As a general principle, one prefers to remain alive and continue authoring new experiences, for so long as one is able. This is prompted in part by a biologically healthy fear of death, which has for billions of people translated into religious convictions which support the desire to stay alive. Not so for Philipp Mainländer (yes, that's Philipp with one "l" and two "p's"), a German nihilistic Pandeist of the 19th Century.

Mainländer was born in a town on the banks of the River Main on October 5, 1841; his birthname in fact was Batz -- he changed it to Mainländer to signify his love of the river and its region. After some time pursuing commercial endeavors, he became more and more philosophical, and began writing his thoughts. Influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer's philosophical reinterpretation of Buddhism, Mainländer put forth the fundamental thesis that, if life required suffering (the worst of all being endless and indistinct boredom), then immortality would have to be simply unbearable. And so, Mainländer concluded, the sole immortal entity to have ever existed (God, or whatever was most analogous to it) had committed suicide by becoming our Universe -- as Mainländer put it, "the will, ignited by the perception that non-being is better than being, is the supreme principle of all morality." Thus, the remnants of the death of our Creator set forth the Creation; the unity shattered into a disjointed plurality. To be sure, nihilism is an unorthodox view in Pandeism, certainly not one considered especially logical or tenable by many Pandeists. But Mainländer is hardly the last man to suppose that our existence reflects not simply a Creator becoming a Creation through which to experience, but so doing almost incidentally in the course of ending a listless existence.

Friedrich Nietzsche was dismissive of Mainländer (whom Nietzsche considered to be not a true pessimist). But in one essay, later philosopher Jorge Luis Borges wrote sympathetically of Mainländer:
Like me, he was an impassioned reader of Schopenhauer, under whose influence (and perhaps under the influence of the Gnostics) he imagined that we are fragments of a God who destroyed Himself at the beginning of time, because He did not wish to exist. Universal history is the obscure agony of those fragments.
This, to a degree, is even a core conception of the century-and-a-quarter later effort by Scott Adams, God's Debris -- which, at least, has something of a happier ending. And so, Mainländer thought, for us as well; there was no point to life at all, our existence simply added to the angst of that which had become us. He concluded that "the knowledge that life is worthless is the flower of all human wisdom."

Mainländer wrote a book on all of this, Die Philosophie der Erlösung (The Philosophy of Redemption), the source of his above quotes; the day it was published, he used a stack of them as a pedestal on which to hang himself. The book was not terribly popular in philosophical circles, for although it was generally reviewed as well-written and logically argued, there is not so great a market for works which lead the reader to conclude that suicide is the logical end to their earthly concerns. Unlike many nihilists who grumble with such sentiments into their old age and dotterage, Mainländer's death act at least constituted conformance with his word. The man who wrote "Life is hell, and the sweet still night of absolute death is the annihilation of hell" took his life on April Fool's Day of 1876, at age 34.

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