London and Its Sunshine

Londoners love to talk about weather and its forecast. And also how a sunshine can turn the grey to be so lovely….


They were taken at the same time from a quite similar position but on different days. Thank you for coming out, sunshine!

Izhak and the Ethical Issue of Procreation

There is an interesting news recently about Izhak, a college student who chose to step back from his study because he decided to make a living for the rest of his nine siblings. There are few reasons making this news viral but it is mainly a combination of two things: unfortunate economic circumstances and the very well-known technological institution where he spent his first 4 terms. As the story goes on, he actually proves that he is a brilliant guy who unfortunately has to experience economic difficulties. He was not born in a very rich family but then managed to secure a government scholarship in one of the best technological institutions in Indonesia. In addition to that, the department in which he was registered is quite well-known for its competitiveness and thus proving how smart he is as a student. And then the story goes on since his parents passed away, he then decided to make a living for the rest of his siblings.

The nobleman

This particular news is quite interesting, especially regarding his reason for choosing to discontinue his study and prefer to make a living for the rest of his siblings. He has shown a very noble morality. To get rid of his selfishness and choose to sacrifice his life for his family can be considered as a good thing.

Whether people judge it from the utilitarian or Kantian point of view, what he did was indeed right. From the utilitarian point of view, he showed that nine lives is more important than just his life which can be considered as one, although we cannot be certain about the ‘real’ value inside each of them. But to be fair, nine against one is enough to prove that utilitarian approach at the very least degree is satisfied. Also from Kantian point of view in where he urges us to make a universalization of what we think is right, I also think that he has satisfied the standard. Considering his position as the eldest child, the rest of his siblings are very likely to rely upon him to make up their lives. This is probably culturally specific and some other cultures might not consider such a thing. But judging this condition from the circumstances where he lives, it would be fair to take into account his cultural background as well. Thus say, if the case is reversed and he is not the eldest child, it could be the case that he is going to rely upon the eldest child. This then just shows how he satisfies the Kantian ethic. I do not doubt that what he did was actually the right thing to do considering all of his conditions that he had to face.

Procreation ethic

But what is more interesting is about the real condition of having nine siblings with a not-really supportive financial condition. This condition leads me to think about ethical issue in other direction: the ethic of procreation. My previous post was only about a picture showing my position about the ethic of procreation. Although I have not posted the full writing on it, my disposition is clear: it is never a duty for a person to get married, let alone to procreate since they have to consider all of things in advance. It is in this light that I would like to discuss more about the ethic of procreation.

In my previous writing on the ethic of abortion, I told a story about Hare whose thought is to justify the procreation as a universalization on the ethical issue of abortion. I then contrasted them with the thought of Gie, a political activist in Indonesia, about being grateful of not being born. Then the question related to the above case is: is there any correlation between the ethical issue of procreation and the above case?

There are several reasons supporting why people would like to have more kids. Culturally speaking, it might be said that the more kids you have, the more wealth you will get. This is probably true if, let’s say, once you grow old and your kids have turned into successful businessman or engineer and then you start to realize how fortunate you are as a parent.

But, does it always happen every single time in every family? What is the probability for such things to happen? It is true that luck and also unintended factors cannot be neglected but it does not mean that people are completely blind about predicting future with a collection of facts that they have in life.

And thus the correlation with the above story is this: when people have decided to procreate, to have kids, have they really considered about their future and their current condition? I am not here to tell that the parents were right or wrong in deciding to have more kids. They probably had more considerations when doing so that I am not in the position whatsoever to judge. But this reflection does exist in general. People sometimes only think about procreation but not think about what to do with the next generation.

To move slightly from the above scenario, I would also like to relate this ethical issue of procreation with the news about the policy to conduct a mass marriage from Jakarta Governor. If people then start to think that they actually can get married easily by just waiting for the government and thus are legal to have kids but never consider about what the future of the kids will look like, then the government will probably need to start to think about taking care of their children if one day they just cannot take care of their own children. Do not get me wrong in this disposition. I am actually a supporter of an easy, simple and cheap marriage. But I would like to emphasize more about commitment to build a future. If you can get it freely from government just for sex legalization and think about it as an opportunity, you probably never think about building a future. It could be a different story though if you have carefully think about that and you get a free opportunity. But this paragraph could be another writing on the ethic of marriage which I would like to explore more. My point is this: the ethic of procreation that I discuss here is not limited to the above scenario or the scenario where people have already had more kids. This ethical discussion can also be extended to criticize government policy which is supposed to lead people to think before procreate and just not to let people procreate as much as they wish.

To close, again, I am actually not in the position to say whether the above scenario should be reversed or whether it is really a bad scenario. My point in this writing is to lead people to think about the ethic of procreation. Just ask before we decide: are we able to deliver a really good future for our next generation? Remember about universalization of Kantian ethic: if we are happy with our lives but never be sure about the future of our next generation, it is better not to procreate since we are not able to universalize our own maxim.