Horror is not something bad, that can be managed and endured, but something that must be avoided at all costs. To experience horror is to experience the destruction of all hope of order or decency, if not personally, then indirectly through witnessing someone else’s loss.
Horror might include unmanageable suffering such as early death, early loss of physical or mental functioning, severe, untreatable illness, or other similar things. “Horror” movies- which certainly feature horror, but only of a limited kind- for this reason always feature young people, since hope, health and bodily vigor are highest in the young, and in the young their loss is the most strongly felt. And for this reason the virgin- a young person who is not attractive or popular and can expect a lifetime of not being attractive or popular- survives, because he has much less to lose.
Denial, as a psychological term, describes an unmerited positive belief about the present and future. This however is regarded as a sign of psychological health, if it isn’t excessive, because looking at things realistically is likely to lead to depression.
“Life’s a bitch and then you die”, says the joker. Or, “Life’s a bitch, then you marry one”. Life is mostly pretty difficult, with some enjoyment to keep us going. Being happy all the time probably isn’t possible, and maybe not desirable, despite what the gurus say. You can try to be happy all the time with substances, but this will backfire. If you have enough money, you can devote you life to enjoying yourself, but boredom and excess will take their toll here too. And the richest person can’t avoid eventually dying. Death might be quick and painless, if you have a massive heart attack or a massive stroke, but it will probably be a slow process of declining function and pain.
Does religion offer any solace? Maybe not. What could be more horrifying than a universe where we are subjected to a lifetime of pain, followed in many cases by an eternity of pain? Or in the case of reincarnation, many additional lifetimes of pain? A new age and Mormon belief is that persons choose to be born, although they do not remember it, because they desire the spiritual growth that comes from bodily incarnation. That sounds like a way of putting a positive spin on it, but like all other religious things it’s unfalsifiable.
The first season of the HBO program “True Detective” featured a strongly pessimistic character who many thought had ideas based on the horror author Thomas Ligotti. A homicide detective who had suffered the death of his young child, this man concluded horror was an inescapable element of life, and probably its primary element.
One might conclude it’s better never to be born in the first place, and some do. The philosophy of anti-natalism is most commonly associated these days with author and blogger Sarah Perry.
One does not choose to be born; your parents make the choice for you. Is it ethical to make this choice for another person knowing at a minimum they may suffer a lifetime of pain? And that depending on your beliefs, they could suffer many lifetimes of pain or an eternity of pain?
Life wants to live. That’s what life is. Things that do not want to live do not continue living long. Every living thing must die, but it can extend its life in some way by reproducing. Life isn’t something you possess, it is something temporarily entrusted to you, to be passed along in turn.
If something is worthless, you may keep it but not pass it along, or you may not even keep it. If something has some value you keep it, maintain it and pass it along.
Life is substantially horror but it is not only horror. Just surviving is an accomplishment to be proud of. Hope that things will be better for you, and your descendants, springs eternal.
Horror is a basic fact of life, maybe the basic fact of existence for corporeal creatures, but we can and do overcome it. As somebody once said- we are the fight.