Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We would know what it is to be human instead of just puppets

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From The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti [via Digital Pidgin]:

To repeat: we can tolerate existence only if we believe—in accord with a complex of illusions, a legerdemain of impenetrable deception—that we are not what we are. We are creatures with consciousness, but we must suppress that consciousness lest it break us with a sense of being in a universe without direction or foundation. In plain language, we cannot live with ourselves except as impostors. As Zapffe points out in “The Last Messiah,” this is the paradox of the human: the impossibility of not lying to ourselves about ourselves and about our no-win situation in this world. Thus, we are zealots of the four strategies delineated above: isolation (“Being alive is all right”), anchoring (“One Nation under God with Families and Laws for all”), distraction (“Better to kill time than kill oneself”), and sublimation (“I am writing a book titled The Conspiracy against the Human Race”). To the mass of us mortals, these practices make us what we are, namely, beings with a nimble intellect who can deceive themselves for their own good. Isolation, anchoring, distraction, and sublimation are the wiles we use to keep our heads from dispelling every illusion that keeps us up and running. (“We think, therefore we know we are alive and will one day die; so we had better stop thinking, except in circles.”) Without this cognitive double-dealing, being alive would bare itself as a sordid burlesque and not the fabulous thing we thought it was. Maybe then we would know what it is to be human instead of just puppets beating the boards and one another. But that would stop the show that we like to think will run forever.

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Sir Rollin D. Bones at 1:51