If we count not only the unusually severe harms that anybody could endure, but also the quite routine ones of ordinary human life, then we find that matters are still worse for cheery procreators. It shows that they play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun -- aimed, of course, not at their own heads, but at those of their future offspring. – David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been, p. 92
Benatar’s anti-natalism is not likely to capture the popular imagination any time, soon; probably never, I’d wager. What kind of person accepts that it would be for the best should humanity stop reproducing? But a few metaphysical defeatists do indeed take some solace in it, at least by discovering a comrade in bleakness who attempts rational arguments for our shared existential plight – justifications that aren’t reducible to some mere psychological fracture.
The psychologistic dismissals of pessimism are widespread, most recently and disappointingly exemplified by writer Nic Pizzolatto in his TV series, True Detective. Disappointing, because Pizzolatto clearly shares my love for the most ontologically downtrodden horror author working today, Thomas Ligotti. Nevertheless, after 7 hours of episodes that dismantle straight guy Marty Hart’s ideas of family, hard work and law as delusional distractions which keep him from confronting the abyssal punchlines consistently delivered by pessimistic funny man Rust Cohle, and despite having the latter nearly quote Ligotti verbatim at times , Pizzolatto betrays all of this with a denouement that makes the show into little more than religious propaganda hidden in a blighted form. Rust has a metaphysical conversion in the finale after a near death visitation by his dead daughter and father: he begins to see little rays of hope peeking out of the darkness of the nighttime sky. Turns out it was the trauma of losing a child and of not having reconciled with his father – genetically, a future deadend and an unresolved past – that lead to those previously expressed dark thoughts, and not, say, facing the objective ramifications of the eternal perspective, or sub specie aeternitatis, which can only reveal an end to humanity, its concerns and all its artifacts. Rust and the audience need no longer worry about such ramifications with the hope of continuing as an immortal soul. Ligotti refers to such pessimistic flimflam as a “façade of ruins, a trompe l'oeil of bleakness.” (Ligotti, p. 147)