Author Topic: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises  (Read 2228 times)

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2018, 02:19:27 pm »
So I've changed the name of this thread in order to better reflect that it is going to be used for all of Boo the Gentleman Caller's midlife / existential crises.

If nothing else, I have things I want to muse on; there's something therapeutic about talking about one's feelings.

I'll be posting later, as I started writing it offline.

PS - Josh never gave me the At Length response he promised. The Hype Train is practically off the rails at this point.

:D

PrincessNadia78

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2018, 03:14:15 pm »
Ok, don't play with me Boo, like Josh did. Promise you'll post! :D

Yeah all that waiting and he never posted. Booooooo!! LOL

Also, I like this idea as a place to reflect, I could definitely use something like that too. CC Support Group? LOL

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2018, 04:41:00 pm »
Quote
Also, I like this idea as a place to reflect, I could definitely use something like that too. CC Support Group? LOL

Sort of. Plus, I love gathering various perspectives. My world view is pretty malleable and open to new experiences and differing points of view (even if I don't ultimately adopt/assimilate them into my own).

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2020, 09:07:58 pm »
I am existential dread.

Does this ever get easier?
Why I am I so infinitely small on a cosmic scale?
Is this really all there is?
Why are we slaves?
Where is your empathy?
Will I ever figure this out?

I just want to be a hero.

tushantin

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2020, 01:20:24 am »
I am existential dread.

Does this ever get easier?
Why I am I so infinitely small on a cosmic scale?
Is this really all there is?
Why are we slaves?
Where is your empathy?
Will I ever figure this out?

I just want to be a hero.

Pardon me for hijacking another of your thread again, but...

Screw empathy, man, I want money. Yeah, I'm pretty sensitive to crazy people ganging up on me in bad faith (sometimes even in murderous faith) which is one of the reasons I don't like getting close to people that often, but I can deal with that compared to not having any money. I can deal with all kinds of hatred from all kinds of people if it means I can pay the next set of bills without stress or worry. Besides, empathy doesn't put food on my table; it's patently overrated.

I mean, I'm no slave, but $20 is $20. And I'd rather own it with my own hands that depend on somebody else's hand-outs.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2020, 01:21:39 am by tushantin »

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2020, 02:30:45 am »
Quote
Screw empathy, man, I want money.

People want to shit on capitalism (myself included), but at the end of the day, any system is going to require have and have-not. Whether we're talking simple bartering to Star Trek-ian utopia, at the end of the day there will always have to be an exchange in order to accumulate things one does not have. It is a constant and a part of mankind, for better or for worse.

Quote
... if it means I can pay the next set of bills without stress or worry. Besides, empathy doesn't put food on my table; it's patently overrated.

Too true. I don't care for the phrase "money doesn't buy you happiness," because in reality it does. In any and all societies, having money guarantees a standard of living, and in doing so reduces stressors. More money, less day-to-day stress, more peace of mind and power to spend in self-serving fashions. I mean, I get that the idea behind the phrase is that having money can cause problems (such as people wanting to take it from you), but having it solves a lot more problems than not having it does. Money indeed solves problems.

But empathy... man, empathy is that good shit. Humans are humans; we are all in this same mode of living. My consciousness is just as valid as anyone else's, and all life has value. We all, as humans, have so much more in common than we don't and it sucks how so many people are so unable to see such simplicities and instead would rather focus on skin color, social status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. The commonalities outweigh the differences.

Now... are some people likely less worthy of empathy? Sure. But it ties us, it binds us together. Mankind is so much stronger together than apart... if only we could look past bias. And I'm not referring to you and I here, Tushantin, all of this is generic talk for people as a whole.

Here's where I think empathy is a strength, though... Having a community, having connections... those trump money and rely on empathy. To a large degree having those is a peace of mind, probably an evolutionary aspect of pack living from proto-humans living on in our genes. But the pack is stronger as a pack than as individuals.

Money can be gone. Quick. But having these relationships founded by empathy, relationships to fall back on, are such a great thing and a peace of mind. If one doesn't have them, things can bottom up much more quickly than without. Having those relationships can put food on the table and keep the lights on when the going gets tough. Not forever, but long enough.

Case in point -- I have a friend IRL who we'll call Alex. Alex is actually a friend I met here at the Compendium. Our friendship is now beyond Compendium entirely, even after they've moved on from this place and Chrono Trigger fandom. Alex and I text and chat and check on each other, and our friendship is valid and real despite the fact that we have never met face-to-face. We support each other. We share our thoughts and aspirations and frustrations with growing older and adulthood, and we do so with empathy and kindness and compassion. Despite our friendship, we are both extremely introverted in real life (although we play the extroverts when life demands so) and neither one of us has tons of social connections in the real world.

But when Alex, who is known for being kind, came down with a potentially life-ending illness, people rallied like hell. When Alex couldn't work because of this illness and was going to lose the family medical benefits, people rallied (the complaints of American health care is another conversation entirely). Regardless, dozens of people donated and lets just say that a lot of money was raised. Money to keep their life moving, to help Alex receive the care they need. All because those people felt empathy.

Funny how empathy and money are hand in hand here.

As the donations were pouring in, Alex said something along the lines of, "I didn't even realize this many people cared about me." This has stuck with me and something I've been thinking about a lot. The reality is that some who donated to Alex may not have been invested in his/her wellbeing on a day to day basis, having only a cursory social media connection. Some may not have had much of a relationship with Alex and/or his/her family, but they clearly had the empathy to give... and they showed up in droves.

The power of mankind pushed forward by love and empathy is so insanely powerful, it just isn't exercised nearly enough. That goes for me. Sometimes I worry about how the older I get the less idealistic I become, the grouchier I get, the less creative my endeavors. I fear getting older and the person I am becoming (but at least I'm aware of those changes and that's the first step to battling them!!!). But the more I exercise kindness, patience, forgiveness, and empathy, the more joy I find. I can't explain it. Why does giving of my own self make me feel more at peace?

I don't know. Just musing at this point. :P

tushantin

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2020, 12:01:49 pm »
.....I ended up writing a 6000+ words of essay in response, but promptly deleted it because I cringed at myself.

Anywho, rather than making my case for why money is better than empathy (something my father has been trying to teach me since childhood, and yet I never actually learned or agreed with it until in my late-20s when I was struggling to make ends-meet), I'll instead try to address the crux of your belief -- empathy as a virtue.


(That said, before I do, I need to reiterate that money isn't better than empathy just because it helps in your survival, but also because of other variables involved with money, such as not only the things you get with money, but also the reason why you get money in the first place. I made a very long case for it in my draft, but.... it's way too long for me to bother finish writing it, lmao. But anywho, it's worth realizing that Euro-centric perspectives tend to be very limited on this matter, and it's worth broadening one's horizon beyond all the "money bad" and "capitalism vs socialism" crap we're inundated with, because American / European / Russian values don't tell you 100% how reality works.)


Before anything, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1zZ_eKSAAI

If I had a penny for every time I've met people who preached Empathy like they're introducing me to the Second-Coming of Jesus, but eventually end up acting far more toxic than anybody else you've met (often to a sociopathic and even murderous degree, leading me to nigerundayo), I'd... probably be able to buy a good laptop by now, because the power-outages in my area are ridiculous. Hell, I've seen these Priests of Empathy being, at best, indifferent towards and, at worst, actively making a case for genocide against my race, and they honestly believed they were being good, moral people who care for other people.

There are a lot of reasons for this: Perhaps the preachers themselves don't understand what empathy is and how it works, or if they're masquarading their own toxic nature behind a veil of faux-goodness, or that they don't realize the catastrophic consequences of excessive empathy due to human limitations, or (speaking of human limitations) they assume that biases don't come naturally, etc.

But I think there's something more fundamental than that.

Firstly, I think it's important to understand that Empathy cannot, and should not, be a moral virtue -- rather, it's Compassion that fits the bill instead (regardless of your level of empathy). Empathy is less of a moral discipline and more of a natural emotional sensation, much like intuition, and it informs you about something so that you can cater your behavior accordingly; it's a morally-neutral utility, and even then its role is largely overstated.

In fact, there are multiple types of empathy, each with their pros and cons, but the two most important ones due to their stark distinctions being Emotional Empathy and Cognitive Empathy. When people talk about empathy, they usually mean Emotional Empathy for its low-effort high-feeling nature (because for some reason people ascribe morality with emotions these days), despite the fact that Emotional Empathy also creates backdoor vulnerabilities to your own being, leaving you susceptible to psychological manipulations, and thus making you do and believe things you otherwise, rationally, wouldn't. And it's generally adherents to this sort of empathy would categorize people actively practicing Cognitive Empathy as downright apathetic (and thus "sinful") -- even though, ironically, in most cases if not all, Cognitive Empathy will help you decide on an optimal moral choice. 

Empathy cannot be a virtue, because it is a sensation, a means to figure out what your actual moral actions should be. If carefully assessed, it will help guide you to different moral actions depending on context, showing Compassion being one of them, but it isn't even necessary for people to be moral. If you hold Empathy as a virtue, then you're shifting people's worth to what they are and not what they do. That can be dangerous, leading to innocents being ostracised or crucified even if they don't deserve it. This is the kind of thing that leads to shit like Cancel Culture (I'll explain in a bit).

It's really important to understand that human beings are flawed creatures -- we have terrible memory for our own standards, we're consciously limited, our biology and circumstances affect our mood often, our attention-span is shrinking, we get drowsy at afternoon despite a lot of pending work, we get bored reading my novella-length posts, we get easily indoctrinated by ideologies and propaganda, we're fragile enough to die at a mere push by somebody, we lose hope when we hope when our means income is gone, etc. So it's kind of unrealistic to assume that we can somehow overcome our all our biases at a drop of a hat every day and always be optimal in our actions -- because if we were, we'd all not only be Jeff Bezos but would also have managed to create a colony in Neptune by now.

Even when we manage to painstakingly get past one bias, new biases crop up all the time in our own psyche when life throws new lemons at us. That's because of the nature of biases, and our minds, in general. We generalize when we don't know, and it isn't inherently a bad thing (which I explained in my previously now-deleted post, but I'll leave it hanging here), because heuristics is the fastest way for an individual to familiarize himself with any situation, and as we get more and more familiar with something we start to discriminate (not the conventionally misused word, but its original meaning -- that is, making distinctions). For example, for any non-tech person every screw-driver might look the same, but it's only when they start working hands-on that they start discriminating between screwdrivers depending on what screws they're optimally used for; yet, they couldn't have even gotten to the point so fast if they didn't generalize that screwdrivers lt you screw in screws. If you couldn't generalize, and you needed to fix electronics, well, you'd be screwed.

Generalization is great, because it allows you to get you up to speed on shit. It also functions as a survival mechanism. Sure, it isn't a virtue, but it is a default human response, and anybody that says that you shouldn't generalize or that they don't generalize are lying to you. For example, if you have enough disposable income, you find yourself wanting to help poor people, because you generalize that all poor people must be suffering the same way -- you either just go with the generalization by throwing money at them, or you discriminate between them to understand how you could optimally help them each individual poor person depending on their own unique circumstances. The only cure to generalization is understanding things, not avoiding generalization itself.

I point this out because the same limitations and penchant for heuristics apply to empathy too. Even if you're some kind of a natural empath (and natural "empaths" have their own baggage of problems they wish they didn't have, trust me on this), you'd still be unable to empathize with everyone you come across. Because your understanding of their circumstances can just never match their reality (maybe sentiments, sometimes, but never their reality). And this is one of the many leading factors behind why "empathetic" people end up being so vicious towards other people: Even if they actively try, they can seldom understand where the other person is truly coming from, and if there's a mismatch between their model of generalization in their heads and the existence of another person, this "empathetic" person will find that other person to be a cold and uncomfortable existence, and the empath will find himself being potentially violent where it isn't justified.

Autists make a great example here. Most people sympathize (but not empathize) and are compassionate towards autists... provided they KNOW that they're autistic. But when it isn't known that a person is autistic, because of the mismatch between the model-of-minds and our inability to properly empathize with an autistic person, people make terrible assumptions about them (case no# 9000+ of "don't-generalize" people actively generalizing here) and treat them very terribly. I mean, the empaths are being empathetic, so they can't be in the wrong, so it must be the other guy, right? I picked autists here, but this world is filled with different people from different circumstances, and it's kind of arrogant to assume that you can somehow empathize with all of them, considering we can't even comprehend what most of them are going through.

(Hell... not to sound like an edgelord, but... even the biggest self-proclaimed empaths failed to empathize with me throughout my life, and they failed spectacularly even if I was doing my best to make it easy for them, which is what made me want to go and understand why this happens. No, I'm not wallowing in self-pity here, lol, because I know a lot of people are in the same situation as me, and despite lack of empathy towards me I'm not really having it THAT bad in life. If people have ever been nice to me or respected to me, I know for certain it isn't because of empathy, but rather other factors, like respect, or pleasant associations, etc. and that's generally enough. The people most vicious towards me were often the empathetic bunch, and the ones nicest towards me were just... normal, or sometimes even autistic, or clients, I guess? Hence why I said empathy is overrated.)

Long story short, we just can't empathize with everybody. We can't pretend to even know what they're actually going through.

But that doesn't stop us from benig moral actors, and localize our vision to optimize our behaviour. As I said, rational compassion goes a long way to make people's lives better, even if empathy isn't involved.

For example: I was leading a team of junior 3D artists and animators in my previous company, and I honestly CAN'T empathize with all of them. But I do know they're good people, and they respected me as much as I respected them, and I can generalize that this pandemic may have put them in a terrible situation just as with anybody else. You know one of the biggest reasons why I value money more than empathy? It's because I know that, even without my empathy, if I have enough money I can help them out by giving them small jobs to do for me (scaling up my own projects, basically), solving both my problem and theirs. Is it selfish? Yeah, because I need cheap labour. But I think even they'd much rather have money in their pockets right now rather than somebody waxing poetry about how much they feel their pain. (Hell, I want to even hire FaustWolf for a story, but I don't have any money on me -- and I don't even know what he's up to or how he's doing right now, so I can definitely say that my compassion comes from my selfishness, not empathy, and even then it benefits everyone.)

Sorry if you had to read this stupidly long shit, so I'd like to close this post with one more thing:

Honestly, the moment I dropped having to be empathetic, and instead focusing on developing strict moral princples and debating with myself on what is right and wrong, that I found myself being a better (and more stable) person overall. Focusing on empathy made me feel like I was doing something righteous, but somewhere in my heart I knew it wasn't the most optimal moral action, and when I reflected upon it I realized that what I was actually feeling was sanctimonious catharsis, which have little to no bearing long-term. That, and the fact that my family is still in poverty and I've done nothing to elevate them out of it, was a major wake-up call for me that no amount of self-righteousness can really make me a moral individual. That I can't be moral if I'm not responsible, and I can't take responsibility for other people if I can't even take my own family's responsibility on my own shoulders. (Besides, me learning this so late in my life should teach me to pay more attention to my own Hindu heritage -- because Hinduism teaches you the value of Duty above all else, and I would have probably been a far better person today if I actually paid attention to hindu philosophy intellectually rather than dismissing it.)

Interestingly, what I learned back then was the same thing that an anime this year echoed back to me -- season 2 of "Ascendance of a Bookworm" -- where a Priest tells the protagonist that if she can't or isn't willing to take responsibility for other people's lives, she has no right to possess self-righteous indignation towards anybody else. Just because of that, I will always hold this anime in high regards. Besides, AoaB places a lot of value on money, so there's that too. .....In fact, it probably would have been more entertaining for you to watch that anime rather than read my uninteresting post, because it explains everything I've just said better than I can, well, minus the empathy bit.

tushantin

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2020, 12:07:00 pm »
Money can be gone. Quick.
I forgot that I failed to address this point.

Money isn't great because of money itself. If you've learned even a bit of finance in your life, you'd know that money doesn't actually exist, but rather is a means to an end. You don't earn money because money is valuable, but rather you earn it because you have something you want to do with money.

For a lot of people that something is different. For me, it is a means to allow my own vision to be born into this world, as well as ensuring my family's survival and prosperity, as helping others who need it -- not because I want to give money away, but I want to use them for my own nefarious ends. MFWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! .....by which, I mean I want to hire them... like an evil corporate. MFWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Man, the last company I worked at was the best experience I didn't know I needed. I learned the value of scaling, and that changed my entire life, and the way I perceive things.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2020, 03:31:53 pm »
This is a lot to read, so I'll have to come back to it when I have more time.

EDIT: Honestly, I decided to not come back to this segment of the thread. It's a detraction from what this thread is intended for, and I can't realistically see any rhetoric on either side (regarding which is superior: money or empathy) really having any sort of positive impact on any party. Better, in my opinion, to just shake hands and call it a day. We are all shaped by our own unique worldviews, after all!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 10:24:10 pm by Boo the Gentleman Caller »

VidKid369

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2020, 09:13:05 am »
Wow great read, guys! I just read the whole thread! Before anything I have to say you guys sure are a lot smarter than I am. I could barely keep up lol, haha. Um.

Well I thought the first post was the most interesting. I have to first of all say I am an only-child I always have been and I've never struggled with loneliness. Sometimes I do feel sad and sadness but never loneliness. I think people have always wanted to ask me that, "Do you ever feel loneliness?" But noone ever has. I do tend to over-think a lot I guess that's why I'm an introvert but I don't really mind being alone and just having myself as the only company I just think about stupid things, very shallow, superficial things like strategy and how to get through each day one-at-a-time but I've gotten better at just dismissing ridiculous, high school-like-ish, thoughts like that and just physically doing things automatically like I'm on, set-to auto-pilot. I just use my imagination a lot when I have to bide me some time and I have no one to talk to, lol.

Um. I actually love the Internet it's always been enough to me, for me I love just talking to people online anywhichway I just think it's so cool. I love real-life relationships also I think in professionals' eyes they're more "meaningful" and I keep in contact with them as much as I can. Like, I'm not a crazy person (subject) but I pray out loud a LOT? It's my way of staying connected with my friends I've met who I can't contact on FaceBook. I've been told doing this is ok just as long as you do it in your room or summat like that and they can't hear you but I honestly don't have a problem even if they do? I always just say, "I'm just talking to myself."

Well I think life's too short to dwell on things like this not that it isn't important to you but what I've learned is to just pay more attention to myself maybe loneliness is coming from other people and not really you? Maybe they miss you? You guys are right people come and go and I just have already learned this since I was young so I prepare for it everytime I transfer schools or workplaces/environments.

Whenever I feel alone I'm most at peace sometimes I actually feel sorry for the Internet and I force myself to go on. I actually feel guilty sometimes that I have so much fun by myself that I just show up online to hopefully brighten up someone else's day or commit my good deed for the day.

I get a lot of stuff done when I'm alone or myself. I don't go out and seek 'ships on my own I actually love talking to other people I talk to them more than I talk to myself of course. lol

I think most people in life today don't want any new anybodies so I usually tend to stay away from those types of people, in general anyway, lol. Maybe they feel the same way I do? Anyway. This's getting long but I don't think there's anything wrong in you feeling that way I've come across people who're in the same boat. I think what you guys have going here is great, don't stop!

Anyway. It's been nice reading this tonight I'll definitely sleep on this thought but I just wanted to chime in, hehe.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2021, 01:15:25 am »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctYclZ8nq_w

@6:20 -- "If I can't be happy now, then why will I be happy in the future? If I'm not happy about who I am, then this is not going to change in the future no matter what I will have or what I won't have."

Man, this spoke to me.