The Far-Too-Many

The atheist philosopher David Hume on common people:

 

” BOSWELL

But is it not possible that there may be a future state, where we shall all account for our sins?

HUME

`Tis possible that a piece of coal, put upon the fire, will not burn, but to suppose so is not at all reasonable. It is a most unreasonable fancy that we should exist forever. If it were at all, immortality must be general; the infant who dies before being possessed of reason; the half-wit; the Porter drunk with gin by ten o’clock – all must be preserved and new Universes must be created to contain such vast numbers.

The atheist philosopher Nietzsche on common people:

“— Ah! Ever are there but few of those whose hearts have persistent courage and exuberance; and in such remaineth also the spirit patient. The rest, however, are cowardly.

The rest: these are always the great majority, the common-place, the superfluous, the far-too many—those all are cowardly! —”

I have noticed the similarity in the ideas of these two philosophers about how there are too many people and many are not worthy of consideration. Some of this thinking seems to resemble the attitudes of some of the deep environmentalists of our times, with their anti-natalist views and misanthropy. Of course, Thomas Malthus had a hand in this too, but although a lady once reported that he didn’t like to see babies because they represented population growth outstripping available resources, I suspect this was a joke.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Julian O'Dea on July 20, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Anti-natalism as a philosophical position:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinatalism

    Reply

  2. Posted by Julian O'Dea on July 20, 2016 at 9:18 am

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_ecology

    (Deep environmentalism or deep ecology)

    Reply

  3. You could with some ease mount an argument that Christianity should be anti-natal. I’d imagine some of the early Christian churches were quite like that, strictly celibate in expectation of the imminent world’s end.

    I’m also reminded of the self-defeating ‘movement for voluntary human extinction’. They have a website somewhere if you care to delve into such places.

    Reply

    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on July 21, 2016 at 3:25 am

      There is a woman I know on FB (I can give you her name in a private FB message if you like) who says she is an antinatalist. I think she is just a misanthrope. She has written some fiction (which is OK, and written in an acidly humorous style) and also done some translating. She is reasonably attractive, and like a lot of such women, she has attracted a crowd of admiring men, who no doubt admire her for her brain.

      As for Christianity, there is the monastic tradition of course, but the Church seems to have generally supported natality, and fought hard against gnostic movements that believed sex and childbirth were wrong (Borges refers in his usual style to such a movement – I would check but I have lost my copy of one of his books).

      The whole Cathar movement came into conflict with the Catholic Church over this point. I remember when Fr Paul Collins discussed the conflict with another chap on Radio National’s religion report, they got the respective beliefs backwards, and seemed to think the Cathars were hippies into free love.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Zeta on July 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Hume, Boswell and Nietzsche were extraneous additions to the population who we could well do without. And whose existence are proofs for the necessity of post-natal abortion laws. That is you kill people who should have been aborted for the good of society. A eugenics program (-:

    Reply

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