"Why don’t you just kill yourselves?"
Thus hangs the accusation upon the air again, that those who dare speak against the ultimate goodness of life be hypocrites for not committing suicide. You antinatalists, how dare you speak against conception, whilst loitering in the world you pretend to despise. Off with you then; to your guns, and nooses, and sleeping pills!
Aside from the fact that one can experience a personally satisfying life (at least, to some degree), while still recognizing the risks inherent in bringing new life onboard, is a potential suicide REALLY a hypocrite if he/she doesn’t actually go through with it? I’ve had several people comment on my generally negative attitude towards life in this vein..."Oh, you don’t really mean that. If you did, you’d kill yourself! You’re just...
2. Seeking attention
3. Being provocative
Are antinatalists, or anyone who’s just sort of down on life, arguing in bad faith, simply because they don’t take that final step and blow their brains out? I would counter with the argument that such an assertion is simplistic horseshit. It completely ignores the fact that the grand subtext behind the human condition is one of competing desires, duties, and fears.
I would now point you to one of the most famous soliloquies in all of English literature...
Hamlet 3/1- William Shakespeare
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
To summarize: Life sucks for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it sucks so much that it would be far better to be done with it, right here and now. HOWEVER (and here’s the rub), there might be consequences which are worse than the ‘cure’ (suicide was deemed a mortal sin by the Church of England, I believe...and certainly there are more than slight religious qualms about it up to this day). Thus our ‘cowardice’ (fear of divine punishment) stays our hand. Hamlet is in no way equivocating in his negative value judgement towards life; rather, he is weighing consequences, and THIS is my point...
A person can dislike his existence to varying degrees, including up to the point where he’d just as well end it all; and yet, he might choose to endure out of fear, like Hamlet. Or out of love for people who depend on him, or out of a sense of personal responsibility to his friends, his community...whatever. Or maybe he just can’t bring himself to commit a violent act, even against his own person (this would be very tough for me, I think). In short, there are a host of imaginable reasons why a person might not like life, and yet refuse to take that final step. I really don’t understand why I need to explain this, ONCE AGAIN, but it seems that some folks need everything spelled out for them. So, here it be.
And for you who absolutely LOVE life- as you savor every precious moment, affirming to yourselves that, for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows...can you at least pull your heads out of your asses (though I’m sure they smell sweet) long enough to acknowledge that misery exists, that it’s not always curable, or even mitigable, and that there’s no way to adequately predict who might come out on the short end of the existential stick? If you can’t, then you are intellectually impaired, empathetically numb, and absolutely no use to me at all...
Maybe you should consider suicide (just kidding...seriously suggesting such a thing, ESPECIALLY to someone who might be seriously depressed, would be cruelly reprobate of me...tut!)