Why do you reject negative utilitarianism?

(Cross­posted on LessWrong)

Ab­solute nega­tive util­i­tar­i­anism (ANU) is a minor­ity view de­spite the the­o­ret­i­cal ad­van­tages of ter­mi­nal value monism (suffer­ing is the only thing that mo­ti­vates us “by it­self”) over plu­ral­ism (there are many such things). Notably, ANU doesn’t re­quire solv­ing value in­com­men­su­ra­bil­ity, be­cause all other val­ues can be in­stru­men­tally eval­u­ated by their re­la­tion­ship to the suffer­ing of sen­tient be­ings, us­ing only one ter­mi­nal value-grounded com­mon cur­rency for ev­ery­thing.

There­fore, it is a straw man ar­gu­ment that NUs don’t value life or pos­i­tive states, be­cause NUs value them in­stru­men­tally, which may trans­late into sub­stan­tial prac­ti­cal efforts to pro­tect them (com­pared even with some­one who claims to be ter­mi­nally mo­ti­vated by them).

If the ra­tio­nal­ity and EA com­mu­ni­ties are look­ing for a unified the­ory of value, why are they not con­verg­ing (more) on nega­tive util­i­tar­i­anism?

What have you read about it that has caused you to stop con­sid­er­ing it, or to over­look it from the start?

Can you teach me how to see pos­i­tive states as ter­mi­nally (and not just in­stru­men­tally) valuable, if I cur­rently don’t? (I still en­joy things, be­ing closer to the ex­treme of hy­per­thymia than an­he­do­nia. Am I pla­ton­i­cally blind to the in­trin­sic as­pect of pos­i­tivity?)

And if some­one wants to an­swer: What is the most ex­treme form of suffer­ing that you’ve ex­pe­rienced and be­lieve can be “out­weighed” by pos­i­tive ex­pe­riences?