Monday, 25 July 2011

What is Life Accomplishing?

What is human life doing? What is it all about ultimately?

Examine your day-to-day life: you awake, you may need to urinate or excrete, you’ll probably eat something, you’ll head off somewhere to sell your time to someone in order to acquire the means to keep...to keep what exactly? To keep getting up, to keep excreting, urinating, eating, drinking and so on and on. During the day your head will be filled with countless thoughts, ideas, vague hopes, different emotions of varying intensity, propositions, images, spectacles and so on. You will have very little control of that thought content. You’ll fantasise about what you may do in the evening. You may go online, you may go for a drink, you may chat with a pal, you may read, you may watch tv, you may masturbate, you may do nothing. You are a prisoner of time and space, of circumstance, of gender, of history, of pigmentation, of a DNA lottery where there is no winning ticket. And all the while the clock is ticking, you are getting older, the freshness is fading, you are heading toward the end, the end of what? The end of something you did not elect to come into, something you had no choice but to participate in, all like a dream, a phantasma, an insane slide show of images that make no sense. That will have been your life. And then darkness forever. As if you had never been.

And how do people respond? Essentially by self-delusion and distraction. Most elect not to think about life too closely, and to be frank who could blame them? They work, they revolve in their narrow orbit of job, friends, family and newspaper and that’s it. Life is too much to think about.

There are those who, generally when they hit their thirties, run out of gas. They’ve been to college, had their fun, worked a bit, travelled, got married and now there’s nothing left to do but have the inevitable kiddies in the hope of rejuvenating that flagging relationship where there’s nothing more to talk about. So they go ahead and fulfil the expectations of their parents and society and a new cycle of their lives where “it’s all about the kids” kicks in. This gives them a vicarious reason for living and allows them to justify life to themselves: “it’s not about me anymore”.

Then there are those who think more than is strictly necessary for the mindless biological functioning that life in its essence consists of. They may realise there’s something up, that life isn’t as it was advertised by parents, teachers and the like. Looking around the world and the madness and randomness of it, they may realise they’ve been sold a pup. Some will respond by turning to religion, and again who could blame them? Life is so horrific, unfair and unjust you can’t really hold it against people for desperately hoping there’s some form of justice and explanation on the other side of consciousness.

And then we get those who believe that by twiddling the knobs and redesigning the political alignment we’ll somehow even things out or maybe achieve Paradise on Earth. These people go by many names, Marxist, Communist, Anarchist, Libertarian and so on. Again, you can hardly blame them, but they’re also ignoring the reality of human history and human nature.

Then we have the people who think, fuck it, I want to enjoy myself, pump my ego, be worshipped, have my voice heard so and they become politicians, businessmen, academics, artists and so on. They take life as an unashamed ego-trip where wealth accumulation, ego expression and social status amongst their fellow-baboons is the ultimate value.

And then we have the majority who essentially live in fear. Fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of homelessness, fear of tyranny and so on. You see, life has been very generous indeed in providing many, many things to fear. And so these people keep their heads down, serve the powers that be and pass on.

And then you have people like me, and perhaps like you, seeing as how you happen to be reading this blog, who really are just sick to the back fucking teeth of this pitiful parade of insanity, lunacy, madness, delusion and despair. People who have to drag themselves out of bed in the morning, tired of having to feign enthusiasm, of having to formulate plans and projects to drag their asses through life, all so we can bow out one fine day, hopefully not in excruciating agony and torment.


Welcome to the Pleasure Dome.

60 comments:

  1. Worthy of Schopenhauer on a good day! Particularly enjoyed " a DNA lottery where there is no winning ticket".Now I must get back to my......nothing.BNTHB( Better never to have been)

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  2. Cheers, lifehater! By the way, when I lumped in artists with those others, I was referring to the phonies who dominate the "artworld". I know for a fact that the works you're engaged in speak a timeless and imperishable truth and deserve to be heard by all:-)

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  3. Another pot shot on Anarchism from an antinatalist blog... although I can't really disagree with the idea that reforming human society is a distant prospect at best.

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  4. Inmendham has a superb video on the ultimately irreconcilable differences between Antinatalism and Anarchism:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvEThw8paeQ

    To borrow his line, Anarchism merely attempts to attack the symptoms, Antinatalism seeks to cure the disease.

    Anarchists talk as if there is something fundamentally worthwhile in human life. They employ terms like 'virtue', 'goodness', 'potential' and so on. Anarchism is based on the premise that if it weren't for pesky and interfering governments, human life would be substantially better, if not indeed unrecognisably so, from the current picture. It's based on a fundamentally optimistic view of human nature that has very little evidential support.

    By contrast, Antinatalism views all life as fundamentally suffering. The so-called 'good' things are only releases from suffering and temporary alleviations of constantly recurring deprivation. 'Virtue' generally means refraining from imposing one's will on others, or else relieving some aspects of another's suffering. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but once one deprivation is filled, or pain relieved, it's only a matter of time (and generally not that long a period) before another appears.

    The only solution is not to start the game in the first place.

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  5. I agree with Karl. Inequality (and hierarchy) is also fundamental to life.

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  6. wow. just. wow.

    It was a great post. One to the hall of fame.

    My favorite parts:

    "and to be frank who could blame them?"

    Yeah. Who can blame them? Life is too overwhelming. Sometimes I just want to shut my mind, myself, in order to not think about it. It´s just too...much.

    "there’s nothing left to do but have the inevitable kiddies in the hope of rejuvenating that flagging relationship where there’s nothing more to talk about."

    The way I see this, you portrayed, with a few words, the essence of relationships. I think that, like life itself, relationships begin and have an end. Sometimes there´s just not more to talk about and to fulfill. We just get bored alongside another human being and that´s it.


    "These people go by many names, Marxist, Communist, Anarchist, Libertarian and so on. Again, you can hardly blame them, but they’re also ignoring the reality of human history and human nature. "

    Priceless.

    "tired of having to feign enthusiasm, of having to formulate plans and projects to drag their asses through life."

    Life, to me, is an enormous struggle since the first moment we wake up. It´s not a beautiful thing. It´s horrible. And I hate it.

    Also, anarchism is another thing people cite while looking for a cure. There´s no cure. Outside antinatalism, that is. I talked about something of the sort in my last post. That being a lawyer, and working with the law is not a bad thing, that being in the military is not bad in itself. That wanting to make the world a more secure environment is not a bad thing. But the thing is, that even those efforts prove nothing in the end.

    Way to go Karl, another beautiful piece.

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  7. Shadow, thanks, my friend for your very kind words.

    Yes, I really can't blame anyone that much for indulging in wishful thinking about life, whether it be of the religious or political kind. The problem, as we all know, arises when those people attempt to impose their narratives on the rest of humanity.

    And life is indeed a struggle. As I hurtle toward 35, every morning I awake with a variant of "What the fuck is all this shit about? What am I going to do with this life?"

    The first line of 'Waiting for Godot' provides the answer....

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  8. This post made me smile as it's always great to know you're not alone. Thank you!

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  9. "To borrow his line, Anarchism merely attempts to attack the symptoms, Antinatalism seeks to cure the disease."

    So what? That doesn't mean you can't do BOTH. Why are you people so adamant in refusing to talk about anything else but antinatalism? How does Anarchism push antinatalism away or vice-versa? It's preposterous! We need to address suffering NOW as well as the long-term profile of suffering. One without the other is useless.

    If you want people to continue to suffer under hierarchical regimes and hierarchical ways of life, then you're heartless, whatever else you believe in!

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    1. We're social primates who naturally form social hierarchies. Remove government and we'll still form hierarchies, in many cases, worse ones.

      Oh, and we'll just reform governments.

      Delete
  10. I don't want to have to fight a rearguard battle against you guys while I am trying to fight for antinatalism. Can't you all just admit that you don't care for Anarchism one way or another and just leave it at that, instead of constantly using it as your straw man of the week? I am getting frankly sick of it already.

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  11. @Anonymous, glad the post brought a smile to your face! Whatever about the procs and cons of the Internet, the fact that people who would otherwise be intellectually isolated can find kindred spirits online is one of its unquestionable plus points.

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  12. Re. Anarchism.

    This is first and foremost an Anti-Natal blog and what unites most people who comment here regularly is their common alleigance to that philosophy. People's political beliefs are secondary and entirely their own business unless they wish to bring it up. There's nothing that says Antinatalism and Anarchism have to be hitched to each other. I can imagine Marxist antinatalists existing just as well as Anarchist antinatalists or Capitalist antinatalists.

    And no one is saying that they're glad people are suffering under hierarchical regimes. Antinatalists say that the best way to avoid future suffering is to cease procreation. Full stop. How people respond to the suffering in their own lives is up for grabs and what political system they adhere to is their choice.

    As for people bashing Anarchism, they are perfectly entitled to their opinion. Anyone can bash anything they like here as long as they adhere to the rules of civilised discourse and debate.

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  13. Well, what I am saying is, why only try to stop the long-term horizon of harm when we can also try to stop short-term harm by abolishing hierarchies? Antinatalists seem to be very down on Anarchism when I think both goals are not only compatible but necessary. You can't just address short-term, because the possibility of harm will keep recurring as long as people keep making children. You can't just address long-term because people are still tremendously harmed in the meantime, and you can't ignore that harm.

    If your main principle in being an antinatalist is to prevent the imposition of harm, then you must be an Anarchist also, insofar as Anarchism is a means by which we can reduce the imposition of harm (which socially and politically is done through hierarchies). Of course this does not apply to people who are antinatalists for other reasons.

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    1. "Well, what I am saying is, why only try to stop the long-term horizon of harm when we can also try to stop short-term harm by abolishing hierarchies?"

      Because it's a pipe dream and won't work given the biological realities of our species of highly social primates: much of our cerebral cortex is used for forming, evaluating, and maintaining social hierarchies.

      As much as I despise various aspects of government including the general suicide prohibition, it prevents me from submitting to (or having to become) a local warlord or king, which is the default state of humanity before liberal democracy and/or small r republicanism came about.

      Delete
    2. In short, you'd need a strong militarized government to make anarchism work, just like you need the same to make communism work.

      They both go drastically against the nature of our brains and require worse tyrannies than we've got now, with lots and lots of murders and secret police to boot.

      I know you'll say these don't exist under anarchism: secret police, government -- I say you're a well-meaning but severely deluded person.

      Delete
  14. You are presenting Anarchist statements about the nature of politics and the world as if they are established objective facts. This is highly debatable and contentious. Yes, social and political hierarchies cause harm, but not all harm. And those hierarchies also create good things for people, but not all good things. I find the contention that abolishing hierarchies will render the world an automatically better place to be somewhat simplistic as well as completely unverifiable.

    The fact also remains that there is not a single human or animal society that does not have hierarchies. In any Anarchist schema of society I've seen there are generally councils, fora etc. all of which imply governance-by-rule and possible recourse to hierarchy.

    In the grand schema of harm prevention, Antinatalism is the most comprehensive and logically sound system. In comparison, all political ideologies are highly contestable. Therefore the Antinatalist is at liberty to decide for his or her self what, if any, politics they care to support.

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  15. How can dominance/submission relations create anything? People create things, not relationships. I think you have a category error there. We don't need dominance/submission relations to create anything.

    If you think there's more sources of harm than hierarchies insofar as human societies go, that's fair, but I think whatever else you are going to come up with is going to be pretty insignificant compared to them. Hierarchies are and have always been the number one problem. To borrow from the maxim, it takes a hierarchy (i.e. bad incentives) to make good people do evil things.

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  16. You're employing emotionally loaded language. It was a debate about hierarchy that's gone to one of dominance/submission. The latter implies a surrender of choice and malevolent purpose on the part of those with power. Hierarchy need not imply that. When a child is born, that child is at the bottom of a hierarchy that includes its parents, doctors and nurses. It's good for that child that it is subject to that hierarchy, otherwise it will not survive. When you enter a hospital with a serious illness, you agree to the rules of a hierarchy that will hopefully result in your well-being being restored. When you enter a university you voluntarily acknowledge a hierarchy whose functioning will enable you to acquire knowledge. And so on and so on. The examples could be multiplied endlessly.

    Hierarchies are not the number one problem. Human nature and its inabilty to be satiated is.

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  17. Yes, it does imply a surrender of choice but not malevolent purpose. It really doesn't matter if an incentive system is populated with angels or demons- the incentive system is what dictates people's behaviour and rationalizations.

    Also, a hospital is not a hierarchy for the patient, unless they are ordering him to take certain treatments, so your example doesn't work at all. It is a hierarchy for the workers, but not for the patient.

    "Hierarchies are not the number one problem. Human nature and its inabilty to be satiated is. "

    They are both problems. You can't just ignore one in favor of the other.

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  18. Now you've switched from hierarchies, to domination/submission, to incentive systems. What exactly is it that you're debating?

    Once you concede that not all hierarchical systems are harmful and that some produce a certain amount of good, then you are obliged to modify your postion from "Anarchism is a means by which we can reduce the imposition of harm (which socially and politically is done through hierarchies)" to "Some hierarchies are bad and need to be reformed/abolished". But that's not saying anything particularly interesting. Everyone in the world, whether they be Marxist, Capitalist, Anarchist, Libertarian, Socialist of or no school thinks that anyway. And that position implies a detailed, realistic look at specific hierarchies, not adhering to a sloganistic postion about wiping out hierarchies.

    As for the hospital example, why else do people go into hospitals except to voluntarily submit to the medical hierarchy? Why else would they do it? The example stands up perfectly, as does the educational one, and many other ones.

    People freely choose every day of the week to voluntarily submit to certain hierarchies to further their own interests. That is not a surrender of choice; it is an exercise of choice. From your perspective that is an inconvenient fact that you may need to engage with.

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  19. "Now you've switched from hierarchies, to domination/submission, to incentive systems. What exactly is it that you're debating?"

    ... do you not realize that these three things are basically the same? A hierarchy is a dominance/submission relation. Dominance/submission relations provide the incentives for people to compete against each other and treat each other as means to an end.

    "As for the hospital example, why else do people go into hospitals except to voluntarily submit to the medical hierarchy?"

    No... I don't go to a hospital to follow orders. Maybe you are a masochist? I have no idea.

    "People freely choose every day of the week to voluntarily submit to certain hierarchies to further their own interests."

    Because we have no other choice! I want to be able to eat and have a roof over my head. What the hell do you think we should do, just give up? If I had any CHOICE (which you claim I have, but I definitely don't), I wouldn't be working for a hierarchical organization. CHOICE implies alternatives, Karl.

    "Once you concede that not all hierarchical systems are harmful"

    You have not named a single hierarchical system that is not harmful, because you know that is a crock of shit.

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    1. A hockey game.

      A coach tells the players what to do, and the assistant coaches what areas to focus on.

      Both teams submit to referees.

      All of the above go where the rink owner says to go.

      Everyone has fun.

      There are a gazillion other examples, including the ones you've foolishly dismissed.

      Delete
  20. What on earth would make you think that it is possible to create a stable incentive structure with your preferred outcome... ? You can't have the incentive structure set in stone - you'll need people to uphold and protect it. So it has to be stable and make both the people upholding it continue to do so, and all the rest do what they're supposed to do. Which is, by the way, what... ?

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  21. Some people profoundly disagree with Christianity and other religions, others will do so just as easily with Anarchism or other political philosophies. Let's just say antinatalists are a diverse group of people despite our differences on other issues. Besides, had I been only twice as tolerant about snide remarks about Christianity as you've been on this page about anarchism, you'd've heard billions of complaints from me a LONG time ago.

    Again, antinatalists are diverse, therefore we need to BE a "Big Tent" group. Save your opposition for strictly political discussions, as I've done my best to save my opposition for strictly religious discussions.

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  22. Equating hierarchies with domination/submission displays a complete lack of sophistication in your thinking. You are just determined to hold to your sloganeering, regardless of the evidence presented to you. You are incapable of acknowledging that people can come together voluntarily in a hierarchical system to work for the good of all. And the examples I've provided fucntion perfectly. Of course people go into hospital, for example, to follow medical orders. What else do they go in for? To sit around and stare at the wallpaper and run up bills for no reason? In third-level education, students respect the hierarchy so as to learn and develop. In orchestras, for example, the players follow the conductor's leadership so as to harmoniously produce music. Is this "domination/submission"? How ridiculous! The list could be multiplied endlessly.

    I wrote "People freely choose every day of the week to voluntarily submit to certain hierarchies to further their own interests." You replied "Because we have no other choice!" So people freely choose because they have no other choice. There's logic for you.

    I suggest you try and show a bit more open-mindedness and willingness to confront the complexity of the world instead of adhering rigidly to dogma that crumples at the slightest probing.

    @Constant: Excellent points. The problem with all of the ideological 'isms' is that they automatically assume everyone will adhere to their line of thought. Then if there's dissent, and the ideologues wield total power, we end up with the kind of horrors 20th-century history provided us with.

    @Filrabat: Wise words. The only thing I would say is that none of my remarks have been 'snide'. I've merely been engaged in a critical discussion. I agree, of course, that Antinatalism is a big tent and everyone should display tolerance towards the diversity of people's choices within the lifeframe, however much we may regret being in that lifeframe in the first place!

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    1. "I suggest you try and show a bit more open-mindedness and willingness to confront the complexity of the world instead of adhering rigidly to dogma that crumples at the slightest probing."

      Oh, man. If everything was as good as this blog or maybe 5-10% of the people in this world, I wouldn't be killing myself soon.

      *That* was funny.

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  23. "Equating hierarchies with domination/submission displays a complete lack of sophistication in your thinking."

    This is an imbecilic comment. There is nothing else there that cannot be accomplished by an egalitarian system.

    "You are incapable of acknowledging that people can come together voluntarily in a hierarchical system to work for the good of all. "

    That's what you're not getting. Maybe you are some kind of robot, but most of us DON'T like hierarchies and we don't want to work in them. We don't like to be told what to do! That's called being human.

    "Of course people go into hospital, for example, to follow medical orders. What else do they go in for?"

    TO GET HEALTHY AGAIN. How can you be so dumb as not realize this? Are you seriously this dumb?

    "In third-level education, students respect the hierarchy so as to learn and develop."

    No hierarchy is required to do that. Actually, non-hierarchical schools (look up "democratic schools," "Sudbury schools" and "free schools" if you really have no idea what I am talking about here) do consistently better at developing children's abilities and minds. So does homeschooling (at least, if tests are to be believed). So how is this a remotely good example of why we need hierarchies? The alternatives are all better.

    "In orchestras, for example, the players follow the conductor's leadership so as to harmoniously produce music. Is this "domination/submission"?"

    Yes it is, because the conductor can fire people if they refuse to follow his instructions. But groups have been able to self-direct before. This is not a complicated concept, there is a clear known alternative, you don't need a conductor with the power over everyone else, so this example fails miserably as well.

    You have simply EPICALLY FAILED to demonstrate the need for any hierarchy without there being an as-effective or more-effective alternative.

    "How ridiculous!"

    What is ridiculous is how stupid you are. None of these examples come anywhere close to proving your point. And yet you are bragging openly about how ridiculous I am? What a clown.

    "The list could be multiplied endlessly."

    Too bad there is no list here, only posturing.

    "So people freely choose because they have no other choice. There's logic for you. "

    Again, there is no choice here. There is no alternative. You are just too dumb to get it. Show me the alternative! What, we should all join communes or something? What is your alternative? Tell me what it is and I'll join it as soon as I can.

    For antinatalists, you guys sure don't want to confront facts. Sorry, but you are plain dumb. I have no other words for this travesty of reasoning. You have no idea how to think.

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  24. Seriously, if you're going to be so arrogant as to brag that you've won with a list of three items, make sure your three items are actually valid.

    Please present ONE GOOD EXAMPLE of a hierarchy that is necessary and better than its alternatives, or this discussion is over, and I am done with this blog as well.

    No posturing. No bragging. Just give the example and send it.

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  25. "TO GET HEALTHY AGAIN. How can you be so dumb as not realize this? Are you seriously this dumb?"

    Karl didn't say that anyone had submitting to a hierarchy as the ultimate goal. All he says is that there are hierarchies that are instrumentally beneficial.

    But it might not be a good idea to focus so much on a vague word like hierarchy...

    Also, what about my questions... ?

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  26. "What on earth would make you think that it is possible to create a stable incentive structure with your preferred outcome... ?"

    I think you've confused me with someone else? I am an Anarchist. I don't HAVE "preferred outcomes" by definition. Only preferred values and processes (directions to walk in, not destinations- it is as absurd to fix a destination for freedom as it is for an ant to evaluate how high humans can fly).

    The means are not justified by the ends. The means ARE the ends.

    I believe this answers all your other questions too?

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  27. FT: First up, if you don't refrain from your name-calling and personal abuse, you can take yourself off from this blog. This is a forum for debate, not for insults. Understand? (See? A hierarchy in action. You play by the rules and debate is generated. Yet another perfectly functioning example of a voluntarily subscribed hieracrchy that works for the good of all.)

    A few points regarding your generally empty comments:

    People get better in hospital by following doctors' instructions, ie. obeying the medical hierarchy. Pretty obvious.

    Re. the orchestra and other groups where skill is required. Obviously if someone cannot perform a task with the required level of skill, it is best for all that they leave. This holds across the board for all walks of life. Should a poor player be allowed remain in a professional orchestra? Should an incompetent doctor be allowed practice? Should a bad pilot be allowed fly? All professions and skill-based occupations require a certain knowledge and expertise and for anyone to become competent in them they have to submit to the instructions of those in possession of that knowledge. Not in a "domination/submission" mode as you maintain, but a fair and open system that allows for skill acquisition and development. Again, your kneejerk hysteria prevents you from seeing what is perfectly obvious.

    As for providing alternatives, you're the one screaming about the status quo, so the burden of proof is upon you.

    You've also completely shot yourself in the foot with your reply to Constant's questions. You can't say you have values and no preferred outcomes. The former implies the latter by definition. If you have "no preferred outcomes by definition", and all that matters to you is the process, then you can't complain if a group of people comes together voluntarily and decide to become racists/fascists/child molesters/doctors/musicians or anything else. (This touches on my point about people being able to freely choose to submit themselves to a hierarchy voluntarily to further their own interests and aims.)

    Generally, you are also employing a version of the Marxist notion of 'false consciousness'. Who on earth are you to say people don't choose freely? Do you have privileged access to the mental processes of the seven billion people on the planet? Again, you are just determined to assimilate everyone to your mode of thinking. A hilarious irony for an Anarchist, that is, someone who supposedly respects the individual right to choose, freedom of conscience etc etc.

    Finally, if it's only the process that matters to you and not the outcome, as you stated, then this disqualifies you from being an Antinatalist. What grounds do you have to complain if two people come together and decide to procreate? They've made a free and uncoerced choice. This is illustrative of the general lack of complexity of both Anarchist and Marxist thought. Both claim to be philosophies of freedom that value the individual's autonomy above all else, yet both assume that everyone who exercises choice shares their values and will subscribe to their prefered outcomes. They have no answers and very little toleration for the fact that there are people (probably the majority, in fact) who don't care to subscribe to their values, as our friend here is amply demonstrating.

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    1. Like shooting big honkin fish in a barrel.

      Delete
  28. "FT: First up, if you don't refrain from your name-calling and personal abuse, you can take yourself off from this blog"

    I provided you with arguments as to why your position is clearly unreasonable. All you have to say in return is to demand that I be polite to someone who is obviously wasting my time? I asked you to provide ONE good example. Just ONE. You are obviously unable to do so and thus wish to shut me up, or are setting me up to be censored. Either way, that is pathetic.

    You are a waste of time. Goodbye.

    If you ever decide to grow some balls and admit the truth, you know where my blog is.

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    1. I saw this one coming.

      Dude. You're wrong. What you're talking about would work if we were non-social animals.

      Alas, we are.

      You've thought a lot about these things and you're completely unsophisticated in your thinking about them. This may change with time. I don't know.

      I mainly despise government, even as I acknowledge forming these or other social hierarchies are simply natural and inevitable for our species. Consent is probably the main pillar of my philosophy, something I'm wrestling with with antinatalism. Where I probably come down on that is acknowledging antinatalism is biologically unrealistic too and that natural selection will tend to weed it out, although memes can be strong too, so we'll see. I now come down on the side of persuasion and reducing harm caused by procreation by reducing procreation and, if it's going to happen, at least upping the percentage of parents who give a crap about raising their offspring and reducing the percentage of those who are abusive and neglectful.

      Through a change in values that doesn't see procreating as an automatic good and gets more people recognizing the grave, momentous, truly profound undertaking that creating a life in this largely shitty world is.

      But you don't understand that unless you persuade all people to discard the biologically-based tendency to form hierarchies, your politically philosophy totally falls in practice. What are you going to do with the people who disagree? Non-hierarchically force them to abandon their hierarchies?

      You need a hierarchy to enforce your utopia. It's self-defeating. It's imaginary: a form of masturbation, and not even the fun sort.

      Delete
  29. I've provided you with plenty of examples of functioning, benevolent hierarchies that people voluntarily subscribe to in order to create good things. You simply can't admit the truth of it because you know it undermines your dogma.

    You've also chosen to ignore the points made by Constant and I that undercut your position because you appear to lack the intellectual humility and honesty to examine your position critically.

    I would also suggest that going on to people's blogs, laying down the law and then throwing your toys out of the pram everytime someone disagrees with you is not the best way to proceed. This isn't the only place where it's happended. A bit more open-mindedness and willingness to admit error will help your intellectual development. We all have to do it. I've learned plenty from the other blogs in the neighbourhood and gained from having my thoughts corrected and modified. I suggest you try the same instead of resorting to name-calling and tantrums because not everyone shares your point of view.

    Take care.

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  30. When I saw 29 comments, I thought, cool, some good discussion!

    Gah. Almost nothing but this Tremblay douche and WAY too much respectful attention given him.

    It's called narcissistic trolling & stealing all oxygen from a comment thread. Please don't let assholes bury your original post and thoughts in bullshit like this, Karl. You're too good.

    I loved this post. Wish I could comment, but there's pointless piss all over the floor and I'm just annoyed.

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    1. I disagree. Karl's and Constant's comments were righteous, insightful, also took into account the failures of other utopian schemes such as communism, and were laugh out loud hilarious. Plus, to be fair to Tremblay, he seems to understand anarchism in the main, so this was a valuable and detailed takedown of that silly system of imaginary politics.

      Sure it's not exactly the topic of this post, but it was funny as.

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  31. Hey, Sharkbabe. Good to see you around here!

    I'm sorry the impact of the post was diluted for you by the comment thread. I just got really annoyed when I was told that because I was a certain kind of Anti-Natalist I "HAD" to also be an Anarchist. I don't care to have my political alleigances dictated to me, particularly by someone who ostensibly adheres to a philosophy of freedom (so-called). As for too much respect being shown, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and to refrain from personal invective, but it didn't seem to work in this case.

    If you do have anything to say on the original post, I'd love to hear it!

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  32. My apologies, Karl. I wasn't slamming you as being intolerant. My line regarding "snideness" was actually directed at Francois. Actually, it was he and others intolerant of _________ who I was addressing all along.

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  33. Sorry, Filrabat. The error was mine for misreading you. incidentally, after bailing out here because the going got too tough for him FT has now carried his gig over to Shadow's 'The Last Page' blog where he is shamelessly slandering me. It takes patience to put up with such people!

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  34. Excellent rant! Sums up how I feel much of the time.

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  35. Cheers, anonymous. And how a lot of others are too, I daresay.

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  36. I'm 42 and never had children.

    I never wanted to be responsible for bringing another human life into this irreconcilable shit hole. That and I was also unwilling to give up my selfish lifestyle. Life's hard enough already just looking after my own retched self without having to look after some other vulnerable meat bag.

    I often refer to myself as the happy pessimist, as I am acutely pessimistic, observing the world, humanity and physical life in general as a pointless exercise of constant maintenance and ultimate futility.

    It may come as a surprise then to find that I have a deep and fundamental love for life, not human life per se, but life in general.

    A happy unapologetic pessimist.

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  37. Hi, Dave. Thanks for the comment. It seems you've reached the optimal status for a human being, being a happy unapologetic pessimist. I guess once you decide to never have kids, stick by that decision and get on with it, one may be able to derive some sort of pleasure from life. Thanks for dropping by!

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  38. Phenomenal post, it sums up the delusional approach of most people living in this fundamentally wretched existence. I'm a 20 year old antinatalist myself, and my approach in living is to make the best of life (maximize satisfaction/comfort/pleasure, minimize pain/misery), and to refrain from bringing any children into this world to suffer(possibly horrifically) and die for nothing.

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    1. Thanks Ant R. You have the right approach to life!

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  39. So loved the post and also the comment thread ... Karl you have earned yourself a fan :) ... I might be in a minority here when i say i am an Indian from Mumbai .... not many around me subscribe to even atheism, forget anti-natalism ... i guess thats a baggage coming from being an extremely religious country. It is so difficult to explain your own position of experiencing happiness every now and then with pitching that life is miserable and should not be added to ... it all adds up in my head but when the words come out, they dont seem powerful enough cause i am playing for both sides ... that of being happy today and with what you have and honing your mind to improve your skills to be happy and simultaneously saying that happiness is impossible in this world of ours. Comments welcome :)

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    1. Thanks, Umesh! Actually, Srikant is another Indian regular on this site, so you're not alone. I think the tragedy of that poor woman in Delhi tells us everything we need to know about what can happen in life.

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  40. Karl,

    I am surprised to see you use the word "voluntarily." I don't believe anything is truly voluntary, given coming into existence is not voluntary. Thus, any choice that is made is completely influence by two factors: 1) DNA and 2) life experiences. However, because the first life experience in not chosen, all subsequent ones are the compounded result of DNA and past experiences, which make anything that happens in a person's life clearly something that has been forced upon them.

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    1. Well, I hold to free-will because without it all discussion is pointless.

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    2. Can you elaborate on this? What do you mean by "pointless?"

      I see it as more we're all basically robots who are involuntarily advocating for certain things. For me, I am not choosing to write this but am merely forced as a result of DNA/life experiences to carry out this act at this particular moment in time. As the wind blows (new experiences) I may change with it, and at that time I am then a re-programmed robot advocating something slightly different, or possibly extremely different, depending on the strength of that metaphorical wind.

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    3. I assume free-will, as does everyone else, even those who say they don't. All of debate, thought, morality and society is predicated on it. It's indispensible.

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    4. I think that's extremely arrogant and simply not true. About as good of an argument as saying all people are actually pro-natalists, otherwise they wouldn't continue to exist. It's enough to understand that determinism doesn't mean fatalism to disagree with this. Our actions still have consequences that are going to make a difference in the world regardless of us not having free will. And regardless of the existence of free will we will still have desires, needs, wants, etc which would not come true if we took no action to make them come true. This means debate, thought, discussion, etc, are still perfectly understandable after we concede we have no free will. Only thing that we will have to do without with regards to morality is ultimate moral responsibility, not morality itself.

      It's important to understand that free will has a couple of different meanings, and at least the libertarian account of free will is completely senseless. The compatibilist account works fine, but is arguing for a different thing than the incompatibalist one.

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    5. I'm not one of these people who so furiously disavow free-will. If you're going to be a determinist, stop trying to have your cake and eat it. Once you admit even a degree of freedom, you have to admit the lot.

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    6. I don't admit to even a degree of freedom, when freedom is taken to mean freedom from preceding causes. That doesn't mean there can't be any sort of freedom at all. I have no idea why you would think that it does. As I said, it's as senseless an argument as the one made by pro-natalists against antinatalism, that if you're an antinatalist you have no excuse not to off yourself.

      Anyway, it's not really all that important, and I'm fine with you thinking that I'm being insincere in my (non)belief, as I, in turn, think you're the one being insincere (or at least confused) in this case. (And maybe I really am wrong in some to me unimaginable way - you can't diagnose how intellectually honest you are by yourself, after all) But that doesn't change the fact that I think you're right and sincere when it comes to antinatalism, and that's really the more important position, anyway. So let's agree to disagree on this one rather cosmetic issue.

      I just discovered your blog, and I'm slowly working my way through the backlog - it's been fantastic thus far!

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    7. Well, if you think there's no freedom from preceding causes, I don't see how there's any freedom at all, but as you say it's a pointless topic and I'm sick of arguing with people generally.

      Thanks for the nice words about glad you're enjoying it:-)

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  41. Hedonism viewed by a programmer:

    if (pleasure > pain)
    {
    live();
    }
    else
    {
    die();
    }

    Is this so hard to understand, do-gooders & pro-lifers?
    Desperate Guy

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