(modified from this Cyanide and Happiness cartoon)
The cartoon I posted above pretty much exemplifies nearly every single discussion about antinatalism that has taken place in the past years. When we point out the facts about existence, most people can only muster a reply on the order of “but at least it’s delicious,” implicitly, “but at least it’s delicious to me,” as if the way things appear to them is in any way a counter to the known facts.
Let’s start with the known facts. The life-system is a CAnCeR system: it is made of Consumption, Addiction, Cannibalism, and Reproduction.
Consumption exists because living organisms need energy to keep being alive, and to do so they must consume either energy or organisms which have consumed energy.
Addiction refers to the compulsions to constantly seek out the things which make us feel pleasure, a sensation based on our biological needs (and which often goes off the rails in human beings, as in the case of drug addictions, gambling addictions, shopping addictions, etc).
Cannibalism exists because consumption is for the most part (although not completely, thanks to particular forms of human cooperation) a zero-sum game, and organisms can only flourish at the expense of other organisms. This is especially true of human beings, who exploit each other for the sake of their lifestyles on a massive scale.
Reproduction is how the life-system perpetuates itself throughout time. Successful reproduction starts the cycle all over again, and again, and again.
The net result of this system as it has existed on the planet Earth is the existence of sentience, and the experience of harm that comes from it.
Optimists constantly try to include other elements on this list, like love, cooperation and truth. But all these elements exist only because of CAnCeR. Love evolved because of the needs related to reproduction (keeping parents together so they can both provide for the children). Cooperation evolved to help species defend themselves and to consume more efficiently. Truth is a by-product of the requirements of sentience.
Yes, nature is beautiful, and nature is complex, but as I’ve pointed out before, beauty and complexity are not criteria we can use to evaluate a system. Beauty is an automatic brain reaction and complexity is entirely irrelevant. Neither of these change or nullify the elements of CAnCeR. Beautiful and complex consumption, addiction, cannibalism and reproduction, is still consumption, addiction, cannibalism and reproduction.
It is not that we are ignoring the positives. Of course love, cooperation and truth are crucial concepts, and I talk about them on this blog with the respect that they deserve. But the positives are not primary; they exist because of the necessity of palliating negatives in order to survive and flourish, and are contingent upon them. They therefore cannot be written side-by-side with the negatives as if they played an equal part in the system. Their crucial importance comes from the fact that they provide a cure for our social diseases, but they would not need to exist if the diseases did not exist.
Apart from being a CAnCeR system, the life-system is also analogous to cancer itself. It participates of the same unintelligent logic of pure consumption, it just keeps growing and growing until it takes over every single area that exists. The only reason why this entire planet is not completely covered with wriggling, crawling life is because animals consume each other to survive. Lifeforms exist in every possible habitat, and there’s even lifeforms at the very bottom of the oceans that don’t require the Sun to survive (but rather get energy from sulfur vents).
Human life is especially analogous to cancer, since we are destroying the very resources that have sustained our growth for millennia. Despite our supposed higher intelligence, we act no better than the rest of nature, using the unintelligent logic of consumption and perpetuation of consumption, just like our ego games where we always seek more money or power despite the consequences to ourselves, others or the world.
The funny thing is that we are equipped with the intelligence to realize all of this. We can look back at the whole mess and understand what it’s really doing, and we can understand that all we’re doing is trying to keep ourselves busy so we don’t look at the CAnCeR process. We live our lives by trying to keep ourselves in the delusion of ignorance.
The main reason why human societies are absurd in the fullest sense of the word is because their very premise is to generate these fantasy castles in the sky as a distraction from death. The more complicated the castles, the more emotionally involving the castles, the more we can get lost in them and wander in a labyrinth of constructed meaning. Theology, economics, law-making and law enforcement, war, reams of statistics, belief in the family/the nation/the race/whatever other team you want, are all ways in which we get lost.
I know it seems harsh, but if you don’t believe life is a cancer, then can you point to any useful function that life serves on this planet, any need that it fulfills apart from those it creates itself? Can you justify sentience and the ability to feel pain? I’ve already argued that there is no justification for the perpetuation of the human race. Can you provide counter-arguments to that entry? Before you give me answers, though, make sure you’re not just repeating something I’ve already debunked.