What Is Antinatalism?

Anti-Natalism is a very odd movement which is made up of folks who, like many of us, wish they were never born. But the anti-natalists wish to make this a trend or a movement.

Their philosophical view is that life is horrible torture. We come into the world, shine bright for what seems like forever but is really just a the blink of an eye. And the whole time we are wishing we lived forever (As if 70 year of torture was not enough!) and living in daily terror of our looming annihilation, which is colloquially known as our death.

We know we are going to die, this is the ultimate terror, and these facts make most of us at least a bit nuts, which is why things like dope, porn and therapists exist at all. A human comes into the world, is shown a glimpse of heavenly forever in a fleeting flame of existence, and then cruelly snuffed him out with utmost cruelly just when he thinks it’s barely even gotten started.

It’s awful. Life is torture.

They give you a glimpse of eternity and then snatch it away just as you are beginning to adjust your eyes. How cruel can you get? We salve ourselves with religion and lies and dope and sex to try to make this truth go away, but none of it really works, and deep inside we all know we are just fooling ourselves.

This thing called life is cruel and evil precisely because we die and we know it, and this tortures us into some degree of insanity with every day we march forward in footfalls of doom towards the ultimate in sheer, raving horror. Death is the ultimate fear, the granddaddy of all of the rest, and the others all have death as first base.

No compassionate human being would ever bring a child into this torture chamber called life to saddle it with the charnel house as coda always barely visible at the end of that long, seemingly eternal tunnel always in the foreground at least a bit no matter how we try not to see it. Death is the shadow that stalks us through life. We keep saying we won’t turn around and see it, but it’s no matter because it falls in front us as much as behind us. We can run but we can’t hide. Every time we turn this way or that, there’s another reaper. There’s literally no escape.

Bringing a poor innocent child into this horror called life is such a cruel and evil act that anti-natalists say we should all just stop doing it. Quit having kids. Stop bringing new humans into this Hell. It’s the only moral choice. Making babies can be nothing other than immoral or even evil. In order to be good, we must not breed.

Why is life such a horrorshow? Not so much because we die but because we know we are going to. As far as we know, most other animals are not even sure that they exist, and they don’t seem to know that they are going to die. So life is a pleasant illusion in a sense for a lower mammal.

If we humans somehow had no idea we were going to die, then our deaths would hardly be painful at all. We would be stumbling right along, assuming we were going to live forever, and then one day, death would take us away, but since we don’t know what it is or if it will even happen, it’s not a problem. We could go through our lives barely worrying about death for a second.

On the other hand, we might take all sorts of crazy risks all through life because we knew that no matter what, we could probably get away with it.

The threat of injury can be sobering, but it ain’t got nothing on death. Hurt and sick can’t begin to compare to buying it. It would be nice if they did, but they just don’t. That’s mostly because we humans persist in the delusion of sure recovery from injury and illness.

The only reason we are much cautious at all is because we are afraid that if we let down our guard or slip up, we will die. So most folks tend to watch their step through their lives, which is actually good for our species.

Obviously anti-natalists acknowledge that the movement would drive humans extinct, but anti-natalists either don’t care or think this would be a good thing. I have no idea what to say about that except that there sure would be lots of cockroaches running around our planet.

I do not support anti-natalism, and I think it is a bit of an absurd movement, but it is one of the cleverest movements I have heard of. I will give them that. For some reason, I doubt it will catch on.

Ann is also quite a misanthrope and pessimist, but I guess most of these anti-natalists are, and the former two would seem to flow naturally form the latter. So she spends a lot of time making misanthropic posts on Facebook which are pretty funny.

Schopenhauer (and even Nietzsche) are probably right after all. And so was Twain at the end. I realize that pessimism (and even nihilism) are rational. And so is misanthropy. I just think they are a drag. These notions are not wrong because they are false. They are wrong because they are no fun.

I suppose my argument would be, “Well, of course the world blows and life sucks, but so what?” And, “Well, sure most other humans are moronic and contemptible, but so what?” The purpose of life is not to wallow in these damnable truths. The purpose of life is the Endless Party we all need to engage in so we don’t have to think about those things. We are here to pretend, escape and forget. That’s the meaning of life. That’s it. There’s nothing else.

25 Comments

Filed under Ethics, Philosophy, Psychology

25 responses to “What Is Antinatalism?

  1. Pingback: Robert Stark Interviews Ann Sterzinger about “In the Sky” | Beyond Highbrow - Robert Lindsay

  2. Gay State Girl

    I called myself anti natalist, but was simply promoting the idea that people should have fewer children and society should be less child centric. Now I can’t align myself with such views.

  3. William

    Now the Jews are inventing creative ways to make Whites not want to bring kids into this world! Pathetic! Odds Robert is a Jew 100 to 1 on NOW. #jewseverywhere #beyondlongnose

  4. James Schipper

    Dear Robert

    A prominent modern anti-natalist is David Benatar, a South African philosopher who wrote the book Better Never to Have Been Born: the Harm of coming into Existence. Interesteringly, I was once talking to a population ethicist, who had come from a scholarly conference on population ethics. This man told me that Benatar had also attended the conference but that he had refused to eat with the rest of the participants because he eats kosher, even though he is an atheist. This makes me suspect that Benatar is a poseur who likes to be provocative.

    Logically, anti-natalists should advocate universal suicide and believe that murder is not a crime but a favor bestowed on a suffering creature who does not have the fortitude to overcome the instinct of preservation. it is inconsistent to defend the position that we should not procreate because human life is intrinsically and irredeemably painful but also to believe that, once a person has come into the world, we should not hasten his departure from it. It is equivalent to maintaining that we should not make anyone blind but also to argue that nothing should be done to cure people from blindness.

    As GSG pointed out, anti-natalism is something quite different from the advocacy of birth control. People who believe that fertility should be limited do so because they are concerned about the quality of human life, which they think will deteriorate or not improve if too many babies are born.

    Regards. James

  5. jorge

    Rich people’s problem.

    Probably they have too much free time to analyze and become depressed for things that are obvious. If they had to survive day to day in extreme poverty maybe they would realize how lucky they are to live how they live.

    If you think that life is a torture, ends with it instead to go whining all day for get attention.

    I could understand this kind of thinking of people who lived (or is living) hardships (rape, torture, unexpected death of family members/close people, war, hard poverty, etc.), and I don’t know if is the case of some anti-natalists, but I don’t think that people like this (that passed hardships) would start a movement about it.

    • Jason Y

      Movie stars and rock stars sometimes kill themselves which says a lot.

      • Jason Y

        I mean, “What are they bitching about?”. They have everything.

        • jorge

          They have everything in material terms. It is obvious to say, but the material does not make happiness. Or the fact of having nothing more to get, can lead to depression. But at least they end their lives rather than being whimpering (although, with suicide, they hurt people who love them).

        • Gay State Girl

          Jorge

          Where are you from?

        • Jason Y

          Possibly they are bored. A talented person could just study more things, maybe make a blog to show-off to friends, to cure depression.

          Get a hobby people !!

        • Jason Y

          A situation of being massively hated and rejected or perhaps a loved one dying would make a real reason for suicide, not fame and fortune.

          Literally a bullied person’s life can be hell on Earth.

  6. AssemblyLineHuman

    I was at a time, long before I decided to have children. The idea that suffering would cease, when all life ceased seem logical.

    And it is.

    BUT, you can decide to stop having children, but not everyone will. It’s not going to happen. The chances of the human race coming to this realisation and doing anything to that extent is zero. Zip. Absoultely none. There will always be people with this problem, until the next major asteroid burns the surface of the earth to a crisp.

    Which means there is only one other alternative, fight like hell to make life more bearable, pleasant longer, and eventually eternal (I do believe that we can eventually stop aging and theoretically live much longer). Which means humans must work on this goal, which means we must have people capable of making this goal come about. We could do this, and I don’t think we are too much further.

    The WORST CASE scenario is millenia of people living like they do in India and in the other shitholes. Smart enough to sustain life, not aware or willing enough to make it worthwhile. Not organised, intelligent or charitable or focused enough to work on those things which make life more bearable, which can bring a better future and liberate us from the tyranny of matter.

    This is why I shudder and recoil with absolute horror when I see another batch of people from backwards lands and cultures enter my country, because thats another step backwards from the goal of a better life.

    Life sucks. It’s not going away. It may not be worth living, but why not try like hell to try to MAKE it worth living?

  7. f1981782

    Great post, Robert! Especially your conclusion. If someone is far this deep into pessimism, you would think that they should be aware of how pointless and hopeless it is to even attempt to run such a movement.

    Either off yourself, which will solve your problems much quicker as the dreadful reality will cease to exist in your own universe, or accept life for what it is and enjoy while it lasts. Anything else is being in denial, pointless and if anything will just lead to more negativity. Posting on Facebook also surely won’t solve much!

    reminds me of a quote i saw a while ago:

    “I’d consider myself a realist, alright? But in philosophical terms I’m what’s called a pessimist…
    I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself – we are creatures that should not exist by natural law… We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, that accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are each someboy, when in fact everbody’s nobody… I think the honorable thing for our species to do is to deny our programming.
    Stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction – one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.”

    • AssemblyLineHuman

      I think consciousness may actually have an evolutionary advantage, which is why it developed in the first place.

      If the brain was not a stochastic system, that is, determinite, based on natural laws, then it would operate as a computer does, and consciousness would be pointless. The neurons fire based on the precise chemical and electical state they are in, the same, each time.

      But what if the brain was able to amplify some quantum uncertainty, so that the brain, given the SAME chemical and electrical state, could send signals differently? What if early on, nature found a way to bring a little more randomness, a little more variability, which then allowed the brain to use different neural pathways given the same inputs, thereby leading to greater creativity and novelty. That WOULD have an evolutionary advantage.

      Now what if in doing this, it had the side effect of making that entity conscious?

  8. SHI

    As far as we know, most other animals are not even sure that they exist, and they don’t seem to know that they are going to die. So life is a pleasant illusion in a sense for a lower mammal.

    I’m sure even lower order mammals have a clear concept of death. Cows, monkeys, deer, dogs, cats and even laboratory mice and chicken feel bereavement on account of the loss of a loved one. I was close friends with a Labrador Retriever during my childhood. He was a very perceptible creature and could feel my exact emotional state. When it was time for him to die, he stopped eating for days and had a sad, meditative glance as if saying the final good byes. I would try comfort him, but he seemed more fatalistic than a sad human being.

    He died right in my presence, gazing in my eyes the whole time. I felt absolutely terrible with his passing away, it was too much to bear for a 11 year old. It took me a few months and a change in location to feel normal again. I love dogs but I have never had one as a pet again.

  9. Jason Y

    I have family members who think they’re ugly. It’s the annoying opposite of narcissism. In my view both of them are terrible, and I wish so much so much sometimes that they’d shut up with their comments.

  10. KsytriaKhalsa

    No, we are here to do our sacred Dharma.

  11. Tarjei Vatne

    Of course anti-natalism will never catch on, and probably it shouldn’t.
    That being said, there’s a few strawmen around here, I feel.
    Anti-natalism, in my view, is not about death, it is about birth. Viewed from the bliss of not being born, life is a rocky path at best, and death – and the knowlegde of death – is just one of many problems. A horrible skin disease, for instance, will nicely do the trick, thank you very much😉 And thus pity go out to the creatures we call animals as well, even though they’re not philosophical.

    I agree: Being alive, go for it, do what you can! But we never chose being alive.

    So anti-natalism, as I see it, is a certain compassion towards all living things, and a constant reminder: Life is uncommon, being unborn is more common, are you sure you want to push more destinies into the uncommonness called existence, without even asking them?

    Are you really sure?

    Are you really really sure?

    • Well, how could you even ask them in the first place? In that scenario it’s assuming that people always choose to have kids.

      Second even if they did have kids, the offspring wouldn’t have the ability to think abstractly on whether life is “worth it” or not. When it’s actually challenged by life it would pretty much be operating on it’s will to live and could theoretically be deciding whether or not life is worth it when they thin abstractly, hence teens suicides.

      Even then, not all people who have it “rough” even want or have the will to kill themselves. Those who do but are restricted from doing so are occasionally, but not always, accompanied by people who try to show that life in some ways has purpose. Regardless, I can see how the last example can be debated as far as human morals go but towards birthing itself is pretty far out their.

      It’s stuff like this that forgets that humans, while unique in some aspects, are still animals. While this would revolve around the quality of us being “aware” with consciousness, we are still different in regards to how we view life and it’s downsides. Thus pushing this kind of thinking in the format of a movement is sort of a fail from the get go.

  12. Kareem

    I can understand both sides of the argument.

    Antinatalism can only be discussed retroactively, e.g. after you’re already born and brought into consciousness, so it changes everything. The majority of people whose life is objectively negative will still profess to be glad to be alive because of this, because mortality and nonexistence are scary and counter-intuitive to human nature. And then there’s the people who are in fact happy and whose life is a positive experience overall, who definitely are glad to be alive.

    That leaves only a tiny portion of people who are so depressed and self aware that they would consent to their own nonexistence. Should they really be the ones to decide “alright, now we’re gonna deny everyone else the right to reproduce as well”? It kinda leaves the chicken and the egg argument, where before someone’s born it’s better that they’re not, but once they are, they don’t wanna go back.

    Then there’s also the argument of autonomy — who has the authority to deny people their biological imperative? Should the government be the one to decide who gets to have kids, or if no one should get to have kids at all? And what would the criteria be, etc. It’s very complicated. At some point nature just has to work itself out.

  13. Jason Y

    Possibly the desire to not want to live or bring kids into a world one views as hopeless is a wimpy view😆 Life is a challenge. Get over it. God or whoever made the world didn’t make anything easy for some reason.

  14. jorge

    Gay State Girl

    “Jorge

    Where are you from?”

    From Argentina.

    Jason Y

    “Possibly they are bored. A talented person could just study more things, maybe make a blog to show-off to friends, to cure depression.

    Get a hobby people !

    A situation of being massively hated and rejected or perhaps a loved one dying would make a real reason for suicide, not fame and fortune.

    Literally a bullied person’s life can be hell on Earth.”

    I agree with both things.

  15. SD

    Movie stars kill themselves because SCARFACE-sized piles of cocaine will totally deplete your dopamine levels and leave you with ghastly clinical depression for the remainder of your time on earth.

    That’s when they discover heroin to “level out”. The baddest depressant in the world.

    Heroin is always the end of the road for most druggies-it goes 1) weed 2) LSD/hallucinogens 3) cocaine and finally heroin…the end of the road. This has always been the trajectory of addicts.

    • Jason Y

      Nice comment. That’s true. Whether it’s drugs or sex, moderation is the key. I guess those square religious people are more wise than we give them credit for.

  16. SD

    Lohan and Houston looked like truck stop crack whores you would see outside an Arkansas station towards the end.

    They would be hard-pressed to find a $100 John outside a truck stop. Lohan has just turned 30 years old and looks fifty.

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