Thursday, 29 September 2011

A Defence of Suicide

Excerpts from A Philosophical Dissertation Upon Death by Count Alberto Radicati Di Passerano. The author was an Enlightenment philosophe, heavily influenced by Spinoza. As a result of the publication of the book in England, he was forced to flee that country and died destitute and alone in Holland.

"A Man ought not to be
apprehensive he is doing Ill when, tired and tormented by Life,
he deprives himself of it; seeing he therein makes Use of a
Right which none can take from him. This is a Right which does
not only belong to Man, but also to all other Animal Creatures,
the which do know how to make a better use of it than he does;
since they, having always lived according to the Natural Laws,
their Intellectuals have not been corrupted by Education.

A Man ought not to believe he does any Wrong to the
Society he chances to be a Member of, in depriving himself of
Life: For societies were founded for the Benefit of Men; and
therefore when a Man ceases from reaping Benefit therefrom,
with Reason he may therefrom separate himself, and more
especially if the said Society was formed without his
Approbation or Concurrence; since no Man is tied down to
stand to any Agreement made without his Participation, or
against his Will: And notwithstanding the Jews, the Christians,
and the Mahometans pretend the contrary, by forcing people to
continue in the Religion wherein they are born, I do aver and
maintain, that this Violence is unjust and abominable; since a
Man is no more tied to be a Jew, a Christian or a Mahometan,
on account of his having been Circumcised, or Baptised, when
he was an Infant, than if his Parents or the Priests, at his Birth,
had bound him to love (when arrived at Man's Estate) a woman
to whose Beauties or Deformities, good or bad Qualities, he
should be an utter stranger.

A Man is not an enemy to his Existence when, quite
tired and oppressed, either with Poverty, or Contempt, or
Sickness, or Bondage, he shall voluntarily Cease to live: Since
if it be a Thing natural always to choose the least Evil when
Evils are not possible to be avoided; it is a most natural Thing to
have Recourse to Death, to get free from the Evils and Miseries
of Life: So let us suppose Men not liable to those Calamities
which molest them during their Life, nevertheless ought they
always to run to Death without staying for it; since they all
know that, by a Decree eternal, they are condemned to die from
the very Moment they are born; and as the Sort of Death each
Man is to die is uncertain, and as most Sorts are very painful, a
wise Man, finding himself to be approaching his End and
Dissolution, either through Age, or the Indispositions attending
him, and not having the least Hope or Prospect of ever enjoying
any more of the Pleasures of Life, would do a most wise Action
in making Choice of the kind of Death which appeared to him to
be the pleasantest, in order to evade that most grievous one to
which he is sentenced: And in so doing, he would demonstrate
himself a true Friend to Himself.

In short, a Man ought not to imagine that, in depriving
himself of Life, he any way discomposes the Order of
Providence; since the eternal Laws of Motion cannot, in any
wise, be varied, or altered, on account of a Creature's living a
longer or shorter Space of Time, that is, its changing sooner or
later the Modifications of its Matter: Because Nature being most
potent and most wise, and operating incessantly in all Matter,
the consequence is, that her Operations are always superlatively
perfect; so that it little imports that the Matter which formed the
Body of a Man assumes the Form of a Million of Worms, or of
other Beings, that of round it becomes quadrangular or
multangular; the smallest Atom is ever of some signal Utility to
the infinite Designs of that most industrious Architect.
The foolish Prepossession, which Men have in Favour of
their own Species, is a Child of Ambition, and this is the Child
of Education: Since, even from the very Birth they are taught,
that They are the most perfect of all Beings; as being the lively
Images of GOD, who created all the others purely for their Use
and Service. Reason being confused and rendered stupid with
these vain and nonsensical Ideas, Man believes that the
Destruction of one of his Kind, or Species, must needs put into
Disorder the whole Frame of Nature; and does not consider,
"That a Man more or a Man less, nay the whole Race of
Mankind united, and a Hundred Millions of Worlds, a Thousand
times greater and more beautiful than this our Terrestrial Globe,
are no other than a very diminutive Atom, whose existing or not
existing is not so much, with respect to the Immensity of the
Universe, as is a single Drop of Water in Comparison with the
vast Ocean!"

Let us then conclude; That a Man, weary or satiated with
living, may die when he pleases, without offending NATURE:
Since in dying, he makes Use of the Remedy which She kindly
has put into his Hands, wherewithal he may cure himself of the
Evils of this LIFE."

Friday, 23 September 2011

A Theory of Procrastination

For the antinatalist, all options are bad. Life is a dreadful thing, full of pain and suffering. All he or she can do is attempt to minimise that pain and not pass on the burden by procreating. In conducting one’s life, therefore, one generally tries to determine which options carry the least risk of suffering. Hence in the mind of antinatalists the choices available are ranged thus:

A < B < C < D < E < F < G < H < I < J etc.

Where A is less painful than B, B less painful than C, C less than D and so on.

The logical choice, consequently, is to realise A. A’s value, such as it is, comes from it being the least of all evils. However, procrastination arises at the liminal point of realising A. The reason is as follows: although A has comparative value in being less painful than B, C etc., that value disintegrates if A is achieved and the other options dissolved. We are then left with only the reality of A, which in and of itself is a bad option, as all options and choices available for the antinatalist are a priori bad, and it is against all conditioning to choose a bad option. Hence procrastination.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Overpopulation

(This is something of a rant, as I haven’t the energy or the will to go digging out precise statistics. But I figure I’m probably preaching to the converted anyway, so why worry.)

Isn’t it perfectly plain to anyone who has even a marginal grasp on reality that the thing that is making human life gradually more and more meaningless and shitty is overpopulation? Obviously if you’re of an antinatalist disposition, any population is bad, but seeing as how people appear relentlessly determined/programmed to never stop breeding we can legitimately ask ourselves at what number does human existence in the mass really start to become hellish.

There appears to be a general mental block amongst the self-styled “intelligentsia” regarding overpopulation. Only rarely is it brought up, and then it is generally brushed aside. David Attenborough’s recent article on overpopulation in a popular British weekly comes to mind as the most current example. This is particularly ironic, as anyone who lives in or has visited the UK will tell you that its most striking feature is the sheer density of the population. London is a heaving mass of faceless humanity, with opportunities for peace and solitude few and far between; the Underground and the buses are almost always thronged to heaving (if you really want to feel your complete worthlessness, go on to a Tube at 5.30; you’ll soon be cured as to any notions of your “individuality”) and silence is rarer than the dodo.

In terms of energy resources the planet is unlikely to be capable of sustaining a population of 7+ billion for any great length of time. Predictions show that at current rates of reproduction, there may well be 10 billion people by 2050. What’s worse is that because of the ubiquity of trash tv all over the globe, most of those people will aspire to living what they perceive to be the gilded lives of those in Western Europe and the US. Standards and expectations will rise, and consequently egotism and selfishness along with it. As population grows and resources diminish we can expect to see the gradual withering away of social services, welfare, state education and utilities that is already clearly perceptible in Europe. Of course, there are those who welcome this in the name of “liberty” and “freedom”, but in my experience I’ve noted that those who decry the state the most are those with healthy private incomes, who are in no danger of being exposed to anything that would threaten their cosy lifestyles, so to hell with them. (Academics are particularly culpable in this regard. There are times when I think Pol Pot had the right idea when it came to the self-styled “intellectuals”.)

Self-declared Liberals love bashing the Catholic Church for its anti-contraception policy, which is certainly reasonable, but these same Liberals also bang on about human rights and the inalienable right of people to procreate and raise families (it’s even in the UN Declaration of Human Rights) so they’re hardly innocent either. In fact, given that in Europe at least, it’s the Liberal “intelligentsia” (surely one of the most horrible words in existence) that control the media they are no less culpable and deluded than anyone else.

In order for there to be any sense of dignity or freedom in this existence a person has to have a certain amount of space and time in which he or she can exist without being made feel like a termite. As countries become more and more crowded, as cities become bigger, uglier and more violent, and as the countryside is gradually eaten away by housing developments, we can be sure that individual freedoms will shrink ever more rapidly. This will inevitably lead to the degradation of quality of life with ever increasing tension and inevitable conflict. Lest anyone think I’m talking through my trumpet, the London riots this summer are only the start of what’s on the way, not only in the UK, but across the world.

Here endeth the rant.