Inverted biography

A further argument for antinatalism can be derived from the thought experiment of an inverted biography: When pronatalists are made aware of the decay and suffering of old age, they often reply that before physical and mental decay lies the time of childhood, youth and adulthood.

Even though most people seem to agree that the suffering of old age is unbearable, for most people old age is somehow always far away. Either old age has not come yet or old age is secluded behind thick walls. The defusing of the sufferings of old age on the grounds that they are far away is ethically unacceptable. For they do not become less horrible on the ground that one has to experience them only later in life.

What would happen if the sufferings of old age were to be sustained at the beginning of life? According to this thought experiment, children would then be born with disease symptoms corresponding to Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis or dementia, rheumatism, swallowing disorders, decubitus or high blood pressure. As the children grow older, the symptoms would gradually decrease. In such a world, the antinatalist moral theory would probably meet with more resonance than in our factual world. For the consequences of the suffering of most reproductions would be immediately visible and would thus be way more reproachable, whereas in our world they do only become apparent after decades – and often only when the causers of these sufferings (the parents) are no longer alive. Morally speaking though, the suffering at the end of life associated with typical diseases of old age is no less serious than the corresponding suffering at the beginning of life in the frame of this thought experiment. But old age is discriminated against – also ethically.


2 thoughts on “Inverted biography

  1. Parents die before they see their kids reach the pains of old age, I’m tempted to suspect a malevolence design (or to stop underestimating the evil wickedness of evolution)

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