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I’m so weary of black pilled doomerism:
“Everything sucks. This is the worst it has ever been. Nothing matters. Nothing you do matters. Defeat is inevitable. Failure is inevitable. Everything used to be better. Nothing ever improves. Things only get worse. We can only lose. Winning is impossible.”
Is life hard? Yeah. It’s [CoC] hard.
But you ain’t milking cows, so it could be worse.
You are the master of your own happiness. Me telling you that life doesn’t have to suck and you can improve your situation isn’t some Pollyanna nonsense. . . .
Sometimes life kicks you in the balls. Sometimes you get hit by a truck or get terminal brain cancer. Most of you won’t.
Until then, do the best you can and look for opportunities to do better. Some stuff you can improve. Good. Improve it. Some stuff you can’t. That sucks. Some stuff is beyond your power to do anything about. Deal with it as best you can.
— Larry Correia
Yes, it is a rant. I have excerpted a part of it, in part because Correia isn’t CoC compliant. Read the whole thing here. You owe it to yourself. For that matter, go and read Kurt Schlichter’s variation on the same theme, Stop Dooming.
It’s easy to give way to despair. That is why (as the late Jerry Pournelle kept pointing out) despair is a sin. Because if you give way to despair, doom is inevitable. I believe there are worse things than going down swinging, and as long as you are in the fight, there is a chance you will win.
Ultimately, the challenge is important, win or lose. I’ve experienced both triumph and disaster, and Kipling is right; both are imposters. At the end of a job well done, there better be another job worth doing or life is going to be pretty empty. Two personal examples:
- My late wife and I raised three sons. They are all men now, standing on their own feet, with good careers and families of their own. Mission accomplished. Triumph. Guess what? They don’t need me anymore.
- Not really a problem because the mission shifts to making my wife happy. Life is good. Except she gets cancer. It should be treatable, but despite my best efforts, everything goes wrong. We fight the good fight, but at the end she dies. Mission complete. Disaster. While I was fighting alongside her, life had meaning. Afterward, I mourned the dead and licked my wounds.
You do get over it. Then what? Right now, I am living in an Earthly paradise. I have no debt. I am in good health. I have the best jobs of my life and money is gushing in. My house is paid for and I can buy anything I want and go anywhere I want (my wants are limited enough that it holds true for me). Life is good. And boring. I have no mission, no ultimate goal.
Sure, emergencies come up, and dad rides in to the rescue. But because I raised my sons right, after a week? Problem solved and dad rides off into the sunset. They don’t need me. As it should be. They are grown men and grown men don’t need daddy holding their hands.
Amidst plenty and a loving family, I feel empty because I have no purpose.
What’s the solution? One solution is to give way to doomerism. “Everything sucks. This is the worst it has ever been. Nothing matters. Nothing you do matters.” I really believe part of doomerism springs from that. Things are going good, but you have no purpose.
Really and truly around the world, things are going good. Poverty is lower than it has been. People enjoy better health, have more choices. There are storm clouds on the horizon, but there have always been storm clouds on the horizon and these aren’t as bad as many in the past. Yet without a purpose, a challenge, it is all ashes.
So people adopt various forms of doomerism to provide that purpose: climate change and systemic racism, among others. You can come up with examples across the political spectrum. Or they simply yield to despair.
There is another alternative. Find something around you that needs fixing. Something you would like to see fixed. Then fix it. Pick something close at hand, something you can do. Make that your challenge. Pick something that is quantifiably soluble and objectively difficult. Bite off a little more than you can chew because otherwise, it will be boring and empty.
Do I believe victory is inevitable? Not really. Do I believe defeat is likely? More often than not, I do. That does not stop me from joining in a just fight. I would rather go down fighting than preemptively surrender. I may lose, but I’ll let my opponent know they were in a fight. And sometimes you win. The fight is what life is about.
Let me close with a poem by Robert Service:
When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.
“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.
It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.