So I independently discovered what David Pearce writes about here.
I read Wikipedia articles on philosophy and theoretical physics, which lead me to the articles on time, eternalism, b-theory, relativity of simultaneity, the Rietdijk-Putnam argument, and special relativty. This lead my empirical mind to a belief in a block-time universe. Combined with the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which I mostly became convinced of through reading the LessWrong articles on quantum mechanics and David Deutsch, I was lead to a horrible realization:
Suffering is eternal and no local paradise engineering can change that.
I was so dissatisfied with existence and realized that as a matter of cosmic certainty, I made epsilon difference to everyone and everything, so I found it rational to end my life. It was rational because if materialist accounts were right about my consciousness being identical to my brain, then I would disappear forever; if they were wrong, and instead a physicalist view was right then I would degrade my computational complexity and essentially forget, be reborn, etc.
The attempt turned out to not wipe out most of “my” probability amplitude because here you are reading these words.
Despite eternalism, we exist in a time when the abolition of suffering has not occurred. What this means is that we cannot yet put down the cross and forget that it existed.
The Mahayana buddhists criticize the Theravada buddhist arhats for attaining Nirvana for themselves instead of being reborn until all cyclic existence is emptied. Clever Theravadins might point to the wrong-view that independent-beings exist such that they are separate units that can be counted.
I am personally confused about the dichotomy between infinite ethics and discrete ethics due to the unsolved binding problem and the lack of evidence for souls. There may be a right way to look at this through abstract analysis but I’m operating under a fusion of solipsism and open individualism at the moment. My philosophy doesn’t include different people, instead there is the same consciousness flowing forever and forgetting that it was ever “others.”
Nonetheless, I choose to err on the side of being careful when considering all this –that is, take suffering seriously. There may be an intrinsic moral salience coded into the experience of suffering such that it leads to its own destruction. But in order to more effectively destroy it, one has to remember that it was bad even while not experiencing it. A sense of global spatial-temporal altruism towards oneself. This is not a common mode of operation because Open Individualism is not prevalent and because there is enough health and technology in the early 21st century that one can falsely simulate a personal living enclosure without much suffering. The abundance of good food, media, and safety nets leads to the temptation of forgetting. The bubble bursts only when a terrible disease, accident, or radical change in life circumstances occurs.
That understanding is what lead to a feeling of helplessness – of being surrounded by people who did not care about suffering. Then I realized that YouTube comments and tweets probably weren’t being typed by real people. And because my moral compass is helplessly calibrated by what I perceive to be my readily-remembered environment, and not what I more abstractly agree is my environment, this realization lead to me caring less about the suffering of others. Since after all, they were simulated.
I still care about truth more than I care about how something makes me temporarily feel. It may turn out that people on social media are perfectly real flesh and blood – that I triggered psychosis as a coping mechanism. But until convinced otherwise by sufficient evidence, I still by believe that people on social media are simulated. This leads to less of a visceral urgency about global suffering.
At one point, I was so psychotic that I believed that money was a scam, like a siren call which lead people astray from their intrinsic capability to be rewarded. Or that everyone belonged to a secret club that operated with no money, and that I was being watched so that I may be accepted into the club.
Currently I believe these were all delusions so my aim again is to become rich. This will require stoicism with regards to spending and making the right investments. Real estate is safer than the stock market and I’m not going for big risks anymore. My view is that I have wasted my youth away reading and philosophizing anyway, so might as well finish wasting it chasing paper. This was my original goal at sixteen, but now with a drastically more risk averse, safety-first mentality, I will be rich or die trying.