Saturday, November 7, 2015

On New Atheist Optimism and Superficial Profoundness




How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there's no help in truth!
-Sophocles

I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied and critical of the endless pandering Dawkins and the rest of the New Atheists have done to our pro-Natalist, optimist culture.  Because they’re correctly trying to surpass a taboo and teach morons incredibly simple truths in philosophical definitions and scientific literacy, and incorrectly believe that getting by this taboo is the most important thing, you see the Horsemen (I’ll be referring to Dawkins throughout the essay because he’s the one who does it the most routinely to my observation) always preaching Atheism and secularism as ideologies or cult-values.  That is, something that can combat the existential and psychological reasons the emotionally insecure latch on to Christianity in America.  You can talk about the majesty of the Universe all you like Dawkins – most Americans are too stupid and too selfish to care about that; all they care about is going to Heaven and grounding their Egos and their meaningless and short lives in delusion.
For those who don’t know, all Atheism is is a lack of belief in any and all deities.  Secularism is in the political sense the separation of Church and State (something America is founded in – not Jesus) and in the cultural sense a tendency to live one’s life without reference to a religion as guiding principle.  The New Atheists, as I’ve said, rightly promote secularism and state the reasoning for Atheism and I believe they should be commended for it.  However, whether they feel the need to pander to the insecure who can’t get beyond the “Gloomy Gus” notion that there being no God is the worst thing since slowly choking to death on unsliced bread, or they actually do feel this way about Atheism, they have the tendency to conflate scientific values and awe with a justification for or expression of the grandeur of our existences and overall mundane lives – though both are factors the latter seems to clearly be the case in the case of Dawkins.  They consistently speak of the amazement we feel when we acknowledge we’re all star-stuff, and other facts of astronomy and biology that are astounding, but wrongly associate these facts of life with the experience of life itself.
Life is not great, though there is greatness in life to be experienced and to be had.  Instead, it’s fundamentally bad.   Life for the average human being is not awe and amazement at the mystery of the universe; it’s painful and destined to continue to be so indefinitely without justification.  This happens for biological, economic, psychological and a whole host of reasons, but ultimately the forms, shapes and structures of suffering are irrelevant – what is significant is we suffer and that suffering is the sole fundamental evil in this Universe.  That is, it is the only primary fact (combined with the fact that we can alleviate it through our endeavors) that deserves consideration by human beings.  The temperature of a star burning 3.56 light-years away or the fact we have the measurements to discover it does not end the suffering of the human race – though it is remarkable.  And intellectual curiosity is remarkable; conjoined with compassion it is the sole greatest fact of the human condition regardless of how often it occurs.  It is the most crucial thing in man’s quest to alleviate the plight of his species. However, Dawkins uses the facts as essentially a pro-natal smokescreen to say “We know so much!  Isn’t life great!” When the proper Negative Utilitarian (i.e. moral) response to what I’ve described should be “We know so much!  Why the hell aren’t we using this knowledge to help people!  How the hell is there still so much suffering and ignorance on this rock!”  And yes, the evils of religion are a part of it. The evils of Capitalism are a large part of it.  I delve into the New Atheists’ myopia and their inability to confront the detrimental effects of Capitalism in another essay. 
I wanted to write this mostly to quickly express the fact that even the “cold-hearted” spokesmen for Atheism feel the need to indirectly appeal to pro-natal sentiments and psychology.  It is this psychology that rationalizes away suffering and selfishly ignores the pain and burdens of others all to preserve one’s Ego and one’s good time.  For the New Atheist, just as with the Christian, depicting reality (though the N.A.’s constantly emphasize it’s the real reality and not the falsehoods of faith – ignoring that it doesn’t matter at all if reality still largely sucks for the beings it can suck for) as beautiful is more important than making it that way.  The Will to Life (and Ego as a manifestation of the Will to Life) is still in control, and as long as this is the case collectively, collectively we all will suffer needlessly because of it.  Even though the religious are rightly criticized for detaching themselves from this Earth, justifying things through divine will or metaphysical ethics and realms, the New Atheists would with little moral quandaries or hesitation rather spend their time looking up at the stars or examining the physics of atoms near absolute-zero than endeavor to effectively quell the suffering of living beings whose lives (the one and only life they’ll ever have to live – as Atheists they should have the good sense to realize that) are awful in quality and will end in an absolute zero – for them and eventually for the species that though intellectually capable of removing most pain and living beautifully is psychologically and socially destined to lives of diseased cattle. 

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