Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Casting About for Profundity

My head is empty. I have nothing of import to say. :-)

Hmm. Status update, I suppose. I have shiny new shoes, and they're bloody comfortable. I'm reading a riveting book called Mastering the Requirements Process, and I'm to that head-pounding, slack-jawed point of intellectual numbness where a life with a cookpot and a grass shack lost on a desert island somewhere sounds wonderful. Anyone up for getting lost?

Joie has locked herself in her closet. Perhaps if we call sweetly and waft the aroma of fresh-cooked salt-and-butter grits under the door (she hates grits) we'll smoke her out!

I am also enjoying a cool (not cold - blasphemy!) Guinness fresh out the can - which is the best way if you don't have a tap in your house. Yeasty, frothy bliss. Mmmm. :-9

Parenthood - maybe this will get me going
YACCS (the comment system I use here) has been flaky all day, so for those who haven't had the time or the chance to read the commentary fallout from yesterday's mammoth post, I think parenthood, or rather parenting, is one of the most important endeavors in which we can engage as human beings. As such, it shouldn't be entered into lightly.

Homo sapiens is a notoriously randy beast. Our females can mate (and thankfully do :-D) when they're not fertile. Our males can and do mate when not in the presence of a fertile female. Our neurochemical systems go places far removed from normal functioning while we're engaged in The Act. Sex stimulates endorphin production, it's mildly aerobic exercise, and it fosters pair-bonding at physiological and psychological levels in ways that are comparatively rare among the other species of the world. Biologically, we're endowed with reward after reward for having as much sex as we can. That's one of the reasons we're the dominant species on this ball of rock.

But back to that species-perpetuation thing. All this copulating going on means babies eventually, and that's where it gets weird. Unlike most species, our young are utterly helpless at birth; without years of fairly intense care, babies die. Period.

A wise man once theorized to me that people act according to about 50% nature (inborn ability and instinct) and 50% nurture (training). Through my own observations I'd say that's about right, and that we differ from the rest of animal life in that they have much higher levels of instinct, and are thus less trainable. That 50% nurture is the key; it's where de Sades are twisted, and Mozarts forged. There are thousands, perhaps millions of potential Mozarts and de Sades doing nothing noteworthy through lack of nurture, and for half of those cases we should be thankful. For the other half we should be ashamed (Lynn's currently grappling with similar issues).

And it's in that "ashamed" column where parenting (or rather, the lack of it) comes in, in my opinion. Because it's so dang easy for most humans to get pregnant given effort and time, there're lots of people who have no business parenting trying to do the job. Am I advocating eugenics? No, but there's a big part of me that feels people should be required to pass some sort of "non-druggie, non-idiot, non-welfare-case" test before being allowed to breed. There's a lot of misery out there that's directly traceable to crappy parenting.

Parenting is so bloody important a job in my worldview that it's one of the main reasons, even in this age of 99%-effective birth control, that I've stayed single since my divorce. There are some risks not worth taking, and the 1% possibility (yes, I'm well aware it's not that simple) of knocking up some woman just so I can get my rocks off (hi, Dad!) is one of them from where I'm sitting.

So it's been a lonely few years. Yay me and my glorious self-sacrifice. Damn, but that's a big cold bed over there. :-(

...Anyway: whether or not you're a religious person, parenting is a privilege, not a right. Ask anyone who's had to undergo fertility treatment.


PS. In the interest of increased controversy and full disclosure, another big reason for my self-imposed Long Lonely Walk has been an abject fear of allowing another female to have any sort of hold on me. In the light of the amazing people I've met through this weblog, and other bits of social interaction, I'm finally releasing that bit of silliness. Thanks to you all, and you know who you are. :-D

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