November 27, 2017

The anti-natalist.

"David Benatar... believes that life is so bad, so painful, that human beings should stop having children for reasons of compassion," writes Joshua Rothman (in The New Yorker).
In Benatar’s view, reproducing is intrinsically cruel and irresponsible—not just because a horrible fate can befall anyone, but because life itself is “permeated by badness.” In part for this reason, he thinks that the world would be a better place if sentient life disappeared altogether....

He provides an escalating list of woes, designed to prove that even the lives of happy people are worse than they think. We’re almost always hungry or thirsty, he writes; when we’re not, we must go to the bathroom. We often experience “thermal discomfort”—we are too hot or too cold—or are tired and unable to nap. We suffer from itches, allergies, and colds, menstrual pains or hot flashes. Life is a procession of “frustrations and irritations”—waiting in traffic, standing in line, filling out forms. Forced to work, we often find our jobs exhausting; even “those who enjoy their work may have professional aspirations that remain unfulfilled.” Many lonely people remain single, while those who marry fight and divorce. “People want to be, look, and feel younger, and yet they age relentlessly”....
Death is worse, he says, so killing yourself is no answer. The only way to avoid the badness of death is never to have been born. Too late for that!

175 comments:

Fabi said...

He could kill himself to demonstrate how committed he is to his thesis.

mockturtle said...

We are in an age of nihilism unparalleled in our history.

MadisonMan said...

Razors pain you
Rivers are damp
Acids stain you
and Drugs cause cramp

Guns aren't lawful
Nooses give
Gas smells awful
You might as well never live.

Doesn't have the same punch as the original.

campy said...

The dead can still vote Democrat but the never-born can't.

Birkel said...

I prefer Pat Benatar.
Hit me with your best shot.

Henry said...

Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. Been there. Read that.

Darrell said...

Sentient life can disappear. Sapient life must be preserved.

Paddy O said...

The problem of generalization. I feel something. Everyone must feel this thing too.

It's actually very egocentric to assume that everyone shares a bad view of life.

It's also very privileged to assume that anything related to "need" is somehow bad.

Need also invites creativity and community, sharing and constructing, gathering together and sharing. Needs help create a rhythm, a beat that punctuates the day with variety.

Needs invite a delight with life that simple satiation can never provide. That's why poor people tend not to be nihilistic as much.

buwaya said...

This is what happens when your deity is your emotions.
To worship your emotional state and to take it as a profound insight into the purpose of existence.

deepelemblues said...

Matthew McConaughey said it better.

exhelodrvr1 said...

It could be worse - he could be a lifelong Republican!!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

waaaah waaaaah waaaaah

What a pitiful pile of depressive, self-indulgent crap. Feeling sorry for yourself because you get thirsty or need to take a leak? Come the fuck on.

I suggest he read Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl; maybe that would give his pansy ass the reset it so clearly needs.

rhhardin said...

Man is happy for his needs.

traditionalguy said...

That is absurd politics, squared. All it shows is a zero courage level. The Albert Camus types had an excuse. They lived through the first 7 years of The Third Reich with banal Nazis in charge. Maybe suicide was the best decision for them.

But we are still winners who intentionally raise our children to be winners too. That is why the NFL thuggocracy despising our Flag and war anthem about it gets totally despised in return.

madAsHell said...

Once every couple of years, some rocket scientist promotes the idea that renting is better than buying a house. I always figure he's just baiting the rubes.

Bill said...

Poor David. For all his wide reading, I guess he never got the memo.

Ave crux, spes unica.

surfed said...

Sounds like a Larry David comedy piece gone bad.

iqvoice said...

My life used to have meaning because I thought I was the only enlightened person on Earth who already knew these truths. Now I see that my life is also meaningless and should end.

Humbug!

Real American said...

Dude must have insane child support payments.

Ann Althouse said...

"Matthew McConaughey said it better."

Cribbed from Benatar's book: "A few years ago, Nic Pizzolatto, the screenwriter behind “True Detective,” read the book and made Rust Cohle, Matthew McConaughey’s character, a nihilistic anti-natalist. "

Bay Area Guy said...

More leftwing madness.

It'd be great if leftwing atheist weirdos like David Benatar did not procreate. I do buy that.

But let's not extrapolate his own personal misery to the rest of a sane human race.

Kyzernick said...

People with his attitude make me sick. Life isn't always easy or perfect, therefore life isn't worth it. Why does anyone consider this man a "deep thinker"? I've heard deeper thoughts gurgle their way down my toilet bowl.

Struggle (should) make us stronger. Babies cry the moment they feel hungry. Adults realize that sometimes the task at hand is more important than a rumbling belly, and that a few hunger pangs won't kill them. Toddlers denied their favorite toy will wail and carry on until they get what they want, or they tire themselves out. Adults might covet the latest sports car or motor yacht or man cave, but accept the fact that some toys have to be earned or built oneself. Spoiled children (like that Eliot Rogers kid in Cali a few years back) think that they're owed love and affection. Adults realize that sometimes you gotta take a risk to get the girl you want, and we go out and fucking do it.

This guy deserves scorn, not publication or attention.

YoungHegelian said...

In Benatar’s view, reproducing is intrinsically cruel and irresponsible—not just because a horrible fate can befall anyone, but because life itself is “permeated by badness.” In part for this reason, he thinks that the world would be a better place if sentient life disappeared altogether....

So, a society goes post-Christian & right on schedule up pops the Manichean heresy in a slightly different uniform.

How quaint.

rhhardin said...

"We have said that to live from something does not amount to drawing vital energy from somewhere. Life does not consist in seeking and consuming the fuel furnished by breathing and nourishment, but, if we may so speak, in consummating terrestrial and celestial nourishments. Though it thus depends on what is not itself, this dependence is not without a counterpart which in the final analysis nullifies it. What we live from does not enslave us; we enjoy it. Need cannot be interpreted as a simple lack, despite the psychology of need given in Plato, nor as pure passivity, despite Kantian ethics. The human being thrives on his needs; he is happy for his needs. The paradox of "living from something," or, as Plato would say, the folly of these pleasures, is precisely in a complacency with regard to what life depends on--not a mastery on the one hand and a dependence on the other, but a mastery in this dependence. This is perhaps the very definition of complacency and pleasure. Living from ... is the dependency that turns into sovereignty, into happiness - essentially egoist. Need - the vulgar Venus - is also, in a certain sense, the child of poros and of penia; it is penia as source of poros, in contrast with desire, which is the penia of poros. What it lacks is its source of plenitude and wealth. Need, a happy dependence, is capable of satisfaction, like a void, which gets filled. Physiology, from the exterior, teaches us that need is a lack. That man could be happy for his needs indicates that in human need the physiological plane is transcended, that as soon as there is need we are outside the categories of being--even though in formal logic the structures of happiness - independence through dependence, or I, or human creature - cannot show through without contradiction."

Lwevinas _Totality and Infinity_ p.115

I forget nothing.

Qwinn said...

In states like NJ, where property taxes can exceed $1,500 a month, renting IS better. How landlords make money with rents that seem to be below the property tax that would be levied on it, I have no idea.

Achilles said...

This is just a more radical version of eugenics. Usually they stop at ridding the world of unwanted/poor babies.

Bay Area Guy said...

The funny thing about Leftist wackos like Benatar is that they MAKE life miserable, and then they declaim life is miserable -- and offer weird solutions, reminiscent of Margaret Sanger or the 3rd Reich.

Big Mike said...

David Benatar needs to crush his enemies, to see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentations of their women!

Then he’d know that life is worth living.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

This brings up the question: Who is the bigger fool, the nitwit who wrote this or the nitwit who paid him for it?

tim maguire said...

Bay Area Guy said...More leftwing madness.

It'd be great if leftwing atheist weirdos like David Benatar did not procreate.


The problem is, left-wing atheist weirdos don't procreate through intercourse leading to a new person that must be raised from scratch. No, left-wing atheist weirdos procreate through university instruction.

LYNNDH said...

For us, the answer to him is - a tall cliff and a big leap. Go for it.

Darrell said...

left-wing atheist weirdos procreate through university instruction.

Great point.

Darrell said...

Like Ritmo always says-Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Splurt.

Peter said...

It's just a matter of having the right attitude.

Sebastian said...

The prog gospel: life sucks, therefore let's make everyone equally miserable.

The American prog gospel: America sucks, therefore let's tear it down so that its sucks as much as any other hellhole.

MayBee said...

Why do we have to hear about this guy? I'd rather hear about the Nazi. At least the Nazi guy's thoughts won't be taken seriously.

Scott McGlasson said...

David Benatar...yet another person that's watched too much Star Trek to know what "sentience" actually means.

Pettifogger said...

Campy noted: "The dead can still vote Democrat but the never-born can't."

A discriminatory practice the Democrats will no doubt soon remedy.

Zorba the Greek nailed this. "Life is trouble. Only death is not." True enough, but I'll take the trouble. And life is not ALL trouble.

Assrat said...

I agree with Benatar, but only when it's cold, I have a cough, and the bus is late.

Bay Area Guy said...

This 4-day weekend, I took my high school son and his football buddies to Marin Catholic for a high school playoff game against Bishop O'Dowd. My kid's team had lost the week before in the playoffs.

It was blue skies, but cold Autumn air. The stadium was great. The kids looks great. The National Anthem was great -- the Marin Catholic kids lined up smartly, and stood tall.

The game was phenomenal. Marin Catholic pulled out an exciting 25-20 win. The BBQ was delicious. The cheerleaders looked good. The high school girls in the stands were all tall and attractive. My son and his friends had a great time.

During this game, I was actually coming to the exact opposite conclusion of pessimistic Beta Males such as Benatar -- life is beautiful and we need much MORE of this!

buwaya said...

"No, left-wing atheist weirdos procreate through university instruction."

True.

"I'd rather hear about the Nazi"

Compared to this, the Nazi and the Commie and the Wahabbi Muslim are morally superior.
They all have a reason to live, and for most others to live also, even if they want many to die.

Nonapod said...

Once you subtract all hope these sorts of thought processes always end with anti-natalism. It's like an existential black hole, crushing all other arguments. And most of progressivism is based on hopelessness and nihilism.

Unknown said...

Obviously the man is depressed. There are meds for that.

Professional lady said...

When I was an undergrad and worked as a student assistant at the university I attended, I got to know a middle aged lady who was a secretary in another department. Time passed and we lived in the same area and I would see her around and at church. I think she got married later in life. Her husband, who owned a used bookshop near the university, was beaten to death by a junkie - maybe in the 80s or 90s. I always admired her because whenever I would run into her it was always a pleasure. She drove seniors around shopping or to doctor's appointments. She volunteered at a literacy center. She was always doing something useful in service of other people. She recently died. She made her life valuable and meaningful.

Mary Beth said...

We’re almost always hungry or thirsty, he writes; when we’re not, we must go to the bathroom.

The same could be said of elephants. Does that mean it's okay to kill them now?

gspencer said...

Adam did x. Jesus undoes x.

"For if by the transgression of the one [Adam], death reigned[*] through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ."

*Including the list of horribles retailed by David Benatar

Fernandistien said...

More pie for me!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

madAsHell,

Once every couple of years, some rocket scientist promotes the idea that renting is better than buying a house. I always figure he's just baiting the rubes.

Our landlord in Oakland was one of that type. We had pitiful water pressure, and he sent a plumber round to see about it. The guy looked at the pathetic trickle coming out of the shower. He gave me a searching stare, and then asked, "How long have you lived here?" "Six years," I think I said. "And what do you pay in rent?" "$1200/month," said I. "So you've paid your landlord about $80K so far, and you're still putting up with this?" I had no decent answer to give him.

This house had, erm, issues. Like rats and termites, and the fact that everything in it sloped down towards one point in the center, which we found out when the washer died and the water overflowed. Later on, the landlord had the sewer pipe to the main sewer system literally hacked open with jackhammers, and it stayed like that for many months. None of this had any impact on his finances, and obviously, under Oakland rent control rules, he couldn't force us to leave, though he was clearly hoping for it. The day we moved out, he re-rented it to a couple more grad students, for half again as much as we were paying ...

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Peschel said...

In this world, on this day, more people are living lives the French kings pre-Revolution could only dream of.

We're lice-free, pox-free, and can eat what we wish. We live in rooms consistently heated and lit. We shit in sanitized toilets, not in the corner of rooms. We have access to a wide variety of entertainment and thoughtful material. We live longer with much less pain and have remedies to reduce what we have.

We are fortunate to live in a land where we don't have enemies next door, literally. The state does not batter down our door, or confiscate 5/6ths of our crops (as in the Middle Ages).

We have opportunities and options that most of the world only dreams of, and most of ancestors would instantly appreciate if they could see us.

I remind myself of this when the dark times come, and, yes, I feel better knowing this. It's the Louis CK's of the world to whom everything is amazing and nobody's happy.

Etienne said...

If you aren't born, you can't die! If you aren't conceived, you can't go to heaven! Only a miserable atheist would think like that.

tim in vermont said...

"
Compared to this, the Nazi and the Commie and the Wahabbi Muslim are morally superior. "

At least National Socialism is an ethos!

Angel-Dyne said...

Death is worse, he says, so killing yourself is no answer.

Why is that? Death will make you non-existent. How can death it be worse? From the article:

The knee-jerk response to observations like these is, “If life is so bad, why don’t you just kill yourself?”

But that isn't a knee-jerk response. It's a perfectly sound question to which I've never heard an "anti-natalist" give anything remotely approaching a satisfactory answer. The answers are invariably evasions and cop outs. What they really want to do is get back to their pseudo-buddhist faux-profundities about "suffering". Nope, sorry, put your money where your mouth is and off yourself, or at least reduce the net suffering in the world by keeping your annoying silliness to yourself.

Benatar devotes a forty-three-page chapter to proving that death only exacerbates our problems.

Well, that's nice, but one would think that the article writer could excerpt some pearls from these forty-three pages that demonstrate that Benatar does indeed have a substantive response to the "knee-jerk" question, at least some intriguing tease to make us want to read the book. Perhaps it's in there, but the article is not forthcoming. We must be satisfied with this pabulum:

“Life is bad, but so is death,” he concludes. “Of course, life is not bad in every way. Neither is death bad in every way. However, both life and death are, in crucial respects, awful. Together, they constitute an existential vise—the wretched grip that enforces our predicament.”

A non-answer.

People, in short, say that life is good. Benatar believes that they are mistaken. “The quality of human life is, contrary to what many people think, actually quite appalling,” he writes, in “The Human Predicament.”

Lol.

I think generations of "mistaken" people have had a pretty good handle on the reality and extent of suffering in any human existence. Leave it to an "academic philosopher" to persuade himself that this is a new insight.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Scott McGlasson,

David Benatar...yet another person that's watched too much Star Trek to know what "sentience" actually means.

True dat. My cats are as sentient as I am.

tim in vermont said...

I guess he is worried that he will burn in hell.

Unknown said...

Rothman would have benefited from a couple of years in the service.

Unknown said...

“The prog gospel: life sucks, therefore let's make everyone equally miserable.

The American prog gospel: America sucks, therefore let's tear it down so that its sucks as much as any other hellhole.”

Ridiculous. Who is it that campaigned on burning it all down? Who’s Inauguration speech theme was an “American Carnage”? Who is never happy and creating drama on a daily basis on Twitter? His name rhymes with Bump.

jimbino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...


Two words:

Blow
Job

I rest my case.

Bay Area Guy said...

Al Franken probably disagrees with this. Way too many butts to grab in his 7th decade on earth........

Darrell said...

Prog UnknownFakeInga is the shit end of every stick.

jimbino said...

The best reason to stop all the breeding is that it the costs are forced upon all the non-breeders who have been so over-burdened to support all the breeding through tax laws and benefits, like Obamacare, SS, medicare and medicaid benefits, not to mention food stamps and CHIP and child tax credits that go mainly to the benefit of the breeders and their progeny, who are the only ones to enjoy long-term benefits from the present onus of avoiding their invented "climate-change" crisis.

A pox on all the breeders. The planet can no longer sustain their profligate lifestyle that doubles all parents' carbon footprint for every two kids they pop out!

11/27/17, 1:43 PM Delete

Njall said...

Gut is der Schlaf
Der Tod ist besser
Sonst das Beste waere
Nie geboren sein

Sleep is good,
Death is better
But the best would be
Never being born

-Heinrich Heine, "Morphine"

Angel-Dyne said...

jimbino: From whom are you going to rent-seek if not other human beings produced by "breeders"?

P.S.: It's not too late to correct your breeder-parents mistake. Kill yourself.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Ignorance is Bliss

"Two words:

Blow
Job

I rest my case."

Two words: Andrea Dworkin

I rebut:)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Angel-Dyne,

You have the right of it. Anyone who thinks life is awful should choose death. Heck, anyone who thinks "there are too many people in the world" should choose death. Though I do notice that the people who think like that come overwhelmingly from industrialized societies like ours, where the birth rate is at or below replacement level (ours is pretty much at replacement; Europe, Russia, and Japan are all below, and China has finally twigged that having a hundred million young men without mates is maybe a bad idea, so has relaxed its "one-child policy"), as opposed to the rest of the world, which is still merrily increasing. If we could export all the ZPG types to Africa and South America, we might actually get somewhere.

Except that the "solution" to low birth rates is, of course, to import excess population from other countries. In what world does this make sense? I mean, we'll have to see. Japan is the test case, because they basically do not have immigrants.

Njall said...

Herodotus tells about a tribe of Thracians who mourned at the occasion of birth, on account of all of the woe and suffering ahead of the newborn baby; and celebrated at someone's death, because the departed were beyond the vale of tears forever.

tim in vermont said...

Jimbino, good luck getting a nurse, or even a meal of fresh food in your old age in your world! Oh, I forgot, it's only white Americans that you wanted to stop breeding, we have been over this before.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

jimbino,

You will want children (not your own) at retirement, because they are the only possible means whereby you won't starve.

brylun said...

All the articles on sex robots are making me think about the parallel to the release in California of 20 million sterilized male mosquitoes into the environment to decrease the population of mosquitoes.

Won't sex robots cause a substantial decrease in the population of First World countries, countries that already have a below-replacement rate of births?

Char Char Binks said...

Like the Shakers, we should all be thankful for the simple gifts.

Jim at said...

The prog gospel: life sucks, therefore let's make everyone equally miserable.

Indeed. Which is why I do the opposite.

I enjoy their misery. They deserve it.

Rabel said...

Did the New Yorker fly this guy in from Cape Town just for an interview?

tim in vermont said...

Sex robots will if they are like Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner.

They will be like those sterile mosquitos they use to wipe out mosquito populations.

Darrell said...

Since it's "invented climate change"--as you stipulate, why do carbon footprints matter?

brylun said...

The overpopulation problem is most acute in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Jon Burack said...

Is this the bastard child of Narcissism and Buddhism?

tim in vermont said...

Brylon beat me to it.

Darrell said...

I'd like a sex robot that looks like Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner. Her behavior needs tweaking, though.

Angel-Dyne said...

jimbino, P.P.S.: Go out in a blaze of glory in one of America's magnificent national parks.

Fernandistien said...

Njall said...
Herodotus tells about a tribe of Thracians


Three Thracians are brag about son.

"My son is soldier. He rape all women he want!", say first Thracian.

The second Thracian say "My son is farmer. He have all potato he want!"

Third Thracian wait long time, then say, "My son is die at birth. For him, struggle is over."

"Wow! You are win us", say the other Thracians. But all are feel sad.

Mark said...

Death is worse, he says, so killing yourself is no answer.
Why is that?

Death is the undiscovered country that makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.

Death will make you non-existent. How can death it be worse?

It can be worse because death may very well NOT be non-existence. There may very well be a transcendent component to our being which continues on after our worldly bodies have given out. And thus, one may not necessarily be better off dead.

Unknown said...

“I enjoy their misery. They deserve it.”

LOL! I’m quite happy with my life, thanks I’ll pass.

tim in vermont said...

How do these people get published? It's mostly a class thing, I guess.

robother said...

About 30 years ago, I did a group retreat at a Buddhist center in the Rockies. The Jewish woman in charge of the kitchen rota would occasionally declare a Morning Kvetch, in which everyone would try to outdo each other in complaining about the miseries and daily indignities of our communal monastic life. The unacknowledged winner would be the one whose sheer intensity of expressed pain and anger would crack up the entire room.

The philosophic Benatar would've been a Natural, a born winner, at the Morning Kvetch. Maybe it works better as an oral tradition.

buwaya said...

"Ridiculous. Who is it that campaigned on burning it all down?"

Trump campaigned on burning Washington down. That's not America.
He may be wrong or he may be right (that will not suffice to save you from your decadence), but in any case you misunderstand him.

As for burning it ALL down, that is the project of your educational establishment.
For proof just check with your state university or your nearest urban school district.

Nonapod said...

Sounds like we need to ship some sex robots over to Sub-Saharan Africa.

tim in vermont said...

Right, it's He'll he is worried about.

tim in vermont said...

For Unknown, the bureaucracy in Washington is America, elect of God to keep us deplorables under control.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

People, in short, say that life is good. Benatar believes that they are mistaken. “The quality of human life is, contrary to what many people think, actually quite appalling,” he writes, in “The Human Predicament.”

If your idea of suffering is having to eat and drink and go to the bathroom then you are a weak fool. Being unable to satisfy those needs is suffering, merely having them is not. Satisfying those needs is pleasurable. In fact, merely contemplating satisfying those needs is pleasurable.


buwaya said...

"The best reason to stop all the breeding is that it the costs are forced upon all the non-breeders"

Humans are a social species. Like wolves or baboons or chimpanzees or mole-rats.
So suck it up and join the pack.

Unknown said...

I’m not so sure David Benatar is a liberal.

“Benatar's The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys (2012) has been met with controversy.”

Wiki

Sal said...

he thinks that the world would be a better place if sentient life disappeared altogether

Yeah, like the Universe needs another dead planet.

Char Char Binks said...

It's not death that worries us, but dying.

Angel-Dyne said...

Mark @2:06 PM:

I was addressing Benatar's shoddy premises. But, whatever.

Ken B said...

What a wonderful person he must be, so acutely aware of, so deeply concerned with, so profoundly touched by the sufferings of others! Most of us -- shallow, blind, selfish -- see a burbling child and (the mind reels, the heart stops) ... smile. We are base! The enlightened, the truly aware, the spiritual, the best of us, weep!

Original Mike said...

I just finished trimming the front yard yew. It's a difficult, annual task. As I stand back and contemplate my work (I did a particularly good job this year) I feel great satisfaction. Life is good.

Bonus points: I don't have to go to the bathroom.

tim in vermont said...

Unknown asserts for us that no true liberal could care about men and boys.

Krumhorn said...

And then there is this post-natalist sentiment of an Indiana University nurse:

“Every white woman raises a detriment to society when they raise a son,” the since-deleted post read. “Someone with the HIGHEST propensity to be a terrorist, rapist, racist, and domestic violence all star. Historically every son you had should be sacrificed to the wolves B-tch.”

The lefties are such hateful little shits.

- Krumhorn

Unknown said...

David Benatar would be even more miserable if he didn’t have a BM for a week. He should be grateful for his daily poos.

jimbino said...

Perhaps we should take a lesson from the mosquito war and provide enhanced opportunities for human males to be sterilized and then breed without limit. That might end the world's greatest scourge!

Unknown said...

“Unknown asserts for us that no true liberal could care about men and boys.”

It’s not an issue that gets liberals’ attention, because it’s a fictitional issue. It’s like the “War on Christmas”.... yawn.

Bad Lieutenant said...

jimbino said...
Perhaps we should take a lesson from the mosquito war and provide enhanced opportunities for human males to be sterilized and then breed without limit. That might end the world's greatest scourge!
11/27/17, 2:32 PM

What do you think the normalization of homosexuality is about?

Unknown said...

My lord. Shoot yourself already. Our predecessors would kill to be so afflicted. As would probably half the population.

wild chicken said...

Ecclesiastes was funnier.

EDH said...

The anti-natalist philosopher David Benatar argues that it would be better if no one had children ever again.

Any relation to Pat Benatar who sang Hell is for Children?

They cry in the dark
So you can't see their tears
They hide in the light
So you can't see their fears
Forgive and forget
All the while
Love and pain become one and the same
In the eyes of a wounded child

Because hell, hell is for children
And you know that their little lives can become such a mess
Hell, hell is for children
And you shouldn't have to pay for your love
With your bones and your flesh

It's all so confusing this brutal abusing
They blacken your eyes and then apologize
Be daddy's good girl, and don't tell mommy a thing
Be a good little boy, and you'll get a new toy
Tell grandma you fell from the swing

Rabel said...

It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
Or maybe his head wasn't screwed on just right.
But I think that the best reason of all
may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

buwaya said...

"What do you think the normalization of homosexuality is about? "

That is one minor front.
More significant are feminism, videogames, and high housing costs.

JMW Turner said...

Shorter version: life's a bitch, then you die...

buwaya said...

"It’s not an issue that gets liberals’ attention, because it’s a fictitional issue. "

Real. Official policy in schools.

Angel-Dyne said...

wild chicken @2:48:

Lol.

FleetUSA said...

And miss our wonderful grandchildren. Never.

tim in vermont said...

" it’s a fictitional issue. It’s like the “War on Christmas”.... yawn."

What's the percentage of boys at most colleges?

JPG said...

Jeez, what a loser. Hey, pal. Lead by example. Take the long walk off a short pier and show the rest of us the way. I actually like my life. And I'm no pollyanna, either. It's a tough world. Always has been, always will be. JPG

pacwest said...

Everybody hates me,
Nobody loves me,
I'm gonna eat some worms.

Most of us grow out of it. The happiest people I know are the ones who relish the everyday obstacles, and can't wait for the next big challenge. Win or lose, take joy in playing the game.

SeanF said...

Mark: It can be worse because death may very well NOT be non-existence. There may very well be a transcendent component to our being which continues on after our worldly bodies have given out. And thus, one may not necessarily be better off dead.
Likewise, one may not necessarily be better off unborn.

Why allow for the possibility of transcendent existence, but only after death, and not before birth?

mockturtle said...

dda6ga, etc. asks: This brings up the question: Who is the bigger fool, the nitwit who wrote this or the nitwit who paid him for it?

That's what I wondered.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

hey jimbino, I'm delighted to share that I'm pregnant with #6! If my kids play their cards right, I could have, I dunno, around twenty grandchildren! :D :D :D

n.n said...

You're not worthy. Well, someone thinks you're worthy. Your mom, for one.

As for death is worse or better, that would be an article of faith.

n.n said...

I'm delighted to share that I'm pregnant with #6

Congratulations. Be fruitful, multiply, and raise your children well.

St. Louis said...

First Jew: "Life is so hard, so full of pain, it would be better for a man never to have been born!"

Second Jew: "Yes but not one in a million is so lucky!"

Unknown said...

We had some people over for dinner. We all laughed and laughed (as well as enjoying the food) and sang songs. Someone like Benatar must not have any friends (and I can see why).
Overcoming adversity gives normal people a feeling of accomplishment. Woody Allen types add it to their list of woes. These people don't know how to have fun and clearly don't enjoy children. My children made my life complete and happy and they are full of joy, not woe. Some people, even noted back in Greek and Roman times, are simply morose, just like some are anxious. It is genetic. Don't assume that the rest of us share your sour view of life, David.

Angel-Dyne said...

Pants: hey jimbino, I'm delighted to share that I'm pregnant with #6! If my kids play their cards right, I could have, I dunno, around twenty grandchildren! :D :D :D

Congratulations!

And may you and your children and your children's children and your children's children's children (more numerous than the stars in the sky, Deo volente), enjoy vacationing in America's magnificent national parks for centuries to come.

Yancey Ward said...

Death is worse, he says, so killing yourself is no answer.

How unsurprisingly convenient for him.

Yancey Ward said...

He is just like all those notables who were going to leave the country if Trump won, and yet they are still here.

jimbino said...

From my point of view as a B1 bomber and nuclear weapons designer, I think the breeders shouldn't be so sanquine about the the future of their brood.

Yancey Ward said...

Well, jimbino, what is the future of yours?

Robert Catesby said...

Believing that suicide is worse is cowardly. Benatar is just trying to avoid the obvious retort: "If the planet is that bad, then get off!"

The entire thesis is silly. Benatar needs to consider stoicism as a philosophy. Learn to accept those things that are outside of our control, and take ownership of our reactions to the outside world. You thing this world, THIS reality, is bad? Epictetus, one of the original stoics, was born a slave.

"We have no power over external things, and the good that ought to be the object of our earnest pursuit, is to be found only within ourselves." -- Epictetus

(Of course, if the staff of the New Yorker is considering ending it all or at least not having children, they may be right. In the age of Trump, the Koch brothers may buy Time. Perhaps they will purchase the New Yorker, ushering-in the End Times. It's all over, snowflakes. Your world is about to collide with reality.

Perhaps the US needs to develop and distribute a free "soma" drug for residents of CA, CT, MA, NJ, and NY -- just to end their suffering.)

jimbino said...

@Yancy Ward

He is just like all those notables who were going to leave the country if Trump won, and yet they are still here.

No, I think that I'm more like the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

jimbino said...



@Yancy Ward

Well, jimbino, what is the future of yours?

Like most vigorous single Amerikan men, I have no idea where in the world my brood might be, but I know that their future is bleak.







Bad Lieutenant said...

jimbino said...
From my point of view as a B1 bomber and nuclear weapons designer, I think the breeders shouldn't be so sanquine about the the future of their brood.

11/27/17, 4:02 PM


Wasn't homosexuality considered a security risk back during those programs?

DavidD said...

“ ‘[H]e thinks that the world would be a better place if sentient life disappeared altogether....’ ”

Better for whom?

Bob Boyd said...

The Philosophy of Anti-natalism, formerly known as moping, is what Davey Downer thinks about when he's not motorboating his own elbow joint or molesting his socks.

Michael K said...

"From my point of view as a B1 bomber and nuclear weapons designer, I think the breeders shouldn't be so sanquine about the the future of their brood."

Can't you arrange to have a local "accident ?" Sort of like the guy assembling the bomb at Tinian ?

I know that was only in the movie but you could be inspired.

tcrosse said...

If I had never been born, my grandchildren would have been deprived of a grandfather. Sad.

n.n said...

Not only homosexuality, but other orientations and behaviors on the transgender spectrum. Transvestites were a subject of near universal derision. So too were men who believed that they were women, and made the cut to prove it, especially those who made the cut. Then there are the bisexuals... Mortal Kombat. Choose! already.

readering said...

Practice makes perfect. Some future humans will invent the means to eliminate all unpleasantness from living. They will have a good laugh over this book.

jimbino said...

@Bad Lieutenant

Wasn't homosexuality considered a security risk back during those programs?

After the war, we learned something from the sad story of Alan Turing. The person finally found by our ignorant Amerikan gummint to be a security risk was our physicist and hero Robert Oppenheimer.

Luckily for benighted democracies the world over, Oppenheimer, along with Feinmann, Bohr, Groves, et al., hadn't been forced to submit to the nowadays usual defense-industry drug screening, else they might well have sold their services to a less privacy-invasive nation. Lucky it was for democracy too that Hitler's Germany also had a policy of persecuting its gays and its Jewish scientists.

Fernandistien said...

Buwaya said...
This is what happens when your deity is your emotions.


It's completely different than vows of celibacy and "marriage" to Jesus; absolutely no similarity at all.

Except the end result.

To worship your emotional state and to take it as a profound insight into the purpose of existence.

At least his ideas, faulty as they may be, are based on some sort of reality-based harm calculus, and not a bunch of silly ghost stories.

LOL.

William said...

We've all had days like that. When I was younger, I used to have consecutive days like that, but things have gotten better. Final answer: it's been a pretty good trip, and I would have been sorry to have missed it. Intelligent life is a rare, possibly unique, phenomenon in this universe, possibly even the multiverse. You don't need all that many good experiences to pay for the freight of your existence, and the fact that you even exist is such an improbably fortunate event that there's more cause for rejoicing than for lamentation. The universe is mostly empty space and inert matter. Time enough to experience that in the next phase of our development.

Fernandistien said...

Michael K said...
I know that was only in the movie but you could be inspired.


I bet you're inspired by scary ghost movies.

Boo!

edwhy said...

Published in the New Yorker you say?

buwaya said...

"reality-based harm calculus"

?

Fernandistien said...

buwaya said...
"reality-based harm calculus"
?


Yup.

Nancy Reyes said...

He is, of course, a "bioethicist", meaning one of that small coterie of experts who tell society who to kill and explain why it's okay to do so. (or as Nat Hentoff called them: Apologists for Death).

Ideas have consequences, you know, so let me clue you in to the context of his anti birth ideas.

The professor lives in South Africa, yet your quote implies he sees miseries as the daily minor problems suffered by rich folk in affluent urban areas.

so is his book aimed at persuading rich city folk in London and NYCity to stop breeding? Or would folks reading his book think it was a good idea to implement policies to discourage births among "breeders" who they think have too many children? For their own good, of course.

As in China's "one child" policy...and here in the Philippines, under US pressure, we now supply free contraceptives for all, while one third of mothers deliver with traditional, untrained birth attendants.

When I worked in nearby Zimbabwe years ago, every village had a pill lady handing out contraceptives, but most villages had no clean water to drink or village health workers to provide WHO dehydration fluid to treat kids with diarrhea, until our church hospital found funds to supply these thing.

In more recent years, Bill Gates, who for years helped supply life saving vaccines, has had his wife decide instead to fund population control in Africa: for their own good, of course. And even the Pope is having these Malthus loving types address a recent Vatican conference.

Sigh.

Sam L. said...

Life is such a bummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmer. I'd feel sorry for him, but that's waaaay too much sorry for me.

Michael K said...

Creepy ghost story creep still round.

Gospace said...


Bay Area Guy said...

The cheerleaders looked good. The high school girls in the stands were all tall and attractive.




You noticed that? Don't run for office- you'll be devastated by the attacks accusing you of being a pedophile just like Judge Moore.

Original Mike said...

Something tells me he would have been angry having not being born.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you didn't feel thirst, you'd never feel the exquisite pleasure of a cold drink while thirsty.

Freeman Hunt said...

You can pee. Think of it--first a building (or maybe acute) sensation of needing to pee, and then you can, and the sensation of needing is relieved! You feel all three sensations, the needing, the going, and the relief. And those are only three of the smallest, most routine sensations you feel. To live in a physical universe, a universe so full of sensation and feeling, is a gift.

Imagine coming up with the idea of a physical universe when one didn't and had never existed. The creativity of God in this should arouse awe--another sensation!

Freeman Hunt said...

If the guy had to work hard to meet his basic needs, he probably wouldn't be so consumed with ennui. That's the strange state of modern man.

Jim S. said...

He wrote a book called Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence. Published by Oxford University Press. He dedicated it to his parents. OK, no, not really.

Unknown said...

A modern day Shaker, at least in long term effect.

What would summer be without winter? Sunshine without rain? Love without hate? Joy without despair?

-sw

Jim S. said...

Holy crap, I just read the article and he actually did dedicate the book to his parents. Dude.

tim in vermont said...

Well since an infinite number of people haven't been and never will be born, think of the small number of us who were born as collateral damage in this, the best of all possible universes.

Jim S. said...

I wrote a blogpost about his first book years ago (freely acknowledging that I hadn't read it) and I got a comment from an anti-natalist. He immediately said that, since I'm a Christian, by having kids I'm risking them going to hell forever. I responded that that risk comes from free will, not existence, and free will is a good thing. He never responded, but that's not to say they don't have responses to this.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Like most vigorous single Amerikan men, I have no idea where in the world my brood might be, but I know that their future is bleak.

Holy shit. Someone with your beliefs and superiority complex couldn't figure out how to be certain you didn't father children? What a maroon! It's called a vasectomy, genius. Perhaps you should look into it.

P.S. your Valtrex won't keep you company in your old age, Mister Virility

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

If you didn't feel thirst, you'd never feel the exquisite pleasure of a cold drink while thirsty.

Ah, so well put. I tell my kids, who are unsure about moving from Texas to Minnesota, that yes while cold can be unpleasant, there is no delight on earth like coming in from it.

Mark said...

Believing that suicide is worse is cowardly.

Effectively daring someone to kill himself to prove that he is not a coward is beyond evil and despicable.

Original Mike said...

"...while cold can be unpleasant, there is no delight on earth like coming in from it."

Fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate (just to name two pleasures).

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

From my point of view as a B1 bomber and nuclear weapons designer, I think the breeders shouldn't be so sanquine about the the future of their brood.

We breeders will be certain to take life advice from a well-adjusted gentleman such as yourself, who designs ways to kill masses of humans, is evidently indifferent as to whether his sexual activities create new humans whose imminent destruction he evidently believes in, and has the weirdest fetish for national parks.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! lol You sound like a medieval mystic losing his shit over Halley's Comet in 1066.

Michael McNeil said...

Life’s a bitch, and then you die.

Unless reincarnation is true, in which case:

Life’s a bitch… and then life’s a bitch… and then life’s a bitch… and then life’s a bitch… Ad infinitum!

Michael McNeil said...

Never having been born is similar, except the generations go faster!

n.n said...

Life’s a bitch

Or... life is an exercise in risk management with a dearth of facts and truth in the near plane (i.e. scientific logical domain). Choose wisely.

Unknown said...

jimbino said...
"From my point of view as a B1 bomber and nuclear weapons designer, I think the breeders shouldn't be so sanquine about the the future of their brood."

Said everyday since 1945. It would make one quite cocky to be 72 years old and still be out there, bucking the odds.

Howard said...

Buddha deals with this from the get go. As he says, the way to not mind the hardship of life is to not be triggered.
Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.

Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for becoming, craving for disbecoming.

Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on it.

Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this noble eightfold path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

John Smith Smith said...

In one of his many books the Christian thinker Hans Urs von Balthasar, basing his thought in part on things his friend Adrienne von Speyr used to tell him (despite the multiple vons, they were both Swiss) describes the view of the saint (generally, but not always), an elderly saint, who has often considered the closeness of death , and the likelihood that the saint's lifelong friend Jesus will be welcoming on the day of death. I have never heard this point discussed anywhere else in this specific way, so I am citing to Balthasar. The saint prefers to remain here on earth rather than go to heaven. That is how much the saint likes the rest of us. As for me, I often feel a slight glow of happiness after overtipping some poor surly waiter. I could have withheld the tip but, in a moment of recognition, I saw all the factors - the nasty parents, the rude and disgusting siblings, the frustration of difficult schoolwork and bad teachers, the disappointment of having to accept uncool friends and unattractive dating partners ....as I said, in a moment of understanding, I knew that it would be wrong not to overtip the surly waiter. And, to be honest, the average saint is always at least as good as I am at my best moments, and usually exponentially better. No, it is not better to have never been born.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Luckily for benighted democracies the world over, Oppenheimer, along with Feinmann, Bohr, Groves, et al., hadn't been forced to submit to the nowadays usual defense-industry drug screening, else they might well have sold their services to a less privacy-invasive nation. Lucky it was for democracy too that Hitler's Germany also had a policy of persecuting its gays and its Jewish scientists.
11/27/17, 5:20 PM


Blabbity blah, did you lie on your SF86 or not?

Rusty said...

jimbino said...


"@Yancy Ward

Well, jimbino, what is the future of yours?

Like most vigorous single Amerikan men, I have no idea where in the world my brood might be, but I know that their future is bleak."

You could always save yourself a lot of misery and just stick your head in the oven now.
Tell you what. When you can't take it anymore I'll rent you a gun. But I'm going to sell you the bullet, sorry.

" I have no idea where in the world my brood might be"

Probably the source of all your misery.
Personally. I enjoy my children.


Ron Winkleheimer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Biotrekker said...

For this wanger, death is only bad because he knows it's coming. So just shoot him in the back of the head when he least expects it. Problem solved!

Rusty said...

"Life is a comedy."
Unless it's happening to you.
Then it's hilarious.


We're all being pissed on from a very great height indeed.

furious_a said...

We are in an age of nihilism unparalleled in our history.

Yes, but a nihilism for other people rather than for the wise anointed.

furious_a said...

Plus, a total and unattributed ripoff of Agent Smith's "Morphean Monologue"