Saturday, September 21, 2019

Why Positivity?

Goodness, yesterday's post was an incoherent ramble with a surplus of words and a shortage of worth. Today's, I think, will be similar. I should stop writing while distracted and sleepy, but I reckon I wouldn't manage to write at all if I did that.

Anyway, once we have decided that morality is false and life is meaningless, we are left with four options. First is suicide, which is always an option, but always by default the last option. Obviously, you would never pick suicide first, since death will come in its own time whether you select it or not, but hastening your death is always an option, if usually a poor one.

Second is to simply ignore the meaninglessness and proceed through life wholly without philosophy. As discussed yesterday, there seem to be a reasonable number of people fully capable of doing this. Still, it is avoiding the problem, not solving it, so we won't be pursuing it as a viable option.

Third is to become very upset and unhappy at this situation. If life is meaningless, why do anything? Why get out of bed, why take care of our bodies? Why prolong this life at all when it would make no difference cosmically if we just jump back to option 1? And lest it seem like I am being too dismissive, it really can be upsetting to feel like Wile E. Coyote three steps past the cliff and just looking down for the first time. We can regret that our philosophy consists of rejecting established modes of thought who have adherants that live peaceful, happy lives while our own lives are a struggle made even harder by the lack of support a comforting illusion can provide. Many people are used to believing that it is necessary to have a reason to be happy, and without that the natural state of life is sadness. Even if it doesn't drive us to rage or tears, melancholy, emptiness, and alienation can develop as we come to grips with meaninglessness.

If we don't kill ourselves and we don't become sad, our only other option is to be happy. Maybe we can be happy in spite of our philosophy, but that sounds a lot like the option 2 of running away. We can, at least in theory, find happiness within a nihilistic framework. And I would posit that this is the only correct option to choose. After all, options 1 and 2 are simply escapes, not valid options at all, and option 3 is clearly inferior in every way to option 4. Why would you ever be unhappy when you could instead be happy? I am unaware of any system of value in which that would be prefered, ceterus paribus.

This is where some people become angry with me. Yes, they will concede, they would prefer happiness over unhappiness, but it isn't simply a choice to be made. One's emotional state, in their estimation, is dependant on outside factors and not wholly within our control. The outside factor of seeing the cold reality of existance being the relevant one here that is causing the spiral into depression.

To this I would counter that surely at least some of your happiness is within your control. This assertion becomes more complex when you are skeptical that free will exists, but if you will simply allow me the assertion that it is possible to control some portion of your emotional state in some circumstances, then surely we would all agree that it is better to choose happiness.

Now, there can be two objections here. First is if you refuse to grant that emotional states can ever be chosen. I do plan to write on the topics of free will and internal control in the future, so maybe I can convince you there, but also maybe not. I would hope you could stay tuned for that discussion and push back where you think I am mistaken on that point.

Second is if you fundamentally disagree that happiness should ever be chosen over unhappiness. I include this for the sake of completeness, but I am not sure anyone actually thinks like this or why they would. If you do, please definitely leave a comment below to state your opinion so that I can take it into account.

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