Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed!

You can now officially order 'Confessions of an Antinatalist' from Nine-Banded Books. Thanks so much to all those involved, especially to Chip who got the whole ball rolling in the first place. I did my best to make it accessible and conversational, since the last thing I want to hear from critics is "I only read the first couple of chapters, and didn't really bother trying to understand what I was reading, but from the few sentences I remember, it really stinks!", which pretty much sums up many of Professor Benatar's reviews. As a matter of fact, in his case many 'readers' never actually got beyond the title. Ugh!

Anyway, thanks in advance to each of you who reads the thing. Looking forward to your thoughts. After I finish writing some overdue reviews, I might get started on a new project, something that's rolling around in my head and that is related to the subject of this blog. I'll also try and get something else up on YouTube soon. Maybe I'll do a few selected reading from the book. But for now, real life intrudes (daddy stuff). Take care, one and all. And remember...don't procreate.

34 comments:

Garrett said...

I'm glad to hear that you came to the decision that you did before having more children, Jim. We all know such things cannot be undone. In fact, people tend to exacerbate the problem because now the new offspring are cursed with that drive for prolonging "life". An endless circle of death and I don't know why anyone would think they are doing someone a favor by creating them from nothing. But I've always liked to think that forgiveness is a given. All that's required is sincere remorse. I was raised with fundamentalist Christian parents so I know (all too well) the challenges that an antinatalist must overcome. Add to that the fact that I'm a gun owning, Libertarian vegan - I pretty much isolate myself from every human on this wretched little planet. I don't consider myself depressed or pessemistic despite it all. Just a realist. It's sad that compassion and empathy are viewed as weakness or hate in this world. I feel sorry for the mass of the human race. Not to mention the other sentient races that are clashing all over the planet. They often seem like empty, mindless shells. However, they bring it upon themselves. I imagine that you feel similarly.

Even lacking the upbringing within organized religion, few can escape the genetic and memetic pull of atavistic desire. I am in awe of anyone that has the strength to break away... I truely am.

Don't stop sending your message out. It doesn't fall on deaf ears. Of course it's going completely against the ego driven nature of humanity... but then, most things that can be considered "good" will do just that.

I'm trusting that your feelings transcribed into written word are the truth. I would hate to contribute to someone's pocketbook should they only be attempting to corner a niche in philosophy while being exactly what they claim to abhor... What am I saying? How could anyone get rich quick in a dead end movement like this?!

Your writing strikes me as thoughtful, sincere, and articulate. I first discovered your work on YouTube and I've been following ever since. I've decided to order your book too. Doing what I can to help contribute to your life lie ;)


-long time blog lurker,
Garrett T.

metamorphhh said...

Garrett,

First off, let me assure you that my efforts here are sincere. Funny, I just got off the phone with my older daughter; she's very excited, and just added a blurb for my book on her facebook page. How strange is that? LOL! But I love her deeply, and though I'm sure it's hard for most people to understand, my antinatalist efforts flow from the understanding I've gained via the love I feel for my children. Or perhaps from the guilt I feel stemming from the knowledge of what I've done to them by bringing them into existence. I have to live with that guilt every day of my life, and believe me, it isn't easy. It's no wonder that most folks are reticent to look into the face of that particular beast. But the truth must be told.

Thanks for buying the book. It's part memoir, and you may be surprised to learn about my own background in fundamentalist Christianity.

Speaking of YouTube, I might get some excerpts up soon.

Take it easy, Garrett, and thanks so much for the input. Now, if you'll just commit to, say, 50,000 copies give or take, maybe I can leave my short order cook job, and take the message on the road :)

Anonymous said...

Great News!

I pre-ordered the book from Amazon on 4-16-10. My "delivery estimate" is 5/27-6/1. Do you know if I might receive it earlier? Thanks!

Chip said...

Anon,

I just filled Amazon's stock order, so you should receive it earlier. Thanks.

Garrett said...

Thanks for the assurance bud. I'll take your word for it. You've got to be kidding! That's fantastic! How old is your daughter?

I think I understand what you mean. I've had similar experiences myself. I won't claim to entirely get where you're coming from though. Out of respect and because we're all individuals; not a collective. The writing off of the individual experience is my largest peeve. Surely yourself and others who follow along here are in the same boat. It hurts to let go of an old way of thinking. Almost like (please excuse the crude analogy) cutting off a limb, I imagine... you need time to mourn it, but you can move on.

I tend not to argue for or against the intrinsic value in bettering oneself. Largely due to the fact that it may be mere perception. Although, for me, personal betterment in the realms of respecting life; improving my lifestyle all the while, NOT trampling the will of others is of utmost importance to me. Just as well, I won't argue about the existence of a god/gods. I won't rule out the possibility because a) I see evidence all around me for potential malicious and childish deities. b) I have a personal bias that leads me to desire the existence of a single benevolent deity. It's humanity that seems the likely agitator (for some, out of ignorance; for others... it seems more complicated) in the scheme of things. Having said that, my agnosticism may be largely due to the intricacies of the mind, tendency toward flights of fancy, and past creative contrusts of others that I have yet to shed. I look forward to reading your take on organized religion. Mainly, your personal experience with Christianity.

Nah, You don't wanna do that! If you think the careless (construst defensive) mantra of "Why don't you just kill yourself, then? Why don't you just kill yourself? Huh? HUH?! WHY NOT?!" was irksome within the digital realm... it'll drive you out of your freaking mind on the book tour! I think you could totally handle it :) Trust me, if I could afford that many copies then I'd probably (I'll reserve judgement for after I've read it) buy 'em. Futility notwithstanding, I'd be obliged to pass them out or leave them in strategic places. Minds can't grow until the seeds are sown! Then again, perhaps our energies would be more usefully projected elsewhere. Say, in the research for building some kind of mass infertility device. ;)

If you think that sounds hypocritical... hey, What can I say! I believe in individuals rights to make choices for themselves, but not to make those choices for others in the form of procreation.

Best wishes

Chip said...

Garrett,

Nothing to add, but I wanted to recommend that you check out Alan Dawrst's writings at Utilitarian Essays (see Jim's blogroll) where many of your points are probed in mindreeling quantitative terms.

Just a tip from one meat-shunning Second Amendment libernerd to another.

Garrett said...

Thanks, Chip! I'll have a look. There's so much more content relating to the subject than I ever imagined.

So you created the Hoover Hog, huh? I've snooped around there and I must say you've got some great content and links. I read your pop tart rant and almost died laughing when I got to the last line.


It's great to be libernerd :P

R.T Melo said...

Hello Jim, and Garret, and all of you.

Jim congratulations on your book.

I´d like to say that I´m very grateful to know different and special human beings like everyone here.

I´m Brazilian, and I´m starting a website to talk about antinatalism too, mostly translating and accumlating texts on it from all around the WWW. Of course I´m interested in translating some of your material of the blogs, and I´m already asking you about letting me do so. Of course, credits are on the text´s authors.

As for Garret, nice history man.

So good to see I´m not the only person encapsulated in my own history of personal angst and fight.

Uhm.. thanks

R.T Melo said...

"Doing what I can to help contribute to your life lie ;)"

What does that means?

metamorphhh said...

R.T. Melo:

Welcome aboard! I'll be looking forward to reading your blog (via translator, I'm afraid). Here's a link to the post Garrett might be referring to regarding the 'life lie'...

http://antinatalism.blogspot.com/2008/03/life-lie.html

Thanks much for your interest.

Anonymous said...

Jim, congrats on finishing the book! I'll buy a copy if you quit smoking (for good). Deal? I want to add it to my summer reading pile, so don't let me down. When I'm done, I fully plan to plant it somewhere strategic.
Best,
an antinatalist femme fatale extraordinaire... yes, we exist (and a longtime fan)

metamorphhh said...

Anonymous:

I've quit for the most part, though I occasionally bum one from somebody at work. Does that count? :)

I recently came across the charge that all antinatalists are men, suggesting an anti-feminist agenda on the part of all us big, bad males. Thanks for helping put the kibosh on that particular theory.

I'm getting a little nervous these days, because I know I'll soon be facing what I expect to be some pretty hostile reviews. I mean, look what they did to Benatar, and he's an actual WRITER! LOL! Additionally, I included some of my personal foibles, as well as a frank opinion or two that will certainly be construed negatively by some of those in the ranks of the pc brigade. So be it, I suppose. It was the way my publisher wanted to go with it; but, more importantly, I find communicating at an emotional distance...erm...difficult. Fodder for less than substantive critiquing, I guess. Then again, I'm getting used to it (and secretly chuckling to myself 'cause that's all they've got).

Anyway, glad to know you're out there. Take care.

CM said...

Jim, I got your book today from Chip (I have to say, the delivery was pretty fast - thanks, Chip), and I'm down to Escape Strategies. So far it is amazing! I could relate to so much from your life experience, like joining a fundie cult in order to make sense of our nonsensical existence, and some other things, as well - but I don't want to spoil it for the others. And, of course, the general philosophy is, as always, sound and irrefutable, but that goes without saying.

And I love the poetic interludes, especially the one about Ouroboros. I think you have a great talent for writing, and could probably make quite a bit of cash if you sold out and wrote about some shit the general public wants to see more of, like, I don't know, vampires or breeding (or breeding vampires). But, of course, I hope you won't.

My only complaint is that the book is going to end too soon as I will probably finish it tomorrow. A sequel, perhaps?;)

CM said...

As for negative reviews and general ridicule that await you: I believe that the cliche about negative publicity being better than none has never been so applicable. I found out about Better Never to Have Been because my husband wanted to show me a list of books that were on the shortlist for the Diagram prize (for the oddest book title) which some magazine gives out every year (surprisingly enough, Benatar didn't win).

It was posted on one of those time-killing websites like Cracked or Listverse. And there it was, among titles like The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification and Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium. And when I saw it, I immediately realized its meaning and that it was right (I read the book soon after that to be sure), and had to wonder why it took me so long to realize something so painstakingly obvious (interestingly enough, my lady parts did not prevent me from that simple realization, either). Just exposing people to an idea that has never occurred to them is likely to work in at least a few cases.

metamorphhh said...

CM:

Thank you oh-so-much for the feedback. I'm very glad to hear that the material is relatable; sometimes I worry that I'm too much the square peg to get my message across. My goal has always been to connect with what I believe to be that universal trait of empathy residing within the human species.

A sequel? Well, I've got some things rolling around in my mind, but they keep changing. I'm often tempted to go write down the old cult stuff before the brain rot sets in. I actually have years worth of diaries given to me by one of the other members almost 30 years ago now, buried somewhere out in the garage if the weevils haven't gotten to them. But to tell you the truth, this subject is a lot more important to me, and I'd like to keep expanding on it as I continue to pursue all the angles. We'll see, I guess.

Thanks for reading my book, and for the generous critique. I read it late last night, and you really brightened my mood. Take care.

Garrett said...

R.T Melo:

I too, feel a sense of kinship with people like yourself. Despite the fact that we've never met and probably never will. Although I much prefer the company of big cats (they too, should not be born), but thats a story and subject best left to my own blog. I'm sorry if I'm bogarting yours Jim ;)

There's a strange comfort in knowing that you're not utterly alone in your suffering. The old addage, "Misery loves company." most definitly rings true in this case. Keep in mind it's my sincere wish that neither you, nor anything else was suffering right now. Although, I believe it works within the realm of a deeper context. We are not testing one another to see if the other party will back up our illusionary pipe dreams through accolades and pats on the back. The philosopher's pursuit is one of knowledge and truth. Whatever that truth may be even if it is the most horrifying, spirit breaking, "shake you to your very core" kind of truth because, well in this case, the truth actually can set you free. More importantly, it spares others a great and needless burden. If that isn't love, then I truly don't know what is. If someone wants to snap back with the predictable "God is love" quote then by all means, do so :) I suppose we'll see in the end... or not. Why else would the (very much HUMAN, I might add) scribes of the old testament of the Bible place so much emphasis on the pain that is induced by a rising level of awareness? Remember the apple, tree of KNOWLEDGE (knowledge of what exactly?), and the serpent (poor snakes get such a bad rap)? Care to check the timeline of Adam and Eve being removed from the Garden of Eden? You'd do well to note that there is NO mention of sex and procreation until AFTER the exile (FYI this is not an endorsement of Christianity. Just a bit of mind candy). Yet there don't seem to be many Christians who will touch that subject with a nun's yardstick. What of the noble truths surrounding Bhuddism? It comes down to this: All who think like we do are pursuers of hedonism (in the purest sense of that word, not promoting happiness at other's expense) as opposed to sadomasochism. To quote Ferris Bueller "Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in the Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there." For the record, I'm not a fan of Lennon. I happen to think that "making love" is equivalent to waging war. Amsterdam sleep ins... damn dirty hippies.

Garrett said...

Essentially, I think life is equal to the Christian concept of Hell. In as much as we are separated from whatever we view as God. For a truly indeterminate length of time as well. We must watch all we know and care about as it breaks down. If the universe continually contracts and expands as more theoretical astrophysicists seem to believe it does, then we are in for one helluva long and painful ride(Does that comfort you? 'Cause it doesn't do it for me, and it doesn't bode well for suicide either. Like Jim, I feel hope is an enemy. Same goes for nerdy transhumanists. Stephen Hawking comes to mind. For if humanity finds a way to colonize alien planets or deflect an oncoming asteroid... I'm liable to go batshit crazy). That is of course, unless there is a vast and all encompassing awakening of the sentient psyche. One that spreads to all living things like a wildfire. Now here's something that should comfort you, regardless of your religious affiliation (or lack thereof): You need only refrain from reproducing in order to begin healing these wounds. By all means people, please adopt if you desire companionship! Save a child from aids and starvation in Africa (lovingly teach them of the negativity of breeding) if you must, but why not look closer to home as well? Or take care of a non-human animal if you can give them a better life (without trapping yourself or allowing them to breed of course). One thing I can promise is this: When you have to say goodbye to them, it hurts. A lot. Particularly if you end up having to make a decision regarding the end of life. It doesn't matter whether the "child" is human or otherwise. The pain of loss is palpable to anyone who experiences it. Kind of makes you ponder. Why was I put in a position to have to make such a decision?! However, I think truthseekers are better equipped to handle that loss. I've said it before and I'll say it again; ANYTHING can be forgiven. Remorse is a feeling; not simply a word. Here's the rub: you cannot throw someone in a cage and beat them whenever you feel like it, then come back sometime later, in tears of remorse, and beg their forgiveness. It may work once, twice, three times but eventually you will reveal yourself as what you truly are.

Thanks man, I appreciate it. I really do. You have my permission to quote whatever you want from me. I don't feel I'm completely unique in my experience and I'm certainly not stuck up or lawsuit happy (maybe I would be if I had more money). King Solomon supposedly said, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." I don't think he was being very original ;)

Jim nailed it! That was the life lie reference.

For the record: I love you guys too :) Awww big hug on da interwebz lol.

Garrett said...

Jim: I also got the book from Chip yesterday. I'm enjoying it. Seems review worthy to me :) I'll see about cooking something up when I've finished but I'm currently at page 116 "In Heaven, no one can hear you scream." Just so you know, you're clearly a real writer. So far I've laughed, I've cried, and I think I've peed a little (from the laughing fits not crying! F#@& off, I'm not THAT messed up hehe) You don't need a degree and a teaching job to get credit where credit is due. Professor Benatar just went through the commonly accepted hazing routine :)
I agree with CM, you could probably make some money writing under a pseudonym. Please do avoid vampire breeding lol.


Anonymous Femme Fatale and CM:

Ever wonder why there are more blacks (Purely a reference to ethnic background. I refuse to use the term "African American". You're either African or an American and either one can be any skin color. Not some politically correct monstrosity in the vein of "It's a Small World After All"... gag me with a f#$%in' spoon) in the American prison population than any other skin color? Is this a coincidence, are cops inherently racist and arrest only non-whites, are blacks notorious for bragging about their crimes and bad at escape and evasion, is it socio-economic, or are there simply more of a particular skin color who like to commit crimes? I don't know! I don't really care to speculate. But it kinda makes you wonder, right? I imagine a similar phenomenon is in play with the number of males versus the number of females who subscribe to antinatalist ideology. For the record, I don't consider myself racist, sexist, or any of the other of the amalgam of negative "ist" types out there. Respect is a two way street, 'nuf said. To any who may have taken offense, it was referenced tongue in cheek. Though, on occaision, I've been known to be more foot in mouth ;)

Whatever the reason, I think it's cool to know there are women in the movement. Not based on the merits of being a female, but actually because it disproves the naysayers. It's evidencial transcendence! You all rock!

In any case, Jim is much better at explaining the details in his book. Shameless plug warning: Buy it NOW! Sorry about the long posts. Maybe a website forum is on the horizon? *nudge nudge wink wink

R.T Melo said...

Hello again,

Thanks for the welcome.

I hear you, guys.

I pretty much have studied lots of things, I came across the works of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, etc, and Buddhism is also something I know off. In fact I´ve been to some meditation centres myself, but as Jim pointed out, I haven´t seen the point other than some soothing meditation class.

Organized religions are bullshit, but we can have some pretty neat ideas about the world in some religious excerpts. Like for instance, buddhism to me as always a hardcore religion in some ways, whereas the clerics of the religion and followers in general do not seem to think of it that way.

TO me, stop the cycle of death and rebirth is something serious, but to buddhists in general is something like all-go-merry stuff and then they go home to plan a good life with kids and familly. No enlightment whatsoever.

But Garret, I subscribe o twhat you said. I know having a non-human animal to give companionship is always harsh in the end.

Thanks for all the help.

It´s like, when, for some strange reason, the ways of the world allow some people to talk about their dissolution (death) in such a manner as we, antinatalists do, everything just falls into place, if there´s such a thing. We can discuss things calmly and plan our lives to live better as possible.

To other common people, when we talk about the D(eath) word, they can go freaking ape shit, their genetic instinct raging down. It´s such a curious thing. It´s almost like we are different, our instincts tamed down to a level, or something. I don´t know.

I read everything I can found on anti-natalism. This blog is fantastic.

And I know other thing: transhumanitarians are crazy!!!

Anonymous said...

Your next project should be a movie, to counteract this kind of shit.

eco_h2o said...

Dear Jim Crawford:

Hello I am a promoter and moderator of the VHEMT movement in Spanish language.
http://mx.groups.yahoo.com/group/VHEMT_esp

I liked so much the description of your book, that I made a Spanish translation of it.


I transcribe the translation here, in case it may be useful for you or somebody.
Haven't read the book but hope soon to get it and read it. Looks great.

Congratulations, and thanks for writing on these issues.

Eco_h2o
<:{{{{{{><  <:))))))><  <:{{{{{{><  <:))))))>< <:{{{{{{><
========

Confesiones de un Antinatalista.
(libro de Jim Crawford).

Descripción:

La vida es una mezcla de lo bueno y lo malo, al menos eso dicen. El problema es que no hay forma de saber si una vida en particular podría caer del lado de la fortuna. Por cada niño nacido en el seno del lujo, hay otro nacido en el filo de la navaja. No hay garantías de los que sucederá conforme el presente inmediato fluye hacia el incierto futuro. Las cosas cambian en un instante. Dos cosas, sin embargo, son ciertas: Todos sufrirán y todos morirán. Regresarán a de donde venimos. Sabiendo esto, y comprendiendo bien que cualquier vida particular contiene el potencial para experimentar dolor extremo e infelicidad, incesante en algunos casos: ¿Realmente vale la pena el riesgo de procrear?

Jim Crawford no cree que lo valga. En "Confesiones de un Antinatalista", Crawford reflexiona sobre lo que significa existir en la panza de una voraz serpiente - la vida cuya única presa es sí misma, y cuyos dientes son muy, pero muy, afilados.

Extracto:

La Esperanza es mi enemigo. Ella es un íncubo (succubus = demonia que tiene sexo con lo hombres mientras duermen) que desciende sobre la durmiente humanidad, susurrando en su oído colectivo que "Hay un Futuro". Un futuro brillante, claro, mientras perseveremos en extender nuestras esencias en las vidas de nuestros hijos, y en los hijos de ellos. Ella es una mentirosa, un merolico de vendedor de falsas medicinas, que trueca quimeras por fluidos generativos; que ella chupa de nosotros antes arrojar nuestra marchita cascarilla en el fuego. Y así caemos, hilera tras hilera como estaciones de maíz, pero no antes de ceder nuestra semilla en sus avariciosas manos. Pues al final, todos morimos, y sólo La Esperanza vive y prosigue. Y echamos raíces, a veces seremos velados una temporada, pero luego olvidados. En definitiva, y nos guste o no, somos la suciedad de futuro. ESTE es el estado de cosas que elegimos para sujetos nuestros hijos.

metamorphhh said...

eco:

Thanks for your efforts in promoting the 'cause', for lack of a better word. While philanthropic antinatalism and eco-antinatalism come from somewhat different motivational spaces, I believe their interests overlap, especially where it counts i.e. the cessation of human procreation. Furthermore, since Spanish is the language of many countries whose people tend to hold to more 'traditional' values regarding propagation of the species, I find your contribution exceedingly valuable in helping to spread the word.

I hope you enjoy the book, and that it might help in some small way to get your message across. Thanks, and take care...jim

Jeff said...

My copy arrived a few days ago.

I've only read a bit so far, but I suspect I will like the book very much. I found the prologue very moving.

I like the tack you seem to be taking with your book, i.e. making it accessible and conversational. I think the antinatalist argument can sometimes come across as bloodless intellectual game-playing. By bringing it down to earth, it makes it more difficult for people to dismiss.

I agree with Ligotti that your book could just as well be called "Memoirs of a Humanist."

Antinatalism has an interesting relationship with humanism, I think. I find it to be very humanist, in the sense that it is concerned with the suffering of human beings and how to best end that suffering. But it can also be seen as antihumanist, in that it proposes the absolute extinction of humanity.

R.T Melo said...

eco_h20:

Nice spanhish! I´m also helping the cause by translating everything I can to portuguese.

Jeff:

Yes, antinatalism can be seen as humanitarianism of some sort.

I think I´ll buy Jim´s book also, as soon as I get the one on Benatar, who is programmed to be delivered in my house somewhat by june this year. THere´s the whole shipping thing, as I live down far south, in Brazil.

See ya guys.

metamorphhh said...

Thanks for the preliminary thumbs up, Jeff. My aspirations regarding the book are fairly modest; I just want to help fill out the body of literature regarding the subject in my own little way. When I started this blog a couple years ago, I just wanted to write about something I felt passionate about. I hadn't heard of David Benatar's book, nor did I know that Thomas Ligotti was also interested in and writing about the subject. Now I've written a book- who knew?

eco_h2o said...

Hello Jim:

We are more than 600 people in the Spanish Vhemt forum. Some already expressed interest in a translation from your book.

I personally am a convinced, since many years ago vasectomyzed, antinatalists both by philosophical and environmental reasons.

We could try a combination of automated translation into Spanish combined with human reviews and corrections (mine and some 2 or 3 vhemt members). Which are the chances of having a free electronic copy of your book with my compromise of only using it for translation purposes?.

That is: I get your book free and you get a slow, non-professional, but acceptable, FREE translation.

Eco_h2o
<{{{{{{>< <))))))>< <{{{{{{>< <))))))>< <{{{{{{><

metamorphhh said...

eco:

To tell you the truth, I don't happen to have a PDF version of the finalized book. Anyway, I'm afraid my publisher owns the rights to it, so you'd have to talk with him about it. But the idea for a translation is a good one, and something I hope comes about sooner or later. Thank you very much for the offer.

R.T Melo said...

OMFG!

I´m being totally ignored on this post and website.

Just wanted to register that I´m also preparing a material about antinatalism in portuguese.

That´s it.

See ya everyone.

Posted by Rafael Tages.

Unsubscribed now.

R.T Melo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
metamorphhh said...

Melo out?

timcooijmans said...

Anyone else think we need some more conversational medium to preach to the choir?

Anonymous said...

"I Wish I Was Never Born" Stories

filrabat said...

Hi Jim,

Just ordered your book today. Looking forward to reading it.

metamorphhh said...

Thanks, filrabat! Hope you enjoy it.