Raphael Samuel, the Mumbai man suing his parents for giving birth to him, calls procreation 'a Ponzi scheme'

Raphael Samuel — not the British Marxist historian, but a 27-year-old Mumbai resident — recently made headlines in the Indian and international press, after announcing that he would be suing his parents for giving birth to him.

Samuel told the BBC that he hadn't yet found a lawyer to take on his case; Samuel's parents — incidentally — are both lawyers, and his mother issued a statement expressing appreciation for his decision.

The reports on Samuel have ranged from explanations of antinatalism ("a philosophical position that assigns a negative value to birth") and thinkpieces on suffering-focused ethics to quick lowdowns on better understanding the case, and exhortations to his parents to countersue Samuel instead.

There has even been some discussion on the legal merits of his case, if Samuel was inspired by Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki's 2018 Oscar-nominated movie Capharnaüm (in which the child protagonist sues his family "for giving him life in the first place"), and whether or not he is "a liberal".

One of Raphael Samuel's Facebook posts, explaining his stance of antinatalism. Image via Facebook/@thenihilanand

One of Raphael Samuel's Facebook posts, explaining his stance of antinatalism. Image via Facebook/@thenihilanand

Firstpost reached out to Samuel (who posts updates on his case and antinatalism on his Facebook page) for an interview; however, he chose to share this short note instead, explaining his position — and his decision to sue.

Samuel wrote:

"The idea the our parents are doing us a favour by having us is a ridiculous one. I have always found it so. Tell me, if I invent a machine, and then expect it to take care of itself after a certain point, how would it work? It needs to be maintained and oiled and taken care of and repaired. Why doesn't this same logic work with parents and children?

First, you have me — without my consent — in a world like this. Then you'll educate me (something that most children aren't really into). Then, you'll expect me to work and earn my own living and do the same to my child. What a ridiculous way of life! Why propagate this?

Consent itself as an idea is new in this sphere. Aren't children the beautiful gift of life? Aren't they "God's gift"? Are they not the mark of love between two people? No! We need to understand — this is a sentient being. They feel, they see, they smell, they hear on their own. They have their own machinery. Yes they depend on you, but they also have the right to denounce you. The child has nothing to do with the couple.

Most people do not realise that they have had the child to fill some sort of void in their life. So then will the child have a child to fill a void in its own life? What kind of a Ponzi scheme is this? If one has a void, fill it with a car or maybe mediation — not a sentient being.

The main objective of what I do is to get parents to understand that they need to think a lot before having a child. A child isn't the 'next step' after marriage. If you think before buying a car, please think before having that child. Remember life is a gamble , you're playing the roulette with a thing that can feel pain. Play carefully, but remember, it's you who is playing, not the child who has chosen to."

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Updated Date: Feb 08, 2019 19:58:34 IST

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