• schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    So with a deadly pandemic raging, causing pain and misery to millions of people, upending society, causing fear of making wrong decisions- where to go, what is safe to do, weighing options, making potentially wrong decisions that lead to pain and possibly death. Add this to the many other and already tried and true ways we suffer, compounding the other forms. Governments imploding into their own reenactnent of Greco Roman.cycle of democracy and tyranny. Pain is easily forgetten until one actually endures it. Then what? Be thankful you are no longer being tortured by a disease ravaging your body? How does this not lend cause to abstaining from procreation?
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    The title, the analogy of life as a torture - death by a thousand cuts - speaks volumes. An antinatalist, which I presume this thread revolves around, would've made faer case if life is torture but is it? I speak not on the basis of my own life which has been a nightmare of sorts but from the little I've gathered from the lives of others.

    What I really want to talk about is a little paradox I've chanced upon and I feel it hits the right keys of antinatalism at the start but ends on the wrong note as it were, leaving the audience with a bad taste in their mouths. A few metaphysical claims are involved but that's alright since what I'm aiming for is to offer a different perspective and that with a belief system that makes suffering its central doctrine.

    The belief system I'm referring to is Buddhism; it claims as a key premise for its argument that life is suffering (dukkha). Naturally, Buddhism seems the perfect candidate, primed at the outset, for the antinatalist camp. Who could qualify for antinatalism if Buddhism - a belief that literally equates life with suffering - doesn't make the cut, right? Nirvana, as per Gautama, is an escape from the suffering tied to birth-death-rebirth in samsara - the basic idea being that one who's attained nirvana no longer needs to be born which, if you really give it some thought, is nonexistence, something which will click with the antinatalist crowd. By the way, "nirvana" means extinguish - a meaning so close to nonexistence that anyone with a minimum of common sense won't fail to notice. If nirvana (extinguish existence) is a Buddhist goal then surely antinatalism fits like a glove. Hitting the right keys!

    However, it's not as simple as that. Buddhism has one other belief critical to this discussion viz. that only humans are capable of attaining nirvana - those living in lower realms (hell) overwhelmed by intense suffering and those of the higher realms (heaven) hypnotized by the rapturous delight. Ergo, in order to ensure more people have a shot at attaining nirvana, we should have/make more children. In other words, antinatalism doesn't square with Buddhism. Ending on the wrong note! Ouch! My ears! And Eyes! And Mind!

    Paradox!
  • Outlander
    769
    I guess what people need to ask themselves is would you rather feel something than nothing at all? Would you rather have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? It's a fair shake, really. :grin:

    Anything else, contrary to what many think, and you even say "[something unpleasant] is easily forgotten until one actually endures it", being able to get everything you want when you want it without possibility of failure, is one of the worst hells that can be experienced. There's no thrills or excitement, no fear of death or injury or failure sure, which of course means, no passion. It would quickly become difficult to distinguish one's own existence from that of a vegetable growing in a garden.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    22
    In my view, procreation that leads to a life of mostly suffering is wrong, and procreation that leads to a life of mostly pleasure is right. The question is, when, if at all, we should take the gamble.
  • Outlander
    769
    In my view, procreation that leads to a life of mostly suffering is wrong, and procreation that leads to a life of mostly pleasure is right.Down The Rabbit Hole

    How could you know? Sure there are indicators but that's all they are. An alleged well-off child could be born with a debilitating defect or have an accident that will be with them their entire life. An alleged poor or unfortunate child can end up being a genius or win the lottery or something. You never know. Just Google "rich people born poor", for a few examples. It's rare, no doubt. But it happens.

    Furthermore, why is "procreation that leads to a life of mostly pleasure" right? Is there some religious basis for this? A "soul" being rewarded with the pleasures of this world? If not, many would liken all of us, rich or poor, to little more than slightly-advanced animals living a meaningless existence of chasing shiny objects.

    Regardless, who are you to "gamble" with a life, be it divine or animalistic. Just someone who can- simply because you can at that moment. What meaning is there at all from that standpoint?
  • Valentinus
    839
    Well, the procreated tend to support their appearance upon the scene.I appreciate that I have had a shot at the deal.
    My child is a man now. I don't know what he will choose. The future belongs to him.
  • Alvin Capello
    88
    So with a deadly pandemic raging, causing pain and misery to millions of people, upending society, causing fear of making wrong decisions- where to go, what is safe to do, weighing options, making potentially wrong decisions that lead to pain and possibly death. Add this to the many other and already tried and true ways we suffer, compounding the other forms. Governments imploding into their own reenactnent of Greco Roman.cycle of democracy and tyranny. Pain is easily forgetten until one actually endures it. Then what? Be thankful you are no longer being tortured by a disease ravaging your body? How does this not lend cause to abstaining from procreation?schopenhauer1

    The state of affairs you describe lends cause to one of 2 outcomes, in my view. One that is more pessimistic, and another that is more optimistic. The pessimistic outcome is essentially that of antinatalism. The optimistic outcome is the use of advanced technology to eliminate suffering and to achieve artificial immortality. In either case, suffering will be eliminated once and for all. But it is just a question of how much imagination and determination we have as a species. For my part, I fully support the optimistic outcome :smile:
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    22
    How could you know? Sure there are indicators but that's all they are. An alleged well-off child could be born with a debilitating defect or have an accident that will be with them their entire life. An alleged poor or unfortunate child can end up being a genius or win the lottery or something. You never know. Just Google "rich people born poor", for a few examples. It's rare, no doubt. But it happens.Outlander

    You cannot know for sure, but a decision on whether to procreate could be made on the most likely outcome. Whether most lives are net positive or negative could provide strong guidance.

    Furthermore, why is "procreation that leads to a life of mostly pleasure" right? Is there some religious basis for this? A "soul" being rewarded with the pleasures of this world? If not, many would liken all of us, rich or poor, to little more than slightly-advanced animals living a meaningless existence of chasing shiny objects.Outlander

    It's standard utilitarian thought that what ultimately matters is pleasure and suffering. I think at the very least they are the most important considerations. I don't think I can prove this as objective moral truth, but it seems right to me.

    Regardless, who are you to "gamble" with a life, be it divine or animalistic. Just someone who can- simply because you can at that moment. What meaning is there at all from that standpoint?Outlander

    As aforesaid, it could be argued that you should gamble when the odds are in your favour but not when the odds are against you. On the other hand it could be argued that the stakes should be taken into account.
  • apokrisis
    5.1k
    How does this not lend cause to abstaining from procreation?schopenhauer1

    Why propose these pussy half measures? Surely the logic of your position demands that all sentience should be ended immediately by any means necessary?

    (If you construct a slippery slope argument, there is no valid reason not to slither all the way to its bottom.)
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    However, it's not as simple as that. Buddhism has one other belief critical to this discussion viz. that only humans are capable of attaining nirvana - those living in lower realms (hell) overwhelmed by intense suffering and those of the higher realms (heaven) hypnotized by the rapturous delight. Ergo, in order to ensure more people have a shot at attaining nirvana, we should have/make more children. In other words, antinatalism doesn't square with Buddhism. Ending on the wrong note! Ouch! My ears! And Eyes! And Mind!

    Paradox!
    TheMadFool

    Yeah, isn't that convenient that even Buddhism needs an escape hatch for procreation. I do get the philosophy. If everything is "illusion" and nirvana is an "awakening" from this, the multiplicity of birth and individuation of subjects and objects disappear. Thus, all this talk of individual prevention of suffering matters not.

    But as far as I know, this reality is "real" enough that suffering does ensue for the individual. Yes, the individual is a construct from the interaction of the person with the world, but this doesn't mean that it isn't how humans function. That being the "reality" of the case, the whole leaving it up to the "awakening" from illusion thing, just seems ineffective. I get where it is coming from. I even sympathize, as it is also a Schopenhaurean viewpoint to some extent. However, the only way I can see actually preventing suffering is to simply not start a new life in the first place.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    There's no thrills or excitement, no fear of death or injury or failure sure, which of course means, no passion. It would quickly become difficult to distinguish one's own existence from that of a vegetable growing in a garden.Outlander

    I've said this before, but if the universe is one that works like this:

    "You need to suffer to not be bored", then we are already off to a bad start this universe. Better off not even start with it.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    Regardless, who are you to "gamble" with a life, be it divine or animalistic. Just someone who can- simply because you can at that moment. What meaning is there at all from that standpoint?Outlander

    Exactly. You don't know. Who are we to gamble. No one expected deadly pandemics to be this extensive. That's on an aggregate scale. Each individual life has its own possible horrors. Even more horrifying is no matter how much you reach out to others, we are the ones who have to endure it. The decision to create someone else is affecting someone else. This is not just an animal that doesn't know what is going on. You are creating someone who knows the situation.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    Well, the procreated tend to support their appearance upon the scene.I appreciate that I have had a shot at the deal.
    My child is a man now. I don't know what he will choose. The future belongs to him.
    Valentinus

    But you don't know what will become of the person procreated. Look at this pandemic. You didn't predict that. This one is perhaps not as deadly as it could. Maybe not the next one.

    However, lets not wrap the argument around just pandemics. All forms of "enduring" everything from tedious tasks to the most horrible torture awaits new people born. Yet, all we can do to justify it is to say, "Well, my life is good so therefore I should procreate someone else.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    The pessimistic outcome is essentially that of antinatalism. The optimistic outcome is the use of advanced technology to eliminate suffering and to achieve artificial immortality. In either case, suffering will be eliminated once and for all. But it is just a question of how much imagination and determination we have as a species. For my part, I fully support the optimistic outcome :smile:Alvin Capello

    But then you are okay with using people to try to get to some technological utopia? People are thus fodder for the "aggregate utilitarian mill" of getting some advanced technology in some far off distant future?
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    Why propose these pussy half measures? Surely the logic of your position demands that all sentience should be ended immediately by any means necessary?

    (If you construct a slippery slope argument, there is no valid reason not to slither all the way to its bottom.)
    apokrisis

    Stop straw manning and red herring this. I'll start misrepresenting Peircean semiotics and then you can see how that feels.

    But seriously, preventing birth hurts no one, and doesn't violate other people's consent, rights of choice, things such as this. You know this though. It's not just "here is the goal no matter what the cost". It's not utilitarian aggregate schemes of "the greatest this or that for the greatest this or that". You can argue that in arguments that are actually arguing for that.
  • SophistiCat
    1.5k
    You mean this?

    9XjuIto.jpg
  • Jack Cummins
    489

    I think that you genuinely believe that the solution to suffering is to stop procreation. I can see a certain point to what you are saying in the sense that in times of extreme suffering we can wish that we had not been born at all. However, I think your whole antinatalist stance is far too simplistic.

    I am not one to say that suffering is necessarily a good thing. I would much rather a life with as little suffering as possible. It would be much easier. I also have known people who have committed suicide when they were in a state of deep crisis. But perhaps that is panic when people decide to end their lives. Deep down, I think that even in the worst circumstances there are potential creative pathways.

    I thought that the Madfool's answer about the Buddhist understanding of suffering may have given you a different angle, as a means to see possible more creative ways of understanding suffering than your antinatalist one. Of course, I see that you point out that it is not about the more dramatic answer of nuclear annihilation. But at the same time your approach is a dead end, lacking any creativity.

    At the end of the day whether to procreate or not is a personal decision. Each person comes from their own perspective on what kind of life they can provide for any children. I have come across people who come from the opposite viewpoint as you, who try to say we should have a duty to procreate. I object to them for preaching. But, really, you are preaching too.

    Getting back to the Covid_19 situation, in some ways we are being prevented from going out and procreating in the usual way by all the lockdowns and social distancing. At the same time, I have friends who have brought children into the world since the pandemic. I do wonder about the future of these children in the post Covid_19 world, but I am just hoping that on a long term basis some positive reconstructions of living will be made. I think that your energy would be better addressed to the positive changes which could be made in creating positive changes in the real world to reduce suffering, but, of course, I don't want to become a preacher.
  • NOS4A2
    3.9k


    How does this not lend cause to abstaining from procreation?

    One has nothing to do with the other. Besides, those who alleviate suffering and work to care for the ill were born first. On the other hand, refusing to procreate alleviates zero suffering, helps no one, does nothing to innovate beyond our current circumstances, so one shouldn’t expect any cookies for it.
  • Valentinus
    839

    My life has been good and bad. I am keenly aware that my child's existence is surrounded by all kinds of peril.
    I approached the choice with strong feelings of fear and trepidation, both for myself, my wife, and my child. I would not characterize the experience as doing something because I should on the basis of my experience. It was done more in spite of those perceptions. Maybe that is even worse from your point of view.
    Love hurts. Caring puts one at risk. I am all for treating parenting more seriously as a culture to counter those who embark upon it with barely a thought or concern, but the idea that one could boycott it like a brand of cheese seems presumptuous to me. The idea is not going to change people's behavior.
  • Alvin Capello
    88
    But then you are okay with using people to try to get to some technological utopia? People are thus fodder for the "aggregate utilitarian mill" of getting some advanced technology in some far off distant future?schopenhauer1

    No, I think it should be a voluntary and collective effort. But I wouldn't jump to conclusions by viewing the project as that of an "aggregate utilitarian mill". I for one am an ardent anti-consequentialist, so I have no plans to advocate for a utilitarian proposal. Nevertheless, we can still work towards a technological utopia on non-utilitarian grounds.
  • TheMadFool
    7.9k
    @Wayfarer I was offering a Buddhist perspective on the issue, it being in line with your thoughts that life is suffering and the only way to avoid/eliminate it is to be nonexistent (nirvana=extinguished). The catch is that in Buddhist belief only humans are in a position - being as they are in the mind's Goldilocks Zone - to achieve enlightenment (nirvana) and thus it follows that our duty is to procreate to the hilt just so that more souls get a shot at enlightenment. The end result, if all goes well, would be universal enlightenment, liberation of all souls from samsara - no more births as a consequence of past karma will be necessary. Isn't this right up the antinatalist's alley? The only difference between Buddhism and antinatalism is the modus operandi. The former advises us to have as many children as possible so that souls can escape the samsaric cycle of being born again and again by attaining nirvana but the latter's counsel is one step ahead, at procreation itself.

    As you would've have already noticed, to subscribe to Buddhism means you accept some metaphysical claims - souls, karma, birth-rebirth, to name a few - but antinatalism doesn't. This is the reason behind the incongruity between the two doctrines. If one is of the opinion that life is just too painful to be worth it, we have two options on our hands 1) Antinatalism and 2) Buddhism. For a down-to-earth person who reserves belief only for those claims founded on hard evidence, antinatalism is the right choice - don't have children. However, to someone open-minded, willing to consider possibilities no matter how crazy, then, to err on the side of caution (what if we have souls, karma is real, reincarnation is true?), we'd need to embrace Buddhism - have as many children as possible.

    @Wayfarer. I've been told that nirvana doesn't actually mean nonexistence but the spirit of Buddhism is to be no longer born in samsara and samsara includes the earth. In a sense then the desire and hope for nirvana is to be nonexistent on earth and that gibes with antinatalism.
  • Outlander
    769
    "You need to suffer to not be bored"schopenhauer1

    You need to be able to suffer or otherwise have the possibility of failure, misfortune, or loss to have any sense of passion or life of purpose. Naturally we all work to avoid these things but after accepting their inevitability we learn to cope with them better when they do arise.

    Why is gambling, playing a video game, skydiving, or riding a roller coaster exciting and not boring? Because each has a danger, some minor, some major, that invigorates us and is a departure from the normal routine.
  • matt
    143
    What if happiness is hereditary and therefore it is logical to go procreate.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    I object to them for preaching. But, really, you are preaching too.Jack Cummins

    I mean I object to people making the decisions for others whether they should create a whole other life, but I mean, other people object to certain political views, not eating animals, and all sorts of things. I wouldn't call it preaching to state those views and the reasons for it. This sounds like special pleading in the negative. Antinatalism is preaching but other viewpoints are just rationalizing their arguments for their claim. Interesting.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    On the other hand, refusing to procreate alleviates zero suffering, helps no one, does nothing to innovate beyond our current circumstances, so one shouldn’t expect any cookies for it.NOS4A2

    It prevents future suffering, not alleviates current ones. True, it literally helps no "one". The last part is just a straw man argument you are trying to knock down. I never stated how noble people are for not procreating, and how amazingly rewarded they should be. That is your false attribution.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    The idea is not going to change people's behavior.Valentinus

    Why do you suppose that is? Does acting the role of caregiver and lifegiver trump the realities that a child will have all sorts of sufferings known and unknown great and small befall him/her? Once born, you are giving a new being the task of enduring. Enduring what? It could be a number of personalized and generalized things.. Generalized things like navigating society's setup to survive within, find comfort, and seek ways to be entertained. It could be personalized things like dealing with various mental and physical illnesses, contingent circumstances of pain from the various causal circumstances of environmental, social, and physical combinations.

    You are giving someone the game of life to play, but why is the presumption that this is ok to give this game?

    The frequent response is the "If a tree falls.." argument.. Which I believe is falsely applied here and is kind of just a knee-jerk response. That is to say, people claim that people need to be born in order to see that they don't want to play the game. But they need to be born so they get to know that they don't like the game. Taken to its absurd extreme, it would be like saying that if you knew a newborn was going to be tortured, but since the newborn doesn't exist yet, we cannot determine that this is no good for that future person, because, it does not "actually" exist. So apparently the newborn needs to be tortured so we know that it would be bad. Does not make sense in that case, nor the "lesser" case of simply "giving" the game of life to someone, even if there is no actual person existing to know that they were "given" the game of life.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    Nevertheless, we can still work towards a technological utopia on non-utilitarian grounds.Alvin Capello

    Work towards utopia, and prevent birth, so do both.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.7k
    How does this not lend cause to abstaining from procreation?schopenhauer1

    People are really horny. Under the threat of inevitable and impending doom, fucking is as good an option as any. Consequence: invasion of the babies.

    I don't think it is possible for people to abstain from procreation, it's what they do outside of eating, shitting, and sleeping.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    You need to be able to suffer or otherwise have the possibility of failure, misfortune, or loss to have any sense of passion or life of purpose. Naturally we all work to avoid these things but after accepting their inevitability we learn to cope with them better when they do arise.

    Why is gambling, playing a video game, skydiving, or riding a roller coaster exciting and not boring? Because each has a danger, some minor, some major, that invigorates us and is a departure from the normal routine.
    Outlander

    I mean I don't see it the same way as you presenting here. There are various ways that you are oversimplifying this. One way is that danger that becomes a real nightmare isn't as invigorating. Skydiving and crashing to your impending death or worse (surviving and breaking every bone and organ) isn't fun. But, my point was that in this reality, you need to have a deficit in order to gain some thrill or feel more rewarded, apparently. If that is true, I can at least imagine a universe where you can have just as many thrills without a deficit. It is just not this reality. So though, it may be true, that once born in this reality, we have to play the game of deficit/reward, it is not worth starting for someone else, being that it is not ideal circumstances. You have to have suffering or pain or whatever it is for some gain. Again, just because that is the reality, doesn't mean it is then automatically a good thing. That is what I am trying to decouple from what seems to be your presumption there.

    Also, I don't think something is better off just because one had a negative experience that one overcame. A life where one could have gained the highs without the lows is better. However, if your claim is you can never have such a life, again that makes me think then there is something suspect about the reality of a situation where that is necessary in the first place. Just thinking a little beyond the usual tropes here of "No pain, no gain".
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k
    People are really horny. Under the threat of inevitable and impending doom, fucking is as good an option as any. Consequence: invasion of the babies.Merkwurdichliebe

    True enough. This does seem to be the case. I think it is also the same reason people adopt pets, etc. It is an experience of caregiving.. But you are certainly right, a lot of it is people screwing and babies are the outcome. However, a lot of people do think it through and still decide it is worth it for reasons I have stated. They want to see a being that has their genetics and/or the love child of their own genetics and their partner, navigate the world and do so based on their influence and input, etc. No one has the perspective change that perhaps it is not good to make another being endure, and deal with existence in the first place.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.7k
    Nevertheless, we can still work towards a technological utopia on non-utilitarian grounds.Alvin Capello

    Utopia is a pipe dream. Any attempt to implement utopia, whether technologically based or not, necessarily requires some measure of tyranny. It is totally absurd to merely consider the possibility of a system that perfectly fits every single individual, free of conflict and injustice. And even to imagine such a fictitious state invokes imagery of an excruciatingly boring and meaningless existence.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment