Did You Consent to Being Born? – An Exploration Of Anti-Natalism

I found a story (more, an interview) which touches on a contraversial topic which I’ve been pondering for awhile. Seems like a good way to break the ice.

So here we go.

Did you consent to being born? Why one man is suing his parents for giving birth to him

Raphael Samuel, a 27-year-old antinatalist from Mumbai, believes it was wrong for his mother and father to create him without his consent

Link

Yes. We’re going there.

Straight into Doug Stanhope territory.

Name: Raphael Samuel.

Age: 27.

Appearance: Alive and regretting it.

Why? Because he didn’t ask to be born.

Neither did I, as it happens. No, but you probably aren’t planning to sue your parents for giving birth to you.

Yeah . . . Good luck with that.

I am not. Is he? Well, he claims to be. According to reports, Samuel, from Mumbai, is a committed antinatalist.

What a coincidence. I hated those classes too. Antinatalism is a system of belief that holds that it is morally wrong for people to procreate, and a vast amount of human misery could be avoided by people simply not existing in the first place.

If nothing else, it sounds like a philosophical school with a self-limiting membership. It is actually a growing movement with adherents across the globe.

1.) Time to explore what this means to me. But first, some housework.

I personally don’t see myself as fitting the Anti-natalist definition, as shown above. For those of you that have come to know the increasingly hard to pin down mess that is the tangled mass of conclusions in my brain at any one time, this will not come as a surprise. Definitions and ideologies are usually self limiting by there very nature.

Where it seems I agree (more or less) is the main tenant. I don’t see myself, nor do I ever plan on, having children. My main reason for this decision of being . . . I know things.

What our species has done to get where we are. What our species is likely in for in the not too distant future. And frankly, the overall trajectory of the species.

Consumption is continually outpacing the Earth’s ability to regenerate resources. We see it every single year . . . Overshoot day comes earlier and earlier. You don’t need to have the mind of Stephan Hawking to know where this crazy train is headed.

However, is it morally wrong to procreate?

It’s an interesting question.

It’s easy to take that stance (like libertarianism, frankly). But one should consider the consequences of what they think they are getting behind.

While me thinking that procreation is morally wrong has no arguable ramifications in the world, this changes if there are many (a majority!) of people like me. What was a hypothetical, then becomes an actionable solution. The problem is too damn many people having too damn many spawn, so the answer is an imposed limitation on reproduction. By LAW, all couples must submit an application to aquire the right of having a child. And no couple (or persons) shall create more than 2.

Seems a simple fix to a drastic problem. Yet, a truly horrifying reality for, well . . . ANYBODY. Considering that this could be an out of control artificial intelligence horror story. Saving us by systematicly denying a key instinct of every living thing. Not to mention how the biases of humans will run rampent with this new tool of enslavement.

As such, do I personally feel it to be morally wrong to have children?

No.

One needs to be careful when making such blanket snap judgements.

Should people put MUCH more thought into the decision than they currently do?

Yes. However, am I going to paint everyone whom has a child with the same brush that I paint those whom have a child for seemingly idiotic reasons?

No.

As for the human misery argument . . . Fine.

If no human were born, there would be no human misery. If humans had been more careful in their reproduction practices, maybe some of the human misery that awaits us in the coming years was also avoidable. Hell, if progress had not been so successful in making us live so damn long, many factors which give us grief today (from cultural to environmental) wouldn’t contribute to so called human misery.

Human misery is a dynamic concept, with very different interpretations depending mainly on economic class. While what constitutes human misery is very different to everyone (and is often questioned, justifiably or not), there is one certainty. The problem can NOT be solved by simply deciding not to have children.

If you want to help alleviate human misery, there are many constructive ways of doing so. Boasting online is not one of them.

When you say “across the globe”, do you mean “on Facebook and YouTube?” Yes, but antinatalism has a long and respected pedigree: forms of it crop up in sects of Buddhism and Christianity, and more than one philosopher has argued that the optimal outcome for humanity is extinction.

First off, it’s unsurprising that the gaurdian would take a swipe at an online community like that. But the writing is on the wall. They can keep playing the part of the generation that they sprouted from, but they are going to end up in the very same place as those that they once informed.

History.

That out of the way, uh . . . what a jackass. Giving a bad name to nihilists everywhere.

I have to admit that I have expressed similar sentiment’s, previously. When faced with many big name intellectuals proposing to solve the uninhabitable earth dilemma by inhabiting a new planet or celestial body, the thought was horrifying. Something else to wreck in the process of parasitic invasion of everything we touch. Until we run out of Plan B’s before wrecking the last centuries Plan B.

That said, this is not exactly suicidal thought. The point is more, let’s fix what we have here. Because if we’re just exporting the very same ideological concepts that screwed us over here, the end result is obvious.

I can tackle this concept in a very different way. A mindset that occurred to me a few days ago as I left for work (of all things).

Having recently gotten myself started on a few writing projects (including a book), it occured to me how late I got into this. I have always had an interest in writing (and many things, really), but my true intellectual awakening didn’t occur until I was 25 or 26. I’ve been honing it all for the past 3 or 4 years, and writing alot only fairly recently.

Had this occured when I was 17 or 18, I could have been well an my way by my late 20s. But given that it’s all downhill from here (30!), there went 10 years. Seemingly a small number. But 10 percent is still a large number out of 60 or 65 (if even!).

Aside from me, imagine the time we ALL have to discover whatever it is that makes us tick. Education systems do a great job of suppressing this journey to begin with, but for those that DO manage to break free from the dogma, how long do we have?

While some passions are found at a young age, I’m inclined to write off at least the first 13 years (possibly all the way to the first 20). The first 13 because . . . It’s a child. The rest because, education/indoctrination stage. No, I’m not using the terms (education/indoctrination) exactly interchangeably. However, in practice, the results speak for themselves.

Which leads us to our productive stage. We will say from the early 20s right to 45 or 50. Some minds stay productive long past this point, but some bodies don’t make it. Hence, the borderline.

That is maybe 40 years, give or take. 40 years to realize, develop, and hone ones skills as per whatever they find their passion is. Given the myriad of other tasks society demands of us (including full time careers just to subsist, and sleep), the time adds up quickly. One may blink and find themselves starring down 45, not entirely cogent of how on Earth they got there. Particularly if life throws a curve ball.

If I view this man made and natural waste of potential as being a wall blockading us from truly helpful and inavative ideas (to borrow from the language of our current paradigm), then I’ve personally found a reason to look for ways to offload my mind into a non-mortal context. Imagine the potential of a creative mind unencumbered by . . . Humanness. No matter the fate of the vessel, the potential remains. To be utilized as far as can possibly be allowed.

Although, I suppose we come back to the same place. How long before our AI varients pull the plug on themselves?

1.) Sheldon is right. Cyborgs are cool.

2.) Nihilism based Anti-natalist philosophy is WAY too arrogant. That’s something, coming from me.

I am not the person who aught be making judgments on the justification of biggest cohort there is.

All of which falls short of suing your parents for having you. Yes, that would appear to be Samuel’s unique contribution to the debate.

What is his thinking, exactly? “I love my parents,” he writes on Facebook, “and we have a great relationship, but they had me for their joy and their pleasure.”

Selfish bastards. Samuel apparently believes it was wrong for his parents to go ahead and create him without his consent.

They were hardly in a position to ask him for it. He was hardly in a position to give it.

Could they not seek some kind of retroactive planning permission for him? He doesn’t seem that inclined to compromise. He continues: “Isn’t forcing a child into this world and then forcing it to have a career kidnapping and slavery?”

To cycle back to the Doug Stanhope bit that I may as well just link HERE . . . Forcing a child to work for free is, in a sense, a form of legalized slavery.

That is an excerpt from a longer form bit on mental illness in general. While it’s not a topic of discussion here, it’s well worth a listen.

It is an interesting idea to ponder. Most parents would likely use the “Well, they are on MY dime!” argument.

Possibly?

I suppose that this is the wrong way to view this. While every parents job in understandably opaque (always has been and always will be, no matter how many books are written on the subject), one of the more obvious ones is preparation for the real world. While schooling does a so-so job with part of that equation, this is generally focused on employment and career. All those other skills (from housekeeping to cooking) is generally in the realm of the parents.

Which makes it a matter of attitude of the parents. If it’s a matter of teaching skills useful to adulthood, than excellent. If it’s a matter of pawning off tasks to someone else . . . Not so great.

I recognize this split because, frankly, I grew up on one side of this paradigm. I didn’t mind some tasks of housework, but it seemed that this lead to it being my main purpose. Growing up, the most common place for people dropping by to find me was in front of the kitchen sink.

Whilst I don’t hold a grudge (what’s done is done), it makes one think. Much of my childhood and teen years were spent at home. While this was indeed voluntary, one can’t help but wonder what I missed.

Which brings to mind parents of seemingly incapable adult children. Adults with no disabilities, yet who fail at the basics. While there is certainly a personal share of blame accountable to the person, I don’t think it’s always so simple. I’ve come to suspect that a form of parential neglect may play a big part in this. Which is why seeing parents cast judgements in these cases is at times . . . laughable.

YOU did this!

There is another interesting side bar to the whole child slavery argument. That is, parents with home businesses (or that otherwise volunteer out their children’s time seemingly without their consent).

It takes me back again. To when a parent once ran a yard care company (grass & gardening in the summer, snow removal in the winter). I remember the hot days of mowing someone’s lawn (or waiting in the van). And the cold toe freezing days shoveling (or waiting in the van). Then there was the time when this parents club was selected to deliver phone books (profits to the club!) to 2 towns, in the dead of January. 8 hours toiling each time, the first of which I got sick. The town had a nearby ethonal plant, and smelling it for 6 hours didn’t bode well apparently.

Of course, AGAIN, no hard feels against the one who spawned me. However, given the passage of time and the accumulation of wisdom, it makes me stop and think a bit. Particularly of the 16 hours volunteering. While I have done volunteer work at a soup kitchen with the other parent, it wasn’t 8 hours in the bitter cold. Nor were the benefits clear for anyone but . . . that parent.

I didn’t join the club!

On the one hand, that sounds absolutely bananas. On the other hand, my 15-year-old self would be 100% behind Samuel.He also writes: “The only reason your children are facing problems is because you had them.”

Oh my God – where was this guy when I failed all my O-levels? He wasn’t born yet.

Do say: “Dear Mum and Dad, Everything I am and everything I will ever be is thanks to you. See you in court.”

Don’t say: “PS – I can’t find any clean towels.”

Our authors way of completely dismissing these topics is quite noticable. But not surprising. Most people don’t think. They just regurgitate.

But it seems that we have reached the end. Nothing else to pick on this carcass.

Best of luck to this guy with his obvious publicity stunt.

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