Life: Yea or Nay?

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

Otto Weininger
One of only three images of Weininger; the only one which depicts the young man in a calm and relaxed posture. Of the other two images, one is a tense, formal passport photograph, and the other is a photograph of his corpse before burial.

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.

Anthony Ludovici
Anthony Mario Ludovici was the son of artists and a famous proponent of aristocracy, eugenics and traditionalism. In his life he wrote some fourty books and translated sixty others.

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:

  1. Having children is immoral because there is suffering existent in the world.
  2. Subjecting someone — or even potentially subjecting someone — to suffering is bad.
  3. This is because suffering is always bad.
  4. Suffering is what pain induces; the longing for comfort or happiness.
  5. 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?

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life - Childhood
Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life – Childhood

More from Anthony Ludovici

More from Otto Weininger


28 thoughts on “Life: Yea or Nay?

      1. Nice fascist rhetoric you got there, calling us worms and evil for disagreeing with you. No, the fact of the matter is, there is so little engagement from “the world” on antinatalist issues that any random idiot (like yourself) who even bothers to grapple with antinatalism is a boon to our position, both in the exposure and in the fact that it gives us a chance to provide our own perspective in reply. You are a distasteful, pedantic, condescending asshole, but beggars can’t be choosers.

        As Voltaire said, God definitely granted our prayer to make our enemies ridiculous. Sadly, he did a little too good of a job.

        1. Oh goodness, another one! Perhaps I should invest in some bugspray in the future…

          No, you’re all evil, as Testis Gratus explained below, because you affirm non-life, non-Being, as the highest moral virtue. Objectively you are an enemy of that which lives, breathes, procreates, or creates at all. I’d even go so far as to say every single one of you is some degree of mentally ill being as you’ve concocted a demon of a philosophy which seeks to eradicate all living beings as a means to escape suffering. You run counter to all living things in your trajectory. It’s abhorrent.

          Traditionally, man went beyond samsara through meditation and the peering through the Eye of the Heart, to use a term Firthjof Schuon adored; but you loons take the opposite path and just go straight to the hangman’s noose!

          Eugenics in action, it seems. Not that I’m complaining — the fewer lowly wretches on this beautiful Earth, the better — rather I’m commenting on the tragedy of it all via the figure of Weininger, and proposing the antidote to this sickness with Ludovici.

          Get well soon, in any case.

          1. No, antinatalism is not about eradicating all living beings. Antinatalism is the position that procreation is wrong. You’d know that if you took one minute to examine the ideology you “debunked.”

            And I have to laugh at the idea of a neo-nazi like yourself calling me evil. Keep crying and kicking in your crib, alt-right reactionary scum. You are the best demonstration of the virtues of abortion.

            1. Yes, indeed! And within such a proposition, within the morality you use to establish that claim, you carry forth the eradication of the possibility of life! It isn’t a difficult thing to grasp, but alas; we aren’t all equally capable of logic, contrary to whatever egalitarian nonsense you follow.

              “Fascist,” “Neo-Nazi,” “Alt-Right,” “Reactionary”… just pick a term and stick with it, would you? Or, rather, at least be a bit more creative. Hearing the same silly slurs gets incredibly boring after the millionth time.

  1. Antinatalists quite literally desire for pure evil in the Neoplatonic/Augustinian sense of the word. Since Being itself is the highest good, the greatest evil is the exact opposite; non-Being. It’s funny how this is practically the opposite of how they see the world, which demonstrates the inversion of their moral order. Antinatalism arises when someone experiences suffering without having a clear idea of what true goodness and hope are. It is nihilism taken to its conclusion.

    1. Exactly. It’s part of the reason I have absolutely no desire to engage with them; they are evil. It doesn’t matter what one says, they just retort with same-old same-old. Following their philosophy would lead naturally to the extinction of the human species; the elimination of all art, music, poetry, drama, tragedy, comedy, glory, love, laughter, happiness, struggle, spirituality, and so on. In fact I’m glad that fauna aren’t capable of the mental gymnastics antinatalists are, for that would mean the potential end of life on Earth.

      It amazes me that they don’t simply take their philosophy to its natural conclusion as Weininger did, though I imagine that stems from cowardice more than anything else.

  2. Good luck getting blacks to follow the antinatalist ideology, only white people would be so delusional as to believe they are committing some form of moral crime by simply continuing their species, this is the extent to which secularism has ripped apart the sole identity of the European spirit.

    Suffering in life is not completely without purpose, the sole reason why antinatalists wish not to create new human life or apparently any new life, but without evil there can be nothing to measure good with, a basic yin and yang concept that they have some how ignored.

    you need only to look to the book of Job in order to understand the value of suffering something every man has to experience, without being tested you have no room to grow, suffering is a form of growth, a negative energy that can be used to create something positive.

  3. As someone who’s currently reading “The Conspiracy Against The Human Race” I can offer a somewhat better argument for anti-natalism, but overall I think it’s a product of decadence. If we don’t procreate other races will, all we don’t save will be destroyed. Anti-natalism can never be anything more than a personal or small cult philosophy. The whole argument hinges on P1) Suffering is bad. But why is it bad? To me this also seems to be a contrarian inversion of Christian morality. Or rather a demonic inversion of it as you pointed out. In Christianity suffering is necessary towards becoming more like Christ, more divine. Instead of carrying this cross (no pun intented), post-Christian man, still trapped within the Christian paradigm, seeks a negation by inversion.

    A general weariness of life and solar/virile/masculine expansion, as European man’s previous attempts at expansion have ended in utter disaster. Our future is a bleak one, and adopting an anti-natalist position grants temporary respite to our lost violent souls. But it is merely an intellectually interesting diversion. Something which certainly, like Marxism, needs to be understood, but never to be succumbed to. It is the grasp of the succubus, lulling us out of the eternal struggle for self-mastery and excellence. One does not need to revert to a Christian morality to escape this temptation. The Nietzschean critique of the “Will to Life” or “Will to Death” as ultimately a slave morality, a ressentiment of the gods. A remnant of the Christian moral paradigm, one should instead affirm life and harness the suffering as an impetus to reach the heavens.

        1. No, and I have better things to do with my time: life is short and precious.

          I’ve listened to the arguments and read the comments of several antinatalists by this point; your arguments are based upon the incorrect premise that suffering in life is reason to avoid the creation of new life. As I’ve said elsewhere, life is good. Being is good. Existence is good. Spirit is good. Consciousness is good. If all this was false, you would take your own lives as would any logical people. Procreation is the process by which human life, and all the aforementioned, is brought into the world, therefore it is de facto good.

          As I’ve said before to you, Simon, all this intellectual fluff and rubbish antinatalists such as yourself spew comes merely from your own inner sense of weakness and bitterness at the world. You have experienced pain, but cannot or will not overcome it, thus you construct a wider ideology around that instance in order to circumvent the real problems facing us in this world. It is cowardice outright; it’s a tragedy.

          1. I wish you knew how clichéd you sound, really. These are all stock arguments. No objection you’ve raised is anything I haven’t heard before. Everything you just said has been addressed already, by Benatar himself. But I don’t think you want to take it seriously. Your biggest problem is that you’re religious. Which specific faith or denomination is irrelevant; the point is (as it always is with religious people) that God can do no wrong. “Why, how dare you attempt to hold God accountable for all the gratuitous suffering and evil in the world?!” Indignation is their gut reaction, and they will always make excuses for God regarding the existence of evil, for they would rather have a malevolent God than no God at all. Such is the severity of their dependency. They will never condemn all suffering as gratuitous and unjustifiable, because to do so would be to condemn their God.

            I also find it quite remarkable how quickly alt-righters will appeal to cognitive relativism – the domain of the dreaded SJW – in order to dodge the perfectly rational charge that suffering is both undesirable and unjustifiable.

            Speaking of God, I think you’d find the arguments presented here interesting. Justin Schieber explains how the existence of the universe itself disproves theism:

            1. As I’ve explained, we must have suffering if we have free will in a world where there are multiple possibilities on the ontological level. I have explained this to you more than once, Simon, but you continue to ignore the point. God is Being in the Neoplatonic sense.

              Regarding suffering; so if one goes to the gym to work-out, and one feels the strain of muscles after the session and experiences suffering because of it, but it’s suffering now for fitness later, that’s still bad? No, it isn’t. Suffering is a relative term which is neither totally good or bad. It requires context.

              It doesn’t matter what I say to you, Simon, does it? You do not care. You are an ideologue through-and-through; you do not care about reason and logic, you care about your ideology and will repeat the same worn-out phrases again and again, and for what reason? I won’t be responding to you any further as you’ll only continue to ignore me. It’s a waste of time.

              1. Free will has nothing to do with it. For instance, I take it you are family with the “fawn in the forest fire” analogy, yes?

                That’s a cop out. It effectively reduces the suffering of existence to the pinprick before the doctor gives you a lollipop. Some minor suffering, such as you mentioned, may be necessary for a desired result, but why not simply live in a world where everyone is healthy by default, rather than go through pain to attain it? As I always say, better for a problem never to exist than for it to exist and be solved, as there is much suffering in the solving. God is limitless, remember, so there is no excuse. He is not bound by anything. You really should watch that video.

                “Sometimes the optimists say that the bad things in life are necessary to appreciate the good things. It is unclear whether everybody suffers from this malady; are there not some people who would be able to appreciate the good even if there were no bad? Perhaps they are a minority. In any event, it is also unclear why those who do need to experience bad in order to appreciate the good need to experience such relentless amounts of bad. And if we were to assume that all the bad in a life is necessary in order to appreciate the good, then this would be another innately bad feature of life. It would be much better if all those bad things were not necessary.” ~ David Benatar

  4. 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!)

    A dichotomy (and temptation) I face in my own aggregation/editor role virtually all the time!

  5. Human life is an arena in which we struggle with both pleasure and pain in order to strengthen our ethical natures and become men. In the area of sex, men will follow the teaching of Musonius Rufus: “Men who are not wantons or immoral are bound to consider sexual intercourse justified only when it occurs in marriage and is indulged in for the purpose of begetting children, since that is lawful, but unjust and unlawful when it is mere pleasure-seeking, even in marriage.” So, do anti-natalists reject all forms of sexual intercourse, this being the only moral form of life for those who reject procreation? Or do they pursue sexual pleasure as an end in itself, thereby condemning themselves to a life of perpetual adolescence always in search of new types of masturbation?

  6. The lynchpin of the antinatalist argument seems to be, setting aside its comically slavish (to the googleplex power) devotion to deontological ethics, that each individual is categorically obliged ethically not to do any amount of harm, whereas not categorically obliged to provide any amount of pleasure. So, if you’re willing to treat all individuals, including ones own potential future children, perfectly (categorically) equally, and treat all suffering, no matter how trivial, as a harm, then this form of argumentation actually makes some sense.

    But, of course, doing so corresponds to the lived experience of virtually no human on earth. We don’t consider our ethical obligations to potential future children to be the same as what we owe some complete stranger on the other side of the world. And it’s mind-numbingly stupid (and unimaginative) to treat suffering purely as harm. Most suffering indeed leads to positive outcomes. Work hard in the gym, get strong. Get a bee sting, learn to avoid dangers. Thwart instant gratification, get better stuff later. As a Christian, I believe all suffering is infused with grace toward beatification. Obviously that’s not empirically provable, but that most suffering leads to potential good is.

    Of course, the deontology depends entirely upon the harm/care moral axis, which Jonathan Haidt has (I think convincingly) shown is only one of five (or maybe six) moral foundation axes. Why privilege harm/care in the argument? Well, to prove what you wanted to prove of course…

    I considered these lines of argument in some depth in my article Choose Your Illusion: A Review of (Sarah Perry’s) Every Cradle is a Grave. If you must read an anti-natalist tract, read that one. You’ll still pull your hair out, but at least Sarah Perry is one of the least obnoxious people I know.

    In all, Adam, I think you hit many of the same points I made. An excellent intro to Ludovici, of whom I knew little. And a very fine and well-deserved battering (to a rather bloody pulp) of this jaw-dropping silly point of view.

    1. “One reflexive response that many people come up with when they first encounter the pleasure/pain asymmetry is some version of the counterclaim that “Pain is NOT bad!” People will say, “I had cancer, and I’m a better person for it!” or “My divorce was terribly painful, but later I met the love of my life, and I’m better for it!” or they might hang their rejection on the textbook case of the a child who naïvely touches an open flame thereby triggering a nerve-sensory response thereby inculcating the useful lesson that, as Phil Hartman’s Frankenstein character would put it, “FIRE BAD!”

      The problem with this knee-jerk response, of course, is that it confuses the instrumental value of (some) pain with the underlying quality of pain itself, which is always, by definition, bad. That’s why it’s pain. If you don’t accept that, you can just as easily tweak the formulation to apply only to “non-instrumental pain,” which invades every human life.” ~ Chip Smith

      You can read the entire interview here:

      1. Simon you seem to be replying to me, but I think you’re missing the larger picture. Natalists don’t reject the asymmetry argument because it is incorrect. On it’s own assumptions, it is correct. We simply reject the assumptions. My general obligation to not impose suffering is not absolute and not universal. I was born that way.

        1. The assumptions are perfectly reasonable, but, much like the SJWs, natalists insist on being as relativistic as possible in order to avoid conceding the argument. They are effectively endorsing suffering, of all kinds.

  7. 1.
    Nice romanticism, I remember seeing that polyptych at a very young age in Philadelphia

    I think that Ludovici is absolutely correct about the innate goodness of children. That passionate, venturous, inquisitive spirit is something that I believe we seek to regain touch with throughout the entirety of our lives. Not a Rousseauian ‘goodness’, but instead a will to raw human vivaciousness and adventurousness, something more carnal (in my view), but that is indeed positive and indeed affirms life, and continuation of the(ir) human spirit

    Anti-Natalism becomes a much larger worry in a materialist society. I cannot help but think a pure materialist reading of life and world events, if viewed in certain lights, can lead directly into the lap of anti-natalist thought

  8. I just can’t comprehend anti-natalism. Even if there were no logical arguments as you have laid out, they would still be batshit insane. Procreation being good is what is called a ‘properly basic belief’. It doesn’t require argumentation really, and all arguments from anti-natalists against their own suicide fall short. They suffer from some kind of neurological failure, in the same way as those who deny that they themselves exist, but such are the wages of cult-like movements and Benatar has clearly become something of a Jim Jones.

    Arguing against antinatalism can very easily be sourced from arguments against utilitarianism, which I gave some clarity to here:

    It is irrational to associate, especially at the atheistic level, the feeling of suffering with something objectively bad in philosophical terms. It is entirely arbitrary, the deification (‘utilization’) of serotonin and other such chemicals in the brain. Also, in practice we see a complete reversal of the anti-natalist position, when societies which are mired in poverty and struggle tend to breed heavily, while societies in luxurious abandon tend to wither and die. If life really is so bad, so horrible, so unbearable, then the reverse should be true. What runs contrary to anti-natalism? Human instinct, the organic nature of things. Though in fairness, I can see why staunch atheists might be drawn to a desparing anti-natalist viewpoint which views as some great mercy the massacre of scores of unborn children. To their mind, the world must be a very dark place, because that which transcends the world and is indeed superior to the world, does not exist. The values which are ‘supra-human’ are fiction.

    Yes, the world is full of evil, but it is also suffused with the energies that created it, those which cannot fail to permeate our reality, and come from beyond the merely material, representative of what can truly be called ‘the good’. Look down and you will see everything ugly, vain, broken. But if you allow yourself to look up, you will see everything beautiful, inspiring, and pure that drives even we the most pessimistic and forlorn of political observers, the Reactionaries, to strive for greatness.

    Blaming God is rather cute, but baseless. Our fallen world is our fault, not His. He only gives us choices. You could blame Him for not making us automatons, but then you de facto wish to relinquish your right to complain about anything in the first place. It is also a fact that God’s aims for man were never that he live comfortably in mortal existance, but that he be immortal in God by his own volition. No cost is too great to achieve such a goal to its greatest extent, no amount of temporal suffering unreasonable, and even moreso, because of the butterfly effect, we are in no position to even make statements about the final balance of suffering vs. no suffering when measured hundredweight and pennypound are accounted for on the Day of Judgment.

    See the good in this life. See the evil in this life. Know the difference, and pick a side. Don’t be a coward and declare that nobody after you ought to get that choice. That choice is valuable. God would not have given it to us if it wasn’t.

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