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stop for a minute and realize you are a 10lb brain piloting a slab of meat
The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.
In the popular mind, an Anarchist is a person who throws bombs and commits other outrages, either because he is more or less insane, or because he uses the pretense of extreme political opinions as a cloak for criminal proclivities. This view is, of course, in every way inadequate. Some Anarchists believe in throwing bombs; many do not. Men of almost every other shade of opinion believe in throwing bombs in suitable circumstances…. but for every bomb manufactured by an Anarchist, many millions are manufactured by Governments, and for every man killed by Anarchist violence, many millions are killed by the violence of States. We may, therefore, dismiss from our minds the whole question of violence, which plays so large a part in the popular imagination, since it is neither essential nor peculiar to those who adopt the Anarchist position.
—Bertrand Russell, ‘Proposed Roads to Freedom’ (1918) (Source: tristanpej)
How could we reproach or even praise the universe? Let us beware of ascribing to it cruelty and unreason or their opposites: it is neither flawless, nor beautiful, nor noble; it could not even wish to become any of these things, it does not by any standard struggle to emulate man. None of our aesthetic or moral judgments apply to it. It has no instinct for self-preservation, nor any other instinct whatsoever, and it does not obey any laws. Let us beware of believing that there are laws in nature. All things that exist are necessities: there is no-one in command, no-one who obeys, no-one who transgresses. Once you realize that there is no purpose to all this, you also realize that there are no accidents; since the word ‘accident’ only has meaning if measured against a world of purposes. Let us beware of conceiving of death as opposed to life. What lives is no more than a very rare type of what is already dead.