I really hoped this was just a bad joke but it may be signs of something far worse.
Saying that we are living in dangerous and difficult times is an understatement that defies description. Things are so strange that I have heard some on both the liberal and conservative sides of American politics wish longingly for the bi-polar world of the Cold War. At least then for the United States the enemy we faced was simple and clear with far fewer other wolves at the door than we seem to be facing now. Thirty years ago the worst thing we lived under was the threat of Mutual Assured Destruction from a nuclear war with the Soviet Union but few if any worried about global warming, mass extinctions, pandemics, nuclear or biological terrorism, or any number or other near doomsday scenarios. Adding to this list of ever present worries we face now are concerns about the educational system and if our kids are keeping up, whether our jobs will be outsourced overseas, will we be able to retire, or will we fall victim to disease and illness and become burdens to our children struggling to survive themselves. Given all stresses its little wonder why some need medication to face life. But I was surprised to find that some are openly wondering if it was best that not only if they didn’t exist but that it would be better if the human race went extinct to solve issues involving population. While I had heard of similar concepts in science fiction, namely Nature’s End, I had always relegated such an idea to the more distant improbable concepts explored in science fiction.
I have yet to receive the book but the premise explored by the author appears to deal only with over population. But I can’t help but wonder if the other stress factors involved with daily life are bleeding over. (Yeah, I may be jumping the gun but this has freaked me out) Not including those affected by medical depression the prescription of mood altering drugs is rampant with articles and reports saying that many people need something just to get through a normal day. Many times these are people that live in huge fabulous houses, drive new and expensive cars, and have tons of neat toys and gadgets. But yet in the struggle to supply all those possessions I personally know some that claim an emptiness in their lives that more possessions just make bigger. In the past most took comfort in religion to bring meaning in their life but for numerous reasons many find that not an option now.
So is the option now non-existence in the form of organized suicide and a possible movement toward extinction? And is this an example of the decay of Western Civilization when you call into question the very idea of living and speculate about the benefits of human extinction? I guess I will find out after I read the book.
The Harm Of Coming Into Existence by David Benatar
Most people believe that they were either benefited or at least not harmed by being brought into existence. Thus, if they ever do reflect on whether they should bring others into existence—-rather than having children without even thinking about whether they should—-they presume that they do them no harm. Better Never to Have Been challenges these assumptions. David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm... The author shows that there are a number of well-documented features of human psychology that explain why people systematically overestimate the quality of their lives and why they are thus resistant to the suggestion that they were seriously harmed by being brought into existence. The author then argues for the 'anti-natal' view—-that it is always wrong to have children—-and he shows that combining the anti-natal view with common pro-choice views about foetal moral status yield a 'pro-death' view about abortion (at the earlier stages of gestation). Anti-natalism also implies that it would be better if humanity became extinct. Although counter-intuitive for many, that implication is defended, not least by showing that it solves many conundrums of moral theory about population.
One of the comments from the Amazon site about the book:
I don't understand why people are hating this book without even reading it- so you're glass half full people- people that never question their lives or existence- you are actually his target audience- he needs to make you see that what you believe is b.s. and that you should really try to look at life more objectively to determine how "worth it" it is...
I think people really need to look at both sides of the story- everyone says that we're all so blessed to be alive... WHY?! the only reason why people say that is because they had no choice in the matter of coming into existence and the only way to gain some control is by pretending that you wanted to be here... so stop lying to yourselves.... you had no choice in being here... so yeah... now that we're here we make the best of it... but dont lie to yourself (and others) and say that life isn't hard and harmful...
if you hate the book so much just by the title- why dont you pick up and actually read it and see what his arguments are- and read it with an open mind!!
life sucks- there's no meaning- there's no purpose and you didn't even have a choice for whether to be in it or not... what's not horrible about that??? and if you're religious... i read a quote lately that's great- it goes something like... religious wars are like little kids fighting about whose imaginary friend is the strongest...
thank you very much
Okay, I’m stupid enough to bite and since I’m really having nothing else to post and I’ve ran out of beer, what to hell. Life is a huge pain in the ass with dealing with money issues and having to work for a living. But I guess I’m just not sophisticated enough not to enjoy watching a sunset, walking on a beach, playing with my kids, being around family and friends, or a whole bunch of other things. What amazes me though is the idea that life is so hard now. Yes, some live with medical, economic, and societal disadvantages that make life very difficult but a good many that walk around a complaining about how unhappy they are either have never seen how some people live in third world countries. Because someone has to put up with jerk of a boss or has sold themselves into credit card serfdom is nothing compared to having to walk miles for food or water or having to avoid armed squads looking to kill you because of your skin color, religion, or ethnicity.
I listed several factors above but I’m hard pressed to worry about what I can’t change and I have enough intelligence to recognize that I cannot buy happiness. And yes I had no choice in my existence but sorry, I find my existence a blessing and enjoy my life while trying to help others. I do not challenge your right to ask such questions and I will read the book but such whining suggests that your mental health is in question or that you
actually need to go out and get a real life.