Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Anhedonic Days: Remarks on the Antinatalist Population

(In summary of the first, rambling, and sickeningly pity-rousing paragraph, Anhedonia is a BAD thing. Depression is a BAD thing.)
Sorry for not posting recently, I've had another of my recent bouts of anhedonia. For those of you who don't know what this is, count yourself lucky. Anhedonia is something that is keeping me prisoner in my own body - it's an ever-present influence on everything I do, and it makes every waking day away from school just as boring as those days within my school's walls. Coming to theatres near you - I mean, it's essentially just the absence of pleasure. That doesn't sound too bad, of course, when you say it like that. In fact it even sounds rather alright - not good, not bad; an emotional null. Except when you actually get to the crux of the matter - when you begin going about your daily life in the natural way, you realise that this seemingly innocent clinger-on to one's mental apparatus is hellish in nature. Nothing brings joy, only frustration and boredom. Everything one does is never as a human, but as a mindless automaton. But that's my rant for today.
       On to the point: there are some strange things about the demographics of the Antinatalist population, as seen on Jim's chatroom, and this blogsphere, that I've been seeing a lot:
                  (i) Higher rate of mental illness than the general population (let's say 5/30 have one)
                  (ii) Sexual equality higher than that of other intellectual groups (e.g. the lack of female atheists, the lack of male feminists)
                  (iii) Low incidence of religious belief (approx 1/30)
                  (iv) Large number of non-native English speakers
(iii) and (iv) are quite easy to explain, so I'll start with them first. (iii) I believe is simply the result of the low number of religious believers who seek some sort of additional knowledge away from their holy documents. Even the few that do, will simply look up courses on theology and such - as antinatalism is neither a popular subject among theologians, nor a popular subject among anyone at all, it seems to stand to reason that a religious person could only have come to antinatalism through their own accidental realisation of the problems of giving birth. Of course you could say that the nonreligious wouldn't find references to antinatalism anywhere, but the problem with that is, that we as the nonreligious have no barriers to searching for things that affirm our pessimism, if we are so inclined that way. And in searching for pessimism on the internet, we could easily have eventually been led to one of the many antinatalist blogs out there, or even to Schopenhauer's (peace be upon him) works.
       The large number of non-native English speakers present (iv) is simply, I think, a result of the fact that we are on the internet! There are no barriers to anyone from any moderately wealthy country from congregating on the internet, besides government-imposed censorship laws. And due to the popularity of English, being almost a modern lingua franca, it stands to reason that a lot of newbie antinatalists are going to search for antinatalism in that tongue.
        (i) is quite a personal one. I'd love to say right now that (i) is because the mentally ill can see things far more clearly than the ignorant neurotypicals, but that's not exactly rational, let alone sporting. What I'd instead propose is that the mentally ill are prone to:
-Mulling things over for longer periods of time (deep thinking sometimes = antinatalism)
-Understanding that life is not all cheery from their own personal suffering (awareness of the suffering in the lives of human beings leads to antinatalism)
and to
-Looking for things on the internet related to them (searches for depression could easily lead to searches for pessimism, as I've said, leading to the discovery of antinatalism). As a bonus for the reader, this mentally ill person (me) found antinatalism by searching for suicide methods, and happened upon Sister Y's blog.
   As for (ii), I have hardly any idea at all. I thought that by putting it off for this long, something would come to me, but really, I'm not sure. I think that maybe I'm thinking of this from the wrong perspective. Maybe sexual equality in demographics is the most natural state of being - maybe those examples I've used are actually examples of things being portrayed as in opposition to a particular sex. Maybe the fact that atheism is male-dominated KEEPS it male-dominated - the fact that so many authors are male deters women from contributing (though there are some studies showing women to be more religious, I think). As for feminism, it's simply to do with image - those man-hating radicals deter any interested men from joining.     
  Of course one could simply explain everything away by saying the low sample size means any of these features could be a coincidence! Sorry guys.


  1. Actually, 5/30 is not necessarily higher than the general population.

    A lot of people land on my site searching for suicide methods. It depresses me that (a) so many people are that miserable, and (b) I can't help them (legally or factually).

  2. What is a mental illness? :)

    Besides, if the way "professionals" judge mental well-being is to be trusted, 30/30 of us are mentally ill.

  3. I've been a depressive all of my 44 years, and thanks to several years on Paxil, I now have anhedonia. God-damned medical-pharmaceutical complex. There are probably millions of us out there, having to deal with the Happiness Nazis every day.