When a friend told me that a Mumbai bloke sued his parents for giving birth to him, it took me 10 seconds to process the information, and just two to retort: “Are we finally allowed to do that?” We’re talking about Raphael Samuel, a 27-year-old businessman from Mumbai who did what some of us have contemplated at some point in our lives. Before you dismiss this as some random nutjobbery common in the world of social media and viral news, Samuel isn’t suing his parents on a whim. He’s an antinatalist, someone who believes that humans shouldn’t procreate, because why bring someone to life to make them go through the burden of living. The school of thought has existed for a while, especially after philosopher David Benatar espoused antinatalism in his book Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence. In his exclusive interview with LatestLY, Samuel explains the nuts and bolts of antinatalism and why his parents are proud of him.
Procreation, the Most Narcissistic Act on Earth
The world has always thought of childbearing and childrearing as noble. Children are conditioned to be grateful and subservient to their parents because the latter brought them into the world. But is expecting eternal gratitude from your children for giving birth to them just? That’s one of the notions antinatalists have a problem with. Consent of a Fetus? These People Want to Not Make Babies Because That Is Violation of the Child's Consent.
Samuel says, “Procreation is the most narcissistic act on Earth. Ask anyone why they procreate it will always start with ‘I wanted.’ Introducing a child into a world that is suffering is wrong. An antinatalist’s agenda is to convince people to stop reproducing. Why? Because life involves a lot of suffering.”
A Destructive Specie
Despite what his social media profile says, Samuel insists that he isn’t, at least not in the traditional sense. But most antinatalists are accused of misanthropy, but it isn’t hatred for hatred’s sake. “I find humans pretty ridiculous and self-serving, which gets irritating,” Samuel says.
You don’t have to be a misanthrope to believe humans beings are a curse to the ecosystem. “Human beings are killing the ecosystem and destroying the atmosphere,” states Samuel. And he isn’t wrong. Constituting just 0.01 percent of all life, humans have decimated 83 percent of wild mammals, according to a study.
Despite being home to a million species, Earth is dominated by just one, bringing it to the brink of an unprecedented environmental crisis. Antinatalists like Samuel worry that we may be leaving the planet in shambles for the future generations.
NOT Child Haters
The flipside of adhering to a notion like antinatalism is that people are quick to judge you. Samuel who runs the FB page Nihilanand is not new to hate, especially after his story was covered by international publications like Daily Star and the Metro. One user writes: “Humans were made to pro-create [sic]. Children are a blessing, and they bring their unique talents and gifts to this world. I thanked my mom for everything she did for me, and I am here for her.”
“People don’t understand that we are NOT a child-hating movement and we are not necessarily misanthropic,” says Samuel. “We are just a bunch of people who want to reduce suffering by reducing unnecessary reproduction.”
So are antinatalists OK with procreation if humans live in harmony with the environment? Samuel retorts: “Only in a world where suffering is obliterated, and safety of life is guaranteed.”
Samuel has ruffled many feathers after news of him suing his parents went viral. This isn’t surprising, especially since we are conditioned to believe that parents are gods and parenthood is noble and selfless.
Many comments on his page call him out on his “ingratitude” and express sympathy for his folks.
Samuel surprises us: “My parents are extremely proud of me for my independent thinking and vow to demolish the case in court. We're good with each other though! No animosity.”