The Wish Never to Have Been Accompanied by Prenatal-Paradisic Regression

In the instances cited below in evidence of the existence of a semi-antinatalism what those who “wish never to have been” aspire to is, paradoxically, a return into the body of – or at least a lingering in the greatest possible bodily proximity with – that person to whom, in decisive measure, they “owe” the very existence which they reject:   


Burckhardt, Jacob (1818–1897)

Jacob Burckhardt, to whom we owe a à “balancing of the books”, in the sense of a àMä phynai, of Classical Greek existence, remarks with regard to his own life: “My life has not been such a cloudless one as it may seem to you to have been and at every moment I would gladly exchange my life for a never-having-been and, were it only possible, would return into my mother’s womb – and this even though I have committed no crime and was raised under the most congenial conditions.” (Burckhardt, letter to Johannes Riggenbach, Basel 28.8.1838)



“Were we somehow to know in advance what awaits us at the end of life we would perhaps attempt immediately after our birth, despite all resistance thereto, to scrabble our way back into the moist, dark, soft interior of our mothers’ bodies and to stubbornly insist on our right to remain there.” (Ardelius/P. C. Jersild, Gedanken über den Tod)

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