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On dealing with Unsettling Thoughts
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23 / M / California
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Posted 11/7/13
Hi everyone, Lethargic Leopard Seal here! Now, very recently, I had some troubling thoughts about my lot in the universe- how we're all just blobs of matter floating along through less blobby matter in a universe that doesn't really notice that bits and pieces of its matter are thinking for themselves. We don't really effect anything when compared to the whole of anything, and everything we do is universally benign. These thoughts ate at me no matter how hard I tried to push them out with heavy weights, so I had to leave the temple of happiness and gains an hour early, for some time to think. At the dorm, I mixed my whey protein as usual and as I chugged it down, the unsettling thoughts went away- maybe because I knew that even if my workout was hindered, I'd still get something out of it.


So then I got to thinking "do other people have lapses of unsettling thoughts, and what are the ways that you swallow your unexpected angst?"
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22 / M / Sol
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Posted 11/7/13
I have them all the time, like that the fact that our entire existance is pointless. No matter what we accomplish, everything that we are will disappear one day. How do a deal with this fact....... by not thinking about it. If people took life seriously all the time, the end result would be suicide. So, the best option is to take life as light-heartedly as possible and not give two F***S.
Posted 11/7/13
Solipsism.
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22 / M / Sol
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Posted 11/7/13

Aleph- wrote:

Solipsism.


My future excuse when I go on a rampage with the stockpile of "semi" legal weaponry that I most definitely do not have stockpiled in my room.
Posted 11/7/13

soullesswatcher wrote:


Aleph- wrote:

Solipsism.


My future excuse when I go on a rampage with the stockpile of "semi" legal weaponry that I most definitely do not have stockpiled in my room.


"Sir, I couldn't of killed those people. They don't exist."
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Posted 11/7/13
I like to think we exist to be happy, and to bring happiness to others. That's not always easy to do, but it's a worthy challenge. It doesn't matter whether we're remembered a thousand years from now. It matters whether we're remembered by those around us for what good we do today. :)

As for how to deal with thoughts like that, I like to take a few deep breaths—as many as I need. At the same time, I'll try to feel and acknowledge those thoughts, and then let them go. If I try to ignore or resist them, they can be pesky and stick around. But once I give them a moment to "air out" as it were, I can usually allow them to drift away afterward.
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21 / F / Balmer, Murlin
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Posted 11/7/13

danblev wrote:

I like to think we exist to be happy, and to bring happiness to others. That's not always easy to do, but it's a worthy challenge. It doesn't matter whether we're remembered a thousand years from now. It matters whether we're remembered by those around us for what good we do today. :)


Yay, a fellow optimist. I wholeheartedly agree.

Typically, I start getting all pessimistic and what-the-hell-am-I-doing-none-of-this-even-matters-y when I'm tired or particularly miffed at something (like when I decide to be bold and read asshat comments on a news article). I either drown out these thoughts with music or let my mind wander until it wanders right off the subject. Or I busy myself with something, like cleaning.

In the end, it's not worth it to dwell on these "unsettling thoughts". If nothing matters, then so be it. I'll just make the best out of nothing.
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22 / M / Hinamizawa
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Posted 11/7/13 , edited 11/7/13
I think our definitions of unsettling thoughts are different. I was thinking along the lines of something out of a guro-rape/loli-guro-rape hentai manga would be unsettling thoughts

I think thoughts like yours are much more normal compared to these.

A similar thought I've had, is that humans are basically parasites. We feed off the earth, deplete its resources, and slowly destroy it. Other animals live within nature, and are part of it, while we destroy it. When we talk about nature, notice that we are not included in it. We think of bunnies and deer and trees and forests and streams, but we don't think of humans or houses or cities or roads.
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Posted 11/7/13
I remember the time when I had a compulsion. I stopped myself from ruining the whole house my dunking my head into the toilet

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Posted 11/7/13 , edited 11/7/13
I don't know if I would consider those unsettling thoughts... I guess it depends on where your feet stand.

What I would do is continue to delve into thought until I came to an answer I was happy with (Of course this only works if your starting premise is correct, so if you still can't find something that makes you happy you may need to go back and adjust that... truth is relative after all).

I'll start this flow of thought with your premise boiled down:

I am utterly insignificant to the universe.

"Why does it matter?"

That implies that my actions don't have an impact on anything, that I am not part of some bigger plan.

"Is that a bad thing?"

Without a plan what ensures that good conquers over evil?

"What is evil?"

Evil is... bad stuff

"Is it a universal truth?"

Well, people still argue over what is right and wrong today, It can't be demonstrated; but that doesn't rule out the existence of it as a truth.

"So, people have only a vague concept of what evil is, but still strive against it?"

Yes, but in striving against evil, they commit acts of it against each other.

"So, even if evil and good are absolutes, human understanding can only grasp its own constructs of these. Why bother worrying something you can't be sure about?"

Because its not fair how people do evil things to one another and get away with it.

"So you should decide how people should be sentenced even without absolute understanding?"

Without absolute understanding the best I can do is advocate my own thoughts and beliefs, and develop them as my understanding of the world changes. If they are so off base that my thoughts and feelings cannot be understood by those around me, then perhaps my own ideologies were not sound enough, or perhaps too many are too steadfast in there ways to see how misguided they are.

"Then what does this say about a lack of ultimate meaning? If your own beliefs boil down to nothing, and the best you can do is adapt and share to what end are you working for?"

I am living to shape the world around me to be the place I would want it to be, for myself and for future generations


Posted 11/7/13
I've had many intrusive thoughts which I consider to be unsettling. The kinds which happen when you don't want them to. For instance, you could be intimate with a special someone and have thoughts about your boss or some other person during that time. It may call for therapy depending on the effect that these thoughts have on you.
Bavalt 
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28 / M / Canada
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Posted 11/7/13
I'm one of those happy-go-lucky nihilistic types that really doesn't care about changing the world. The world, for me, is the world that I experience myself, and anything that doesn't reach my consciousness may as well not exist. I've never been very interested in practical matters, and I'm extremely lacking in ambition, so shrinking down my worldview like that suits me just fine. All I want from my environment is the basic necessities, a couple friends, stories, and thinking material.

To me, people who want to change things for change's sake are misguided. A legacy is something that exists after you're dead, so why care about it? If you can do something good for someone, by all means do so, but going through a bunch of work just to make your mark on the world seems pretty inefficient when all you need to do to be happy is spend time on hobbies you enjoy.

All that said, I'm totally into the pointlessness of humanity as a conversation topic or a motif in a story. One of my favorite authors used it as his primary theme, and the idea of cosmic horror strikes a chord with me because I can see how it could be a huge deal to people, but as my entire philosophy boils down to vicariously enjoying the full spectrum of thought and emotion, those very echoes of despair are something I can have fun turning over in my head.

Anyone seen Baccano? Basically, I think Elmer's got the gist of it. There's no meaning to life, but there's no point in a meaning to life anyway. Just smile.
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Posted 11/7/13
What you do has very little effect on your surroundings, most of the time.
If you expand all this all the way to the edges of the universe, in terms of it, you don't matter.
But then again, in terms of you, neither does it.
You exist locally, and if you want to look for some meaning, the butterfly effect is actually a thing.
It's the reason that meteorologists have trouble predicting the weather past three or four days.
This is just a shift in perspective, there's nothing to worry about unless you don't like thinking about it, in which case you should distract yourself with something else. Don't try not thinking about it, because that will (usually) fail.
Try to actively think about something more interesting. Watch television, read a book, see a movie, or talk to a friend about cute kitten videos.
Posted 11/7/13


What about changing the world in a way that people don't necessarily have to experience discrimination in terms of race, gender, sexuality, etc? Or putting laws in place in which pretend big businesses from exploiting people by going into third world countries and taking a community's only clean water supply to sell as bottled water, etc. I know this is how you personally view the world and I'm not saying it's wrong. I guess it's just very different from the way I do. I suppose I'm an idealist because I think changing the world for the better is something to strive towards.

Also personally I prefer Claire's philosophy "mercy and compassion are virtues that only the strong are privileged to possess." but then again he also did like soaking himself blood and torturing people on railroads
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Posted 11/7/13
Fair warning, religion incoming: I try to be a faithful Christian, so when I get "unsettling thoughts" or nihilistic, I try to do as God wishes me to, to the best of my understanding of God's intent (generally, this tends towards "don't be a jerk". It ain't easy sometimes) and to trust in God's plan for us, whatever it is.

Sometimes the unsettling thought is doubt towards God's existence. Generally, when all said and done, I have no proof (yet) for or against the existence of a god, save that I exist, which philosophically is pretty weak to be considered proof. I believe in God because believing in a God that doesn't exist beats not believing in a God that does (idk if God punishes people for unbelief, that's up to ). Probably not the most poetic argument out there, but when I hit bottom it still holds, even if it doesn't make me feel much better.
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