Cryonics Magazine on Antinatalism

The latest issue of Cryonics features a couple of thoughtful articles on antinatalism. The first, by editor Aschwin de Wolf, provides a critical overview of contemporary philanthropic antinatalism — and deep pessimism — as exposited by David Benatar, Thomas Ligotti, and Nine-Banded author, Jim Crawford.  The second is a review of David Benatar's seminal book, Better Never to Have Been. Of course, I have thoughts on all of it. But as you may surmise from the weeds growing around Hogsville, I'm not much inclined to gather and express thoughts of late. When the old familiar itch becomes infectious, I'll let you know.

In related news, this is as good a time as any to announce that Nine-Banded Books has entered an agreement with Sister Y (host of the excellent blog, The View from Hell) to publish her forthcoming book, Every Cradle is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide. Sister Y is a first-rate interdisciplinary writer and thinker, and I am very proud to count her among the growing stable of 9BB writers (where she will soon be joined by Samuel Crowell, Ann Sterzinger and cult author Tito Perdue). Anyway, here's the pre-order stub on Amazon. Yes, the release date is absurdly ambitious. And yes, that's her real name. 

Memento mori.

 

4 thoughts on “Cryonics Magazine on Antinatalism

  1. It’s the darnedest thing; after I read Sister Y’s phenomenal essay on “Living in the Epilogue,” I immediately began to wonder when (not if) her book would be coming out. And, well, speak of the Devil.
    I must say I’m extremely heartened by this burgeoning modern antinatalist press. First there was Prof. Benatar, and then Jim, and now our very own Sister Y (or is it now “officially” appropriate to use her real name?) At any rate, I’m starting to think that maybe the idea that antinatalism might one day become “mainstream” is not all that outrageous. Fingers crossed, eh?

  2. Todd,
    I think there’s a small chance that the core arguments will be engaged more frequently and openly by bioethicists, and perhaps by a few public intellectuals, as the weaknesses of first-glance rebuttals (especially concerning Benatar’s careful exposition) become more difficult to ignore. At the same time, I think “mainstreaming” is unlikely for an idea that kicks against the fundament of our entire natural history (though, ironically, the high probability of evolutionary bias itself provides a compelling reason for critics to think carefully before dismissing antinatalist ethics out of hand).
    From my vantage as a small-scale publisher and sub-intellectual observer, it’s most important that the idea be “out there” for folks to encounter and consider. The whole business of making people has always struck me as terribly serious — and then seriously problematic. Yet until recently there really was no thoughtful, much less rigorous, discussion of philanthropic antinatalism to be found (unless you squinted on those passages by Schopenhauer and others more obscure). That much is changing, and I welcome the change. I have no idea where it leads. Probably, like life itself, nowhere.
    It should be noted of course that Sister Y’s book will be marginally distinguished in that it considers antinatalism in relation to the broader problem of “forced life.” If anyone can make suicide ethics sexy, I’m sure she can.

  3. Just Because…
    The question posed in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, has never been (nor never will be) answered in a manner devoid of philosophical speculation, does not automatically give credence to the negative “not to be” part of the question as being the answer. One reason the antinatalist stance doesn’t hold h20 (for me) is the thought of who this philosophy benefits- namely, life-loving, carpe-diem living, “life is a gift” thinking moral elitists, (and really all varieties of elitists, as to be an elitist you necessarily have to have an elevated perception of yourself that allows you to think of yourself as inherently “better” in some way than the “average” person) who’d love to see the “useless” or “faithless” or whatever-less masses embrace antinatalist philosophies on their way to becoming the much less populous masses until they are maybe even not the masses anymore but a small minority. In less words, antinatalism is a philosophy that results in the extinction of its most dedicated practicing advocates. Now, as I stated earlier, I’m not saying I know the answer to Shakespeare’s question, I’m stating that nobody knows the answer, and just because some greedy, self serving, power hungry (and no doubt life-loving) psychopaths have through the millenia hijacked humanity’s attempts at finding that answer for the enrichment of their own treasured lives does NOT mean that there is no meaning to our existence. I’ll be the first to admit that there is more shit than shine in life, but this could be a side effect of many other factors other than the antinatalist stance that life itself is the problem. Maybe life is pointless- and maybe it isn’t. Both possibilities are equally plausible to the open minded, but the truly open minded will remain that way, knowing one thing for sure- that they know nothing.

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