To a normal, healthy, cheery person, life seems so clearly worthwhile that the AN position seems downright pathological - exactly the way the pro-birth position can come to seem pathological to a committed AN. Of course, the former position carries more weight in our society because of the medicalization of depression; I would venture that most people who have never experienced severe depression, and even some who have, conceive of depression as a curable medical condition. The positions are not treated as having equal weight, not only because the cheery position is more common, but because the sad position is pathologized as a departure from healthy, rational thinking.
Of course, even psychiatrists admit that not all depression is curable. The kind of depression that the DSM-II used to call endogenous depression - the kind of life-long, severe, probably hereditary depression that I have - is particularly intractable.
Even if we define this type of depression as a pathological departure from rationality, it remains the case that it is an often incurable, extremely painful condition. Viewed from its lens, life does not seem obviously worthwhile at all; quite the opposite.
It is interesting that two types of people with radically different stable affects come to radically different conclusions about the worth-it-ness of life. Is it possible that the morality of creating life is determined by the eventual affect of the created person?
This seems to be what pro-lifers claim when they want to weigh the pleasures of life against its suffering. But there are some folks - let's say we're a small minority - for whom life is mostly experienced as suffering. If it is sometimes okay to create living beings who will experience more pleasure than pain, isn't it just as wrong to create living beings for whom suffering will outweigh pleasure?
Not all births are the same. The ethical harm involved in creating a person may be felt by the person to be great, or may be felt as negligible or even negative (i.e., many feel benefited). It's as if there is a Euclidean and a non-Euclidean morality, depending on affect.
But does this not all mean that we should, at a minimum, avoid creating depressed people? People receive genetic counseling mostly for selfish reasons - to make sure their child will not have a disorder that makes it hard to care for or disappointing. However, it would be of great benefit to potential people like me if people received genetic counseling geared toward the happiness of future offspring. My proposition: it's extremely wrong to create a depressed person, and the fact that research and screening are not directed toward preventing likely-depressed people from being born shows that the entire reproduction industry cares not a whit for the suffering of those it causes to be born.
If you are a cheery person who thinks it's okay to create people, or if you know someone like this, what do you/they think of creating people who are likely to experience severe depression?