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Antinatalism is a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth. Quotes are alphabetized by author or keyword.



  • What! Having the Infinite Force
    Only to pay oneself distressing spectacles,
    Impose massacre, inflict agony,
    Wanting before his eyes only the dead and the dying!
    In front of this spectator of our extreme pains
    Our indignation will overcome all terror;
    We will intersect our rasps of blasphemies,
    Not without a secret desire to excite his fury.
    Who knows? We may find some insult
    Who irritates him so much that, with a mad arm,
    He tears up our dark planet from the heavens,
    And shattered this unfortunate globe in a thousand shards.
    Our audacity at least would save you from being born,
    You who still sleep in the depth of the future.
    And we would come out triumphant for having, by ceasing to be,
    forced God to wash his hands off of Humanity.
    Ah! What immense joy after so much suffering!
    Through the debris, over the mass graves.
    To finally be able to let out this cry of deliverance:
    No more men under the sky, we are the last!
  • Although there are many answers to the question of how people should live, few thinkers have wondered about whether it is really moral to create people. Antinatalism undermines what seems obvious: that people should be begotten and born.
  • Among the people who are created, there are always some who will have to suffer unspeakably. This fact, having been considered not only by Schopenhauer and other so-called pessimists, should influence anyone prepared to have a closer look only – and especially – at the 20th century to philosophize. Thus far, nobody has succeeded in demonstrating that the inconceivable, though immeasurable suffering inflicted upon human beings, in Auschwitz and elsewhere throughout time and space, can be compensated by the former or future happiness of the sufferers or of others.
    • Karim Akerma, Verebben der Menschheit?: Neganthropie und Anthropodizee
  • Only by means of relative or absolute childlessness, resulting in mankind’s ebbing away, could happen what might be named – borrowing from the Greek myth – Sisyphus’s revolt. He would give up his work, not in order to commit suicide but rather by refraining from having children who otherwise would have taken his spot. In such a way that at some point in time there would be no one in the rock’s path which would eventually roll out. In terms of the Asian primordial decision: By means of abstention from procreation, the wheel of suffering would be deprived of its impetus until it comes to a standstill.
    • Karim Akerma, Verebben der Menschheit?: Neganthropie und Anthropodizee
  • Whoever procreate is a selfish ego-producer. On the other hand, whoever decides to adopt has the opportunity to show what true altruism is.
    • Karim Akerma, Antinatalismus – Ein Handbuch
  • Without God, clearly, one needs no theodicy. That is to say, there is no longer any point in enquiring into such matters as why God has permitted so much suffering or whether – if the creation of no other world than this deeply imperfect one were possible – He would have done better to forgo Creation of world and Man altogether. But modernity rid itself of the desire for a theodicy without seeing that, by doing this, it burdened itself with the obligation to provide an anthropodicy in this latter’s stead. This anthropodicy takes the form of the parallel but modified question: how can it be justified, in the face of so much suffering undergone in the past, being experienced in the present, and to be expected in the future, that human beings beget more human beings?
    • Karim Akerma, Antinatalismus – Ein Handbuch
  • My father has perpetrated this crime against me; I am guilty of none.
    • Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri, Arab Socialism
    • Description: Al-Maʿarri is said to have wanted this verse inscribed over his grave.
  • Whenever I reflect, my reflecting upon what I suffer only rouses me to blame him that begot me. And I gave peace to my children, for they are in the bliss of nonexistence which surpasses all the pleasures of this world. Had they come to life, they would have endured a misery casting them to destruction in trackless wildernesses.
  • All human actions are nothing more than attempts to heal the mistake of their existence.
    • Abdullah al-Qasemi, أيها العقل من رآك؟
  • And what should I pray about? I ain't afraid of the next world; it can't be worse than this one; and in this world prayers don't cut much ice. I prayed so hard not to have a child - but I did and all. I prayed that the child might be able to stay with me - and it had to go to the Institute. I prayed that there it might stay alive - and it took and died.
    • Leonid Andreyew, The Christians
    • Description: the words of the character, Grusha.
  • You began existing, raw jelly,
    And you will grow further, in your silence, so much
    Which, is natural, still some day, the crying of
    your plasmic concretions flows!
    The water, in conjunction with the bare earth,
    wins over the granite, depressing it... the fright
    Convulses the spirits, and so,
    Your development continues!
    Before, human jelly, do not progress
    And in undefined retrogradation,
    Return to the old calm of nonexistence!
    Before the Nothingness, oh! Germ, You shall still
    Reach it, like the germs of other beings
    To the supreme misfortune of being!
  • Birth is the driving wheel of all ills.
    • Philippe Annaba, Bienheureux les stériles
  • Cattle sleep well
    they peacefully chew the cud
    because they do not know that tomorrow
    their calf will head to the slaughterhouse
    to the arena
    maybe they just do not care
    Do you, too, do not care
    about the fate of your children?
    • Philippe Annaba, Bienheureux les stériles
  • But I am aware of some that murmur: What, say they, if all men should abstain from all sexual intercourse, whence will the human race exist? Would that all would this, only in "charity out of a pure heart, and good conscience, and faith unfeigned"; much more speedily would the City of God be filled, and the end of the world hastened.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series, Volume III St. Augustine: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises


  • Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave-digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries.
    • Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
    • Description: the words of the character, Vladimir.
  • "No," he replied, when I asked him if he had ever wanted children, "that's one thing I'm proud of."
    • Lawrence Shainberg, Exorcising Beckett
    • Description: about Samuel Beckett.
  • Time and again he targets parents as irresponsible criminals although, of course, in life courtesy prevented him from expressing his real feelings. Hamm denounces his parents in "Endgame" as "accursed progenitors" and Molloy is bitterly unable to forgive his mother for bringing him into the world. In private I knew Beckett to express a passive anger at those who insisted on having families.
    • John Calder, The philosophy of Samuel Beckett
    • Description: about Samuel Beckett.
  • A few of my critics have claimed that I am committed to the desirability of suicide and even speciecide. They clearly intend this as a reductio ad absurdum of my position. However, I considered the questions of suicide and speciecide in Better Never to Have Been and argued that these are not implications of my view. First, it is possible to think that both coming into existence is a serious harm and that death is (usually) a serious harm. Indeed, some people might think that coming into existence is a serious harm in part because the harm of death is then inevitable.
    • David Benatar, Still Better Never to Have Been: A Reply to (More of) My Critics
  • Although, as we have seen, nobody is lucky enough not to be born, everybody is unlucky enough to have been born – and particularly bad luck it is, as I shall now explain. On the quite plausible assumption that one’s genetic origin is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for having come into existence, one could not have been formed by anything other than the particular gametes that produced the zygote from which one developed. This implies, in turn, that one could not have had any genetic parents other than those that one does have. It follows from this that any person’s chances of having come into existence are extremely remote. The existence of any one person is dependent not only on that person’s parents themselves having come into existence and having met but also on their having conceived that person at the time that they did. Indeed, mere moments might make a difference to which particular sperm is instrumental in a conception. The recognition of how unlikely it was that one would have come into existence, combined with the recognition that coming into existence is always a serious harm, yields the conclusion that one’s having come into existence is really bad luck. It is bad enough when one suffers some harm. It is worse still when the chances of having been harmed are very remote.
    • David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
  • Another route to anti-natalism is via what I call a "misanthropic" argument. According to this argument humans are a deeply flawed and a destructive species that is responsible for the suffering and deaths of billions of other humans and non-human animals. If that level of destruction were caused by another species we would rapidly recommend that new members of that species not be brought into existence.
  • Assuming that each couple has three children, an original pair's cumulative descendants over ten generations amount to 88,572 people. That constitutes a lot of pointless, avoidable suffering. To be sure, full responsibility for it all does not lie with the original couple because each new generation faces the choice of whether to continue that line of descendants. Nevertheless, they bear some responsibility for the generations that ensue. If one does not desist from having children, one can hardly expect one's descendants to do so.
    • David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
  • Creating new people, by having babies, is so much a part of human life that it is rarely thought even to require a justification. Indeed, most people do not even think about whether they should or should not make a baby. They just make one. In other words, procreation is usually the consequence of sex rather than the result of a decision to bring people into existence. Those who do indeed decide to have a child might do so for any number of reasons, but among these reasons cannot be the interests of the potential child. One can never have a child for that child's sake.
    • David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
  • It is curious that while good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place.
    • David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
  • The argument that coming into existence is always a harm can be summarized as follows: Both good and bad things happen only to those who exist. However, there is a crucial asymmetry between the good and the bad things. The absence of bad things, such as pain, is good even if there is nobody to enjoy that good, whereas the absence of good things, such as pleasure, is bad only if there is somebody who is deprived of these good things.
    • David Benatar, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
  • To procreate is thus to engage in a kind of Russian roulette, but one in which the "gun" is aimed not at oneself but instead at one’s offspring. You trigger a new life and thereby subject that new life to the risk of unspeakable suffering.
    • David Benatar, Debating Procreation: Is It Wrong To Reproduce?
  • Even at the risk of being thought mad, we must not be afraid to say that our parents, like theirs before them, were guilty of the crime of procreation, which means the crime of creating unhappiness, of conspiring with others to increase the unhappiness of an increasingly unhappy world.
    • Thomas Bernhard, Gathering evidence: a memoir
  • To beget, because one wants no longer to be alone, another aloneness; this is criminal.
    • Thomas Bernhard, Frost
    • Description: the words of the character, Maler Strauch
  • Every life starts with a violation of the newborn's will. This tragedy with comedic qualities is described by Leo Tolstoy in a benign way, when he says: "my life is a stupid and spiteful joke someone has played on me".
    • Gunter Bleibohm, Fluch der Geburt – Thesen einer Überlebensethik
  • The formula of childbirth is: let the current state of affairs continue. Unbelievable message. "Forget about suffering, stop rebelling." This means acceptance of everything that happens, suggests that existence has an indisputable value. It also turns out that existence is not as independent of our will as we might think, but we are the ones who make the final gesture of consent. And therefore, we are responsible.
    • Jolanta Brach-Czaina, Szczeliny istnienia
  • Procreation is something impossible for me. I would never forgive myself for putting someone on death row.
    • Elisa Brune, La mort dans l'âme: tango avec Cioran


  • If freedom, according to traditional morality itself, is a fundamental ethical value, the very basis of ethics, one must be aware that the creation of a child may be the first huge disrespect of the freedom of the human person. The issue of freedom suffers from the same problem as the issue of pain: it is a matter of ethical value that the traditional affirmative ethic is unable to radicalize.
  • In the light of natural ontology, it is not correct the argument that we do not know anything about our possible offsprings, for example, about the capacity they will have to overcome structural pain; because even we do not know, for example, whether they will enjoy traveling, working or studying classical languages, we do know they will be indigent, decadent, vacating beings who will start dying since birth, who will face and be characterized by systematic dysfunctions, who will have to constitute their own beings as beings-against-the-others – in the sense of dealing with aggressiveness and having to discharge it over others – who will lose those they love and be lost by those who love them, and time will take everything they manage to build.
  • It is very curious that it is sometimes considered cruel or inhumane to raise the issue of the ethics of procreation, as if this showed a rejection of the unborn children, a kind of hatred for their lives. This is a total deformation of the intentions of an ethical reflection on procreation. On the contrary, this reflection is motivated by a deep concern for the possible children, due to the risk of their emergence being the consequence of a thoughtless, constraining and aggressive act towards small defenseless beings, on whom one thinks to have full right to plan everything about their lives to our full desire and satisfaction. A great part of the revolt that awakens in the adult world due the simple placement of this issue indicates that the parents obtain a great pleasure in the procreative act, and react – sometimes angrily – against those who question this powerful source of pleasure, and consequently the immense power over the one who is going to be born. This total power over another life is intensely seductive and no one wants to give it up. But in the ethical reflection, whatever the subject matter is, it is never an issue of evaluating only the satisfaction we get from our actions, but of pondering whether what we do is right or not, whether the power we can accumulate over more defenseless beings is or not ethically justified.
    • Julio Cabrera, Mal-Estar e Moralidade. Situação Humana, Ética e Procriação Responsável
  • Killing someone and giving birth to someone are two violent actions through which, magically, man tries to put themself in God’s place. The victim of a homicide is always helpless, but never as helpless as the victim of a birth. Childbirth spills innocent blood just like homicide. If procreation is a free choice, then life is fundamentally unnecessary pain.
  • MV says that the rejection of life appears in later states, but that at the time of birth, and already before, everything is acceptance of life. But, is this so?? What can be said of the outcry with which children are born, of the primordial cry, of the first traumatic contact (studied by Freud) with the world? Isn't the child’s outcry already his first philosophical opinion of the world? Why is he not born laughing, or at least calm? When the baby is dumped in the world at the time of childbirth, his first reaction is pessimistic, a protest against disregard and disturbance, an initial outcry that he did not have to learn, as he will have to learn to laugh in the first few weeks or even months of life (which already marks, in the very inaugural act of being, the pessimistic asymmetry: the baby learns to laugh, but is born crying); the baby is born, forced by foreign desires, in an initial desperation, in a cry of deep and abysmal helplessness, in a primordial terror that, immediately, through movements, caresses, cares, etc, adults will try to soften; movements that will be repeated throughout his life: initial despair followed by protective cares; but the cares are posterior to the despair; the despair comes first, and the cares are the reactions. They are not on the same level. Asymmetry!
  • People proclaim that "the experience of parenthood is extraordinary" and recommend it to all (and denigrate those who have not gone through it). But I wonder: "extraordinary for whom?". It is certainly extraordinary for the parents. When they say that not only will they be happy and fulfilled with the experience but also their children, they do not realize the unfathomable asymmetry and mismatch between these two experiences, the experience of generating and of being generated. The generated is obliged to accept the experience, to make it good and interesting (and even extraordinary); What other option would they have? This obligation is not present in the parents, where the “extraordinary” character of the experience is part of an immersive and unilateral project. The situations of both parties are incomparable. Thus, when some reply: "There is no sense in you wanting to show that life is bad; You cannot decide for your child; Maybe they like to live", what does that mean? Of course! In a sense, they are obligated to like! But this “liking” will always be a desperate acceptance. The generated is not in a position of really liking. They could like if they had really chosen. Faced with the fait accompli, they are forced to cling desperately to life. Either they “like” or are destroyed (by a nervous illness, or by the hostility of others).
  • The best would have been not to be born. Not being born is, in a negative ethics, the absolute good; but it is, precisely, the good that cannot be sought. (Attention: the situation is more radical than in the case of goods that can be sought but never achieved; not being born cannot even be sought).
  • The many lives that end up catastrophically seem a very high price to morally justify the "bet" of procreation, even the one done in the most serious way possible by the "responsible procreator." (Do numerous catastrophes "compensate" for some "successful" lives? Can we make "gains" and "losses" calculations with possible human lives, more than we do with real human lives?). But what is important is that even if none of these calamitous situations were presented, the vital "triumph" of the child, the fact that it has achieved that "equilibrium" (always morally costly, by the impediment thesis) between the invention of values ​​and the terminal structure of being, does not exempt the parents from the responsibility of having put them at risk of falling into some of those catastrophes. Moreover, even if the child has "won" the bet, their "triumph" will forever and indefinitely remain tied to the unilaterality of the procreative act: the child will have won the bet, but it will never have been their bet. They can at most win it, but they could never have chosen to compete.
    • Julio Cabrera, Mal-Estar e Moralidade. Situação Humana, Ética e Procriação Responsável
  • Thus, whoever has said to procreate for love, as others kill for hate, might have said a truth, but, no doubt, this person has not given any moral justification for procreation. Saying you have had a child "for love" is a manner of saying you have had him or her compulsively, according to the wild rhythms of life. In a similar way, we might intensely love our parents and, at the same time, consider fatherhood ethically-rationally problematic, and visualize we have been manipulated by them. I may continue to love after having detected immorality, there is nothing contradictory on that. Neither would morally justify a homicide saying we have done it for hate, nor a suicide saying we have done it "for hate against ourselves". Something can continue to be ethically problematic even when guided by love.
  • We undoubtedly would not morally justify the behavior of someone who sent a colleague to a dangerous situation by saying: "I sent him there because I know he is strong and he will manage well". The "strengths" of the newborn do not relieve in anything the moral responsibility of the procreator. Anyone would answer: "This is irrelevant. Your role in the matter consisted of sending people to a situation you know was difficult and painful and you could avoid it. Your predictions about their reacting manners do not decrease in anything your responsibility". In the case of procreation, the reasoning could be the same, and in a notorious emphatic way, since in any intra-worldly situation with already existing people in which we send someone to a position known as painful, the other one could always run away from pain to the extent his being is already in the world and he could predict danger and try to avoid being exposed to a disregarding and manipulative maneuver. In the case of the one who is being born, by contrast, this is not possible at all because it is precisely his very being that is being manufactured and used. Concerning birth, therefore, manipulation seems to be total.
  • When someone (including philosophers) defends the pretentious beauty of "having children", they refer to the pleasure of "seeing them grow", first children, then adolescents, then graduated and independent adults (this happens not only in wealthy classes but also, in part, in more modest ones). However, it is strange that they, when speaking of children, inexplicably stop at this point and never refer to their decline, their aging, their decadence, perhaps because they think they will not be there to contemplate this decline. The parents prefer not to see the end of this process, as if the child dissolved in the air. The residual aspect of parenthood is omitted; the child is only visualized as flourishing. The death of the child-residue is denied any visibility. The consummation of the processes is concealed as something dirty and indecent, not worthy to be shown.
    • Julio Cabrera, Mal-Estar e Moralidade. Situação Humana, Ética e Procriação Responsável
  • Would a genuinely rational agent choose to be born? My argument against R. M. Hare can be reread in the "Critique of Affirmative Morality" (...). There I suggest that in the experiment where the non-being is magically consulted about their possible birth, Hare is mistaken in assuming uncritically that "they" would undoubtedly choose to be born. (This is the usual affirmative trend). For let’s suppose that they are human, that is, a rational creature capable of pondering reasons. The information that is given to this possible being in Hare’s experiment is incomplete and biased. We should also tell them that if they are born, they will have no guarantee of being born without problems; that if they manage to be born without problems, they will almost surely suffer from many intra-wordly evils; that if they manage to get rid of them (and this is intra-wordly possible, even if difficult), we cannot give them any guarantee as to the length of their life or the type of death they will have, as well as having to suffer the death of those who they come to love and to have their death suffered by those who love them (if they are lucky enough to love someone and to be loved by someone else, which is also not guaranteed). They must be told that if they avoid some violent accidental death, they will decay in a rather scarce number of years (as well as the people they love and care about), and that they have a high chance of becoming a terminal patient that can suffer terribly until the time of their demise. If it is still possible for the non-being, after having assimilated all this information, to choose to be born, could we not nourish well-founded doubts about its quality as a "rational agent"?
  • When we give up on having children, we give up a small and dubious personal satisfaction to prevent the emergence of great suffering. If we can exercise a minimum of compassion for what, according to ourselves, will be the sole object of our love and dedication, we will see that, by not reproducing, we will be putting into practice the only possible kindness toward our children. Let us be comforted to know that, because they were not born, in our dreams they will always be sleeping in their rooms, under blankets as soft as the embrace of the one whose love would never allow them to suffer, and thereby protected them from existence. They remain comfortable, serene, in peace, with a half-smile on their lips for never having tasted the bitterness and disappointment of life. They will always remain pure, eternally free from the dangers of the world. This is the true meaning of giving up one's life in favor of one's children.
  • Undoubtedly, the reproductive drive has deep biological roots, but that does not free us from guilt either. Of course, it was not us who invented life and its rules, but it was us who propagated it. We intentionally create a life in circumstances where we knew that suffering would be unavoidable. The impulse of aggression often leads us to commit crimes, but we do not fail to consider it reprehensible. It is something equally instinctive and natural, rooted in us as deeply as the sexual impulse. The difference is that our aggression will materialize nine months later, as if planting a time bomb in the heart of nothingness.
  • Very good and deep is the thought: "Nobody would accept life as a gift if they could decide." Seneca was the one who said it and I am in agreement with him. Imagine a pre existent soul, in all it's tranquility, which is informed of what the life of man entails and the evils to which they are subject – it would refuse to enter a body.
  • Regarding sexual intercourse, their position was that any form of intercourse was acceptable (and, according to some, celebrated), so long as it did not result in procreation.
    • John M. Riddle, Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance
    • Description: about cathars.
  • As long as they have the wish to kill, they will not lose the lust to procreate.
    • Guido Ceronetti, The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine
  • Man dares to allow himself to be cruel, when he's already committed, tranquilly and repeatedly, the crudest act of all: engendering, condemning beings that do not exist or suffer to the horrors of life.
    • Guido Ceronetti, The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine
  • Oh, the suppliers of live meat to furnaces of pain!
    • Guido Ceronetti, The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine
  • The immorality of procreation praised as conscious is this: here the crime of making a man, to introduce more evil and pain in the world is not made unconsciously in ecstasy and drama in the darkness of copulation, but is coolly premeditated, people then are no longer cautious and repeat the act until they reach the goal. But there is something even worse: artificial procreation, semen ice, where without the manipulator and the belly person horrified by what they do, lacks even the delight that is some extenuating circumstance.
    • Guido Ceronetti, The Silence of the Body: Materials for the Study of Medicine
  • If you're afraid of illnesses, if you are afraid of death, then you should contemplate where they com from? Where do they come from? They arise from birth. So don't be sad when someone dies, it's just nature, and his suffering in this life is over. If you want to be sad, be sad when people are born: Oh. No, they've come again. They're going to suffer and die again!
  • Our birth and death are just one thing. You can't have one without the other. It's a little funny to see how at a death people are so tearful and sad, and at a birth how happy and delighted. It's delusion. I think if you really want to cry. Then it would be better to do so when someone born. Cry at the root, for if there were no birth, there would be no death. Can you understand this?
  • We should do what we can to minimize the suffering of those animals already in existence, but we should also consider ending the breeding of captive animals. This will ensure that fewer suffering sentient beings are created, thus decreasing the overall amount of suffering.
    • Sayma H. Chowdhury, Todd K. Shackelford, To Breed, or Not to Breed?: An Antinatalist Answer to the Question of Animal Welfare
  • Best by far not to be born, and not to come up against these rocks of life, but, if you are born, is it next best to escape as it were from fire of fortune as quickly as possible.
  • Everything is wonderfully clear if we admit that birth is a disastrous or at least an inopportune event; but if we think otherwise, we must resign ourselves to the unintelligible, or else cheat like everyone else.
  • I have said more than once that one can have a post-sexual vision of the world, the most desperate vision that is possible: the feeling of having invested everything in something that was not worth it. The extraordinary thing is that we are dealing with a reversible infinity. Sexuality is an immense imposture, a gigantic falsehood that invariably renews itself.
  • I was alone in that cemetery overlooking the village when a pregnant woman came in. I left at once, in order not to look at this corpse-bearer at close range, nor to ruminate upon the contrast between an aggressive womb and the time-worn tombs-between a false promise and the end of all promises.
  • If attachment is an evil, we must look for its cause in the scandal of birth, for to be born is to be attached. Detachment then should apply itself to getting rid of the traces of this scandal, the most serious and intolerable of all.
  • Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?
  • If it is true that by death we once more become what we were before being, would it not have been better to abide by that pure possibility, not to stir from it? What use was this detour, when we might have remained forever in an unrealized plenitude?
  • In Buddhist writings, mention is often made of "the abyss of birth". An abyss indeed, a gulf into which we do not fall but from which, instead, we emerge, to our universal chagrin.'
  • In the Council of 1211 against the Bogomils, those among them were anathematized who held that "woman conceives in her womb by the cooperation of Satan, that Satan abides there upon conception without withdrawing hence until the birth of the child". I dare not suppose that the Devil can be concerned with us to the point of keeping us company for so many months, but I cannot doubt that we have been conceived under his eyes and that he actually attended our beloved begetters.
  • Not to be born is undoubtedly the best plan of all. Unfortunately it is within no one's reach.
  • Nothing is a better proof of how far humanity has regressed than the impossibility of finding a single nation, a single tribe, among whom birth still provokes mourning and lamentations.
  • The only reason why I flatter myself, is that I understood very early, before the age of twenty, that one should not procreate. My disgust towards marriage, family and all social conventions has its source in this. Crime is to transmit one's frailties to someone else, to force someone to experience the same things we are experiencing, to force someone to the Way of the Cross that may be worse than our own. I could never agree to give life to someone who inherits misfortunes and evil. All parents are irresponsible people, or murderers. Procreation should belong only to brutes. Pity makes you not want to be a "progenitor". This is the cruelest word I know.
  • To procreate is to love the scourge – to seek to maintain and to augment it. They were right, those ancient philosophers who identified fire with the principle of the universe, and with desire, for desire burns, devours: annihilates: At once agent and destroyer of beings, it is somber, it is infernal by essence.
  • What sin have you committed to be born, what crime to exist?
  • When every man has realized that his birth is a defeat, existence, endurable at last, will seem like the day after a surrender, like the relief and the repose of the conquered.
  • With what I know, with what I feel, I could not give life to someone without falling into a total contradiction with myself, without being intellectually dishonest and without committing a moral crime. It is interesting that this attitude in me is really old, I had it before crystallizing my thoughts on this subject. I started feeling disgust towards procreation very early; it was an answer to my horror; not only: to the horror of life and and the thirst for it. I never accepted sex other than for pleasure. Its proper function always aroused in me an insurmountable aversion. I would never voluntarily agree to take responsibility for life.
  • In her novel The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, Ursula K. le Guin describes a city where the good fortune of the citizens requires that an innocent child is tortured in a secret place (le Guin 1973). The child stands symbolically for the innocence of extreme sufferers. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas are the people who deny the world. We will associate them with Buddhist monks in this paper, i.e., with childlessness and retreat. The metaphor suggests that individual happiness is ambivalent. The joy of the majority is at the cost of a suffering minority; one is not possible without the other. There is no doubt that the human suffering in this world is caused by procreation, but the relation is indirect. Parents participate in an immensely complex system of interactions and probabilities. Often a contingent event decides who becomes a victim. As a consequence, participants deny the responsibility for the results of the system – a phenomenon which is also known in the context of structural violence (Galtung 1969). If the human race were a sympathetic race, it could walk away from Omelas.
  • Things change in an instant. Two things, however, are certain. Everyone will suffer. And everyone will die. Back to where we came from. Knowing this, and understanding full well that any particular life embodies the potential for experiencing extreme pain and unhappiness unceasing in some cases is procreation really worth the risk?
    • Jim Crawford, Confessions of an Antinatalist
  • If a child, for whose existence I was responsible, were to ask me why he or she were here, what happens after death, whether I could guarantee he or she would not suffer a fate like that Furuta Junko suffered in 1988/89 (please look it up, as there’s no room to describe it), what would I say? To me, the fact I have no answers that would not be guesswork, evasion or dogma indicates that having children is selfish and cruel.
  • Whoever trusts us will remain single; those who do not trust us will rear children. And if the race of men should cease to exist there would be as much cause for regret as there would be if the flies and wasps should pass away.
    • Unknown, Cynic epistles, 47th Letter
    • Description: a sentence from a collection of letters expounding the principles and practices of cynic philosophy (wrongly attributed to Diogenes).


  • Nature knows nothing about right and wrong, good and evil, pleasure and pain; she simply acts. She creates a beautiful woman, and places a cancer on her cheek. She may create an idealist, and kill him with a germ. She creates a fine mind, and then burdens it with a deformed body. And she will create a fine body, apparently for no use whatever. She may destroy the most wonderful life when its work has just commenced. She may scatter tubercular germs broadcast throughout the world. She seemingly works with no method, plan or purpose. She knows no mercy nor goodness. Nothing is so cruel and abandoned as Nature. To call her tender or charitable is a travesty upon words and a stultification of intellect. No one can suggest these obvious facts without being told that he is not competent to judge Nature and the God behind Nature. If we must not judge God as evil, then we cannot judge God as good. In all the other affairs of life, man never hesitates to classify and judge, but when it comes to passing on life, and the responsibility of life, he is told that it must be good, although the opinion beggars reason and intelligence and is a denial of both. Emotionally, I shall no doubt act as others do to the last moment of my existence. With my last breath I shall probably try to draw another, but, intellectually, I am satisfied that life is a serious burden, which no thinking, humane person would wantonly inflict on some one else.
  • This great senseless, wasteful, cruel spawning of life upon the earth! I see not only its pain, but its pleasures, and its joys annoy me more than its sorrows, for I don't want to loose them.
  • Celebrating a birthday is nothing but celebration because of a sinister farce that our parents arranged for us by bringing us to the world.
    • Alexandra David-Néel, La Lampe de sagesse
  • No, I would not like it if there was no end, it is literally something we can influence: a peaceful end to humanity. Let no one – this is the first thing I wish – become a parent anymore. It does not hurt the unborn, and saves them a lot of trouble.
    • Karlheinz Deschner, Frommer Wunsch. Für ein friedliches Ende der Menschheit, in: Peter Roos and Friederike Hassauer, Kinderwunsch. Reden und Gegenreden
  • A young monk had fallen deeply in love with a beautiful damsel. He abandoned the temple in which he lived and went to the village with the intention of declaring his love to her. Since it was already dark by the time he arrived, he checked in an inn and went to rest. That night he dreamt he had married her. He entered her chamber, made love to her... after some time they had twins. When they were thirteen years old, one of them fell into the river and drowned. The father, seized by grief, endlessly cried... and that's how he woke up, filled with tears. By morning, he retraced his steps, and headed back once more to his temple.
  • In fact, what right did this Nature have to bring me into the world as a result of some eternal law of hers? I was created with consciousness, and I was conscious of this Nature: what right did she have to produce me, a conscious being, without my willing it? A conscious being, and thus a suffering one; but I do not want to suffer, for why would I have agreed to that? (...) And finally, even if one were to admit the possibility of this fairy tale of a human society at long last organized on earth on rational and scientifc bases; if one were to believe in this, to believe in the future happiness of people at long last, then the mere thought that some implacable laws of Nature made it essential to torment the human race for a thousand years before allowing it to attain that happiness that thought alone is unbearably loathsome. Now add the fact that this very same Nature, which has permitted humanity at last to attain happiness, tomorrow will find it necessary for some reason to reduce it all to zero, despite the suffering with which humanity has paid for this happiness; and, more important, that Nature does all this without concealing anything from me and my consciousness as she hid things from the cow. In such a case one cannot help but come to the very amusing yet unbearably sad thought: "What if the human race has been placed on the earth as some sort of brazen experiment, simply in order to find out whether such creatures are going to survive here or not?" The sad part of this thought lies mainly in the fact that once again no one is to blame; no one conducted the experiment; there is no one we can curse; it all happened simply due to the dead laws of Nature, which I absolutely cannot comprehend and with which my consciousness is utterly unable to agree.
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky, A Writer's Diary, vol 1, The Sentence
    • Description: written from the perspective of a materialist and signed N.N.
  • Feminism must be equipped with fire and brilliance. It's the holiest ideal of this time. That the noble natural rights of women have been discovered so late shows a dreadful spotlight on the history of so-called human development. There may appear to be something weird in feminism for the uninitiated, but as soon as we reach that point, philosophy will raise its aristocratic head and say to us: "The new doctrines involves the priesthood of only women, it proves the truth of pessimism and the necessity of worldwide misery in the current system, but not that of an endless continuation of existence." Then, according to the women's higher mission, women will recognize themselves as superior beings, as the priestesses of their race, as natural nobility. Aware of the higher law of life, at that same time, under their perception of the higher law of life, women will become fully aware of their higher purpose, to appear as the leaders towards death, preparing the end of the end. This then becomes the ideal, and take the place of any ideal without end or goal!


  • So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of "such as were" oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors "there was" power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better "is he" than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
  • For through their abstinence they sin against creation and the holy Creator, against the sole, almighty God; and they teach that one should not enter into matrimony and beget children, should not bring further unhappy beings into the world, and produce fresh fodder for death.
  • Jung: "Somewhere on earth certainly still are people who do not accept this suicide law of extinction." Cassius: "If it is a hope for you, that somewhere people gathering new forces to again tear apart each other in even more bloody wars, so let it, have such hope."
    • Karl Ettlinger, Der erschossene Storch
    • Description: dialogue between the characters of the novel, Jung, who wakes up after five thousand years of hibernation in a post-apocalyptic world where most people have been murdered with chemical weapon, and Cassius, the leader of the last people, pacifists and vegetarians enjoying life, who decided to resign from procreation, having come to the conclusion that the existence of people always sooner or later is associated with the making of slaughters by them.
  • So now I think and have long so thought:
    Man ought never children to beget
    Seeing into what agonies we are born.
    • Euripides, The Stromata, Book III, Chapter III


  • Where shall I be a hundred years from now? Where will all the present dwellers of the Earth be? To die, for ever and ever; to have existed but for a moment! What a mockery! Would it not be better a hundred times over never to have been born? But if it be our fate to live eternally and never to be able to change anything of the fatality that carries us along – having endless eternity always before us – how can we bear the burden of such a destiny? Is that the doom awaiting us? If we should tire of existence, we should be forbidden to fly from it; it would be impossible to end it. In this conception, there is far more implacable cruelty than in that of an ephemeral life vanishing away insect's flight in the fresh evening breeze. Why then were we born? To suffer uncertainty; to find after examination not a single one of our hope a left; to live like idiots if we do not think, like madmen if we do?
    • Camille Flammarion, Uranie
    • Description: the words of the character, Georges Spero.
  • He seriously thought that there is less harm in killing a man than producing a child: in the first case you are relieving someone of life, not his whole life but a half or a quarter or a hundredth part of that existence that is going to finish, that would finish without you; but as for the second, he would say, are you not responsible to him for all the tears he will shed, from the cradle to the grave? Without you he would never have been born, and why is he born? For your amusement, not for his, that’s for sure; to carry your name, the name of a fool, I’ll be bound – you may as well write that name on some wall; why do you need a man to bear the burden of three or four letters?
  • 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.


  • If destruction is violence, creation, too, is violence. Procreation, therefore, involves violence. The creation of what is bound to perish certainly involves violence.
  • Suppose for a moment that all procreation stops, it will only mean that all destruction will cease. Moksha is nothing but release from the cycle of births and deaths. This alone is believed to be the highest bliss, and rightly.
  • Another argument is often made by the irresponsible ones who breed us – that it is an act of "leaving a trace" – strange impulse! Let us immediately observe that from an ethological point of view this is akin to the attitude many mammals have to leave droppings on the ground to mark their path or territory. The dog urinating against a lamp post also leaves a trace, one however which, unlike the baby, benefits from the privilege of not having to endure the grueling stresses of life.
  • Answer without flinching: if there existed a solution that could abolish the totality of all evils inflicted on disastrous humanity, if it was possible, by some simple remedy, incredibly cheap, immediately accessible, scrupulously inoffensive, of absolute and definitive efficiency, to stop all distress, all cries, all cries of pain, all pathologies, all protests of ill-being, all despair, all cataclysms, all anxiety, all unhappiness, in short all tortures afflicting the human species, would you have the macabre stupidity to reject such a remedy, to disdain such a miracle cure? No, that goes without saying. Well this solution does exist, and the mysterious is thereby delivered to us: it consists simply, in its saintly simplicity, to not procreate.
  • If it was otherwise, if procreation was not the result of the most scandalous narcissism, if our odious parents were really moved by some generosity, prospective adoption candidates would be incredibly more numerous than the millions of children who wait, right now, to be adopted! But talk about adoption and you’ll see a big frown of "yes-but-not-for-me" form on their face, greedy to possess a prey coming entirely from their bodies. "Orphans? Someone else’s baby? Come on, get scientists to help vanquish my infertility instead!"
  • Significant symbolism: we are all born in filth and suffering, of course in the suffering of our mother, who, however, has no right to complain if it was her choice, but above all in the one we experience, the victims, the unfortunate exiles from emptiness, who being in paradisal pelagic darkness, in which no anxiety reached us, we suddenly start to struggle, terribly squeezed, almost grinded, choking and fainting, because we are forced out through a poor quality birth canal, designed by this incompetent gold hand called Mother Nature.
  • The predispositions and motivations of the obviously noble individuals are assessed, individuals who want, through adoption, to help existing child swim in the hell of existence, but even the most ominous fool, if he only has such a wish, has absolute right, through creation, to immerse them this hell, without having to justify it in any way.
  • Imagine that it's possible. This is what I think. (...) When I was young this I thought and still think to this day, that I do not know how all of it works and where it is leading... what would I tell a child about all this, why was they born and for what purpose? (...) We breed, we give birth without thought. But then, when the child says: I never asked for this – we find ourselves bereft of answers. A multitude of misfortunes are happening on earth, life is a great risk, it often hurts terribly... So take responsiblity, bring someone into the world, "bestow" life?
    • Krystyna Gonet, Jak by to powiedzieć... Rozmowy z Krystianem Lupą
    • Description: answer to Krystian Lupa's question "Is it possible to think that we should not give birth to children at all, because the meaning of life is not certain?"
  • For the bodily procreation of children (let no one be displayed by this argument) is more an embarking upon death that upon life for man. Corruption has its beginning in birth and those who refrain from procreation through virginity themselves bring about a cancellation of death by preventing it from advancing further because of them, and, by setting themselves up as a kind of boundary stone between life and death, they keep death from going forward.


  • Humans are the most destructive creatures on the planet. We cause vast numbers of animal deaths (both directly and indirectly). We destroy habitats. We damage the environment. We are currently heating up the world’s climate in a way that is likely to be detrimental to countless numbers of animals (ourselves included). And we have the means, nuclear weapons, to destroy everything at the push of a button. We came perilously close to pushing that button on one occasion (the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962). The best way to stop the destruction is to remove the destructive force; to remove humans by refraining from procreation. In short, the colossal amount of harm caused by humans gives us a moral reason to boycott the human species.
  • It might be pointed out that we cannot gain someone's consent to exist; we cannot gain their consent before they exist and by the time they exist it's too late. But the fact that we cannot gain their consent does not mean that we are free to do without it. Suppose you wish to torture someone against their will, you cannot seek your victim's consent – the torture would not then be against their will. It would be absurd to argue that for this reason we are permitted to torture people against their will. Similarly, the fact that prospective parents cannot get the consent of those they plan to bring into existence doesn't magically mean it's OK. Quite the opposite – if you can't get the consent of the person you're going to significantly affect by your action, then the default position is that you don't do whatever it is that's going to affect them. There are exceptions. Pushing someone out of the way of a falling piano is morally right even if no prior consent can be given (if, for instance, there isn't time). But in this kind of case you are preventing someone from coming to great harm. To procreate – to subject someone to a life – does not prevent them coming to harm. Not being created cannot harm them because they don't exist.
  • I believe it is morally wrong to cause avoidable suffering to other people. This belief gives rise to two different objections to human reproduction. On the one hand, since all human beings suffer at some point in their lives, every parent who could have declined to procreate is to blame. On the other hand, since potential parents cannot guarantee that the lives of their children will be better than non-existence, they can also be rightfully accused of gambling on other people’s lives, whatever the outcome. Because of the uncertainties of human life, anybody’s children can end up arguing that it would have been better for them not to have been born at all. The probability of this outcome does not necessarily matter. It is enough that the possibility is real, which it always is.
  • Wouldn't it be nice to have a kid, to have this fresh, clean slate, which we could fill, and a little clean spirit, totally, you know, innocent, and to fill it with good ideas. Yeah, yeah, how about this? If you're so f#####g altruistic, why don't you leave the little clean spirit wherever it is right now? Ok? Horrible act, childbirth. It's a nightmare. Bringing – I would never bring a kid to this f#####g planet.
    • Bill Hicks, Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines


  • Two things are unacceptable: birth and death. I did not ask for them and I do not accept them.


  • Causing the birth of a child means abusing this child. At the mere idea that they could give life, every wise man thinks that he would prefer to die.
    • Roland Jaccard, Un climatiseur en enfer
  • How can anyone take seriously an insane idea that the world was created by a good God, and sign up under the most criminal of all imperatives: "be fruitful and multiply"?
    • Roland Jaccard, Sexe et sarcasmes
  • What could be more obscene than a woman proudly carrying a future corpse in her belly?
    • Roland Jaccard, Topologie du pessimisme
  • When life failed our expectations, when we gave up the creation of ourselves, when we sense that everything is in ruins then instead of going to the mortuary we lead the family and relatives to the place even more grave and kitschy place: to the maternity ward.
    • Roland Jaccard, La tenstation nihiliste
  • Never, at any point in life, I could get rid of the notion that this type of ending to life, which brings death, is an absurdity, unendurable without the smokescreen of one or another myth, delusions that goes beyond the bounderies of our biological being, which is a seasonal being, bounded by space and time, comprehended only in these catagories, which doesn't signify we must understand precisely this form of being as the existence and non-existence, reasonable, righteous, the only one we can think of, because necessary. Inevitability does not mean a wise solution. Before everything it deprives us of freedom. Since the earliest years of consciousness, we are determined, we know about it, at any time we are in danger, never safe. Does existence in the vastness of the universe have to be connected with constant risk, does it have to be like a house, where tenancy agreement can be terminated at any time, can't we think about existence based on more premanent foundations, less limited, having knowledge about something much wiser? That kind of thoughts of a rational being are based on the common logic of thinking, they do not take into account another possibility, that being shouldn't be considered in the category of logic and necessity, but it can be considered in the categories of absurd, lack of logic and hostile necessity. The difficultly of accepting death does not have to result in an attachment to life, from a deficiency so great that a being already brought into existence, would like to live forever or not be born at all. However, this is not senseless thinking, on the contrary, this seems much more sensible than all this huge preparation for a short life. A rational being – it may seem so to us – should have the right to choose death, but should not be submitted to a determined death sentence, should not be a convict.
    • Mieczysław Jastrun, Wolność wyboru
  • She asks, "How long shall men die?" Jesus answers, "As long as you women bear children." Writers like Julius Cassianus take this as an implicit injunction to defeat death by ceasing from procreation.
    • John T. Noonan Jr., Contraception; a history of its treatment by the Catholic theologians and canonists
    • Description: the dialogue of Jesus Christ with Salome from Greek Gospel of the Egyptians (the further part: Salome: "I have done well, then, in not bearing children?" Jesus Christ: "Every plant eat thou, but that which hath bitterness eat not. I have come to destroy the works of the female.")


  • I'd also gone through an entire year of celibacy based on my feeling that lust was the direct cause of birth which was the direct cause of suffering and death and I had really no lie come to a point where I regarded lust as offensive and even cruel. "Pretty girls make graves", was my saying, whenever I'd had to turn my head around involuntarily to stare at the incomparable pretties of Indian Mexico.
  • I will have to preach the only possible truth: The abolishing of death by extermination of birth. Life control. Put an end to human rebirth, by abstaining from sexual intercourse. Everybody stop breeding, or by method of-birth-control stop birth. At the same time, stop killing for sport or for eating living beings; they tremble at punishment and death too. Everybody live off vegetables and synthetic foods, causing no pain anywhere.
  • Let us cease bestiality and go into the bright room of the mind realizing emptiness, and sit with the truth. And let no man be guilty, after this, Dec. 9 1954, of causing birth. – Let there be an end to birth, an end to life, and therefore an end to death. Let there be no more fairy tales and ghost stories around and about this. I don't advocate that everybody die, I only say everybody finish your lives in purity and solitude and gentleness and realization of the truth and be not the cause of any further birth and turning of the black wheel of death.
  • Maybe rebirth is simply HAVING KIDS.
  • I wouldn't have come had I had my say,
    Nor would I leave Here if I had my way;
    Ah, nothing better in this world could be
    Than not to come, nor be, not go away.
  • Since Heaven increases nothing but our pain,
    And gives naught that it takes not back again,
    The unborn ne'er would hither come if they
    But knew what we at Fortune's hands sustain.
  • A man is born in sin, he enters this world by means of a crime, his existence is a crime – and procreation is the fall.
  • That is what Christianity is for – which straightaway bars the way to procreation. This means: stop!
  • Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.
    • Les U. Knight, Environment and Natural Resources
  • Forgive me your birth in this strange land.
    I wanted your infant kisses, your fists clasped
    round my neck. I craved you, though you were born
    in the wake of my illness, my dim prognosis.
    I was selfish: I willed you this woe, this world.
    You inherited exile for my sake.
    • Anya Krugovoy Silver, Psalm 137 for Noah
    • Description: a poem that the author wrote for her son before she died of cancer.
  • I'll be frank. I've always felt that it’s horrible to send a person into the world who didn't ask to be there. (...) Look around you. Of all the people you see, no one is here by his own wish. Of course, what I just said is the most banal truth there is. So banal, and so basic, that we've stopped seeing it and hearing it. (...) Everyone jabbers about human rights. What a joke! Your existence isn’t founded on any right. They don’t even allow you to end your life by your own choice, these defenders of human rights. (...) Look at them all! Look! At least half the people you are seeing are ugly. Being ugly–is that one of the human rights too? And do you know what it is to carry your ugliness with you through your whole life? With not a moment of relief? Or your sex? You never chose that. Or the color of your eyes? Or your era on earth? Or your country? Or your mother? None of the things that matter. The rights a person can have involve only pointless things, for which there is no reason to fight or to write great declarations! You're here as you are because I was weak. That was my fault. Forgive me.
    • Milan Kundera, The Festival of Insignificance
    • Description: the words of the character, Alain's imaginary mother.
  • Never to have procreated – this be your consolation when you die.
    • Kurnig, Der Neo-Nihilismus. Anti-Militarismus. Sexualleben (Ende der Menschheit)
  • Not by violent means (murder, war and the like), but peacefully, let mankind disappear from our globe.
    • Kurnig, Der Neo-Nihilismus. Anti-Militarismus. Sexualleben (Ende der Menschheit)


  • Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.
  • All of us are brought into existence, without our consent, and over the course of our lives, we are acquainted with a multitude of goods. Unfortunately, there is a limit to the amount of good each of us will have in our lives. Eventually, each of us will die and we will be permanently cut off from the prospect of any further good. Existence, viewed in this way, seems to be a cruel joke.
  • Perhaps the day will never come when people realize that moral patients like us should cease to exist. It would be an unconscionable tragedy if we never do. I remain optimistic, however. Some very interesting arguments have recently been advanced in support of the conclusion that it is always worse for a person to live than not. I suspect that many more will follow. Until the day that individuals begin to take non-procreation seriously on a widespread scale, perhaps all we can do is follow Schopenhauer: "The conviction that the world, and therefore man too, is something which really ought not to exist is in fact calculated to instil in us indulgence towards one another: for what can be expected of beings placed in such a situation as we are? From this point of view one might indeed consider that the appropriate form of address between man and man ought to be, not monsieur, sir, but fellow sufferer, compagnon de misères. However strange this may sound it corresponds to the nature of the case, makes us see other men in a true light and reminds us of what are the most necessary of all things: tolerance, patience, forbearance and charity, which each of us needs and which each of us therefore owes." (On the Sufferings of the World)
  • For the bet, in this case, has put at risk another innocent being, without power, knowledge and responsibility; the bet was unnecessary and could have been avoided; if it had been avoided, it would not harm this innocent, and it was not avoided because it was a compulsive gambler.
  • Seeing that there is nothing that guarantees that the child will be "happy", that any effort that is made for this may be in vain, that if the child did not exist, this problem wouldn’t exist, and that such problem arised because the child was obliged to be born for the luxury of his parents, and that it could have been avoided, from all this follows that a responsible and sensitive "procreator" (or rather a responsible pre-procreator) would stop right there, precisely at "pre".
  • To warn children that the world is full of selfish people who want to take advantage of them, who will practice injustices against them, is to warn them that there are other people in the world like the generators themselves. It’s to inform them that even with a world full of people like that, exploitative and unjust, and even life being very difficult, the generators (who knew this) obliged the children to be, even though they could avoid it.
  • Nature, mother feared and wept for
    since the human family was born,
    marvel that cannot be praised,
    that bears and nurtures only to destroy,
    if dying young brings mortals pain,
    why let it come down
    on these blameless heads?
    And if good, then why is it unhappy,
    why make this leaving inconsolable,
    worse than any other woe,
    for those who live, as well as those who go?
    • Giacomo Leopardi, Bas-Relief On An Ancient Tomb
  • As their numbers tapered off, these dead-enders of our species could be the most privileged individuals in history and share with one another material comforts once held in trust only for the well-born or moneygetting classes of the world. Since personal economic gain would be passé as a motive for the new humanity, there would be only one defensible incitement to work: to see one another through to the finish, a project that would keep everyone busy and not just staring into space while they waited for the end. There might even be bright smiles exchanged among these selfless benefactors of those who would never be forced to exist.
    • Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror
  • Despite the fact that neither anti- nor pronatalists can prove their positions, pro-natalists have to live with the possibility that they might be wrong. That is a heavy burden to carry, and a heavier burden to pass on to subsequent generations. Antinatalists don’t have a similar burden. When the action is taken on their side and a child is not born, no harm is done. No one has to suffer and die.
  • Perhaps the greatest strike against philosophical pessimism is that its only theme is human suffering. This is the last item on the list of our species’ obsessions and detracts from everything that matters to us, such as the Good, the Beautiful, and a Sparkling Clean Toilet Bowl. For the pessimist, everything considered in isolation from human suffering or any cognition that does not have as its motive the origins, nature, and elimination of human suffering is at base recreational, whether it takes the form of conceptual probing or physical action in the world—for example, delving into game theory or traveling in outer space, respectively. And by "human suffering," the pessimist is not thinking of particular sufferings and their relief, but of suffering itself. Remedies may be discovered for certain diseases and sociopolitical barbarities may be amended. But these are only stopgaps. Human suffering will remain insoluble as long as human beings exist. The one truly effective solution for suffering is that spoken of in Zapffe’s "Last Messiah." It may not be a welcome solution for a stopgaps world, but it would forever put an end to suffering, should we ever care to do so. The pessimist’s credo, or one of them, is that nonexistence never hurt anyone and existence hurts everyone. Although our selves may be illusory creations of consciousness, our pain is nonetheless real.
    • Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror
  • Personally, I’m afraid of suffering and afraid of dying. I’m also afraid of witnessing the suffering and death of those who are close to me. And no doubt I project these fears on those around me and those to come, which makes it impossible for me to understand why everyone isn’t an antinatalist, just as I have to assume pronatalists can’t understand why everyone isn’t like them.
  • It is good to be a cynic – it is better to be a contented cat – and it is best not to exist at all. Universal suicide is the most logical thing in the world – we reject it only because of our primitive cowardice and childish fear of the dark. If we were sensible we would seek death – the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.
  • What loss were ours, if we had know not birth?
    Let living me to longer life aspire,
    While fond affection binds their hearts to earth
    But who never hath tasted life's desire,
    Unborn, impersonal, can feel no dearth.
    • Lucretius, Treasures Of Lucretius: Selected Passages from the "De Rerum Natura"
  • And yet, it is not to be denied, that both the father and mother have Corrupt flesh, and that the seed itself is full, not only of filthy lust but of contempt and hatred of God: and thus, it is not be denied, that there is sin in procreation.
    • Martin Luther, Select Works of Martin Luther: An Offering to the Church of God in "the Last Days"


  • I had no children. I haven't transmitted the legacy of our misery to any creature.
  • Redemption of the individual idea one represents, can be reached by not passing the core of this idea to the future. In other words: by not procreating. Who doesn't live on in his progeny, will be absolutely redeemed from existence.
  • The ideal state would be the ultimate utopia, a socialistic paradise to which all efforts of humanity will finally lead. It will be a world without war, hunger and any sufferings beside the sufferings of birth, age and death. All sicknesses will be cured, and people will have lifes of joy with just a very small amount of work, because work will almost completely be deported to machines. So let's take a closer look on the citizens of that ideal state. Are they happy? They would be, if they wouldn't suffer from horrible boredom and an everlasting emptiness in their lifes now. If they even manage to live such a pointless life until natural death, they will not be willing to force new people into this mess by procreating. They have no hope left, because they know that they already reached the ideal state. Therefore, they will come to the conclusion that human life has to end or maybe even that all life has to end, because they finally realized that there is nothing to accomplish for sentience and that it would be better if they never had existed. This will be the point where the movement of humanity (or even the movement of all life on earth) will be fulfilled and the universe would now have to move on without (human) life on earth, to reach its own final goal, which is exactly the same: Turning into nothingness.
  • If anyone condemns human marriage and has a horror of the procreation of living bodies, as Manichaeus and Priscillian have said, let him be anathema.
    • Bishops, The companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: a compendium of texts referred to in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
    • Description: the resolution of Council of Braga I.
  • None were admitted to baptism, or the Eucharist, unless they had taken an oath against having any children.
    • Nathaniel Lardner, John Hogg, The Historie of the Heretics of the Two First Centuries
    • Description: about Marcionites.
  • God created only coarse beings, full of the germs of disease, who, after a few years of bestial enjoyment, grow old and infirm, with all the ugliness and all the want of power of human decrepitude. He seems to have made them only in order that they may reproduce their species in an ignoble manner and then die like ephemeral insects. I said reproduce their species in an ignoble manner and I adhere to that expression. What is there as a matter of fact more ignoble and more repugnant than that act of reproduction of living beings, against which all delicate minds always have revolted and always will revolt?
  • But what if, as the first truly compassionate philosophical ethicist, it would then attempt to convince us that it was high time to peacefully terminate the ugly biological bootstrap-phase on this planet?
  • I tell myself: Reluctance to think to the end
    Is lifesaving for the living. Could lucid consciousness
    Bear everything that in every minute,
    Simultaneously, occurs on the earth?
    Not to harm. Stop eating fish and meat.
    Let oneself be castrated, like Tiny, a cat innocent
    Of the drownings of kittens every day in our city.
    The Cathari were right: Avoid the sin of conception
    (For either you kill your seed and will be tormented by conscience
    Or you will be responsible for a life of pain).
  • The two Taoists reminded Saihung that the critical thing in life was to die a spiritual death, to merge with the Void. In order to do so, one had to be free of the cycle of reincarnation. This meant absolutely no earthly ties. The important point was that having children automatically tied one to the circle of reincarnation. How could it be otherwise? By passing on one’s metaphysical and physical genetics, one perpetuated one’s earthly karma. This was why the sages had no biological children.
    • Deng Ming-Dao, Seven Bamboo Tablets of the Cloudy Satchel
  • Programmed by nature and socialized by the collective, which demands conformity, we are required to play the "game" of life. But as one of Beckett’s characters puts it, "why this farce day after day?" Where is all this leading to?
    • Ramesh Mishra (under the pseudonym Ken Coates), Anti-Natalism: Rejectionist Philosophy from Buddhism to Benatar


  • We may ask ourselves whether we have a moral right to create people and thus condemn them to life and death without their consent.
    • Martin Neuffer, Nein zum Leben – Ein Essay


  • By hedonistic logic, we ought to avoid imposing anything, existence included, onto anyone who hasn't asked for it.
    • Michel Onfray, Theorie du corps amoureux
  • Not having children derives not from dislike, but from love too great to bring them into this world, too limited, too vain, too cruel.
    • Michel Onfray, Journal hedoniste: Tome 2, Les Vertus de la foudre
  • Those childless by choice love children as much, if not more, than their fertile breeders. When asked why he does not have children, Thales replied, "Because of my concern for children."


  • The perpetuation of suffering by producing children is the greatest crime.
    • Valerii Pereleshin, Valerii Pereleshin: The Life of a Silkworm
  • The hubris it must take to yank a soul out of nonexistence, into this, meat. And to force a life into this, thresher.
    • Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective, Seeing Things
    • Description: the words of the character, Rustin Cohle.


  • Propagate life is to propagate terror.
    • Mario Andrea Rigoni, Variazioni sull'impossibile
  • Of my conception I know only what you know of yours. It occurred in darkness and I was unconsenting. I (and that slenderest word is too gross for the rare thing I was then) walked forever through reachless oblivion, in the mood of one smelling night-blooming flowers, and suddenly—My ravishers left their traces in me, male and female, and over the months I rounded, grew heavy, until the scandal could no longer be concealed and oblivion expelled me. But this I have in common with all my kind. By some bleak alchemy what had been mere unbeing becomes death when life is mingled with it. So they seal the door against our returning.
  • Adoption offers an important moral alternative to procreation, which has been widely ignored or quickly dismissed in the procreation literature. It should be considered by reasonable and moral people who desire to experience the goods of a parent-child relationship while being concerned about the potential harms of procreation.
    • Tina Rulli, The Ethics of Procreation and Adoption


  • 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 compassion 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?
  • Some of the church fathers have taught that even marital cohabitation should only be allowed when it occurs merely for the sake of the procreation of children (...). Clemens (Strom, iii. c. 3) attributes this view to the Pythagoreans. This is, however, strictly speaking, incorrect. For if the coitus be no longer desired for its own sake, the negation of the Will-to-Live has already appeared, and the propagation of the human race is then superfluous and senseless, inasmuch as its purpose is already attained. Besides, without any subjective passion, without lust and physical pressure, with sheer deliberation, and the cold blooded purpose to place a human being in the world merely in order that he should be there this would be such a very questionable moral action that few would take it upon themselves; one might even say of it indeed that it stood in the same relation to generation from the mere sexual impulse as a cold-blooded deliberate murder does to a death-stroke given in anger.
    • Arthur Schopenhauer, Contributions to the Doctrine of the Affirmation and Negation of the Will-to-live
  • The End of the World, here's salvation. Preparing the end, here's the work of the sage and the supreme purpose of ascetic existences. The apostle of charity, with effort, alms, consolations and miracles, succeeds with great difficulty to save a family from death, now vowed to a long agony thanks to his benefits. The ascetic on the other hand, saves entire generations not from death, but from life.
  • I have no conscience, none, but I would not like to bring a soul into this world. When it sinned and when it suffered something like a dead hand would fall on me – "You did it, you, for your own pleasure you created this thing! See your work!"
  • Unfortunately, in our real world, large numbers of children grow up to be victims, perpetrators, or bystanders. Very few children actually grow up to make the world a better place. Personally, I don’t feel that creating new victims, perpetrators, and bystanders is the great social ooh-and-aah that it is made out to be. I do understand that people want to have children for reasons personal to their own needs, not necessarily for the child or for the world, and perhaps that’s reason enough, but I don’t know why.
    • Sarah Schulman, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination
  • Nothing is so deceptive, nothing is so treacherous as human life; by Hercules, were it not given to men before they could form an opinion, no one would take it. Not to be born, therefore, is the happiest lot of all.
  • By creating a life we subject that person to the harms of life. People will be hurt, some very badly. It seems to me that the only reason for creating lives is to fulfil psychological (and sometimes material) needs of the parents (and to some degree other relatives). It would take libraries to list the gamut of possible harms, ranging from genetic recombination errors at conception, to the last gasp of the dying. We deploy an array of mental gymnastics to avoid the implications of this truth, yet deep down we all know it at some level. Contrary to the norms of our society the arrival of a child should be a time for sober reflection not cause for celebration. I will not congratulate people on gambling someone else’s welfare in the hopes of improving their own lives. I suspect most people reading this will hold that their own needs are a good enough reason to have children. If that is you, then I ask you at least acknowledge the self centred nature of the choice, and perhaps when your children are old enough you can explain why you took a flutter on life’s roulette wheel.
  • If you are having difficulty making the connection between real world outcomes and your desire to have children, try looking at the world in a new way. When there are job losses at work, imagine that happening to the child you are so set on having. The ugly divorce is someone’s child, both of them. The newscaster announcing a rape, that’s someone’s baby, both the perpetrator and the victim. The car accident you just drove past, the toilet cleaner on minimum wage, the man in the hospital ward dying of cancer, the casket being lowered into the ground. If I were to provide an exhaustive list it would fill the whole book, but I would rather you made your own - play this game for a week and it will break your rose tinted spectacles - it’s not happy but it is honest.
  • If you hold eternal damnation, then having children is a very grave business indeed. You are gambling with infinite stakes.
    • Martin Smith, No Baby No Cry: Christian Antinatalism
    • Description: eternal damnation in the main currents of Christianity is the punishment for sinners consisting of going to hell and suffering torments forever.
  • "Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins." (Zechariah Chafee)
    • Martin Smith, No Baby No Cry: Christian Antinatalism
    • Description: a libertarian principle of non-aggression quoted by the author in the context of burdening someone with a life as an example of a significant influence on someone by our action without consent.
  • Not to be born at all
    Is best, far best that can befall,
    Next best, when born, with least delay
    To trace the backward way.
    For when youth passes with its giddy train,
    Troubles on troubles follow, toils on toils,
    Pain, pain for ever pain;
    And none escapes life's coils.
    Envy, sedition, strife,
    Carnage and war, make up the tale of life.
    Last comes the worst and most abhorred stage
    Of unregarded age,
    Joyless, companionless and slow,
    Of woes the crowning woe.
  • "Be fruitful and multiply" is a recommendation that fits more into the God of rabbits than to God of humans. No offense to rabbits, of course.
    • Giovanni Soriano, Finche c'e vita non c'e speranza
  • Procreation is an act far more authoritarian than killing; and just as one should not take the life of someone else, one should also not impose life on someone else.
    • Giovanni Soriano, Malomondo. In lode della stupidita
  • "Life is beautiful. I love it. So what if it comes with harms? Learn to live life to the fullest and don't wallow in the bad parts. The best parts of life outweigh the bad." Allow me to draw a parallel. "Smoking cigarettes is enjoyable. I love it. So what if it comes with harms? Win some, lose some. The pleasure far outweighs the harm it causes." Though one is entitled to hold such views, it does nothing to alter the truth: smoking is injurious to health; all in all, a harmful habit best avoided. You may enjoy smoking, and think it worth all the risks that accompany it, but do you have a right to force such a habit on another? In creating a child, one is doing just that – forcing life on another, without their consent, unmindful of the harms they are subjecting them to. And let the reader not forget – the risks that accompany smoking are a picnic compared to the countless harms life exposes us to.
    • Pikesh Srivastava, Glimpses of Truth: Morality, Karma, Procreation
  • Pain, harm, suffering, uncertainty, and death are inseparable from human life. May one impose such evils upon an innocent, who has not consented to be placed in a situation that carries any kind of risk? Is procreation really as "straightforward" and "morally innocent" an activity as custom typically makes it out to be?
    • Pikesh Srivastava, Glimpses of Truth: Morality, Karma, Procreation
  • I am thirty-six years old.
    What am I waiting for?
    Probably for death.
    My past is as intense
    as my future orphaned.
    And I will soon be a carrion –
    I am a madman; I have been working on it
    since I was dragged out of
    my mother.
    I know about it for a long time
    and I want this, unfortunately, I think so.
    Because I already have enough. I say –
    you know.
    The earth will deliver
    those who had doubts about the existence
    who never gave birth and never killed.
    • Domokos Szilágyi, 1974


  • A certain person inveighs against generation, calling it corruptible and destructive; and some one does violence [to Scripture], applying to procreation the Saviour's words, "Lay not up treasure on earth, where moth and rust corrupt"; and he is not ashamed to add to these the words of the prophet: "You all shall grow old as garment, and the moth shall devour you."
  • Best of all for mortal beings is never to have been born at all. Nor ever to have set eyes on the bright light of the sun.
  • If we can't genetically fix our nature I agree with Zapffe. To leave world to a deserted behind is better than to continue this grotesque carousel of procreation.
    • Herman Tønnessen, Ned med naturen!
    • Description: also about transhumanism.


  • Those I've most loved are my grandma Raquel Pizano and my dog Bruja. I also loved my dad. But after all, he is guilty of imposing on me the burden of life. Life's a burden, it's a curse. Those who I loved, now dead, drag me to the grave. It's very hard to carry on without them. The only way I can live is by forgetting them.
  • All this disgrace derive from being born, which therefore is the greatest of all catastrophes.
    • Anacleto Verrecchia, Diario del Gran Paradiso
  • Adoption could help if practised on a much larger scale than nowadays, such that any child not definitely wanted by its parents, or born in unafavourable social circumstances, could be adopted by people who want children but do not want to create them for that purpose.
    • Hermann Vetter, The production of children as a problem of utilitarian ethics
  • In any case, it is morally preferable not to produce a child. This requires that in any individual encounter, and by any institutional activity in education, mass media, economic and legal policy, people should be discouraged from having children. If such tendencies are successful enough, the number of men on earth may begin to decrease, and if such development continues long enough, the human race will disappear. This, however, would not at all be a deplorable consequence according to Narveson's and my own opinion: the existence of mankind is not a value in itself. On the contrary, if mankind ceases to exist, all suffering is extinguished perfectly, which no other human endeavour will be able to bring about. On the other hand, of course, all happy experiences of men will disappear. But this, according to Narveson's conclusion, would not be deplorable, because no human subject would exist which would be deprived of the happy experiences.
    • Hermann Vetter, Utilitarianism and New Generations
  • We cannot allow ourselves to spuriously rationalize away the suffering that takes place in nature, and to forget the victims of the horrors of nature merely because that reality does not fit into our convenient moral theories, theories that ultimately just serve to make us feel consistent and good about ourselves in the face of an incomprehensibly bad reality.
  • Life has so few charms!
    And yet we desire it.
    No more pleasure, no more power,
    in the horrors of death.
    A dead lion is not worth
    a midge that breathes.
    O unfortunate mortal!
    Whether your soul is enjoying
    the moment given to you,
    or whether death is ending it,
    both are torture.
    It is better not to have been born.


  • Every form of fecundity is loathsome, and no one who is honest with himself feels bound to provide for the continuity of the human race. And what we do not realise to be a duty, is not a duty. On the contrary, it is immoral to procreate a human being for any secondary reason, to bring a being into the limitations of humanity, the conditions made for him by his parentage; the fundamental question why the possible freedom and spontaneity of a human being is limited is that he was begotten in such a limited fashion. That the human race should persist is of no interest whatsoever to reason; he who would perpetuate humanity would perpetuate the problem and the guilt; the only problem and the only guilt.
  • One cannot bring children into a world like this. One cannot perpetuate suffering, or increase the breed of these lustful animals, who have no lasting emotions, but only whims and vanities, eddying them now this way, now that.
    • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway
    • Description: the words of the character, Septimus Warren Smith.


  • Above all, we must make the reproductive question ethically relevant. A coin is turned around before it is handed to the beggar, yet a child is unflinchingly tossed into cosmic bruteness.
  • For me, a desert island is no tragedy, neither is a deserted planet.
  • No future triumph or metamorphosis can justify the pitiful blighting of a human being against his will.
  • The sign of doom is written on your brows – how long will ye kick against the pinpricks? But there is one conquest and one crown, one redemption and one solution. Know yourselves – be infertile and let the earth be silent after ye.
  • To bear children into this world is like carrying wood into a burning house.
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