In his Women: A Vindication, the late English philosopher and traditionalist Anthony Ludovici wrote in chapter one, “Positiveness — The Saying of ‘Yea’ to Life,” quote;
If, therefore, you believe that the acceptance of Sex is immoral, as Otto Weininger did; if you believe, as he did, that “woman is the sin of man”; if, moreover, you claim, as he did, that “it is the Jew and the woman who are the apostles of pairing to bring guilt on mankind”; if, again, you assert that “sexual union is immoral”; that “women must really and truly and spontaneously relinquish it”; that “woman will exist as long as man’s guilt is inexpiated, until he has really vanquished his own sexuality”; that “man must free himself of sex, for in that way, and that way alone, can he free woman”; and, finally — this gem of negativness: “all sexuality implies degradation” — if this be your position, I say, then, you must logically be hostile to Mortal Life, and you cannot rationally accept it. Your only course is to commit suicide. This, as we know, Otto Weininger was logical and consistent enough to do. He died by his own hand on October 4, 1903.
The Austrian Otto Weininger, author of Sex and Character and profound influence upon esotericist Julius Evola, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and others, struggled throughout his twenty-three years of life with his Jewish identity. He detested it and eventually shot himself in the head in order to overcome the perceived parasitic, feminine, wicked nature of his mortal self.
The reason why madness overtakes so many men of genius — fools believe it comes from the influence of Venus, or the spinal degeneration of neurasthenics — is that for many the burden becomes too heavy, the task of bearing the whole world on the shoulders, like Atlas, intolerable for the smaller, but never for the really mighty minds. But the higher a man mounts, the greater may be his fall; all genius is a conquering of chaos, mystery, and darkness, and if it degenerates and goes to pieces, the ruin is greater in proportion to the success. The genius which runs to madness is no longer genius; it has chosen happiness instead of morality. All madness is the outcome of the insupportability of suffering attached to all consciousness. ~ Otto Weininger
Of Weininger, his friend Artur Gerber wrote, quote;
Nobody who had once seen his face could ever forget it. The big dome of his forehead marked it. The face was peculiar looking because of the large eyes; the look in them seemed to surround everything. In spite of his youth, his face was not handsome, it was rather ugly. Never did I see him laugh or smile. His face was always dignified and serious. Only when he was outdoors in spring did it seem to relax, and then become cheerful and bright. At many concerts he would shine with happiness. In the most wonderful moments we spent together, particularly when he talked about an idea in which he was interested, his eyes were filled with happiness. Otherwise his face was impenetrable. One could never — except to the last few months — find in his face any hint of what was happening deep within his soul. The taut muscles would often move, and sharp wrinkles would appear on his face, as if they were caused by intolerable pain. I asked for the reason, he controlled himself at once, gave a vague or evasive answer, or talked about other matters, making further questioning impossible.
His manners would occasionally elicit surprise, and often a smile, since he cared little for traditions and prejudices.
The influence of his personality seemed strongest at night. His body seemed to grow; there was something ghostlike in his movements and there would be something demoniac in his manner. And when, as happened at times, his conversation became passionate, when he made a movement in the air with his stick or his umbrella as if he were fighting an invisible ghost, one was always reminded of a person from the imaginary circles of E. Th. A. Hoffmann.
The reason I mention this tragic figure is due to some recent encounters by myself and my circle of friends with antinatalists, those who believe that the creation of children is immoral. I wanted to avoid drawing attention to these wretches, in fact I openly and brazenly silenced the one or two who saw fit to comment on my articles and videos peddling their cultlike ideology, but the topic lingered in my mind for days due to the oddity of it all. It shocked and sickened me that there are those amid us that would actually seek to deny life and all its possibilities, both bad and good. I responded with a few comments hither and thither, and a video on my secondary YouTube channel explaining why antinatalism is a silly if not despicable position; and all this served to do was to attract these loons — like roaches crawling out of the woodwork they came scuttling to me claiming that I “just don’t get it” or that “you natalists always have the same arguments!” It had just about quelled down after my silence on all of it (the Streisand Effect is not a myth, keep in mind; more responses on my part would not have done a thing but to further encourage these fools — and none of them actually cared for arguing my points, only confirming their cultlike victim mentality of always being “misunderstood” or something equally disingenuous) until it was inflamed once more when a friend of mine messaged me on Skype about Ludovici and the aforementioned chapter in his aforementioned book.
It is tempting to simply quote Ludovici ad infinitum regarding this subject, but I will attempt to avoid such laziness and merely quote him often (one ought not waste the opportunity to spread the good word!)
The trouble with the antinatalist position is that it is a denial of life — in fact, it is a denial of all living; it is a denial of possibilities to the extent of wishing to deny, dare I say, mathematical potential, id est the very principle of multiplicity at the ontological level; of the very possibility of having one thing and another which are distinct. It is the denial of being, of virility, of heart, of spirit, of vigour, of breath, of possibility, of chances, of risks, of opportunity. Allow me to explain further.
The logical process for the antinatalist is this:
- Having children is immoral because there is suffering existent in the world.
- Subjecting someone — or even potentially subjecting someone — to suffering is bad.
- This is because suffering is always bad.
- Suffering is what pain induces; the longing for comfort or happiness.
- Pain exists at the physical, mental and spiritual level.
Now, let us work-through each of these points, and comment on their truths or otherwise.
1. Having children is immoral because there is suffering existent in the world.
One could say, regarding this claim, that the opposite is true on exactly equal logical grounds. Not having children is immoral because there is happiness in the world, and the wilful, conscious decision not to introduce this scenario to someone — the experience of pleasure, happiness, knowledge, et cetera — is bad. Indeed, this is the basic logic accepted by all species of flora and fauna, and by logical man — look to history and one finds that suicidal cults are very rare, and antinatalist groups or cults are almost exclusively religious in nature; which is to say that they did in fact affirm life and that which is beyond, just not in the sexual sense. The two foremost heroes of mine, Jonathan Bowden and the already mentioned Julius Evola, did not have children in the sexual sense, but, rather, many spiritual children. They have influenced the lives of thousands of people since their passings and actually dedicated their lives to artistic, spiritual and creative ends: they saw things beyond the moment and beyond their mortality. But I digress: we shall examine the existence of suffering itself momentarily.
2. Subjecting someone — or even potentially subjecting someone — to suffering is always bad.
Always? Truly? Such a claim depends entirely upon why suffering is bad, which we will address in the next point. We can right now, however, address this notion that the very subjecting of another to something — suffering or no — is not always avoidable. Life has its ways of pushing situations into our experiences whether wanted — intended — or otherwise. The argument, that all actions regarding the possible life experiences of another are predetermined by the very existence of the person born, can only apply to the total denial of all possibilities which antinatalists subscribe to. What, however, about those who are living? Conversing with another might have unintended consequences beyond the moment which belong not so much to the first instigator of a chain of events, but rather something the transcends the moment: fate, destiny, the inevitability of occurrence which consciousness allows the experience of. The moments of conversation I suffered with a couple of antinatalists are indeed the fault of them for speaking to me and me for listening; but should, by their own logic, the antinatalists not even bothered trying to speak for me for fear of inducing my annoyance or discomfort at the event?
3. This is because suffering is always bad.
No it is not. Suffering can be extremely valuable. As Ludovici writes, quote;
For us who accept Mortal Life and say “Yea” to it wholeheartedly, there are certain very grave duties too. The thing to which we say “Yea,” we wish to keep both clean, sweet and alluring. This world is our home, and we take a pride in it. We must make it such that we are able to take a pride in it. We recognize that Mortal Life includes pain as a prominent factor; but, provided that pain is practically inseparable from the best purposes of life (as, for instance, the pain of self-discipline, self-mastership, the pain of habituation to new knowledge, new arts, the pain resulting from the natural relationships to our myriads of fellows, and the pains of child-birth), we say “Yea” to it too, and with the same wholeheartedness.
We do not shrink from pain, as Schopenhauer did, we do not magnify it or concentrate upon it, as he did, and condemn the whole of existence because of it. We do not call our glorious history, as the King of the Animals, the Martyrdom of Man, as Winwood Reade did. We call our history the Triumph of Man; and it is because we wish to maintain it as the triumph of man that we face it with spirit and positiveness.
Our duties are grave, I say; they involve everything, in fact, that can be conceived as belonging to the task of keeping that to which we say “Yea” in the highest degree worthy of our “Yea” — worthy, that is to say, of our unreserved acceptance.
Suffering cannot even be conceived without contrasting it with its opposite; the same is true for darkness, evil, ignorance, dullness and so forth — happiness, light, goodness, knowledge and colour respectively. Pain, that which is bad, cannot exist without its opposite; and it is this ball of possibilities that could be said to be life itself. Life equals the potential for multiple possibilities to occur in spacetime, but we shall get onto that a bit more in a moment.
4. Suffering is what pain induces; the longing for comfort or happiness.
Indeed, but for what end? The antinatalists and other assorted pussies get to this point and claim “Ha! I’ve got you now, breeder scum!” (interesting definition…) without going forth with it. Suffering is a longing for another state, the desire for something else and that something else not yet being attained. It is a doing word, a verb, much like running or speaking. It requires context; a direction. It implies motion, moving, becoming, changing, evolving, mutating, transmuting, et cetera; in short, it implies the living — something is dead, by scientific measure, when the body ceases to change; when cells cease replacing themselves, when chemical reactions in the body which contribute to life such as the process of food digestion in the stomach and gut stop, or when neurons in the brain are no longer active. The physical life is a continuous process of change and moving from one thing to another — and not just on the microcosm of the individual body, but on the macrocosm of ecosystems and foodchains all over the world, or, to go further still, the ebb and flow of civilisations and cultures which rise and fall and violently clash with one-another in stunning displays of virility and force. Suffering, change, motion; all this is a part of life.
5. Pain exists at the physical, mental and spiritual level.
Again; indeed. In fact pain exists, and it cannot cease to exist. And this is where the fundamental essence of the antinatalist position falls asunder.
The basis and the purpose of the universe is the good, and the whole world exists under a moral law; even to the animals, which are mere phenomena, we assign moral values, holding the elephant, for instance, to be higher than the snake, notwithstanding the fact that we do not make an animal accountable when it kills another. ~ Otto Weininger, Sex and Character
To conceive of a world where there is zero suffering we must conceive of a world where there is no longing for differing emotional states. As long as we can consciously distinguish one emotional state from another there could potentially emerge a longing for this state or that. This fits the definition of mental or emotional suffering. In fact, if we are to exist in a world where there is no pain we would indeed have to be unconscious as to not experience anything at all, for if we could distinguish between one emotional state or another — or, further still, one day or another — we would of course introduce the potential of suffering.
Say we wish to retain consciousness, though. What would this imply if we still wished to remove the presence of suffering in the world? Imagine if you were slightly happier today than yesterday; you actually woke-up in time for work, you had an alright day, and you had a nice filling dinner as opposed to yesterday’s lateness to work, boring day and shoddy excuse for an evening meal. To eliminate the possibility of being able to distinguish between these two days and henceforth ascribe an emotional reaction to or understanding of each day, would you not have to actually either have one of the following?
- Have every single day be exactly the same (which would mean that you would not be able to distinguish different days, existing in a state of practical unconsciousness or braindeadness).
- Or, you just fucking get rid of the lot! Just eliminate the idea of linear space-time and remove the potentiality of being able to distinguish one thing from another at all!
Life must equal both the good and bad and all their component parts. Lived experiences are constituted by a multitude of possibilities, and that is precisely what we are all currently alive for. We are mortal human beings, we are bound to both life and death; this is a feature of our metaphysics, and why Brad Pitt touched upon more than mere theatre in 2004’s Troy as the part of Achilles:
The gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.
We can finish off by quoting Ludovici to some length in order to sort of conclude our piece here. It is quite true that if better men have said it, attempts to imitate them are in vain. I will let the honourable aristocrat speak his piece:
It frequently happens … that Mortal Life is so difficult, and those who preach against it are so many, so eloquent and so powerful, that we need almost an intellectual assent over and above our instinctive acceptance of it. For it is precisely in the moments of our greatest weakness, when we feel uncertain, when we have made mistakes and know that we have erred, that the preachers against life and the body, and against the fundamental instincts and desires of Mortal Life, will seem to be right, will seem almost to convince us that they are right. Like vultures they wait afar off till they see the body of our trust and hope in life, the corpse of our clean conscience, prostrate on the ground, and then down they swoop and devour the carrion that is their natural food.
It is before such disasters happen that an intellectual assent to the deepest promptings of our instincts is the greatest need of all. In practical life it may be taken as a general rule that it is more helpful to have an intellectual justification for our mistakes and the instincts that have led to them, than the most convincing theories in favour of our virtues. For it is innocence in the exercise of our natural functions that the preachers against Mortal Life and the body are most anxious to undermine, and most successful in undermining. And how often, particularly when an instinct has, so to speak, “drawn in its horns,” or ceased to assert itself owing to a momentary mistake, check or rebuff, would not an intellectual justification of its vigorous re-assertion help us to tide over the evil hour without our falling a prey to the opposing party — to the enemies of Mortal Life and the body!
If, however, we bear in mind the maxim that everything is “good” that is favourable to the best kind of Mortal Life, and everything is “bad” that is unfavourable to the best kind of life; if, moreover, we stand bravely and firmly by the principle that Mortal Life is acceptable and desirable, and therefore that all it exacts for its continuance must also be acceptable and desirable, and consequently that the things of the body — beauty, charm, ardour — together with the flesh, the world, sex, woman, procreation, multiplication and good food, are for the glory, joy and exaltation of Mortal Life and man; if, over and above all this, we heroically embrace pain as a necessary incidental factor in the process of living, then, I say, we have an intellectual weapon far more formidable and far more effective for the warding off of those vultures of gloom and doubt — the preachers against life and the body — than any known engine of destruction could possibly be. It is this intellectual attitude to Mortal Life, with all its consequences in our code of morals, our likes and dislikes, that throughout this book I shall call the “positive” or “yea-saying” attitude: while the opposite attitude of mind will be designated by the word “negative.” Nor shall I refer any longer in these pages to “Mortal Life,” but will speak merely of Life itself: for not only is it the only kind of life that will concern me here, but also, as we know nothing about Eternal Life, and our only notions of life are derived entirely from what we know of Mortal Life, Mortal Life and Life are to all intents and purposes one and the same thing for us, and the expression “Mortal Life” can well fall out at this stage of the discussion.
Unless they are very delicate or very sick, all children are positive. They are fresh from the anvil of Life. Life itself speaks through them without reserve, without constraint. They have made no mistakes yet, or are not aware of having made any; they have had none of those rude shocks that shake our faith in Life and render us an easy prey to those vultures of which I have already spoken, that live on the carrion of shattered hopes and broken consciences. They say “Yea” to Life innocently and unconsciously, like kittens playing with balls of wool. And it is because they say “Yea” to Life innocently and unconsciously that they are so deeply interesting to the positive philosopher. Because in them he sees the attitude which he must maintain and sustain intellectually, despite all the shocks and misfortunes life has brought. But I point out again that I speak of this intellectual positiveness only as a helpful confirmation of sound instincts. If the sound instincts are not there, the positive intellectual attitude is nothing but a pose.
There is something strangely pathetic about this positiveness of the child. The philosopher knows the wilderness it is in. He knows that on the mountain peaks all around, the vultures are waiting hungrily to see it make its first mistake, to see it writhe under its first misfortune — or its first “guilt” as they like to call it. He knows with what extraordinary vigilance they are tracking its footsteps, so that they may be there in time, so that they may be at its side in the first moment of its doubt in Life, to tell it that Life is sinful, that lust is sinful, that sex is sinful, that the World, the Flesh and the Devil are interchangeable terms. And the positive philosopher cannot help wondering with some alarm how the child will survive this first encounter with doubt, with suspicion, and with distrust concerning that to which a moment ago it said “Yea” so wholeheartedly.
The positive philosopher trembles over the outcome of the conflict. With fear and trepidation he forges the weapons of intellectual positiveness and flings them with anxious prodigality before the child, hoping that they will sustain it in the struggle and confirm its best instincts; trusting with all his heart that they will revive its “Yea” to Life before it is completely overcome. And when the positive philosopher succeeds in this and sees the birds of ill-omen turn disconsolately away, foiled in their endeavour, he celebrates his feast of feasts; because there is more rejoicing in his heart over one child that is saved from negativeness than over thousands that repent!
To the positive philosopher, then, the healthy child is the best pattern for the yea-saying and positive man. The only danger the child is in, as I have shown, consists in the fact that it is intellectually unprepared to justify its “Yea” in the face of the preachers of “Nay.” Apart from this one flaw, however — which in a universally positive world would not be felt as a disadvantage at all (because it is only in negative environments and negative ages that a conscious or intellectual confirmation of one’s soundest instincts is necessary) — the child, or the animal for that matter, presents the perfect example of the positive attitude towards Life. The positive philosopher, therefore, learns from the child, and watches it with interest.
Contrast this with the words inscribed on the tombstone of Weininger;
This stone marks the resting place of a young man whose spirit found no peace in this world. When he had delivered the message of his soul, he could no longer remain among the living. He betook himself to the place of death of one of the greatest of all men, the Schwarzspanierhaus in Vienna, and there destroyed his mortal body.