, or convince them that their taste should be subjugated to the taste of another. In my opinion people with subjectively positive childhood experiences that do not result from domination and subjugation will support life instead of trying to destroy it or hijack it. Those encouraged to dominate will try to hijack it, those encouraged to subjugate themselves and kill agency will try to destroy it, because everyone tries to replicate their own inner worlds in their environments. Bourgeois are slave-masters, they have been taught to do both. Love is no more right/wrong than torture or consumption, but in my opinion it is more enjoyable on an objective level, or rather internally content people will turn towards it more than those who are dissatisfied and crave death. I could spend my life making cash and touring the world for child prostitutes, but I would be left angry and discontent, and become cynical and intensely driven toward pointless goals, essentially not because I lacked meaning, but because I was discontent with the void and was trying to fill it.

    The Shaktists understand that the existential void is both infinite creative potential and infinite destructive potential. Meaning is always secondary constriction and revolves around the denial of void, although certainly it is more energetic (Tzara's Approximate Man uses an amusing image of a revolving carousel ride, horses bobbing up and down, very sure of themselves as they go in circles, accomplishing 'something' which is more ridiculous and illegitimate than nothing)

    Of course I could be wrong here, there's knots in my arguments. If life is a continuation of some cosmic evolutionary progress, there could be some meaning, but it is not necessary to love. Personally I'm skeptical humans can find or understand it though, in the odd chance it exists. The only thing such a meaning would give me that I don't have is the ability to condemn some specific choice such as genocide on a larger level than merely being sad and concerned that someone is into cutting themselves, and totally unable to justify that concern, except to say I don't like to see people I love suffering from their scars and inflicting them on others when everyone could very easily be happy and fulfilled by working and playing together to fulfill their pointless childish fancies and explore the beautiful seemingly boundless impossible super effulgence of void-verse.

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