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Indecision: True Hell

March 4, 2012

A lot of people seem to think they have some idea of what true hell is. I don’t claim to know better (I don’t believe in hell to begin with, or in heaven for that matter), but when analyzing the graphically tortuous descriptions people give of hell, I laugh internally, thinking “what, that’s it?!” It seems to me that most of the people who believe in hell live in an incredibly sheltered reality, as their conception of hell is, quite frankly, boring! Come to think of it, all of the conceptions I have seen of heaven are even more bland, but I suppose that’s a story for another day.

To a great extent, I have experienced the so-called “horrors” of prison and the “hard knocks life”, and really I’ve found all of the “hardships” of this world to be only enough to temporarily cure my thirst for some meaningful difficulties. Perhaps I too am still sheltered yet, but as far as I can tell the only source by which I can attain what might be considered “true hell”, is myself; this abysmal suffering of which I speak also takes the most unlikely form, which (as the title suggests) is indecision.

I believe that true hell can only be accomplished through indecision: to be caught between irreconcilably polarized and terribly intense desires, and so be completely unable to manifest either of them; in such a situation your soul would be torn apart on a perpetual rack, unable to die, but neither to concede to one side or the other– to be tortured by one’s own desires and the punishment carried out by one’s own selfishly insatiably Ego, this would be something closer to what might be considered true hell.

Someday I will write an account of hell that will dwarf any other (the beginnings of which can be found in my novel-in-progress Essence of the Soul, should you wish to read it), but until then let me make clear that any foundation of what might be considered true hell, is based on indecision.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2012 7:20 am

    No… I don’t think hell is indecision.
    I found this page by searching for “hell is myself”. Which as a phrase is counterpoint to Sartre’s “Hell is other people”. I think… theres something in the notion that the universe of the solipsist is hell. Where no matter how much I populate the world with characters of my own imagining they are all ultimately shallow imaginings, a world where there is nothing to respond to, to react to, to love or to hate, nothing real, only myself spiraling ever further into disgust and hatred, not because the things there are hateful or disgusting but because without “the other” I grow to hate the imaginary others who can never truly fulfill the role I need them to, and since the imaginary others are ultimately myself I grow to hate myself too, and since myself is all there is I grow to hate all things with unbridled passion, and there cannot be an end to it, because that is all there is.

  2. August 15, 2012 12:55 pm

    “I think… theres something in the notion that the universe of the solipsist is hell”

    I think that the reality of the solipsist is actually heavenly. I live in solipsism, and I enjoy it. There’s nothing so liberating as knowing that you will never know anything. It leaves us free to explore, experiment, live life without any confines of “truth” or “purpose”, doing essentially whatever we so desire. Solipsism is in many ways a blessing. But it can also be a curse, for those that *do not* really know what they want, and that is where my hell of indecision comes in.

    When you don’t know what you want, you look to your environment (everything outside your mind) for answers, but…

    “where no matter how much I populate the world with characters of my own imagining they are all ultimately shallow imaginings, a world where there is nothing to respond to, to react to, to love or to hate, nothing real, only myself spiraling ever further into disgust and hatred, not because the things there are hateful or disgusting but because without ‘the other’ I grow to hate the imaginary others who can never truly fulfill the role I need them to, and since the imaginary others are ultimately myself I grow to hate myself too, and since myself is all there is I grow to hate all things with unbridled passion, and there cannot be an end to it, because that is all there is.”

    You would not even feel compelled to do this if you were not indecisive. The hellish angst you are describing is the evidence of hell, not the hell itself. If you knew what you wanted, you wouldn’t need to rely on the reality outside your mind, because there would be no uncertainty about your purpose, and the truth itself would not be relevant to the fulfillment of your desires. With a truly unified and resolute mind, your hell would not even exist.

    • August 15, 2012 4:57 pm

      I do not live in Hell because I am not a solipsist. I am happy because I live in a world that does not consist of only me, a world in which I can react and relate and live, not simply float dead in a sea of reflections of my own corpse.

      I love life because live is division, difference, one cell divides into two, from species spring species, from man springs different peoples, ideologies, religions, nations, each form of life dividing against itself and becoming through so doing more than what he was before, the unfolding of all the multifarious forms of being.

      It is the most beautiful and tremendous process and it is only so because it is real, because the gnostics are wrong and it is neither illusion nor a prison, because matter is good and spirit is good, because suffering and strife and discord and division are the labour pains of life and vitality and joy.

      Heaven is living in a world where I am not alone, where I can face the other, know and be known, love and be loved, where I too will divide up into a billion pieces and be disintegrated knowing I have lived, knowing that the essence of life, the everchanging colonising force of growth and decay, of expansion and division, will conquer for itself all the dead spaces, all the neatness and unity, and transform it into the fractious chaotic order of the organic, the beautiful, the will to power doomed to die.

      How could I succumb to the horrors of solipsism when I have the beauty of reality before my eyes?

      • August 15, 2012 6:30 pm

        Well here we cannot agree, because I believe that all is one, and one is all. We are never alone, because there is always unity in our diversity, the “differences” merely different interpretations of the same reality, the same Oneness. Indeed Heaven is living in a world we are never alone, and it is heavenly because we are embracing reality as it truly is.

        To separate yourself from the all is to separate yourself from yourself. Self-separation is the essence of indecision, as I have expressed in detail in the above post. There is no horror in solipsism unless you have decided to believe in the illusion of separateness, that you are a different person than everyone else, and therefore dependent on them to thwart the empty loneliness inside.

        Once you have realized that deep down at the core, you are one with everyone, there is no need to fear loneliness or emptiness, because such “horrors” are the byproduct of separation from your inner-self, and ultimately separation from God (the one and the all).

        Suffering is caused by the misunderstanding that we are separate, the prideful refusal to realize we are one. Pride (both of an individual and collective nature) is the stubborn desires to cut off the one from the all, caused by the misled belief that one manifestation of the all is better or more legitimate than another. But that is another discussion in-and-of-itself 😉

        “because matter is good and spirit is good”

        I agree, and I would add that matter and spirit are different ways of looking at the same thing. We’re all energy, and matter and spirit are distinguished only in that they are different ways of manifesting the same reality.

        The Gnostics are not wrong, and neither are you. Right and wrong are human constructs of morality (emotional projections) or rationality (logical projections) and have no bearing on transcendent truth. When it comes to matters like this, right and wrong are irrelevant ^_^

        “because suffering and strife and discord and division are the labour pains of life and vitality and joy.”

        That I don’t agree with. Suffering, strife, discord, and division are unnatural in my opinion. But considering that these are presently accepted by most as normal and inevitable elements of life, I can see how you could have come to that conclusion.

  3. August 15, 2012 6:40 pm

    ps. I hope you are not relying too heavily on Sartre for your thoughts. His most famous quote, “Man is condemned to be free”, strikes me as incredibly pessimistic and shortsighted. Perhaps you might ask, “why did Sartre consider freedom a bad thing?” Perhaps asking that question will provide insight on why we have a difference of opinion about solipsism.

  4. August 15, 2012 7:16 pm

    No, I don’t like Sartre much, he is too much a product of “enlightenment thought” for my tastes. My favorite philosopher is Emil Cioran.

    As for the notion of “oneness”, the universe is one, but I am not one with you nor you with I. We are both part of the universe however and share in it’s unity. I am not one, I am composed of parts, just as the universe is, this composition of being extends downwards through all things. There may be reflections of one another in one another, but there is no singularity.

    If we were one we would be alone, there would be nothing but me. You would just be a banal game I was playing out of boredom. There would be no meaning, no subjectivity, no interaction, just me ranting to myself like I do in my bedroom when I am alone. For the first couple of years I might find that entertaining but it would become deeply frustrating fast, knowing nothing meant anything, that there was no life and no death, knowing I could imagine up any scenario and have it without suffering, without challenge, without my will having to clash with the will of another. What a banal life. Thankfully it is not so.

    Being the “same person as everyone else” is no cure for lonliness. It is irrelevent whether one is alone as all things or alone as a speck of dust in a cloud of trillions of specks of dust. One is still alone in that case.

    If suffering is caused by “the misunderstanding that we are seperate” then long live that misunderstanding! Suffering is life, life is meaningless without suffering, without suffering there can be no will, no action, no motion. Suffering is the pin that punctures the balloon of eternity and frees up existence for the tapestry of form. Suffering is the precurser to joy and the wages of same.

    Suffering, strife, discord and division are entirely natural, and good. In the subjectivity of any given moment they may not be good, (and as someone who actively chose to embrace her own subjectivity I am physically aware of that) but in the overall scheme of things they are good and beautiful and much that is wonderous and fantastic is impossible without them.

  5. August 15, 2012 7:29 pm

    Additionally I see in the motion toward unity a cthonic impulse toward “death” that is the impulse to return to the womb, to be subsumed into the Earth, to become one with the primordial void.

    I find the outward motion of growth-division-becoming far more compelling and beautiful than the downward motion toward absorbtion into the all (death) and having decided as I said to embrace my subjectivity I cannot but choose that which I find compelling and beautiful.

  6. August 15, 2012 7:58 pm

    Well I disagree with your need for suffering and separateness, but that diversity of opinions is also part of the beauty that is life. I hope you can find happiness and peace in your separate mindset. But as for me, there is nothing more interesting, more loving, more beautiful, more peaceful, more wonderful than Oneness. my reasons for this are expressed most explicitly in the post following this one; if you would like to read it to further understand my views, here is the link https://nspyraishn.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/understanding-me

  7. August 15, 2012 8:04 pm

    Peace is a consolation prize for those too weary and drained of life to fight. 😛

    • August 15, 2012 9:26 pm

      Peace is the greatest victory for those that realize that the battle is only within, and the fighting a meaningless suffering 😉 I have never felt more alive than when I am at peace with myself, and as I center myself and live in serenity, life becomes so much more beautiful and meaningful 😀

  8. August 15, 2012 9:42 pm

    I think you have somehow misunderstood what “Oneness” is; your expression of Oneness as returning to the void from whence we came, the primordial womb, sounds like a philosophical interpretation straight out of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, and although this is an intriguing interpretation, I feel it is a massive distortion of the truth of Oneness that I’m presenting to you. Perhaps this post I wrote will help clarify what Oneness means to me, in respect to your understanding of Oneness vs. Separateness: http://epiphanyproject.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/meet-me-in-the-middle/

  9. August 15, 2012 10:56 pm

    I had my wife read this, and she expressed her thoughts on what was wrong with your conception of solipsism. Well, her original explanations made no sense to me, so I wrote this and she confirmed that’s what she was intending to say.

    She says based on her analysis of solipsism (conveyed below), you don’t understand solipsism, and what is means in regards to the self and reality:

    If the solipsist’s reality only exists in his mind, then he should be able to easily change his reality when he wishes. So since we cannot change reality simply through conscious will for reality to change, that would appear to disprove solipsism. After all, if reality exists only in the mind, then whatever the solipsist should be easily modified through exercising their imagination.

    Thus, if a solipsist wanted to be a woman, a dog, a tree, a car, a blade of grass, a ray of sunshine, he could easily transmute himself, because all of these things are part of his mind, and thus changeable by force of will, since the will is also part of the mind.

    Additionally, if the solipsist wishes for world peace, lot’s of money, never to have to eat or breath again to survive, to have a perfect life *completely* free of suffering, then they could easily accomplish these things. So again, the fact that the solipsist did not accomplish these things despite having both the will and imagination to, seems to refute solipsism.

    So, in order to show solipsism to be a valid conception of reality, there must be a modification to the theory. this is where the “two solipsists” dualism idea comes in:

    There is the solipsist who is doing the thinking. This solipsist is the one who creates your reality, but that solipsist is not you. You are the creation of that thought, not the one thinking it. Thus, you are not actually real (according to solipsism), since you are not the “thinker”; that you are not the thinker is further evidenced by the fact that you did not create yourself.

    Therefore, the material reality is not actually real, it is the “mirror reflection” of the thinker who is looking at himself. According to Berkeley’s conception of solipsism, “The Thinker” would be God, and we are the reflection he looks in the mirror to appreciate himself.

    The thinker is the one who’s thoughts reality (creation) proceeds from. For this reason, this particular conception of solipsism would be classified as “idealism”, since it is based on the premise that reality (creation) originates from thought. We are that reality, and are not actually real in the sense that we are the mirror reflection of the thinker.

    So although the reflection might consider itself real, that is only because the reflection does not realize that they are only an illusory image that the thinker (who is real) has created. In the Bible, this idea is supported when it says “And God said ‘Let there be light’, and there was light”. God’s (the Thinker’s) thoughts spoke reality (creation), into being. and like a mirror image, creation is made in the (finite) image of God. In reality though, God (The Thinker) is the only real aspect of reality, since it is from the thoughts of the thinker that this reality originated.

  10. August 17, 2012 11:55 am

    Forgive the time it took to reply.

    If I am not the thinker, then the thinker is not me. If we are all figments of his imagination, we are not Him, we are us, shadows in the mind of a mad God playing out a confused story with us. I do not see how this is in any way an inspiring vision of life, even less so as it makes everything we do utterly meaningless. It is the permenance of death, the fact that we come into being and cease to be, that makes our actions meaningful, that makes our choices in life honourable. Death is the evil without which there could be no good.

    “Reality” or degrees of reality is a meaningless notion. What does it mean to say something is real? I once got into a depressive funk where I obsessed over the concept that “nothing is real”, I found myself lying in bed, wallowing in this notion, and then out of the swirling chaos of my consciousness came the awareness “I am hungry” (I had been laying about in bed for several days). The hunger once entering my awareness pressed more and more forcefully, and suddenly I came to realise: if hunger is not real, the notion “real” is not meaningful, if hunger is not “real” then what hunger is is more important than anything that might be termed “real”. Thus I came out of my obsession and depression and was able to live.

    As for your other post, I will respond there 🙂

    • August 19, 2012 1:04 am

      I agree with you about solipsism, but this is not the solipsism I believe in. This is my wife’s interpretation, and has nothing to do with what I think about solipsism. To me, we are all one mind, one soul, one all, and are different only in how we choose to interpret our reality. But death is not the end or the beginning, it is the other side of the coin of reality. life/death, different interpretations of the same all.

      If you believe that something is real, then it is real. Reality is in the eye of the beholder, as I once put it. I have gone through the “nothing is real” phase also, before I used to think just like you said, “nothing is real”, but now I think everything is real, and more meaningful and full of life then ever before. I write about this evolution of my perception here: https://nspyraishn.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/evolution-in-my-perception

      But yes, I agree that certain aspects of reality are universal, and should be accepted to ensure one’s well-being. To resolve this aspect of my “reality consciousness” of Oneness, I apply the utilitarian approach: I eat when I am hungry, but not because I want to, but because eating brings value to my life and to my being. Thus, I believe in the necessity of food, not because food is real, but because believing in food and the eating of food results in me having a higher quality of life.

      So you should always believe whatever gives you the highest quality of life. I believe in Oneness because it has drastically improved my quality of life, just as you believe what you believe because it helps your life to be more beautiful and meaningful. Our beliefs aren’t so different 🙂

      • August 19, 2012 8:52 am

        “Quality of Life” seems a rather banal thing to make ones highest value.

        Also it is my firm belief that happiness sought for its own sake invariably leads to misery.

      • August 19, 2012 1:20 pm

        I never said ‘quality of life’ is my highest value. That is just a universal way of expressing a values in a relatively neutral and “middle ground” sort of way. I think that everyone should only believe what they believe if it improves their quality of life. There are more specific meanings to that obviously, I was just trying to be as subjective as possible in my expression of why my values are important to me.

        My highest value is “Oneness through Selfless Love”. I originally decided on that value because I believed it would improve the quality of my life, and the quality of life of people in general. But the more I truly realize Oneness, not merely as a mindset or belief, but as a higher consciousness and awareness, I realize that Oneness is really the source from which all other truth originates. All the religions, all the philosophies, all the amazing wisdom in the world, has been derived in some way from Oneness. But whereas the former are corrupt and finite interpretations, Oneness is All 🙂

  11. August 19, 2012 1:23 pm

    Typical universalist arrogance, believing themselves able to transcend the lowly subjectivity of the rest of their race. 😛

    • August 19, 2012 1:39 pm

      I think that everyone can transcend it. I pity those that put unnecessary limits on their potential, and hope to do my part in guiding as many people as possible to the path of self-transcendence 🙂

      • August 19, 2012 1:43 pm

        You jump from one dream into another.

        Anyway, the fundamental thing that I feel on this topic, that it is a rejection of life, a consequence and response to ennui is something you have most ceirtainly failed to convince me of.

        You consider ennui to be a higher state, the first step toward enlightenment. I consider it to be a sickness of the spirit, the first step toward a particular illusion.

        This is a very old argument we are having though, even if you don’t like to call it an argument. I argue a lot (it’s fun) so I think I can recognise one when I am having one 😛

      • August 19, 2012 1:50 pm

        I very much enjoy arguments, but as there is no actual disagreement, I don’t think we can call it one. I think this would be more accurately classified as passionate discourse 😉

        Idk what “ennui” is (sounds fun though!)

        Well anyways, as I said in other comments, I think of Oneness as the balance between Yin (void) and Yang (separateness)….I don’t really think of it as enlightenment, because it is not achieved, it is realized. It’s right there in front of you….all that you need to do is realize it 🙂

  12. August 19, 2012 1:44 pm

    *convince me against

  13. August 19, 2012 1:58 pm

    “I don’t really think of it as enlightenment, because it is not achieved, it is realized. It’s right there in front of you….all that you need to do is realize it ”

    Semantics.

    • August 19, 2012 2:09 pm

      Perhaps, but in this case I think the distinction is essential. Achievement is something you work hard to earn, whereas realization is something that we all have already. It is like finding a million dollars on the floor: did you earn it? No, of course not! But are you glad you found it? Damn straight!

      • August 19, 2012 2:12 pm

        What are the practical implications of that distinction in your day to day life?

      • August 19, 2012 2:21 pm

        Realizing Oneness has been the single most positive, loving, beautiful, and liberating experience in my life. “Day to day life” doesn’t even begin to do justice to what Oneness means to me, and I never began to realize its effects until I stopped trying to become One, and started realizing I already am 🙂

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