Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Back To Reality

Ok, I'm done with the fanciful hypotheticals for a while (unless one is required to accentuate a point, of course). My aim here is to demonstrate that procreation runs counter to decent human sensibilities- it's a bad thing. If we're going to act selfishly, why not act towards a 'higher' selfishness, in the direction of acquiring and maintaining a clear conscience? That's part of what I'm working out for myself on this blog.

Do I have any hopes of making an impact? If I offered a fatalistic "no" to this question, I'd be lying. Even cynical antinatalists have their fantasies. But I also like to think that I'm a somewhat realistic person, and so I assuage my guilt with the little victories. My own children, for instance, seem to grok the skinny, and as far as I can tell, don't hold my predilections against me. And I actually take pains to discuss my beliefs with tangible passers-by, and sometimes they listen, and frequently they nod their heads, which is an encouragement (and an admitted ego boost).

And of course, there's this blog (and a few others). The ideas are in the air- memetic viruses infecting laptops, and optic centers, and discourse, and passions. Others carry the disease as well, and the possibility of interesting mutations is ever-present. Mass communication in the hands of the masses has opened up a Pandora's box of options; I mean to take advantage.

Because bringing children into an existence of suffering and death is wrong...and you KNOW it is!


TGGP said...

Most people with kids are not nagged by their conscience. It is only anti-natalists like yourself that regret it.

Anonymous said...

Howdy, TGGP!

You might be surprised, TGGP. Over the years, I've met more than one person who regretted having had children, for a variety of reasons, selfish and unselfish. Furthermore, you've got to consider the 'hidden regret' factor. There are truths that most people are quite reluctant to fess up to, even to themselves. The same holds true with those who are unhappy in their marriages, for instance.

A personal anecdote: I'd been friends with a guy since we were both 15 years old. We grew up together, and both of us married fairly young (20 yrs. old).

Jump forward 25 marriage had been crumbling for 10 yrs or so (soon after we'd had our children, as a matter of fact). But I'd never really talked about it to anyone, and in fact, I'd just recently fully admitted it to myself. One day I just poured all of it out to my friend, with whom I'd worked on and off for many years. He was flabbergasted; he'd simply had no clue!

Nothing more was said for one or two days. Then, one morning while having breakfast together, he suddenly let loose with all this emotional baggage he'd been carrying around concerning his own marriage. I swear, he was going on like he'd had a religious revelation. We talked for hours, and those hours became days as we finally came clean to ourselves about our true feelings. It was really an incredible time, TGGP.

The point of my story is to illustrate how people often repress their true feelings in regard to taboo subjects, and admitting that you regret having children is at the top of that list.

I know that you are the ultimate url surfer, so I've provided some links for you below:

Chip said...

I remember when I was a kid back in the mid-seventies, that was when the divorce rate really began to go up. There was all of this pop-psych babble about how to "explain" divorce to children. Still is, of course. Anyway I always thought it was funny that the "how to break it to the kids" drill was so front-loaded on assuring the little innocents that, um, IT ISN'T THEIR FAULT.

"Sorry little Timmy, but Mommy and Daddy are splitting up because that's what grown-ups do, but don't worry - we both love you very much, and IT ISN'T YOUR FAULT."

And sure enough, when my parents joined the divorce bandwagon in '76or whenever, I was treated to an earful of patronizing assurances and was repeatedly told, by both controlling parties, that IT WASN'T MY FAULT. Odd thing is, it never would have occurred to me to think that my parents were splitting because of something I did. Not in a million years. I just assumed they didn't like each other anymore, though I do recall being absolutely devastated.

Only as an adult did I begin to see, in retrospect, by piecing together drip-fed facts and past incidents, what a strange disappointment I was for my father. I suspect he'd been wanting to ditch for a long while; The fact that he was having impermissibly hostile feelings toward the the Chip off his old block... Well, it must have been too much.

Sniff, sniff. - I know.

Anyway, I've come to see those long-practiced parental choruses of assurance as a rather conspicuous protest, more often intended to assuage the guilt not of kidlings "caught in the middle" but of the parents whose marriages said kidlings played no small part in ruining.

As unutterable truths go, I suspect parental regret ranks up there with rape fantasies and peanut-butter-facilitated interspecies dalliances. I would bet my lot that most parents are at some level fraught with bad conscience from time to time. They just keep it to themselves and everyone plays along.

Anonymous said...



Sister Y said...

That's why Gene Hackman's divorce speech in The Royal Tenenbaums is my favorite divorce speech in the history of literature. "Well, of course, certain sacrifices had to be made as a result of having children . . . "