On Misanthropy

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Misanthropy is the general hatred, distrust, or contempt of the human species and human nature. A misanthrope is a person who largely dislikes humankind, holding negative views on the species. As English writer Samuel Johnson wrote, “I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.” There could be numerous reasons why a person is a misanthrope. However, rather than discuss the numerous causes that could create a misanthrope, I will be examining the term and usage in a philosophical perspective.

The term ‘misanthrope’ originates from Greek (Misein ‘to hate’ and Anthropos ‘man’). Therefore, it seems fair to start with the Greek philosophers. Plato (who was very idealistic), believed that misanthropes were people who once trusted someone too much. Once their trust was broken, this person could no longer see the good in people, because they assumed every other person was the same as the one who had broken their trust. This created a misanthrope, a person who viewed all humans as evil and deceitful.

Plato, however, believed that misanthropes were over-exaggerating. Humans will always lie, cheat and deceive – its natural. A misanthrope is a person who takes the minor flaws in humanity too seriously. As Plato pointed out, very few people in a community are murderers, or rapists, or criminals. If the vast majority of people in the world were rapists or murderers, then it would be fair to say that all humans are ‘evil’. But, it is only a small minority of people who do these terrible acts. The majority of people will do bad things every now and then – but this is only because they are human. Thus, a misanthrope should not hate, but love other humans. In Plato’s view, love is the only thing that could fix the world.

To Aristotle, a misanthrope is either a beast or a god. Basically, a misanthrope may be a beast, some kind of monster perhaps – and this is why they hate humanity (perhaps like Frankenstein’s monster). However, a misanthrope may be a god instead. For anyone familiar with Greek Mythology (which was the religion during Aristotle’s lifetime), the Greek gods could be very cruel towards making on numerous occasions. Thus, Aristotle figured perhaps a misanthrope was similar to one of the gods, a being who hates mankind because they are superior to mankind.

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was perhaps the most misanthropic of all. For starters, Schopenhauer was anti-natalist, meaning he assigned a negative value towards birth. There is nothing special about birth, in fact it is more of a cure. Being born simply means you now have to suffer this hellish life.

When you bring a child into this world you shouldn’t celebrate – you should cry because now another human has to suffer a lifetime of meaningless pain and torment. Therefore, you should probably feel contempt towards someone who has just given birth, because, in a sense – that person has brought in another innocent should to suffer.

Misanthropy, in my opinion, is not necessarily as negative as it seems. As a cynical person myself, there are many times when I would classify myself as a misanthrope. I understand that most people do good, are kind and don’t mean any harm. But at the same time, humans can be quite cruel. Misguided or simply ignorant.

For philosophers like Nietzsche and Heidegger, their dislike towards mankind was not because of man’s evil doings, but because of mankind’s stupidity. Many times, people will conform and follow the crowd, never thinking for themselves. Often, we find people following ‘trends’ or holding beliefs that are not really theirs. This is why Nietzsche and Heidegger had a strong dislike towards mankind – because man is easily fooled and deceived. Why should you have respect – or even love – for a species that cannot think for themselves?

When it comes to conformity, there is no denying that this is something that effects all humans. I myself have conformed on numerous occasions to, so to speak, ‘fit in’. Everyone does, but it becomes a problem when people conform and never even realize that they are conforming. For Nietzsche and Heidegger, most people conform to levels that are quite shocking. Honestly, I am bother by how easily deceived people are. It also bothers me when people valiantly defend their beliefs, but when you ask them why they hold those beliefs – they usually cannot answer. I am sure everyone has met a person who simply repeats some socially acceptable or popular opinion, but has no idea what it means or why they even support it.

Thus, in my opinion., if you’re going to hate mankind, it shouldn’t really be because of mankind’s evil doings – it should be because of mankind’s ignorance and gullibility. In fact, it is usually mankind’s blind conformity which leads towards massive acts of atrocity and destruction. As John Lancaster Spalding said, ‘since the mass of mankind are too ignorant or too indolent to think seriously, if majorities are right it is usually by accident.’

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No Lives Matter

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Human lives do not matter. Nothing that has life matters. Nothing matters in general. The concept of significance or importance is merely an abstract human creation. We think that humans lives matter but they really do not. The life of human matters no more than the life of an insect, or a plant, or any other living or non-living thing.

Let’s say that you are given a gun, and you are told that must make a decision and kill either another human being or a ladybug. Most people I am sure would choose to kill the ladybug and spare the human. But why? Well, most people would argue that the life of that human is worth more than the life of that ladybug. That a human life is more important than a ladybug’s. But again, I must ask the question ‘why?’

Who knows what terrible things that human being that you’ve just spared has done. Every human lies, cheats, steals or does some sort of ‘bad’ thing in their lifetime. Every human inevitably hurts others sometime in their lives. That human whose life you just spared will probably go on living their destructive 21st century lifestyle, which includes polluting the earth – which will have disastrous consequences for millions of living creatures later on down the line. That same human will probably get into fights, and hurt others, and may possibly even kill others – whether directly or indirectly. Even a saint has sins – but does a ladybug sin? Not likely. In all honesty, that ladybug will probably never hurt anyone. Ladybugs do eat other bugs, such as aphids, but the ladybug never eats to excess – the ladybug doesn’t own slaughterhouses, or consume at an unprecedented and unnatural rate. The ladybug doesn’t waste food or pollute its own body with disgusting chemicals and unnatural products.

If you were to the compare the damage that a one lady bug does in one day versus the destruction that one human does in one day – the human will always win. Now, a lady bug only lives two to three years. A human, in good health, can live up to 80-90 years. Again, I must ask, when comparing the life of the ladybug and the human – which do you think will cause more destruction and harm in their lifespans? The lady bug that will live two years or the human that might live a century? Once again, inductively speaking, it would be the human.

So I must ask, why spare the human? The human, any human, will do far more damage in their lifetime than any ladybug. The ladybug is defiantly more ‘innocent’ than the human. Yet almost everyone will choose to save the human and kill the ladybug. Most people will say this is because the human life matters more. My argument is that the human life does not matter more. Really, neither of their lives matter. But, in the long run, the human will inevitably do more damage than a ladybug. Thus, if we are to go off of ‘which life has more worth’ – I would say the ladybug has more worth because the ladybug is simply an instinctual animal of nature – even the biggest, most aggressive ladybug could never do the amount of damage and harm that an everyday, average human does. Most of the damage that humans do is unconscious too – we pollute the world, harm others, and cause conflict over silly arbitrary ideas. This means that even if a person is ‘nice’ or ‘good-natured’, they will still more than likely act in a manner that is destructive towards the planet.

Did you know that the earth would actually prosper if the human species went extinct? If other species of animals go extinct (say the bees, birds, plankton and fungi), then the earth would die out. But if humans go extinct then the earth would flourish! Tell me, if humans are so important than why would the earth be a better place without them? I mean, if humans are so important than surely the earth would need them to survive, yes? But that is not the case. On the contrary, the earth desperately needs to get rid of humans. Plankton and fungi, which don’t even have consciousness – these organisms are more important to the earth than human life. I am sure that, if the earth was a conscious being, it would view humans as nothing more than a virus – a deadly, fast growing plague destroying its body.

There is quote from the movie The Matrix that, in my opinion, accurately describes the human species.

“Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.”

This is such a good quote because it is entirely true. Human beings are viruses on this planet. I do not think that any living thing matters, but I especially believe that human lives do not matter.

And yet we see all these people championing human lives – believing that humans are good creatures that must be saved and protected. But once again I must ask why? What good has humanity done? Humans may be smart but look at all the destruction they’ve caused from their inventions. The Industrial Revolution, the making of Nuclear Weapons. Things such as poverty, racism, sexism – these are human creations. In the wild animals, don’t discriminate like humans do on a daily basis. Human beings have created millions of ways to discriminate, oppress, hate, hurt, and kill each other. We created systems that consume, consume and consume with no limits – with no boundaries and with no conscience. We have made a race of humans that are enslaved by petty, arbitrary ideas. A race of humans that kill and harm others over these silly little ideas. The idea of which God is right, or which political system works best, or which nation is superior. Petty little ideas that don’t matter, yet many humans are willing to do terrible things just achieve what they think is ‘right’.

The human race has destroyed much more than it has created. I cannot say, or believe, that human lives matter – or that humans lives are worth anything. I do not think that humanity is worth saving either. The death of humanity will more than likely be some sort of suicide – we will be destroyed by our own creations, by our own actions. As I’ve said before, humanity has dug its own grave and deserves to be shot in it.

However, I do not advocate for ‘human genocide’ or ‘killing’ or anything like that. I may dislike humans but I do not think that means that we must try to somehow ‘stop’ or ‘prevent’ the human race from existing. If that was the case than I’d be no better than everyone else – wanting to force my preconceived idea via force on people. No, I simply believe that human lives are not worth anything. That humanity is not worth saving. If an alien spaceship came down and started exterminating mankind – I would not fight them or try to stop them. I would simply find a tall mountain, climb to the peak, then sit down and relax and watch the alien species destroy everyone else (until my own destruction comes that is)

There is nothing special about humanity. The idea of something being ‘special’ or ‘unique’ is once again a human concept. Humanity is simply more conscious than other creatures. Therefore, because of that consciousness, we think we matter more than others. We think that, since we can think better than other animals, this must mean we matter more. But we do not.

I am afraid that I have come to the conclusion that human life has no value, and that any person who believes human life should be protected or preserved is a disillusioned idiot.