Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Are you sure you want to have a child now?

Declare yourself a pessimist and watch people instantly dismiss your suggestion that they should defer having children. And that is as best as you'll get for a response, because the other options are getting scoffed at, or finding yourself taking a defensive stance as they go--incredibly--on the offensive.

"Why, it's not like you even plan to get married in this decade, so why should I listen to you? And really, when will you get married? Are you sure you don't want me to introduce me to a lovely young lady that I'm sure will take a good care to your smug pretentiousness so we will all finally be able to get going with our lives in peace. You know, she's also a lecturer in a reputable university, and she comes from a good family, too. She's religious, and crosses all her t's and dots all her i's and never confuses colonoscopy with cosmology. And did you know her brother is going to be the youngest university chancellor soon?"

You know the drill.

And you'll regret of bringing the topic up in the first place.

But really, if you are a pessimist, you could rightfully espouse the view that people should defer having children. The world is a terrible place, with men killing innocent men or men subjecting other men to heinous torture, or killing children, or subjecting minorities to subjugation or destroying the environment and tradition and history and culture and just generally fuck the world up.

It is a terrible place and you can't wait to bring an extra person to share the hopelessness of it all? Are you out of your mind? Will somEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?


The point was, there's just so much hurt and hate that you'd have to be a blind optimist to think that you are giving the best world to your children and your children's children.

So allow me to help.

I would like to argue that even for an optimist, it makes perfect sense to delay having children as much as possible. Trust me, I'm an optimist, too (and could you please stop with the laughing? I can really be an optimist, too, you know. I am, honestly!).

If you're not an optimist, let me tell you how easy it is to become one. We're living in the golden age of science, when new discoveries are made every other day, and we're venturing uncharted territories of space. Comet landing! New Horizon soon to explore Pluto! Voyager goes out of our solar system to the unknown interstellar realm beyond! All this alone would boggle the mind of even Newton had somebody traveled backward in time to tell him the things we achieved in the twenty first century.

And that's not everything, too. More people are literate, ever. More people are getting out of poverty, more people live longer, too. An average young man in 14th century England wouldn't dream of being able to ride a jet, flying him to the Caribbean to escape the dreary, dreary winter, but this is not unthinkable to do so now.

When you stopped to take a look at the palace of the Japanese emperor, you'll soon find that you are richer than even the most powerful king of the land in the medieval era. Did the emperor have central heating? Did his highness have plumbing and air conditioning? Did the grandchild of the Sun god sleep on a spring bed? No, no, and no.

The inexorable march of time has delivered countless improvements to human lives. And for the most part, even the unwashed mass are benefiting from this.

But see now, if you insist on having children, right. Fucking. Now. don't you think your children will miss out on progress that they, too, would have been able to experience if they were born five or fifteen years later? This could also potentially be important if on the later stage of their live there's a miracle drug that proves to be a panacea to nearly all of the chronic illnesses that is the hallmark of our time. Will it not be the best life possible for them, then?

Unless if all you care about is *your* own gain, and not your children's potential gains in the future, then by all means, be my guest.

So listen to me, and promise me you'll try to think it through? It's for your children, too, you know.

For their future.

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