War does not determine who is right - only who is left. (Bertrand Russell)
"In accordance with my conception of life, I have chosen not to bring children into the world. A coin is examined, and only after careful deliberation, given to a beggar, whereas a child is flung out into the cosmic brutality without hesitation." (Peter Wessel Zapffe)
"The idea of bringing someone into this world fills me with horror...May my flesh perish utterly! May I never transmit to anyone the boredom and ignominies of existence!" (Gustave Flaubert)
All right, this is going to be one somewhat pessimistic post (I mean, perhaps a bit more than usual and quite certainly not what the majority likes to focus their attention on). So consider yourself warned! Leave now if you're under 18, as they say on p0rn sites))) In my case, if you're under 18, leave now because there ain't gonna be any p;)rn here, so why waisting time?!
[A note to all parents: this post is not meant as a personal offence.]
It's only not too long ago that I've learnt about antinatalism. I don't think I'm the best person to try and explain what it is or isn't exactly, so for the definitions I'm advising you to go look elsewhere.
But one thing I have to state right away is that antinatalism isn't about ending existing life, it is only about preventing new life from being brought forth.
Here I'm only going to explain what are my reasons for supporting what is called a philanthropic or moral antinatalism.
Since this post turned out to be quite long, i'll just first state my views in a nutshell:
- Life is being forced onto people without their consent which makes it an imposition.
- Not harming others is more important than trying to produce benefits for them. (like in "Above All, Do No Harm")
- If you start life for someone and they enjoy it and benefit from it, you've possibly done some good to someone who never needed it and could do just fine without it.
- If you create a person and they suffer greately regretting being born, you've harmed someone who wouldn't have sufferred if it weren't for your decision to bring them to life.
Now I'd like to respond to some popular questions/objections:
Because if you have studied this world's history, its like a place where your kid is guaranteed to suffer in one way or another, and some peoples children fell victims to such atrocities, it is almost beyond belief.
And just to think that all these horrors could have been avoided if only people stopped passing this deadly disease forward.
If only. But Im not expecting this idea to gain many followers. Some won't even be able to comprehend it. And they will reproduce. And the show will have to go on.
"Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence?" (Arthur Schopenhauer)
Too many people live their lives without questioning popular, generally accepted values. Doing what everyone else is doing.
For too many people children is exactly what validates their whole existence. And too many can not imagine life built around anything else but kids. And in 99,9% of cases those have to be their own offsprings, not adopted. They will go thru unimaginable troubles to cure themselves from infertility. Just so a new unit can be created with their own dna. Which, of course, later will be called an almost devine call to 'give life' and 'devote oneself to another human being' and 'become responsible' and all sorts of nice labels.
"A man always has two reasons for doing anything - a good reason and the real reason." (John Pierpoint Morgan)
So a simple instinct to procreate, known to all living things, from insects to monkeys, in humans becomes not merely a subconcious drive, but an altruistic, noble act. The insanity sometimes continues further by stating that children are somehow indebted to their parents for being alive.
"I never thought I was doing anyone a favour by bringing children into the world. With people as cruel to each other as they are, it’s a terrible proposition. The best of lives are sad and tragic. The best of them. My general conclusion is that it’s not a nice thing to do. The world doesn’t need it. The kid doesn’t need it." (Woody Allen)
Yes, raising children is hard work, but they're not the ones asking to be born. Parents make that decision. The decision to give birth to a whole new living being without being able to guarantee them the quality of life.
A 'gift of life' always comes with a 'gift of death', the fear of which is probably the strongest and most crippling when realized by a human. With the infinite number of potential tragedies that can happen to a person. Parents are the ones endangering their children in the first place. They are the ones starting a game for them with no real certainty but death.
But what about the pleasures of life, some may ask. What about them? Joy, happiness, bliss, pleasure - these are the neccessary conditions without which life would have been utterly unbearable for everyone.
A lot of people make the argument that 'the great things in life make it worth experiencing some pain and risking to experience great suffering'.
That's a personal preference, and it deserves respect.
Same way that the opposite conclusion deserves - that life isn't worth experiencing and witnessing any pain, or risking the chance to experience a great suffering.
Problem is, we do not know what the preference of those we are going to initiate into existence would be and should that preference be one of not being born, we're forcing life on someone who didn't ask for it and will regret having it later.
I do think life sucks. Not that it doesn't have any great things to offer (to at least some of us). But there is an amount of suffering that I can't tolerate and I don't think that I should.
My good friend is quite a jolly person. You almost never see him sad. He told me he couldn't understand my 'better not to have been' position. 'I love life', he says, 'I hope I live long'.
But whenever he watches TV and comes accross a violent scene of one animal eating another alive, he quickly changes the channel: 'Oh, I can't watch this'.
Yes, life is only wonderful if you learn to 'quickly switch the channel'. This habit of diverting your attention from bad things and accentuating it on positive stuff can in a way make life seem rather awesome. It can also help you justify the necessity to have children: to share the great stuff! And the ugly stuff? Sweep it somewhere under the rug. Then teach your kids 'to change the channel'.
Btw, heres an idea of realistic toys for kids. Just to prepare them for what real world can be like:
(Toys by Patricia Waller)
Why is it always a smiling piggy or a teddy bear? Have you seen many smiling pigs around? Living in stuffed cages being fed hormones and shot antibiotics, then dragged into the slaughterhouses, trust me, not many pigs are smiling, stop misinforming your kids! You brought them into a wonderful world, right? Let them play with bears with bloody mouths, not with 'i love you' hearts on them.
I've noticed so many people doing that: blocking out the hurtful side of life. Hey, I once was engaging in a similar strategy myself. At first because I was taught to, and then because I wanted to maintain the joyful state myself.
Optimistic views on reality are simply coping mechanisms at work, they feel better and that's why we applaud their proliferation.
And I'm still all for treasuring the beautiful things of life, noticing minor pleasures, appreciating whatever is available to you. The only idea that I don't support anymore is concluding on behalf of another person that this world is a miraculous place, or that coming here for a few decades and dying is somehow better than never being alive at all.
I met this person not so long ago who was trying to convince me to try some extasy. I for various reasons do not want to take any drugs. I was trying to explain to the guy that I'm perfectly able to enjoy life to its fullest without this kind of stimulation. But he for some reason felt I needed to be persuaded into experiencing what he had tried: 'you don't know what you're missing'. Exactly! And that is precisely why its not missing in my life. I am not deprived of a pleasure that I don't know exists.
Same way unborn are not deprived of the joys of life. Your 19th kid is not deprived of anything by not existing, right? So your 1st wouldn't have been deprived either.
But we keep injecting more people with this drug that's addictive and that kills them eventually. All we're doing is injecting them with stuff they never needed before we actually gave them their first dose.
It's wrong enough when people impose life on others who never needed anything (by not existing), dragging them to this crazy party. But in cases like this one I'm almost left speechless by the selfishness and short-sitedness of the parents.
I'm also sympatetic to the mother for suffering from the condition. After all, all she wants is to be like the rest of women who view motherhood as their main role in life. But you'd think a mother would put her childrens' wellbeing above her own. Not really. Her need to be happy through having children of her own superceeds the harm she inflicts on them. And after giving birth to one child with her condition, she didn't stop. She gave this world another one. Who nedded it beside her and her husband?
I mean, the decision to have own children while being perfectly aware of the risk of passing on your condition is sooo extremely selfish, that I find it hard to condemn her for it. Why? Well because its almost like she's not just selfish - like all of us are to some degree - she's like clinically selfish. Its just wrong to judge sick people by the standards we apply to sane individuals. And I'm not being sarcastic. I feel bad for this woman. And her children. There's little probability they'll be able to ever meet someone who'll love them and create a family with them. It happenned to her, which is wonderful, but she just got lucky. Odds are very small the same fate awaits two of her children who inherited her condition.
But then, nothing makes her kids special. There are plenty of them around the globe going through hardships no adult should ever have faced. Dealing with their parents' "gift" to them.
I envision a good portion of comments to a post like this one would probably concentrate on the author, not the message: "you have probably been hurt a lot", "you just haven't yet experienced that marvellous transcending state of happiness". It'd be pointless to argue "yes i have - no you haven't".
This argument implies that no relatively well off individual - who isn't depressed themselves - would have been as sympathetic to those around them who are in severe pain as to support the antinatalist ideas. I understand this might be beyond some peoples comprehension, but that does not mean its impossible.
But even if we assume I have had a life that was full of pain and never got to experience happiness. What would that prove? That I'm biased? With lots of others whose lives turned out to be a heavy burden for them.
So are we saying that only content, happy persons' opinions should be taken into account? Aren't they biased in their own way? Just in the same manner, we could tell them "you're just optimistic because you got really lucky in life" or "you just haven't been through that excruciating torment".
If we were to discount some opinions based on how bad someone's life is, we would also need to disregard the testimony of those who have a good life. After all, it was never objectively demonstrated that this world is a wonderful place to be in. So generally positive opinions about it are at least just as biased as generally negative ones. Or just as valid - whichever you prefer.
"If you participate in life, you don’t see it clearly: you suffer from it too much or enjoy it too much." (Gustave Flaubert)
This argument in general seems to be an example of an ad-hominem attack. Usually, no matter how you respond to the accusations made in your address, the accuser will keep finding something wrong with you. If you say you've never had depression, they'll say that you're just an attention seeker, if you counter that, they'll point to the unsatisfactory conditions of your life, if you show how cosy the life you're leading is, they'll say you've got too much and thus lost the ability to appreciate simple things. And while you're trying to persuade the accuser you're normal enough, the discussion about the subject itself is terminated.
It's irrelevant to the point how I see this world. Or how you do. What matters is we do not know how those who will be born will see it. And all that antinatalism states in view of that is - since you don't know whether somebody else would have preferred to be born, you have no moral right to initiate them into existence. Same way you don't have a right to gamble with somebody else's money, or sign somebody up for a risky experiment.
Seems like people have a hard time imagining someone holding antinatalist beliefs and not being a malajusted, depressed and suicidal individual. If you're genuinely wondering - yes, it is possible to acknowledge the immorality of gambling with someone else's welfare while still being able to enjoy your own life. I personally have plenty of joys of life to choose from and do.
Btw, had you read my articles (they're in Russian) a couple of years ago, you'd almost see two different people. "How to be happy" couple of them were entitled. There I spoke of how important it was to notice and appreciate every little pleasure life has to offer and how people need to stop waiting for some events or persons to make them happy and start creating happiness with what they've got. Then, I also mentioned being true to oneself as a necessary component of harmony and happiness. Still stand by all those words. But!!
Those my recipes only work if you have a worldview that helps you to see this place as just and at least bearable. Or if you couldn't care less about anyone and anything else in this world apart from yourself and your loved ones.
For me it worked at that time perfectly great because I was deluding myself into thinking things aren't as bad as they seem. "There's some sense to human suffering, no one gets more pain than they can handle, when animals kill each other its always quick and almost painless" - soothing assumptions of this nature. And back then, I still haven't seen a few documentaries I've had the displeasure of watching later.
Yes, a cosy worldview can make all the difference. There are plenty of religious and spiritual teachings which attempt to explain suffering in this world. If you believe one of them - your life will be easier. But that has no bearing on whether the thing you believe is in fact true. (Remember being a kid: closing your eyes and thinking no one is able to see you? ;)))
"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." (George Bernard Shaw)
" Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable"
"I was with Billy Graham once, and he said that even if it turned out in the end that there is no god and the universe is empty, he would still have had a better life than me. I understand that. If you can delude yourself by believing that there is some kind of Santa Claus out there who is going to bail you out in the end, then it will help you get through. Even if you are proven wrong in the end, you would have had a better life." (Woody Allen)
Hey, I was even telling myself back then that 'noone really knows for sure what's this world is all about, so I'm gonna choose to believe the best about it'. So I did. But the reality was still posing more and more questions to me: 'how can this be justified', 'how could those tragedies take place'? At some point the worldview collapsed under the weight of more and more contradictory facts. I had to give up one day: such things could not have happened in a remotely nice world. There is pain and agony and not even children are protected from them. Pain is just pain, a desease is just a desease, poverty and hunger are just poverty and hunger - not some stupid tests, lessons or hidden letters of wisdom from gods. There's no point to misery. Some get less of it, some - more. And then everyone dies. The point? Everyone tries to create their own. That's partly why religion has been so powerful. People needed to make sense of all the shit that was going on. Seeing misfortunes and suffering as god's punishment still feels better than admitting no one knows why those happen. Hoping for a higher justice may be more tempting than assuming it may never be served and no reward is awaiting innocent victims and martyrs in heaven.
And even when you accept whatever fairy tale you choose as an indisputable truth, and it covers the question of human torment for you, there is still no explanation for animals' anguish. Are they being tested and prepared for animal version of heaven as well? ZooHeaven and ZooHell? Somehow I don't think so. Just pointless misery. No f-cking point whatsoever. If you see one - please enlighten me!
Btw, animals eating each other alive - if you haven't seen this, you probably do not imagine the horror. If you are able to look at it and keep saying, this world is wonderful, I guess you have a cosy low empathy level. Then to some extend I even envy you, lucky bastards, who only suffer when they themselves are in pain.
Not only do animals fight for territories and mating partners and kill and eat each other daily, because that's how they're wired, but also we've been using them throughout our whole bloody history. As food, as clothes, as moving vehicles, as violent entertainment... they've been abused by us constantly. Because we're smarter. We know how to trick them. We've got ammo. Are we morally superior though? Some of us, maybe... Reminds me of George Carlin :
"Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden? When did this happen, that we passed chickens in goodness? Name six ways that we're better than chickens. See, nobody can do it. You know why? Cause chickens are decent people."
Telling you, these freaking toreadors sticking sabers into bulls are no different to me than chicken. Noble men don't fight those weaker than themselves. Obviously, a man, even with a chicken-like brains plus a saber owepowers an animal. Especially an animal that has been 'prepared' (exhausted) before the fight. Duh. The 'hero' comes out to finish the job and in most cases he succeeds.
But what was the point of causing unnecessary pain to another living being capable of feeling it? They think its sexy? Freaking loosers, theres nothing more pathetic! You like fighting and looking cool - try boxing. Open a fight club. Or just get together and blow each others brains out for all I care.
Consenting dumb idiots killing each other for the sheer love of violence - promise you, I'm not gonna cry for that loss!
And to all those people who still attend corridas: you're disgusting as well, if it weren't for you, this thing would have been a thing of the past by now. Amazing, we still need to be signing petitions for that.
Some claim it is justified creating new people, even though we know some of those we create are doomed to suffer immensly. "But some of them will be happy" - they say. Why is preventing suffering more important than enabling potential happiness? Why are you antinatalists so obsessed with suffering? Why isn't it important to create new life so that more people can experience joy and happiness?
First and foremost, as I've already mentioned, I maintain that preventing harm to others is more important than possibly creating benefits for them. For any risky endeavors we normally ask person's consent. Impossible in case with kids. Therefore abstaining from taking action is the right thing to do.
Now to the second point. Let's presume only 20% get a really tough and miserable life and the rest are happy being alive.
Let's imagine for instance, that the world consists of just 10 people.
So out of 10 happy individuals 2 are extremely miserable. Now. Knowing that, is it right to keep such world going? If yes, why? To enable 8 guys to experience some happiness? All right, but what about the 2 in anguish and misery? Should we overlook that and concentrate on the positive side? Keep creating people, because the majority is all right and the minority doesn't matter? Does the larger amount of happiness negate the suffering of a few?
One could say it's nobody's fault those 2 are miserable, no one was trying to make them miserable intentionally, that's just how life is - unfair. Yes, but we are the ones who keep passing it on while being perfectly aware some of those we bring here will be hurt unbelievably badly. This makes us responsible. We make a choice on their behalf deciding that any kind of temporary existence is better than none.
It's not like someone is asking us to give up our own lives to save those 2 guys from their agony. Not creating new people is enough.
Masserman's empathy experiment comes to mind.
15 rhesus monkeys were trained to get food by pulling chains. Monkeys quickly learned that one chain delivered twice as much food than the other. But then the rules changed. If a monkey pulled the chain associated with the bigger reward, another “bystander” monkey received an electric shock.
After seeing their conspecific get a shock, 10 of the monkeys switched their preferences to the chain associated with the lesser food reward. Two other monkeys stopped pulling either chain—preferring to starve rather than see another monkey in pain (Masserman, 1964).
That's really what a lot of people are saying. So easy to diminish other peoples misfortunes.
Yes, a lot of us can overlook someone else's troubles. But how would we ourselves feel being that 'someone else'? How would we feel being someone in perpetual physical and/or emotional pain? Would we still say: 'Please, just overlook me! I'm just starving and dying slowly in anguish, but please don't let my cheerless existence upset you'?
A line from the song lyrics of a Russian rock band 'Aria' comes to mind: 'pain of the other person is cheap'.
Often I hear people say that they are glad their parents 'spoke on their behalf' when they couldn't and brought them into existence.
They may be glad now but they wouldn't be upset from not being born had they never came into existence. They may be happy being alive but they wouldn't have been miserable had they never been born.
It's not like a non-existent non-person is sitting there ... perhaps having whiskey and smoking
- hey, if non-alive can think(!) up there in nothingness, they might just have other attributes of lives, why not! -
in absolute non-existence ... and thinking to themselves 'gee, i wish someone would just bring me into existence, coz this non-existant state really sucks'?!
Is this how we are supposed to imagine non-born suffering from not having lives? Come on!
There's no one there to be having these thoughts, you can only do that after(!) you are born, and before - there is no one to regret their non-existence, no one to regret not eating a vanilla ice-cream or not experiencing the first love or not seeing a magnificent sunset, or not travelling the world, or not partying with friends... Noone to be deprived of any of the good stuff life has to offer. You can not loose anything when you do not exist. You simply can't. No harm can come your way. Because you do not exist. No good can either. But you aren't able to miss out on the good part. Because you do not exist.
That's what Benatar was writing about in his 'Better never to have been'.
I came to the similar conclusion myself at some point. But only as a personal decision to not have children. All I knew was I myself would have preferred to not exist, and that - at the very least - I wouldn't harm anyone by not having children, because unborn kids don't suffer.
Benatar went further to state that not only non-existence doesn't hurt, but that creating new life is always a harm, which is an important conclusion.
I've seen this logic critisized though, but for me the important thing remains that the unborns can not be deprived.
....and that's why we see lines of people wanting to catch a dangerous desease, ripped off by banks and thrown out of their homes, raped and tortured... Oh wait... we don't.
Even though 'pain is not that bad' we only have painkillers in pharmacies, not pleasure killers. No matter how you look at it, pain hurts, and what hurts feels bad, and we naturally want to stop that.
They say because some who face serious hardships come to the conclusion that they still value life and do not regret being alive, everyone whose existence is extraordinarily hard ought to come to the same conclusion.
Because some people born with disability manage to adapt to it and enjoy life, everyone with the similar challenge should also be all right. That's like saying because some people can live on 3 dollars a day and still go around singing and smiling, we should stop seeing poverty as a bad thing. If some can do it - everyone can, and should be willing to.
Disabilities, disease, poverty, starvation - everything becomes 'not really bad'. Just a matter of looking at it (especially if one looks from far).
Just the fact that there are people who are able to endure certain hardships doesn't prove that what they're going through is not a degrading, appalling or inhumane thing.
In the times of slavery some slaves were better adapted than others, some were willing to spend their whole life with what they've got, others were trying to rebel or get away, preferring the risk of getting killed to continuing their life in those conditions.
Slavery is condemned today, despite the fact that there were people willing to come to terms with their fate and adapt.
Just because people adapt to all sorts of challenges, does not give us the right to conclude that they should. Everyone is entitled to their own evaluation of which kind of life is worth living. There are people who don't want just any kind of life, and no one has the right to blame them for having high expectations. Some of us do not want to be like dogs who are happy with any little thing that they get thrown of a table.
Your uncle was able to live happily being a fat lonely partly-paralized mutant? Awesome! Kudos to your uncle, we applaud his adaptive skills, but forgive us for not finding his example particularly inspiring, some of us would not have been happy with that kind of life.
If you lock up a person in a cellar and keep raping them for years, some may even start enjoying their life. That doesn't make it all right to keep people hostage and rape them. Same way it's not all right to keep imposing life not being able to guarantee the quality of it because some of us adapt and start appreciating life in any shape or form.
How about existing people adapt to living without gambling with somebody elses lives? What, is it going to hurt them too much? But didn't you just say suffering wasn't all that bad and was merely a matter of looking at life? Try finding an angle at which the absense of biological children is not a bad thing.
Another popular 'argument' thrown to antinatalists.
First of all, how humanistic!
'What are u yappin' about? U sufferin'? Get a grip or go kill urself! Can't ya see we're trying to enjoy our lives here??'
Gee, thanks, why didn't I think of that?! That will surely solve all the problems. Or will it?
This completely leaves off the question of responsibility. People having to commit suicide - is them trying to fix the problem that was created for them by somebody else. And fine, presume they solve the problem. But why should the root cause of it be muted? It needs to at least be spelled out. They had to get rid of 'the gift' they never asked for in the first place, and it was not even an easy thing to do.
It's like one person waking up in the space ship and their friend says:
- Surprise!! Guess what? I bought us an exciting trip to Mars! We're now on our way and are going to arrive there in a couple of years! Isn't it great?!!
- Um.. not really. I'm actually claustrophobic and i have no interest in visiting Mars. How can I get back?
- You can't. We're coming back when the trip is over and if you don't like it you can go jump in the outer space.
Life is an imposition. Getting someone on a trip they may not like and then either offerring them medication from their lack of excitement with it or telling them to go jump of a cliff if they're so stupid and ungrateful is not all right. How about having a little responsibility for playing with somebody else's life?
Even most miserable individuals are afraid of death. We can't help it. This is how biological creatures are wired. That is why we can observe so many people going through inconceivable suffering and still not ending their own lives.
Not everyone who would prefer to stop living ends up killing themselves. Many are 'between the rock and a hard place' wishing they'd die in their sleep.
Ever wondered why not many people are able to commit suicide when they are living in horrific conditions? If suicide was easy, you'd be seeing it done in mass, every day. Evening news would end with daily suicide statistics: 'Today NNN number of people decided to end their lives. We thank them for being with us, and for those who are still watching - sports!'
Btw, worldwide, every 40 seconds someone kills themselves. And that is not including suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide. (source) And that's despite the fear of death and pain associated with dying. Add to that the cohort of people whose main reason for not killing themselves is a fear of an even bigger torment - in hell. Add to that those who feel obliged to keep living for the sake of their loved ones. Fair to assume the rates would have been much higher if suicide was as easy as blinking an eye and the family and friends wouldn't have been affected by such decision.
Because procreation is precisely what makes suffering possible, so to ask this question is to say 'why do you care if others suffer'.
Yes, I'll die and seemingly that should solve my problem, right? I'd be happy if it did! But my sense of who I am extends beyond my first and last name. I am a sentient being - that's my strongest identity. All the other definitions are secondary. Yes, I have a name, a gender, a nationality, a unique life history and experience and a cute birthmark on my breast, but all of that is coincidental. Had I been born in different circumstances, my personality and looks would have been different, but the core would have remained the same. Having once realized that, I suffer from that thing called 'empathy' and I do care what will be the fate of my fellow sentient beings. I wish someone cared enough before so I wouldn't have to exist today. But there weren't enough voices to make people think. So I am just doing what I wish others did for me. In the end, I'm doing it for myself.
My parents also decided for their children. And here I am being the result of that.
They also thought their children will like it here. They were wrong. You may be as well.
I'm not a property of my parents. Your children won't be your property either. Having children is not cloning yourself.
If the case was that parents who viewed life as worth living would only have children who automatically felt the same, Id say 'good bye, suckers! ))) u enjoy this game - u play it, and im outta here!' - and that'd be it. I'd be happy knowing at least the problem ends with me. But this is not the case. In reality, pronatalists keep bringing people like me into this world. And at the very least people should finally realize what they're doing. At the very least someday no one should be able to say 'I've never even heard of a stance that views procreation as an imposition'.
Most of us, when asked if poor, sick people who can barely survive themselves should be having children will say they shouldn't. Hardly anyone will applaud procreation when children are being born to famine-striken regions, for example. So in this case we are concerned for the well-being of the unborn children. We are concerned with harm that may be caused to those who do not yet exist should they be born.
And yet we hear critisizm of antinatalists for that same thing - caring about the potential harm to those who we all know will be born. In this case, somehow, it is nonsensical to be concerned with the interests of those who do not yet exist.
Some people also give examples of pregnant women smoking or doing drugs - if we shouldn't care for the interests of the unborn, we have no basis to condemn such behavior as well.
We do sometimes conclude that non-existence is preferable, when we see somebody in a terrible anguish. That's where the term 'mercy killing' comes from. So if in some cases we're justified in comparing existence to non-existence, then we must be in all cases.
Become an activist, donate money, do something to actually help instead of spreading pessimism and advocating unrealistic solutions.
I am donating money from time to time to charities. Hope you're doing it as well. But that is us trying to put a band-aid on a rotting wound. Though I am all for trying to do our best to help those who are already suffering, I don't see why I shouldn't condemn the action that leads to the continuation of this state.
Some say a better future awaits humanity, we just gotta wait.
First of all, that's just wishful thinking, no one knows if a better or an even grimmer future is over the hill. Someone's high hopes aren't a justification for exposing new sentient beings to suffering so that perhaps, someday, maybe not even in their lifetime, there will be heaven on Earth.
And then, even if in some centuries or even decades there will be heaven here, by the time this future comes some people would have suffered and died without ever seeing it. Why should their lives be used as means, as sacrifices to get others to a better future? How many lives are the acceptable collateral damage in this long-term experiment? How many decades or centuries should we wait before this heaven on earth happens?? What if it never happens? What if things actually get worse than they are now?..
Actually, theres no need to be 'eradicating' our lives, they end anyway without our help. The suggestion is to stop creating new lives.
Do you realize everybody who is on this planet today is going to die?
Personally, each and everyone of us is going to vanish.
The outcome of human extinction for you, for your children, or grandchildren, or me, or anyone else is going to be exactly the same as if life was to go on: all of us will die in any case.
So the objection is to what? Whose interests are you concerned with when you condemn the idea of a voluntary human extinction?
Or does it just sound scary because it reminds you of your own mortality?
Being not too prone to optimism, I'm inclined to agree with that. But why should it matter? To be able to speak my mind is important to me, I enjoy it, even if dozens of people do not start applauding.
Some try to point out to how unpopular antinatalism is in an attempt to negate its value. Popularity has little to nothing to do with the truthfullness of a claim.
"It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people." (Giordano Bruno)
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a wide-spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible" (Bertrand Russell)
And here is the quote that hopeful antinatalists may enjoy: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)
- I do not blame parents who had children having never heard any antinatalist arguments. In this breeding-obsessed world its hard to just wake up one morning and think 'oh wait...maybe theres no one there who needs life until it is started for them' ;) I was considering pregnancy myself at some point in life. However, people who have heard the arguments but refused them solely on emotional grounds in my eyes do not deserve much respect. And then there are those who are simply unable to understand. Well... yeah...those folks who're often the loudest)))
- I hate having to stress on the depressing aspects of life and pushing people out of their comfort zones, that's not what I do often, but it has to be done to make a case for antinatalism. Otherwise people keep clinging to the cliches of 'life is so wonderful' as a justification for imposing it on their children.
- I don't think people shouldn't enjoy life or pursue happiness in view of someone else's suffering. Not our fault the world is f*cked up. Trying one's best to enjoy one's own life is all right. Adding to the misery, by making new people, however, isn't.
- I realize some people do not imagine their lives without kids. They just don't know what to do in this world if they don't become parents. I still hope at least some of them will find the courage not to use other people as means to solve their own problems. Besides - so far - I don't think theres a shortage of orphans in need of parents. They already need stuff. The unborn - do not.
- Some people are harmed by being born. Nobody is being harmed by not being born. That does it for me. We could just save those some from pain while not depriving anyone of anything (because unborn can not be deprived).
... and finally, a couple of 'life sucks' jokes. Cheer up, guys - it's only life, it'll pass! ;) :)))))
Thanks for an encouraging comment, I wouldn't expect many of the kind to this particular post.
so I find this well written piece not pessimistic, but eloquently realistic.
thats what it is for me, but I was just making an introduction 'for the masses', from the point of view of the popular outlook on life.
With friends and family I do not bring this subject up myself, unless I'm asked about the related issues. For various reasons. I hate to be the one bringing 'bad news'. See people more or less functioning in their happy delusions and find myself not wanting to ruin it for them. With others I don't even see a point in starting the topic, they're too close-minded anyway. And then with a few I share my position openly. Yes, silence is a common reaction, but then you have to give people time to 'digest' this counterintuitive view and maybe someday they'll be able to acknowledge it is reasonable.
Here on my blog I feel more free to express my not too popular views because closing the browser window should be even easier than asking me to shut up)) And also because there are people out there who're disillusioned as well, and they, like everybody else, need to know they're not alone.
Novel, eh? I was just thinking why don't you start your own blog or smth, since you seem to be writing pretty fast (efficiency) and have things to say (content) ))
I think you gave up on your blog too fast. Not easy for a blog to become even somewhat popular, much less for a blog with 'non-tabloid' topics)) Factors that help are regular updates (at least a couple times a month), proper meta tags (seo), link building, including your blog address in a signature on forums, linking new blog posts from twitter...
With this blog I hardly spend any time promoting it, I have commercial projects to invest time into. Been writing diaries for many years while in school, and noone ever read them, but I still felt better
I love Voltaire. He was brilliant. I have a list of his quotes and I can't decide which is or are my favorites, they're so witty and spot on. How do you like: "Common sense is not so common"? The one you liked is from his "Candide: or, Optimism". Another line from there is "If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?"
Im not sure if people are better off or worse off having delusions. But its clear that as long as they're going to continue admiring the kings new dress, the'yre going to keep on breeding, coz why not have a baby if everythings all right here. Then at least some portion of people will suffer from the willful self-hypnosis of the majority, and thats what makes these delusions harmful. Why do those who do not want to wear rose-colored glasses all their lives have to be punished for seeking the truth while the majority prefers anything that feels nice?
"Im not sure if people are better off or worse off having delusions." You're the psychologist, but I think delusion is lying to oneself.
Sure, but many psychologists are also promoting coping mechanisms as a solution. Take Frankl's 'Man in search for meaning'. God, hidden sense beyond suffering, the ability to find meaning in concentration camps...
Positive thinking while helping some hurts the others. Those, for whom it doesn't work, are being blamed for not trying hard enough to find positive aspects where there aren't any, or where the negatives clearly outweigh the positives. Its the continuous rape of your own brain and that common sense thats not too common. If you havent yet heard Barbara Ehrenreich speaking on this particular subject you're gonna love it Smile or Die You can also find a longer version of that lecture on youtube.
They asked if he read it and he said no, that he was so hungry, he ate it. :D
Yeah, as they say here 'i smeh i greh' - which is 'both laughter and a sin' - a line that we say when we find funny something that we probably shouldn't be laughing at.
I saw my creativity often stolen or imitated, with others claiming my ideas as their own and making a profit off of it.
I believe you. People do that.
Btw, if you find it surprising to expect it from me personally
No, not really))
I have had more money in the past and bought nice things that sit in my flat, but they don't provide any joy any longer.
Thats why they release new versions of same gadgets regularly. Update your joy!
Like you said, there is always the reality of life other than your own.
Yes, and its funny how they say if you're feeling down, think of someone who has it worse. Ironically, thats exactly what upsets me in the first place! There are people who have it much worse than me, and I'm supposed to be happy about it?
Perhaps a humanitarian life is the most rewarding
I think humanitarian activities can increase one's satisfaction and fulfillment, I think there were even some studies showing this, but also, I suspect if you get involved in a direct way and head off to see those poor miserable people and witness their plight with your own eyes it, it may make you somewhat more miserable yourself. So wiring a sum of money might be better than volunteering to do some work yourself.
Talking about Gustave Flaubert, thats his advice on happiness: "To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost."
Tantric sex instructor, eh? Not bad))) Thatd be a job that could very well inspire you for a new novel.
When I was reading ur comment, I thought it was going to end with smth like 'but now I know better so I have family, kids and think we can beat every pain in our lives' :))) Glad it isn't that kind of comment.
You mention Holocaust, which of course was a gruesome crime, and we have another atrocity of massive proportions that happenned here, so we study it more thoroughly than all the others http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor
Parents eating their children to survive. Doesn't get much more horrific than that if you ask yourself what people are capable of.
Sorry about ur pains.
parents have children only for selfish reasons...do you share that belief?
You know that the answer to this question has no bearing on the antinatalism. Regardless of the motives, the consequences are the same, and it is still wrong to enable the possibility of sufferring.
Can you think of one non-selfish reason?
I guess smth like 'I want to love my kid and care for it and give it a better life than I had' would probably sound selfless to many people. But it's only if you do not pay attention to the 'I want' in the beginning. Whenever you are seeking a satisfaction of your own desire, you're acting selfishly.
Does not love play any role in the decision to have children?
Love for whom? An abstract unborn person? Can you really love or hate them? ;)
Thanks for reminding me of the comments notification, Ill be fixing it today.
thanks for the comment! I'm sure I've seen your blog before, will come to visit sometime :)
well, strictly speaking, antinatalism isn't even a philosophy. Just like atheism isn't. Both are only positions on a single issue. Antinatalism - on a birth issue, atheism - on the god(s) issue.
People who support those positions may have their own philosophies - we all sort of do have our own life philosophies.
I don't think you need to think hard why you don't want children. On the contrary, when I'm asked why don't I want kids, I'm asking them back why they think anyone should. The burden of explaining is on those who choose to involve other people in this game without their consent, not on those who abstain from procreation. Can does not equal should.