Welcome to the “official” Hall of Fame of Antinatalism.
This is a humorous way of giving a pedestal tribute to people we feel deserves to be seen as important when it comes to origin, influence and evolvement in what we broadly call antinatalism. This can be seen as a bit of a guide as well.
Every installment in this gallery includes a personal text, links to their works and an exclusive portrait. All drawings has been drawn by Stein-Christian Fagerbakken.
Peter Wessel Zapffe
Peter Wessel Zapffe (1899-1990) was a famous norwegian philosopher, multi artist and mountaineer from Tromsø in Norway. Zapffe had some of the most pessimistic ideas around, claiming human conscioussness was a tragedy. His book Om Det Tragiske (1941) is about the claim that all kinds of happiness is just defensemechanisms from seeing how horrible nature really is. He thought humanity should cease to be.
He was paradoxically also one of Norways most famous comedians of his generation, especially known all around Norway for his humorbook Vett og Uvett (1942), which has been played to full theatre audiences (your grandmother has probably laughed at it). He was a close friend of philosopher Arne Næss, was married twice and lived a long active life, but refused to ever have children.
“A coin is turned around before it is handed to the beggar, yet a child is unflinchingly tossed into cosmic bruteness.”
David Benatar (birth unknown – still alive) is a professor in philosophy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is the inventor of the term ‘antinatalism’, which he presented in his infamous book Better Not To Have Been – The Harm Of Coming Into Existence (2008). He argues that coming into existence is always a harm, and that it is morally wrong to create more human beings.
His book started a wave of debates and caused a lot of confused and puzzled minds. It also inspired a lot of followers and communties dedicated to antinatalism, and endless plans about how to make a world without humans. There’s no known picture of Benatar, and he is considered somewhat of a mystery.
Jim Crawford (birth unknown – still alive) is a poet, an author, internet personality and a residing cook somewhere in USA. He is probably most known for his infamous book Confessions of an Antinatalist (2012), where he tells about what it means to be an antinatalist and defends the position against common misconceptions and criticisms. He also runs the biggest antinatalism blog on the web and likes long cigarettes.
Jim has two daughters, which in his own words admittedly makes him somewhat of a hypocrite, although someone who didn’t know better at the time. He dedicates the book to them, and writes a sorry note to them in the preface of the book.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a classical german existensialist philosopher living and working in the 1800s, a long time before the antinatalism term was invented, but he was talking about the same thing and is seen a father figure of the movement. Schopenhauer is traditionally known to be the grandfather of Pessimism. He is widely known for his excellent grumpy witty charm!
He has been very influential in philosophy, to people like Fredrich Nietzsche, but has actually been even more influential in art, like painting and literature.
“Life is a business that does not cover the costs.”
Herman Tønnessen (1918-2001) was a professor in philosophy in California and later in Canada. Tønnessen was a close friend of Peter Wessel Zapffe, and envied Zapffe’s pessimism all his life and tried as good as he could to out-Zapffe him.
He’s infamous for his quote “Happiness is for pigs, I choose the truth.” (“Lykke er for griser. Jeg velger sannheten.”) which was also to become the title of a book by Herman Tønnessen and Peter Wessel Zapffe which consists only of a lengthy discussion between the two. Tønnessen was also described as a very energetic, funny, loudmouthed and someone known for doing impulsive and strange things. Like once while waiting impatiently for dinner in a resturant started doing gymnastics by hanging from the beams of the roof, accidently making the ceiling crash down.
Les U. Knight
Les U. Knight (birth unknown – still alive) is the founder of the antinatalistic organization The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. This organization is a different breed of antinatalists in the sense that they’re more environmentally concerned and like to picture a world without any humans corrupting, polluting and destroying the planet.
“May we live long and die out!” is the VHEMT slogan.
Emil Cioran (1911-1995) was an existensialist philosopher from Romania, as well as an author who wrote books in french that reflected a radical skepticism and melancholic worldview about reality and existence. He usually wrote in poetry.
His most antinatalistic book The Trouble Of Being Born (1973) as well as most of his books are very celebrated and he almost gained a “rock star”-like status in Romania.
“Trees are massacred, houses go up — faces, faces everywhere. Man is spreading. Man is the cancer of the earth.”
Thomas Ligotti (1953- still alive) is a contemporary american cult author of existential horror literature. He debuted in 1985 with the short story collection Songs Of A Dead Dreamer, and has written many horror books since then. Ligotti is inspired by authors like H. P. Lovecraft and underground horror. He writes with very dark themes that seems to claim that reality itself is the real horror story.
In his first non-fiction book The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (2010) he writes for the first time in length about his view of life and reality, which interestingly enough is often referred to, inspired by and even dedicated to norwegian philosopher Peter Wessel Zapffe.
Kirk Neville (birth unknown – 2013) is on the internet known as Derived Energy. He is a teacher from England, and an internet personality who has been very active making many videos on youtube promoting antinatalism and the argument that the human race should ideally go out of business. He died in 2013 due to tragic circumstances.