The Compensating Self

The compensating self underwent a series of attacks:

Along with waning faith came the dismantling of paradise. A future void of paradise means there’ll be no afterlife compensation for yesterday’s and today’s grievances, and perhaps no remuneration for ethically good deeds.

The next trauma for the compensating self was the dismantling of history: With the shipwreck of the Russian and the Chinese Revolution, at the latest, it became clear to the compensating self that there would be no better future for all.

Hereupon the compensating self restricted itself to its own children saying: ‘My children and grandchildren will lead a better life!’ We all know that this is a rather ambitious projection against the backdrop of global warming not to mention dwindling resources such as arable land.

Today the compensating self is depleted and exhausted. But it carries on with its business even though – because of its emptiness – it has become ruinous.

In order to propagate non-propagation antinatalists may want to point out the nowadays ruinous character of the compensating self.

Being fine without approving beginning of existence?

Is it all right if the serene antinatalist propagates non-propagation? For many a contemporary it is not. Many people seem to conceive of antinatalists as fundamentally messed up characters. An antinatalist in their view will have to be someone who is completely dissatisfied with his life, someone for whom life is an ordeal. However, an antinatalist might be satisfied with his or her personal life and still think it would have been better to never have begun to exist. There is no contradiction in this from the viewpoint of the logic of morals (an important point made by Julio Cabrera in his CRÍTICA DE LA MORAL AFIRMATIVA and later on by Saul Smilansky in his 10 MORAL PARADOXES).

Eve’s Antinatalism in John Milton’s (1608-1674) Paradise Lost

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, after the Fall and before the expulsion from paradise, it becomes clear to Eve that all future generations will have to suffer as a result of the first parent’s sin. In the face of future suffering, she suggests to Adam to either refrain from procreation or to commit suicide:

If care of our descent perplex us most,
Which must be born to certain woe, devoured
By death at last, and miserable it is
To be to others cause of misery,
Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring
Into this cursed world a woeful race,
That after wretched life must be at last
Food for so foule a monster, in thy power
It lies, yet ere conception to prevent
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.
Childless thou art, childless remain: So death
Shall be deceaved his glut, and with us two
Be forced to satisfie his ravenous maw.
But if thou judge it hard and difficult,
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
From love’s due rites, nuptial embraces sweet,
And with desire to languish without hope,
Before the present object languishing
With like desire, which would be misery
And torment less then none of what we dread,
Then both our selves and seed at once to free
From what we fear for both, let us make short,
Let us seek death, or, he not found, supply
With our own hands his office on ourselves;

(Tenth Book, 979-1002)

Milton ’s Eve is promoting here either abstention from procreation or suicide to escape from the suffering of existence. In the face of wrongful existence for the future members of the human race, Eve first suggests the antinatalist option, then suicide.

Read more:

Theodicy shading off into Anthropodicy in Milton, Twain and Kant

Questionnaire on procreation*

Feel free to answer any or some of the following






What do you say to a child who asks you why he is on earth?


You did not exist before being generated by your parents. Would it have been bad had your parents not had children?


Apart from the question of whether you think it is important that just you have been conceived: Is the existence of human beings in general important to you?


Ought human beings to exist irrespective of the conditions under which they exist?


If no one procreated as from today, there would hardly be any humans on earth in some 100 years from now. No one to suffer from diseases, in famines and from natural catastrophes or on the death bed.

If you are in favour of humans being here in 200 years from now: how would you justify this in the face of the evils mentioned above?


How far into the future does your interest in humanity’s continued existence stretch?


Do you hold that the happiness which some people experience compensates for the suffering many other people go through?


Do you believe that the suffering somebody experiences now is compensated for by the happiness that he experienced in the past or might experience in the future?


Our freedom always includes the freedom to do evil as well. Do you think it is an integral part of our dignity to be able to harm someone and liable of being harmed at any time?


Is it not so that the generation of human beings is immoral as nobody can guarantee them a humane life and death free from severe suffering?


The lamentation „It would have been better not to have been born“ is almost as old as morality.

Should you not favour the existence of people 200 years from now – until which point in time (if at all) was procreation justifiable:

– People never ought to have existed.

– Until the First Worldwar and Armeniocide.

– Until the Judeocide

– Until the invention of the atomic bomb.

– Until the Rwandan genocide.

– Other caesura:



Is it not so that procreation implies moral complicity with the suffering that ensues?


In a few billion years our sun will have morphed into a red giant rendering impossible the continued existence of living beings on earth. Ought we to wait until we singe or should we phase out before by means of abstention from procreation? If so, how much time before should we phase out?


Would you like to be the creator responsible for this world? If you had not been able to create a world different from the one known to us – would you have refrained from creation for all time, remaining blissfully by yourself?


If you, in the fictitious role as a Maker, had refrained from creating the world, would you not then have to reject our creation of people which is mimicking God?

[ *by Karim Akerma and Guido Kohlbecher]


Most parents presuppose the principle of primortality. They start a new life from the tacit assumption that they will die well before their child since for most parents loss of a child would be the biggest catastrophe they can think of.

When deciding to procreate most parents don’t seem to be aware of the fact that for most children loss of a beloved parent is among the biggest catastrophes they can think of. At the same time most children are doomed by their parent to be still around when their parents pass away.

In order to progagate non-propagation antinatalists might talk about the immorality of the principle of primortality wherever they meet people prone to procreate.

Philosophy as the Brain of Religion

Religion did and does not only work as the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. Religion also took and takes painstaking care that ever new souls begin to exist under soulless conditions.

In irreligious times and places philosophy takes over as the brain of religion, covertly arguing in favour of mankind’s perpetuation.

Antinatalism and Unconditional Basic Income

For abvious ontic reasons nobody wanted to begin to exist and no one wanted not to begin to exist. This is a constellation which we may dope the nativistic stalemate. Nobody is “forced” into existence – as some antinatalists have it – and nobody is deprived of existence as some pronatalists put forth. However, every person exists at the behest of other persons. People do not initiate their own existence. Our sheer existence does not fall into our own responsibility.

Even if some parents consider their offspring as a misfortune the state will usually not do so. As evinces from the upheaval that is made once somebody wants to commit suicide, most states care about their people’s pure existence – even though they may not care at all about their people’s suchness and well-being and will have the elderly fade away in gerontocamps under conditions which beggar description. Resting upon their constituting individuals and being therefore generally opposed to people who favour withdrawal from existence (or antinatalism) states want their populace to exist at all cost. It seems, therefore, reasonable that the state as the comprehensive natalist should grant an unconditional basic income to everyone.