Monday, March 10, 2008

Below Replacement Level

Keeerist, I hate that expression; referring to human breeding levels, of course. Makes the aggregate of wombs sound like a global parts warehouse. "Hey, Ernie...looks like we's running low on #7-G hominids. Youse better gets ahold of the factory rep, and tells him to lights a fire under them slack-off line workers."

Of course, this is EXACTLY the prevalent attitude of the pronatalist crowd, and always has been. Never question the course, just keep shoveling the coal, and surely we'll eventually get there. And make damned sure there's more of us, than of them!

So silly. So futile. An imaginary kingdom, built in an unreachable future, on the backs of children who never asked to be born. A trifle of no real consequence if there were no suffering along the way. But there is...plenty of it. Both physical, and psychological. And for what? A vision of what might be (really based on nothing but a rather pathetic kind of hope), for some future citizens who don't even exist. I've made the point before, folks, and I'll make it several more times along the way. It's all about irrational, non-sensical vicarious immortality; a subconcious game played with real pawns. You are programmed to die. I am programmed to die. Why pass this 'gift' along to succeeding generations? Why not just play with it ourselves; and when it breaks, it breaks.

Every child born, is a child condemned to some degree of suffering according to the luck of the draw, and to death. Always. And yet, all human suffering could be eliminated in a single generation. In a sea of preposterously imaginary solutions, there is one absolutely sure way to end suffering, and death. Simply...stop...breeding. It's as easy as a trip to the drugstore, or an outpatient visit.

Don't have children. There'll be nobody to thank you for it, and that's what makes it such a selfless, philanthropic act. Let each death be final; faced squarely for what it is, instead of buying into this ludicrously deceptive hedging of bets that procreation tempts us with. Let the end truly be the end, and know that, in eliminating human suffering and death, you are doing a good thing. A very good thing.


TGGP said...

Keeerist, I hate that expression; referring to human breeding levels, of course. Makes the aggregate of wombs sound like a global parts warehouse.
But you like the FertCo video? Isn't that exactly the image it's trying to get across?

Anonymous said...

Yeppers, tggp; the FertCo video is illustrating the same absurdity. Quite nicely, in fact. The same woman responsible for that video made a few others along the same lines, btw. I think they're all linked over at the voluntary human extinction site.

Gary Witt said...

This is my first visit, but I'm impressed with the depth of thought that is present here and how an emphasis upon "checking our premises and presumptions" can lead to some far-reaching conclusions.

Haven't had time (yet) to check on whether the link has previously been made here, but it seems to me the work of R.D. Laing is pivotal to any kind of rational examination of antinatalism.

I intend to explore this further.

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great to have you here, Gary. Stop by any time.

Anonymous said...

And make damned sure there's more of us, than of them!

You mock this sentiment, but it's a problem your philosophy cannot solve without abominable, nearly unthinkable violence.

Suppose antinatalism somehow caught on, and became a dominant worldwide movement. Ridiculously unlikely, I know, but this is what you are arguing for, no? There are going to be dissenters: tens of millions at the very least. The movement has three, maybe four decades to wipe out or convert the entire rest of humanity, or else there'll soon be a lot more of them than there are of you. In a century or two the human population is back to previous levels and little's been accomplished.

I don't doubt you genuinely abhor violence, but adherents of antinatalism are still hairless apes just like the rest of us. How could it lead to anything other than an orgy of bloodshed?

In a sea of preposterously imaginary solutions, there is one absolutely sure way to end suffering, and death.

Antinatalism is one of these "preposterously imaginary solutions." It does not take human nature into account; the urge to reproduce is among the strongest of all drives, you'll never completely overcome it with reason. Seriously, it's even less likely than real, working anarchism or communism.

In the end, the only realistic way to achieve your ends is an extremely powerful weapon of mass destruction - maybe grey goo, or the cobalt bomb from "Doctor Strangelove" - in the hands of a fanatic. I'm not advocating this, believe me; because there is no other way to achieve antinatalism's ends, it should be abandoned.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent and valid criticism. My solution is a highly idealistic one, and fueled more by my passion for the subject,than for any realistic expections. That said, I'm just trying to nudge the idea into at least the boundaries of acceptable conversation, because I believe in the philosophy; but, there's more. Even though my little blog won't make much of a dent in the prevailing gestalt, there are still little victories to be had on the personal level. Furthermore, you never know...self-replicating memes, and all.

Speaking to the violence angle you've brought up; first of all, and theoretically, if everybody on earth got wiped out in one shot, the numbers would still pale in the face of the accrued violence of millions of continuing generations, and the inherent mortality of each member of those generations.

Secondly, there's always the chance that, someday, rationality will win the day. Doubtful, to be sure; but in this case, I'm willing to invest some energy in the less than zero chance notion, as anything else is simply unacceptable to me, coming from my position. I'm just one small voice, to be sure...but while I have that voice, I feel constrained to use it in voicing my outrage at the absurdity of the status quo, and offer the only solution that makes any sense, IMHO.

That said, I thank you for your participation here, and for the points you've made. Take care.

Chip said...

In response the the frequent charge that antinatalism leads ineluctably to violence, I would urge readers to consider the stakes in less far-reaching terms. While it is always tempting - and philosophically relevant, in a certain context -- to talk of cosmic implications or the obduracy of human nature, the simple fact remains that our view triumphs -- microcosmically, but truly -- each time a person chooses not to have children. The child that an individual freely chooses not to have is a child spared the unknowable but certain sufferings entailed by being summoned into existence.

Not having children is indeed "one absolutely sure way to end suffering, and death." And this goal is met every time a potential procreator flips off their naturally-endowed drive to reproduce. It happens all the time, and it matters every time.

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about that this morning, Chip; your point is well received here. It's a fact that keeps me going, and keeps me writing.

Here's to small victories.

Anonymous said...

I made the decision years ago not to have children, and I haven't regretted it. Along with your own excellent points, the last thing the world needs is more of me in it. I have no special talents that would justify procreation and don't want to be responsible for another human being experiencing anew the pains of my life. Thanks for speaking out - the world needs to hear this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your encouragement, as well for your involvement here, wayne. Not your typical subject to be discussed around the coffee machine, I'll admit. Still, what could be more essential to the best of what we are, than the wish to end pain and suffering? And that's what antinatalism's fumdamentally about, after all. I commend your decision to not have children, for exactly the right reasons, IMO.

Save a life by not starting one...spread the word!