On ‘Resigning From the Species’

The idea of death consoles me.  Thinking about the inevitability of eventually or even quite unexpectedly dying can be a great comfort.  In moments of such intimate and private reflections, one becomes the antihero of their own personal anti-novel where there is no need for plots, meaningful insights, or even consistent traits in characters. 

I imagine my ancestors encouraging me not to reproduce, to spare future generations from coming to the same conclusions I have.  Even my father, who is still among the living, advises me against replicating.  Nor did my father ever pressure me to build pyramids for pharaohs. Even though he has devoted most of the days of his life to erecting walk-in freezers for businessmen, he never made me feel obligated to do the same. We know the score.  Evolution is not something to be glorified. It is possible to resign from the species.

Now, if someone has mentally resigned from the species, wouldn’t the social pressures such as duty and honor no longer have any influence whatsoever?

Why are there not more antinatalists?  The answer:  antinatalists tend to reproduce less, if at all … hence, the tendency to be horrified by existence doesn’t get passed along … The Schopenhauers ended with Arthur.  The Ciorans ended with Emile.  A high degree of intellectual honesty may lead to a kind of insanity.  In other words, a certain amount of self-deception and delusion may be necessary for the continuation of our species.  It is possible to know too much, to see too clearly, to possess such a high degree of psychic integrity that the ridiculous nature of our predicament becomes overwhelming … and fills us with despair and even panic.  When we finally behold certain truths, we may let out the kind of laughter associated with madness.


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