For an uplifting exposition on the joys of atheism:
Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
by David Benatar
Most people believe that they were either benefited or at least not harmed by being brought into existence. Thus, if they ever do reflect on whether they should bring others into existence---rather than having children without even thinking about whether they should---they presume that they do them no harm. Better Never to Have Been challenges these assumptions. David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm. Although the good things in one's life make one's life go better than it otherwise would have gone, one could not have been deprived by their absence if one had not existed. Those who never exist cannot be deprived. However, by coming into existence one does suffer quite serious harms that could not have befallen one had one not come into existence. Drawing on the relevant psychological literature, the author shows that there are a number of well-documented features of human psychology that explain why people systematically overestimate the quality of their lives and why they are thus resistant to the suggestion that they were seriously harmed by being brought into existence. The author then argues for the 'anti-natal' view---that it is always wrong to have children---and he shows that combining the anti-natal view with common pro-choice views about foetal moral status yield a 'pro-death' view about abortion (at the earlier stages of gestation). Anti-natalism also implies that it would be better if humanity became extinct. Although counter-intuitive for many, that implication is defended, not least by showing that it solves many conundrums of moral theory about population.
A True Inconvenient Truth, March 12, 2007
Juggernaught "Peace Through War" (USA) - See all my reviews
What still is never critically examined is the fact that when anyone brings a child to life; they bring on all of life's miseries and ills on to said child. Therefore every single horror brought on to this child is the parents' fault. Wouldn't it just have been better for that child to never have been born? We live and we die without purpose or meaning. Our existence is so sad and pathetic that we invent religions and a host of other nonsense to fit the theme of "ignorance is bliss." Let's think rationally about children shall we?
- Practically: Raising a child is no cake walk. All children are selfish little mongrels bent on getting things their way. Through the early stages of life, you're going to be constantly attending to their waste output. Growing older, they learn how to communicate in our language to say "gimme." Then with another slap to the face, they rebel for the sake of rebelling and eventually move out. You've just lost a generation of your life, congratulations.
- Economic factors: Want to put off your retirement? Want to live below the standards of what your paycheck indicates? Great! Nothing sucks out your money dry with absolutely no gain like bearing children.
- Moral considerations: Is it not immoral to force someone into life without invitation? Is it not the greatest wrong doing to bring a child into a world of untold suffering?
People have children just because they can and this is without any rational considerations. Some people say they want to pass down their genes. While that child may be composed of a similar biological structure, it is still not you and will never be you. Others have children because of hormones and we all know what I mean by that. You're going to cause around seventy years of suffering to someone else just because your hormones were raging? That has got to be one of the most selfish acts one can do.
I suspect that other reviewers will engage in personal attacks upon the author instead of evaluating the message. The author's message is a harsh truth that exposes parents to be the worst of people. Don't you know? Survival for the sake of survival can only cause pain to others.
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