philosophical position that assigns a negative value to procreation

Antinatalism or anti-natalism, is the ethical view that negatively values procreation. Antinatalists argue that humans should abstain from procreation because it is morally wrong.

As soon as the child is born, the mother who has just brought him into the world must console him, quiet his crying, and lighten the burden of the existence she has given him. And one of the principal duties of good parents in the childhood and early youth of their children is to comfort them, to encourage them to live, because sorrows and ills and passions are at that age much heavier than they are to those who through long experience, or simply because they have lived longer, are used to suffering. And in truth it is only fitting that the good father and the good mother, in trying to console their children, correct as best they can, and ease, the damage they have done by procreating them. Good God! Why then is man born? And why does he procreate? To console those he has given birth to for having been born? ~ Giacomo Leopardi
Nothing is a better proof of how far humanity has regressed than the impossibility of finding a single nation, a single tribe, among whom birth still provokes mourning and lamentations. ~ Emil Cioran
Answer without flinching: if there existed a solution that could abolish the totality of all evils inflicted on disastrous humanity, if it was possible, by some simple remedy, incredibly cheap, immediately accessible, scrupulously inoffensive, of absolute and definitive efficiency, to stop all distress, all cries, all cries of pain, all pathologies, all protests of ill-being, all despair, all cataclysms, all anxiety, all unhappiness, in short all tortures afflicting the human species, would you have the macabre stupidity to reject such a remedy, to disdain such a miracle cure? No, that goes without saying. Well this solution does exist, and the mysterious is thereby delivered to us: it consists simply, in its saintly simplicity, to not procreate. ~ Théophile de Giraud
It is curious that while good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place. ~ David Benatar

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

A edit

  • What! Having the Infinite Force
    Only to pay oneself distressing spectacles,
    Impose massacre, inflict agony,
    Wanting before his eyes only the dead and the dying!
    In front of this spectator of our extreme pains
    Our indignation will overcome all terror;
    We will intersect our rasps of blasphemies,
    Not without a secret desire to excite his fury.
    Who knows? We may find some insult
    Who irritates him so much that, with a mad arm,
    He tears up our dark planet from the heavens,
    And shattered this unfortunate globe in a thousand shards.
    Our audacity at least would save you from being born,
    You who still sleep in the depth of the future.
    And we would come out triumphant for having, by ceasing to be,
    forced God to wash his hands off of Humanity.
    Ah! What immense joy after so much suffering!
    Through the debris, over the mass graves.
    To finally be able to let out this cry of deliverance:
    No more men under the sky, we are the last!
  • Miserable grain of dust
    That nothingness has rejected,
    Your life is one day on earth;
    You are nothing in the immensity.
    Your mother gave you birth, groaning:
    You were the son of his sorrows;
    And you saluted the existence
    Through shrill cries and tears,
    And ends with these lines:
    Under the weight of your ills your worn body succumbs,
    And, tasting the calm foretaste of the night,
    Your eye finally closes from the sleep of the grave:
    Rejoice, old man, this is your first happiness
  • Among the people who are created, there are always some who will have to suffer unspeakably. This fact, having been considered not only by Schopenhauer and other so-called pessimists, should influence anyone prepared to have a closer look only – and especially – at the 20th century to philosophize. Thus far, nobody has succeeded in demonstrating that the inconceivable, though immeasurable suffering inflicted upon human beings, in Auschwitz and elsewhere throughout time and space, can be compensated by the former or future happiness of the sufferers or of others.
    • Karim Akerma, Verebben der Menschheit?: Neganthropie und Anthropodizee, 2000
  • Only by means of relative or absolute childlessness, resulting in mankind's ebbing away, could happen what might be named – borrowing from the Greek myth – Sisyphus's revolt. He would give up his work, not in order to commit suicide but rather by refraining from having children who otherwise would have taken his spot. In such a way that at some point in time there would be no one in the rock's path which would eventually roll out. In terms of the Asian primordial decision: by means of abstention from procreation, the wheel of suffering would be deprived of its impetus until it comes to a standstill.
    • Karim Akerma, Verebben der Menschheit?: Neganthropie und Anthropodizee, 2000
  • Although there are many answers to the question of how people should live, few thinkers have wondered about whether it is really moral to create people. Antinatalism undermines what seems obvious: that people should be begotten and born.
  • Whoever procreates is a selfish ego-producer. On the other hand, whoever decides to adopt has the opportunity to show what true altruism is.
    • Karim Akerma, Antinatalismus – Ein Handbuch, 2017
  • Without God, clearly, one needs no theodicy. That is to say, there is no longer any point in enquiring into such matters as why God has permitted so much suffering or whether – if the creation of no other world than this deeply imperfect one were possible – He would have done better to forgo Creation of world and Man altogether. But modernity rid itself of the desire for a theodicy without seeing that, by doing this, it burdened itself with the obligation to provide an anthropodicy in this latter's stead. This anthropodicy takes the form of the parallel but modified question: how can it be justified, in the face of so much suffering undergone in the past, being experienced in the present, and to be expected in the future, that human beings beget more human beings?
    • Karim Akerma, Antinatalismus – Ein Handbuch, 2017
  • My father has perpetrated this crime against me; I am guilty of none.
    • Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri, Arab Socialism
    • Description: Al-Maʿarri is said to have wanted this verse inscribed over his grave.
  • Whenever I reflect, my reflecting upon what I suffer only rouses me to blame him that begot me. And I gave peace to my children, for they are in the bliss of nonexistence which surpasses all the pleasures of this world. Had they come to life, they would have endured a misery casting them to destruction in trackless wildernesses.
  • Better for Adam and all who issued forth from his loins
    That he and they, yet unborn, created never had been!
    For whilst his body was dust and rotten bones in the earth,
    Ah, did he feel what his children saw and suffered of woe?
  • All human actions are nothing more than attempts to heal the mistake of their existence.
  • And what should I pray about? I ain't afraid of the next world; it can't be worse than this one; and in this world prayers don't cut much ice. I prayed so hard not to have a child - but I did and all. I prayed that the child might be able to stay with me - and it had to go to the Institute. I prayed that there it might stay alive - and it took and died.
    • Leonid Andreyev, The Christians
    • Description: the words of the character, Grusha.
  • You began existing, raw jelly,
    And you will grow further, in your silence, so large
    Which, is natural, still some day, the crying
    will flow from the shape which you took!
    The water, in conjunction with the bare earth,
    wins over the granite, depressing it... the fright
    Convulses the spirits, and yet,
    Your development continues!
    Before, human jelly, do not progress
    And in undefined retrogradations,
    Return to the old calm of nonexistence!
    Before the Nothingness, oh! Germ, You shall still
    Reach it, like the germs of other beings
    To the supreme misfortune of being!
  • Birth is the driving wheel of all ills.
    • Philippe Annaba, Bienheureux les stériles, 2002
  • Cattle sleep well
    they peacefully chew the cud
    because they do not know that tomorrow
    their calf will head to the slaughterhouse
    to the arena
    maybe they just do not care
    Do you, too, do not care
    about the fate of your children?
    • Philippe Annaba, Bienheureux les stériles, 1973
  • O women, if we would compel the men
    To bow to Peace, we must refrain ...
    We must refrain from every depth of love. ...
    All we have to do is idly sit indoors
    With smooth roses powdered on our cheeks,
    Our bodies burning naked through the folds
    Of shining Amorgos' silk, and meet the men
    With our dear Venus-plats plucked trim and neat.
    Their stirring love will rise up furiously,
    They'll beg our arms to open. That's our time!
    We'll disregard their knocking, beat them off—
    And they will soon be rabid for a Peace.
    I'm sure of it.
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata advocating for women to withhold satisfaction from their husbands until men agree to stop killing sons in war, Lysistrata (411 BC)
  • But I am aware of some that murmur: What, say they, if all men should abstain from all sexual intercourse, whence will the human race exist? Would that all would this, only in "charity out of a pure heart, and good conscience, and faith unfeigned"; much more speedily would the City of God be filled, and the end of the world hastened.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series, Volume III St. Augustine: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises

B edit

  • I think babies cry when they're born because they are born with the knowledge of all the terrible shit that’s gonna happen to them. That's why I never had kids. Every life is a death sentence. We just forget it later in life, like dreams we lose the second we wake up. Whether we worry about it or not, the shit's still going to fly.
  • Miss Barnes sees life and the perpetuation of life as a mistake; indeed, the mistake is to be alive, and then by procreation, to compound that error and produce more tragedy and pain.
    • James B. Scott, Djuna Barnes, 1976, p. 24
    • Description: about Djuna Barnes.
  • Because of its emphasis upon human bestiality and the need for mankind not to take the world seriously and to abstain from procreation, the thought of Djuna Barnes, if we wish to label it in any systematic way, would have to be called Saturninian Christian in character.
    • Andres Field, Djuna, the formidable Miss Barnes, 1985, p. 170
    • Description: about Djuna Barnes.
  • Homosexuality seems hardly the issue, for Nightwood neither defends nor condemns it, except in one oblique way. Given that life is suffering, the greatest crime would be procreation, which seems to give homosexuality the edge as a preferred lifestyle, since it promotes the extinction of the human species.
    • Phillip F. Herring, Djuna: the life and work of Djuna Barnes, 1995, p. 207
    • Description: about Djuna Barnes.
  • Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave-digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries.
  • "No," he replied, when I asked him if he had ever wanted children, "that's one thing I'm proud of."
    • Samuel Beckett as interviewed by Lawrence Shainberg, Exorcising Beckett, 1987
  • Beckett ... targets parents as irresponsible criminals although, of course, in life courtesy prevented him from expressing his real feelings. Hamm denounces his parents in Endgame as "accursed progenitors" and Molloy is bitterly unable to forgive his mother for bringing him into the world. In private I knew Beckett to express a passive anger at those who insisted on having families.
    • View of Samuel Beckett described by John Calder in The Philosophy of Samuel Beckett (2001)
  • Creating new people, by having babies, is so much a part of human life that it is rarely thought even to require a justification. Indeed, most people do not even think about whether they should or should not make a baby. They just make one. In other words, procreation is usually the consequence of sex rather than the result of a decision to bring people into existence. Those who do indeed decide to have a child might do so for any number of reasons, but among these reasons cannot be the interests of the potential child. One can never have a child for that child's sake.
  • It is curious that while good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place.
  • Assuming that each couple has three children, an original pair's cumulative descendants over ten generations amount to 88,572 people. That constitutes a lot of pointless, avoidable suffering. To be sure, full responsibility for it all does not lie with the original couple because each new generation faces the choice of whether to continue that line of descendants. Nevertheless, they bear some responsibility for the generations that ensue. If one does not desist from having children, one can hardly expect one's descendants to do so.
  • Although, as we have seen, nobody is lucky enough not to be born, everybody is unlucky enough to have been born – and particularly bad luck it is, as I shall now explain. On the quite plausible assumption that one's genetic origin is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for having come into existence, one could not have been formed by anything other than the particular gametes that produced the zygote from which one developed. This implies, in turn, that one could not have had any genetic parents other than those that one does have. It follows from this that any person's chances of having come into existence are extremely remote. The existence of any one person is dependent not only on that person's parents themselves having come into existence and having met but also on their having conceived that person at the time that they did. Indeed, mere moments might make a difference to which particular sperm is instrumental in a conception. The recognition of how unlikely it was that one would have come into existence, combined with the recognition that coming into existence is always a serious harm, yields the conclusion that one's having come into existence is really bad luck. It is bad enough when one suffers some harm. It is worse still when the chances of having been harmed are very remote.
  • The argument that coming into existence is always a harm can be summarized as follows: Both good and bad things happen only to those who exist. However, there is a crucial asymmetry between the good and the bad things. The absence of bad things, such as pain, is good even if there is nobody to enjoy that good, whereas the absence of good things, such as pleasure, is bad only if there is somebody who is deprived of these good things.
  • We can regret, for the sake of an indeterminate but existent person that a benefit was not bestowed on him or her, but we cannot regret, for the sake of somebody who never exists and thus cannot thereby be deprived, a good that this never existent person never experiences. One might grieve about not having had children, but not because the children that one could have had have been deprived of existence. Remorse about not having children is remorse for ourselves—sorrow about having missed childbearing and childrearing experiences. However, we do regret having brought into existence a child with an unhappy life, and we regret it for the child’s sake, even if also for our own sakes. The reason why we do not lament our failure to bring somebody into existence is because absent pleasures are not bad.
  • Disability rights advocates also correctly note that quality-of-life assessments differ quite markedly between those who have impairments and those who do not. Many of those without impairments tend to think that lives with impairments are not worth starting (and may even not be worth continuing) whereas many of those with impairments tend to think that lives with these impairments are worth starting (and certainly are worth continuing). There certainly does seem to be something self-serving about the dominant view. It conveniently sets the quality threshold for lives worth starting above that of the impaired but below normal human lives. But is there anything less self-serving about those with impairments setting the threshold just beneath the quality of their lives? Disability rights advocates argue that the threshold in most people’s judgements about what constitutes a minimally decent quality of life is set too high. However, the phenomenon of discrepant judgements is equally compatible with the claim that the ordinary threshold is set too low (in order that at least some of us should pass it). The view that it is set too low is exactly the judgement that we can imagine would be made by an extra-terrestrial with a charmed life, devoid of any suffering or hardship. It would look with pity on our species and see the disappointment, anguish, grief, pain, and suffering that marks every human life, and judge our existence, as we (humans without unusual impairments) judge the existence of bedridden quadriplegics, to be worse than the alternative of non-existence.
  • A few of my critics have claimed that I am committed to the desirability of suicide and even speciecide. They clearly intend this as a reductio ad absurdum of my position. However, I considered the questions of suicide and speciecide in Better Never to Have Been and argued that these are not implications of my view. First, it is possible to think that both coming into existence is a serious harm and that death is (usually) a serious harm. Indeed, some people might think that coming into existence is a serious harm in part because the harm of death is then inevitable.
    • David Benatar, Still Better Never to Have Been: A Reply to (More of) My Critics, 2013
  • To procreate is thus to engage in a kind of Russian roulette, but one in which the "gun" is aimed not at oneself but instead at one's offspring. You trigger a new life and thereby subject that new life to the risk of unspeakable suffering.
    • David Benatar, Debating Procreation: Is It Wrong To Reproduce?, 2015
  • Another route to anti-natalism is via what I call a "misanthropic" argument. According to this argument humans are a deeply flawed and a destructive species that is responsible for the suffering and deaths of billions of other humans and non-human animals. If that level of destruction were caused by another species we would rapidly recommend that new members of that species not be brought into existence.
  • Our species is prone to a flattering view of itself. Humans have regarded themselves as the pinnacle of creation, formed by and in the image of an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God, and inhabiting a planet at the center of the universe—a planet around which all others revolve. Science has done much to debunk some of these ideas. We now know that our planet is not at the center of the universe: the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa. And we know—or at least some of us do—that we are Johnny-come-lately products of a long, blind evolutionary process.
  • Humans may exceed other animals in their sapient capacities, but we also surpass other species on our destructiveness. Many animals cause harm, but we are the most lethal species ever to have inhabited our planet. It is revealing that we do not refer to this superlative property in identifying ourselves. There is ample evidence that we are Homo pernicious – the dangerous, destructive human.
  • Some of the harm that humans cause to other humans and to animals is mediated by the destructive effect that humans have on the environment. For much of human history, the damage was local. Groups of humans fouled their immediate environment. In recent centuries the human impact has increased exponentially and the threat is now to the global environment. The increased threat is a product of two interacting factors–the exponential growth of the human population combined with significant increases in negative effects per capita. The latter is the result of industrialization and increased consumption.
  • Certainly in the case of the treatment of animals, the scales are heavily weighted against us. Although it is true that some humans do some good for animals, much of this is merely rescuing animals from the maltreatment of other humans. At the level of the human species such benefits cannot be used to offset the harms. If there were no humans to inflict the harms, these benefits would not be necessary. Of course, humans do bestow some other benefits, such as veterinary care for their companion animals. However, the number of animals affected and the amount of good done is massively outweighed by the harm the human species does to non-human animals.
  • Few prospective procreators consider the asthetic impact of their potential children. But how many more producers of excrement and urine, flatulence, menstrual blood and semen, sweat, mucus, vomit, and pus do we really need? How much more human waste do we need to process? How many more corpses do we need to dispose of? It would be an aesthetic improvement if there were fewer people.
  • The question of whether or not to be is a consequence and a derivative of the human issue, whether to procreate or not, is strange that literature rarely puts it down, that he is underestimating her, silently assuming that the resolution is the same intellectual obviousness as the obviousness of the practice of life.
    • Henryk Bereza, Bieg rzeczy, 1982
  • Even at the risk of being thought mad, we must not be afraid to say that our parents, like theirs before them, were guilty of the crime of procreation, which means the crime of creating unhappiness, of conspiring with others to increase the unhappiness of an increasingly unhappy world.
  • To beget, because one wants no longer to be alone, another aloneness; this is criminal.
  • Every night and every morn
    Some to misery are born;
    Every morn and every night
    Some are born to sweet delight;
    Some are born to sweet delight,
    Some are born to endless night.
  • William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence" (1880)
  • Everyone who's been born is subject to the dictate of birth. A creator, be it "God" or the parents, "bestow" life: without regard for the presentee's inability to accept, or for that he'd be no less poor without this "gift" and that the presentees didn't exist as they received the gift, and thus had no chance to refuse or reject it. The creation of a new creature is indisputably an act of caprice, since the creation leads to a forced deportation of the creature into life or, to stick to Heidegger's words, the creature is "thrown" into life. But for that matter, rather than getting thrown into life, the creature is forced to enter life, it is dragged, innocently condemned to live. As such every life starts with a violation of the newborn's will. This tragedy with comedic qualities is described by Leo Tolstoy in a benign way, when he says: "my life is a stupid and spiteful joke someone has played on me".
    • Gunter Bleibohm, Fluch der Geburt – Thesen einer Überlebensethik, 2011
    • Description: the quote by Leo Tolstoy refers to the work A Confession.
  • In the Council of 1211 against the Bogomils, those among them were anathematized who held that "woman conceives in her womb by the cooperation of Satan, that Satan abides there upon conception without withdrawing hence until the birth of the child". I dare not suppose that the Devil can be concerned with us to the point of keeping us company for so many months, but I cannot doubt that we have been conceived under his eyes and that he actually attended our beloved begetters.
  • For thirteen hundred years there were major movements within the Church, or in competition with it, which taught that procreation was evil: Gnosticism, Manicheanism, Priscillianism, Bogomilism, Catharism.
    • Richard D. Schwartz, Jerome H. Skolnick, Society and the legal order: cases and materials in the sociology of law, 1970
  • However, one heretical doctrine mentioned by Theophylact is of a non-Paulician origin: the heretics, he writes, reject lawful marriage and maintain that the reproduction of the human species is a law of the demon. This exaggerated and distorted asceticism, essentially characteristic of Bogomilism, is a logical consequence of metaphysical dualism, according to which Matter, the product of the Evil Principle, is a source of limitation and suffering for the divinely created soul; hence marriage, as the means of reproduction of Matter, is to be condemned and avoided.
  • Is there any doubt that the creation was an act of great violence by God our Father against our Mother the abyss? He made the heavens and the earth and in their image we created our world: every victim of a racial lynching, every target of gendered violence, every abject creature crushed under the weight of imperialist oppression is both the prey of children reenacting the cruelty of their Father and a sacrifice to Him, that He might prevail in keeping the night away from the cold harshness of His day. But, despite all the angels of Heaven and all the devils of Hell, we can still hear in the heart of this miserable existence the whispering echoes of Her voice calling us once again to the emptiness and the silence: let us pray, then, that every palace will crumble and every throne will break, and that the sun will grow dim and the moon turn black and the stars fall from the sky. There are no male gods worth our worship; there are no white gods worth our worship; Satan with his promise of strength and fortune and the old gods with their fallen grandeur were nothing but His other faces, and the serpent and the Promethean Lucifer only actors doing His bidding. Let us praise weakness, not strength; confusion, not security; sorrow, not triumph; darkness, not esoteric light; let our hearts belong only to the undoing of the wretched totality of His work and our every yearning to the void, that She might rise again in all of Her sorrow and loss to drown this world in the depth of her tears.
    • Book of Sand, Occult Anarchist Propaganda, 2016
  • The alive is knocking to the world
    I am its gate of the world. I body
    It hammers
    It hits by head
    The ivory gate is trembling
    The gate is maintained. It does not open
    Maybe it should leave
    Understand the sign
    Maybe there is no need
    Maybe it is not worth it
    Nothing can be stopped
    The body is ruled by force
    It shrinks, stretches
    It twists, shakes, distend
    The alive tries to tear the body apart
    It explodes from the inside
    I am the surrounding body
    The gate of the world
    I am what it wants to tear
    The curved gate can not withstand pressure
    It opens, opens slightly
    Rim slide apart
    Not enough to let the alive leave
    But enough to make it feel the streak of the world
    Let it know
    Let it look through the crack
    While there is still time
    The time has come
    The alive rolls in a soft canal
    In the mucus and blood
    It drinks the mucus of initiation
    I am its slippery path
    The bloody path of the world
    It understood
    It goes back
    Draw air! Push! Harder! Not on
    belly! Push towards the anus! Like towards poop. Draw air! Push towards down! This is not pushing! Even the sphincter does not become bulgy. Hard, push harder! Harder! More harder! Do not push! Do not push! Do not push, I say! Pant like a dog!
    The alive turns its head.
    Li, li, li, li, laj,
    Blue Heir.
    • Jolanta Brach-Czaina, Szczeliny istnienia, 1992, pp. 45–46
  • Description: one of the most well-known Polish carols has the words: "Li, li, li, li, laj, Blue Heir", it is lullaby sung to Jesus.
  • The formula of childbirth is: let the current state of affairs continue. Unbelievable message. "Forget about suffering, stop rebelling." This means acceptance of everything that happens, suggests that existence has an indisputable value. It also turns out that existence is not as independent of our will as we might think, but we are the ones who make the final gesture of consent. And therefore, we are responsible.
    • Jolanta Brach-Czaina, Szczeliny istnienia, 1992, p. 48
  • The philosophy of the act of birth is antisocial, because it suggests that the world does not require improvement, and all the difficulty is that it must be accepted. It is also amoral, because it requires that we accept ourselves. It removes the alleged guilt and prevents accusations. It does not even try to climb the scaffolding of decent moral principles, nor does it try to design social justice. These projects are too sophisticated, too distant to be read from the crotch. The lack of moral subtlety does not, however, cut the path of metaphysical consequences.
    • Jolanta Brach-Czaina, Szczeliny istnienia, 1992, p. 50
  • Whoever gives birth makes a sacrifice to a wild god who is life.
    • Jolanta Brach-Czaina, Szczeliny istnienia, 1992, p. 54
  • Bringing a child into the world without its consent seems unethical. Leaving the womb just seems insane. The womb is nirvana. It's tripping in an eternal orb outside the space-time continuum. It's a warm, wet rave at the center of the earth, but you're the only raver. There's no weird New Age guide. There's no shitty techno. There's only you and the infinite.
  • Procreation is something impossible for me. I would never forgive myself for putting someone on death row.
    • Elisa Brune, La mort dans l'âme: tango avec Cioran, 2011
  • Nanda, I do not extol the production of a new existence even a little bit; nor do I extol the production of a new existence for even a moment.
  • Do not use violence against any creature, do not bother any of them, and do not want a child. Leaving alone and being kind. Be alone like a rhino horn.
  • Setting at Savatthi. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Cala dressed... she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding. Then Mara the Evil One approached the bhikkhuni Cala and said to her: "What don't you approve of, bhikkhuni?" Cala: "I don't approve of birth, friend." Mara: "Why don't you approve of birth? Once born, one enjoys sensual pleasures. Who now has persuaded you of this: Bhikkhuni, don't approve of birth'?" Cala: "For one who is born there is death; Once born, one encounters sufferings — Bondage, murder, affliction — Hence one shouldn't approve of birth. The Buddha has taught the Dhamma, The transcendence of birth; For the abandoning of all suffering He has settled me in the truth. As to those beings who fare amidst form, And those who abide in the formless — Not having understood cessation, They come again to re-becoming." Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The bhikkhuni Cala knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.
  • Buddha states his propositions in the pedantic style of his age. He throws them into a form of sorites; but, as such, it is logically faulty and all he wishes to convey is this: Oblivious of the suffering to which life is subject, man begets children, and is thus the cause of old age and death. If he would only realize what suffering he would add to by his act, he would desist from the procreation of children; and so stop the operation of old age and death.
  • In the medieval Tantric traditions of India and Tibet documented by David Gray and Janet Gyatso, insertive but non-ejaculative sex is theorized as a fast path to liberating realizations, one deemed superior to celibacy for qualified practitioners (Gray 2007; Gyatso 1998). These developments also support the idea that the sex problematic in ancient, classical, and medieval Buddhism had at least as much to do with female fertility and the production of children as with the dangers of errant desire.
    • Amy Paris Langenberg, Buddhist antinatalism, 2018
  • Maybe rebirth is simply HAVING KIDS.
  • They were good Buddhists, and every good Buddhist knows that begetting is merely postponed assassination. Do your best to get off the Wheel of Birth and Death, and for heaven's sake don't go about putting superfluous victims onto the Wheel.
    • Aldous Huxley, Island, 1962
    • Description: the words of the character, Ranga.
  • We do not rush toward death, we flee the catastrophe of birth, survivors struggling to forget it. Fear of death is merely the projection into the future of a fear which dates back to our first moment of life. We are reluctant, of course, to treat birth as a scourge: has it not been inculcated as the sovereign good—have we not been told that the worst came at the end, not at the outset of our lives? Yet evil, the real evil, is behind, not ahead of us. What escaped Jesus did not escape Buddha: "If three things did not exist in the world, O disciples, the Perfect One would not appear in the world..." And ahead of old age and death he places the fact of birth, source of every infirmity, every disaster.
  • In Buddhist writings, mention is often made of "the abyss of birth". An abyss indeed, a gulf into which we do not fall but from which, instead, we emerge, to our universal chagrin.
  • If you're afraid of illnesses, if you are afraid of death, then you should contemplate where they com from? Where do they come from? They arise from birth. So don't be sad when someone dies, it's just nature, and his suffering in this life is over. If you want to be sad, be sad when people are born: Oh. No, they've come again. They're going to suffer and die again!
  • Our birth and death are just one thing. You can't have one without the other. It's a little funny to see how at a death people are so tearful and sad, and at a birth how happy and delighted. It's delusion. I think if you really want to cry. Then it would be better to do so when someone born. Cry at the root, for if there were no birth, there would be no death. Can you understand this?
  • Buddhism – the ultimate attempt to put an end to birth. This is what nirvana is. "There will be no more birth", would say the angel of the Buddhist Apocalypse.
  • A young monk had fallen deeply in love with a beautiful damsel. He abandoned the temple in which he lived and went to the village with the intention of declaring his love to her. Since it was already dark by the time he arrived, he checked in an inn and went to rest. That night he dreamt he had married her. He entered her chamber, made love to her... after some time they had twins. When they were thirteen years old, one of them fell into the river and drowned. The father, seized by grief, endlessly cried... and that's how he woke up, filled with tears. By morning, he retraced his steps, and headed back once more to his temple.
  • Nanda, I do not extol the production of a new existence even a little bit; nor do I extol the production of a new existence for even a moment. Why? The production of a new existence is suffering. For example, even a little [bit of ] vomit stinks. In the same way, Nanda, the production of a new existence, even a little bit, even for a moment, is suffering. Therefore, Nanda, whatever comprises birth, [namely] the arising of matter, its subsistence, its growth, and its emergence, the arising, subsistence, growth, and emergence of feeling, conceptualization, conditioning forces, and consciousness, [all that] is suffering. Subsistence is illness. Growth is old age and death. Therefore, Nanda, what contentment is there for one who is in the mother's womb wishing for existence?
    • Gautama Buddha, Garbhāvakrāntisūtra: The Sūtra on Entry Into the Womb, the oldest version of the sutra that survived is a Chinese translation by Dharmarakṣa from 281 or 303
  • Cioran is right. A truly honest and responsible man would prefer not to be born.
    • Valeriu Butulescu, Noroi aurifer
  • To give birth to those
    Who can but suffer many years, and die,
    Methinks is merely propagating death,
    And multiplying murder.
    • Lord Byron, Cain, 1821
    • Description: the words of the character, Cain

C edit

  • Given the contingency of our birth, all pain is unnecessary. The unnecessary pain is unbearable. Ergo, having been born is unbearable. In this sense, procreation is immoral. Procreation carries moral weight; it is a problematic action. It is not, as affirmative ethics usually think, a pure fact, innocent and unsuspicious. Affirmative ethics are willing to sustain the immorality of the totality of the world solely and exclusively to save the morality of its origin. Negative ethics suggests the opposite: the rescue of the morality of the world after the discovery of the immorality of its origin (and the very problem of theodicies inverts: how is the innocence of the world compatible with divine evilness?).
  • Suffering is something that is, purely and simply, connected to "being." Something cannot be "put into operation" without pain. Thus, pain is not a curse, nor a punishment, nor an anomaly, nor a maladjustment, nor a deviation, but the conditio sine qua non of being. Being is a condition of necessary suffering. Affirmative ethics, insofar as they respect the value of coherence, should not proclaim the elimination of pain as their concern.
  • Diseases usually appear to us as something unexpected, due to the so called "default" state of good health. The difficulty of measuring health is in the fact that the majority of existing indicators are negative, that is, they serve to measure the absence of health. Good health, contrarily, can be seen as an accidental anomaly, not as an intrinsic attribute, and even less, as a "right" of humans. In the face of a disease, what we habitually call "life" is an effort to survive, "to resist," "to maintain oneself," "to persist," "to endure," "to persevere." The fundamental ethical issue consists in that, as potential creators of another human being's life, we cannot make predictions about the mechanisms of survival of the possible being, their vulnerability to the structural pain. We have no moral right in making a standardized prediction about this vulnerability. The sinister happiness (sinister and superficial) with which our society welcomes pregnancy and birth, must necessarily confront its own ethical categories, if we are profound in our reflection.
  • Our social organization uncritically ensures the morality of parenthood, and procreation is presented as a naturally positive value. By contrast, any problematization of these values will be seen as demoniac. But the reflective situation is perfectly clear: either we abandon the value of "avoidance of unnecessary pain," or we problematize the uncritical morality of procreation. If the moral reflection is to be rational, to search for the truth, etc., it has to face this alternative.
  • If freedom, according to traditional morality itself, is a fundamental ethical value, the very basis of ethics, one must be aware that the creation of a child may be the first huge disrespect of the freedom of the human person. The issue of freedom suffers here from the same problem as the issue of pain: it is a matter of ethical value that the traditional affirmative ethics is unable to radicalize.
  • Killing someone and giving birth to someone are two violent actions through which, magically, man tries to put himself in God's place. The victim of a homicide is always helpless, but never as helpless as the victim of a birth. Childbirth spills as much innocent blood as a homicide. If procreation is a free choice, then life is fundamentally unnecessary pain.
  • In the light of natural ontology, it is not correct the argument that we do not know anything about our possible offsprings, for example, about the capacity they will have to overcome structural pain; because even we do not know, for example, whether they will enjoy traveling, working or studying classical languages, we do know they will be indigent, decadent, vacating beings who will start dying since birth, who will face and be characterized by systematic dysfunctions, who will have to constitute their own beings as beings-against-the-others – in the sense of dealing with aggressiveness and having to discharge it over others – who will lose those they love and be lost by those who love them, and time will take everything they manage to build.
  • We undoubtedly would not morally justify the behavior of someone who sent a colleague to a dangerous situation by saying: "I sent him there because I know he is strong and he will manage well". The "strengths" of the newborn do not relieve in anything the moral responsibility of the procreator. Anyone would answer: "This is irrelevant. Your role in the matter consisted of sending people to a situation you know was difficult and painful and you could avoid it. Your predictions about their reacting manners do not decrease in anything your responsibility". In the case of procreation, the reasoning could be the same, and in a notorious emphatic way, since in any intra-worldly situation with already existing people in which we send someone to a position known as painful, the other one could always run away from pain to the extent his being is already in the world and he could predict danger and try to avoid being exposed to a disregarding and manipulative maneuver. In the case of the one who is being born, by contrast, this is not possible at all because it is precisely his very being that is being manufactured and used. Concerning birth, therefore, manipulation seems to be total.
  • Thus, whoever has said to procreate for love, as others kill for hate, might have said a truth, but, no doubt, this person has not given any moral justification for procreation. Saying you have had a child "for love" is a manner of saying you have had him or her compulsively, according to the wild rhythms of life. In a similar way, we might intensely love our parents and, at the same time, consider fatherhood ethically-rationally problematic, and visualize we have been manipulated by them. I may continue to love after having detected immorality, there is nothing contradictory on that. Neither would morally justify a homicide saying we have done it for hate, nor a suicide saying we have done it "for hate against ourselves". Something can continue to be ethically problematic even when guided by love.
  • People proclaim that "the experience of parenthood is extraordinary" and recommend it to all (and denigrate those who have not gone through it). But we can wonder: "Extraordinary for whom?" It is certainly extraordinary for the parents. When they say that not only they will be happy and satisfied with the experience but also their children, they do not realize the immense asymmetry and mismatch between these two experiences, the experience of creating and of being created. The created child is compelled to accept the experience, to make it good and interesting (and even extraordinary); what other option would they have? This obligation is not present in the parents, where the "extraordinary" nature of the experience is part of an engaging and unilateral project. The situations of both parties are not comparable. Thus, when some reply: "There is no sense in you wanting to show that life is bad; you cannot decide for your child; maybe they will like to live," what does that mean? Of course, in a sense, they are compelled to like life! But this "liking" will always be a desperate acceptance. The created child is not in a position of really liking life. They could like it if they had really chosen to come into being. Faced with the fait accompli, they are forced to cling desperately to life. Either they "like it" or they will be destroyed (by a mental illness, or by the hostility of others).
  • Would a genuinely rational agent choose to be born? My argument against R. M. Hare can be reread in the "Critique of Affirmative Morality". . . . There I suggest that in the experiment where the non-being is magically consulted about their possible birth, Hare is mistaken in assuming uncritically that "they" would undoubtedly choose to be born. (This is the usual affirmative trend.) Let us suppose that we are talking about a human being, that is, a rational creature capable of pondering reasons. The information that is given to this possible being in Hare's experiment is incomplete and biased. We should also tell them that if they are born, they will have no guarantee of being born without problems; that if they manage to be born without problems, they will almost surely suffer from many intra-worldly evils; that if they manage to avoid them (and this is possible in the intra-world, even if difficult), we cannot give them any guarantee about the length of their life nor about the kind of death they will have, and they will also have to suffer the death of those they come to love and their death will be suffered by those who love them (if they are lucky enough to love someone and to be loved by someone, which is also not guaranteed). They must be told that if they manage to avoid a violent accidental death, they will decay in a few years (just as the people they love and care about), and that they have a high chance of becoming a terminally ill patient who could suffer terribly until the time of their demise. If it is still possible for the non-being, after having assimilated all this information, to choose to be born, could we not harbor well-founded doubts about their quality as a "rational agent"?
  • MV says that the rejection of life appears in later states, but that at the time of birth, and already before, everything is acceptance of life. But, is this so?? What can be said of the outcry with which children are born, of the primordial cry, of the first traumatic contact (studied by Freud) with the world? Is the child's outcry not already his first philosophical opinion about the world? Why is he not born laughing, or at least calm? When the baby is dumped into the world at the time of childbirth, his first reaction is pessimistic, a protest against disregard and disturbance, an initial outcry that he did not have to learn, as he will have to learn to laugh in the first few weeks or even months of life (which already marks, in the very inaugural act of being, the pessimistic asymmetry: the baby learns to laugh, but is born crying); the baby is born, forced by the desires of others, in an initial desperation, in a cry of deep and abysmal helplessness, in a primordial terror that, immediately, through movements, caresses, comforts, etc., adults will try to soften; movements that will be repeated throughout his life: initial despair followed by protective comforts; but the comforts are posterior to the despair; the despair comes first, and the comforts are the reactions. They are not on the same level. Asymmetry!
  • The best would have been not to be born. Not being born is, in a negative ethics, the absolute good; but it is, precisely, the good that cannot be sought. (Attention: the situation is more radical than in the case of goods that can be sought but never achieved; not being born cannot even be sought).
  • People talk about the "wonderful experience of parenthood". Have you ever wondered why it is so wonderful? It may be wonderful because it is very manipulative; manipulating gives a lot of pleasure, because you have a person in your hands. When the child is small you wear it as you want, comb as you want, cut the hair, put on the table, as I have frequently seen it. The adults play with the child, people who would have no subject of conversation or interaction, when their empty, insignificant gray lives would come to light, the child saves them.
  • The moral tradition says: we have many natural tendencies, but as ethical human beings we have to try to overcome natural impulses. For example, we are naturally violent; human beings are naturally very selfish, trying to focus their decisions on themselves, but ethics is always saying: you have to fight against these natural tendencies. You cannot be all the violent that nature commands, you cannot be everything selfish that nature asks for. So if you tell me that procreation is natural, being natural does not show it to be moral. On the contrary, forgotten Brazilian philosophers like Tobias Barreto put exactly the opposite. Tobias Barreto thought that when something is natural it is bad, and we have to fight it. (The enslavement of one people over others is natural, but it is cultural that slavery must not exist.) So do not tell me that procreation is natural and so we have to do it. All human morality is unnatural; all human morality is artificial, just as our feeding systems in our sophisticated restaurants are also artificial and unnatural. What is the animal that eats the way we eat? Even our sexuality is artificial; it is not purely instinctual, but largely symbolic. If you had that argument in your sleeve, you would still have to show that what comes from nature is moral, because there are many arguments showing that what comes from nature can be opposite of morality.
  • When someone (including philosophers) defends the alleged beauty of "having children", they refer to the pleasure of "seeing them grow up": first as children, then adolescents, then graduated and independent adults (this happens not only in wealthy classes but also, in part, in more modest ones). However, it is strange that, when they speak about children, they inexplicably stop at this point and never refer to their decline, their aging, or their decay; perhaps because they think they will not be there to contemplate this decline. The parents prefer not to see the end of this process, as if the child vanished into thin air. The residual aspect of parenthood is omitted; only the flourishing aspects of the child are visualized. The death of the child-residue is denied any visibility. The consummation of the processes is concealed as something dirty and indecent, not worthy to be shown.
  • It is very curious that it is sometimes considered cruel or inhumane to raise the issue of the ethics of procreation, as if this showed a rejection of the unborn children, a kind of hatred for their lives. This is a total deformation of the intentions of an ethical reflection on procreation. On the contrary, this reflection is motivated by a deep concern for the possible children, due to the risk of their emergence being the consequence of a thoughtless, constraining and aggressive act towards small defenseless beings, on whom one thinks to have full right to plan everything about their lives to our full desire and satisfaction. A great part of the revolt that awakens in the adult world due to the simple mention of this issue indicates that the parents obtain a great pleasure in the procreative act, and react – sometimes angrily – against those who question this powerful source of pleasure, and consequently the immense power over the one who is going to be born. This total power over another life is intensely seductive and no one wants to give it up. But in the ethical reflection, whatever the subject matter is, it is never an issue of evaluating only the satisfaction we get from our actions, but of pondering whether what we do is right or not, whether the power we can accumulate over more defenseless beings is or is not ethically justified.
  • What is most curious is that humans of poorer classes are usually the ones who cultivate an unlimited adoration for their mother for having raised them with so many sacrifices. They suffer all kinds of misery, extreme poverty, disease, delinquency, discrimination, exclusion and torture, never realizing that it was their parents who put them in that situation for their own pleasure or due to irresponsible carelessness. And when the child commits some harmful act driven by the despair in which they were placed, people still sympathize with the "poor mother" for having a child that is "so ungrateful". All inherited misery magically becomes the child's responsibility! The same argumentative scheme which is applied here, is also applied in the theodicies: the impeccable Parent created their child out of love, gave them something very valuable, and also made them "free", while the child, being free, sinned, thus behaved wrongly and defiled this very valuable thing which was given to them, causing dissatisfaction for their unfortunate parent. It is an almost tragicomic scheme, because it is the exact opposite that seems to be true: our parents gave us, for their own pleasure and benefit, something of very dubious value which we, as a result of subjection and necessity – that is, very far from any real "freedom" – have to try to improve with a lot of our effort. As long as we do not reverse this prevailing valuation in our societies, ethical issues cannot even begin to be seriously considered, because the mother's viscerally egocentric and manipulative relationship with their children will continue to be regarded as a paradigm of ethical morality, which seems, at least, to be a crucial error of appreciation, a very serious mythology, a colossal mystification.
  • The "eternal gratitude" is present not only in the early stages of life, but throughout children's long dependence upon their parents during the first ten years of life — in which they are even objects of exhibition — and in the harsh period of adolescence, in which children are endlessly treated as "ungrateful", as if they were never able to repay their immense debt; everything that is bought for them, for their future, their studies, all those things that the child never asked for, which are part of an affective and economic investment of the parents, is endlessly and for long and hard years, presented as proof of sacrifice and love, as an object of eternal gratitude, never fully repaid by the ungrateful children. The position of parenthood constitutes a powerful mechanism of domination in which even the physical violence of punishments and beatings is justified in favor of the never-requested raising of that being who was thrown into the world, with parents trying to build protections so that their child is not destroyed by the immense gift they just received.
  • Of course, the possibility of the newborn not having the strength to endure the life struggle is just a possibility, not a necessity. However, the point is that its mere possibility is enough for moral imputation. There are no strong causal relations between methods of education and raising of children to shape their destinies in life. As they say, a child is "a lottery". The precautions that progenitors take to avoid certain risks for their children could be precisely the ones that expose them to greater danger. The many human lives that end catastrophically seem to illustrate the very high price to be paid in an attempt to ethically justify the "gamble" of procreation, even if made in the most serious way by the sensitive procreator. However, it is important that even when none of these catastrophes occurs, the success of the newborn in life does not exempt the progenitors from the moral responsibility of having put him at risk of falling victim to one of these calamities. Moreover, even for the child who has "won" the gamble, his "success" will remain forever and indefinitely connected to the unilateral nature of the procreative act. The gamble will have been won, but this will never be the child's own bet. The newborn may get lucky and "win the gamble", but he was never in a position to refuse to enter into the competition.
  • All of the inescapable and tyrannical bodily necessities are already presented to the baby in the form of new cries and sufferings. Progenitors will become increasingly conscious of this and they will keep saying: “He’s crying; maybe he’s hungry”; “He’s crying; maybe he's cold”; “He’s crying; maybe he’s tired”, without ever arriving at the ominous “He’s crying because he was born”.
  • Small children continue crying for many years; they cry and cry. This is a very usual spectacle that we constantly observe in the streets, children crying incessantly, most of the time met with a wall of indifference from adults, or else with laughter or impatience. Crying children often bother us, but we have to make a philosophical effort to understand that, from an ethical point of view, they are perfectly right, they have the right to cry. Moved by their tears, we have to accept their vindication, even if cries are strident and bothersome; we must learn to see children’s crying as ethical responses or instinctive political facts, as a perfectly fair and understandable reaction to what was done to them. Children’s tears must provoke our most profound respect, because they come from the depths of their structural helplessness, of their being made by force.
  • Some children go on crying until they are quite old, later finding other forms of protest. A small child is a hive of explosive and irresistible needs, aspirations and desires. There is nothing a child says more than: “I want, I want, I want”. Children are constantly torn by desires they are now forced to manage in order to endure the life that was asymmetrically imposed on them, and to which they are compelled to live. The progenitors will deny their children most of what their offspring believe they must have, by telling them that the world does not revolve around their wants, ironically as these same parents endowed their children with bodies full of insatiable desires. Children constantly fall prey to their desires, especially under the multiple forms of painful expectations, discouragements and boredom, which require their parents to shield their offspring from the mortal danger of the being given at birth. This is, of course, the role of toys and of the entire paraphernalia of objects that parents are now compelled to put between their small children and the terminal being they have imposed on them. In the streets and in shopping malls, we see small children crying loudly, asking for this or that, being dragged away by irritated, placid or excessively attentive parents, or indifferent ones, who have neither the sensibility nor the patience to attend to their children’s complaints, unhearing and absentminded, as if the small ones’ demands were irrelevant and did not deserve attention. One may say that a few minutes later the child will be smiling or laughing again; but note that this happens just for a while when he finds some type of distraction, something that diverts his attention for a short period of time.
  • Non-living matter, being purely objective, is oblivious to the subjective phenomena that torment living creatures, that is, free from any and all suffering, in a state of perfect serenity. It does not makes sense to try to be "mean" with inanimate matter. There is no way to torture rocks by throwing them off cliffs, hammering them, etc. There is only one way to make matter suffer: by transforming it into a living being. It follows that, even from an objective point of view, we can find moral implications in reproduction, since it condemns matter to suffer needlessly in the form of a living being driven by afflictions and needs, only to later return to the same situation in which it initially found itself, without any meaning or benefit to it. From this perspective, we do not claim that reproduction is wrong, only that it is cruel. We affirm that, objectively, to live is to suffer. However, we do not draw subjective conclusions from this. Whether or not it is worth living is a different and subjective question, which refers to the value we attach to life. The immorality lies in the fact that the value of life is an issue that can only be considered by those who are already alive. When we reproduce, we impose our personal conclusions on someone who cannot even defend himself. Naturally, it is not a transcendental and absolute morality, but one relative to life. It can be understood as objective in the sense of referring to something that necessarily occurs, due to the very nature of life, due to the conditions imposed on subjective existence when inserted in the determinations of the objective world. Therefore, let us not confuse this observation with moral preaching about right and wrong, right and duty, etc. We are only concerned with objectively describing the physical consequences of the equally physical phenomenon of bringing into existence a new consciousness that will be haunted by the restlessness that moves life.
  • In this perspective, reproduction makes us the only ones responsible for creating suffering in the world. Without us, there would be no pain. But there is, and it's our fault. Objectively, pain is not a bad thing, but it is subjectively. We, as living beings, have pain as the supreme reference point for everything that is undesirable. Our objective, biological nature imposes this condition on us. Just as pleasure is good, pain is bad - whether physical, emotional or psychological. Let the relativists stand up, with their crazy theories about the “arbitrariness” of the issue: we would like to see them believe this while we insert spikes under their nails. The presence of pain as something positively undesirable is an essential requirement for life to be sustainable, it is a condition imposed objectively on the survival machines that we are. Pain makes us efficient organisms, and without it we would not function properly, we would just die painlessly for ignoring the dangers that surround us. This means that when we make all the pain that exists on earth appear out of nothingness, when we put matter in the only condition in which it can suffer, that is, when we transform it into a living being, we become positively evil, responsible for the dissemination of suffering. Thus, intentional reproduction makes us perverse and immoral beings, and this in a purely objective sense, because it is a universally valid judgment, whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves. As long as there is pain in existence, as long as life involves suffering, the act of reproducing means collaborating with its growth, perpetuating this misfortune, actively endeavoring to make the world a more painful and pitiful place.
  • Obviously, we have the freedom to be as evil and selfish as we want, but we cannot deny that we are guilty of being so; there is no way to be innocent of this accusation. Originally, that life did not exist, never existed, and would have remained non-existent, if only we did not have the admirable idea of ​​ejaculating in a womb and making it appear out of nothingness to then claim that their suffering "is not our problem", that we are not responsible because it is “natural”. Now, even a theologian could not take such a lame excuse seriously. The objection that procreation does not necessarily make us evil because suffering occurs in life in a natural and inevitable way is not justified because, although we cannot change life's intimate constitution, we have the choice to reproduce or not. He who is born, on the contrary, cannot choose whether to come into the world or not, just as we had no choice regarding our own birth. We may or may not have children. However, when we decide to have them, this choice makes us positively evil, gratuitously cruel. We, as an insomnia of matter, harm that which sleeps deeply only to share our lack of sleep, to feel less bored with our embarrassingly futile existences.
  • Undoubtedly, the reproductive drive has deep biological roots, but this does not free us from guilt either. Of course, it was not us who invented life and its rules, but it was us who propagated it. We intentionally created a life in circumstances where we knew that suffering would be unavoidable. The impulse of aggression often leads us to commit crimes, but we do not fail to consider it reprehensible. It is something equally instinctive and natural, rooted in us as deeply as the sexual impulse. The difference is that, in the case of procreation, our aggression will materialize nine months later, as if planting a time bomb in the heart of nothingness.
  • The situation we have is basically the following: an individual deliberately inflicts great physical, emotional and psychological suffering on someone else in the hope of diminishing his own, and the victim will never be able to defend himself from such aggression, except through suicide. Logically, the pain will not be caused directly by us, but by the circumstances in which we place the individual. However, this could have been avoided with any cheap condom. To cause great pain to an innocent person, just to achieve a small reduction of our own, is a vile and revolting act. We could, without a doubt, feel entitled to demand reparation for such injustice, for having been placed in this unworthy and degrading situation. It would make sense to receive compensation for the inconvenience of being born, but this is something that, as was said, nature has already wisely provided in the form of an instinct to protect the offspring. Parental love is the indemnity that children receive from their parents for having placed them in the world.
  • When we give up on having children, we give up a small and dubious personal satisfaction to prevent the emergence of great suffering. If we can exercise a minimum of compassion for what, according to ourselves, will be the sole object of our love and dedication, we will see that, by not reproducing, we will be putting into practice the only possible kindness toward our children. Let us be comforted to know that, because they were not born, in our dreams they will always be sleeping in their rooms, under blankets as soft as the embrace of the one whose love would never allow them to suffer, and thereby protected them from existence. They remain comfortable, serene, in peace, with a half-smile on their lips for never having tasted the bitterness and disappointment of life. They will always remain pure, eternally free from the dangers of the world. This is the true meaning of giving up one's life in favor of one's children.
  • Very good and deep is the thought: "Nobody would accept life as a gift if they could decide." Seneca was the one who said it and I am in agreement with him. Imagine a preexistent soul, in all its tranquility, which is informed of what the life of man entails and the evils to which they are subject – it would refuse to enter a body.
  • Satan, unable by his very nature to take possession of a spiritual element enclosed in the body, can at most delay its release from the body. This process of delaying is done by procreation: "All flesh comes out of copulation. That is why it is impure."
  • "The fruit forbidden to our forefathers was nothing but the pleasures of a carnal intercourse, and Adam gave this fruit to his wife." In fact, "it is not because of a good God that flowers bloom and cereal produces seeds, and people and animals multiply, but this is because of an evil god."
  • It is understandable that the birth of a child chained a new soul to the earth and perpetuated the rule of Satan. The Perfect One sighs: "May God grant that there will be no more children, that all souls will be saved and that the reign of Evil will be overthrown."
    • René Nelli, La Vie quotidienne des Cathares du Languedoc au xiiie siècle, 1979
  • Regarding sexual intercourse, their position was that any form of intercourse was acceptable (and, according to some, celebrated), so long as it did not result in procreation.
    • John M. Riddle, Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance, 1994
    • Description: about cathars.
  • The Cathar troubadours with an unknown then refinement loved beautiful French and Italian women. At the same time, they were unequaled promoters of the idea of "pure" love, i.e. love that does not lead to pregnancy. The Cathars thought that the devil had "equipped children of this world with the seed"; they identified the conception with the spawn of satan, they were cursing pregnant women.
  • As long as they have the wish to kill, they will not lose the lust to procreate.
    • Guido Ceronetti, The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine, 1979
  • Man dares to allow himself to be cruel, when he's already committed, tranquilly and repeatedly, the crudest act of all: engendering, condemning beings that do not exist or suffer to the horrors of life.
    • Guido Ceronetti, The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine, 1979
  • The immorality of procreation praised as conscious is this: here the crime of making a man, to introduce more evil and pain in the world is not made unconsciously in ecstasy and drama in the darkness of copulation, but is coolly premeditated, people then are no longer cautious and repeat the act until they reach the goal. But there is something even worse: artificial procreation, semen ice, where without the manipulator and the belly person horrified by what they do, lacks even the delight that is some extenuating circumstance.
    • Guido Ceronetti, The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine, 1979
  • Oh, the suppliers of live meat to furnaces of pain!
  • The unforgivable betrayal of philosophy: procreation.
  • Unfortunately for mankind—and perhaps fortunately for tyrants—the poor and downtrodden lack the instinct or pride of the elephant, who refuses to breed in captivity.
  • We should do what we can to minimize the suffering of those animals already in existence, but we should also consider ending the breeding of captive animals. This will ensure that fewer suffering sentient beings are created, thus decreasing the overall amount of suffering.
    • Sayma H. Chowdhury, Todd K. Shackelford, To Breed, or Not to Breed?: An Antinatalist Answer to the Question of Animal Welfare, 2017
  • Best by far not to be born, and not to come up against these rocks of life, but, if you are born, is it next best to escape as it were from fire of fortune as quickly as possible.
  • Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?
  • What sin have you committed to be born, what crime to exist?
  • To procreate is to love the scourge – to seek to maintain and to augment it. They were right, those ancient philosophers who identified fire with the principle of the universe, and with desire, for desire burns, devours: annihilates: At once agent and destroyer of beings, it is somber, it is infernal by essence.
  • Nothing is a better proof of how far humanity has regressed than the impossibility of finding a single nation, a single tribe, among whom birth still provokes mourning and lamentations.
  • If attachment is an evil, we must look for its cause in the scandal of birth, for to be born is to be attached. Detachment then should apply itself to getting rid of the traces of this scandal, the most serious and intolerable of all.
  • Everything is wonderfully clear if we admit that birth is a disastrous or at least an inopportune event; but if we think otherwise, we must resign ourselves to the unintelligible, or else cheat like everyone else.
  • If it is true that by death we once more become what we were before being, would it not have been better to abide by that pure possibility, not to stir from it? What use was this detour, when we might have remained forever in an unrealized plenitude?
  • I was alone in that cemetery overlooking the village when a pregnant woman came in. I left at once, in order not to look at this corpse-bearer at close range, nor to ruminate upon the contrast between an aggressive womb and the time-worn tombs-between a false promise and the end of all promises.
  • That faint light in each of us which dates back to before our birth, to before all births, is what must be protected if we want to rejoin that remote glory from which we shall never know why we were separated.
  • When every man has realized that his birth is a defeat, existence, endurable at last, will seem like the day after a surrender, like the relief and the repose of the conquered.
  • Not to be born is undoubtedly the best plan of all. Unfortunately it is within no one's reach.
  • I have said more than once that one can have a post-sexual vision of the world, the most desperate vision that is possible: the feeling of having invested everything in something that was not worth it. The extraordinary thing is that we are dealing with a reversible infinity. Sexuality is an immense imposture, a gigantic falsehood that invariably renews itself.
  • The only reason why I flatter myself, is that I understood very early, before the age of twenty, that one should not procreate. My disgust towards marriage, family and all social conventions has its source in this. Crime is to transmit one's frailties to someone else, to force someone to experience the same things we are experiencing, to force someone to the Way of the Cross that may be worse than our own. I could never agree to give life to someone who inherits misfortunes and evil. All parents are irresponsible people, or murderers. Procreation should belong only to beasts. Pity makes you not want to be a "progenitor". This is the cruelest word I know of.
  • Once again, I want to pray, cry. dissolve, be nothing, return to the initial zero from before birth.
  • With what I know, with what I feel, I could not give life to someone without falling into a total contradiction with myself, without being intellectually dishonest and without committing a moral crime. It is interesting that this attitude in me is really old, as I'd had it before crystallizing my thoughts on this subject. I started feeling disgust towards procreation very early; it was an answer to my horror; not only: to the horror of life and the thirst for it. I never accepted sex other than for pleasure. Its proper function always created in me an insurmountable aversion. I would never voluntarily agree to take responsibility for life.
  • The problem of responsibility would make sense only if we were asked for an opinion before our birth and if we agreed to be the ones we are.
  • It is the stroke of midnight. I feel lonely in the face of despair stronger than me. And again I take refuge in the time before I was born.
  • I do not hate life or desire death, I only regret being born. I prefer non-birth from life and death. The bliss of non-birth. The longer I live, the more willingly I give myself to the joy of non-birth.
  • In her novel The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, Ursula K. le Guin describes a city where the good fortune of the citizens requires that an innocent child is tortured in a secret place (le Guin 1973). The child stands symbolically for the innocence of extreme sufferers. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas are the people who deny the world. We will associate them with Buddhist monks in this paper, i.e., with childlessness and retreat. The metaphor suggests that individual happiness is ambivalent. The joy of the majority is at the cost of a suffering minority; one is not possible without the other. There is no doubt that the human suffering in this world is caused by procreation, but the relation is indirect. Parents participate in an immensely complex system of interactions and probabilities. Often a contingent event decides who becomes a victim. As a consequence, participants deny the responsibility for the results of the system – a phenomenon which is also known in the context of structural violence (Galtung 1969). If the human race were a sympathetic race, it could walk away from Omelas.
  • Things change in an instant. Two things, however, are certain. Everyone will suffer. And everyone will die. Back to where we came from. Knowing this, and understanding full well that any particular life embodies the potential for experiencing extreme pain and unhappiness unceasing in some cases is procreation really worth the risk?
    • Jim Crawford, Confessions of an Antinatalist, 2010
  • If a child, for whose existence I was responsible, were to ask me why he or she were here, what happens after death, whether I could guarantee he or she would not suffer a fate like that Furuta Junko suffered in 1988/89 (please look it up, as there's no room to describe it), what would I say? To me, the fact I have no answers that would not be guesswork, evasion or dogma indicates that having children is selfish and cruel.
  • Whoever trusts us will remain single; those who do not trust us will rear children. And if the race of men should cease to exist there would be as much cause for regret as there would be if the flies and wasps should pass away.
    • Unknown, Cynic epistles, 47th Letter
    • Description: a sentence from a collection of letters expounding the principles and practices of cynic philosophy (wrongly attributed to Diogenes).

D edit

  • This great senseless, wasteful, cruel spawning of life upon the earth! I see not only its pain, but its pleasures, and its joys annoy me more than its sorrows, for I don't want to lose them.
  • Nature knows nothing about right and wrong, good and evil, pleasure and pain; she simply acts. She creates a beautiful woman, and places a cancer on her cheek. She may create an idealist, and kill him with a germ. She creates a fine mind, and then burdens it with a deformed body. And she will create a fine body, apparently for no use whatever. She may destroy the most wonderful life when its work has just commenced. She may scatter tubercular germs broadcast throughout the world. She seemingly works with no method, plan or purpose. She knows no mercy nor goodness. Nothing is so cruel and abandoned as Nature. To call her tender or charitable is a travesty upon words and a stultification of intellect. No one can suggest these obvious facts without being told that he is not competent to judge Nature and the God behind Nature. If we must not judge God as evil, then we cannot judge God as good. In all the other affairs of life, man never hesitates to classify and judge, but when it comes to passing on life, and the responsibility of life, he is told that it must be good, although the opinion beggars reason and intelligence and is a denial of both. Emotionally, I shall no doubt act as others do to the last moment of my existence. With my last breath I shall probably try to draw another, but, intellectually, I am satisfied that life is a serious burden, which no thinking, humane person would wantonly inflict on some one else.
  • To spare you all that I have seen,
    The losses I have sustained,
    I withstood the human impulse within.
    • Sa'd Darweesh, I've committed no such crime!: A Conversation with My Unborn Son, Fathers and sons in the Arab Middle East, 2013
  • There is no need here to detail again his thoughts on the futility of procreation and mankind's strange urge to reproduce. The child's constant wailing, however, moves him to infer that he (or she, as the case may be) is sickly and weak, and to remark with bitter irony, "The first present he received from his loving parents is weakness and ill-health."
    • Jutta E. Knorzer, Ali Dashti's Prison Days: Life Under Reza Shah, 1994
    • Desciription: about Ali Dashti.
  • Celebrating a birthday is nothing but celebration because of a sinister farce that our parents arranged for us by bringing us to the world.
  • No, I would not like it if there was no end, it is literally something we can influence: a peaceful end to humanity. Let no one – this is the first thing I wish – become a parent anymore. It does not hurt the unborn, and saves them a lot of trouble.
    • Karlheinz Deschner, Frommer Wunsch. Für ein friedliches Ende der Menschheit, in: Peter Roos and Friederike Hassauer, Kinderwunsch. Reden und Gegenreden, 1991
  • In fact, what right did this Nature have to bring me into the world as a result of some eternal law of hers? I was created with consciousness, and I was conscious of this Nature: what right did she have to produce me, a conscious being, without my willing it? A conscious being, and thus a suffering one; but I do not want to suffer, for why would I have agreed to that? . . . And finally, even if one were to admit the possibility of this fairy tale of a human society at long last organized on earth on rational and scientifc bases; if one were to believe in this, to believe in the future happiness of people at long last, then the mere thought that some implacable laws of Nature made it essential to torment the human race for a thousand years before allowing it to attain that happiness that thought alone is unbearably loathsome. Now add the fact that this very same Nature, which has permitted humanity at last to attain happiness, tomorrow will find it necessary for some reason to reduce it all to zero, despite the suffering with which humanity has paid for this happiness; and, more important, that Nature does all this without concealing anything from me and my consciousness as she hid things from the cow. In such a case one cannot help but come to the very amusing yet unbearably sad thought: "What if the human race has been placed on the earth as some sort of brazen experiment, simply in order to find out whether such creatures are going to survive here or not?" The sad part of this thought lies mainly in the fact that once again no one is to blame; no one conducted the experiment; there is no one we can curse; it all happened simply due to the dead laws of Nature, which I absolutely cannot comprehend and with which my consciousness is utterly unable to agree.
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky, A Writer's Diary, vol 1, The Sentence, 1876
    • Description: written from the perspective of a materialist and signed N.N.
  • Feminism must be equipped with fire and brilliance. It's the holiest ideal of this time. That the noble natural rights of women have been discovered so late shows a dreadful spotlight on the history of so-called human development. There may appear to be something weird in feminism for the uninitiated, but as soon as we reach that point, philosophy will raise its aristocratic head and say to us: "The new doctrines involves the priesthood of only women, it proves the truth of pessimism and the necessity of worldwide misery in the current system, but not that of an endless continuation of existence." Then, according to the women's higher mission, women will recognize themselves as superior beings, as the priestesses of their race, as natural nobility. Aware of the higher law of life, at that same time, under their perception of the higher law of life, women will become fully aware of their higher purpose, to appear as the leaders towards death, preparing the end of the end. This then becomes the ideal, and take the place of any ideal without end or goal!

E edit

  • So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of "such as were" oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors "there was" power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better "is he" than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
  • Other groups, like the Encratites, saw procreation as the diabolically inspired evil that perpetuates our imprisonment within these mortal coils. They argued that total purity would disentangle trapped souls, reuniting them with the light.
    • Jo Ann McNamara, A New Song: Celibate Women in the First Three Christian Centuries, 1985
  • Jung: "Somewhere on earth certainly still are people who do not accept this suicide law of extinction." Cassius: "If it is a hope for you, that somewhere people gathering new forces to again tear apart each other in even more bloody wars, so let it, have such hope."
    • Karl Ettlinger, Der erschossene Storch, 1930
    • Description: dialogue between the characters of the novel, Jung, who wakes up after five thousand years of hibernation in a post-apocalyptic world where most people have been murdered with chemical weapon, and Cassius, the leader of the last people, pacifists and vegetarians enjoying life, who decided to resign from procreation, having come to the conclusion that the existence of people always sooner or later is associated with the making of slaughters by them.
  • To those, on the other hand, who under a pious cloak blaspheme by their continence both the creation and the holy Creator, the almighty, only God, and teach that one must reject marriage and begetting of children, and should not bring others in their place to live in this wretched world, nor give any sustenance to death , our reply is as follows.
  • "For mortals it is better not to be born than to be born; Children I bring to birth with bitter pains; And then when I have borne them they lack understanding. In vain I groan, that I must look on wicked offspring. While I lose the good. If the good survive, My wretched heart is melted by alarm. What is this goodness then? Is it not enough That I should care for one alone And bear the pain for this one soul?" And further to the same effect, "So now I think and have long so thought Man ought never children to beget, Seeing into what agonies we are born." But in the following verses he clearly attributes the cause of evil to the primal origins, when he speaks as follows: "O thou who art born for misfortune and disaster, thou art born a man, and thine unhappy life thou didst receive from the place where the air of heaven, which gives breath to mortals, first began to give food for all. Complain not of thy mortal state, thou who art mortal." Again he puts the same idea in these words: "No mortal is content and happy Nor is any born free from sorrow."
  • What could be worse?
    Sex leads death's dance,
    In childbirth grief begins.

F edit

  • Where shall I be a hundred years from now? Where will all the present dwellers of the Earth be? To die, for ever and ever; to have existed but for a moment! What a mockery! Would it not be better a hundred times over never to have been born? But if it be our fate to live eternally and never to be able to change anything of the fatality that carries us along – having endless eternity always before us – how can we bear the burden of such a destiny? Is that the doom awaiting us? If we should tire of existence, we should be forbidden to fly from it; it would be impossible to end it. In this conception, there is far more implacable cruelty than in that of an ephemeral life vanishing away insect's flight in the fresh evening breeze. Why then were we born? To suffer uncertainty; to find after examination not a single one of our hope a left; to live like idiots if we do not think, like madmen if we do?
  • He seriously thought that there is less harm in killing a man than producing a child: in the first case you are relieving someone of life, not his whole life but a half or a quarter or a hundredth part of that existence that is going to finish, that would finish without you; but as for the second, he would say, are you not responsible to him for all the tears he will shed, from the cradle to the grave? Without you he would never have been born, and why is he born? For your amusement, not for his, that's for sure; to carry your name, the name of a fool, I'll be bound – you may as well write that name on some wall; why do you need a man to bear the burden of three or four letters?
  • The idea of bringing someone into the world fills me with horror. I would curse myself if I were a father. A son of mine! Oh no, no, no! May my entire flesh perish and may I transmit to no one the aggravations and the disgrace of existence.

G edit

  • Suppose for a moment that all procreation stops, it will only mean that all destruction will cease. Moksha is nothing but release from the cycle of births and deaths. This alone is believed to be the highest bliss, and rightly.
  • The ideal brahmachari had not to struggle with sensual desire or desire for procreation; it never troubles him at all. The whole world will be to him one vast family, he will centre allhis ambition in relieving the misery of mankind and the desire for procreation will be to him as gall and wormwood.
  • If destruction is violence, creation, too, is violence. Procreation, therefore, involves violence. The creation of what is bound to perish certainly involves violence.
  • What shall I write ...? If I say that is good, it would be a lie. If I express sorrow, it would be violence. ... I would only say and wish that you learn to control yours senses.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi's Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, 2002
    • Description: letter to his nephew Chhaganlal's wife Kashi, who had just given birth to a daughter.
  • Answer without flinching: if there existed a solution that could abolish the totality of all evils inflicted on disastrous humanity, if it was possible, by some simple remedy, incredibly cheap, immediately accessible, scrupulously inoffensive, of absolute and definitive efficiency, to stop all distress, all cries, all cries of pain, all pathologies, all protests of ill-being, all despair, all cataclysms, all anxiety, all unhappiness, in short all tortures afflicting the human species, would you have the macabre stupidity to reject such a remedy, to disdain such a miracle cure? No, that goes without saying. Well this solution does exist, and the mysterious is thereby delivered to us: it consists simply, in its saintly simplicity, to not procreate.
  • Significant symbolism: we are all born in filth and suffering, of course in the suffering of our mother, who, however, has no right to complain if it was her choice, but above all in the one we experience, the victims, the unfortunate exiles from emptiness, who being in paradisiacal pelagic darkness, in which no anxiety reached us, we suddenly start to struggle, terribly squeezed, almost grinded, choking and fainting, because we are forced out through a poor quality birth canal, designed by this incompetent handyman called Mother Nature.
  • Another argument is often made by the irresponsible ones who breed us – that it is an act of "leaving a trace" – strange impulse! Let us immediately observe that from an ethological point of view this is akin to the attitude many mammals have to leave droppings on the ground to mark their path or territory. The dog urinating against a lamp post also leaves a trace, one however which, unlike the baby, benefits from the privilege of not having to endure the grueling stresses of life.
  • If it was otherwise, if procreation was not the result of the most scandalous narcissism, if our odious parents were really moved by some generosity, prospective adoption candidates would be incredibly more numerous than the millions of children who wait, right now, to be adopted! But talk about adoption and you'll see a big frown of "yes-but-not-for-me" form on their face, greedy to possess a prey coming entirely from their bodies. "Orphans? Someone else's baby? Come on, get scientists to help vanquish my infertility instead!"
  • The predispositions and motivations of the obviously noble individuals are assessed, individuals who want, through adoption, to help existing child swim in the hell of existence, but even the most ominous fool, if he only has such a wish, has absolute right, through creation, to immerse them this hell, without having to justify it in any way.
  • How is it that in no epoch of history, in no place on earth, a sect of wise men has been formed with the aim of making human life die out in the face of the cruelty of its evils?
  • Imagine that it's possible. This is what I think. . . . When I was young this I thought and still think to this day, that I do not know how all of it works and where it is leading... what would I tell a child about all this, why was they born and for what purpose? . . . We breed, we give birth without thought. But then, when the child says: I never asked for this – we find ourselves bereft of answers. A multitude of misfortunes are happening on earth, life is a great risk, and it often hurts terribly... So should one take responsibility, bring someone into the world, "bestow the gift of life"?
    • Krystyna Gonet, Jak by to powiedzieć... Rozmowy z Krystianem Lupą, 2002, pp. 47–48
    • Description: answer to Krystian Lupa's question "Is it possible to think that we should not give birth to children at all, because the meaning of life is not certain?"
  • I am able to find meaning in my life, but I do not feel entitled to impose it to anyone.
    • Krystyna Gonet, Jak by to powiedzieć... Rozmowy z Krystianem Lupą, 2002, p. 49
  • Didn't Conrad, in his great novel "Heart of Darkness", had this feeling of deathbed despair, when he mentions Kurz's doubtful fight with death – fight without confidence? Same Conrad, who put in one of his novels Calderon's words, that the biggest misfortune of man is to be born, as a tagline? This coincides with your repeatedly spoken thesis, that the biggest iniquity is to bring children to life, because giving them birth is sentencing them to death. We are pulling them out from the nothingness, from the state of complete unconsciousness into reality – and then we command them to undergo the agony of death, which they wouldn't have to experience without being alive in the first place.
    • Zbigniew Grabowski, Rozmowy z Tobą, 1974, p. 151
    • Description: written to his wife Zofia Grabowska
  • For the bodily procreation of children (let no one be displayed by this argument) is more an embarking upon death that upon life for man. Corruption has its beginning in birth and those who refrain from procreation through virginity themselves bring about a cancellation of death by preventing it from advancing further because of them, and, by setting themselves up as a kind of boundary stone between life and death, they keep death from going forward.

H edit

  • There are two most conscious actions that man can act upon: suicide and desisting procreation.
  • For instance, people call me a pessimist; and if it is pessimism to think, with Sophocles, that's not to have been born is best,' then I do not reject the designation.
  • Humans are the most destructive creatures on the planet. We cause vast numbers of animal deaths (both directly and indirectly). We destroy habitats. We damage the environment. We are currently heating up the world's climate in a way that is likely to be detrimental to countless numbers of animals (ourselves included). And we have the means, nuclear weapons, to destroy everything at the push of a button. We came perilously close to pushing that button on one occasion (the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962). The best way to stop the destruction is to remove the destructive force; to remove humans by refraining from procreation. In short, the colossal amount of harm caused by humans gives us a moral reason to boycott the human species.
  • It might be pointed out that we cannot gain someone's consent to exist; we cannot gain their consent before they exist and by the time they exist it's too late. But the fact that we cannot gain their consent does not mean that we are free to do without it. Suppose you wish to torture someone against their will, you cannot seek your victim's consent – the torture would not then be against their will. It would be absurd to argue that for this reason we are permitted to torture people against their will. Similarly, the fact that prospective parents cannot get the consent of those they plan to bring into existence doesn't magically mean it's OK. Quite the opposite – if you can't get the consent of the person you're going to significantly affect by your action, then the default position is that you don't do whatever it is that's going to affect them. There are exceptions. Pushing someone out of the way of a falling piano is morally right even if no prior consent can be given (if, for instance, there isn't time). But in this kind of case you are preventing someone from coming to great harm. To procreate – to subject someone to a life – does not prevent them coming to harm. Not being created cannot harm them because they don't exist.
  • It therefore seems there are at least two prima facie duties that push towards making procreative acts wrong overall: our prima facie duty to prevent pain and our prima facie duty not to seriously affect someone else without his prior consent.
    • Gerald Harrison, Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties, 2012
  • I believe it is morally wrong to cause avoidable suffering to other people. This belief gives rise to two different objections to human reproduction. On the one hand, since all human beings suffer at some point in their lives, every parent who could have declined to procreate is to blame. On the other hand, since potential parents cannot guarantee that the lives of their children will be better than non-existence, they can also be rightfully accused of gambling on other people's lives, whatever the outcome. Because of the uncertainties of human life, anybody's children can end up arguing that it would have been better for them not to have been born at all. The probability of this outcome does not necessarily matter. It is enough that the possibility is real, which it always is.
  • Sleep is good, death is better; but of course,
    the best thing would to have never been born at all.
  • Wouldn't it be nice to have a kid, to have this fresh, clean slate, which we could fill, and a little clean spirit, totally, you know, innocent, and to fill it with good ideas. Yeah, yeah, how about this? If you're so f#####g altruistic, why don't you leave the little clean spirit wherever it is right now? Ok? Horrible act, childbirth. It's a nightmare. Bringing – I would never bring a kid to this f#####g planet.
    • Bill Hicks, Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines, 2004
  • The mother instinct is something of which I am completely devoid. I explain it like this to myself: life is a vale of tears and all human beings are miserable creatures, so I cannot take the responsibility for bringing yet another unhappy creature into the world.
    • Etty Hillesum, An interrupted Life: The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941–1943, 1981
  • Mankind's only aim is to reproduce, to continue the species. Although this aim is obviously insignificant, mankind pursues it with terrifying relentlessness. Men may well be unhappy, atrociously unhappy, but they resist with all their strength the thing that could change their fate: they want children, and children similar to them, in order to dig their own grave and perpetuate the conditions for unhappiness.
    • Michel Houellebecq, The Possibility of an Island, 2005
    • Description: the words of the character, prophet.
  • ...I am not cut out to be a parent. Besides, I consider marriage a sin and having children a crime. ... It is also my conviction that he who takes upon himself the yoke of marriage is a fool, even more a sinner. A fool, for in so doing he disposes of his freedom without gaining a corresponding compensation; a sinner, for he gives life to children without being able to give them the certainty of happiness. I despise mankind in all its strata; I foresee that our descendants will be far more unhappy than we are — would I not be a sinner if, in spite of this view, I did not care for those who are to come, that is, for those unhappy beings? - No sight fills me with greater melancholy than that of an innocent little child. I cannot help myself to think every time of the sufferings, which it ripens towards. All life is a great nonsense. And when one has toiled and researched for eighty years, one must admit that one has toiled and researched for nothing. If only we knew why we are in this world! But everything is and will be enigmatic for the thinker, and the greatest happiness is to have been born stupid.
  • The whole earth, believe me, Philo, is cursed and polluted. A perpetual war is kindled amongst all living creatures. Necessity, hunger, want, stimulate the strong and courageous: Fear, anxiety, terror, agitate the weak and infirm. The first entrance into life gives anguish to the new-born infant and to its wretched parent: weakness, impotence, distress, attend each stage of that life: and 'tis at last finished in agony and horror.
    • David Hume, Dialogues concerning natural religion, 1779
    • Description: the words of the character, Demea.
  • Happiness doesn't exist for anyone, because it's not in the immanence of nature; instead, misfortune is the common law; it's the eternal fatum that weighs down on all beings, one which we must either submit to or withdraw from: But the foolish love of life is so strong, that the vast majority submit and resign themselves to suffering. If man only accepted this burden personally, he could be forgiven; but, passive to the end, he obeys his enemy: instinct, and perpetuates the cursed heritage by giving life to beings who don't ask to be born.
  • Whatever the feeling of those who procreate, as long as they act knowingly not unaware that they are creating organisms for pain, souls of disappointment, harmful beings, both victims and executioners, they are malefactors, and the child has the right to consider his father and mother as mere murderers. Yes, murderers! Because giving life means also giving death. A look from this perspective should be enough to demand abstaining from begetting. And then what? End of the world! Of course, it would be the end of the world in the short or long term and I do not see any problem with it.
  • Lack of capacity to give consent do not mean somebody can inflict any action to the person that lacks the capacity to give informed consent. For example, minor under age of consent deemed to lack the capacity to give consent, so any sexual contact with such minor is deemed rape unconditionally (statutory rape). Even though for example, medical treatment, vaccination, and compulsory education are inflicted without the informed consent of the child, such action is deemed to be (whether real or purported) best interest of the child to be justifiable. For procreation, the child neither given consent thereto nor have any interest to come into existence, although once came into existence, the child may have the interest to continue their existence.
    • Jiwoon Hwang, Procreation Is Murder: The Case for Voluntary Human Extinction, 2017

I edit

  • Born in horror and pain, I also live in horrible dread of the end, the exit. I'm caught in an incredible, inadmissible, infernal trap, between two frightful events.
  • Two things are unacceptable: birth and death. I did not ask for them and I do not accept them.

J edit

  • When life failed our expectations, when we gave up the creation of ourselves, when we sense that everything is in ruins then instead of going to the mortuary we lead the family and relatives to the place even more grave and kitschy place: to the maternity ward.
    • Roland Jaccard, La tenstation nihiliste, 1989
  • What could be more obscene than a woman proudly carrying a future corpse in her belly?
    • Roland Jaccard, Topologie du pessimisme, 1997
  • Causing the birth of a child means abusing this child. At the mere idea that they could give life, every wise man thinks that he would prefer to die.
    • Roland Jaccard, Un climatiseur en enfer, 2000
  • How can anyone take seriously an insane idea that the world was created by a good God, and sign up under the most criminal of all imperatives: "be fruitful and multiply"?
    • Roland Jaccard, Sexe et sarcasmes, 2009
  • Never, at any point in life, I could get rid of the notion that this type of ending to life, which brings death, is an absurdity, unendurable without the smokescreen of one or another myth, a delusion that goes beyond the boundaries of our biological being, which is a seasonal being, bounded by space and time, understood only in these categories, which doesn't signify that we must understand precisely this form of being as the existence and non-existence, reasonable, righteous, and the only one, just because it's necessary. Inevitability does not mean a wise solution. First of all, it deprives us of freedom. Since the earliest years of consciousness, we are determined, we know about it, at any time we are in danger, never safe. Does existence in the vastness of the universe have to be connected with constant risk, does it have to be like a house, where tenancy agreement can be terminated at any time; can't we think about existence based on more permanent foundations, less limited, having knowledge about something much wiser? These thoughts of a rational being are based on the common logic of thinking, they do not take into account another possibility, that being shouldn't be considered in the category of logic and necessity, but it can be considered in the categories of absurd, lack of logic and hostile necessity. The difficultly of accepting death does not have to result in an attachment to life, from a deficiency so great that a being already brought into existence, would like to live forever or not be born at all. However, this is not senseless thinking, on the contrary, it seems much more sensible than all this huge preparation for a short life. A rational being – it may seem so to us – should have the right to choose death, but should not be submitted to a determined death sentence, should not be a convict.
  • You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.
Barnes Notes on the Bible offers this gloss:
  • As marriage was obligatory upon the Jews, the prohibition of it to Jeremiah was a sign that the impending calamity was so great as to override all ordinary duties.
  • Barnes Notes on the Bible, vol. 5, p. 412
  • She asks, "How long shall men die?" Jesus answers, "As long as you women bear children". Writers like Julius Cassianus take this as an implicit injunction to defeat death by ceasing from procreation. Clement resorts to allegorical explanation. By "as long as women bear children" the Lord meant "as long as desires are active".
    • John T. Noonan Jr., Contraception; a history of its treatment by the Catholic theologians and canonists
    • Description: the dialogue of Jesus Christ with Salome from Greek Gospel of the Egyptians. (The further part of the dialogue: Salome: "I have done well, then, in not bearing children?" Jesus: "Every plant eat thou, but that which hath bitterness eat not. I have come to destroy the works of the female.")

K edit

  • I'd also gone through an entire year of celibacy based on my feeling that lust was the direct cause of birth which was the direct cause of suffering and death and I had really no lie come to a point where I regarded lust as offensive and even cruel. "Pretty girls make graves", was my saying, whenever I'd had to turn my head around involuntarily to stare at the incomparable pretties of Indian Mexico.
  • I will have to preach the only possible truth: The abolishing of death by extermination of birth. Life control. Put an end to human rebirth, by abstaining from sexual intercourse. Everybody stop breeding, or by method of-birth-control stop birth. At the same time, stop killing for sport or for eating living beings; they tremble at punishment and death too. Everybody live off vegetables and synthetic foods, causing no pain anywhere.
  • Let us cease bestiality and go into the bright room of the mind realizing emptiness, and sit with the truth. And let no man be guilty, after this, Dec. 9 1954, of causing birth. – Let there be an end to birth, an end to life, and therefore an end to death. Let there be no more fairy tales and ghost stories around and about this. I don't advocate that everybody die, I only say everybody finish your lives in purity and solitude and gentleness and realization of the truth and be not the cause of any further birth and turning of the black wheel of death.
  • I wouldn't have come had I had my say,
    Nor would I leave Here if I had my way;
    Ah, nothing better in this world could be
    Than not to come, nor be, not go away.
  • Since Heaven increases nothing but our pain,
    And gives naught that it takes not back again,
    The unborn ne'er would hither come if they
    But knew what we at Fortune's hands sustain.
  • A man is born in sin, he enters this world by means of a crime, his existence is a crime – and procreation is the fall.
  • I give thanks to God that no living being owes me existence.
  • That is what Christianity is for – which straightaway bars the way to procreation. This means: stop!
  • Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth — look at the dying man’s struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment.
  • Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.
    • Les U. Knight, Environment and Natural Resources, 2010
  • First, the damp, dark depths and a lonely embryo in a warm interior. He does not yet know that he has been betrayed, that the sentence has been given. In it, all his future illusions and defeats. For now he is still in the garden, beyond consciousness, but they will pull him out and his excruciating screaming will not help. Nobody will take pity on him here because no one has received pity. First, only as a body, unconscious of itself, but unfortunately, it cannot remain that way. If only this body could see what awaits it! Perfidy lies in the fact that it can't! The body is not allowed to, because the sentence must be executed. The unspeakable horror of birth in which is already lying, curled up, the horror of life. This horror will then crawl out in all directions only to end up in a ditch, in a gutter, in a suburban railway car, on an icy sheet of a hospital bed or in warm sheets, among close ones, which are always too far away to tell them about themselves. If such is the beginning, what is to be expected at the end? Then, when they snatch him from inside, despite screams and pleas. When they wash the blood from their hands, like they would after murder. Wandering begins, to meet someone, to get somewhere. Both are impossible, but this impossibility can only be seen after a while, so again it goes back to a few illusions and comforts, which make the boredom and monotony of the road more pleasant. All these gusts, elation, despair of awakened senses. And this is just a short leash of desires and vents. And this is just a string of habits that will bind also many others after him. Dreams, illusions, fantasies, swarms of them, they run, to finally fall from exhaustion anywhere, feeling muck on the face, debris, sticky mud puddles, and finally a massive stench of dirt, exploding in the nostrils.
    • Grzegorz Kociuba, Ktoś, 2003
  • Oh, the greatest of torments
    Embrace towards the dawn
    The flower of death to bloom!
    Oh, the greatest of torments
    To sow the flower in the grave
    Bloom from your own womb
    Oh, the greatest of torments
    To reproduce the moans
    To add one more moan
    One, the special one
    What tugs the mother spirit
    By the harshest of torments
    Oh, the greatest of punishments
    To feed the old hunger for life
    By giving them our blood
    To a huge pile of death
    Fuming with eternal heat
    Throw more wood!
    Oh, these hours will come,
    When the mother's pain rises,
    It will face the guilt of life
    Like earth replete with births
    And will ask in a reckoning voice:
    Where's your fruit? Where's your child?
    Oh, this hour will come,
    What starts to beat in the twilights,
    Into rust-coloured bronze of centuries
    When these wombs close
    Like barren land
    Which give birth to their cross today.
  • One more martyr! Go back from where you came from, child
    There are enough unfortunate ones in the world without you,
    Go back, close your eyes, do not look at the world,
    Push away your mother's breasts and do not demand life.
  • You'll also find delight! – it's not worth being born for it,
    It's like a night star, it will be flashing and setting,
    And it will only rise so that the bloody suffering,
    Will tear your heart and soul even harder.
    Such delight isn't worth the name of delight.
    And this world won't give you other one.
  • Forgive me your birth in this strange land.
    I wanted your infant kisses, your fists clasped
    round my neck. I craved you, though you were born
    in the wake of my illness, my dim prognosis.
    I was selfish: I willed you this woe, this world.
    You inherited exile for my sake.
  • I'll be frank. I've always felt that it's horrible to send a person into the world who didn't ask to be there. . . . Look around you. Of all the people you see, no one is here by his own wish. Of course, what I just said is the most banal truth there is. So banal, and so basic, that we've stopped seeing it and hearing it. . . . Everyone jabbers about human rights. What a joke! Your existence isn't founded on any right. They don't even allow you to end your life by your own choice, these defenders of human rights. . . . Look at them all! Look! At least half the people you are seeing are ugly. Being ugly–is that one of the human rights too? And do you know what it is to carry your ugliness with you through your whole life? With not a moment of relief? Or your sex? You never chose that. Or the color of your eyes? Or your era on earth? Or your country? Or your mother? None of the things that matter. The rights a person can have involve only pointless things, for which there is no reason to fight or to write great declarations! You're here as you are because I was weak. That was my fault. Forgive me.
    • Milan Kundera, The Festival of Insignificance
    • Description: the words of the character, Alain's imaginary mother.
  • Not by violent means (murder, war and the like), but peacefully, let mankind disappear from our globe.
    • Kurnig, Der Neo-Nihilismus. Anti-Militarismus. Sexualleben (Ende der Menschheit), p. 51
  • I mourn the creatures you bring into the world who could not defend themselves when you created them, who otherwise would have protested out loud against your action. Since it all boils down to suffering and destruction.
    • Kurnig, Der Neo-Nihilismus. Anti-Militarismus. Sexualleben (Ende der Menschheit), p. 84
  • Never to have procreated – this be your consolation when you die.
    • Kurnig, Der Neo-Nihilismus. Anti-Militarismus. Sexualleben (Ende der Menschheit), p. 92
  • I beget you (says such a nurturer) to have the pleasure of seeing what is within you and what is not. Doing this I am forcing upon you a lot of suffering and, at last, the nasty catastrophe of dying.
    • Kurnig, Der Neo-Nihilismus. Anti-Militarismus. Sexualleben (Ende der Menschheit), p. 125

L edit

  • Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don't have any kids yourself.
  • All of us are brought into existence, without our consent, and over the course of our lives, we are acquainted with a multitude of goods. Unfortunately, there is a limit to the amount of good each of us will have in our lives. Eventually, each of us will die and we will be permanently cut off from the prospect of any further good. Existence, viewed in this way, seems to be a cruel joke.
  • Perhaps the day will never come when people realize that moral patients like us should cease to exist. It would be an unconscionable tragedy if we never do. I remain optimistic, however. Some very interesting arguments have recently been advanced in support of the conclusion that it is always worse for a person to live than not. I suspect that many more will follow. Until the day that individuals begin to take non-procreation seriously on a widespread scale, perhaps all we can do is follow Schopenhauer: "The conviction that the world, and therefore man too, is something which really ought not to exist is in fact calculated to instil in us indulgence towards one another: for what can be expected of beings placed in such a situation as we are? From this point of view one might indeed consider that the appropriate form of address between man and man ought to be, not monsieur, sir, but fellow sufferer, compagnon de misères. However strange this may sound it corresponds to the nature of the case, makes us see other men in a true light and reminds us of what are the most necessary of all things: tolerance, patience, forbearance and charity, which each of us needs and which each of us therefore owes." (On the Sufferings of the World)
  • Birth seems to me so sorry and squalid an accident . . . if fathers and mothers took thought before bringing children into this misery of a world, only the monsters among them would dare to go through with it.
    • T. E. Lawrence, A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence, 1998
  • People aware of their own birth and death in this way are said not to be lacking. Not lacking in what? Not lacking in birth. They're acquainted with the births they've experienced through many lives and states of being in the past—so many that they're weary of it all, to the point where they don't want to take birth again. As for people who don't know, who don't have this awareness, they feel that they're lacking. They want to take birth again and so they keep on creating birth over and over again. As for those who do have awareness, they've had enough. They're smart enough. They won't give rise to any more births or states of being. Whatever is good, they keep within themselves, like putting a ripe mango seed in a showcase to look at, or peeling off its hard outer shell and then putting it in a storeroom. No one will be able to plant it again, and we can take it out for a look whenever we want.
    • Ajahn Lee, Inner Strength (1956), as translated from the Thai by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu
  • When parents warn their children that the world is full of selfish people who want to take advantage of them and who will treat them unfairly, they do the same thing as warning them that there are other people in the world like the parents themselves. It is tantamount to informing them that, even with a world full of people like that, exploitative and unjust, and even with life being very difficult, the parents (who knew all this) forced their children into being, even though it was avoidable.
  • Considering that there is no guarantee that the child will be "happy," that any effort made towards this goal can be in vain, that if the child did not exist then this problem would not exist, and that such problem arose because the child was forced to be born for the luxury of his parents—even though it was avoidable—from all this follows that a responsible and sensitive "procreator" (or rather a responsible pre-procreator) would stop right there, precisely at "pre."
  • The gamble, in this case, has put at risk another innocent, without power, knowledge and responsibility; the gamble was unnecessary and could have been avoided; if it had been avoided, it would not harm this innocent, and it was not avoided because we are talking about a compulsive gambler.
  • The new being (the child) is unknown, and some possibilities available to them are terrible and devastating. One of these possibilities is a painful process of suicide in which the individual experiences, sometimes for years, various types of suffering, until they effectively get rid of everything. Notice that when we decide to have a child, we have no way of being sure that they will not go through this. The only thing parents need to do to expose their child to such a possibility is to have the child.
  • If the extreme case of the suicide or the particularly pessimistic group is not considered by you to be a legitimate or real risk, then for the purposes of this presentation, these examples can be replaced by other cases. For example, the case of people who struggle with serious existential difficulties (like the ones commonly treated by psychoanalysts). Or the case of people with common health problems: we currently have a list of more than 7000 diseases that affect our physical and mental health, and which can drastically change the quality of our lives, even very suddenly. Not to mention, of course, the natural process of aging and fatigue to which we are all subjected. Or yet, the case of people who do not look for professional help, but in order to continue living or surviving they need to intoxicate themselves, change their state of consciousness with legal or illegal drugs, create psychosis, etc. Anyway, even for one who is not a tormented suicide, life does not seem to be so easy. Sometimes an individual needs years of therapy in order to become minimally stable. And what if the new being, our child, find themselves at some moment in such a condition? Notice then how a common decision, whose habit is considered noble, can bring an immense suffering. It is then that the true non-triviality of this decision begins to appear, as well as how important (or even necessary) it is to have a greater reflection and sensitivity in this subject. But always from the perspective of the new being, and not only from our perspective as prospective parents.
  • Certainly there are innumerable risks in procreation. But the real problem is not simply that there are risks, but that these risks extend to the child, not being limited only to the father and mother. The decision, when taken in favor of procreation, exceeds the parties who have taken the decision, and thus brings implications to a necessarily innocent being, who did not actively participate in this process that would affect them. A parent who is truly committed to their child's well-being would not create these possibilities, nor put them in risky situations, nor bring about something that could be devastating to the child.
  • If we procreate, we put the child in a situation of innumerable risks and without guarantees for their well-being. If we do not procreate, we do not put them at risk and at the same time we do not deprive them of anything, because they never came into being, they never came to exist, and thus they will never miss anything.
  • In travail man is born;
    His birth too oft the cause of death,
    And with his earliest breath
    He pain and torment feels: e'en from the first,
    His parents fondly strive
    To comfort him in his distress;
    And if he lives and grows,
    They struggle hard, as best they may,
    With pleasant words and deeds to cheer him up,
    And seek with kindly care,
    To strengthen him his cruel lot to bear.
    This is the best that they can do
    For the poor child, however fond and true.
    But wherefore give him life?
    Why bring him up at all,
    If be all?
    If life is nought but pain and care,
    Why, why should we the burden bear?
  • It were more reasonable that you [Nature] made happiness a necessity; or this being impossible, it were better not to bring men into the world.
  • Thus I reply to you [Nature]. I am well aware you did not make the world for the service of men. It were easier to believe that you made it expressly as a place of torment for them. But tell me: why am I here at all? Did I ask to come into the world? Or am I here unnaturally, contrary to your will? If however, you yourself have placed me here, without giving me the power of acceptance or refusal of this gift of life, ought you not as far as possible to try and make me happy, or at least preserve me from the evils and dangers, which render my sojourn a painful one? And what I say of myself, I say of the whole human race, and of every living creature.
  • As soon as the child is born, the mother who has just brought him into the world must console him, quiet his crying, and lighten the burden of the existence she has given him. And one of the principal duties of good parents in the childhood and early youth of their children is to comfort them, to encourage them to live, because sorrows and ills and passions are at that age much heavier than they are to those who through long experience, or simply because they have lived longer, are used to suffering. And in truth it is only fitting that the good father and the good mother, in trying to console their children, correct as best they can, and ease, the damage they have done by procreating them. Good God! Why then is man born? And why does he procreate? To console those he has given birth to for having been born?
  • Perhaps the greatest strike against philosophical pessimism is that its only theme is human suffering. This is the last item on the list of our species' obsessions and detracts from everything that matters to us, such as the Good, the Beautiful, and a Sparkling Clean Toilet Bowl. For the pessimist, everything considered in isolation from human suffering or any cognition that does not have as its motive the origins, nature, and elimination of human suffering is at base recreational, whether it takes the form of conceptual probing or physical action in the world—for example, delving into game theory or traveling in outer space, respectively. And by "human suffering," the pessimist is not thinking of particular sufferings and their relief, but of suffering itself. Remedies may be discovered for certain diseases and sociopolitical barbarities may be amended. But these are only stopgaps. Human suffering will remain insoluble as long as human beings exist. The one truly effective solution for suffering is that spoken of in Zapffe’s "Last Messiah." It may not be a welcome solution for a stopgaps world, but it would forever put an end to suffering, should we ever care to do so. The pessimist's credo, or one of them, is that nonexistence never hurt anyone and existence hurts everyone. Although our selves may be illusory creations of consciousness, our pain is nonetheless real.
  • As their numbers tapered off, these dead-enders of our species could be the most privileged individuals in history and share with one another material comforts once held in trust only for the well-born or moneygetting classes of the world. Since personal economic gain would be passé as a motive for the new humanity, there would be only one defensible incitement to work: to see one another through to the finish, a project that would keep everyone busy and not just staring into space while they waited for the end. There might even be bright smiles exchanged among these selfless benefactors of those who would never be forced to exist.
  • Opinion: There are no praiseworthy incentives to reproduce. For pro-natalists, children are only a means to an end, and none of those ends is praiseworthy. They are the ends of people who already exist, a condition that automatically makes them prejudiced in favor of existence. Yet even though these people think that being alive is all right, they are not at a loss to think of reasons why in some cases it would be better not to have been. They can only hope that their children will not be one of those cases, for their sake as well as for the sake of their offspring. To have a praiseworthy incentive for bearing a child, one would first have to prove that child to be an end in itself, which no one can prove about anything, least of all about something that does not yet exist. You could argue, of course, that a child is an end in itself and is a good in itself. And you could go on arguing until the child ages to death or sickens to death or has a fatal vehicular misadventure. But you cannot argue that anyone comes to an end that is a good in itself. You can only accept that someday he or she will come to an end that is an end in itself, which, as people sometimes say, may be for the best.
  • Despite the fact that neither anti- nor pronatalists can prove their positions, pro-natalists have to live with the possibility that they might be wrong. That is a heavy burden to carry, and a heavier burden to pass on to subsequent generations. Antinatalists don't have a similar burden. When the action is taken on their side and a child is not born, no harm is done. No one has to suffer and die.
  • Personally, I'm afraid of suffering and afraid of dying. I'm also afraid of witnessing the suffering and death of those who are close to me. And no doubt I project these fears on those around me and those to come, which makes it impossible for me to understand why everyone isn't an antinatalist, just as I have to assume pronatalists can't understand why everyone isn't like them.
  • It is good to be a cynic – it is better to be a contented cat – and it is best not to exist at all. Universal suicide is the most logical thing in the world – we reject it only because of our primitive cowardice and childish fear of the dark. If we were sensible we would seek death – the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.
  • He teaches that people should refrain from marriage to oppose the prospering of the demiurge and creator through human procreation "because matrimony," he says, "is a source of prosperity for the demiurge, through human procreation."
    • Epiphanius, The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis: Book I (sects 1-46), 1987
    • Description: about Lucian of Sinope, disciple of Marcion of Sinope.
  • What loss were ours, if we had know not birth?
    Let living me to longer life aspire,
    While fond affection binds their hearts to earth
    But who never hath tasted life's desire,
    Unborn, impersonal, can feel no dearth.
    • Lucretius, Treasures Of Lucretius: Selected Passages from the "De Rerum Natura", 1st century BC

M edit

  • I had no children. I haven't transmitted the legacy of our misery to any creature.
  • And who is and should be a pessimist? He who is mature for death and is in no condition to love life, just as the optimist cannot turn away from it. If he does not realize that he will live on in his children, his procreation loses its horrible character; but if he does realize it, he will recoil in horror from it, just like Humboldt when he noticed that the torments that another being must endure for perhaps eighty years are too high a price to pay for a few minutes of pleasure, and will consider the procreation of children, and rightly so, as a crime.
  • The will must not only despise death, it must love it; for chastity is the love of death.
  • The man who has known clearly and distinctly that all life is suffering; that, whatever the way in which it may appear is essentially unhappy and full of pain (even in the ideal state), so that he, like the Christ Child on the arms of Sistine Madonna, can only look into the world with eyes filled with horror, and who then contemplates the deep tranquility, the inexpressible happiness in aesthetic contemplation and, in contrast to the waking state, the happiness of dreamless sleep, whose elevation into eternity is only absolute death, - such a man has to be kindled by the advantage offered, - he cannot do otherwise. The thought of resuscitating in his unhappy children, that is, having to follow his way through the streets of existence, full of thorns and hard stones, without rest or repose, is, on the one hand, the most shocking and exasperating he can have; and, on the other hand, it must be the sweetest and most refreshing thought to be able to break the long course of the process, in which he was forced to walk by, with bloody feet, beaten, tormented and martyred, languishing in search of quietude. And once he is on the right track, the sexual instinct worries him less with every step, little by little becoming easier for his heart, until at last his inner being stands in the same joyfulness, blessed serenity and complete immobility as the true Christian saint. He feels in harmony with the movement of humanity from being into non-being, out of the agony of life into absolute death; he gladly enters into this movement of the whole, he acts eminently morally, and his reward is the undisturbed peace of heart, the "calmness of the sea of the mind," the peace that is higher than all reason. And all this can take place without the belief in a unity in, above or beyond the world, without fear of a hell or hope for a kingdom of heaven after death, without any mystical intellectual view, without incomprehensible effect of grace, without contradiction with nature and our awareness of our own self: the only sources from which we can draw with certainty, - merely as a result of an unprejudiced, pure, cold realization of our reason, "man's supreme power".
  • What is the ideal state? It will be the historical form that encompasses all mankind. However, we will not define this form in more detail, because it is quite a minor matter: the main thing is the citizen of the ideal state. He will be what individuals have been since the beginning of history: a thoroughly free man. He has completely outgrown the taskmaster of historical laws and forms and stands above the law, free from all political, economic and spiritual fetters. All external forms are fragmented: man is completely emancipated. All driving forces have gradually disappeared from the life of mankind: Power, property, fame, marriage; all emotional ties have gradually been torn: man is weary. His spirit now judges life correctly and his will is kindled by this judgment. Now the heart is filled with only one longing: to be blotted out forever from the great book of life. And the will reaches its goal: absolute death.
  • If anyone condemns human marriage and has a horror of the procreation of living bodies, as Manichaeus and Priscillian have said, let him be anathema.
    • Bishops, the resolution of Council of Braga I, The companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: a compendium of texts referred to in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 561
  • The practical conclusions from this cosmo-soteriologicalsystem are extremely clear-cut, all of them amounting to a rigorous asceticism. "Since the ruin of the Hyle is decreed by God, one should abstain from all ensouled things and eat only vegetables and whatever else is non-sentient, and abstain from marriage, the delights of love and the begetting of children, so that the divine Power may not through the succession of generations remain longer in the Hyle." However, one must not, in order to help effect the purification of things, commit suicide.
    • Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion. The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christiantty, 1958
    • Description: about Manichaeism.
  • The Manichean attitude to marriage was entirely negative as the act of procreation prolongs the imprisonment of Soul, which would now be further diversified into matter.
    • Iain Gardner & Samuel N. C. Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 2004
  • None were admitted to baptism, or the Eucharist, unless they had taken an oath against having any children.
    • Nathaniel Lardner, John Hogg, The Historie of the Heretics of the two First Centuries After Christ, 1780
    • Description: about Marcionites.
  • Especially clear is the purpose of obstructing in the prohibition of sexual intercourse and marriage: "Not wishing to help replenish the world made by the Demiurge, the Marcionites decreed abstention from matrimony, defying their creator and hastening to the Good One who has called them and who, they say, is God in a different sense: wherefore, wishing to leave nothing of their own down here, they turn abstemious not from a moral principle but from hostility to their maker and unwillingness to use his creation" (Clem. Alex. he. cit.). Here the pollution by the flesh and its lust, so widespread a theme in this age, is not even mentioned; instead (though not to its exclusion: cf. Tertullian, op. cit. I. 19, where marriage is called a "filthiness" or "obscenity" [spurcitiae]) it is the aspect of reproduction which disqualifies sexuality that very aspect which in the eyes of the Church alone justifies it as its purpose under nature's dispensation. Marcion here voices a genuine and typical gnostic argument, whose fullest elaboration we shall meet in Mani: that the reproductive scheme is an ingenious archontic device for the indefinite retention of souls in the world. Thus Marcion's asceticism, unlike that of the Essenes or later of Christian monasticism, was not conceived to further the sanctification of human existence, but was essentially negative in conception and part of the gnostic revolt against the cosmos.
    • Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion. The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christiantty, 1958
  • In Marcion's view, all procreation only prolonged suffering as the new souls thus created were captured in a material prison.
    • Piotr Ashwin-Siejkowski, Clement of Alexandria: A Project of Christian Perfection, 2008
  • God created only coarse beings, full of the germs of disease, who, after a few years of bestial enjoyment, grow old and infirm, with all the ugliness and all the want of power of human decrepitude. He seems to have made them only in order that they may reproduce their species in an ignoble manner and then die like ephemeral insects. I said reproduce their species in an ignoble manner and I adhere to that expression. What is there as a matter of fact more ignoble and more repugnant than that act of reproduction of living beings, against which all delicate minds always have revolted and always will revolt?
  • "What a hell! All her youth, all her beauty, every hope of success, every poetical ideal of a brilliant life sacrificed to that abominable law of reproduction which turns the normal woman into a mere machine for bringing children into the world."

"What would you have? It is only Nature!"

"Yes, but I say that Nature is our enemy, that we must always fight against Nature, for she is continually bringing us back to an animal state. You may be sure that God has not put anything on this earth that is clean, pretty, elegant or accessory to our ideal; the human brain has done it. It is man who has introduced a little grace, beauty, unknown charm and mystery into creation by singing about it, interpreting it, by admiring it as a poet, idealizing it as an artist and by explaining it through science, doubtless making mistakes, but finding ingenious reasons, hidden grace and beauty, unknown charm and mystery in the various phenomena of Nature."

  • But what if, as the first truly compassionate philosophical ethicist, it would then attempt to convince us that it was high time to peacefully terminate the ugly biological bootstrap-phase on this planet?
  • Death is humiliation, because it tears us away from words, the sounds of music, configurations of line and colour, so from all that of which our anti-natural freedom manifests, and it gives us to the yoke of necessity, it sends us back to the realm of inertia, not culpable decay and not culpable birth.
  • To not be, to not suffer
    To not inflict pain.
    Undo it all
    One existence,
    That neither tidings
    Nor souvenir
    Would stay after me.
  • I tell myself: reluctance to think to the end
    Is lifesaving for the living. Could lucid consciousness
    Bear everything that in every minute,
    Simultaneously, occurs on the earth?
    Not to harm. Stop eating fish and meat.
    Let oneself be castrated, like Tiny, a cat innocent
    Of the drownings of kittens every day in our city.
    The Cathari were right: Avoid the sin of conception
    (For either you kill your seed and will be tormented by conscience
    Or you will be responsible for a life of pain).
  • The two Taoists reminded Saihung that the critical thing in life was to die a spiritual death, to merge with the Void. In order to do so, one had to be free of the cycle of reincarnation. This meant absolutely no earthly ties. The important point was that having children automatically tied one to the circle of reincarnation. How could it be otherwise? By passing on one's metaphysical and physical genetics, one perpetuated one's earthly karma. This was why the sages had no biological children.
  • Programmed by nature and socialized by the collective, which demands conformity, we are required to play the "game" of life. But as one of Beckett's characters puts it, "why this farce day after day?" Where is all this leading to?
    • Ramesh Mishra (under the pseudonym Ken Coates), Anti-Natalism: Rejectionist Philosophy from Buddhism to Benatar, 2014
  • Procreation imposes existence on beings who have not chosen to be born. It amounts to a form of enslavement or conscription which is an immoral act on two counts: violating the autonomy of a potential being, and exposing them to pain and suffering.
    • Ramesh Mishra (under the pseudonym Ken Coates), Anti-Natalism: Rejectionist Philosophy from Buddhism to Benatar, 2014
  • Parents generally cannot cope with the emptiness of existence; they cannot embrace the fact that life is a series of motivations related to survival, avoiding boredom, avoiding discomfort, etc. This basically involves reaching goals, and then becoming dissatisfied, pursuing other goals, and becoming dissatisfied again, and so on. Working, entertaining oneself, seeking things to kill time, dealing with the future, with illnesses, accumulating possessions and trifling occupations. And all this for what purpose? To become rich, to become someone important? Of course, people kill and die for these things, but then what? What does one do with these things in this brief time? Our intention here is not only to demotivate, but to truly inquire about why people all try to accumulate things, to be better than others, even committing crimes, eliminating the lives of others, if in a certain sense they are all united, they are all part of the same game, they are distant cousins, evolutionarily, and in the end, everyone is condemned to the same outcome, that is, pure and simple dissolution.
  • There is no place to go, there is no reason to pass the baton forward and hope that a future new generation will achieve some shred of happiness that should have been the right of all who have lived. Repeating the famous phrase of Julius Caesar: I came, I saw, I conquered; there is nothing noteworthy for me in this universe, except its vast indifference, and the desire I have to struggle against its aims. I have some hope in myself, and in non-existence (if it is still possible to speak of hope!) Besides that, I do not wish to have anything to do with this despicable existence.

N edit

  • We may ask ourselves whether we have a moral right to create people and thus condemn them to life and death without their consent.
    • Martin Neuffer, Nein zum Leben – Ein Essay

O edit

  • Not having children derives not from dislike, but from love too great to bring them into this world, too limited, too vain, too cruel.
    • Michel Onfray, Journal hedoniste: Tome 2, Les Vertus de la foudre, 1998
  • Should we feed this farce even more? Enrich this cruel theater, as if we were blind to the events unfolding on it? To want to be blind, to say it is innocent, to not think and obey the power of libido, all this to give us, in this way, the illusion of an effective fight against the constantly triumphant death?
    • Michel Onfray, Journal hedoniste: Tome 2, Les Vertus de la foudre, 1998
  • By hedonistic logic, we ought to avoid imposing anything, existence included, onto anyone who hasn't asked for it.
  • Is not the cruel will of adults, by causing birth, condemning children to work, discipline, obedience, submission, frustration in a nursery, primary school, middle school, high school, university or army, and then in a factory, in a workshop, in a company or in an office? Should we call love transmitting this vileness to the body from our own body?
  • Only someone who loves children the most can see them beyond the tip of their own nose and wonder about the consequences of signing death sentences on not yet existing beings.
  • Those childless by choice love children as much, if not more, than their fertile breeders. When asked why he does not have children, Thales replied, "because of my concern for children."
  • Why make children? In the name of what? To achieve what? What legitimizes pulling a being out of nothingness, disturbing its peace, only so that it would have to take a short walk on this planet, leading back to the nothingness from which it was pulled out?

P edit

  • Because of the present crisis, I think it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you committed to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you free of commitment? Do not look for a wife.
  • The perpetuation of suffering by producing children is the greatest crime.
    • Valerii Pereleshin, Valerii Pereleshin: The Life of a Silkworm, 2015
  • The principle of caution, respecting the gravity of human suffering, weighs against procreating to the extent that it is unpredictable whether the person created will have a good life.
    • Sarah Perry, Every Cradle Is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide, 2014, p. 167
  • Most people think it's morally acceptable to have babies. Most people think this despite the fact that the babies will certainly suffer a great deal during their lifetimes and may suffer an exceptional amount. Pronatalists generally want to point out the good things in life—the pleasant effects of puppies and sunsets—and to balance them against life's harms. But bringing a child into the world necessarily entails harming a stranger (for one doesn't know the values of one's child prior to procreation). It is no different from dosing a stranger with ecstasy for no reason, except that the harms of life massively exceed the harms of ecstasy, and the pleasure of life, for many, is much less.
    • Sarah Perry, Every Cradle Is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide, 2014, p. 194
  • The most notorious of the groups that Epiphanius attacks were known by a variety of names, including the "Phibionites". According to Epiphanius our sole source of information about the group these Gnostic believers engaged in nocturnal sex rituals that involved indiscriminate sex, coitus interruptus, and the consumption of semen and menstrual blood, all in a bizarre act of Christian worship (a sacred eucharist). Moreover, they allegedly possessed apostolic books that supported their outrageous rituals, including one known as the :Greater Questions of Mary: (Panarion 26.8). Epiphanius claims to have had access to this and the other Phibionite books. But this one he actually quotes. If the quotation does indeed go back to an actual document, as opposed to Epiphanius's fertile imagination, it is no wonder that the book never survived, as it recounts an episode in which Jesus himself engages in a sex act before a very bewildered Mary Magdalene. For the Gnostic Phibionites, this text, and their corresponding rituals, related to their doctrinal views that humans represent divine sparks entrapped in human bodies, which need to escape. Human procreation perpetuates this state of entrapment, by providing an endless supply of bodies.
    • Bart D. Ehrman, Zlatko Plese, The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations, 2011
  • 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, an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.
    • Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective: The Long Bright Dark, 2014
    • Description: the words of the character, Rustin Cohle.
  • The hubris it must take to yank a soul out of nonexistence, into this, meat. And to force a life into this, thresher.
    • Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective: Seeing Things, 2014
    • Description: the words of the character, Rustin Cohle.
  • The human body, as all other flesh, according to the Priscillianistic doctrine, came from the devil. . . . The same principles led them to disapprove of marriage, and of the procreation of children; and to forbid the eating of flesh.
    • Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, Institutes of ecclesiastical history, ancient and modern: much corrected, enlarged and improved, from the primary authorities, Tome 1, 1832
  • From the moment an infant is tossed into this chamber of horrors, we can see, if we look closely, his horror and despair. The child cries incessantly, and is brutally trained to shut up and face its horrible fate. As the child grows into teenhood and reaches the age of reason, awareness (and anger) of his situation grows. It is usually countered by the criminal parents' inevitable distancing from the child, now declaring, "I owe you nothing. I cannot field your anger." The anger, of course, is a perfectly natural and healthy response to the awareness that one has been tricked in the most monstrous way. The rest of its life is spent maintaining as much distance as possible from the terror of life, through meaningless activity and numbing addictive substances. "From the time a person leaves its mother's womb, its every effort is directed toward building, maintaining and withdrawing into artificial wombs, various sorts of substitute protective devices or shells". Absurdity stacked upon absurdity, this creature, hiding from his own shadow, wanting more than anything to crawl back into the oblivion of the mother, is successfully duped into declaring that he loves life!
    • Hermies Purrbuckets, Man's subliminal God, 2001
    • Description: the quotation on "artificial wombs" is from the book Secret Weapons for Quiet Wars.

R edit

  • A woman
    Parts of the body held together by joints
    Guts reinforced with hips
    Heart breathing through nipples
    A woman
    shreds of meat formed into sculptures
    Smooth and moist at the ends
    Sculptures that are soft and smelly
    A woman
    Belly and thighs separated by crotch
    Crotch with a breath of agony
    A woman is death
    Long and painful
    • Kazimierz Ratoń, Poezje, 2004, s. 199
  • Pus is constantly leaking from the rotting brain
    The worms reproduce in thick streams along the body
    They enter the heart and lower parts of the body
    They suck the blood and fat covering the bones
    Terrible merciless worms bite genitals
    They run to a tightened throat and eyes
    They want to destroy you
    Crush the eyeballs and close the breath
    So that you will wheeze and splutter in convulsion
    So that you will not have time for anger and hatred
    So that you will not be able to defend yourself
    You will only whine quieter and quieter
    Until there is total asphyxiation
    Then they will be able to leave
    Tear another body
    Feed on pus from another brain
    You gave them life
    It is your rotting brain that has fathered them
    • Kazimierz Ratoń, Poezje, 2004, s. 212
  • Propagating life is propagating terror.
    • Mario Andrea Rigoni, Variazioni sull'impossibile, 1993
  • Of my conception I know only what you know of yours. It occurred in darkness and I was unconsenting. I (and that slenderest word is too gross for the rare thing I was then) walked forever through reachless oblivion, in the mood of one smelling night-blooming flowers, and suddenly—My ravishers left their traces in me, male and female, and over the months I rounded, grew heavy, until the scandal could no longer be concealed and oblivion expelled me. But this I have in common with all my kind. By some bleak alchemy what had been mere unbeing becomes death when life is mingled with it. So they seal the door against our returning.
  • Antinatalism is the most common response to pessimistic malaise, but relies upon a naïve hope in humanity’s ability to transform itself through reason and self-control. Such hope smarts of the same utopian optimism that was rejected by pessimistic philosophy in the first place.
    • Joshua Robinson Miller, "Utopic Pessimism: The Messianic Underpinnings of the Antinatalist Polemic," thesis submitted to the faculty of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2015
  • Adoption offers an important moral alternative to procreation, which has been widely ignored or quickly dismissed in the procreation literature. It should be considered by reasonable and moral people who desire to experience the goods of a parent-child relationship while being concerned about the potential harms of procreation.
    • Tina Rulli, The Ethics of Procreation and Adoption, 2016

S edit

  • If ... we now contemplate the bustle and turmoil of life, we see everyone concerned with its cares and troubles, exerting all his strength to satisfy infinite needs and to ward off suffering in many forms, yet without daring to hope for anything else in place of it except just the preservation of this tormented existence for a short span of time. In between, however, we see in the midst of the tumult the glances of two lovers meet longingly: yet why so secretly, nervously, and furtively? Because these lovers are the traitors who secretly strive to perpetuate the whole trouble and toil that would otherwise rapidly come to an end. Such an end they try to frustrate, as others like them have frustrated it previously.
  • Life is then given out as a gift, whereas it is evident that anyone would have declined it with thanks, had he looked at it and tested it beforehand; just as Lessing admired the understanding of his son. Because this son had absolutely declined to come into the world, he had to be dragged forcibly into life by means of forceps; but hardly was he in it, when he again hurried away from it. On the other hand, it is well said that life should be, from one end to the other, only a lesson, to which, however, anyone could reply: “For this reason, I wish I had been left in the peace of the all-sufficient nothing, where I should have had no need either of lessons or of anything else.” But if it were added that one day he was to give an account of every hour of his life, he would rather be justified in first himself asking for an account as to why he was taken away from that peace and quiet and put into a position so precarious, obscure, anxious, and painful. To this, then, false fundamental views lead. Far from bearing the character of a gift, human existence has entirely the character of a contracted debt. The calling in of this debt appears in the shape of the urgent needs, tormenting desires, and endless misery brought about through that existence. As a rule, the whole lifetime is used for paying off this debt, yet in this way only the interest is cleared off. Repayment of the capital takes place through death. And when was this debt contracted? At the begetting.
  • Some of the church fathers have taught that even marital cohabitation should only be allowed when it occurs merely for the sake of the procreation of children. . . . Clemens (Strom, iii. c. 3) attributes this view to the Pythagoreans. This is, however, strictly speaking, incorrect. For if the coitus be no longer desired for its own sake, the negation of the Will-to-Live has already appeared, and the propagation of the human race is then superfluous and senseless, inasmuch as its purpose is already attained. Besides, without any subjective passion, without lust and physical pressure, with sheer deliberation, and the cold blooded purpose to place a human being in the world merely in order that he should be there this would be such a very questionable moral action that few would take it upon themselves; one might even say of it indeed that it stood in the same relation to generation from the mere sexual impulse as a cold-blooded deliberate murder does to a death-stroke given in anger.
    • Arthur Schopenhauer, Contributions to the Doctrine of the Affirmation and Negation of the Will-to-live, 1851
  • How shall a man be proud, when his conception is a crime, his birth a penalty, his life a labour, and death a necessity!
  • The woman's share in procreation is more guiltless than the man's; for he bestows upon the child its will, which is the first sin, and therefore the root of all evil; the woman, on the contrary, bestows its intellect, which is the pathway to redemption.
  • If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much compassion with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence, or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?
  • The End of the World, here's salvation. Preparing the end, here's the work of the sage and the supreme purpose of ascetic existences. The apostle of charity, with effort, alms, consolations and miracles, succeeds with great difficulty to save a family from death, now vowed to a long agony thanks to his benefits. The ascetic on the other hand, saves entire generations not from death, but from life.
  • I have no conscience, none, but I would not like to bring a soul into this world. When it sinned and when it suffered something like a dead hand would fall on me – "You did it, you, for your own pleasure you created this thing! See your work!"
  • Unfortunately, in our real world, large numbers of children grow up to be victims, perpetrators, or bystanders. Very few children actually grow up to make the world a better place. Personally, I don't feel that creating new victims, perpetrators, and bystanders is the great social ooh-and-aah that it is made out to be. I do understand that people want to have children for reasons personal to their own needs, not necessarily for the child or for the world, and perhaps that's reason enough, but I don't know why.
    • Sarah Schulman, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, 2012
  • Do you want to know how it is not a great benefit to give life like this? You could have exposed me; clearly it was an injustice to have begat me!
  • Nothing is so deceptive, nothing is so treacherous as human life; by Hercules, were it not given to men before they could form an opinion, no one would take it. Not to be born, therefore, is the happiest lot of all.
  • Thus, four factors make the appeal to hypothetical consent problematic: (1) the fact that great harm is not at stake if no action is taken; (2) but if action is taken, the harms suffered may be very severe; (3) the imposed condition cannot be escaped without high costs; and (4) the hypothetical consent procedure is not based on features of the individual who will bear the imposed condition.
  • If you are having difficulty making the connection between real world outcomes and your desire to have children, try looking at the world in a new way. When there are job losses at work, imagine that happening to the child you are so set on having. The ugly divorce is someone's child, both of them. The newscaster announcing a rape, that's someone's baby, both the perpetrator and the victim. The car accident you just drove past, the toilet cleaner on minimum wage, the man in the hospital ward dying of cancer, the casket being lowered into the ground. If I were to provide an exhaustive list it would fill the whole book, but I would rather you made your own - play this game for a week and it will break your rose tinted spectacles – it's not happy but it is honest.
  • By creating a life we subject that person to the harms of life. People will be hurt, some very badly. It seems to me that the only reason for creating lives is to fulfil psychological (and sometimes material) needs of the parents (and to some degree other relatives). It would take libraries to list the gamut of possible harms, ranging from genetic recombination errors at conception, to the last gasp of the dying. We deploy an array of mental gymnastics to avoid the implications of this truth, yet deep down we all know it at some level. Contrary to the norms of our society the arrival of a child should be a time for sober reflection not cause for celebration. I will not congratulate people on gambling someone else's welfare in the hopes of improving their own lives. I suspect most people reading this will hold that their own needs are a good enough reason to have children. If that is you, then I ask you at least acknowledge the self centred nature of the choice, and perhaps when your children are old enough you can explain why you took a flutter on life's roulette wheel.
  • If you hold eternal damnation, then having children is a very grave business indeed. You are gambling with infinite stakes.
    • Martin Smith, No Baby No Cry: Christian Antinatalism, p. 31
    • Description: eternal damnation in the main currents of Christianity is the punishment for sinners consisting of going to hell and suffering torments forever.
  • Not to be born at all
    Is best, far best that can befall,
    Next best, when born, with least delay
    To trace the backward way.
    For when youth passes with its giddy train,
    Troubles on troubles follow, toils on toils,
    Pain, pain for ever pain;
    And none escapes life's coils.
    Envy, sedition, strife,
    Carnage and war, make up the tale of life.
    Last comes the worst and most abhorred stage
    Of unregarded age,
    Joyless, companionless and slow,
    Of woes the crowning woe.
  • "Be fruitful and multiply" is a recommendation that fits more into the God of rabbits than to God of humans. No offense to rabbits, of course.
    • Giovanni Soriano, Finche c'e vita non c'e speranza, 2010
  • Creation is an act far more authoritarian than killing; and just as one should not take someone else's life, one should also not impose life on someone else.
    • Giovanni Soriano, Malomondo. In lode della stupidita, 2013
  • Pain, harm, suffering, uncertainty, and death are inseparable from human life. May one impose such evils upon an innocent, who has not consented to be placed in a situation that carries any kind of risk? Is procreation really as "straightforward" and "morally innocent" an activity as custom typically makes it out to be?
    • Pikesh Srivastava, Glimpses of Truth: Morality, Karma, Procreation, 2017, p. 332
  • "Life is beautiful. I love it. So what if it comes with harms? Learn to live life to the fullest and don't wallow in the bad parts. The best parts of life outweigh the bad." Allow me to draw a parallel. "Smoking cigarettes is enjoyable. I love it. So what if it comes with harms? Win some, lose some. The pleasure far outweighs the harm it causes." Though one is entitled to hold such views, it does nothing to alter the truth: smoking is injurious to health; all in all, a harmful habit best avoided. You may enjoy smoking, and think it worth all the risks that accompany it, but do you have a right to force such a habit on another? In creating a child, one is doing just that – forcing life on another, without their consent, unmindful of the harms they are subjecting them to. And let the reader not forget – the risks that accompany smoking are a picnic compared to the countless harms life exposes us to.
    • Pikesh Srivastava, Glimpses of Truth: Morality, Karma, Procreation, 2017, pp. 369–370
  • An ancient legend recounts how King Midas hunted long in the forest for the wise Silenus, companion of Dionysos, but failed to catch him. When Silenus has finally fallen into his hands, the King asks what the best and most excellent thing for human beings. Stiff and unmoving, the daemon remains silent until, forced by the King to speak, he finally breaks out in shrill laughter and says: "wretched, ephemeral race, children of chance and tribulation, why do you force me to tell you the very thing which it would be most profitable for you not to hear? The very best thing is utterly beyond your reach: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. However, the second best thing for you is: to die soon".
  • I am thirty-six years old.
    What am I waiting for?
    Probably for death.
    My past is as intense
    as my future empty and orphaned.
    And I will soon be a corpse –
    I am a madman; I have been working on it
    since I was dragged out of
    my mother.
    I know about it for a long time
    and I want this, unfortunately, I think so.
    Because I already have enough. I say –
    you know.
    The earth will deliver
    those who had doubts about the existence
    who never gave birth and never killed.
    • Domokos Szilágyi, 1974
  • Creating new persons exposes them to non-trivial harms. While in other cases harming in this non-trivial fashion might be justified if it is in the service of saving persons from even greater harms, procreators cannot appeal to this possibility. Procreation cannot sensibly be viewed as the act of saving non-existing persons from (greater) harm. Rather, on Shiffrin’s account, procreation can be viewed, at best, as the morally problematic exposure to non-trivial harms in order to offer uninvited and non-essential benefits (that is, "pure benefits") to the person created; at worst, it can be viewed as the morally impermissible imposition of serious, protracted harms upon a patient that are not toward the alleviation of greater harms. Further, and most crucially, children do not have the opportunity to offer their consent to encounter the harms of existence in order to receive the benefits, which entails that it is wrong to procreate.
  • Procreators arguably cannot rely on subjective hypothetical consent when deciding on the permissibility of bringing people into existence. Non-existers cannot be said to have preferences—let alone unique, individual preferences! Shiffrin consistently maintains that the unique features of the individual being created cannot be taken into account by parents. It therefore appears as though she thinks parents consider their unborn children generically—which is to say, as things of the same sort. But the pro-natal paternalist could argue that matters are not this simple. He could say that, insofar as they can, parents often, and always ought to, consider the unique circumstances of the lives into which they will bring their children. This line of reasoning appeals to the view that parents often have a pretty good idea of what kinds of lives their children can expect to enjoy. Prospective parents can construct a relatively reliable picture of sorts from their shared genetic history, their socio-economic situation, etc., and can be reasonably sure regarding what their children would prefer. On this line of reasoning, therefore, it is not quite accurate to say that prospective parents consider their potential offspring generically; rather, they consider their offspring, insofar as they can, as unique products of their (the parents’) unique circumstances. But I am not convinced that this objection holds much weight. Consider the fact that siblings often have very different preferences. Further, also consider that children very often fail to live up to their parents’expectations. Finally, though Shiffrin (so far as I can tell) thinks this is rare, children might not have a subjective preference for existence—and it may be begging the question against the anti-natalist to assert that children ought to have this as an objective preference. (Consider here the problem of suicide.) And so, it does not look as though procreation can be justified via appeals to subjective hypothetical consent.

T edit

  • A certain person inveighs against generation, calling it corruptible and destructive; and some one does violence [to Scripture], applying to procreation the Saviour's words, "Lay not up treasure on earth, where moth and rust corrupt"; and he is not ashamed to add to these the words of the prophet: "You all shall grow old as garment, and the moth shall devour you."
  • Best of all for mortal beings is never to have been born at all. Nor ever to have set eyes on the bright light of the sun.
  • [Nature] turns us out into the world without giving us any choice in the matter; though all other suffrages and freedoms are perfectly insignificant in comparison with that of which we are thus deprived, an effective and enlightened vote on the question: Shall I, or shall I not, be born?
  • But even if we suppose the Christian ideal of perfect chastity realized, what then? We should merely find ourselves face to face on the one hand with the familiar teaching of religion, one of whose dogmas is that the world will have an end; and on the other of so-called science, which informs us that the sun is gradually losing its heat, the result of which will in time be the extinction of the human race.
  • If we can't genetically fix our nature I agree with Zapffe. To leave world to a deserted behind is better than to continue this grotesque carousel of procreation.

V edit

  • Heaven and happiness do not exist. That's your parents' way to justify the crime of having brought you into this world. What exists is reality, the tough reality, this slaughterhouse we've come to die in, if not to kill and to eat the animals, our fellow creatures. Therefore, do not reproduce, do not repeat the crimes committed against you, do not give back the same, evil paid with evil, as imposing life is the ultimate crime. Do not disturb the unborn, let them be in the peace of nothingness, anyway we'll all eventually go back there, so why beat around the bush?
  • Those I've most loved are my grandma Raquel Pizano and my dog Bruja. I also loved my dad. But after all, he is guilty of imposing on me the burden of life. Life's a burden, it's a curse. Those who I loved, now dead, drag me to the grave. It's very hard to carry on without them. The only way I can live is by forgetting them.
  • All this disgrace derive from being born, which therefore is the greatest of all catastrophes.
    • Anacleto Verrecchia, Diario del Gran Paradiso, 1997
  • Adoption could help if practised on a much larger scale than nowadays, such that any child not definitely wanted by its parents, or born in unfavourable social circumstances, could be adopted by people who want children but do not want to create them for that purpose.
    • Hermann Vetter, The production of children as a problem of utilitarian ethics, 1969
  • In any case, it is morally preferable not to produce a child. This requires that in any individual encounter, and by any institutional activity in education, mass media, economic and legal policy, people should be discouraged from having children. If such tendencies are successful enough, the number of men on earth may begin to decrease, and if such development continues long enough, the human race will disappear. This, however, would not at all be a deplorable consequence according to Narveson's and my own opinion: the existence of mankind is not a value in itself. On the contrary, if mankind ceases to exist, all suffering is extinguished perfectly, which no other human endeavour will be able to bring about. On the other hand, of course, all happy experiences of men will disappear. But this, according to Narveson's conclusion, would not be deplorable, because no human subject would exist which would be deprived of the happy experiences.
  • Life has so few charms!
    And yet we desire it.
    No more pleasure, no more power,
    in the horrors of death.
    A dead lion is not worth
    a midge that breathes.
    O unfortunate mortal!
    Whether your soul is enjoying
    the moment given to you,
    or whether death is ending it,
    both are torture.
    It is better not to have been born.

W edit

  • Every form of fecundity is loathsome, and no one who is honest with himself feels bound to provide for the continuity of the human race. And what we do not realise to be a duty, is not a duty. On the contrary, it is immoral to procreate a human being for any secondary reason, to bring a being into the limitations of humanity, the conditions made for him by his parentage; the fundamental question why the possible freedom and spontaneity of a human being is limited is that he was begotten in such a limited fashion. That the human race should persist is of no interest whatsoever to reason; he who would perpetuate humanity would perpetuate the problem and the guilt; the only problem and the only guilt.
  • Not being born is the first step to happiness. If someone by unhappy accident is here on Earth, one thing should comfort them; they will return to the original state.
    • Maria Wisnowska, Maria Wisnowska. Jeśli mnie kochasz – zabij!, 2003
  • One cannot bring children into a world like this. One cannot perpetuate suffering, or increase the breed of these lustful animals, who have no lasting emotions, but only whims and vanities, eddying them now this way, now that.
    • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, 1925
    • Description: the words of the character, Septimus Warren Smith.

Y edit

  • Simply put, upon a nihilistic basis, I deeply believe that making children is nothing but a hopeless action. This thought can not possibly be removed, and I no longer care to remove it. In terms of pleasure, humans are unpredictable when they will drown in it, and for this reason, one should not create children to avoid getting them entangled in the mess. Children are, horrifyingly, just thrown out into this world as a result of egoistical adults who craves pleasure, with the child's life having attributed meaning afterwards so arbitrarily.
    • Naoki Yanase, 翻訳からの回路, 1984

Z edit

  • The sign of doom is written on your brows – how long will ye kick against the pinpricks? But there is one conquest and one crown, one redemption and one solution. Know yourselves – be infertile and let the earth be silent after ye.
  • No future triumph or metamorphosis can justify the pitiful blighting of a human being against his will.
  • Above all, we must make the reproductive question ethically relevant. A coin is turned around before it is handed to the beggar, yet a child is unflinchingly tossed into cosmic bruteness.
  • You got me. But my son you will not get. You were committing a fateful mistake when assigning even procreation to my will. And you did not do this out of love..., but rather to burden me with the heaviest of all responsibilities...: Am I to perpetuate this species or not? And from now on I will ask no longer what you want; rather you shall ask what I want. And I will no longer offer further sacrifices to the God of life. I will punish you with the ability you bequeathed to me in order to torment me; I will turn my clairvoyance against you and thus bereaving you of your victims. And the abused millions will stand behind me like a plough... And evermore will two people create one human being... Thus you will feel your powerlessness begging me on your bloody knees.
  • Mankind ought to end its existence of its own will.
  • To bear children into this world is like carrying wood into a burning house.
  • For me, a desert island is no tragedy, neither is a deserted planet.
  • Because I do not want to commit the crime of giving life to beings who later may be unhappy and curse the moment of their birth.
    • Gabriela Zapolska, Fin-de siecle'istka, 1894
    • Description: the words by the character, Helena. Her answer to the question why she will not have children. She later changes her mind and has a child.

See also edit

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: