On the other side of the Italian catholic church and government thinking their declining population is a crisis, are the members of a group that think a declining population is just what we need..in fact, they think the best thing for humans to do is to stop reproducing all together right now to allow the earth’s biosphere to return to good health.
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) might have radical ideas,
but I ran across piece on their site called, “Why Breed” that looks at the most common reasons people give for wanting children, the real reasons beneath that reason, and suggested alternatives instead of having a child.
I talk to lots of couples who are examining their reasons for wanting/not wanting children, and find VHEMT’s list rather insightful, especially when it comes to the “real” reasons people think they want kids. Thinking about alternatives is also very good food for thought. Said another way–when thinking of what they will get out of parenthood, it is very useful to think about how they can get the experience they are looking for in another way. From VHEMT’s the piece..
1=Reason given re wanting kids; 2=Real reasons; 3= Suggested alternative
1 I can’t help it; it’s a biological urge.
2 Unexamined motivations.
3 Institutions await those who can’t control their biological urges
1 Want to give our parents grandchildren.
2 Still seeking parental approval.
3 Live your own life and encourage your parents to do the same.
1 I just love children.
2 Out of touch with inner child, and with existing children.
3 Adopt, step, and foster parenting. Big Brother/Sister. Work with children, teach.
1 I have superior human genes.
2 Doesn’t recognize an oxymoron. Megalomania.
3 Do great things with your genes, rather than expecting the next cultured batch to do it.
1 Need help on farm or in family business.
2 Too cheap to hire help. Child labor laws inconvenient.
3 Mechanization gives faster return on investment.
1 Want someone to care for me in my old age.
2 Fear of aging. Exploitative personality.
3 Save money and prepare for retirement. Be nice to people so they will visit you in the home.
1 Pregnancy and childbirth are life experiences.
2 Life choices limited by social indoctrination.
3 Rent pregnancy simulator. Choose different life experiences.
1 A good family is essential to career advancement and strong standing in the community.
2 Social insecurity. Wants trophy children to improve social status.
3 Rent children from talent agency on special occasions. Have white picket fence installed.
1 We want to create a life that embodies our love for each other.
2 Ego, times two, minus imagination, equals three plus.
3 Garden. Adopt a stream, trail, or highway. Rescue animals. Protect & restore ecosystems to embody love.
1 I want my kids (who don’t exist yet) to have all the things I didn’t have.
2 Unfulfilled childhood desires and fantasies.
3 Deal with regrets & make best of life. Provide for existing children.
1 To carry on family name.
2 Trying to please Dad. Duped by bloodline superstition.
3 Create something enduring & give it family name. Donate blood to pass on bloodline.
1 Want to see a little me.
2 Self-absorption. Lack of ego gratification.
3 Order custom-made, life-like doll. Create a gratifying life of your own.
1 God wants us to.
2 Mindless obedience to dogma peddlers who want larger flocks.
3 Seek true nature of God, whatever you perceive God to be.
1 My wife/husband wants a baby.
2 Giving in out of fear of losing partner.
3 Communicate true desires. Spouse may feel you’re the one who wants to breed.
Rent baby simulator doll.
1 Want a child with our bloodline.
2 Ego extension. Racial identity.
3 Recognize value of people with different genetic make-ups.
1 It’s a spiritual thing for me.
2 Other reasons too easily refuted.
3 Find truly spiritual experiences.
1 I’ve always wanted to have children; it’s what people do.
2 Unquestioned cultural conditioning.
3 Communicate to strengthen relationship. Attend retreats for bonding couples.
1 I love babies.
2 Shortsighted view of reality.
3 Babies soon turn into children, who turn into adults. Infant care work is available.
1 Being a mother is a woman’s highest calling.
2 Beguiled into believing compliance is noble free choice.
3 Motherhood, and fatherhood, may be achieved without breeding. Many children wait for good homes.
1 My child could find a way to save the world.
2 “Mother of God” complex. (Also applies to men).
3 If you want something done right, do it yourself.
1 We’d like to try for a boy/girl this time.
2 Ego extension. Gender identity insecurity. Dissatisfaction with existing offspring.
3 Appreciate who you have, they might resent their sibling whose gender is
1 I just want to.
2 Just wants to.
3 Choosing to breed precludes most other things you’ll just want to do.
1 I want someone who will love me and not leave me.
2 Fear of rejection. Unresolved relationship issues.
3 Give love to get love. Accept change and deal with loss.
1 Our economy needs young workers to replace retired workers.
2 Willing to sacrifice offspring to gods of National Economy.
3 Automation reduces need for wage slaves. Consider rights of unconceived to stay
1 The world needs more of us or we’ll be outnumbered.
2 Elitism. Xenophobia. Eugenics easier to conceal than genocide.
3 Convert others to your views so there’ll be one more of your kind and one less of
1 We may as well; the planet is doomed anyway.
2 Nihilistic natalism.
3 Consider ethics of sentencing an innocent person to life, and death, in ecological
1 I’d like to achieve a sense of immortality.
2 Fear of death and non-existence.
3 Accept mortality. Spread memes not genes. Socrates’ heirs are not apparent,
but his ideas linger strong.
1 My biological clock has gone off.
2 Women’s normal heightened sexual desire in 30s & 40s difficult to accept in puritanical societies.
3 Disarm that culturally implanted mental time bomb. It’s okay to make love and not babies.
1 I don’t know.
2 Never thought about it. Unthinking conformity.
3 Think before you breed, and you might not.
1 I might regret not having had the experience later, when it’s too late.
2 Fear of future worries and life passing too fast.
3 We can’t experience everything. Far better to regret not breeding than to
1 I do not want to deny my kids (who do not exist yet) the joy of existence.
2 Ignoring lack of joy in existing children.
3 Promote existence of joy rather than imagining joy in mere existence.
Les Knight of VHEMT writes that a desire to conform to what society considers normal probably ranks number one as the cause of wanted pregnancies. I tend to agree. And pronatalism is the queen of “normal.”
Which “real” reasons do you think are most common?