Before yet more children are brought into the world it must first be ensured that they are welcome in this latter. And whether the world has attained the requisite degree of hospitableness for more children to begin to exist in it can, for example, be established by observing whether children are starving in this world, or being forced to work before reaching an age appropriate for it, or whether they are obliged to serve their parents as “prestige objects / subjects” or are otherwise directly instrumentalized.
The notion “priority of the world’s adjustment” refers to the imperative whereby it would not be considered to be incumbent upon newborn human beings to adjust and adapt themselves to the world; rather, the bearing of new children should, on this account, be suspended for some time until the world has been made – by those who have already been living in it for some time – has been made a world more worthy for human beings to live in, that is to say, has been, for its own part, adjusted and adapted to the needs of those who might potentially be born into it. Otto Reutter offered a humoristic formulation of this point:
“Don’t be born, little man!
Wait till there’s a world here that’s more to your liking.“
This “priority of the world’s adjustment” implies that existing human beings have, first of all, to reform the world from the bottom up, and reorganize it in such a way as to make it a welcoming place for new arrivals, before there can be even any thought of bringing forth new human beings to inhabit it. We encounter a moderate and modified form of antinatalist thinking similar to this one both in Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer Sonata” and in Dostoevsky’s (1821–1881) “Demons”:
“But one thing is necessary above all else: there should be no superfluous human beings born into the world. Rather, reorganize the world in such a way that no human being will be superfluous in it and then bring into it as many human beings as you please.”