In A CONVERSATION WITH T.C. BOYLE the author is being asked the following question:
“What is your actual view of the Earth twenty years in the future? How about one hundred years in the future? Do you think that our efforts to “Save the Planet” are actually steps taken in the right direction to reverse the damage we’ve done, or is it truly too late for us?”
“With A Friend of the Earth, I went around the world on my book tours, depressing the hell out of people, while at the same time making them laugh, of course. The only hope I could come up with, and this after a long evening of reading excerpts and taking questions, is a program I’d like to initiate. It’s very simple: if we can all of us on the earth, and no cheating, please, agree to refrain from sex for one hundred years, the problem will be solved.”
No matter how serious Boyle really is about his declaration we should welcome it. Still it is problematic for two reasons: First, the problem is not sex but procreation. The Cathari famously were against procreation but had no problem with sex. Second, once the last man on earth has ceased to exist, the planet won’t be ‘saved’ but continue to be a place in which countless sentient animals suffer unspeakably.
Christian apologist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) in his essay THE WORLD’S LAST NIGHT:
“I can imagine no man who will look with more horror on the End than a conscientious revolutionary who has, in a sense sincerely, been justifying cruelties and injustices inflicted on millions of his contemporaries by the benefits which he hopes to confer on future generations: generations who, as one terrible moment now reveals to him, were never going to exist. Then he will see the massacres, the faked trials, the deportations, to be all ineffaceably real, an essential part, his part, in the drama that has just ended: while the future Utopia had never been anything but a fantasy.” (The world’s last night and other essays)
What may be upon us at any given moment, according to Lewis, is not only an End but a Judgement after which some souls may enjoy infinite bliss. This, Lewis says, does not hold for the atheistic revolutionary for whom all agonies of the past must be vain without a better future in this world or in another world.
Lewis’s argumentation obviously comes with strings attached: How dare he, along with the ‘conscientious revolutionary’, compensate for the reality and the intensity of bygone agonies by pointing to mankind’s prolonged future? Does the reality or the intensity of the pain experienced long ago by person P depend on whether or not mankind has a future or on the quality of future lives?
Against the background of Lewis’s rumination the following question becomes ever more pressing: By means of which ressources do today’s this-worldly parents justify procreation in the face of an obstructed future?