Monday, January 21, 2008

Better Never To Have Been

Thanks to the alert eyes of Stephen Hicks, I see there's a new book out from Oxford University Press: Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, by David Benatar.

His thesis is that your parents did harm to you by giving birth to you.

If this thesis becomes popularly accepted, I expect to see some lawsuits.

Against your parents, file a tort!
Why, oh why, did they fail to abort?

Since he took time to write the book, I guess the author has not yet reached the stage of: "Better Not To Be: Say Goodbye to Me".

Nope, he's lingering on here, trying to depress the rest of us.

Thanks so much,
Don't stay in touch.


TIV: the individual voice said...

Very funny, delivering the news and discussing it in rhymes.

JohnJEnright said...

Thanks. It keeps me amused!

Anonymous said...

I suggest you read his work before arrogantly dismissing it as nonsense. Had you made the effort, you would have found that Benatar explicitly and quite clearly explains why suicide does not necessarily follow from the position that non-existence would be to prefer over existence. But I guess you're busy being jolly. Good day to you.

JohnJEnright said...

Now, now. I was HUMBLY dismissing it as humorous.

As for being jolly, the author himself doesn't mind a jolly poem. He quotes the following:

There was an old man of Cape Horn
Who wished he had never been born;
And he wouldn't have been
If his father had seen
That the tip of the rubber was torn.

That's from page 201 of the book.

Of course Benatar has arguments. He's a philosopher, so he is FULL of arguments.

If anyone would like to see a key summary of his argument, here is his reply to a reviewer:

Note especially the "asymmetry" he claims to have discovered and see if it makes sense to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Anonymous here again. I want to apologize for my somewhat rude comment above. I was having a bad day and was apparently not receptive to humour at all. I maintain my defense of Benatar. On some days, such as the one I posted above comment, I am more ready than on others to buy his argument and on those days it is easy to become dogmatic. Anyway. Keep up your nice work here!

JohnJEnright said...

Anonymous, thank you, and I hope you have a good day as well!