"Antinatalism Transcended (a.k.a. Antinatalist Tomfoolery)", LudditeReturns
"Vloggerdome: Efilist ...video #2", InMendham
"Re Antinatalism Transcended (a.k.a. Antinatalist Tomfoolery)", mymiseryandme
00:15 is the "act of bringing a child into being ... an act of murder"?
the act of bringing a child into being entails all the harms which will eventually befall that particular child. So while it cannot be presumed that every child who is brought into existence will be murdered, it is certainly true that those children/adults who do end their existence through murder can trace that end to their initial birth. The point being made with this analogy is that birth entails suffering and death. So any potential parent who considers having a child should take into account the pitfalls of that process, namely the harms that will be brought upon any potential person should they be imposed into existence.
00:25 you say that the act of having a child does not "quite manifestly fall within" the boundaries of murder.:: This just seems like a semantics game. Instead of trying to analyse whether procreation means murder on a definitional level, we should instead be thinking about the consequences of procreation, which in some instances, does lead to the child/adult being murdered. Once we acknowledge that murder takes place in society, and accept that procreation does in fact encompass all the eventual harms which may eventually befall a particular person, it is reasonable to conclude that murder falls within the act of procreation or is at least linked to it in a causal fashion.
· You say this is “nothing more than shoddy antinatalist emotionalism, nothing more than disgusting rhetoric”.:: Murder, rape, torture, child abuse, war, famine, disease, all of these harms are part and parcel of the fabric of the reality which we inhabit. Trying to point these aspects of existence as being of a fundamentally negative character and therefore problematic, and asking potential procreators to provide a rational justification for imposing a person into this life where they may eventually end up becoming victims of murder or rape, is not mere ‘antinatalist emotionalism’ nor ‘disgusting rhetoric’, as you put it. It is at the very least a reasonable request.
00:40 You say “suffering has no value”. You say, this is echoing Nietzsche that “there are no moral phenomenon, only the moral interpretation of phenomenon”.:: I have to vehemently disagree with this statement. Suffering is an intrinsically negative, bad, unpleasant, discomforting, horrific phenomenon, depending on the nature and degree of the experience. When I look at a zebra being shredded to pieces by a pack of hyenas or a child dying of cancer in a hospital ward, or a soldier on a battlefield slowing bleeding to death because his legs and arms have been blown off, my personal knowledge of suffering and pain tells me that those sentient beings are in a decidedly negative state and I would not want to be in their position for no good reason.
01:15 re determinism, you say that you have this “intuitive” sense that “I’ve done action A but I could’ve done action B” which “determinism denies”.:: Determinism simply states that all of our actions (including thoughts and behaviour) are the result of physical events occurring in the brain. So your “intuitive” sense (vague word) that you have made a choice (such as choosing A over B) is just that, an illusion or sense of making a choice. There is no contradiction here. The human being acts according to electrical impulses generated by the brain. The individual human beings’ sense that they are making choices is just part of the illusory theatre of experience which the brain generates for the purpose of getting the individual human to behave in a way that aids its survival.
02:00 You say that we are “attributing value as a kind of super imposition on a reality that isn’t there”. No, the reality consists of sentient beings which can suffer. What we are doing here is simply recognizing that sentient beings exist in this universe, on this planet as discreet objects, and one of their properties is being able to feel positive/negative sensations. We are saying that the experience of these negative sensations is significant in that they are something to be avoided if possible.
02:10 “value as a transperspectival property”:: I think you have to stop seeing value as something that is imposed on this phenomenological reality by the subjective emotive human brain. Instead you have to see value as something that is discerned or extracted out of reality by the rational part of the brain. When we say “suffering has value”, albeit negative value (since it is a liability and not a benefit), we are simply using our brains to look at the world around us, identify objects and put them in categories, and making a hierarchical list of the most important to the least important. We are saying that suffering is the most important thing that exists in this universe because of the sheer negative qualitative weight of the experience of suffering. Just imagine what it would feel like to be tortured. It would be a horrific experience and none of us would willingly subject ourselves to that experience. This shows that suffering (intense pain) isn’t something to be messed with. You wouldn’t impose it on somebody unless you had a good reason, if you are a rational ethical person. It is important to make the distinction between conferring value and recognizing value. A person confers value onto some object because they personally like it. But a person recognizes value by using their brain to draw out from this reality what seems to have the most significance/weight.
02:15 “suffering is only valuable insofar it is valued by a valuator”:: why don’t we look at it this way. It is true that only humans can make value judgements in this universe because only we are endowed with a rational brain capable of making such value judgments, as far as we know. However, this does not imply that suffering ceases to be a negative/bad/unpleasant phenomenon when there is no human person around to judge an instance of said suffering. Before humans came around on the scene, there were billions of sentient animals who lived and died on this planet. And a lot of them “suffered”, meaning they underwent horrific states of agony as they were tearing each other apart to fulfil their dietary requirements and territorial fighting. Is this not a “self-evident” fact? When the dinosaurs were killing each other, were they not inflicting horrific pain/misery on each other in the process? So suffering (a negative phenomenon) was still being manifested on this planet even though, as you say, there weren’t any “valuators” around to explicitly make that value judgment.
02:30 “there is no objective ought that the antinatalist can appeal to” because suffering is a subjective value judgment:: as I have tried to demonstrate above, suffering is an inherently bad, negative, unpleasant experience. You don’t need a human being around to validate the negative quality of suffering. The human being simply recognizes the negative quality of suffering, that is, the human being shows up, and says, yup, suffering is a negative and puts it in a separate category called “negative, bad, unpleasant” to distinguish it from positive pleasurable phenomenological experiences. Given that suffering is intrinsically negative, the rational human being will then endeavour to act in a way that eliminates or minimizes instances of said suffering. You don’t even have to be an antinatalist to concede that we do this and have been doing this for millennia, just look at our attempts to cure disease, build bridges and generally engage in attempts to alleviate the quality of life of human beings and other sentient beings (let’s leave aside exploitation through capitalism, for the present moment). So how do we get an “ought” from an “is”? If we accept that suffering is an inherently negative/bad/unpleasant phenomenon, and I’ve tried to show how that is the case, then the rational next step would be to find ways to eliminate or mitigate instances of said suffering. The antinatalist is simply saying that since life is futile and there is no need for sentient beings to exist in this universe, the best solution to the problem of sentient suffering is to not create sentient beings and impose them into this existence where they will be exposed to risks of suffering and certainty of death. It seems irrational to create a sentient creature which can be harmed without having a good reason. Trying to alleviate the suffering of sentient creatures once they are imposed into existence, while a worthwhile goal, seems like a waste of effort when the simpler solution is to not create such harmable vulnerable creatures in the first place.
02:40 “there is no value in objective reality that the antinatalist can appeal to”:: value is a word we are using to describe something in reality that is “precious”, “significant”, “expensive”, “costly”. Again, we are not “imposing” a subjective personal conception of value onto reality. We are simply saying that the only thing which a rational mind can discern as possessing the traits of “preciousness”, “significance”, “expensivenes” and “costliness” is the suffering (negative sensate experience, i.e. qualia) manifested in the consciousness of sentient beings. Just imagine someone slowly sticking a knife in your gut and moving it to and fro. The sheer magnitude of that negative horrible experience is hard to digest. We are saying that such phenomenological experiences are “costly”, “expensive”, “significant” and shouldn’t be trifled with. This is all we’re saying. It’s a simple but profoundly important point.
02:50 re “physicalist theory of reality”:: I just don’t see how physicalism or materialism precludes 1) the recognition of consciousness as a phenomenon tied to the neurology of sentient beings and 2) the recognition of the qualitative difference between suffering and pleasure. In a material physical deterministic world, that is, in this very reality which we inhabit, there are arrangements of matter-energy which have the property of consciousness (sentient creatures) and one property of consciousness is the capacity to manifest positive/negative sensations, which are “felt” and “experienced” by the individual sentient being. In this universe, in this reality, on this planet, there are living things which we have identified under the name “sentience” which have this capacity to feel pain/pleasure. This is an objective description of the physical material world of which we are a part. This description contains within it an account of consciousness as an integral part of those sentient creatures which have the neurology to manifest it. So there is no contradiction between saying that consciousness exists in this universe and is tied to the neurology which makes up sentient creatures, and that suffering is an inherently negative phenomenon experienced by said sentient creatures.
03:00 “value is kind of like numbers, numbers do not exist in some abstract realm, right?”:: But sentient creatures do exist in this physical universe, right? It’s not an abstraction to say that sentient creatures exist on planet Earth, and sentient creatures can suffer or be harmed. If I see a dog limping with a broken leg, it is not an abstraction to say that this particular dog is in pain and in need of comfort. The dog exists in this universe and it is in pain, i.e. in a negative unpleasant bad experiential state.
03:20 re nature is broken, you say such a statement is made “only within the context or boundaries of a value and thereby says more about the evaluator than it does anything about nature”:: The statement ‘nature is broken’ is a rhetorical device used to get people to see the problems in nature. Humans possess a rational brain. This brain makes judgments all the time. It evaluates data it receives from the body’s senses and makes calculations designed to put the organism into a better feeling state. But our human brain is a little more sophisticated that our animal counterparts. We can using this evaluative machinery and apply it to other processes as well. Sure, nature does not have a brain and cannot judge. Nature is neither evil nor good. But we can judge nature because we have a brain to do the judging, in fact, in some ways it could be argued that we cannot help but judge nature. The point we are trying to make here is that we should use our brain and judge and make sure that are judgments are informed and not based on ignorance, and they are reasonable and not based on bigotry. The antinatalist/efilist is saying that the process of nature produces outcomes that are inherently destructive, wasteful and unnecessary. Nature (the DNA molecule combined with the process of evolution, in particular) created a sentient creature which can suffer. Nature is reckless. It is not an intelligent designer, nor does it have any ethics. So even though we cannot “blame” nature for creating a lot of suffering and misery, we can certainly recognize that nature does in fact create suffering and misery. And since we can make this recognition and we have the capacity to do something to alleviate or eliminate instances of said suffering and misery, which we find in nature or which owe their origins to nature, we do something about it, to “fix” it, as it were. Evidence for such attempts at fixing or treating the conditions we find in nature can be found in our attempts to develop vaccines to get rid of diseases, for instance. Why did we do that? Because we recognized that such diseases were a problem because of the suffering they wrought on particular sentient beings and took steps to mitigate it. To say that “nature is broken” is simply a shorthanded way of stating the obvious:: the products of the natural process are going to work to an inefficient standard because they were designed by a crude and unintelligent mechanism (a replicating DNA molecule combined with evolution by natural selection). To say that “nature is broken” is to emphasize that if life was engineered by an intelligent creator, it would have been done so in a way that did not engendered unnecessary waste, inefficiency, even callousness. No intelligent rational ethical creator would have created the wasteful spectacle that we see everyday where billions of sentient creatures are chewed up to propagate a replicating piece of chemistry and for no worthwhile rational end. Hence “nature is broken”.
03:35 re life is futile; says less about life than an individual subjective response to life:: first, let’s look at the statement “life is futile”. Is this a true statement or a false statement about life? Before we do that, let us define “life” so there is no confusion here. When I use the word “life”, I am using that word to explicitly refer to all those things in existence which owe their origins to abiogenesis (replicating DNA-molecule) and which have the properties of consumption and reproduction. So any ‘thing’ in reality whose origins can be traced to that single first event (abiogenesis) and which displays the properties of consumption (taking in nutrients from the surrounding environment as dictated by its genetic code) and reproduction (making a copy of itself either through the process of asexual or sexual reproduction) is called “life”. I am not using the word “life” to refer to a subjective individual human person’s appraisal of his or her life experiences. That is, I am not using the word “life” in a colloquial sense to refer to what you and I may say about our personal lives, whether it’s good or bad, meaningful or unfulfilling, etc. I am using “life” in an explicit scientific sense to refer to things that exist in reality which have certain properties, namely consumption and reproduction, as dictated by the relevant DNA molecule. Having defined “life”, let’s now analyse the statement “life is futile” to determine whether it is true or false. Now “life”, meaning all the things on this planet which have the properties of consumption and reproduction and which owe their existence to abiogenesis and evolution is the product of a process (DNA replication and evolution) that does not have any rational goal in sight. Life is allowed to evolve simply because there are enough nutrients in the environment to facilitate its growth and expansion. When the nutrients needed to sustain and maintain this growth is exhausted, life will cease to exist. A process which starts off in an unintentioned way and evolves through an undirected mechanism with no goal in mind is purposeless. Life, meaning all the things which have the properties of consumption and replication, does not have a purpose. The things that have evolved, are evolving and will evolve into the future are all doing so only because the environment facilitates this process. It is set in motion by a DNA molecule whose sole function is replication for the sake of replication. Hence, life, its product, is purposeless, futile. If there was some kind of rational mission statement to be served by this process of replication and evolution, then you could say that life had that particular purpose. But since there is no such mission statement, and since life is like a virus that infests and exploits the environmental resources simply to replicate and grow with no other objective in mind, it is futile. We can, therefore, conclude that the statement “life is futile” is an objective and true description of the state of affairs of the things in existence on this planet which have the properties of consumption and reproduction, and whose origins can be traced to a replicating DNA molecule.
· Your next point was that when we say “life is futile”, it is referring to “an individual subjective response to life”. As I mentioned above, when I use the word “life”, I am using it in an explicit scientific sense to refer to those things in reality which have the properties of consumption and reproduction, and NOT to an individual’s subjective assessment of the quality of his or her life.
03:40 “life is only futile for those individuals who are seeking some sense of meaning or purpose or validation external to the boundaries of life, that is, as Nietzsche would say, for those still living in the shadows of a dead god”:: I think I dealt with this point in my previous response to you, but I’ll go over it again. What you are referring to here, namely the sense of despair that comes about when one searches for meaning or purpose in life and finds none therein, usually comes under the term “existential angst”. While existential angst is a problem – a very real one that can befall any rational thinking person who has to confront the fact that life does not indeed have any meaning or purpose built into it – can cause a lot of depression, angst and misery in its own right, which are forms of suffering, to me, and perhaps to other antinatlists/efilists, the bigger problem is that it is hard to honestly subject yourself to a process that exists merely to further a replicating DNA molecule. Whatever personal meaning or purpose I give to my own life is not going to change the fact that I am simply a vessel to propagate a gene. When I factor into this recognition of futility the acknowledgement that my existence also comes at an enormous cost, both to myself in terms of the amount of effort and energy needed to sustain my life and perhaps obtain a modicum of comfort, and to the billions of other sentient beings whose welfare will be impacted, either negatively or positively by what I do, the problem of this wasteful sentient existence is only magnified. Existential angst is a human problem that can cause a lot of despair, which is another reason not to create a human person who may suffer in this way. But suffering is not limited to existential angst, it also comes in more crude and intense physical forms and emotional/mental torment as well. We have to, therefore, put existential angst in perspective. It is only one of the myriad of ways in which human beings can suffer. It also does not address the physical and emotional suffering which all sentient beings can undergo. I would urge people to see beyond this human-centric type of suffering and look at suffering in all its forms.
· Another point you make here is that this type of existential suffering is only experienced by “those still living in the shadows of a dead god”. I think people who suffer in this way are being honest to the facts of reality. It is very condescending and belittling to characterize their suffering like this. Perhaps they are honest enough not to want to delude themselves into adopting some kind of fake purpose or meaning or write a neat little fable for themselves to live in, a narrative that will shield them from the disconcerting recognition that existence is a waste and their emotions (love) are contrivances engineered by a crude piece of chemistry just so they can propagate a gene. I think it would be more accurate to say that we are living under the “shadows of a dumb DNA molecule”.
04:00 re “varying degrees of badness”:: In order to understand this statement properly, you have to understand the mechanics of the pain/pleasure system which drives the behaviour of sentient organisms. This statement is not intended to reflect any particular person’s perception of life, such as, a personal view that life is only made in shades of gray. It refers to the mechanics of pain/pleasure. This can be illustrated as follows. Every sentient creature imposed into life, that is, from the moment of its birth, is placed in a negative state of need or deprivation. The clearest way to visualize this is to imagine a baby crying when it enters the world. The baby is immediately in need of comfort (food, protection) which the mother usually provides. When the baby is provided food and protection, some of these needs (for food and protection) get satiated, and along with the satiation comes relief or pleasure, which is felt by the infant, such as when it is breastfed or lies in the warm embrace of its mother’s arms. As this illustration demonstrates, ‘pleasure’ is what the baby (and sentient beings in general) experience when it goes from a negative to a “less negative” state. The phrase “less negative” is used to outline the fact that there is always a state which is more satisfactory than the state one is currently engaged in. In other words, there is no complete satiation of one’s needs and deprivations as sentient beings, only levels of satiation, going from the most unsatisfactory up to levels of increasing satisfaction. Negative -> less negative -> less less negative -> less less less negative, and so on. While this conceptualization may seem crude on its face, it works well to present the general point that in life there are only varying levels of satisfaction or negativity or “badness”, and pleasure is the sensation of relief we experience when we go from an unsatisfactory or negative state to a less unsatisfactory or less negative state, and so on. Therefore, to say that the statement “varying degrees of badness” refers to the psychological perception of particular person’s (bleak) outlook on life is false. The statement “varying degrees of badness” is intended to illustrate the underlying mechanism of the pain/pleasure system which drive the behaviour of sentient beings.
04:55 You say that anyone who says that life is “varying degrees of badness” “bespeaks of a lack of empathy which swings both ways, both to another suffering and to those things in an individual’s life that for that individual render life something worthy of affirmation, even despite of suffering or much suffering sometimes”. This statement can be critiqued on two levels. First, as noted above, the statement that life is “varying degrees of badness” or negativity or unsatisfaction is intended to refer to the mechanics of how the pain/pleasure system in the sentient organism functions. It is meant to be a scientific description of the underlying biological workings of sentient organisms. It is not intended to be a personal bleak point of view on life. So your characterization of this statement is flawed, a straw man. Second, even if we accept that the statement life is “varying degrees of badness” is a reflection of a particular individual’s personal psychology, albeit a bleak one, it is still far from clear how this is an erroneous representation of the reality of the lived experience of the average human. No one who has lived, is alive and will live in the future experiences complete satisfaction or contentment or nirvana or a state of bliss. People are always wanting more. This shows that as long as we are alive and sentient, our lived everyday experiences are always going to be agitated by levels of discomfort or dissatisfaction. This perfectly accords with the statement that life is “varying degrees of badness”.
05:00 “it bespeaks of a lack of empathy to engage in this kind of qualitative parentalism, that is, taking one’s own experience and attempting to super-impose it onto everyone else’s experience”:: Everyone suffers. This is an undeniable fact. To acknowledge that suffering is an intrinsic feature of sentient experience is not to engage in some kind of psychological “projection”, as you seem to be suggesting here. Antinatalists also do not deny that people can experience pleasure. The point we are trying to make here is that suffering (need or deprivation) is the default state and that pleasure is what you experience when you go from a negative to a less negative state. It may well be the case that some of these movements upward along this pain-pleasure arc may be accompanied by intense bouts of pleasure. Just imagine what it would be like to go without food for days on end and then come upon an oasis with fresh drinking water and plenty of sumptuous food arranged on a table for you to eat. So it is wrong to say that antinatalists deny the existence of pleasurable or positive sensations. We are simply trying to accurately describe these positive sensations for what they are, that is, built upon mountains of need/deprivation and frame their operation within an evolutionary context.
05:20 “you’re duped by the DNA molecule”... “rhetorical nonsense”:: what does it mean to say “you’re duped by the DNA molecule”? This statement is rhetorical but it has value. It is intended to get people to recognize that their needs, wants and desires are based on biological and psychological programming by the DNA molecule. It does not imply that our thoughts are dictated by these crude biological and psychological impulses because we can indeed think in a way that is counter-productive to those biological needs, wants and desires, even though it is our biological needs and desires which motivate us all the time. So when we say, “you’re duped by the DNA molecule”, we are trying to get people to see their biological needs and desires for what they are – crude mechanisms developed by the DNA molecule and evolution to create a sentient organism that will be driven by these needs and desires to seek after their fulfilment, which in turn may promote survival behaviour and thereby raisesthe chances of reproduction and propagation of the DNA code. So, even though the statement “you’re duped by the DNA molecule” is a rhetorical device, it is not “rhetorical nonsense”. It has a lot of rhetorical value that is intended to promote a truth, namely that crude biological needs and desires motive us as sentient beings, and we should use our thinking rational brains to contextualize these drives and put them in place, so we are not “duped” or “owned” by these biological mechanisms.
06:00 re addiction metaphor:: There is a difference between thought and feeling. While both originate as the product of neuronal interactions in the brain, the substance of thought is different in character and value from the substance of feeling. All we’re doing here is asking people to differentiate between these two processes of the brain. Thought that is informed and rational can be used to contextualize, control and use feelings, which are cruder in character. The human brain can think in a sophisticated way because of its capacity to hold more symbols. It can make models of reality and logically play with those models to create a coherent rational picture. The addiction metaphor is simply a way to contextualize feelings, specifically the needs and desires which animate sentient behaviour. We share these needs and desires with other sentient organisms, though some of these have been refined by human culture, which make them seem more elaborate, even though their origins are fairly crude. For instance, two lions fighting each other for territory can be easily translated to nations going to war over something as simple as needing resources to sustain the health and wealth of its people. I don’t see the addiction metaphor as being intended to deceive people into accepting an inaccurate representation of our biological reality. It is meant to convey the truth that we are driven by biological needs and desires, and they are addictive in character.
06:15 re “better never to have been”:: why should one sentient creature suffer so a thousand can live a relatively ‘normal’ life? What right do you have to take the chance and procreate knowing there is a real risk that the person you bring into existence will experience a lot of suffering and who may regret being alive? Where is the justice for those so imposed if all you can give in return is “why don’t you kill yourself”? If there was some necessity to procreate because there was some need being served by procreation and the existence of sentient beings, then you could say it is reasonable to take the chance, even knowing that some brought into existence will suffer horribly. But since there is no rational need to procreate and there is no need being served by the continued existence of sentient beings, which would include humans off course, then the decision to procreate is reckless at best and sadistic at worst. David Benatar makes the claim that coming into existence is always a harm, and this is a true rational statement. It is not an emotive statement, such as yours: “to demand that because I got a bad shake, so to speak, that the stars stop in their course” [07:35].
07:45 re “demand the penalization of those responsible for my coming into being”:: Let’s think about this statement under the conditions of present society. Imagine a couple who are thinking of getting pregnant. One or the other of the prospective parents was told by their doctor that if they decide to have a child, there is a 25 percent chance that the child will be born with a debilitating genetic condition that will cause them intense suffering during the first eight years of their life, after which the child dies. Now, if this couple decide to go ahead with the pregnancy and decide to have the child and the child ends up having this genetic condition, is it reasonable for the child to sue their parents and seek some kind of compensation? Why should that legal right not be adopted? What right do parents have to place dice with someone else’s welfare?
07:50 re “eradication of the biosphere ... in light of my own plight would express the height of selfishness. Any selfishness embodied in the parent who would bring an entity into the world is multiplied times a million in that individual”:: In these three instances, where we are saying that it is not right to play dice with procreation because the suffering of one does not make up for the ‘normal’ existence of a thousand, demand penalization of parents for bringing someone into existence who feels imposed upon and eradication of the biosphere, you are claiming that the people making these claims are doing so out of ‘selfish’ reasons, such as the pain they personally feel with life, or any dissatisfaction with existence. First, ask yourself the question. Why are we saying that you should not procreate if there is a chance that one in a thousand will suffer badly? If you accept that all of the sentient beings imposed into existence have equal value, then why should one person pay a heavy price so that the many can live a life that was not necessary in the first place. The key here is the lack of need to create all of these persons. None of them have to exist, the suffering one and the “normal” many. If no one needs to come into existence, it seems unethical to procreate knowing that one out of 10 or a hundred or a thousand will suffer horribly in the process. But in the real world, we know that many more than just one out of 10 will suffer. And even the lives of those who are supposed to be ‘lucky’ are also going to be infused with grief and harm of various kinds and intensities, and death befalls them all. Considering all those facts – the lack of need to create sentient beings, the negative quality of suffering and certainty of death – any rational open-minded person would conclude that it is simply better never to instigate this process through procreation in the first place, that it is better never to have been.
08:30 re the “selfish fucking wildebeest”:: First of all, a wildebeest does not have the intelligence to make the value judgment that it is better never to have been. Heck, even many humans on this planet right now don’t have the knowledge to make that value judgment as most are still caught up in the god delusion. In order for the charge of selfishness to be lifted from any person making the claim that it is “better never to have been”, it is important to understand the context for that judgment. The judgment “better never to have been” is a true judgment. However people can make that judgment for the wrong reasons. Some may do it for personal reasons (life has failed to live up to their goals), others may do it because their god or fable failed to give them what they want. So even though people in these instances are making a true judgment (better never to have been), their reasons for doing so are personal, and in some sense, ‘selfish’. And it would be unjust for these people to claim that the world should end simply because life has failed to live up to their personal expectations or has imposed unjust suffering on them. It may well be the case that these very same people who lament their own personal existence can nonetheless validate the existence of someone else they envy or look up to. So it would be similarly wrong for me or any other antinatalist to claim that the world should end simply because we feel like life has not worked out for us personally or we feel like we’ve been given the short end of a stick. If I said the world should end because I personally hate my life, that would indeed be ridiculous. So even though my conclusion that the world should end is a true conclusion, my reasons are false or less than credible. I guess this goes to a question of credibility. Are we saying the world should end for logical rational reasons or are we saying the world should end because of personal ‘selfish’ reasons? As I’ve endeavoured to demonstrate, the reason the world, and specifically the sentient life on this planet, should cease to exist is because sentient beings suffer and suffering is an intrinsically negative experience. And since there is no need for sentient beings to exist, all things being equal it would be better that they did not exist, as this will remove the unnecessary suffering and death that is being manifested in this universe and on this planet. This is a logical reason. It is reason that is based on a true appraisal of the facts of life. It applies whether there are humans around to make the judgment that it is better never to have been or not. Even before Benatar wrote his book, even before human civilization began to develop, even before humans began to draw pictures on rock caves, the statement “better never to have been” is true and applicable to the conditions of life on planet Earth because there were sentient beings around (like dinosaurs, for instance) which suffered and died for no good reason. So this accusation of selfishness should be cast aside, as our reasons for wanting the world to end is ultimately grounded in the ethical goal to end unnecessary suffering and death.
· Another point I would like to make about “selfishness” is that you do need to be personally motivated to advocate for any political or civil cause. I suspect that people who advocate for antinatalism have a personal incentive to see life ceasing to exist as this would prevent future people from being imposed into life who would similarly find it intolerable and be in the same predicament as they currently find themselves in. It could be conceded that anyone who has advocated for any political cause has had a personal “selfish” reason to see it through. So if you are going to charge antinatalists with selfishness, then you should characterize every person who has fought for every civil and political struggle with that description as well.
09:00 “the aversion to death in the antinatalist seems a bit strange to me”:: I think you should differentiate between the process of dying and the state of death or non-existence. It is the process of dying which is loathsome as most sentient beings will die in painful ways. This is what needs to be feared and addressed, such as through the provision of readily available euthanasia to anyone who desires. Death and non-existence is not painful at all since no one literally exists to suffer and feel pain.
09:40 “again not the process of dying but death itself”:: this is a strawman. I don’t think antinatalists are saying the state of death or non-existence is to be lamented. It is impossible to lament a state in which no suffering takes place. It is the process of dying which engenders much unnecessary suffering and is yet another reason why coming into existence is always a harm, and much considerable harm at that, as most sentient beings who come into existence will die horribly and painfully.
09:50 “love can have a redeeming effect”:: perhaps, but only to those brought into existence and never to those who are not brought into existence. Love stands for “good feeling”, pleasure, comfort, security, it has so many meanings. Love can also stand for jealousy, possessiveness, rage. Love is not a good word as it can be interpreted in many ways. Even if we concede that good feelings can take some of the pain away, there was no need to create that pain in the first place, which is what happens when someone procreates and imposes a sentient being into life. All of us brought into existence will suffer and there was no need to bring us here. Love is an inadequate temporary compensation for the harms that will befall us, and many may not get to experience good feelings.
10:15 re love, “affective realm” & phenomenology:: all that can be said here is that good feelings exist and bad feelings exist. Deal with this: no one is deprived by not being brought into existence. But everyone who is brought into existence will always suffer and die, and there was no good reason to subject them to this process. Even if love, family, other life affirmations take some of the pain away, there was no need to create that pain in the first place. Also, most of the suffering that takes place on this planet happens in nature, out there in the animal kingdom. It doesn’t matter how much you love another person, how much meaning and fulfilment your family gives to you, none of that is going to stop the horrors that are taking place on this planet right now. Learn to think of the problem of suffering as a problem that plagues sentience and not just human beings. Also, love cannot cure cancer, no matter how hard you try.
12:00 does suffering have a redeeming quality?:: I will ask you to present this question to a child dying of cancer, someone living with AIDS, or to a person on the edge of a bridge about to commit suicide. Please, do ask them, will you: “does your suffering make you stronger?”