You Didn’t Ask To Be Here: Adventures In Antinatalism
Last year, a 28 year-old guy in Mumbai tried to sue his parents - who are both lawyers - for having brought him into the world. He claims his parents didn’t get his consent to live. In addition to being a very bold person, he is an anti-natalist. That is, he believes that it is morally wrong to bring sentient life into this world - no matter how charmed or how troubled that life is - and that humanity should stop reproducing, full stop.
Anti-natalism is not a novel concept. You can trace it as far back as some interpretations of the teachings of Buddah, and in ancient religious sects. Nowadays, the subreddit dedicated to Anti-natalism has 70,000 members, and there are 15,000 people following the Facebook group, the “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement”. You’ll hear from one of its leaders in this show.
The screenwriter for the Netflix series, True Detective, says that that the antinatalist beliefs of one of the main characters was inspired by the book, “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence” by the philosopher, David Benatar. You'll meet him too, and learn a lot more about the belief that this world would have been better had none us been here in the first place.
- David Benatar is a professor and the head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He is the author of “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence”, and his latest book is called, "The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest Questions”
- Les Knight is a volunteer with the “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement”
Catie Talarski contributed to this show.