Check it out: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/01/30/the-most-shocking-thing-about-hbos-true-detective/
Cohle, when pressed, tells Hart he's a pessimist, but he doesn't mean "pessimist" in the everyday sense of simply being a sourpuss who's "bad at parties." He says he's a pessimist in his worldview, the philosophical sense, although he pushes beyond mere pessimism and into anti-natalist territory. Here's Cohle:
I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in human evolution. We became too self aware; nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, a secretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody's nobody. I think the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.
Chew on that for a second. The (mostly) sympathetic lead character of a major television show — albeit one who hallucinates and suffers from insomnia — is calling humanity an aberration while saying that we should simply run out the clock as a species. When I heard McConaughey utter these lines in his spaced-out drawl, it reminded me vividly of the philosophical writing of Thomas Ligotti ("Teatro Grottesco," "My Work Is Not Yet Done"), a writer known throughout the literary horror world for his disturbing and blackly funny short works in the genre known as weird fiction.
In his 2010 nonfiction work, the Bram Stoker Award-nominated "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race," Ligotti calls consciousness "the parent of all horrors" and lays out an argument that would make Rustin Cohle offer a slow, stoned nod of approval. Since Cohle says these things in 1995, maybe in this fictional reality he goes on to write a tract similar to Ligotti's. He also refers to humans as "biological puppets," a prominent idea in Ligotti's arguments and a motif in his fiction.
Here are some examples of Ligotti writing on nature and humanity in "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race":
Now we know that we are uncanny paradoxes. We know that nature has veered into the supernatural by fabricating a creature that cannot and should not exist by natural law, and yet does.
And the worst possible thing we could know — worse than knowing of our descent from a mass of microorganisms — is that we are nobodies not somebodies, puppets not people.
For us, then, life is a confidence trick we must run on ourselves, hoping we do not catch on to any monkey business that would leave us stripped of our defense mechanisms and standing stark naked before the silent, staring void. To end this self-deception, to free our species of the paradoxical imperative to be and not to be conscious, our backs breaking by degrees upon a wheel of lies, we must cease reproducing.
Cohle's viewpoint, at least three episodes into the season's eight entries, is the prevailing one on the show, illustrated by scenes of Hart's swaggering braggadocio faltering before the skepticism posited by his partner. Then consider the steamy backwoods Louisiana setting, seething with dread, evoking the pessimist philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, who saw an indomitable and indifferent will, not reason, as the force that drives existence. For the horror reader, this sort of consideration should bring to mind the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, to whom Ligotti is often considered a literary heir.