Salto esistenziale

A “salto esistenziale” is committed by anyone who, in speaking of someone’s being harmed or benefited by non-existence, necessarily makes reference to an indeed non-existent, that is to say, entirely imaginary “person”. Günther Anders, for example, can be said to be speaking in this way when he speaks of his own good fortune of being admitted into this world, a good fortune that falls to the lot of only a few. The “salto esistenziale” is here, as it were, a self-subreption. (>Gratitude for Existence >Günther Anders).

We see especially egregious cases of “salto esistenziale” where arguments are built upon a supposed state (!) of non-existence in which one has no right to “leave” unborn children.  Often, non-existence is conceived of as a deep sleep or a darkness from which children need to be freed or awoken through their begetting. Frank Wedekind (1864–1918) draws our attention to such a “salto esistentiale” in his drama Spring Awakening: “We see parents bring children into the world simply in order to be able to exclaim to them: ‘how fortunate you are to have parents like us!’ – and then we see the children go and do the same thing.”

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