Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Despair at the World Being as the World is

It is common for a person to look around at the world and feel crushed. It is not what they want it to be. It is not filled with the air their want to breathe. If this person is of sufficient intelligence, they will write books about how the world is. These books will portray a world that is fundamentally broken: while the world's logical structure is portrayed as coherent there is some breakdown between the human perspective and the structure of the world. They create an objective kind of despair by saying that humans are such, the world is such, and humans and the world cannot get along in a way that produces happiness.

But, then, while the world may be such given one starting vantage point, it is something else entirely from another vantage point. And while humans may be such given one way of life, they may be something else entirely given different presuppositions and values.

The answer when one comes to despair at the way that the world is is not to argue the point. It rarely does good to sit down and analyze the mechanics of a worldview in hopes that there are little contradictions written into the foundations that can bring the whole damned building down. Instead simply present a new point. Build a different building, and in that different building you will find that the discrepancy between humanity and the world can simply fade away.

Feel the weight lift off your spirit once you, for example, make peace with the fact that you are not alive to enjoy yourself and that there is no need to live as though you exist to enjoy yourself. Whatever pain that human existence guarantees is much less bitter once one ceases to resent it. Likewise, surrender your picture of an objective meaning of life for humanity that is to be found in the world, then your failure to find one will cease to be baffling.

Once you build the new worldview, ask what obligation you have to sit in the first worldview when you are much more at ease in the second? Does it truly have any coercive power over you? Is it 'true?'

I don't say this to the pessimists. I don't say this to the optimists. I say this to the optimists who feel obligated to fit themselves into a pessimism that does not fit them right; likewise to the pessimists who can not find all of their pessimism confirmed by what they see in the world.

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