• Coming into existence is always a harm

    It should be known that only those who exist can suffer only those who exist can be harmed. Existers can experience pain, hunger, thirst, despair, sorrow, loss, guilt, shame, e.T.C the list goes on for quite a while, obviously if one does not exist one can not experience these sufferings. However the 'Pollyanna's' would be quick to note that only good things can happen to those who exist, this is true but irrelevant.
    This is because there is a crucial difference between harms (such as pains) and benefits (such as pleasure) this (which as I shall show below), entails that existence has no advantage over non existence but existence does have disadvantages to non existence, which must lead to the conclusion that it is better to have never been.

    It is correct to say that
    a) the presence of pain is always 'bad'
    b) the presence of pleasure is always 'good'
    As you can see there is a symmetry here however the symmetry does not follow when we replace the word "presence" with "absence" as we have an asymmetry occur.
    This is because it is also correct to say
    c) the absence of pain is always 'good'
    however and this is where the asymmetry occurs
    d) the absence of pleasure is not always 'bad'

    Posted by: hect
  • Is human existence worth it?

    One of the merits of Benatar's analysis is its simplicity. Life is always a bitch to some extent; it always entails some degree of harm, including that of the experience of dying. Are the potential benefits of human existence ever worth the candle of such experience? According to Benatar, the answer is no. The reason is that for existers, harm is bad and benefit is good.2i However, non‐existence entails no harm (which is good) and no absence of any benefits that existers may experience (which is not bad). Thus, non‐existence guarantees no harm of any kind and harm of some kind is guaranteed by existence. Note that, in arguing as much, Benatar is aware of the importance of linking the good of the absence of harm entailed by non‐existence to existing persons. He does so through arguing that since only existers suffer harm, it is better—“preferable”—for possible persons not to become actual persons and thereby have to then also have to suffer it. This view is an interesting twist on the Epicurean argument against fear of death: once death brings non‐existence, no further harm or absence of benefit can be experienced, so why worry? In developing his argument, Benatar applies the same logic to the creation of all human life, no matter how absurd he recognises that this may seem to others.

    For example, he claims that if there is no absence of benefit associated with non‐existence then no level of harm is sufficient to justify existence; not even a pinprick! To this degree, his argument does not depend upon the levels of harm already encountered in human life. However, he goes on to attempt to strengthen the plausibility of his logical argument through empirically documenting types and degrees of harms that even fortunate humans inevitably encounter—all of the common illnesses and anxieties associated with everyday life, as well as the often negative experience of dying. As for the unfortunate, the levels of harm that they must endure can be unending and monumental, grinding poverty and disease along with other forms of endemic insecurity. If this were not bad enough, there is a well‐documented tendency of humans to underestimate the harm in their lives and to overestimate the benefits. Thus, Benatar dismisses declarations that the benefits of life still outweigh its harms. He argues that they are based on wishful thinking and, as such, are not creditable evidence of the value of the benefits of life when compared to the harm.

  • Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.

    Most people believe that they were either benefited or at least not harmed by being brought into existence. Thus, if they ever do reflect on whether they should bring others into existence---rather than having children without even thinking about whether they should---they presume that they do them no harm. Better Never to Have Been challenges these assumptions. David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm. Although the good things in one's life make one's life go better than it otherwise would have gone, one could not have been deprived by their absence if one had not existed. Those who never exist cannot be deprived. However, by coming into existence one does suffer quite serious harms that could not have befallen one had one not come into existence. Drawing on the relevant psychological literature, the author shows that there are a number of well-documented features of human psychology that explain why people systematically overestimate the quality of their lives and why they are thus resistant to the suggestion that they were seriously harmed by being brought into existence. The author then argues for the 'anti-natal' view---that it is always wrong to have children---and he shows that combining the anti-natal view with common pro-choice views about foetal moral status yield a "pro-death" view about abortion (at the earlier stages of gestation). Anti-natalism also implies that it would be better if humanity became extinct. Although counter-intuitive for many, that implication is defended, not least by showing that it solves many conundrums of moral theory about population.

  • So much suffering.

    There is so much suffering in the world. People's lives have been torn apart by war, famine, disease, disaster, loss, etc. Think about what would happen if your life had torn apart by that. You would want to die but without pain. It would be a lot easier to just never have been born. You would feel no pain. No shame. No feeling. No pain is better than no pleasure.

  • Existence is better than non-existence.

    "We are a way for the cosmos to know itself" Without existence you wouldn't have suffering but you also wouldn't have art, math, history, science, poetry, love, and hope. These are things that are lost without our existence. While some may say non-existers wouldn't care if art, math, history, science, poetry, happiness, love, and hope, didn't exist. By the same logic non-existers wouldn't care if suffering didn't exist. In the end, it is up to existers to decide whether or not art, math, history, science, poetry, love, and hope are worth suffering.

    The good is on average more than the bad. If I posed the question to an exister "Would it be better if you were never conceived?", your average exister would say no. This is evidence that existence on average is more good than bad. This isn't a 'cheery' view, it is a fact. Even some pessimist believe it is better to exist than not, and those people aren't cheery. In addition majority of people on the last leg of their life, look back on it and are glad they existed.

    Life is potential. This potential is something worth existing for. For you have the potential to choose to try to reduce suffering. If you got "everyone" to use their potential to reduce suffering, then you would completely eliminate all human caused suffering and you would greatly reduce natural caused suffering.

    So in conclusion existence is preferable over non existence. With existence you also have the potential to eliminate the downsides of existence. If you truly want to reduce suffering then use your potential for good and help people. Everyone trying to help people is better than everyone not procreating. In the end you should use the potential you get from existing and "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi.

  • This is an assumption.

    If you never have lived your whole life, how can you say such a thing? The only person who can truly be an expert on this subject and make a judgement as such is someone who has already seen every second of their life. Of course, there is nobody alive to report the summary of their entire life, to the second of their last breath, because they're already gone. Life has potential. It is simply ungrateful to say such a statement because the simple taste of a fruit, the air of the mountains, the color of the sky, the smell of flowers, the feeling of cool summer rain, these are all experiences. There is so much in life to be enjoyed, and the negativity exists not for us to dwell on it, but to understand just how beautiful and precious these things are. The pessimist is simply a person who has it all; one can never know how refreshing a cold glass of water is until they've been thirsty, one can never know how delicious a hot plate of food is until they've been starving for days. You will never understand the concept of light if you've never experienced darkness, and it's impossible to be happy if you've never experienced sadness, otherwise, being happy is just mundane normality. Life is beautiful. It is our bias that distorts that truth.

  • For what purpose did God create the world?

    In general, Scripture teaches us that God created the world and all that is in it for His own glory and because He desired to share His life with others. The creation of all these things demonstrates His glory, His love, grace, mercy, wisdom, power, goodness, etc. Compare Psalm 19:1; 8:1; 50:6; 89:5. Usually, people want to then know, why did God allow sin?

    As a summary of some of the issues, the Bible teaches us God created both the angels and man with volition, or the freedom of choice. He created both as holy and without sin that they might not only serve Him as the Creator, but bring Him glory. In particular, man, being created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26f), was created to have fellowship with God through the exercise of that image. Man was created to glorify God through the exercise of his personality—mind, heart, and will. With his mind he was to know God, with his heart he was to love God, and with his will, in response to his understanding and love of God, he was to choose for God in obedience. But God did not create robots. That would have brought very little glory to God. Because His creatures were not robots, there was the risk of a negative choice. But God, by His sovereign will, purpose, and foreknowledge, determined to allow this, indeed, He ordained it by His own eternal wisdom without Himself being the cause.

    Many struggle with this, but in the process of all that has occurred, God’s glory is supremely revealed in all His Holy attributes—His holiness, righteousness, justice, mercy, grace, and love, veracity, truth, etc. God did not cause the creature to sin. If the creature was to really have the freedom to know, love, and choose for God and respond in worship and obedience as a free and independent agent, he had to have true freedom of choice. Thus, compare the temptation of Eve by the devil. He attacked her knowledge and understanding of God to get her to doubt God’s love, etc. The race fell because of Adam and Eve’s negative response to the grace of God. But in the process, God’s character and glory is revealed in a more total or complete way. So, through the cross, man’s sin, like diamonds reflecting the light against the backdrop of black velvet, reflects God’s love, mercy, grace, holiness and justice in infinite ways.

    In this regard, there are three aspects or phases to the salvation God offers us in Christ—the past—by faith in Christ, we are saved from the penalty of sin; the present—we are being delivered from the power of sin (if we will walk by faith and in fellowship in Him); and the future—saved once and for all from the presence of sin with the return of Christ. So we can’t blame God. He has made more than sufficient provision for us and our sin problem even to the point of giving us His Son.

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