Kids? Just say no to procreation! (against innate breeder life style)

C C Offline

EXCERPT: In 2006, I published a book called "Better Never to Have Been". I argued that coming into existence is always a serious harm. People should never, under any circumstance, procreate – a position called ‘anti-natalism’. In response, readers wrote letters of appreciation, support and, of course, there was outrage. But I also got this message, which is the most wrenching feedback I have received:


One does not have to be an anti-natalist to be moved by these words (which are quoted with permission). Some might be inclined to say my correspondent’s situation is an exceptional one, which should not incline us towards anti-natalism. However, severe suffering is not a rare phenomenon, and thus anti-natalism is a view that, at the very least, should be taken seriously and considered with an open mind.

The idea of anti-natalism is not new. In Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, the chorus declares that ‘not to be born is, beyond all estimation, best’. A similar idea is expressed in Ecclesiastes. In the East, both Hinduism and Buddhism have a negative view of existence (even if they do not often go so far as to oppose procreation). Various thinkers since then have also recognised how pervasive suffering is, which moved them to explicitly oppose procreation: Arthur Schopenhauer might be the most famous, but others include Peter Wessel Zapffe, Emil Cioran and Hermann Vetter.

Anti-natalism will only ever be a minority view because it runs counter to a deep biological drive to have children. However, it is precisely because it is up against such odds that thoughtful people should pause and reflect rather than hastily dismiss it as mad or wicked. It is neither...


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