In the present work I study Daoist philosophy in conjunction with the radical new philosophy of antinatalism, spearheaded by South African philosopher David Benatar. Although I am not claiming equivalence between the two, a meaningful communication emerges between the classical Chinese sources used here and the modern doctrine of antinatalism. I argue that both visions partake in a radical critique of consciousness according to which this faculty of the human mind is far from what it is often held to be. In fact, it is perceived as a destructive and disruptive element of, and in, existence. Moreover, both offer a praxis of return that seeks to undo this disruption. In the case of Daoism, consciousness pushes humans ever farther away from the Dao. It is imperative to return from this exile, and to return to the Dao. This can, radically, only be achieved by the return from ‘ordinary’ conscious existence. This is the prerogative of sagehood. It will be shown that the trajectory of sagehood shares important parameters with the antinatalist quest to significantly (and perhaps conclusively) challenge human hubris in the cosmos at large, and to reinstate cosmic humility.
"A Sonogram of the Dark Side of the Dao: The Possibility of Antinatalism in Daoism,"
Comparative Philosophy: Vol. 13:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/comparativephilosophy/vol13/iss1/9