Forums: Community: Campground: Re: [SylviaSmile] Would you have consented to all this?: Edit Log


Oct 19, 2012, 2:55 PM

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Registered: Aug 31, 2006
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Would you have consented to all this?
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SylviaSmile wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Tagc wrote:
In reply to:
Just curious because I've never met anyone else who would have opted out, or at least a person who would admit to it.

Created this account to reply to this. A friend of mine who likes rock-climbing showed me this because it's similar to a discussion we've had quite recently.

I would very much prefer to never have been born. In fact, if you read David Benatar's "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence", he sets out a logical argument on why it's best if none of us were ever born.

I'd imagine the majority of people would not choose to opt out from having been born, if they could. What you have to bear in mind here is, that people are subjected to pretty major cognitive biases on this issue - namely such things as Pollyannaism (which biases our perception of how good our lives are in favour of optimism), but also in how they value existence with respect to non-existence; this is largely the result of natural selection (people that have a genetic disposition to favour existence will be the most likely to survive and reproduce).

Haven't read his book but I just checked out a few reviews and it sounds like his central argument revolves around (in one reviewers words) "an asymmetry between suffering and pleasure which makes nonexistence preferable..."

While I can certainly understand the argument, I don't know that I completely embrace it. Suffering is certainly an inescapable element of human existence but it can be profoundly formative and edifying. Cathartic even. Pain and tragedy helps to make life a full-bodied experience and I'm not sure it is something to be avoided at the cost of nonexistence. It doesn't weight too heavily on my particular scale, anyway.

My main objection is a little more personal. I don't like my overall lack of cerebral sovereignty in the face of instincts and emotions. I don't like the fact that I didn't consent to life in the first place and I especially don't like that I can't exert more control over my mind now that I have one. I find the lack of autonomy altogether unsettling.

It's not something that I feel all that strongly about though. I'm not running around, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing the day I was born or anything. Life is pretty distracting and it's easy to get wrapped up in. No major angst here.

It still intrigues me that it's THIS you pick as the source of your dissatisfaction with existence. Would you rather not have a body and just be a mind? Or would you rather have a body but no emotions attached to the having of that body--so no mediation between body and mind? I can kind of sympathize with feeling like life is a collection of accidents and that the person I am, and have become and grown to be, is largely not something I chose in any way. Something I try not to think about too long is why I was so fortunate in the circumstances of my birth, upbringing, etc., compared to others who experienced poverty, suffering, abuse, and serious wounding.

The latter mostly but emotions can be fun. A better ability to moderate them would seem appropriate but I don't mind them in the abstract.

Mainly it's the incongruity between my lack of consent, or even desire, to have this life and how compulsively attached to and concerned with it I am. Its just strange to care so much about something I never asked for. It's illogical and that doesn't matter. I find that odd.

(This post was edited by notapplicable on Oct 19, 2012, 3:00 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by notapplicable () on Oct 19, 2012, 2:57 PM
Post edited by notapplicable () on Oct 19, 2012, 3:00 PM

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