Raphael Samuel is a 27-year-old businessman from Mumbai who wants to sue his parents for birthing him without his consent. According to the BBC, Mr. Samuel’s belief comes from “anti-natalism”–a philosophy that argues that life is so full of misery that people should stop procreating immediately.” He claims these beliefs began when he was five-years-old, after asking his father why he had him, and his father was unable to provide an answer. Mr. Samuel admits, “’I think if he’d been able to answer, maybe I wouldn’t have thought this way.’”
The stirring part of this story is not the man, but the reactions to his comments. According to Time, his mother, Kavita Karnad Samuel, said in a statement, “… if Raphael could come up with a rational explanation as to how we could have sought his consent to be born, I will accept my fault.” While his mother has reportedly dealt with the news in a positive way, this is a disturbing response and one that is ultimately very sad.
We shouldn’t allow comments like this man’s to slide by in our peripheral vision. Instead, we should face them head-on and insist upon the existence of our loved ones. This is how we uphold the dignity and need for each human life, whether we know them or not.
When people feel despair about the world, the test of our humanity (and how we view all life) will be our response. Without jumping to flashy headlines or dismissing his position, we should take this commentary seriously and try to help those who hold this dark view.
According to the CDC, suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state. The world recently watched as high profile figures made the heartbreaking decision to end their lives. When we hear of people feeling this way, it is important to not let it go unnoticed or unheard. To dismiss someone’s struggle is easier to do than engage with that person, but it is essential to reach out and try to encourage him or her out of this mindset.
It is common to go through times when we feel as if we are wandering without direction. While it may seem easier to write this man off as petulant and attention-seeking, his thoughts reveal a wider problem in society. The idea that all human life is sacred is one that is continually tested and will be even more so if philosophies such as anti-natalism gain popularity.