Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ending Suffering One Snip at a Time

CNN reports that, in the face of our deepening economic crisis, more men are deciding to have vasectomies....

"They realize they don't have the financial security long-term with what's going on," Jones said. "Several of them have mentioned, 'We can't afford to have any more children in this economy.' My perception is that it's more of the concept of raising children in an uncertain economic future."

This should come as welcome news to antinatalists on two fronts. Of course, the obvious and immediate benefit is that for each man sterilized, the gross number of lives being dragged into this suffering existence goes down; that is, unless other poor, misguided souls take it upon their shoulders to take up the slack.

But what REALLY encourages me is that this news flies in the face of those who would make the 'hard-wired-to-breed' argument the be-all and end-all demurrer of the debate. Evidence like this proves that human beings, at least partly rational some of the time, are able to override visceral yearnings and aspirations with an eye towards the bigger picture. Unfortunately, for many people the nimbus of empathetic concern rarely encompasses more than direct descendants, and maybe a few others. At least, that's the case when it comes to deferring or denying the wants of the self. So the perceived danger has to be of the immediate sort, such as a threat to one's future prospects. In this case, it's a loss of 'faith' in the economy.

All this may, of course, be over-spoken, not to mention temporary. Still, there are other promising signs that some societies are slowly finding their way onto the long-term consequentialist bandwagon. In both Europe and Japan, the birth dearth trend seems to be holding steady, even in the face of government intervention. Russian and Eastern Europeans have seen dramatic downturns in population replenishment, which is scaring the hell out of all those who only seem to recognize progress in terms of growth, growth, GROWTH!

It's all about the consequences, people. We're generally pretty good about accepting and dealing with those consequences when it comes to day-by-day activity. But when it comes down to issues like our own mortality, the facts become just too hard to face, so we construct fantasy worlds to hide our rationality away in. We begin to have 'faith' in things. In gods who promise to put all into an understandable context...SOME day. In our fellow man...you know, the ones we see killing each other every day on the news. In our governments...um, the ones we're always bitching about. And of course, we must have faith in our economies, because THAT'S where the money is!

Only, gods don't exist, many of our fellow men would stab us to steal our shoes, our governments are made at least partly of such men (and women too...sorry to forget you, ladies), and economies; well, you've seen the news. And a little well-placed truth, especially when it hits close to home, sometimes opens eyes to the real state of affairs here in good ol' Mortalsville, population...well, it varies, but the graveyard keeps growing and growing and growing and growing and growing and..............................................................................

3 comments:

timcooijmans said...

Excellent post. Excellent. And good news, too. As the article points out, these people have probably been on the fence for a long time. Let's hope more people come out of the closet.

your host said...

Thanks, Tim. I DO believe there's this sort of huge, but for the most part unrecognized, undertow of antinatalist energies working out there in the world. After all, the basic premise of many religions is that there's something fundamentally wrong with existence. THIS is the one true insight of religion. Unfortunately, it then goes on to fantasize escape scenarios, and the underlying point of enlightenment gets lost in wish thinking. But modern man is beginning to lose faith in those constructs, though admittedly there's an awful lot of other pre-conditioning to work through.

Keep spreading the word!

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea (which I think has been mooted before, perhaps in jest): we set up an Antinatalist charitable foundation, to which all interested parties may contribute funds. Affiliated to this would be a Jim Crawford antinatalist/sterilization clinic, where we pay anyone (between the ages of 18 and 40) who walks in some cash to be sterilized, on a sliding scale depending on how old they are (they younger they are, the more they get paid). I'm sure this could work if proper procedures are in place.