What premises are necessary before I am open-minded enough to consider Efilism?

Atheism, and a basic understanding of psychology, evolution, and physics (determinism), value

Why is being an atheist important for this philosophy?

In short, An understanding that the universe most likely was not created by intelligent design but rather by crude forces is prerequisite knowledge that may be indispensable before considering this philosophy. The theological argument of first cause is not sufficient in explaining what created the intelligent designer that created the first cause. If the intelligent designer always existed, a scientist can simply argue that the universe always existed or exists perennially. There is no evidence of an intelligent designer, but there is factual evidence of evolution.

What do I need to know about evolution?

An analytical look of life reveals that it is simply a replicating DNA molecule. When the molecule replicates, error-copies that are beneficial towards survival and replication will continue pass their genetic code into the future. All life forms are relatives of the same original replicating molecule. Roughly 500 million years ago sentience developed.

Why is sentience such a note worthy point?

All value is created by sentience. The capacity to feel, or the implication a thing has on feeling creatures makes a thing valuable. Our complex nervous systems and brains are designed to make value judgments concerning comfort maximization and harm prevention.

Is there really no value without sentience? What about a beautiful mountain on a planet with no life?

Concepts like beauty are filtered through are sense perception and cognition. Without a thing to witness the "beautiful mountain" it couldn't be characterized as beautiful without an observer.

What are implication of unintelligent design and evolution?

Great amounts of suffering will continue to occur if knowledgeable humans do nothing to prevent this suffering.

What are some critical aspects of psychology I need to know about?

A rough examination is as follows: Human brains are designed by evolution essentially as selfish scheming tools. We are designed to be motivated not satisfied. The desire mechanism is innate and we naturally have an unquenchable thirst for life that allows us to withstand great suffering as our brains model a more preferable future. Strong biological impulses of hunger, basic needs, and sexual satisfaction propel our momentum through life. Pleasure is powerful motivator which distorts our ability to think rationally about the cost of our gratification. The abundance of optimism bias is well documented. Our ego is greatly tied to our sexual desire but also to our ambition which could be characterized as how we are estimated in the eyes of others.

Why is an understanding of determinism important?

It is important to understand that nothing you have done was really your choice. You did not choose your parents, where you were born, your early child education or all the external factors that caused your brain to take adopt the personality you call your own. You could have been any of the other humans on earth and if you were progressed they did you would have been them. You could have been any of the animals as well, it is just luck of the draw that you are human and capable of reading this writing?

What is Efilism?

Efilism is a philosophy that reveals the truth about the implications of evolution and a universe that is indifferent and malignantly useless. In short, Efilists argue that life is fundamentally backwards or broken. It is a paradigm-shifting philosophy that considers ALL of sentient life to have value.

What do you mean by life is backwards or broken?

Our most basic evaluation of suffering being bad and comfort being good are not considered when the capricious law of nature deals its cards. Suffering is abundant in humans but it is experienced in the greatest quantity by non-human animals. The majority of suffering on earth occurs in the wild.

Can't we try to fix this brokenness?

Yes, attempts to make living conditions more tolerable for humans and non-human animals should be made, but ultimately the brokenness of life is at its very core. And a fail-safe solution of winding the population down and finally taking care of nature is a solution that has the highest probability of succeeding and will prevent the most suffering.

WOAH! wait a second, do you mean destroying all life! I have so much more to do I still haven't received my Emmy wand there's hundreds of women that I plan on sleeping with! How dare you take my entitlements way!?

"Destroying all life" is the wrong way to look at Efilism. The conclusions drawn are indeed dire but the philosophy need not be bastardized. One must be inclined towards compassion, knowledge, and sober judgment before actualizing the depth of suffering that exists and will continue if life is perpetuated. The philosophy does not mean you cannot live out your own life but it does entail that you recognize that there are implications to your actions and a price to pay external to your own desires.

You are just depressed! You should just kill yourself!

This philosophy can create a lull to ones personal ambition. Killing myself only solves my suffering or future risk of harm. If I stick around there are plenty of ways to prevent large amounts of suffering. [10:01:26 AM] Oldphan: But what about the joy and beauty!? Poetry, music, art, literature, friends, laughter, serendipity!??

I will not argue that you don't take delight in these things, but upon closer examination you will realize that only a very small fraction of sentient lives are privileged enough to experience these things.

Can you elaborate?

Consider the average life of a mammal in the wild. Their life is one of great struggle and hardship. The brutal hands of nature are indifferent to the cold and hunger that awaits this warm blooded sensitive creature. Its nervous system is very much active and its heart thumps with just as much vigor as a human. Unfortunately it lives its life at the mercy of what nature throws at. There are countless numbers of sentient lives perennially suffering because of the failure of humans to recognize the plight that animals in the wild face, surely you don't think these creature are reading poetry and dancing?

I never thought about suffering in that way, usually I just think about the pain that humans face...

Simply put, pain is pain regardless of who feels it. That isn't to say that vast amounts of suffering exists in humans as well.

But aren't we at-least progressing towards a better future?

It depends how you define progress. Since the industrial revolution there has been an enormous amount of technological progress which has made many lives free of the labor that has characterized the lot of almost all mortals throughout history. Unfortunately when the struggle for necessity ends, psychological struggle arises. Greater wealth and material prosperity does not necessarily lead to happier lives. We are not designed to be satisfied so we remain restless even when we should be content. Also technological advancement has lead to a population explosion. 29.6 million humans are slaves as of 2013 according the global slavery index, this is more then ever before in history. As more powerful technology emerges the fate of human civilization becomes more uncertain. I am not trying to be a sensationalist by any stretch. Future technology could relieve a great deal of suffering but bio-engineered plagues and nuclear weapons could potentially create immense suffering.

What is the chance of civilization collapsing?

According to a 2008 Catastrophic Risk survey Published by Future of Humanity Institute,(Oxford University) by 2100, there is 19% chance of complete human extinction. I would venture to guess that the probability is actually higher then this given the threat of global warming becoming more urgent and the accumulation of low-probability but catastrophic natural disasters like an asteroid or super volcano. Nevertheless, great tragedy's will continue to occur if the standard of suffering that currently exists is tolerated or promoted as being "success." Eventually all life will become extinct it is just a matter of how long until then.

This philosophy is too hopeless for me, i know there is a great deal of suffering, but what can I do, I am just one individual?

The prospects of a better future may be improbable but hope is not illogical. There are many actions you can take in which will have a high probability of reducing suffering. Spreading information about wild animal suffering and speciesism is one place to start. The task of our generation may be to lay the foundation for future generations. All in all, it depends on what type of person you are, what you are interested in and what can make the greatest impact. Some people will be more inclined to hands on humanitarian or activists efforts. Other many be more inclined to the research side of things. Humans are not utility-maximizing machines by and a sense of ego may be attached to your ideal self.

I will have to sacrifice a lot of my personal desires and ambitions, this will be painful! What about my Emmy!

It is true that personal sacrifice may be required to fully internalize this philosophy, but one should take note of a few things. If you truly understand the great depth of harm that exists on earth, resisting your desires that cause harm will seem like the least you can do. Also the recognition will dawn upon you that you simply aren't that important and no one will care about your Emmy in a hundred years or so. Adopting this philosophy is like running with the wind because your individual self gratification is miniscule in comparison to the objective good you can do. A transition to a more altruistic self may be painful but I personally think it is necessary for a more passionate existence. There is scientific evidence backing the idea that altruists tend to be happier. I would venture to guess that more familiarity and knowledge of suffering will most likely lead to greater compassion and more comradery with other people and sentience at large.

--Mike Bohl