A vast majority of the worlds population spend their entire life driven by the need to avoid pain. Whether you feel the need to call this pessimistic or not i beside the point. The point is that striving for immortality and giving birth to new children is a bad idea.
Let’s make a quick experiment. I’ll give you two alternatives to chose from for what will happen to another person:
- The person get to spend 5 minutes in the most pleasurable state there is AND 5 minutes in the most excruciating painful state there is.
- The person don’t get to experience any of it.
What do you choose?
If you’re not insane/psychopath you will go with option 2. 5 minutes in an excruciating state is horrible and will feel like forever, while the 5 minutes of joy will be over in a second.
Yet this is exactly how life is. And this is exactly what we choose every time we procreate.
But I think life is quite enjoyable!
Let’s make another experiment. Do as I say in order:
- Imagine or scetch a diagram with values 0-10 on the y-axle to your left and three markers on the bottom x-axle to represent 6 months ago, present moment and 6 months in the future.
- How enjoyable was life 6 months ago on a scale 0-10?
- How enjoyable is life on a scale 0-10 in the present moment?
- How enjoyable do you think life is going to be, on a scale 0-10, 6 months from now?
If you’re like most people, you will argue that the past was, and the future will be, better than the present.
You think life is enjoyable because your memory is suppressing all the horrible memories of your past. Yet you only ever experience the now. So you have a glorified image of the past, and you have a hope for a better future.
But I don’t experience pain in the present moment.
Are you sure? Don’t you feel:
- Hunger or thirst
- Too hot or too cold
- Unfulfilled desires
Even if you by some incredible timing feel free from these experiences right now, I can promise you that you spend almost your entire existance in a painful state.
In this moment, a majority of the worlds population suffer from internet addiction. Per definition that means that they are escaping the present moment in order to seek pleasure in a virtual world. Yet the more time you spend on the internet, the more depressed, stressed, anxious and unhealthy people are. Which is also the argument against using digital devices.
The bad things are compensated by the good things.
Let’s take another version of the first experiment:
- Would you trade 5 minutes of the worst pain to get 5 minutes of the best pleasure?
No. So the pain is worse than the pleasure is good.
”There is a thing called chronic pain. But not a thing called chronic pleasure,” as David Benatar say. Or as Richard Dawkins puts it; ”Perhaps there once was a squirrel that ate a single nut and spent his entire life in bliss and pleasure, but his genes soon died out because he starved to death from not feeling hunger.”
The good things must compensate for the bad things once you have come into existance, because if they didn’t, suicidal thoughts wouldn’t be far off. But once the good things can’t compensate for all the bad things anymore, when we are old and sick and suffering becomes too much, we welcome death.
Not having children is selfish / People without children are selfish.
Quite the opposite is true. Choosing to become a parent, especially when the option of adoption is an alternative, is probably the most selfish thing people can do.
An aspiring parent want their own child so that:
- Parents can have more meaning in their life.
- Parents can quench their evolutionary instinct to spread one’s genes.
- Parents can become more socially uniform and accepted by friends with children.
- Parents can become more valuable in the eyes of others.
- Parents can teach their children to become like themselves.
- Parents can fulfill any number of other selfish desires.
Someone who choose to not have children may think about themselves as well, but parents are selfish in ways no anatalist person could ever be.
People that adopt children are probably the least selfish (especially if they could have had a child on their own).
But we would go extinct without children?
Do you spend much time thinking about the abscence of life on mars or on other places in the universe? Do you intuitively feel like it is a bad thing that there is no life on mars?
Planet earth isn’t any different.
It is just a question of time before humans go extinct, and the only question is really whether we should induce more suffering into this world, on other species and ourselves, before we meet our fate, and whether we would rather go extinct in a dramatic forceful way, or in a peaceful consciouss way.
A child could do so many great things for others.
Every great thing one could hope to accomplish in this world is about reducing suffering and destruction.
Where do all the suffering and destruction come from?
A child that never exists can’t create global warming, pollution, destruction or impose suffering on other animals and humans. The most environmentally friendly and good hearted thing a person could do is to not have children.
I want to live as long as possible.
Would you rather have 60 years filled with what you like? Or 90 years filled with things you don’t like?
Life is about quality, not quantity. It is better to have a short life that is filled of what you like than a long life spent in a miserable way.
The shorter your perspective, the more important everything seem to be. In eternity, nothing seems important. Everything we find to be valuable, has value, because it is limited.