The Philosophy of Not Having Children?

What is the reason behind us humans having children? Some people may say that having children serves the purpose of continuing their lineage. Some may just want babies because they are cute. According to wehavekids.com, some of us have children to let them experience the joy of life. Whatever our reason for having children may be, everyone will respect and understand it. However, the same might not apply to the opposite perspective. But why is this exactly?

 

Culture + Tradition +  Religion = Social Pressure

social pressure. depositphotos

In some cultures, traditions, religions in certain countries, not having children can be seen as something taboo. At the very least, it is seen as something unusual or uncommon. Take for example Christianity. In Genesis 1:28, God commanded us to “be fruitful and multiply.” So yes, not having children is technically disobeying God in Christianity. Of course, this causes a massive debate in the Christian community of whether not having children is truly a sin. Coming from a Chinese family, my parents always said that having more children brings more luck (though I can’t really find any source to this).

All these 3 factors essentially build into the overwhelming social pressure that all married couples have to have children. It simply makes no sense why they would not do so. Thus, the general formula is born (pun intended). If you ever bring up the topic or the idea of not having children, one or a combination of these factors will be used to counter you. 

From the formula, we can also infer that the amount of social pressure will also depend on the strength of each variable in the formula. Therefore, if you live in an environment where the effects of old traditions, culture or religion is not too extensive, then you will probably not suffer from immense social pressure. Take for example Japan, a modern, advanced, first world country. It has all the characteristics of a country which has moved on from old traditions and where religion is not too popular. Wouldn’t you know it, according to CBS News, Japan is ranked at the number 2 worst birth rates in the world. 

 

Countering the Social Pressure

Alright, we have established that immense social pressure will tend to push a married couple to have children despite not wanting to. However, you can always counter social pressure with other tactics. Firstly, you can of course use personal reasons. There is no doubt that taking care of children will cause tremendous stress, tiredness and maybe unhappiness. Secondly, there is always the reason for “doing it for the greater good of humanity”. For example, the world seems already overpopulated with 7 billion people who are competing to survive. Having more children will not serve the better cause and even potentially not be beneficial for the children too. Moreover, having children also has an impact on the environment. According to theguardian.com, having a child will cost 58.6 tonnes of carbon every year. So yes, the statement that having children is not go-green is perfectly logical

 

The philosophy

The counters mentioned above are the ones that I usually use when debating whether or not to have children. They provide a sufficient, logical and concise argument on my point of view. However, those are not the real reasons why I disagree with the idea of having children. 

Personally, I couldn’t care less about the implications of having children from an environmentalist point of view. Moreover, I would go through the hardships of taking care of a child if I want them in the first place. However, taken from a philosophical standpoint, I could not agree with the idea of having children. But before going to that explanation, we need to understand the philosophy behind life itself.

The Joy of Life

happy sad face. Freepik

One of the reasons mentioned in wehavekids.com on why to have children is to let them experience the joy of life. But is life really joyful in the first place? Sure everyone has their own personal understanding of happiness, but it cannot be argued that life is also full of suffering. No matter how rich or poor you are, where you are born, where you live, you will one day experience suffering. It makes perfect sense, without suffering there is no joy. Joy itself can be defined as the absence of suffering at a particular moment. Similar to how there is no accomplishment without a challenge in the first place. 

The Lowest Point in Life

bottomless trap hole. Amazon

I always believed that every person will one day reach their lowest point in life. This is the moment when life gives you the most bitter lemon in the whole world and that you have to make the sweetest lemonade out of it. This is the moment when one experiences the greatest amount of suffering in their life. Your lowest point in life could be anything from a dead pet, breakup, stolen money, burnt house, you name it. The scary thing is, you may never know if there is a deeper hole waiting in the future. You will only know it once things start falling apart and you descend into the madness called life.

I hope you get the idea that life may not be as joyful as it seems. More often than not, it gives you tough and stressful challenges. But hey, with tough challenges comes rewarding happiness right? Personally I rather not experience happiness than it is to experience my lowest point in life. However, there is really no choice for me as I am already living and will thus be forced to face life no matter how difficult it may be.

Solution and Conclusion

Therefore, the real solution is not to be alive in the first place. Note that this does not equivalent to suicide as what will come after is death; it is different. Not having lived in the first place means that there is no death, no happiness but, more importantly, no suffering. 

From here we can see that the choice is really on the hands of the parents. Do you want children to experience joy in the expense of immense suffering and pain throughout their life? Or do you want to spare them by not having them in the first place? I personally could not bear to see my children suffering in the hardships of life, that is why I do not want to have any children.  

Featured image by Freepik

Ananto J Written by:

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