Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Omnicidal Ideation (or why I’m weird)

It’s April, 2013. I’m finishing up the last few months of middle school, but I’ve been missing quite a bit lately. I’m late almost every day. It’s nothing too major though; all my grades are still near the top of my class.

One morning, I wake up and I’m too tired to get out of bed. My father charges into my room. He yells, he postures aggressively, and threatens me when I try to stand up. And most tellingly, he mistakes my defiance for fear.

It’s interesting, growing up without being allowed to have emotions. You do weird things. You come up with jokes– genuinely funny jokes– but you spend half a minute sucking all the humour out of them and making them all nice and logical before you say them. You talk to people and realize deep down how they feel– what they’re trying to say and what they’re thinking– but you don’t let yourself make sense of it because doing so wouldn’t be rational enough. “Come on man, you and me should totally go to IB together” is nothing more than a statement. The guy saying it doesn’t think of you as his friend; that would be a hell of a logical leap. The girl who keeps talking to you doesn’t like you, why would she? There’s no evidence. Get ahold of yourself; you’re acting too emotional and illogical, like a bratty kid.

It’s interesting having parents with low emotional intelligence; you keep trying to express your personhood, and each time it’s rebuked, dismissed or mocked, you lose just a little bit more of yourself until there’s nothing left.

It’s also interesting blasting the whole thing apart. Fun times. First I tried talking, but that didn’t work. Then I realized just how oblivious they were and how utterly doomed I was when I started hissing and cussing whenever I saw them, only for them to blankly stare back and ask, “What do you mean by, fuck off?” I calmed down and embraced empty happiness in just a few months, after I’d forgotten that I used to have my own thoughts and feelings. Then, not even a full year ago, I regenerated enough to start causing trouble again. I started fighting to be human again. I didn’t lose this time.

It was very weird for me to find out that despite what I had been told and how I’d been treated all my life, I wasn’t crazy for wanting to feel alive. I have to thank my brother in part for helping me with the realization. He lectured me on how irrational normal people are, and how stupid I was to care about being connected. He blamed my depression on the weather in our lovely temperate rainforest biome. He called me “evil” for crying about being alone, and “intolerant” for saying it’s natural to want connection. Combined with the five psychiatrists who kicked me out of their mental wards while repeatedly telling me I’m not psychotic, it was just enough for me to consider that maybe– just maybe– I wasn’t actually the problem.

Then I took some months to maneuver through the minefield of excuses and rationalizations that my mother was too skilled at weaving, and gradually get her to start seeing things my way.

So the story of my life thus far is as follows: I was born in Plato’s cave, and shackled there for some fourteen years. I was a social animal and an emotional creature, unable to socialize and punished for having feelings. Then I got sick of the cave, and desperately tried to climb out. The folks in there with me didn’t like that, so they held me back and beat me to a pulp. Fortunately, a lifetime spent staring at shadows on the cave walls left them ill-equipped to hold me for long, so I managed to recover somewhat and make it out (dragging them this time, so they can’t pull me back again). And then I tried to pour a healthy serving of kerosene down the cave, just to be safe.

Oh, and one more thing: I’m pissed. So I figure I’ll try to do it again. Rise to the very level of the world we’re trapped in, and blow it apart. Kill existence.

I’ve done it before, just on a smaller scale. <3

 

6 Responses to Omnicidal Ideation (or why I’m weird)

  1. bryanjack says:

    Thanks for this, Will. A searing piece of personal writing that places you perfectly at the outset of our course material.

    I’m curious though: why do you think the anger persists? Or why is it anger that drives you to escape (or burn) the cave? Must we “kill existence” on this path, or is there a more constructive turn to take?

     
  2. Will says:

    I think the very important role that the anger has played before and still plays to some extent for me now is to act as a counter against a potential tendency towards complacency and passive acceptance of the cave. It would have been way too easy to just give in and stay in the “fake” but warm glow of the cave, rather than than continuing to fight to escape it. Anger, anxiety, and desperation— the conviction that your current situation is NOT OKAY and everything must be done to change it— might have been necessary to prevent that from happening. In any case, it seems to have worked for me.

    As for the omnicide bit, one of the basic aspects of “killing existence” that I recognized prior to adopting it as a stated goal is that somewhere along the way towards developing the capacity to burn the cave, you’ll probably also find yourself in a decent position to interact with and improve (or escape) it as well. Build a bomb to release untold amounts of physical energy and blast the earth apart. Or take it apart and use its parts to usher in a new golden age of free energy for everyone. Develop a new form of cognition so in tune with the nature of reality that you can use it to end things on a metaphysical level. Or adapt it to solve practical problems and help people.

    Of course, you could just try and go for those good things to begin with….. but I’m wary of counting on positive things working out….

     
    • bryanjack says:

      I like this idea, and what you’re reaching for here:

      “…somewhere along the way towards developing the capacity to burn the cave, you’ll probably also find yourself in a decent position to interact with and improve (or escape) it as well. Build a bomb to release untold amounts of physical energy and blast the earth apart. Or take it apart and use its parts to usher in a new golden age of free energy for everyone. Develop a new form of cognition so in tune with the nature of reality that you can use it to end things on a metaphysical level. Or adapt it to solve practical problems and help people.”

      I’m reminded of (what I find to be) the beautiful notion that the root of the word “Apocalypse” comes from the Greek, and refers to an “uncovering,” or “revelation” of knowledge, or truth… Something that can only take hold once the cave of the present has been resolutely destroyed or made obsolete.

       
  3. popo says:

    I don’t have much to say in terms of questions, but I’d just like to say I really enjoyed reading this and I admire your ability to share such a personal story.

     
    • Will says:

      Thank you. Embracing and sharing personal things like this becomes a lot easier when the alternative is to lose that part of your person.

      Are you in my class, btw? Or just found this blog while browsing?

       
  4. Will says:

    In this environment, all the philosophical ideas that people normally treat as vague and distant intellectual curiosities actually became immediately relevant to me, as much so as basic necessities to life like food, warmth, or sleep. When something’s trying to destroy your essence, you have to not only recognize but also understand and even begin to control concepts like personhood or the nature of existence and knowledge/truth to survive.

    I haven’t been able to finish that page we were asked to read about John Locke and his views on “Persons, Minds, and Brains.” If I try and connect to it personally, then it hits too close to home. If I try and approach it in a detached and academic way, then I’m committing an awful crime of deliberately dissociating from my own identity and using a repressed approach to cognition that I’ve already seen to not work.

    Humans are the aggregates of their thoughts and feelings. You undermine that, and the person is annihilated.

     

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