The difference death makes

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What harm does a bullet do to anyone or anything in it’s brief transit through flesh?

Pain?

What would that be? Nature’s way of alarming it’s subject of harm to it’s body? Why alarm for that? For protecting it from the inevitable? Pain would indeed be a harm in it’s absoluteness, yet be as absurd as everything fundamental in the universe: life, laws of physics, origin of universe etc because it can’t help at all in preserving life indefinitely, and is thus pointless in the greater picture of life and death.

Death?

Death of a man is the annihilation of the universe for him, something that adds great weight to this philosophically absurd event, but only for a while. As always, it gets exponentially absurder as we move out to the greater picture. In this case, the greater picture of one’s death, and thus of his entire universe, is the death of the actual universe at some point in distant future which, again, is absurd since what meaning would annihilation carry when creation carries none? What then makes death a mournable crisis, apart from the emotional connotations? If Absurdism, the philosophy, is the uneasy chronic belief in man’s inability to unravel the answer to the infamous question of “meaning”, death is it’s acute implementation in which you couldn’t procrastinate over the question anymore and finally receive the greatest blow you’ve always feared, even if you philosophically claimed not to give a damn.

Inconvenience?

If a dying man leaves behind a family which relied upon him for it’s food, there sure is some inconvenience in death, inconvenience to the dependents. Ironically, such harm is again in form of pain or death of the dependents. We’ve already seen how absurd such harms would be.

So?

So, all the bullet did is shout out loud to the world the inherent meaninglessness of the universe, only to be silenced soon by the psychobiological defenses of the listeners. It tried doing something, but failed. It did nothing.

Why bear pain when it can be escaped?

Pain anxiety and helplessness

In an experiment, scientists shocked a tied up dog, who could not escape, again and again. The dog would still violently try to escape. This was understandable as it was its basic instinct to try to escape pain and discomfort. But after many cycles of shock, the dog stopped trying to escape. This was again understandable since the dog had learned that it could not escape and any effort to do so was worthless. The dog’s innate escape instinct had been overridden by a conditioned behavior. But the real surprise came when he was provided with a visible opportunity to escape and it still didn’t. It kept sitting there, kept suffering the shock. This experiment led to the psychological concept of “Learned helplessness” and believe me, there’s a lot we need to learn from it.

One may say that learned helplessness is good in that it makes you tolerant to a bad condition, or conditions. Well, if you’re successfully able to extrapolate the above experiment to your own life, you’d realize how this is not true. If you’re feeling helpless, you’re not calm. You’re not tolerant to the pain or discomfort. You’re not in your comfort zone. In some cases learned helplessness makes you very depressed or anxious. Anxiety is never tolerable. Even if learned helplessness puts one in a comfort zone, it serves as a major bottleneck to one’s true potential.

The good thing about learned helplessness, like most conditioned behaviors, is that it is reversible. This makes this concept very important for you to understand.

I am a perfectionist. I am so bad at it that I get very anxious when I’m unable to meet the standard I set for a task. I also get very anxious when a task I’m doing gets very complicated. This latter form of anxiety is strange. Why would complexity in a task make me feel anxious? The reason for it is my knowledge of my perfectionism and my belief that it is inescapable. So when my task starts getting extremely complicated, I feel as If I am out of control and helpless due to my perfectionist tendency. This feeling of helplessness brings in me severe anxiety. All it takes to kill this anxiety is the realization that escape exists.

An inquisitive mind might ask: If I know the way it works, why do I still experience helplessness and anxiety. Well the answer is simple. It is last night that I discovered that my feeling of helplessness was irrational and no more than a conditioned response. It so happened that I was working on a software project and things were going on fine until I realized that I had started digging into the minutest of details. There I almost had a panic attack. But then out of nowhere this idea crossed my mind: “If I know I’m digging too much into details, I can simply chose not doing it” and ironically that was the end of it. There, in a flash, the episodes of both perfection obsession and anxiety had vanished into thin air. I do realize, however, that sometimes my inborn tendencies would really put me in situations I’d have difficulty controlling and that anxiety wouldn’t always go away as easily as it did last night. But the belief that I can escape the pain through a difficult process makes a lot of difference compared to the belief that I’m absolutely helpless.

I have come to realize that learned helplessness plagues many other aspects of our behavior too. But this time I just introduced you to the concept and talked about how the knowledge of it may help those obsessed with perfection. If you think I have oversimplified it, stay tuned for more on learned helplessness.

If you think you can’t, you won’t.

Rational Basis of Misanthropy

Ready for a dose of pseudo-philosophy and irrationality? (Yeah I somewhat lied in the title)

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Nature is sick. Each single concept in the whole ecosystem has an evil dimension of some sort.  Animals brutally tear apart other animals for food only to be themselves torn apart by some other animals later. Animals lucky enough to evade their natural predators are struck by disease which again translates to pain and suffering. Apart from being so brutal in implementation of this food chain, Nature is so “empathetic” that it wipes off the weaker species altogether from existence in the name of evolution. While we may get disgusted at a man tearing apart another creature for material gains, similar activities amongst animals appear to be intrinsic part of nature, and benign, to us. Do they not? Nature is, by nature, selfish, is mathematical. It will favor whatever is good for its own equilibrium, not what’s more “humane” or kind. And ironically this face of nature drastically contrasts with how it is perceived by those who personify nature over theistic or spiritual frameworks.

It shouldn’t be surprising to expect human race to inherit traits and behaviors which favor or facilitate its own survival, a phenomenon unmistakeably common amongst other animal species. I admit mankind isn’t as apathetic as Nature itself and the additional element of emotions plays a major role in damping the ill effects of its animalish selfishness, but still it’s based over the mathematical framework of survival. I’m not being irrationally pessimistic here. I know all people lie, are biased, have double standards,have hatred in their hearts and biological drives driving their behaviors. I believe these facts can be extended to the conclusion that the root to the problems humanity faces is neither materialism nor religion. It’s the human nature itself.

Most, or many, men are misogynists, women  are misoandrists. Godless ones want to tear the religious ones apart. Religious ones want to kill those from all other religions. Younger ones hate adults.  Adults hate their next generations and call their children impulsive, less competent or sometimes worthless. People always hate governments regardless of how well those perform. Patients hate doctors. Employees dislike their bosses. Businessmen are in war with their competitors….. At the end it’s hard to find love that is unsoiled by hatred and pure of any ulterior motives. At the end… it’s NOBODY’s fault. It’s the way we were built.

The solution to the problems of pain suffering and immorality, should one consider these as real problems, is none but one: Global homicide. Ahem. Sounds weird. It indeed is weird. But saying “No human problem would outlive the human race” would be a truism, and as a truism it shouldn’t be easy to argue over it. And as the Human race is universally in some sort of trouble or pain, I’d rather call this Global homicide “Pan-human Euthanasia”. Well, if the the first thing that crossed your mind when I was talking of homicide was gore, I have a better idea. What if today’s human generation decides not to have an offspring at all and so wipes off humanity from existence in a totally peaceful way. Oh. It appears neither are possible, not yet at least. Then why not live with all the stupidity that surrounds us and stop thinking there’s a solution to the problems we face?

All ethics and morality models suck. Let’s just face life the way it is.