A Guide to Driving Yourself Crazy

I don’t know if you know what it’s like to be aware of what tomorrow is going to bring for the most part and still be terrified of it. I know what I’m going to do every day. There are no surprises and I prefer it that way. Surprises aren’t always good. A part of me prefers the monotony of my life. It’s safer. I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve become more and more of a shut-in as of late. I would rather not go anywhere and risk getting injured or worse. What a contradiction coming from someone who wishes they’d never been born in the first place. Just because I wish for non-existence doesn’t mean I want to die at the moment.

I’ve mentioned before how death never bothered me until recently. Now it’s all I can think about. It’s why I stay in the house. It’s why I don’t venture out more. I’m terrified of trying anything new. I hate going new places, unfamiliar places. I hate that I’ve gotten this way and I don’t know what to do about it.

I dread when friends ask me if I want to do something because that means I’m going to have to step out of the comfort of my own home where I feel safe. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I leave. Any number of things can go wrong and I start playing these scenarios out in my head over and over again. We could get in a wreck. We could get robbed. We could get shot by some asshole that wants to be famous by killing a few dozen people. See? Any number of things can go wrong out there.

I don’t think I can truly convey how real this fear is of mine. Any time I do manage to work up the courage (and believe me, it takes a lot for me) to go out somewhere I’m looking for the nearest exits in the event something goes horribly wrong. I have friends in other countries that I’d love to visit, but I’m afraid I never will because all I can think about is the plane crashing into the ocean and myself drowning even though someone assured me I’d be dead before I’d actually drown, but still … given my recent paranoia that something terrible is going to happen to me or a loved one, I don’t want to risk anything.

This all leads to such a boring life for me now. I dread when people want to play catch up with me. “What have you been up to as of late?”

“Me? Oh, nothing. I sit at home in constant fear, afraid to go out into the world because I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. I could get shot, stabbed, run over by a car. I also drive myself crazy because I have no control over what happens in the lives of those I care about, and I have to live with the knowledge that at any moment someone I love can be snatched away from me, but enough about me. How about you? How have you been? I hear you’re doing quite well for yourself while I’ve been having nervous breakdowns for the past three or four months. What’s it like to live a normal life and not dread what’s coming tomorrow?”

The Happiness of Non-Existence: Anti-Natalism Chronicles XIII

Picture a non-existent person if you can. It’s not a person because it doesn’t exist. You can’t give something that doesn’t exist a name. It’s nothing. There’s a void that exists before we come into the world. It’s where we all start. Two people get together and fuck and if they’re unlucky one of them (I’m referring to the woman in case you don’t know already) conceives a fetus. I call the thing a fetus because it is not a child. You are not a child until you are born. You are not sentient. A child, a baby, a newborn is sentient; it feels.

If a fetus could feel, was sentient, had a consciousness, would it want to be born? I don’t think it would. Imagine it was able to perceive and take in the world outside of the womb. What would it think? Would it want to come into a world full of so much hate and despair? None of us would, but we have no say in the matter. Our own selfish desire to have sex leads to unplanned pregnancies with mothers having to make a difficult choice whether or not to go through with the pregnancy.

We’re brought into a world plagued by war, famine; some unsure if they’re going to make it to the next day. Will there be food on the table? Will the clothes on our backs be enough to last us through another season? These are things people do not consider when they make the decision to breed. They believe having a child is morally right.

I would argue that it’s immoral to have a child not knowing if you’re able to take care of it. If you’re unprepared, not ready, then why is it there are those out there telling you that you should have to take care of another living human? It’s only when the fetus is inside the womb that people care so much. After its birth no one cares if it lives or dies. There is a certain age where people stop caring about other people. I’m not sure when that happens, but it’s true.

After someone’s birth, years later, that person becomes a burden. You want medical coverage? Too bad. Are you unable to care for yourself? So sorry. No one gave you a blueprint nor a map. You don’t get any instructions as far as how to take care of yourself in a world you never asked to inhabit in the first place.

Things were so much better in the void. The plane of non-existence never hurt anyone. When existence comes into the picture is when all the pain and suffering starts; from the first scrape or broken bone you get as a child up to the cancer or heart disease you develop as an adult. None of this would cause us any worry, any harm, any pain if it all just ceased to exist in the first place. The right thing, the moral thing to do is to not be at all.

The Beauty of Non-Existence: Anti-Natalism Chronicles XII

Do any of us really know what happens after death? We all have our varying beliefs, but no one really knows until they’ve experienced it, and it’s not like any of them can come back and let us know if they’re having a good time or if the whole death thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m sure it has its ups and downs like anything else. You no longer have to worry about bills or your health, but you’re also missing out on shit that others are doing that maybe you would have enjoyed if you were still alive.

This is another argument for putting an end to procreation. None of us know what life was like before being brought into this world and none of us had a bad day because of it. I don’t remember anything about being a year old, being in the womb, and I most certainly don’t remember anything before that. Nothing bad happens when you don’t exist. It’s when you bring people into existence. That’s when problems start.

I’ve been struggling as of late. I’ve mentioned it a time or two. I’ve slipped into another depressive episode and can’t shake it. Another day has gone by and another one is going to come and go tomorrow. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring or what the next few months or few years are going to bring. I just know now more than ever that time is ticking away and there’s nothing I can do about it. I suppose I could kill myself, but that would leave others behind and I don’t want to do that, but the thought crosses my mind time and time again. I was doing so well with keeping the suicidal thoughts at bay, too.

I would never have had these problems had I never been born. I think we’ve seen a movie or a television show where an angel or ghost of some sort comes to a person and shows them what life would have been like had they never been born. These mediums always paint existence in a positive light because we all want to feel better at the end of the day. That’s why we turn to sitcoms and banal shit such as that. We want to feel better. When I lie in bed at night, I don’t feel better. I feel like things would be better without me here.

If it were up to me, I’m talking about being in the spirit realm or whatever came before I was conceived, I would have told my parents to think twice about deciding to have a child. If I got to have a look at everything that would happen to me and see how it all turns out for me in the end; the good, the bad, the ups and downs, I believe I’d choose not being born at all. It’s the constant worry of what’s going to happen from one day to the next. No one has to worry about that when they don’t exist.

No one has to worry at this moment. I’m not going to do anything drastic. I don’t even know how many of you out there still read the dribble I spill onto this fucking site. I’m not longing for death. I’m longing for never being born in the first place.

Forget It. It’s Sooze-Town.

I’ve noticed my social anxiety and depression have gotten worse as of late. I can’t listen to anyone because I’m too focused on all the shit going on in my head. I have kept it all bottled up for weeks now, and I realized that maybe I should just write everything down that’s going on so maybe I can have it all in one place as kind of a go-to if I need it when I see my psychiatrist in a few weeks.

I don’t know why it started. I was doing so well with my medication, but I started talking about things that don’t really matter with my psychiatrist in order to avoid what’s really bothering me. I do that more often than I’d like to admit. I’m prone to keeping things bottled up like I always have. I know that talking things through helps, but sometimes I can’t make myself do it. I feel like my problems are insignificant, like they don’t matter.

I find it hard to sleep at night because of all the thoughts that go racing through my head. I’m 32-years-old and I have nothing to show for it. I’m terrified of absolutely everything these days and I’ve become a shut-in basically. I can’t drive due to epilepsy, but I want to get out of the house so when the opportunity arrives to go for a drive with someone I always go, but I stay in the car. I can’t bring myself to get out and go inside anywhere. All the people make me nervous. I get nervous being surrounded by so many people and then realizing all those people making me nervous makes me even more nervous. I break out into a sweat. I start fidgeting. I pace back and forth.

I’m not getting any younger and the thought of death is always in the back of my mind. I know we’re all going to die and I used to be accepting of that fact, but as I get older and realize my time is running out I’m becoming less and less OK with it. I’ve always had a great relationship with my mom, and she has always been the one constant in my life; I fear something happening to her and never seeing her again. I don’t know how to shake these feelings. I dread the days she goes to work. I dread the times she has to fly to another state for work. I have this constant fear that something is going to happen to her and I’m not going to know how to handle it.

Then there’s the fear of something happening to me. I know when I’m dead it will all be over for me and I won’t know any different, but it’s just the thought of being dead and thinking about those I left behind and the impact it will have on them. My dad committed suicide fifteen years ago. My grandfather died three years ago. My mom’s boyfriend died almost two years ago. What’s my mom going to do if something happens to me?

It’s stupid, but I think about what happens after I’m dead. I think of things I’m going to miss out on when that happens, trivial things. I won’t be able to see my family or friends anymore. I won’t be able to read another book. I won’t be able to watch the shows that I enjoy. No more walks with my dog. No more sitting outside and enjoying the weather, watching the cars go by. Life goes on long after we’re gone. I want to leave something behind so that I can be remembered. I just don’t know what. I want to be remembered. I have this fear of being forgotten.

It’s like that one scene in “BoJack Horseman” where he says, “Is that life? You’re there, you do your thing, and then people forget.” That’s what I fear the most. I want my life to mean something. I don’t want to be forgotten. What do I have to do to make some sort of impact? I don’t want to just be another name on a tombstone. I see all those tombstones in the cemetery – names of people I never knew. I wonder if other people remember them. How many people go and visit those graves? After a while when the initial shock wears off that your loved one has passed, you visit the grave less and less. I guess I just have a fear of being forgotten. I want my life to have meaning and purpose, but I don’t know how to make that happen.

Relationship Advice From Yours Truly

My aforementioned friend Eric (again, not his real name) and I had a lengthy phone conversation over the weekend. I think he needed to vent to someone, and I didn’t mind listening. I don’t think he has many people to turn to so it was no problem for him to vent to me. He asked me a strange question: “How do you get so lucky with women?”

“Huh?” I replied. That’s all I could say. I’ve never been lucky with women. I’ve had two relationships in my entire life. I’ve only been intimate with three women. I don’t know anything about talking to women unless it’s online and as I get older I’m getting more and more rusty in that department. I had no clue what he meant by “lucky with women.” He mentioned my previous ex, which I’ve mentioned already. She and I ended things because she sprung it on me that she wanted children and that’s a definite “no” for me. He then brought up someone I’d forgotten about that came after my ex.

Nothing was really official with this girl. We talked, flirted, etc., but there was never any kind of definite relationship between the two of us. Things ended pretty badly between us if I’m being honest. Being honest is what ended whatever we may have had anyway. She asked my opinion on something, I was truthful, she got pissed and told me that she didn’t think we should speak anymore.

I don’t know if it’s my age or what, but I’ve gotten where I just don’t give a shit anymore. He may be looking for the love of his life, but I simply stopped giving a fuck. I obviously know fuck all about women. I have no idea how to approach them. Women and I have this kind of mutual understanding: they leave me alone and I leave them alone. It works out perfectly, really. I’ve never been married, therefore I’ve never been divorced. I can’t have children so I don’t have to pay child support to a woman. Overall this whole not-talking-to-or-getting-involved-with-women scheme I’ve got going on is working quite well for me. If it’s women you want then you’ve come to the wrong place as far as talking to me about them. I don’t know what to tell you.

Don’t be yourself because eventually they’re going to find something out about the real you that they don’t like and drop you like a bad habit.

Don’t lie to them because they’re going to find out.

Don’t be honest, either. Honesty is just going to make them hate and resent you.

So what advice did I offer Eric?

Just stick to porn. It’s there when you need it, and when you’re done you can turn it off and go about your day. It works out fine for me since I don’t have to do any talking and I’m not being awkward at all. It doesn’t judge me. It doesn’t have to see me naked. I also don’t particularly care for having sex since I don’t like other people touching me so masturbation is perfect for me.

That’s the only relationship advice I can give anyone: watch porn. You won’t get your heartbroken and once you’ve had your orgasm, you can sleep soundly at night.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go have a wank and a cigarette.

You know that you tried to hide it Shouldn’t you have said what you meant? Oh…

I found out a dear friend of mine – one of my best friends since high school – tried to kill himself not too long ago. It was because of his wife. He discovered she was cheating on him. They hadn’t even been married a year (eight months.) Her reasoning? She told him that his depression and anxiety caused her to cheat. He gave me the whole story. I don’t know his wife. I’ve never met her in my life. I didn’t go to the wedding or anything for reasons I won’t get into. Eric (not his real name) has always been honest with me as far as I know. I know Eric has his issues. I have mine as well. I know Eric has always struggled with depression and anxiety just as I have. I’ve got something he has never really had though: a support system. I wish he had one so that he didn’t think he had to end his own life.

I’m thankful that he failed at killing himself, but I also feel like shit because I’m not exactly sure how to help, either. We’ve always both just joked about our mental illness. I remember one of the best jokes I ever heard — this is just his and my fucked up sense of humor — being when I hadn’t seen Eric in a while, me asking him how he’d been doing, and I asked what he’d been up to. He replied, “I go to work every day, come home and make myself some dinner; sometimes I’ll play a video game for a few hours; and occasionally I’ll stare at the noose I have hanging in my closet and say to myself, “Maybe tomorrow.” I laughed to the point where I could barely breathe.

This recent turn of events in Eric’s life got me thinking about honesty as well. People always claim they want honesty in their relationship, but do they really? Does a woman or man who has put on a few pounds really want their significant other to tell them? If someone in a relationship isn’t looking their best one day then do they want their significant other to tell them they look like shit (in a nicer way than that, of course)? If your spouse is cheating, do you really want to know?

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that people extol honesty until you’re honest with them. You can tell them all day long how you were honest with someone and they will tell you how you did the right thing, but as soon as they ask a question about themselves and demand an honest answer and you give it to them then you can consider that particular relationship or friendship finished. A husband or wife doesn’t want to know that their partner is being unfaithful. If they ask and their partner says, “No. I’m not cheating on you,” it’s better for both parties because no one gets hurt. However, if you’re caught then you might as well fess up because you know there’s no getting out of it.

I’ve never agreed with someone in a relationship cheating on their partner and just coming outright and telling their partner when their partner didn’t ask. I don’t agree with cheating, either; I want to make that perfectly clear. If your partner doesn’t ask then keep your mouth shut. If your partner asks then should you lie? I guess it depends on whether or not you’re a good liar.

Dr. Brad Blanton’s “radical honesty” isn’t going to win you any friends. Being honest with friends is going to make you lose them one day. My advice? Just stick to lying in order to save face. Read up on it if you have to in order to learn how to do it better.

Or you can just not be a piece of shit who feels the need to do shitty things to people.

My Dog: Not the Only Bitch on This Road

It’s ingrained in a dog’s DNA. Dogs chase shit: cars, bicycles, squirrels, rabbits, runners. It’s like Joker said in The Dark Knight though: “You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing a car. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.” That’s basically how my dog is. My dog is like any other dog on this road. I’ve been chased by dogs on this road. My way of dealing with it is to remain calm. By remaining calm and not panicking, the dog stops in its tracks and sniffs me out to realize, “Oh. OK. You’re cool. Now pet me, human.”

I understand that fear, though. Some people have bad experiences with dogs. They’ve been bitten by a dog before. I’ve been punched by humans before, but I don’t assume every human I come across is going to punch the shit out of me. There are cyclists that come down my road, knowing good and damned well that I have a dog. They’ve encountered my dog on multiple occasions and constantly act surprised and terrified every time they encounter my dog.

I had the misfortune of talking to one of these people earlier in the week. I say “misfortune” because I hate talking to people. I especially hate talking to people early in the morning before I’ve had my first cup of coffee and smoke. I spotted the cyclists after my dog did and had to stand up and shout at them, “She’s not going to bite!” I had to shout this because 1. my dog was barking at them and 2. they were barking back at my dog. Yes, that’s the perfect way to keep a dog calm: antagonize them by barking back at them.

“Sir, can I talk to you for a minute?” Fuck!


“You know there are leash laws in this county?”

“I was not aware of that, no.”

“You can’t just let your dog run around like you’re doing. See this here on my leg? It’s a scar from a dog bite. $35,000 settlement.”

I’m assuming you’re just looking for another lawsuit.


“I don’t mean to cause any trouble. I love dogs. You just never know when one is going to lash out and bite.”

“Well, I assure you that she’s not going to bite.”

“All it takes is one time.”

“I’ll make sure I take care of it.”

I got to thinking about the dogs up the street from me that sometimes come running toward me when I go for my walks. I freeze when they come running because if I take off running they may take that as a game of chase. It never crosses my mind to go knock on the owner’s door and say to them, “Your dog came running after me when I was walking, and I’d hate to talk about lawsuits, but…”

If it hadn’t been early in the morning and I wasn’t trying to enjoy my coffee and smoke, I should have suggested the woman take a different path on her bicycle if she was so concerned about my dog biting her. She said she and her friends come down my road at least once a week and always worry about my dog when they pass by my house. Then maybe you and your friends shouldn’t, you know, pass by my fucking house.

If I think I’m going to get attacked by going down a dark alley or down a certain street then I don’t walk down that dark alley or street. I don’t claim to be the most intelligent person on the planet, but when I meet people such as the woman I’m talking about in this blog, I think that I’m easily in the top ten.

I’m Fine. Everyone’s Fucked.

I had another appointment with my psychiatrist today to discuss how my meds are working out for me and how I’ve been doing overall. We talked about not just my mental health, but mental health in general. I used to do a blog every year where I’d pick and choose certain words and phrases that people use that irritate the piss out of me. A few of the recurring ones were: “random,” “literally,” “everything happens for a reason,” and “it is what it is.” If we one day saw the eradication of those words I’d be ebullient.

She and I agreed that one of the worst words in the English language is the word “fine.” It’s just so blasé and unenthusiastic. No one trusts you when you say that you’re fine, but we accept it anyway because we don’t really want to know how the other person is doing. I was reading an article some time ago that was written by a German who lived in America for a year. He was surprised when someone asked how he was doing and he proceeded to tell them about his day, but they wandered off to work on his order in the middle of him giving them the run down of how things were going. This isn’t what we do in America. We don’t care. The common exchange goes as follows:

“How are you doing today?”

“I’m fine, and you?”

“I’m doing alright.”

You can add your own little flavor to it if you’d like, but the trick is to never get too personal. You never tell a person that your dog just died or your mother’s cancer has resurfaced and you don’t know how to deal with it. We deal with other people on such an impersonal level. I think that’s the American way: get in, get out, leave me alone because I’ve got my own problems. I can’t speak for other countries and cultures because I’ve never been outside of the United States, but here in this country we care nothing about the goings on of other people’s lives. I’d be lying if I said I’m not guilty of it. I, too, expect just a quick exchange of words when I’m at the store and kind of tune people out when they start rambling about their day or what’s bothering them while I’m in the check-out line.

Maybe it’s just due to living in a society that’s so rushed and so focused on getting done what we need to get done that we don’t focus on those around us. As Americans we know not to open up to total strangers because total strangers don’t give two shits about us or our lives, but is that how we should be toward other people? The more I’ve grown, the more I don’t think so. I like to try to help people in any way that I can now because I know what it’s like to have a shit day, to have a shit week, to have shit going on in my head that I can’t seem to control.

Would it take a lot of time out of our day to pull someone aside that we overhear say they’ve had a horrible week and ask them if they’d like to talk about it for maybe five minutes? Is where you’re going or what you’re doing really that important? Do you really need to get to work thirty minutes early that you can’t take five minutes to maybe let someone unload for just a moment? In a country that’s so concerned about mental illness we don’t seem to care when it boils down to it. Actually listening to another human being could mean the difference between that person going home that night and resting peacefully and going home that night to stock up on ammunition for the next day when they go to the store to let the world know how they’re really feeling. “I’m fine” isn’t always just fine.

I am aware now how everything’s gonna be fine one day too late.

Procreation is Immoral, Not Just a Personal Choice: Anti-Natalist Chronicles XI

Antinatalism: since children can’t consent to being born, it’s unethical to impose life (give birth) in a world in which the potential for extreme suffering exists. Having children means gambling with the welfare of someone else. It means conducting Frankenstein experiments you can’t control in which someone else pays the price. It means playing god while lacking a god-like control over the outcomes. In short, it’s crazy.

When you point out to people that as long as people are giving birth, a certain percentage of those children will end up suicidally miserable (close to 40,000 people a year commit suicide in the US), they tend to think that suicidal people are just the price we have to pay in order to have happy people. When people decide to have children, they are implicitly prioritizing the existence of happy people at the expense of those who will suffer. They are making a value judgment that happy lives are more important than suffering lives. Antinatalists believe the opposite: suffering takes precedence, and better no one exist than one person endure a nightmare existence. If the possibility of creating even one miserable, suicidal person exists, then it’s unethical to have children. Either way, one group of people has to be sacrificed to the other. Either miserable people can be sacrificed so happy people can exist, or potential happy people can be sacrificed so suffering people don’t have to exist.

There are many common arguments against antinatalism:

1.) You said that “either miserable people can be sacrificed so happy people can exist, or potential happy people can be sacrificed so suffering people don’t have to exist,” doesn’t that mean that either way it’s unfair? If that’s the case why not stick with the status quo?

The reason this argument doesn’t work is because even though it’s unfair in both situations it’s not equally unfair. Potential happy people won’t miss what they haven’t been alive to experience, but suffering people will suffer from existing. Therefore, it makes more sense prioritize suffering rather than happiness.

2.) But there’s a lot more happy people in the world then suicidal people. Shouldn’t you take that into account?

How many suicidal people is acceptable to you? 40,000 in the US alone isn’t enough, so how high would that number have to be before you think having children is immoral? Furthermore, minorities have rights. If five people would benefit from raping someone else, that doesn’t make rape ok. Nor is it ok to torture a minority of people by imposing life on them so that others will benefit.

3.) Miserable people can always commit suicide.

Those who say this don’t realize that it’s like getting someone hooked on heroin and saying “well, you can always quit if you want.” Sure, it’s possible, and many people manage to quit (usually after years of suffering), but it’s incredibly difficult. And it still doesn’t justify the pain endured leading up to suicide. It’s like raping someone and saying “well, you can always go to therapy.” Having children means getting someone addicted to life. And like other addictions, no matter how much suffering results, the addict has trouble stopping themselves, whether it’s due to the fear of hurting others or the deeply ingrained biological fear of hurting themselves that’s stopping them. Once someone is alive they have all sorts of obligations that can make suicide impractical. If would-be parents want to use the “you can always commit suicide” argument to justify imposing life without consent, they should be doing everything they can to make suicide easier and more socially acceptable. Since they’re not doing this, their argument is disingenuous and made in bad-faith. It’s an easy rationalization for their selfish desire to reproduce.

4.) Unborn children can’t give their consent to being alive, therefore you don’t need their consent!

Consider the following thought experiment. Suppose hell was real and the inhabitants of hell were allowed to procreate, thus dooming young children to a hellish existence. Some of the inhabitants suggest that it’s immoral to have children in hell especially without their consent, but others point out that you don’t need their consent because they can’t give it until they’re actually alive to give it. And after all, they say, isn’t it better to be alive and in hell than non-existent anyway?

In response to the above scenario, most people tend to say it’s not ok to reproduce in hell without consent, even if it’s the only opportunity for the unborn child to exist. Why does the argument that it’s ok to bring children into our world without their consent (because they’re not alive to give it) make sense in our world but not in the hell world?

Just to be clear, the point is not that our world is equivalent to hell (at least for everyone). The point is that the argument that unborn children can’t give consent so therefore we don’t need their consent is fallacious.

And, yes, it’s true that most people wouldn’t want children in hell, not because they can’t consent, but because they think hell is a bad thing, period. But that doesn’t mean consent isn’t a factor. Suppose there were people who willingly decided to go hell because they wanted to experience it, and they made an informed decision to go there. Would you support that? I think plenty of people would. Now suppose these same people decide to drag others to hell who didn’t consent? Would you be against that? Most people would be. This demonstrates that it’s not experiencing hell’s inherent badness that people oppose, it’s forcing others to do so without their consent. Consent is key.

5.) Humans can’t stop breeding. It’s biology!

Everything we do is biological, including rape and murder. Is it wrong to encourage people not to rape and murder? Furthermore, plenty of people don’t have children. And many people who do have children, have them as unplanned accidents, resulting from a biological urge for sex, not reproduction. It’s true that some men and women have a specific urge for children, but giving into this urge is no more right than giving into the urge to kill someone who cut you off in traffic, even though anger is a strong biological impulse as well. Those who make this argument are really just saying that we should just accept that we’re apes, not even try to do better, and just embrace it. I.E. they’re nihilists.

6.) But antinatalism is nihilism!

It’s actually the opposite of nihilism. It’s based on basic principles, like the principle of consent, and a concern for suffering. Our current situation, where people breed left and right without concern for the suffering created is closer to nihilism than antinatalism is. It’s just status quo nihilism that we’re so used to that we don’t see it as nihilism. All sorts of immoral behavior was once seen as normal and acceptable.

7.) But that means that no one will exist! I like the the thought of people existing!

It doesn’t necessarily mean that no one will exist. You have three options:

a.) Happy life exists somewhere else, either on a different planet, universe, dimension, etc. If that’s the case, and we already have happiness perpetuating itself elsewhere, what’s the use in perpetuating life on earth with its attendant chance of misery?

b.) Life exists elsewhere, but it’s not happy. In that case, let them reproduce. You’re not responsible for them anyway and can’t do anything about it even if you were. You can sleep well at night knowing that life exists somewhere in this universe even as Earthlings decide to do the right thing and take the antinatalist approach.

c.) Life exists only earth. This is extremely unlikely. But if it’s the case, that still doesn’t give us the right to impose life on others without their consent.

Furthermore, even if life only currently exists on earth, it still doesn’t mean that life wouldn’t exist somewhere else in the future. We waited an eternity before being born. We could have waited another eternity to be born into a better world. What’s the rush?

8.) Just because we can’t be 100% sure of the outcome doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have children!

Actually, it does. There are two problems with this. One, you’re gambling with someone else’s welfare, which is wrong. And two, it’s incredibly glib. Extreme suffering is real and should be grappled with, not just conveniently hand-waved away. If your child ends up in a long-term suicidal nightmare of an existence will you be content to say, “I’m sorry you’re in hell, but when I was rolling the dice I had a good feeling!”

9.) But if we stop breeding we won’t be able to create our future utopia where everyone is happy!

There’s no evidence that humans are moving toward a future utopia. More importantly, even if they were, that still doesn’t make it ok to create suffering humans without their consent in order to use them as stepping stones to your future utopia.

10.) You’re just trying to be edgy!

Got any arguments or just insults?

11.) You’re just depressed!

Psychoanalysis can go both ways, but even if that’s true, it only bolsters my point. Your child could end up like me!

This isn’t about me, though. It’s about the fact that close to 40,000 people a year commit suicide in the US and millions more think about it. It’s about the fact that some people are destined to draw the shortest sticks in life and these people are conveniently swept under the rug and ignored when it comes to discussing the ethics of procreation. People who decide to have children are like gamblers who are so excited by the prospect of winning and so focused on imagining how great it will be when they win that they completely fail to weigh the risk properly. Only in this case, the risk is borne by someone else. And even those people who think long and hard about the possibility their child will suffer, for all their self-awareness they’re still ultimately saying “fuck it, roll the dice” when they opt for children.

In any case, just because you’re incapable of simultaneously enjoying your own life while recognizing that your own joy doesn’t justify other people suffering, doesn’t mean everyone else is incapable of drawing a similar conclusion.

12.) You’re just a pessimist! Why are you so negative?

Extreme suffering is a FACT, not something conjured up by a bad attitude. Why are you so glib and so lacking in empathy that you’d prefer to deny, minimize, and/or rationalize the existence of extreme suffering? Why do you bury your head in the sand when confronted with basic facts of life? Your “positivity” is actually denial and it just creates more suffering in the long run. If you want to be truly “positive,” help end suffering.

13.) But I love being alive! Life is great!

That’s great, but it doesn’t justify you imposing life on someone else without their consent. And furthermore, life isn’t great for everyone. Just because you choose to ignore suffering, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

14.) I have faith! Yes, there’s suffering, but it’s for a reason!

If your faith is so strong, why are you so eager to have children? Why not wait to have children in the afterlife or some other realm that you claim exists? Or why have kids at all? If your faith is so strong, you should be able to endure the pain of not having kids. Furthermore, your “faith” is not a trump card that justifies any immoral act. It doesn’t justify you raping people, and it doesn’t justify imposing life on others without their consent.

15.) You’re such a control freak! You need to learn to “let go” and trust the universe and quit trying to control things!

No one would say that to someone who was trying to end rape, slavery, etc. The natural state of the world is filled with problems and people are constantly trying to control it. But rather than trying to control ME and others like me, why don’t you “let go” and accept the fact that this world is no place for children. Why don’t you give up your fear of a baby-free world and trust that things will be ok if people stop procreating?

16.) But my maternal/paternal instincts are so strong, you don’t understand!

If your maternal instincts were so strong, you wouldn’t have children. This world wouldn’t be good enough for them. The very fact that you think it is, is proof that you DON’T have strong maternal/paternal instincts. It’s proof you have SELFISH instincts.

17.) Even if you’re right, it’s a hopeless task to convince people.

Maybe, but you don’t know until you try. If you asked someone in 1950 whether gay marriage would ever be a thing, they’d probably think you were nuts. Same goes for lots of issues.

18.) I’ve been through the worst and I’m still having kids! And you’re arrogant to tell people they shouldn’t have kids!

It’s arrogant to make other people suffer just because you want kids. And it’s arrogant for anyone to claim they have been through the worst. It’s far more humble to assume that there are others out there who have it far worse than you or I have. Just because you have suffered and come to terms with it, doesn’t mean that everyone else has or will. And just because you’ve suffered, it doesn’t mean you have empathy for other people. There are plenty of drug-addicted prostitutes who have children even though they hate their own life, because they think having children will make them happy. And not just addicts, but regular people. If you were truly content, why would you want children? Wanting is a form of desiring which is a form of suffering. Having children is a way of relieving YOUR suffering.

It’s also arrogant to think you’ve got what it takes to be a great parent. All sorts of smart people have tried and failed, but you think you’re different?

Concluding questions:


1.) Even if you disagree with antinatalism, don’t you think would-be parents should be forced to grapple with these issues? Most parents never seriously consider these issues. What does that say about the gravity, or lack thereof, which the average person possesses when they decide to have a child? Most parents are never forced to defend their choice, isn’t it about time that parents are, at the very least, put on the defensive and forced to explain themselves?


2.) How bad does life have to get before you not only decide for yourself to not have children, but actively start to prevent other people from having children?

Original source

Human Extinction! Don’t Panic; Think about it like a philosopher

  • A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn’t be all that bad, morally speaking.
  • The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
  • The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.

Humans could go extinct. The idea has been floating around science fiction since 1826, it dominated diplomatic thinking during the Cold War, and it fills the existentially inclined with dread. We’ve had some difficult times in the past, but today the only real threat to humanity is suicide.

While most people would think humans going extinct would be an obviously bad thing, these people aren’t philosophers. This strange breed of human looks at the problem from many perspectives and often comes to conclusions that might shock you.

In his opinion essay in The New York Times, philosophy professor Todd Mayconsiders the idea of human extinction and decides it would be “a tragedy” but notes that “it might just be a good thing.”

Knowing how confusing that sentence was, he explains the idea by looking to tragic heroes in literature. Characters like Oedipus and King Lear do bad things yet invoke our sympathy. The idea is that humanity is doing bad things that could only be stopped with the extinction of humanity, but that we still have every reason to feel sympathetic for humanity despite this.

The “bad things” Dr. May refers to in this case are the suffering we cause to animals and the damage we cause to the environment. He makes specific reference to the vast numbers of animals we breed into existence, cram into factory farms to live unpleasant lives getting fat, then eat them, as one example. He mentions how human-caused climate change will alter Yellowstone National Park as another. Our often wanton destruction of the environment is unmatched by any other creature.

He concludes that while humanity has done some good things, like making art and writing good plays, it would “make the world better off” to see us go. The loss of the art, beauty, and the rest would be the tragic element that should invoke sympathy but doesn’t outweigh what we’re doing to nature. He admits the harshness and controversial nature of this stance and explains:

“It may well be, then, that the extinction of humanity would make the world better off and yet would be a tragedy. I don’t want to say this for sure, since the issue is quite complex. But it certainly seems a live possibility, and that by itself disturbs me.”

The idea that it would be for the best if humanity died off is held by more people than you might imagine. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (yes, it is real) encourages its supporters to not have children in hopes that humanity will peacefully die off.

The perpetually depressed Schopenhauer was an anti-natalist, one who thinks having children is morally wrong, because he thought most people would be doomed to live lives dominated by suffering. Several other thinkers, most notably David Benatar, agree with him. If these arguments were carried to their logical extreme, there wouldn’t be any humans left after a few decades.

Others, including Benatar and the extinction movement people, agree with Dr. May that creating more humans causes more environmental trouble than is morally justifiable and that we should stop reproducing now.

Now, none of these groups or people advocate suicide or murder. They argue only that we shouldn’t create more people. There is a, generally accepted, moral difference between people who are alive and people who could exist. While saying we shouldn’t have more kids doesn’t cause harm, since people who never existed can’t be harmed, killing people currently alive does harm people. So you needn’t worry about armies of philosophical Unabombers cropping up anytime soon.

Dr. May does refer to stances one could take that would cause you to disagree with them. One such position would be to assume there is a “profound moral gap” between animals and humans. If you did this, the suffering we cause animals to feel could be dismissed off hand because the animals have no moral standing.

Plenty of philosophers have argued for this exact thing. Most famous among them was Immanuel Kant, who argued that we should be kind to animals as practice for being nice to people but considered them things without moral rights. He would probably find the idea that we should drive ourselves to extinction for the sake of those animals to be absurd. Christine Korsgaard, a modern Kantian theorist, disagrees and argues that animals are worthy of some moral consideration while admitting that our capacity for reflective, normative thinking is a unique feature that may have moral weight.

There is also a more moderate route other thinkers take. Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and noted autism spokesperson, argues that raising animals for the sole purpose of eating them is ethical but that we should assure them a decent life with a minimum of pain. Her stance would both allow humans to continue existing and using animals for our benefit while improving life for those animals; no extinctions required.

Even Peter Singer, a philosopher who has been known to stake out a controversial stance now and then, argues that we should give animals moral consideration but has yet to say that we ought to die off for their sake. Instead, he has argued that we ought to stop needlessly causing them harm and perhaps take up vegetarianism.

It is also possible to take issue with the claim that the environment would be that much better off without humans or that the effect of humanity on the environment is so awful that we ought to die off. Nature can be sickeningly cruel without any human intervention. Animals can cause as much deforestation and environmental degradation as humanity does at the local scale. Plants, as well as humans, have caused climate catastrophes by changing the composition of the atmosphere.

There were two dozen mass extinction events before the evolution of modern humans. One of these, the Permian–Triassic extinction event, saw 96% of all marine and 70% of all land-dwelling vertebrate life die. The famous Cretaceous extinction event featured the death of the dinosaurs and almost every land animal that weighed more than 55 pounds as the result of a giant asteroid hitting the earth, as they often have done and will do again. Humans have yet to do anything with nearly the kind of impact on the environment as these random events had.

While our destroying the environment is not made acceptable by the fact a random occurrence might do the same thing, it does make the argument that humans should die off for the sake of the environment lose a bit of its punch. After all, if another mass extinction event is inevitable, which many people think is the case, then getting rid of humans doesn’t actually accomplish much in the way of protecting the environment over the long run.

It would only serve to assure that, after that next cataclysm, both the environment and human-made wonders like the works of Shakespeare are obliterated. Since Dr. May does suggest that the works of art humanity creates have value and that there is something to be said for our being the only animal that can truly contemplate beauty, a world where we are gone and nature takes it course seems to be the worst one of all.

Would humanity going the way of the dodo be a bad thing? Some philosophers don’t think so, though they might shed a tear or two for us anyway. While the rate of population increase makes the immediate risk of extinction seem low, risks are always present. So, think for a moment, if we went away, how sad a thing would it be?