This is the ethical view against further procreation in a world where we are already the ‘dominant’. For background on this (and what I mean by dominant), go here. And this is part 2 in a Deep Dive into why we have kids. Here’s part 1 and part 2.
Neil Strauss says that the purpose of life (or at least he used to) is to 1) survive and 2) procreate. But is it? If there’s 7 billion of us on earth, and we’ve established ourselves as the most important species on earth (important in the sense that there is no other species that with one action –ie. the push of a button- could destroy a whole city/country/nation world?) and so many kids without proper parents or guidance, being tossed around from foster home to foster home, do we need to keep giving birth to more people?
Is there one way which giving birth to a currently non-existent entity is not selfish?
Sidenote: Now, I use ‘selfish’ in a non-pejorative sense (on a macro level, every species must be selfish, which requires each individual member to exercise some selfishness on a micro level.) And any future use of the word can be substituted for self-motivated or even self-serving but I use ‘selfish’ to illustrate a point.
What are the reasons for having a child the old fashioned, bow-chika-wow-wow way? Are these reasons selfish or not? These are my thoughts, but decide for yourself.
1) ‘It’d be a great to have a little version of me running around.’ = selfish.
2) ‘I want a kid so I won’t be lonely when I get old.’ = yep, selfish.
3) ‘I want a kid so that one day they’ll look after me when I’m old. = selfish
4) ‘It’d be great to have a little kid that looks like me.’ = purely selfish.
5) ‘I could adopt, but I want to have someone who’s like me genetically.’ = See this, if you are worried about how similar genetically you are to others (and potential new lives.)
6) ‘We could adopt, but if anyone finds out, then that kid’s going to be teased.’ = selfish. As this is a thought of you not being capable enough to teach a child that he or she is loved and stronger for the experience. And so will you.
7) ‘We could adopt but people will just assume we’re sterile/sexually incompatible.’ = Do you live your life based on what you think of yourself, or is your whole self-image and self-worth created by others?
8) ‘I’d love to raise a child to be a good person/a talented badminton player/a monster at ballet dancing.’ = selfish (as there are already kids out in the world who’d probably be thrilled for someone to devote their time and care for them to become a wonderful person, or an absolute fiend at badminton or ballet.
9) ‘Maybe if I have a kid, maybe he or she’ll cure cancer.’ = selfish, as if you’re seriously hopeful of someone curing cancer, try do it yourself.
10) ‘We just want to have kids because, you know, it’s just the done thing.’ = No. This is perhaps the most selfish one of all, as no conscious thought was put into this decision at all.
11) ‘We already have one kid so we should have another one so they have someone to play with.’ = a selfish decision to have the first one, and is it really the reason to have a second one? This reason can have benefits for the already existing child however, how many siblings do you actually see grow up and play with each other as much as you fantasize they will? Let’s just be conservative and say it rarely happens.
12) ‘If we have a kid, we’ll be more in love.’ = selfish. And no.
13) ‘If we have a kid, then my husband will be too scared to ever cheat on me.’ = Gross.
At the fundamental level, creating something (particularly a life) is selfish, or at least self-serving. It’s not possible to say it’s not, as that would imply you have the feelings of a non-existent entity in mind.
Aristotle said that any matter is just a rearrangement of particles and pre-existing matter. So though you may choose to rearrange particles and energy into creating a new life, there are thousands of kids in your city, state, country that are already in need of positive guidance and direction.
‘But if we just stop having kids, humanity actually will die out.’
Okay, so this could be a valid argument. But I’ll look into it more tomorrow, in the argument for having kids the old-fashioned way.