Thursday, June 17, 2010

On a Personal Note

I had the rare privilege of meeting one of my readers and contributors who was in town this afternoon. Great fella! A couple hours of great conversation and tolerable domestic beers. A pleasure to meet you, Jeff. Maybe next time we'll get some bowling in.

7 comments:

Compoverde said...

Glad to see the community can form outside th internet sphere as well. It is re-inspiring to create a meet-up group.

Compoverde said...

I don't know where to put this, so I shall stick it in this entry. On a philosophy forum there was a question "Why Do Humans Have Babies". One guy responded:

To experience raising kids is to answer the question..

I have four kids; all very healthy, smart and full of life. I am not ashamed to say that I dearly love all of them. Their lives reflect that of mine. Everything that they see in me, I see in them (the funny thing is that they have no clue what I am talking about). One could very well say that it is a selfish act to have kids because of the joy that kids bring to the world. I often reflect back on what I remember in my childhood and how much fun I had then. I can now share these experiences with them. However, I can also remember the things that I have failed in. These facts are what keep me from doing acts which can cause discord and discontentment to my family. I am a protector, a father, a mentor, a provider, a teacher. But I know that eventually, I will not be able to protect them as they will become independent in their own ways of thinking and doing. All I can do is teach them what I know and let them move on to achieve that which I have not, or do it better than I. Children bring a sense of wisdom to a parent that only children can bring.

If one is not ready for the responsibility of growing up, then one better "keep the ladle out of the punch bowl", so to speak."

How do I answer such naiveté? Essentially, his answer is the common middle class American response. How do I make an impact that all these seemingly unselfish reasons, are selfish and that you did not do your children a favor by having them in hopes they fill some of your unfulfilled dreams of achievement?

Curator said...

Here is something that I always remind myself of, from The Skeptic's Dictionary (from an article on how to create your own pseudoscience):

"We have to keep reminding ourselves that critical thinking is an unnatural act."

Reasoning is not what makes us human. In fact, I think it might be more accurate to say that refusing to use reason is more human than using reason.

Arguments rarely change people's actions. They will always just keep going on penis- or vagina-first into the world, ignorant of the harm they do, using exquisitely-evolved mechanisms to avoid feeling moral responsibility.

If we care about changing people's behavior, we have to stop torturing ourselves with the idea that we can convince them with logic. (Think about obesity: easily solved with logic, yet how persistent is it?)

Jim's book, while always logical and coherent, I think does an excellent job of appealing to humans outside of the purely logical arena.

Chip said...

Apropos of Curator's point, I hope that those of you who have read and enjoyed "Confessions of an Antinatalist" will continue to do a few small things to help promote it.

Some ideas:

-There's a very nice review on Amazon now; maybe you could post another.

-Does your public or university library carry Jim's book? If not, why not request that it be added to their collection?

-Ditto above for indie bookstores.

-are you familiar with podcasts, zines, journals, talk radio programs, etc., that might provide exposure for Jim's argument? Consider suggesting the topic. Or let me know, and I'll contact them.

Thanks!

Shadow said...

"How do I make an impact that all these seemingly unselfish reasons, are selfish and that you did not do your children a favor by having them in hopes they fill some of your unfulfilled dreams of achievement?"

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Yeah, that´s the thing.

To discuss about birth ethics and antinatalism is to discuss with the most irrational motifs of the being.

It´s hard, because people are so imaginative and indulgent with themselves...

Shadow said...

Curator and Chip:

Right on

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Normal people are become too weird when you talk about antinatalism with them.

They become like one of these weird cartoon-horror-tales.

Freaky

Anonymous said...

I'm very jealous. Wish I could have been there with you guys.