Philosophy of Thomas Ligotti, a horror writer who can't feel happiness

In his nonfiction book, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, horror writer Thomas Ligotti discusses the relationship between his grim, supernatural fiction and his anhedonia -- a mental condition that makes it impossible to enjoy anything.

I couldn't possibly write something that would reflect the true depths of my aversion to everything that exists. As far as putting words into other people's mouths, as if what seems true to me is what is really true, this is just a commonly used device in writing personal essays. Everyone preaches to the converted. If I didn't believe my thoughts were superior to and truer than the thoughts of people who disagree with me, then I would think something else. And I would think that was superior and truer. Even some scientists who can be almost conclusively demonstrated to be wrong still cling to their erroneous views. This is one of the running themes of The Conspiracy against the Human Race. Truth works within a very tiny, often self-reflexive framework. Three of a kind always beats two pair. Someone believes God exists because a book tells them he does; they believe the book is true because lots of people have told them that it's the word of God. Plus they like what the book says--that's the most important thing. If they didn't like it, they wouldn't believe it. I think that's the problem I'm encountering in responses to TCATHR. Its readers not only haven't liked what it says, they also don't like that someone they know and to whom they feel otherwise well-disposed could write such a book. It's disturbing, as if you found out your best friend was a serial killer who liked to eat the brains of toddlers. The essay is essentially about how humans can't handle unpleasant realities and what those realities are. But we're predisposed not to think about those things in a way that will affect how we live, or to think about them at all in most cases.


"It's all a matter of personal pathology":
An Interview with Thomas Ligotti

(Thanks, Tavie, via Submitterator!)