To Be Or Not To Be?
November 14, 2019 5:09 AM   Subscribe

“Adherents view life not as a gift and a miracle, but a harm and an imposition.” In February, a 27-year-old Indian man sued his parents for begetting him. “It was not our decision to be born,” he told the BBC. “Human existence is totally pointless.”
posted by kinnakeet (39 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
when you can't decide on a pullquote because the whole damn article is so me_irl
posted by youarenothere at 5:17 AM on November 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


I just think we should put off the whole procreation thing for a few hundred years while we get our shit sorted out
posted by um at 5:33 AM on November 14, 2019 [15 favorites]


The obvious fatal flaw with voluntary human extinction is that it would take theoretically only two dissenters to doom the whole project.
posted by acb at 5:37 AM on November 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


Also: perhaps this needs a “doomer” tag.
posted by acb at 5:37 AM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


ok doomer
posted by oulipian at 5:43 AM on November 14, 2019 [67 favorites]


“the quality of even the best lives is very bad – and considerably worse than most people recognize it to be.”

If it isn’t recognized as bad, how can it be? Is unconscious suffering still suffering? If the goal of the Antinatalist is to reduce suffering, shouldn’t they avoid alerting people to the unrecognized low quality of life?
posted by vorpal bunny at 5:45 AM on November 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


If consciousness is suffering, and suffering is evil, then the best thing that could be done is the complete annihilation of consciousness, leaving behind a lifeless, inert universe. (Or perhaps not even that, though who's to say?)
posted by acb at 5:51 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]




"Shut up Mom! I never asked to be born!"
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:10 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Some days you see the wildly over-the-top philosophies of JRPG villains who want to annihilate the universe and say 'yeah, you got a point.'
posted by FatherDagon at 6:25 AM on November 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


When you hate your life, but adore drawing attention to it. Zeitgeist Strikes!
posted by hilberseimer at 6:38 AM on November 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


Wow, there are a lot of different things all wrapped up together in this. Like, some of what's described is just eugenics by another name, and some of it seems reasonable on its face (overpopulation as an environmental disaster) but would likely be racist or otherwise problematic in application. But the sort of pure "all life is suffering and thus there should be no life" philosophical stuff seems like a major depressive episode taken too far.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:40 AM on November 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


The obvious fatal flaw with voluntary human extinction is that it would take theoretically only two dissenters to doom the whole project.

People are far to addicted to the misery of life. That is why the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement will inevitably be replaced with the Involuntary Human Extinction Movement. Poisons, viruses, nukes...stop struggling, it's for your own good.
posted by happyroach at 6:41 AM on November 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


Previously but nice to get an update on where that went.

Such a interesting concept. There was a comment from gucci mane recently, with this line that stood out to me in particular: "Living is a scam of non consensual existence..."

I know plenty of people who if they had the choice would rather have not been born, not that they are necessarily suicidal now.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:52 AM on November 14, 2019 [13 favorites]


See also...
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 6:53 AM on November 14, 2019


I absolutely agree with this idea except for the fact that it's impossible to consult with a nonexistent child before it's born to ask its opinion on the matter.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:15 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


"I was asked, hypothetically, 'Would you accept $50,000 if it meant that the person you hated the most got $100,000?' and I was, like, 'Sure. Why wouldn't I want $150,000?'"
posted by Quindar Beep at 7:18 AM on November 14, 2019 [73 favorites]


And here I am, feeling bummed out that the inevitable heat death of the universe means I definitely can't live forever.
posted by allegedly at 7:27 AM on November 14, 2019 [10 favorites]


If you're looking for meaning on a cosmological scale, you're out of luck. There is none. Humanity will probably vanish and leave nothing behind but a slowly healing planet. That's OK. The ephemeral nature of life means that, really, only the moment matters. And moments are, of course, impacted by other moments, but honestly, #YOLO. Be good to other people, do things that make you happy, eat foods you like, try to ease the suffering of others. Have kids, don't have kids, whatever.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:41 AM on November 14, 2019 [13 favorites]


Something something the friends we made along the way
posted by acb at 7:44 AM on November 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


Humanity will probably vanish and leave nothing behind but a slowly healing planet.

Worth noting the planet is right proper fucked no matter what we do or don't do. The sun is an unstoppable time bomb, this evil bit of life-harboring rock in space never has had a chance once it took to orbiting around our dear local fireball. The fate of Earth and any who remain on it is known, all is to be consumed by the expanding sun.

If you've ever played Majora's Mask, you may be familiar with the interstitial titles that come up periodically... in this case, they would say something like:
"Dawn of the 1,657,100,000,000th day.
- 1,825,000,000,000 days remain -"
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:04 AM on November 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


And here I am, feeling bummed out that the inevitable heat death of the universe means I definitely can't live forever.

same.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:07 AM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


and yet, here we are. may as well take responsibility for it.

i'll offer the Buddhist perspective that having a human life is a precious thing because we have an opportunity to break the cycles of the attachments that cause us to suffer. in the hell realms (metaphoric or literal, your choice), suffering is too great to be able to practice. in the heavenly realms, life is so good that practice isn't felt necessary. in the human life we can make sense of suffering and practice to free ourselves.

that said, getting parents to be more conscious, deliberate, and responsible about the choice they are making is a reasonable idea (speaking as someone who failed magnificently in that regard despite my good intentions).
posted by kokaku at 8:26 AM on November 14, 2019 [13 favorites]


MetaFilter: not a gift and a miracle, but a harm and an imposition.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:28 AM on November 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


If you're looking for meaning on a cosmological scale, you're out of luck. There is none. Humanity will probably vanish and leave nothing behind but a slowly healing planet.

The fact that you used the term "healing" indicates you're still trying to impose human meaning and morality on the universe. If you're going to be a true cosmological nihilist, you're going to have to try harder.
posted by happyroach at 9:10 AM on November 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


These folks remind me of that scene from Shawshank Redemption where Captain Hadley's complaining about the taxes he's gotta pay on a $35,000 inheritance.

You say you hate it but you're still keeping it, man, that's on you.
posted by MiraK at 9:26 AM on November 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


Let's just all watch the existentialism and nihilism episodes of The Good Place.
posted by praemunire at 10:44 AM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


The guy has got a point. However I will say that suing his parents is kind of in bad taste. Would he not settle out of court for an apology at least? At least get some closure that way?
posted by some loser at 10:56 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


If consciousness is suffering, and suffering is evil, then the best thing that could be done is the complete annihilation of consciousness, leaving behind a lifeless, inert universe.

Yes, and?

I absolutely agree with this idea except for the fact that it's impossible to consult with a nonexistent child before it's born to ask its opinion on the matter.

And there you have it. All life is non-consensual. I believe that consent is paramount, and that creating a human life without consent is as monstrous as taking a human life without consent. Perhaps even more so.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


Some loser, he was only suing them for one rupee. So not serious. He just wanted to make a point.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:23 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I congratulate you, Kinnakeet for giving me laugh this morning.
posted by Oyéah at 12:17 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I just watched Won't You Be My Neighbor?, and the What If I'm A Mistake song seems apropos.
posted by oulipian at 1:29 PM on November 14, 2019


You say you hate it but you're still keeping it, man, that's on you.
"The Chuan Tenglu records a fascinating encounter between Daoxin and the sage Farong, who lived in a lonely temple on Mount Niutou, and was so holy that the birds used to bring him offerings of flowers. As the two men were talking, a wild animal roared close by, and Daoxin jumped. ―I see it is still with you [said Farong]—referring, of course to the instinctive passion (klesa) of fright.

Shortly afterwards, while he was unobserved for a moment, Daoxin inscribed the Chinese character for the Buddha on the rock Niutou was accustomed to sit. When the sage returned to sit down, he saw the sacred Name and hesitated to sit. ―I see, said Daoxin, ―it is still with you!"
posted by Slithy_Tove at 2:09 PM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


From what I remember of the original coverage of the guy's lawsuit, his parents took it in stride and with some degree of humour. They had sort of a "Yep, that's our son for you!" kind of attitude about it.
posted by asnider at 2:14 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's all a jolly laugh for some, but I've seen incels take this sort of stuff seriously. They think that they got screwed for life by genetics (sometimes veering into good old capital-R racism) and blame their parents for giving them a shit sandwich in the womb, as it were.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:42 PM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:02 PM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Coming at this from a materialist angle, this is pretty trippy. A series of stochastic processes give atoms the ability to think in aggregate, and some of them think "well, this was a mistake". Caliban by way of DNA and dna.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:36 AM on November 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


I just... cannot relate to this or any nihilism at all. Not that I don't agree with it, I just.. don't care? I'm nihilistic about nihilism. "The universe is chaotic and doesn't care about you" "Yeah, exactly! Wild, huh?" *does a kickflip*

Idk maybe I just don't need any external validation from anything. Or maybe it's because I don't think the science negates the impact? >Fall foliage is stunning/uplifting/reminds me that change is necessary. >some party pooper "it's just the chlorophyll breaking down due to the wavelength blah blah fart noises" >okay, then the breaking down of the chlorphyll in the leaves is beautiful.
Like, it's the same thing, it just has more words now.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:10 AM on November 15, 2019 [9 favorites]



I mean, it's all a jolly laugh for some, but I've seen incels take this sort of stuff seriously. They think that they got screwed for life by genetics (sometimes veering into good old capital-R racism) and blame their parents for giving them a shit sandwich in the womb, as it were


The important conclusion of course is that if you're miserable, you should go to extensive pains to make everyone who comes in contact with you miserable. Such is the incel philosophy.
posted by happyroach at 7:42 PM on November 18, 2019


« Older The Most Pessimistic Town in the World   |   Losing my religion Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments