The Astronomically Rare Bad Luck Of Being Brought Into Existence
“As we have seen, nobody is lucky enough not to be born, everybody is unlucky enough to have been born – and particularly bad luck it is.” – David Benatar; Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.
I’m an antinatalist. I believe that it would have been better for all of us to have never been born. As for why, the reason is simple: to come into existence is a prerequisite for experiencing all of the pain, suffering, and harm in one’s life. To borrow another quote from my favorite antinatalism advocate David Benatar:
“We infrequently contemplate the harms that await any new-born child—pain, disappointment, anxiety, grief, and death. For any given child we cannot predict what form these harms will take or how severe they will be, but we can be sure that at least some of them will occur. None of this befalls the nonexistent. Only existers suffer harm.”
Since nobody wants to experience harm, and experiencing harm is negative, so it follows that it’s better never to have been. The so-called “good” stuff in life doesn’t negate this fact, for even the “good” stuff in life doesn’t cause on a direct benefit. Merely, things like happiness, joy, love, among other “positive” human experiences are merely the absence of negative experiences and not really inherently positive (for the non-existent aren’t deprived of them since they are unaware they even exist).
So being brought into existence is terrible luck. OK, but just how terrible? Well, when you actually look at the odds of your unique individual self coming into existence, we see just how rare and terrible this luck is. Of the hundreds of thousands of eggs in a mother’s ovaries and billions of sperm produced by a man’s testicles over the course of his lifetime, it took one specific egg and one specific sperm to create the unique individual that is one’s self. With that, we can see that the probability of you coming into existence was astronomically low, and much lower than the chance of winning the lottery. Yet you came into existence. Talk about absolutely rare and unfortunate luck!
Case in point, when I hear someone say to me that they’re unlucky, I just have to nod my head and agree, because it’s so true, for we were all incredibly unlucky to have been brought into existence.