Antinatalism is the philosophical position that having children is unethical for various reasons, such as:
-Children are not given a choice in being born.
-There is no guarantee of how ones life will play out. Even if a parent intends for their child to live a good life, there is always the chance that this wont happen, even if they have lots of resources available.
-If someone does not want to live and wants to commit suicide, it is often hard to do so in a painless and dignified manner. Also, to get to that point they will have to experience significant suffering.
-The value of suffering is greater than the value of happiness.
-Happiness only has value in that it prevents suffering in people who already exist. If no one existed, the lack of happiness is not a bad thing. On the other hand, lack of suffering is always a good, even if no one exists. (this is called the asymmetry argument, I will explain it more below)
-Life has no intrinsic purpose (some may also say that any perception of subjective purpose is a delusion). It is therefore a pointless waste of suffering to continue it.
-People often overestimate the amount of happiness and/or positive value in their lives.
-More practical concerns such as overpopulation and individual happiness.
(keep in mind that not all anti-natalists believe in all of these ideas)
There have been many prominent antinatalists throughout history, such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Thomas Ligotti, Peter Zapffe, David Benatar, and Gary Mosher (also known as inmendham on youtube).
More recently, David Benatar has argued from the premise that the infliction of harm is morally wrong and to be avoided. He argues that the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person, and therefore there is a moral imperative not to procreate. His argument is based on the following premises:
(1) The presence of pain is bad. (2) The presence of pleasure is good. (3) The absence of pain is good, even if that good is not enjoyed by anyone. (4) The absence of pleasure is not bad unless there is somebody for whom this absence is a deprivation.
If someone exists, there is the presence of pain and the presence of pleasure. If no one exists, nothing bad happens and pain is avoided. They miss out on pleasure, but it seems 'ignorance is bliss' with the nonexistent. For Benatar, “any suffering at all would be sufficient to make coming into existence a harm”. The harm that coming into existence creates is avoidable and pointless. According to Benatar, it is always good to avoid harm whenever possible and therefore it is always good not to come into existence.
According to Jimmy Alfonso Licon, procreation is only morally justified if there is some method for acquiring informed consent from a non-existent person, and due to the impossibility of this, procreation is therefore immoral.
Arthur Schopenhauer argued that the value of life is ultimately negative because any positive experiences will always be outweighed by suffering which is a more powerful feeling.
"Whoever wants summarily to test the assertion that the pleasure in the world outweighs the pain, or at any rate that the two balance each other, should compare the feelings of an animal that is devouring another with those of that other"
Schopenhauer thought that the most reasonable position to take was not to bring children into the world:
"If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence, or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?"
Norwegian philosopher, Peter Wessel Zapffe remarked that children are brought into the world without consent or forethought:
"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."
>>584222595 I feel birth and life should continue on for reasons of curiosity to those already living, regardless of the children having no decision in wanting to be born or not. And issues with population and such should be better combated than they are now.
>>584224082 Humanity could possibly take us to a place where there is no suffering for the human race. It would have to be a utopian society, of course.
Though, it is true that it wouldn't be guaranteed, but the chance of life for all with no suffering could be worth the risk. It would all be for subjective purpose, though, as is similar with religion: promises of eternal happiness and life on some other plane.
Overall, I'm somewhat on the fence, as both situations sound promising, though not existing is a guarantee for no suffering.
>>584225919 It wouldn't be too difficult. The judgment could probably be made simply based on information about the person that is already available, like credit rating, criminal record, unpaid debts, that sort of thing. Every person should have to obtain a license to breed. It may sound harsh but it would solve oh so many of the world's problems.
Every great empire in the history of the world has one thing in common. Overpopulation followed by economic collapse. Utopia is not achievable or sustainable in the long run due to the ever changing opinion of people. Only leaders operating under Machiavellian principles could even create the illusion of utopia. Even then this is just cutthroat cover-ups hiding the dystopia behind the political stage.
>>584227175 Not really, there are more factors that should be considered besides money to determine who should be allowed to breed. But for instance, someone who is on welfare would automatically be disqualified.
I don't think there's any such thing as a utopia. While we generally strive for all the positive and pleasant emotions and states of being in being alive, ultimately I'm more inclined to think that we're defined by our misery. I don't think it's truly possible to know true happiness if you don't understand what it is to hit rock bottom.
>>584227692 I know it may sound absurd, but in the next say couple hundred years or so, the world is going to WISH we had imposed restrictions on breeding when everyone on the planet is living in third world conditions,
>>584227893 It's a touchy subject. While I agree that there are a whole lot of people who are unfit to breed for more than one reason, the problem is that it's a basic human function, and thus a basic human right. you could try impose that sort of rule but you'd always be called a fascist by tumblr feminists.
The sustainability problem is already evident. The natives on reserves already live in third world conditions & are one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S. & Canada despite being borderline unable to support themselves in the face of the lingering colonialism problems. I'm on board with you so long as were solely preventing breeding in those who simply should not be permitted or are unable to efficiently deal with the consequence of offspring.
>>584228976 Yes I agree, as a Canadian who has lived near indian reservations my whole life, I know first hand that those people are incapable of even taking care of themselves, let alone their children. I read a study about how in 2005, 77% of all children that were taken out of their homes by social services were indians. That's pretty massive considering they are only 3% of the population. And they're left to breed more and more bastard children that become that taxpayers responsibility. And somehow I'm an asshole for thinking this shouldn't be allowed to continue.
I'd say necessity would only replace moral obligations when desperation is at play. People will always be swayed by the fickle and shortsighted because people these days are too weak to lose any of their modern comfort for the sake of a greater good. The only way that true change occurs is when we have no other choice.
>>584222595 >>584222774 Fascinating stuff, OP. I'd never heard of those philosophers, or heard anti-natalist arguments explained so clearly. I particularly like the Benatar argument, and Licon's impossible consent thing.
>Every great empire in the history of the world has one thing in common. Overpopulation followed by economic collapse.
What the fuck, that is ostensibly not true.
Medieval and Ancient Empires were not overpopulated. The Roman Empire's problem was that it was hyper-militarised, and people stopped wanting to serve in the military, so they ran away from the cities to avoid being levied for military service. That meant the ruling class had to hire tribes from outside the Empire to fight for them, and then these mercenaries slowly gained more political and economic influence within it.
There are plenty of great Empires that didn't even last long enough to get overpopulated and experience economic collapse, such as the Gaznevid empire, which was taken over by the Seljuqs. The problem there was Decentralisation, not economic collapse or overpopulation. In fact, this was the main problem with most Medieval Empires, where economic relations were determined by land ownership. The Seljuq Empire fell apart (disbanded, not collapsed), because the ruling class got more and more influence on their land holdings (Iqta'), and then created separate governments.
In the Abbasid Caliphate, political power moved from the West to the East, where all the warriors fighting on the frontiers of the Dar al Islam were, so that's where the wealth and the military was. That was why Umayyad rule collapsed. And then the Abbasids were decentralised themselves, because local governors had too much power.
A region your theory can apply to is China (and Russia), because China really did have a problem with overpopulation happening in cycles. A new dynasty arrives, everyone gets land, then the population grows, then there isn't enough land, then the Empire collapses and there's a huge war, and when enough people die, a new dynasty unites the country. But the problem with that is that China never really collapsed (due to systemic crisis), it was all just regular structural crises.
>>584230000 If youre interested, there an antinatalist "philosopher"/advocate on youtube (his channel is inmendham) who has a debate/chat thing on tinychat every saturday night at 12AM. Antinatalism is usually brought up
>>584229458 The majority opinion still think that the problems created by isolating a minority from the gen-pop can be dealt with in the long term through social programs & mental rehabilitation. This is simply a mistake that the growing minority will define. Speaking as a first nations person myself, I must say you are not an asshole. You are ahead of your time.
The problem was created before people had any understanding that these people might benefit from marginalization & conformity. "Let them be" is not the way to deal with a lack of modern sophistication. Hitler knew this.
This "anti-natalist" position is predicated on several other philosophical ideas, which themselves are not self-evident or proved.
First of all, it disregards the fatalist position that people are fated to be born and to die at a certain time, so whether the parents decide to have children or not is already pre-determined.
>-There is no guarantee of how ones life will play out. Isn't that what makes life interesting and worth living? If I was born to a poor family, and that guaranteed that I would always stay poor because of that, would there be any point in trying? On the contrary, it's great that even if I'm born poor, there is always a chance that I will achieve something better.
>The value of suffering is greater than the value of happiness.
Who the hell decides this? Whether you experience happiness or suffering is entirely contingent on your perception and your self-control. The fact that there are people who by all practical concerns should be immensely happy and yet are not, shows that suffering and happiness are not contingent on the way one's material life goes.
>Children are not given a choice in being born.
Consent is not required of someone who does not exist, because the non-existent person will not be affected in any way by my decision. The person who will be affected is the existent person, who will only appear long after my decision has been made.
>-If someone does not want to live and wants to commit suicide, it is often hard to do so in a painless and dignified manner
if you get to that point, and you still care about whether how you kill yourself is going to be "painless and dignified", then you are a fucking attention-whore and bullshitter.
Jesus, there are so many things wrong with this position, it's hard to stuff them all in one post.
first, let me introduce myself: im german, 26 and i read schopenhauer, nietzsche and all that shit before i was 17 and. not in school, but in my free time i soaked it up, having noone else to lead me on. i will give you the short story now:
no compromises, being an asshole, seeing everything negative like schopenhauer(not a fucking emo though i hate that cunts) and i seldom saw anything that gave me joy, because everything remembered me how people are. i love humanity, but i hate people.
so the end of the line was the depression. i had nothing to live for and was close to suicide. so i decided to change. i wanted to see the good side of life, quit studying and began to work. things were getting better.
getting to the point: if you see only the shit and the suffering in everything, you will suffer yourself. ignore assholes, negative and cynic people, ignore the fucking suffering peolpe around the world (they brought that shit on themselves. have you ever been to africa? god they are so lazy). do something nice for your friends and community and enjoy life. the end.
also dont get a job, but rather start your own company asap. invest in stocks for the long term. good luck.
>>584230531Well not all civilisations collapse due to over population but some do. A clear example of this is the early Mayan empire in central America. A city like Tikhal was not able to support itself anymore due to it's enormous size. This created an exodus and a site full of ruins that is a large as a metropol city. Over population can be a factor but it's not always the case. In current times we can actually see the treshold level in regions like Honshu island were over 100 million people are dependant on foreign fossil feuls, uranium and agriculture. Even if a society is very high tech there is only so much it can support. Please read mein kampf, Hitler was wrong about many things but one thing we was right about was famine, why it starts and 4 strategies to solve the problem.
>>584227695 >>584226998 >>584225919 you all are idiots. if we continue human race how do we know that we won't achieve a matrix state. that would be our dystopia. a dystopia is better than not having one because at least we had a utopia to begin with.
>>584231760 >Isn't that what makes life interesting and worth living?
The point is that the parents intentions dont mean much. Life is a gamble, and if you lose the gamble I dont you think you would be calling it interesting
>Whether you experience happiness or suffering is entirely contingent on your perception and your self-control
I would argue that its at least somewhat dependent on your genetics, i.e. people who are depressive. I also think that there is some level of objectivity to this, we can discuss it and reach somewhat objective agreements on what a life worth living is. I would say its universal that no one wants to live a life where they get just their guts ripped out for hours and then die, for example
>Who the hell decides this?
The parents make the decision, so its up to them to prove why they are correct
>Consent is not required of someone who does not exist
I dont think you can sidestep this. Just because consent isnt possible doesnt mean that the lack of it is not a moral issue. Future generations cant consent to us giving them a polluted world, but we obviously recognize that its an issue
>then you are a fucking attention-whore and bullshitter.
Thats not very empathetic. suicidal people go through a lot of pain, they shouldnt have to go through more. And I dont think many people want to leave behind a mangled corpse with its head blown off.
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