I love monks and monasticism. To me they are true revolutionaries, people who reject the world in favour of a purer lifestyle. Although some may see monasticism as self-indulgent, I see it as actually being extremely revolutionary. After all, what better gesture of defiance can one show the world than refusing its ways and retreating into the desert? In monasteries we see the creation in miniature of a new world, a form of communal life where the welfare of one’s fellow monks is the top priority, an aspiration toward an ideal of ego-less living and rejection of worldly vanity.
I came across the following similar sentiments in a book by Thomas Merton:
Father Paul Evdokimov, the Orthodox theologian, writes a splendid and challenging article on The Desert Fathers and on the radical tradition of monasticism, both Eastern and Western. He frankly regards monastic chastity as a refusal to procreate and to continue the existence of a society that has reached its term (a view which in modern Catholicism would shock even the most convinced of monks). This refusal is creative, not negative: those who claim to be so positive about the values of “the world” and our society are precisely the ones who are so busy building the bombs that are capable of destroying it...
Evdokimov demands a virile ascesis, not simply gentlemanly retirement into leisure. The monk does not build his monastic city on “the margin of the world”, but instead of it....Since the world presents a lying vision, the unworldliness of the monk must be not only nonconformist, but provocatively so. The monk is in revolt against the false claims of the world...
Similarly, here is Merton on The Shakers, the Christian group who practiced celibacy:
The Shakers now face extinction, without concern, convinced that they had not been a failure [...] I find this easy to believe. The Shakers have been something of a sign, a mystery, a strange attempt at utter honesty [...] which was nevertheless pure. They were absolutely loyal to a vision that led nowhere: but which to them seemed to point to a definite eschatological goal.
According to Wikipedia, as of January 2011, there were only five Shakers left in America. I salute them!
And, of course, there is Mount Athos, the Macedonian self-governed state of monks, quite an inspirational idea (women are banned from entering the territory!). I suggest this as being the ideal sunshine getaway spot for male Antinatalists:-)
Finally, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. is one of favourite novels; it's a post-apocalytpic sci-fi story set around a monastery. Highly recommended