Polychrist t1_j3xr7vr wrote

Great response! But I think that there’s probably an underlying principle that would cover both scenarios, which makes them not opposing ideas at all. I find it more interesting to examine what that principle might be, because you’ll most likely find that the two “opposed” ideas are not actually opposed at all.


Polychrist t1_j3xflk9 wrote

There’s a sense in which that’s true in the abstract, but when it comes down to actual decision making, the fact of whether you’re a deontologist or a utilitarian (to pick one topic) could mean a great deal.

Example: a deontologist will likely say that you should never cheat on your partner, even if you’re sure you could get away with it.

A utilitarian will say that you should maximize happiness, and if having an affair brings you and your affair partner happiness, and is hidden well enough from your spouse, then the affair may be not only justifiable but morally required.

So would you cheat or no? There’s practical applications to these ideas that will affect how you live your life.


Polychrist t1_j244foz wrote

Well, that’s just the thing— if it’s nonsense to talk about occurrences not occurring, or possibilities not being possible, then it seems the universe must exist out of necessity. To say that it is possible that possibilities wouldn’t exist, is nonsense— therefore it is a contradiction to say that the universe could’ve not been.

Perhaps the universe only exists because it would’ve been a logical contradiction for it not to have.

Or perhaps the universe (not just the observable universe post big-bang, but the potential multiverse structure beneath it which you would also deem part of the “universe,” or “all that exists,”) has always existed, and is persistent unchanging in some sense, and therefore could not have not been either.

I’m just not sure that it made sense when you said that it’s possible that there would’ve been nothing, and that makes it beautiful that there’s something. I would argue that it’s either not possible that there was nothing, I.e. the existence of the universe itself is necessary, I.e. it’s non-existence would be a contradiction, or else other non-necessary entities may exist.


Polychrist t1_j23s9ip wrote

How can you know that there is nothing outside of our universe, or nothing beyond it?

And assuming that you’re correct, and there’s nothing else— is it actually possible that the universe would not have been? How could a particular state of affairs ever emerge from a non-state of affairs, except by random occurrence or necessity?


Polychrist t1_iytif86 wrote

I have the same “affliction” and the exact same cynicism to all the metaphoric promising of the mood-based lovers. I’ve also been struggling quite a bit lately for that exact reason, so it’s incredibly serendipitous that I happened by your comment just now. It’s unbelievably reassuring to have someone else say the things that I’ve been thinking when they didn’t even know that I was listening. Because that makes it real. That means… you’re not saying it to make me feel better, you’re saying it because you actually believe it.

And that makes me feel a little bit less lonely, and a little bit more hopeful that this “pathology” isn’t such a horrible thing to have. Because, yeah, it is one of my favorite things about myself. And I’ll give up on this world before I give up on that part of me.

So thanks, stranger, for making me feel less crazy. I appreciate you.


Polychrist t1_iytfivz wrote

This is such a well-written and engaging thought experiment. Thanks for sharing.

I’ll also add my two cents and say that I think maybe Hannibal, himself, was positioned as the “monster” which the loving community might not accept. Because Moloch, despite his large stature, actually seemed to conform perfectly with the happy, loving little society that the town had created. He was a kind and open-hearted giant; just like them, only a little bigger.

But the parasite was also a living creature, and it was the parasite who was truly seen as the monster. The parasite did not conform. The parasite was not like the townspeople— the parasite was selfish and destructive toward the existence of others. The parasite was a monster; and it had to go.

So maybe Hannibal’s experiment served as a way to draw the line between that which a “loving” society was willing to look past, and that which it was not.

And I think that the connection to mental health is really interesting because of that. Was Hannibal actually self-destructive? Or was he just ashamed of some of his own selfish thoughts, his own needs and desires, and he feared that if he expressed his actual truth then he would be treated like the parasite— dangerous, unfit to be among the townspeople, and better to be eradicated.

When people are afraid that their truth will not be accepted, that their truth will make people turn against them, are they more likely to hide it? I think so. They may even become a mental/emotional hermit, refusing to let anyone see their inner truth. And when they do re-enter society, they wear a mask, or a giant suit, and pretend to be just like everyone else. They pretend that they don’t see themselves as a toxic parasite.

But being a hermit for too long will eventually get to them, because believing yourself to be a parasite to that extent I believe will lead them to one of two possible conclusions: self-destruction (if they have given up the possibility of being seen as anything other than a parasite), or a push for acceptance (if they have enough hope that they’re willing to take the chance that someone will look out for them even if they are a parasite). And so I think this is where Hannibal found himself; he chose to take the chance and trust in this loving society, but their own thinking was not quite nuanced enough, not quite understanding enough, to recognize that the parasite, too, was a living thing that may be sentient, and that may be worth keeping alive itself. Arwen killed the parasite without a second thought— without even determining what kind of parasite that it was. And that, I think, was the folly— he never stopped to question whether there was a way to save them both.

I think that integration, rather than eradication, must be the key. Moloch did not know what his problem actually was— despite his claim, it was actually untrue that Moloch would die if the parasite were left as it was. Perhaps what Moloch actually needed was a sort of counseling and therapy— a means of keeping himself alive and well without removing the parasite at all. Maybe the parasite would not seem so inevitably destructive if the proper workaround could be implemented.

Regardless, it’s definitely an interesting thought experiment. Thanks again for sharing it.