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Day After Day

by thehusk

Each day I ask myself ‘Why aren’t you ending your life?’ What I tend to come up with is some combination of subconscious survival instinct and fear. As long as I’m alive, there’s a theoretical chance I might reproduce. And additionally, I’m terrified of what might follow death. Although I tend to presume it’s nothing, it’s still essentially a leap into the unknown.

So, the next question is ‘Are those good reasons not to do it?’ To which the answer is generally ‘No.’ I have no intention of ever starting a family, so maintaining my theoretical ability to pass on my genes is utterly pointless. And whatever waits beyond death, I’ll inevitably have to face it at some point. So why delay?

Well, I do have family who I believe would be devastated by my ending it (especially my mother.) I tell myself that I couldn’t do that to them – putting them in the position of getting the call, having to ID the body, hold a funeral, grieve. It might well ruin what remains of their lives. They are far more invested in my wellbeing than I deserve. So perhaps it’s worth continuing on with this dreary, zombie existence in order to spare them that.

On the other hand, it’s not like I care that much about their feelings the rest of the time. I’m generally pretty selfish and narcissistic, which is probably part of why I ended up where I did. And as long as I’m alive I’ll probably continue to cause them stress and shame. So perhaps it would be better for them to draw a line under it – maybe they’d eventually be able to move on from it. If I’m going to do it at some point, perhaps it’s better now than when they’re elderly and infirm and less able to cope.

I don’t know. I don’t really have a clue what I’m still doing here. I’m alive because of habit and fear of the alternative. Even if I were to decide that I was ready to end it, I don’t know whether I have it in me. It’s this miserable no man’s land where I’m not dead yet but not really living either.

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7 comments

Abnormal.Thoughts 5/5/2021 - 8:09 am

Just a thought in regards to the survival instinct and the way you presented it here, I don’t think that the instinct to reproduce is as intricately linked to survival: sterile people or women who are beyond menopause and can no longer reproduce still have the instinct to survive. I’m not sure what the tie to life is, but seems that fear of the unknown is probably a major player.
Anyways, I know that wasn’t supportive or helpful at all, just a thought, I hope you are okay.

thehusk 5/5/2021 - 12:24 pm

That’s a fair point. I suppose my thinking is that the instinct is evolved and ‘blind’ – it’s not conscious of anyone’s actual life circumstances. It’s more that in general, those who have a strong will to survive would be more likely to reproduce and pass on their genes. But I’m sure there are other less direct genetic advantages – a strong will to survive would mean you’re more likely to be there to support siblings/grandchildren and thus their ability to survive and reproduce, even if you yourself were no longer fertile.

I’m as ok as most other days – not in crisis, just lost.

Abnormal.Thoughts 5/5/2021 - 3:50 pm

Yeah, somehow it all seems to relate to furthering the species somehow when instinct of involved. Gotta support the Queen or the future.
Lost: I feel that a lot.

AnnieQ 5/5/2021 - 12:06 pm

I heavily relate to how you feel. I understand how it is to wonder why and have no good reason to stay alive yet we all do.
Perhaps we’re all afraid of pain, the one we will experience and the one we will inflict.

But life itself equals pain, once you’re born you’re inevitably bound to suffer greatly, have your life destroyed by others and destroy lives.

This is actually a topic that is somewhat controversial, but there is a position in philosophy established by David Benathar that states reproducing further is immoral and disservice to yourself and unborn human beings. I’m only mentioning it because I’ve never anywhere seen my unclear thoughts on life and its nature as in there and from what I’ve read it seems likely you would find it relatable.

thehusk 5/5/2021 - 9:14 pm

Fear of pain certainly plays a huge role.

If pain and suffering were all there was to life, it would be so much easier to walk away from. But there’s also beauty, and the mirage of hope. One can never be entirely certain what the future holds, and there’s always the tantalizing possibility that things could somehow be good again.

I’m somewhat familiar with Benatar and antinatalism. I never found his emphasis on the asymmetry between pain and pleasure entirely convincing. But I do appreciate the seriousness he brings to suffering, particularly that experienced by animals in the wild. He helped to persuade me that life and the natural world are not inherently good – that there’s a huge amount of pain and suffering built in, irrespective of what humans do. I wouldn’t go so far as to say reproducing was immoral, but I do think it should be done in a far more considered and careful way.

Once 5/5/2021 - 8:56 pm

“I’m alive because of habit and fear of the alternative.”

Fear of the alternative…thats powerful stuff. Fear of whats next. Imagine a world where we were certain of what was next and it wasn’t the horror we imagined it to be. I think people would be lining up to commit, or be euthanized. So here we are, stuck with our fear which to me is a basic survival instinct, a fucked up little gift from nature designed to prolong life and ensure our existence. Which leaves the question “Why are we so arrogant to assume we will face punishment after death?” Why do we assume we’re so special, any more so than pigs and cows? I wish I had that answer. The question is part of what kept me here. And for what? This world….laughable anymore.

thehusk 5/5/2021 - 9:29 pm

Some certainty would be a godsend. I miss the time in my life before I realized that I don’t actually ‘know’ anything – that I’m just making informed guesses. Oh to be a fundamentalist/idealist.

Possibly the idea that there are no ultimate consequences to our actions – that the universe doesn’t care, one way or the other – is more terrifying than the alternative?

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