Irrational Existential Dread Thread

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If I start to do the dishes and there is soggy bread in the sink I feel like the death of the universe is enveloping me. Does anyone else here ever get irrational feelings of existential dread?

scott seward, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:33 (six months ago) Permalink

It would probably be easier and less time consuming for me to detail the fleeting moments when the ever-looming clouds of irrational existential dread briefly part.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:37 (six months ago) Permalink

Thinking of a lifetime of caring for teeth

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:38 (six months ago) Permalink

I've described the feeling before as 'perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop and knowing that the universe has an undiminishing supply of droppable shoes'.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:38 (six months ago) Permalink

I've often given myself panic attacks lying in bed thinking, "One day will be the last day I ever fall asleep." And also, "After that, someone has to arrange to dispose of my body."

Monster fatberg (Phil D.), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:41 (six months ago) Permalink

that might actually be rational dread though.

scott seward, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:44 (six months ago) Permalink

"and I won't be able to hold my stomach in"

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:44 (six months ago) Permalink

in fact i'm sure of it.

scott seward, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:44 (six months ago) Permalink

I downloaded that app that reminds you that you're gonna die 5 times a day. It's ignorable if you're determined to ignore it, but if you take a beat and think about that eventuality for a moment it does produce a re-ordering of priorities, even if only briefly.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:48 (six months ago) Permalink

In a way it's rational, but most people who have ever lived are dead, so who am I to get all upset about it?

Monster fatberg (Phil D.), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:48 (six months ago) Permalink

There's definitely something dread-ful in considering the multitude of things that would break or collapse or dissolve or become unspeakably filthy without regular upkeep/maintenance. What hope can the Sisyphean act of making the bed have in staving off the heat death of the universe?

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:51 (six months ago) Permalink

hi i get this feeling lots especially in the last month, though i find being with people i care about doing things to keep us occupied helps & diverts

love 2 yall

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:55 (six months ago) Permalink

Oh, yeah, I should specify that I'm mostly still able to carry on with the normal day-to-day activities and enjoy love and laughter while being constantly aware that our lives are insignificant blips in the vast and indifferent cosmus.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 16:58 (six months ago) Permalink

In the past, I've spent the better part of a decade worrying about the heat death of the universe. "Only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built." Now, I sort of laugh it off, "Brooklyn isn't expanding, Alvie".

Sanpaku, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:12 (six months ago) Permalink

"things that would break or collapse or dissolve or become unspeakably filthy without regular upkeep/maintenance"

weirdly comforting thought i have sometimes: if people went away everything would be covered over with plants and trees and flowers.

scott seward, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:16 (six months ago) Permalink

The inevitable extinction of the species feels a little less dismissively distant when the people running things seem really pumped about ramping up the timetable. But I guess that isn't really irrational. 'Irrational' is more along the lines of, say, regularly encountering mistakes in the work product of fellow employees which a six-year-old would've easily identified and taking it as a sign that people are collectively accepting the ultimate futility of baseline effort.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:25 (six months ago) Permalink

xpost Yeah! Existential dread quickly dissipates when you shift your perspective away from the anthropocentric.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:26 (six months ago) Permalink

There's a book that's a neat little thought experiment called "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman. The chapter that I remember moved vividly was about the Houston Ship Channel succumbing to entropy.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:29 (six months ago) Permalink

I'm sure I've quoted it somewhere on here before, but one of my favorite quotes is from Norbert Weiner, starting with the paragaph that begins "We are swimming against a great torrent of disorganization..."

https://books.google.com/books?id=o8ZxnFkK2wkC&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=norbert+wiener+torrent&source=bl&ots=tnotBDQqof&sig=ZFPiBImjzpvy2bDgyDoFrSnaWC0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZ36eBj5nYAhWD5YMKHSRnBTUQ6AEITDAH#v=onepage&q=norbert%20wiener%20torrent&f=false

(hope that works)

ryan, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:32 (six months ago) Permalink

There's another book, In the Cool, that's a pretty readable account of entropy as a creative force. It's important not to get too one sided about it. Without entropy the universe would be something like an unmoving block, I imagine.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:33 (six months ago) Permalink

sorry: Into the Cool

ryan, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:33 (six months ago) Permalink

Re: my earlier post about coworkers' mistakes, I just encountered 'humanitarium relief' (like multiple times throughout the file in question). Feels like some particularly clever wag or another might be able to somehow employ that newly-coined phrase itt.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 17:57 (six months ago) Permalink

weiner torrent tho

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 18:02 (six months ago) Permalink

i think gleick quotes parts of that in The Information, very powerful stuff

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 18:07 (six months ago) Permalink

That must be where I first found it! I think it's from Wiener's "Human Use of Human Beings"--a very interesting little book.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 18:09 (six months ago) Permalink

the two things that give me such an irrational feeling of existential dread:

sometimes while taking a shit and straining away i am acutely aware of my animalian nature, my mortality, and the ridiculousness of the artifice of the composed and cultured face that i attempt to show the world. this makes me deeply uneasy.

i rarely take baths but the feeling of putting my toes in a too hot bath, how unpleasant it is, the dread of perhaps slipping and ending up scalded is always attended with the thought "you will die one day, you can't escape something much worse than this unlikely, imagined scalding"

khat person (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 18:11 (six months ago) Permalink

got about 10 posts into this thread and have to bail because it's giving me the fear already

a Rambo in curved air (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 20 December 2017 18:33 (six months ago) Permalink

this is from thinkin too much, according to schopenhauer, but i didn't read him too close bc i didn't want to get the tremors again

j., Wednesday, 20 December 2017 22:08 (six months ago) Permalink

https://media.giphy.com/media/20cr5VNSiuvhS/giphy.gif
what's so irrational about dread anyway

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 22:23 (six months ago) Permalink

how about the existential dread that comes from suddenly finding yourself to be the expert the room

this happened to me several times this year at work, i suddenly realized that the best person to go to for advice about some intractable problem was ... myself

it was pretty upsetting

(i am having a similar experience rn w/ year-end lists)

the late great, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 23:20 (six months ago) Permalink

A related problem, for me anyway, is aging parents. That’s really been getting to me lately.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 December 2017 23:23 (six months ago) Permalink

yes!

the late great, Thursday, 21 December 2017 00:15 (six months ago) Permalink

there is a great event around the corner from me tomorrow night. i thought of this thread:

Night Eyes presents A Feast for Saturn

Potluck from 6pm - 7pm
Workshop in session from 7pm - 10pm

Bring a donation for the space and something for the potluck (Saturn would request anything cold/dry/salty/odorous/goaty/fishy)

>wear black<

J***e S****s & G***a S****g lead an extended consideration of the planet Saturn, a dull and slow moving celestial body that grinds along the border between that which we can see, and that which is beyond our embodied power of sight. In contemporary mythology, Saturn sits as a cold hearted witness as we accomplish or avoid such necessary and uninspiring tasks as paying down debt, filing taxes, scheduling dental work, and returning each day to under-paying, time-sucking, youth-robbing day jobs. J***e and G***a will deconstruct the much-dreaded Saturn Return, and delineate a number of example charts. Come knowing your time of birth if you would like your chart to be considered. We will take time to discuss Saturn’s very recent ingress into Capricorn on December 20th, and what these next 6 years of Saturn residing in Capricorn and then Aquarius, the two signs of its rulership, could mean for our world. Through ritual, incantations, guided meditation, lecture and visual explication, we ruminate in the chilly, ashen light of the planet associated with death, decay, misery, and isolation. Mining ancient and recent histories, affect theory, the American-capitalist cult of productivity, traditional astrological magic, and esoteric literature, we learn that when it comes to Saturn, "the best way out is always through." Or, more grimly, that there is no way out, so best to prepare yourself for the long and leaden passage through.

scott seward, Thursday, 21 December 2017 14:49 (six months ago) Permalink

You could drop dead at any point in your daily routine. Even if you opt to stay in bed, you could still die. Either way, not much is affected by the decision that you make (or don't make), and you're still definitely going to die eventually.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Thursday, 21 December 2017 14:57 (six months ago) Permalink

I just looked up my Saturn’s Return and yeah those 6 months were fucked up

El Tomboto, Thursday, 21 December 2017 15:11 (six months ago) Permalink

every time i do some idle tedium like punching numbers into a spreadsheet or putting my PIN into the work printer my chest gets tight, something about the futility of work and the reality of mortality or something

global tetrahedron, Thursday, 21 December 2017 15:48 (six months ago) Permalink

I live besides a busy street and I get a feeling of dread some mornings around 5.30 am as like clockwork, cars start rushing by to go to work. Often I'm up around this time as well and it just reminds me how were slaves to the wage and mostly the working poor. Shit just feels way too scripted sometimes

In a slipshod style (Ross), Thursday, 21 December 2017 15:51 (six months ago) Permalink

Realizing in the midst of doing something you enjoy that literally every human activity that isn't a biological imperative is essentially a mortality distraction, and then realizing that your realization has basically undermined the essential point of your endeavor.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Thursday, 21 December 2017 15:56 (six months ago) Permalink

i have really bad morbid ideas for movies all the time and the last one was something i thought of after reading a nyt story and it is about two people who die on top of mount everest and the people who go to retrieve their bodies also die and more people go up to retrieve those bodies and then they die and then more people go up....it goes on like that for 6 hours until mount everest is actually officially taller and they have to change the height in all the record books. and it ends there.

scott seward, Thursday, 21 December 2017 15:58 (six months ago) Permalink

I've seen some configuration of the same 20-30 people on my commute to and from work for several years. None of us acknowledge any of the others, none of us know anything about one another (presumably), one of us could disappear one day and maybe at some point several months later someone else will briefly think, hey, wonder what happened to that guy, kinda like how you suddenly notice that a restaurant you use to pass by all the time has been a Foot Locker for the past year.

Encyclopedia Beige and the Case of the Bland Sandwich (Old Lunch), Thursday, 21 December 2017 16:02 (six months ago) Permalink


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