Monday, 2 April 2012

I would do anything for you, but I won't have your children

Everybody who is anybody has kids. I find it almost impossibly difficult to find anyone over the age of 30 who hasn't already thrown a kid into this world, or who isn't planning to do the deed. Maybe babies are like little meaning parcels, delivering meaning and purpose to adults along with a lot of poop and vomit. And, as Shadow has said before (can't find the link), parents can then pass on the meaning-baton, the burden of meaning, to their little bundles of love. Aww, ain't life great?

BUT, in my view, tossing children into hot lava, i.e. this world, is only the most meaningful thing in this world not because it holds any meaning - IT MOST DEFINITELY DOES NOT - but because it releases a lot of love and pleasure chemicals into the brain. And I suspect that's exactly what people mean when they talk about meaning and purpose - happiness. Everlasting happiness as opposed to an actual purpose. Great happiness or fulfillment basically equals meaning, even if there is no purpose involved at all. I have said this many times before, but if the purpose of life were to kill puppies, then day in, day out, we should all be perfectly happy killing puppies to serve our Lord and Saviour, Khat F. Eline (if the intuition about meaning were correct). This is why Christians are not perfectly happy - meaning doesn't automatically (auto-magically) create happiness, and create it forever. It gives you something to do, but unlike what people associate with the term 'Meaning of Life', you'll probably get bored and unfulfilled within a certain amount of time.

But is that it then? Does it only take one child, and then people have had their fill of meaning, understand the meaning of life, and can check out in peace? Most certainly not. Why else would people have more than one child then? To keep feeling those new baby pleasure chemicals. To keep messing about with the amount of suffering in the universe. But I digress. Some people may indeed find that children give them endless meaning, but a lot of people, when the 'endless' joy simmers down to a stable love, simply find that they feel the whole thing has been a waste of time. That the pressures and pains and boredoms (serves them right says the resentful fellow in me) of raising kids eventually culminate in feelings entirely antithetical to the initial 'I have discovered the meaning of life' surge of emotions. How many people truly believe having children was the best thing they ever did? How many people don't? It would be impossible to tell unless we could read minds. But it makes you think that perhaps this childrearing business isn't so tantalising after all. Look left, look right, don't have kids, don't run across the road.


  1. I've heard of so many people that, even though when their children are born they love them, that just wouldn't bother if they had the choice to live all over again. So if that's what loving parents sometimes think...

    Anyway, I don't like children at all, and simply don't want to have them. If I did, however, I would resolutely fight the maternal instinct. The greatest favour we can do for the next generation is not to create it.

    1. Yes, 70 percent of parents indicated in a sociological survey that if they could go back in time, they would have opted out of the biological imperative of procreation.
      People need to wake up to the reality that having kids is not the only way one can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives..until the time they decide to jump off a cliff, that is.

      Bottom line, humans need to be presented with alternative, valid reasons to forgo the imperative. i.e. take up a challenge like learning the classical guitar (a beast), or learn Japanese. That'll keep you from being bored, albeit temporarily and perhaps will even enable you to establish immortality, that coveted spot, in the greater scheme of things. Ah, but no, it is so much easier to expel liquid from your body and stick it into an orifice, and create that so called bundle of genes. Surely, you are so special your genes need Xeroxing.
      I mean who has the patience to learn the classical guitar for 5,10, 15 years on end with a minimum practise of 3 hours daily!Lazy breeders!

    2. "Ah, but no, it is so much easier to expel liquid from your body and stick it into an orifice, and create that so called bundle of genes. Surely, you are so special your genes need Xeroxing."

      Oh god that was so hilarious Anonymous. Where have you been all my life?
      The feeling I think could be "Why become great if my children (=me) or my great-great-great-grandchildren (also me apparently) become great?" Also, people love taking the easy way out of situations, and especially it seems with regards to 'immortality'.

      Also 'Lazy breeders!' should be a catchphrase for a sitcom. Just saying.

  2. If you want a classic and bang up to date example of how the 'kid drug' works, then check out the following article by Charlie Brooker on the birth of his first child. Brooker was formerly a cynical, misanthropic humourist who wrote extremely cutting and entertaining articles for The Guardian. Then he was snared by a woman. And now it's all over. Read and be ill.

  3. Arggggggghh. He actually had anhedonia before, too (! Well never mind, no use crying over spilled (breast) milk. Most of the people I like either have or will have children. I'd be REALLY misanthropic if I didn't look past it a bit. Still, I don't have much choice in the matter. I'd only have a choice as to make friends with breeders or not if they were a minority. Here's hoping for that at least.

  4. Charlie Brooker jumped ship? Damn! He was a great inspiration to me. C'est la Vive.

  5. As I understand it, the evidence is that children make people LESS happy, but give them a greater sense of meaning.

    Nothing makes me madder than miserable people having babies. It might make their lives better - but they don't seem to even think about the possibility that misery is heritable!

  6. Interestingly, "Maddox" of internet fame posted this on the very same day. Of course, in that case it was for April Fools'. Are we quite sure that the Baby-Crazy Virus isn't linked to early spring allergies somehow?

    Sad, sad news at any rate.