Antinatalism is a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth, standing in opposition to natalism. It has been advanced by figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Emil Cioran, Peter Wessel Zapffe and David Benatar. Similar ideas can be seen in a fragment of Aristotle's Eudemus as "the wisdom of Silenus" and were discussed by Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. Groups that encourage antinatalism, or pursue antinatalist policies, include the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.
- The idea of bringing someone into the world fills me with horror. I would curse myself if I were a father. A son of mine! Oh no, no, no! May my entire flesh perish and may I transmit to no one the aggravations and the disgrace of existence.
- Gustave Flaubert, Letters to Madame Louise Colet (December 11, 1852)
- If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence, or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?
- I could have done even better, miss, and I'd know a lot more, if it wasn't for my destiny ever since childhood. I'd have killed a man in a duel with a pistol for calling me low-born, because I came from Stinking Lizaveta without a father, and they were shoving that in my face in Moscow. It spread there thanks to Grigory Vasilievich. Grigory Vasilievich reproaches me for rebelling against my nativity: 'You opened her matrix,' he says. I don't know about her matrix, but I'd have let them kill me in the womb, so as not to come out into the world at all, miss.
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880)
- I further observed all the oppression that goes under the sun: the tears of the oppressed, with none to comfort them; and the power of their oppressors—with none to comfort them. Then I accounted those who died long since more fortunate than those who are still living; and happier than either are those who have not yet come into being and have never witnessed the miseries that go under the sun.
- The Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, 4:1-3
- It is best not to have been born at all: but, if born, as quickly as possible to return whence one came.
- By rights we should issue a decree not to get married and have children, and let the seed of Abraham come to an end of its own accord.
- The Talmud, during the Hadrianic persecutions, as quoted in: Peter L. Berger, The Desecularization of the World, 1999
- Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
- Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.
- Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975)
- Heaven and happiness do not exist. That's your parents' way to justify the crime of having brought you into this world. What exists is reality, the tough reality, this slaughterhouse we've come to die in, if not to kill and to eat the animals, our fellow creatures. Therefore, do not reproduce, do not repeat the crimes committed against you, do not give back the same, evil paid with evil, as imposing life is the ultimate crime. Do not disturb the unborn, let them be in the peace of nothingness, anyway we'll all eventually go back there, so why beat around the bush?” ―Fernando Vallejo
- In accordance with my conception of life, I have chosen not to bring children into the world. A coin is examined, and only after careful deliberation, given to a beggar, whereas a child is flung out into the cosmic brutality without hesitation.
- Peter Wessel ZapffeTo Be a Human Being (1989–90)