Complicity and Toleration

Whoever, despite his own insight into the Conditio in-/humana represented by each and every individual human fate, adopts a stance that tolerates and supports the continuation of all the various human social experiments, including that great experiment which is the perpetuation of the human species, thereby makes himself an accomplice in suffering and misery.  

 

Complicity, Objective

Let us introduce what we have just called the fact of objective complicity with neganthropy by citing another morally relevant form of complicity: namely, the objective complicity of the purchaser of meat products with the suffering of non-human animals. The person buying meat may, under certain circumstances, wish only the best for themselves and those whom they buy it for and may even – under circumstances which are, admittedly, in the contemporary world much rarer – be unaware that they are participating in initiating, with this buying of meat, a whole new chain of suffering (->Concatenation). Put very simply, each piece of meat purchased sends a signal to the market that the gap left by the meat just consumed must immediately be filled by more meat.  Where these “gaps” become numerous they necessarily imply, assuming the predominance of the profit motive, the continued slaughter of animals and the slaughtered beasts leave behind, in their turn, a “gap” which must be filled by the raising and fattening-up of successors. This is bound up with unspeakable suffering for the animals and with further degradation of the environment – and the objective accomplice of it all is the diner at the table next to ours who prefers his meat “a little bloody”.   In an entirely analogous way, whoever produces progeny is – even if he wishes only the best for these latter – an objective accomplice not only in the sufferings of these his children and his children’s children but also in the future fate of humanity itself, inasmuch as he implicitly suggested, in and through the course of his procreative activity, the Conditio in/humana to be something acceptable (both for himself and for all human beings yet to be).

 

Complicity, Subjective

If the objective complicity in future misery of all those who engage in procreation can be taken as a “given”, certain special circumstances must nonetheless obtain before this complicity can be rightly described as also a subjective complicity. The transition from the phase of objective complicity to that of subjective complicity requires inter alia that we human beings cease to see ourselves as acting, when we procreate, merely “mediately”, as creatures of God (->Children of God) – or, if not in obedience to God’s direct command, then at least under the almost God-like pressure of social norms and expectations – and begin to view this action of procreation more or less as a choice motivated by our own moral judgment or our own egoistic wish for children.  Speaking quite generally, then, we may say that the degree of subjective complicity with all suffering is at its maximum wherever the process of secularization has made its maximum inroads into human society and consciousness. That is to say: on the one hand among the citizens of the numerous industrialized societies which now exist all over the globe and on the other hand among the authors of those existentialist and religion- and society-critical works which have so decisively contributed to the rejection of the very notion of “God” without going on to call into question the blind perpetuation of the basic structures of procreation.  One aim of antinatalistic ->Enlightenment should certainly consist in an ongoing effort to “subjectify” the long-existing objective complicity and thereby to increase the need for this complicity to answer for and justify itself.

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