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Fu Dominant
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Hey, crazy kids. Ready for some existential discussion?

Considering that bringing a child into this world must be done so without their consent, is it not the most selfish act one (or, more appropriately, two) can do? No one who has been alive at this point has had the option to exist. We've all been forced into it. We've all been forced to find something to do to survive. Some have it good, some don't. But that's not the point. And eventually, we can opt out if we choose, but should that even be necessary in the first place?

So, is the so-called "biological urge" to reproduce enough justification for this terrorism on humanity, especially in this day and age when over-population is a real issue in many countries around the planet? Does that fact alone serve to only exemplify how selfish and vain having children really is? You can even continue this with consideration of those who have children as a means of receiving more welfare benefits, who already cannot afford to provide for their family on their own as it is.

Is the continuation of humanity, essentially against its own future generations' will, excusable? Understandable? Justifiable? How can the needs of the many in this case outweigh the needs of the few, when the few are also the many?

Also, another point to consider: If it were possible to ask children for their consent to exist in this world, and they knew what they were in for in terms of just how cruel and unfair this world can be, would they give that consent? And if they didn't, would we continue to force them to exist in this world anyway, for the sake of continuing humanity?

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This is just food for thought and discussion. I'm not against having children, being parents, etc. I've just had these sorts of things go through my head anytime I've thought about future plans on being a parent, having a family, etc. Figured it'd be good for discussion. :eek:)
 

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I see a world full of wonder and beauty.. I see life as a gift..

I feel the world you are speaking of exists because people take the gift of life for granted.

Consent? How about being grateful instead?? That's is what get's me though. I am just glad to be here.. Experiencing. Even all the shit is better than nothing at all..
Life is short and then you are a long time dead.

Life is what you make of it.. This is one of the main hallmarks of the Ni mind.
 

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Very interesting questions. But......I disagree profoundly with the position you've taken. (BTW am speaking here as an oldish male ("baby boomer") who isn't a father).

I think the odds against a particular individual existing as he/she does (thinking in terms of DNA and genes etc) is absolutely astronomical. So, in that statistical sense the existence of each one of us is a miracle (But i'm not meaning miracle in the religious sense). And something we *should* (value judgement, i realise) be grateful for.

Also, another point to consider: If it were possible to ask children for their consent to exist in this world, and they knew what they were in for in terms of just how cruel and unfair this world can be, would they give that consent? And if they didn't, would we continue to force them to exist in this world anyway, for the sake of continuing humanity?
Interesting thought experiment. Of course, in reality, how could this question be asked? - but that doesn't invalidate it as a thought experiment. But in my view such a "potential child" would indeed give his consent.

I think your view is overly pessimistic. "Terrorism on humanity" ? No
 

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<snip>

This is just food for thought and discussion. I'm not against having children, being parents, etc. I've just had these sorts of things go through my head anytime I've thought about future plans on being a parent, having a family, etc. Figured it'd be good for discussion. :eek:)

Just spotted this (which i probably missed before cos it's in a smaller font) and which gives your questions more of a "devil's advocate" flavour.
 

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I agree with a lot of your points, OP, just maybe not with the vehemence that you've displayed them. (I do realize it's just food for thought.) The point about nobody having chosen to exist is one that I agree with absolutely, and I regularly use it to bolster arguments for physician-assisted suicide.

At the moment, it's my intention to never pollute the planet with miniature versions of myself, although I fully admit that that could change somewhere down the line if I find someone to settle down with.

If being born had been given to me as a choice, at least into the life I currently lead, I would have turned it down. And I'm not even depressed! I'm quite chipper most of the time, and I think that the world is a lovely place. I grew up in an upper-middle-class family ("rich by most people's standards") and have had all my needs seen to by my parents. I just think that the Western notion of live-school-career-die is stifling, and a lot of work for unsatisfactory payoff.
 

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Fu Dominant
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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, I am sort of playing devil's advocate. It's just food for discussion. ;o)

I mean, think about it. You didn't have the choice to exist. Yet, here you are. You were brought into this world through no say of your own. You live (or at least, have lived up to a certain point) because you had to, not because you wanted to. You had no choice. No option. It was forced upon you.

Most other situations of this nature, where one is forced without their own say-so, are considered criminal. The exceptions, like killing another in self defense, must be justifiable to be acceptable. To what degree is the justification of some biological urge or necessity acceptable for this specific situation of bringing children into this world? Especially when you consider factors such as abusive homes, extremely poor and/or uneducated areas such as inner-city ghettos, Native American reservations, or regions in Africa, and so on.

And I'd argue on the more specific topic of a couple bringing children into this world out of "love", as mentioned above, as merely being yet another example of vanity and selfishness among the two parents involved. "I want" and "we want". This is yet more exemplified by parents, even loving ones, who bring kids into this world despite being unable to provide for them properly. Two people can love each other their entire lives and never involve bringing a child into the situation, same as two people can hate each other as well and never bring a child in.
 

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I think there is too much fear mongering over the idea of overpopulation. There is enough space for us to live on, enough space for us to grow food especially since we can produce food on a much smaller piece of land than we could in the past. Nonrenewable resources that we depend on are limited of course which is the main problem because as population increases we might need more and more of these resources, but perhaps we can find new better sustainable resources to use.

I also think we eventually should begin to make the move to developing our cities into self sustaining arcologies which can adequately house the human population in an economically and environmentally self sufficient way. Arcology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Is there a population cap on our planet? Probably but I think we are very very unlikely to ever reach that.

With regard to life itself I'll repeat what I said above it's a gift and an act of love to have children and raise them up and help them throughout their life.

Bible says the greatest love is to die for your friends.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

That's true but what about creating new life entirely and giving a person a life helping them grow, surely that would also be an act of great love.
 

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Yes, I am sort of playing devil's advocate. It's just food for discussion. ;o)

I mean, think about it. You didn't have the choice to exist. Yet, here you are. You were brought into this world through no say of your own. You live (or at least, have lived up to a certain point) because you had to, not because you wanted to. You had no choice. No option. It was forced upon you.
This is actually quite interesting to think about, especially since you would have to exist first to give your consent to not exist.

Most other situations of this nature, where one is forced without their own say-so, are considered criminal. The exceptions, like killing another in self defense, must be justifiable to be acceptable. To what degree is the justification of some biological urge or necessity acceptable for this specific situation of bringing children into this world? Especially when you consider factors such as abusive homes, extremely poor and/or uneducated areas such as inner-city ghettos, Native American reservations, or regions in Africa, and so on.
I'll be honest I've always thought that if I was to ever have kids, I would have them when I am financially stable myself and happy in life myself.

It's sad that children have to be brought up into a corrupt world or world of poverty, under those circumstances personally I still don't think it is selfish to have children. Hard to explain why it's just personal view.

What about adopted children? I mean even if the foster parents weren't very financially well of it would still be an act of love for the foster parents to adopt the child and give it a chance at life. Of course the authorities don't allow for adoption to take place if certain conditions are not met.

And I'd argue on the more specific topic of a couple bringing children into this world out of "love", as mentioned above, as merely being yet another example of vanity and selfishness among the two parents involved. "I want" and "we want". This is yet more exemplified by parents, even loving ones, who bring kids into this world despite being unable to provide for them properly. Two people can love each other their entire lives and never involve bringing a child into the situation, same as two people can hate each other as well and never bring a child in.
I can't really understand this though, I don't think personal want would have anything to do with it having children and bringing children up should on theory anyway be entirely about giving love to them and not wanting or expecting anything in return.
 

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I understand your points, OP, but I have to disagree.

As nearly everybody above me has said, life is a gift. It is and has always been what we make it: appreciating the good, coping with the bad.

Even if we were not given a choice to enter the world or not, I believe that a newborn child's first cry, the fact that it is the only thing a baby is capable of doing to communicate that it wants attention and nurturing, is enough reason to believe that it is an act of love, and not of selfishness.

Pure love is selfless. Life is a variable.
 

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@Opabinia

A biological imperative, indeed, but would you willingly have a child with someone you did not feel any bit of love for in the least?

I'm pretty sure most people don't have children with the thought "I have to. It's in my DNA coding." LOL
 

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I was actually thinking about something similar the other week, interestingly enough, so I see where you're coming from. Basically I'd like to think that the drive to create a life would be just that; a completely organic desire to create and grow a conscious being, with the "love" as a PRODUCT of the experience, NOT the goal (ideal scenario). I think it is unfair, in a sense, to force a life into the world simply because two people love each other a lot and want to spread the love and have every one bask in the love :rolleyes:. Having a child is probably the single greatest contingency that could come about from any human action, and because of this I think the entire subject of child birth should only ever be considered at great length and with monumental significance attached by both parents. It should be discussed in theory and in terms of practical details ad nauseum and then reflected upon even more.

So I certainly think it's possible for child birth to be selfish, if the parents take the very idea of it for granted or neglect to think critically and thoroughly about whether or not their current situation is suitable. But that doesn't mean it's morally reprehensible; as long as the parents are mature and responsible once the kid is born, and care for it and all that, I can't really judge (even though I'd like to sometimes!).

I guess my biggest problem is the fact that having kids is sort of the default mode of society, that it's something you should do, and is always portrayed as an imperative "level" in life... I think it would be interesting to see if birth rates would decline if the idea was scorned by society rather than pimped out by it.
 

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THE IRON GIANT
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@GoodOldDreamer

Impressive, bold, and brilliant thread. I couldn't agree more. Reproduction is indeed an incredibly selfish act, and a biological imperative (as @Opabinia said). It is always these things, and calling it instead an act of love is an insult to the value and opinion of the offspring. We are continuing ourselves when we reproduce. We are not considering the will of the child, because there is no child yet.

It is, however, an acceptable and forgivable violation. It doesn't make us bad parents or bad people. It doesn't make the child a bad person. It just means that we must reproduce on purpose, and only when we are able to support a child. When we choose to do this, we had better be damn sure we have our shit straight and be prepared to pour all of ourselves into meeting that child's needs. We owe them that at least, and we can hope one day that they feel grateful for their life, not cursed with it.
 

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Notwithstanding the overpopulation argument and the impassioned self-assuredness present in the op, the position you've articulated closely mirrors my own. I have no desire to reproduce for a number of reasons (pragmatic considerations, mainly), but the concern raised in your first paragraph is sufficiently repugnant to what few principles by which I abide (for myself, perhaps the closest analogue to a sense of morality) as to categorically preclude the possibility, even barring these initial disincentives.

I am perhaps especially sympathetic to this perspective because I belong to the “opt-out” group in your thought experiment; absurd though the scenario may be, I would elect not to live if given the choice prior to my existence. I am greatly disturbed by what intentional reproduction constitutes—in my view, an unmindful imposition of will. This sentiment is compounded by the absence of any apparent justification for procreation beyond some ineffable sense of personal gratification derived from creating another and a unique appeal of relativistic interactions between oneself and this being in its inexplicably inherently meaningful capacity as one's offspring.

To be sure, I believe that life is, to a great extent, what one makes of it. The natural argument that stems from this, I suppose, is that very few people view life as some intolerable burden or struggle (or “curse,” as other posters have mentioned). In other words, most people adopt a perspective favorable to life in itself and, all things considered, prefer to exist rather than not (a preference distinct from aversion to death, I maintain).

But perspective is a recourse of the living. Procreation is entirely unnecessary, and the possibility that people will ultimately come to regret having been conceived, however slight, serves as the determinative consideration for me (certainly in lieu of a contrapositive valuation). Simply put, I am unwilling to potentially consign another person to involuntary detention based on the probabalistic judgment that this scenario is unlikely to occur.
 

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I have 3 children and I have frequent moments of feeling selfish and thinking to myself, 'what have I done?!', how could I have been so selfish to bring children into this world, full of death, disease and destruction, to work their fingers to the bone and be taxed to death until they're old and get tossed to the side and forgotten and not adequately cared for because the tax they paid when younger isn't enough to cover the costs required to provide then with a quality end of life.

For the most part though, they seem happy enough and blissfully unaware and I love them so much I couldn't imagine NOT having my beautiful, precious babies. Children, ultimately, are a gift. They ARE the reason I was born, my parents weren't being selfish - they created me to create these three perfect little lives.

I love 'what is the meaning of life' questions. I don't think there is some mystical reason for life, I just think you're born - make the most of it. Take drugs, get laid, jump out of a plane, share moments with people of significance, have kids - share moments with your kids and impart the knowledge that they also should do what they can in the short time they're alive and make the most of it.
 

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Is something a gift if you don't ask for it? Well, technically it is. But it could be a shitty gift, something you don't need, something you might hate, or perhaps something that could potentially harm you. So what is life then? Life is a gift with varying degrees of shittiness and awesomeness. It all depends on the gift giver...your parents! Some people are really terrible gift givers, they don't even consider the person receiving the gift. Some people just like to give cash. Some people are excellent at giving gifts, they know exactly what I wanted! And some people don't even give gifts at all.

So what did you get?
 
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