Ligotti

16 Oct 2022 08:25 - 17 Jun 2023 08:29
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    • Horror writer, much beloved in WS sphere.
    • The Conspiracy Against the Human Race

      • Ligotti's non-fiction philosophical book. I class this with Sarah Perry's Every Cradle is a Grave – texts that I have an instinctive aversion to. It's not that they are badly crafted, or wrong, or badly intended – it's like, I don't want to risk getting these people's ideas in my head. My mental immune system senses something dangerous about them and tries to fight them off (I was not that surprised to find that Ligotti had blurbed Sarah's book).
      • Story about how he was supposed to respect his parents because "without them you wouldn't be alive". image.png
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      • sounds Buddhist!
      • A sibling term of supernatural horror is the “uncanny.” Both terms are pertinent in reference to nonhuman forms that disport human qualities. Both may also refer to seemingly animate forms that are not what they seem, as with the undead—monstrosities of paradox, things that are neither one thing nor another, or, more uncannily, and more horrifically supernatural, things that are discovered to be two things at once.
      • Isn't this the AI project though?
      • Human puppets could not conceive of themselves as being puppets at all, not when they are fixed with a consciousness that excites in them the unshakable sense of being singled out from all other objects in creation. Once you begin to feel you are making a go of it on your own—that you are making moves and thinking thoughts which seem to have originated within you—it is not possible for you to believe you are anything but your own master.
      • Maybe it's my AI background, but I don't feel the above. The thought that I am a puppet – a machine – is old hat, and I don't find it particularly horrifying.
      • As scientists, philosophers, and spiritual figures have testified, our heads are full of illusions; things, including human things, are not dependably what they seem. Yet one thing we know for sure: the difference between what is natural and what is not.
    • Hah, a reference to
      • Martin Seligman , the architect of positive psychology, defines his brainchild as “the science of what makes life worth living” and synopsized its principles in Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment (2002).”
        • as sort of his opposite pole
    • Instead, we should substitute “existence” for “life” and forget about how well or badly we enact it. None of us “has a life” in the narrative-biographical way we think of these words.”
    • On the premise that consciousness must be obfuscated so that we might go on as we have all these years, Zapffe inferred that the sensible thing would be not to go on with the paradoxical nonsense of trying to inhibit our cardinal attribute as beings, since we can tolerate existence only if we believe—in accord with a complex of illusions, a legerdemain of duplicity—that we are not what we are: unreality on legs. As conscious beings, we must hold back that divulgement lest it break us with a sense of being things without significance or foundation, anatomies shackled to a landscape of unintelligible horrors. In plain language, we cannot live except as self-deceivers who must lie to ourselves about ourselves, as well as about our unwinnable situation in this world.
      • I might almost agree with this, except this "everything is a lie" stance seems childish. Everything is a construct, to be sure, but some of those constructs make for a culture, they are not lies or truths so much as myths we inhabit. Nothing wrong with that. Of course if you see through the myths like Ligotti you can up a depressive nihilist
    • OK he goes into the details of the strategies
      • Isolation, anchoring, distraction, and sublimation are among the wiles we use to keep ourselves from dispelling every illusion that keeps us up and running. Without this cognitive double-dealing, we would be exposed for what we are.
      • For pessimists, life is something that should not be, which means that what they believe should be is the absence of life, nothing, non-being, the emptiness of the uncreated. Anyone who speaks up for life as something that irrefutably should be—that we would not be better off unborn, extinct, or forever lazing in nonexistence—is an optimist. It is all or nothing; one is in or one is out, abstractly speaking
      • Weird, I've always thought I was kind of pessimistic, but not really, at least, I don't go all the way, I don't take it to its logical conclusion like he does. Actually I don't think its a binary like he posits, its more of a sliding scale and people move their setting – at least I do. It would indeed be terrible to be stuck at 100% pessimism (and being 100% optimism would make one a very annoying idiot).
      • He certainly covers a broad range of thinkers and literature (Unamuno, Camus, many lesser knowns). Not impressed with Sisyphus:
      • In the end, though, his insistence that we must imagine Sisyphus as happy is as impractical as it is feculent.
      • Schopenhauer’s is a great pessimism, not least because it reveals a signature motif of the pessimistic imagination. As indicated, Schopenhauer’s insights are yoked to a philosophical superstructure centered on the Will, or the Will-to-live—a blind, deaf, and dumb force that rouses human beings to their detriment. ... Wound up like toys by some force—call it Will, élan vital, anima mundi, physiological or psychological processes, nature, or whatever—organisms go on running as they are bidden until they run down. In pessimistic philosophies only the force is real, not the things activated by it.
        • emph added, that is interesting (but I would say that both are real – why not?)
    • A thought – this kind of morbidity is a luxury for the rich or for the young with no responsibilities – I can't afford it. I have forced myself into the role of solid citizen (more or less), in part because it forces me to keep my pessimism in check. Better to be Sisyphus with a job to do then sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.
      • Not unexpectedly, no one believes that everything is useless, and with good reason. We all live within relative frameworks, and within those frameworks uselessness is far wide of the norm. A potato masher is not useless if one wants to mash potatoes.
      • Buddhists have no problem with a potato-masher system because for them there are no absolutes. What they need to realize is the truth of “dependent origination,” which means that everything is related to everything else in a great network of potato mashers that are always interacting with one another”
    • From a convo on WS Discord
      • As you say, there's a sort of performative malignancy going on here – he's got a mental illness which causes him great suffering, and he wants to transmit it to the reader. I find I can't read too much of this kind of stuff without my mental immune system kicking in, which is good, means I'm reasonably healthy-minded.
      • My immune response consists of both humor (I recall the goth kids from South Park) and logic (if he really believed this stuff, he'd kill himself rather than write books). Someone in my social circles wrote a book with a similar outlook (blurbed by Ligotti in fact) and at one point I literally had to throw it at the wall.
      • But I also have to admit the immune response suppresses but does not eliminate the horror, which is still there, and still exerts a kind of fatal attraction. I'm not quite the picture of mental health that I want to be, and my Todestrieb impels me toward stuff that is bad for me.
    • Interview with Thomas Ligotti - The Teeming Brain
      • Around that time I was developing a case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome due to stress. If rolling on the floor of emergency rooms in spasms of intestinal agony sounds like fun, then ask your doctor if IBS may be the digestive disorder that’s right for you. That condition and my increasing panic-anxiety, along with getting older, really made writing an exercise in agony. It also became the basis for the stories of the “Teatro Grottesco” cycle. I still had other stories that I wanted to write, so I wrote them. But whenever I wrote, I would end up in a state of extreme agitation and my gut would be killing me.