So I just watched the first episode of Westworld, and well, it is fucking amazing, and it reminded me of my deepest existential crisis.
We can’t objectively know any metaphysics. We have to choose. There are some that if you believe, they break your sanity. They are the antithesis of pragmatic.
The one Westworld explores is the one I encountered my sophomore year of college and it radically changed my personality.
I had been smoking weed daily. I’d smoke with my friends then go in my room and try to write philosophical treatises. I was a weird kid writing to myself, trying to find truth.
I don’t remember what the thought was that triggered it, but one of these high nights I was writing on my couch and, I don’t know.
I had the genuine feeling, like I capital K knew that we live in a false or fake reality. Not metaphorically. I had the clear sensation that I was “waking up,” but at the brink of some edge, I was warned by what felt like a well-meaning voice to stop and come back. I felt the clear choice that I chose to stop. And I “came” back.
This experience was one of the most intense I’ve ever had. It was both one of the most exhilarating and disturbing.
My personality noticeably shifted after this experience. I stopped caring about most of the activities I had been involved in, almost all of my friends at that point in my life aren’t my friends anymore. I become obsessed with learning, particularly psychology and philosophy.
I didn’t realize it in the moment, but the next 3-4 years of intense studying was me trying to cope with the experience. Discovering Robert Anton Wilson and Pragmatism alleviated my angst.
I finally came to a philosophic conclusion that seemed to hold up to my experiences and knowledge. I explained it to a friend and he called it Existential Pragmatism, and its essence is; we cannot know objective truth, but we should choose the metaphysical perspective that is most useful.
This isn’t a philosophical assertion of truth. I’m sure this is the essence of some already established school of philosophy. This is the story a psychologically fragile young man had to tell himself to stay sane.
Westworld is kind of hard for me to watch. It presents a story where this sense of falseness is objectively true (from the robot’s perspective). I think this same metaphysical belief, that this reality we live in is false, is the core of some major traumatic psychotic breaks.
I’ve only seen the first episode, but fuck, I’m excited to watch the rest of it.