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Anti-Natalism and Existence


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#1    Gearshaag

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:38 AM

Well, I've been thinking about this for quite a while now and I've been wanting to have a discussion about it for a while. In our modern society, having kids is pretty much something that's just automatically expected of you. You start your family and whatever, raise some kids and help guide them along a pathway to 'success' (whatever the hell that means to you :P). I can't and won't speak for anyone else, but at least in my experience not wanting kids is strangely enough somewhat frowned upon. Sometimes it's more implicit, but there are a few occasions where it's openly criticized and bashed. But I must ask, why is that? I understand that there are definitely reasons to reproduce and have kids (help facilitate the continued survival of the species, having someone to replace the older people after they're gone, growing society, etc) but at the same time, when I sit and think about it long and hard, I can't see any good reason why I myself as an individual should bring a child onto this planet. Hell, I think I may have some moral issues about it as well just from my own perspective and beliefs about the world. Just look at animals, look at all of their suffering and struggles and their continued labor just for them to survive. And what do they get out of it in the end? Continued survival...that is, until they eventually die, in which case everything that they struggled and suffered for is null and void. Even just sitting down and watching Animal Planet's documentaries on certain wild cats just makes me question the point of it all to a greater extent. Watching what some of these animals go through really does make me shake my head. These animals don't really have a conscious choice in this matter, either, because they lack the mental capability to just up and say 'No, I won't do this, I won't reproduce and bring these cubs onto this planet just to suffer and face the same fate as I will eventually.' It's ingrained into their system and they pretty much can't do much about it, they basically have little to no choice. Humans, on the other hand, have a choice. For some, it may be the easiest choice they'll ever make in their life. For others, it may be a serious and pressing issue. Either way, majority of us have a choice in this matter.

I have a lot of jumbled thoughts on this, so a lot of my ideas in this thread may seem a bit...directionless and all over the place. Anyways, continuing on; when I step out of my own skin for a minute and objectively look at humanity as a whole, not just from our modern days but taking the past into account as well, I don't ever want to bring a kid onto this planet at all. Think about all of the horrible things that humanity has endured in its history; all of the atrocities, the disease, the famine, the starving, the needless cruelty and everything else that I failed to mention (some if not most of these things are a result of other people, too, which is an important thing to note). Think of all of this and then face the somewhat disturbing and disheartening fact that it was all ultimately completely pointless and, in some cases, totally accidental and beyond anyone's control. What purpose does all of this serve? None, and that is what I think just drives this point in harder for me. You could give birth to a child who has a wonderful life and grows up happy and maybe even makes accomplishments that live well beyond his/her own lifetime. On the flipside of that coin you could also give birth to a harlequin fetus, maybe give birth to a mildly autistic kid whose life will most likely be a major pain in the ass, you may give birth to someone who ends up just having awful luck or many other horrible permutations of these things that may or may not occur. You may be thinking that, yeah, sure, these things could happen, but they probably won't. Well, you have to keep in mind that all of these things are a very real possibility. That's what I think people often fail to recognize. They don't think to consider what sort of potential misery that their offspring could face and assume that, because they are in a relatively prosperous and favorable position, their offspring will most likely end up in that position as well. In reality, you really can't know that for sure. Sometimes these circumstances are in full control of the person, and I won't deny that some folks' misery is brought upon by their own failures. However, you also have to consider that, not only was this child's existence completely beyond his control (especially those with diseases/disabilities that happened beyond their control) but that sometimes that kid's circumstances are beyond their control as well. The pursuit of happiness is something that is common among all people, and I think that happiness is something that's very achievable, but at the same time it often times isn't something that is achieved. Sometimes it's just a wishful thought or a forbidden fruit of sorts. I once worked at a middle school and just seeing the people in special education was enough to make me pretty saddened. Here are kids who have problems that are completely beyond their control. They can't do anything about it, their lives are a pain in the ass. They can't do the things we can do, they suffer and go through so many frustrations, and it's all completely accidental, beyond their control. Nature didn't intend for them to be this way, it didn't intend for anyone to be any way, it doesn't intend for anyone to be any certain way, it just ends up that way. They're often subjected to the bullying of their peers, those who 'fit-in' more. Often times those who are subject to bullying aren't even disabled or have diseases. Often times these folks are just a little bit different than everyone else, they break the mold a bit and don't just stick to the status quo. Maybe they follow a different religion, maybe they like different music, maybe they dress differently. It all matters not, the point is, these kids are subject to these bullies for lame reasons and, often times, they and their parents in some cases have to deal with this completely avoidable and pointless bout of suffering. If a child commits suicide, it's often asked why that happened, or why the kid didn't just talk to someone or some sort of question like that. Honestly, I can sympathize with some child who commits suicide. Of course it's sad, I am not saying that is isn't. It's a horrible experience for the people who are left in the wake of such an event and sometimes can leave irreparable scars. I just wish sometimes that I could be there before the decision was made so I can talk to the child and ask them why myself just out of curiosity. I will say, this, though; I think suicide isn't the answer often times and that a better solution can be reached in some cases. However, just being the devil's advocate for a second, I can see why one would commit suicide. Maybe these kids have been going through things that led up to that suicide, maybe it just wasn't that one thing that caused it. Maybe that one thing was in fact just the straw that broke the camel's back. You don't know what could have really been going through that person's mind. You can't know, they're dead and gone. If they seek help and continue to live and overcome their obstacles, why? Just to suffer some more and have more crap to overcome? It seems like something in life that's almost as certain as death itself. For all the good times there'll be even more suffering and pointless misery to come. Now of course it's good to cherish the good times that you have in your life as a contrast to all of the nonsense that you must deal with, but to deny that which all humans experience at some point is dishonest. All of the good times can definitely make life worth living, but it really isn't certain as to how many of those experiences one will have. A starving child in Africa may experience good times and experience good things in his/her life, but that doesn't excuse the fact that that's still a starving child in Africa. Occasional good experiences does not a happy life make. Really, I think that a good life is subjective, but I don't think that there's much room to be subjective when it comes to suffering and what not. There are lots of people that say life is a gift or that life is precious. I can agree with the latter, because life is short and precious and should be cherished when it comes into fruition. The former, though, I think is definitely wrong. For some people, life is not a gift at all.
When I think about all of the stuff that people put each other through, all of the pointless suffering, even in our modern world, I understand sometimes why people choose to believe in religion. But often times, those religious beliefs can be harbors for causing suffering as well. I don't know but it seems to me that I have a moral obligation to not have any kids or bring any offspring into existence simply because of all of the nonsense that I mention above plus stuff I am not even going to get into now because I don't want to make this longer than it already is. I must ask, why would you potentially subject people you supposedly love to this sort of potential pointless suffering? What is it supposed to really accomplish? There are already enough of us as it is, and we aren't animals, so we absolutely do not have the same circumstances that they have. Even if our accomplishments while on earth continue to live on beyond us, our names most likely will not. I don't think that I could live with myself if I made the decision to bring a person onto this planet knowing just what kind of potential suffering awaits that person.
If you yourself want or have kids, what is your motivation? Why do you want kids and what do you seek to accomplish here?



/ramble, and thanks for reading my ridiculously long musings.

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#2    _Only

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:47 AM

I can't honestly say what gives me that want to have a little girl, but it's just there. Sometimes when I'm just about to fall asleep or right as I'm waking up in that twilight state, I fantasize about spending time with my little love.

The part of me that says I shouldn't have a child is the rational part of me that knows I am too selfish and immature to raise a new human. But then I wonder if having my little girl would be what teaches me how to become unselfish and more mature.

Then I get sad because I fear I'll never find a girl who will love me enough to make my little girl with me. I don't want a good time. I want the love of my life. But that is getting off point and slightly embarrassing.

edit: But my personal feelings I don't fully understand aside, if everyone shared your opinions about bringing new life into the world, life would cease to exist. The fear of undesirable life would cancel the opportunity for new enjoyable life. This is why it's probably best that we have the personal perceptions to see the glass of life as half empty or half full.

Edited by _Only, 26 July 2013 - 03:50 AM.

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#3    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:49 AM

I agree with everything you said, and I don't plan on bringing kids into this world

COME WITH ME. OVERWHELMING POWER AND MADNESS AWAIT

THAT IS NOT DEAD WHICH CAN ETERNAL LIE AND WITH STRANGE AEONS EVEN DEATH MAY DIE

#4    Gearshaag

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:57 AM

View Post_Only, on 26 July 2013 - 03:47 AM, said:

I can't honestly say what gives me that want to have a little girl, but it's just there. Sometimes when I'm just about to fall asleep or right as I'm waking up in that twilight state, I fantasize about spending time with my little love.

The part of me that says I shouldn't have a child is the rational part of me that knows I am too selfish and immature to raise a new human. But then I wonder if having my little girl would be what teaches me how to become unselfish and more mature.

Then I get sad because I fear I'll never find a girl who will love me enough to make my little girl with me. I don't want a good time. I want the love of my life. But that is getting off point and slightly embarrassing.

edit: But my personal feelings I don't fully understand aside, if everyone shared your opinions about bringing new life into the world, life would cease to exist. The fear of undesirable life would cancel the opportunity for new enjoyable life. This is why it's probably best that we have the personal perceptions to see the glass of life as half empty or half full.
thing is, at some point, there will cease to be life anyways. This is inevitable. Chances are our species will eventually go the way of 99% of all species that have ever existed. Also, note that I'm speaking from my own perspective and said multiple times that I can't speak for anyone else but myself.

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#5    The Silver Thong

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:12 AM

I never had kids and ya kinda regret it but what is, is.

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#6    redhen

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:27 AM

I suspect it is based on selfishness, perhaps unconsciously. Having offspring gives one the hope of a piece of immortality. From one of Richard Dawkin's earliest books The Selfish Gene;

"I have been a bit negative about memes, but they have their cheerful side as well.  When we die there are two things we can leave behind us: genes and memes.  We were built as gene machines, created to pass on our genes.  But that aspect of us will be forgotten in three generations.  Your child, even your grandchild, may bear a resemblance to you, perhaps in facial features, in a talent for music, in the colour of her hair.  But as each generation passes, the contribution of your genes is halved.  It does not take long to reach negligible proportions.  Our genes may be immortal but the collection of genes that is any one of us is bound to crumble away.  Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror.  Yet it is quite probable that she bears not a single one of the old king's genes.  We should not seek immortality in reproduction.

But if you contribute to the world's culture, if you have a good idea, compose a tune, invent a sparking plug, write a poem, it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool.  Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares ?  The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong."


#7    _Only

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:31 AM

View PostGearshaag, on 26 July 2013 - 03:57 AM, said:

thing is, at some point, there will cease to be life anyways. This is inevitable. Chances are our species will eventually go the way of 99% of all species that have ever existed.

That you just can't say any better than I can. But I know we can't say it is inevitable. 'Chances are' looks much more accurate. But again, it is unknown, and not reason to give up procreating with a 'well it's almost over anyway' attitude.

Quote

Also, note that I'm speaking from my own perspective and said multiple times that I can't speak for anyone else but myself.

Yeah, that didn't need reiteration. I was just giving a hypothetical to flesh the negative side of your opinion out.

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#8    _Only

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:37 AM

View Postredhen, on 26 July 2013 - 04:27 AM, said:

I suspect it is based on selfishness, perhaps unconsciously. Having offspring gives one the hope of a piece of immortality.

If it's anything unconscious, it's furthering of the species as an evolutionary beneficial trait. But that is the opinion of those who feel everything we do is tied down to instinctive survival. But like I said before, selfishness is what keeps me from truly wanting a little love, but I see that it is love that is making me desire her so much. I just can't put it into the correct words to express. Well, I guess the best I can use is simply 'love'.

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#9    darkmoonlady

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 05:01 AM

As someone who is incapable of having kids and knowing this my whole life, the biological imperative to reproduce is sometimes a hard switch to turn off. I know I can't have kids, realistically and rationally don't want any, in the sense that if I could there is a chance of passing on my birth defect to any offspring I might have, not to mention where I am as a person in life it wouldn't be good. Having said all that as I just turned 40 my biological alarms are going off at times and it is overwhelming. I tear up around pregnant women and I can feel this sense of expiring fertility in myself that I never knew was there. I am at peace with not having kids in my logical and rational mind, I love being an Aunt and soon to be Great Aunt again. But that deep hard wiring to reproduce came as a shock to me. I have no doubt it will fade as I get older but don't ever discount the instinct to reproduce, it exists sometimes beyond our thinking to someplace deeper in ourselves, at least it did for me.

Edited by darkmoonlady, 26 July 2013 - 05:02 AM.

“The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance …or change... logic can be happily tossed out the window. Religious mania is one of the few infallible ways of responding to the worlds vagaries, because it totally eliminates pure accident. To the true religious maniac, it’s ALL on purpose” – Stephen King, The Stand

#10    _Only

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 05:13 AM

It'd be interesting to do a poll of whether people think having children is necessary and/or wanted, and then ask the age of the person taking the poll.

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#11    LostSouls7

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 06:04 AM

I think most children come about from people getting horny and not using birth control.

I think most people don't think of the consequnce of having children.

A good example are some of my realtives...
they have to many children and are poor. ANd the children suffer in poor conditions.
Now why would you have tons of children if you are poor?
I say if people produced money how they produce children they would be rich!

I would not have children as my DNA gentetic code will give the child a 50 50 chance..
of having surgery... so .. yeah not going to happen.

Persoanally for this reason I would never have children..
the 2nd reason is I will never fall in love or get married..

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#12    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 08:25 AM

Oh dear, I wouldn't want one. noisy little things.

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#13    GreenmansGod

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 11:08 AM

The first one wasn't planned.  Guess what, if a woman on birth control gets the flu it can fail.  She didn't ever know she was getting sick until morning. The second, she wanted a girl, it was a boy.  That was when I got fixed.  Enough was enough of that. That way if she ever really wanted another one she could, but I was done having kids. I am glad I got them. When they are little kids they are fun, when they are teenagers they were a nightmare, when they are adults they are fun again.  I get to be the teenager this time. Revenge is sweet.

There are a lot of little kids out there that need homes, if you don't want to have one or can't you can adopt one or foster.

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#14    LostSouls7

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:05 PM

View PostDarkwind, on 26 July 2013 - 11:08 AM, said:

The first one wasn't planned.  Guess what, if a woman on birth control gets the flu it can fail.  She didn't ever know she was getting sick until morning. The second, she wanted a girl, it was a boy.  That was when I got fixed.  Enough was enough of that. That way if she ever really wanted another one she could, but I was done having kids. I am glad I got them. When they are little kids they are fun, when they are teenagers they were a nightmare, when they are adults they are fun again.  I get to be the teenager this time. Revenge is sweet.

There are a lot of little kids out there that need homes, if you don't want to have one or can't you can adopt one or foster.

If I ever did get married.. i would like to Adopt one.
teach him how to be a tiny wizard lol
But i just wouldn't want to take the chance of my own child being born with heart problems..
and having painful surgery and suffering later. No way not very nice

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#15    Ryu

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:38 PM

View Postredhen, on 26 July 2013 - 04:27 AM, said:

I suspect it is based on selfishness, perhaps unconsciously.

There is nothing selfish about NOT wanting to have kids. In fact it shows great responsibility to abstain from it when you know you don't want them and you cannot afford it.
There is nothing noble about bringing children into a loveless family.

There will always be procreation so we don't need to worry about human life ceasing.
Life is life, in order to help pretend that it is worth it we end up defining it by semantics not reality.

In the end it doesn't matter WHO does what as long as a condition is set up so the new crop of people aren't burdened by the results of the mistakes made in the past.





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