I went to see a friend last night, whom I hadn't seen for quite some time. Now that S is overseas, I'm keeping myself extremely busy with my personal business (as opposed to my day-job, in which I'm still busy of course, but I digress).
He mentioned that last time he saw S, she flipped out after another friend commented, yet again, that we should really have kids. There was some comment along the lines of "but it's obvious Ben's gagging for kids".
I almost fell over when he told me that last bit. Sure, I love kids - love 'em to bits. They're cute and funny and always surprise you and do things you'd never dream of because they haven't acquired inhibitions yet. They ask funny questions, which are actually quite serious. Their thirst for knowledge is unquenchable.
And then they cry, or shout, or run away from home, or kick the walls in or damage other property.
No thank you. No really - I love your kids - because when they get shitty, you can have them back, thank you very much.
I have two reasons for not wanting kids, and the selfish aspect of not wanting to deal with little shits, however cute they are, is one of them. I'm just selfish, I want to keep my money and time to myself.
The other reason, the one I told my friend last night, is this little issue of world over population. With the medical advances of the last few centuries, it is now possible to give birth to that which was not meant to live. I don't mean to be cruel here, but there are many people alive today that should not be. And before you get on your high horse, I'm one of them.
Now this world on which we live has finite resources. Sure, many are renewable, but there's only so much space to grow stuff that there is a finite quantity available at any one time. These people who should technically not be alive are using resources and producing pollutants that would not be used/produced had nature taken it course and not allowed them to survive. I actually feel rather ill when I hear of people who's child was born 13 weeks premature and survived. It should have died. Since the dawn of time, the evolutionary path of any species is driven by nature: survival of the fittest. We're messing with nature, and in turn with our own evolutionary path.
And we should remember that humans are not the only animals on earth, this overpopulation is affecting others too: forests destroyed for residential purposes, water diverted for human use, air poluted for human convenience, the list goes on.
My friend's counter-argument to this was that none of that should matter. My sole purpose on this world is to produce children to keep my genes in the gene pool. The fact that this would add to a growing problem is not for me to worry about - I have to do my job, and let my kids cope with the consequences.
Who's selfish now?
You're gonna bring children into this world which, probably not in their life time, but quite possibly their childrens', will not be able to sustain the number of animals that inhabit it.
As for it not being my issue to deal with - humans made it everyone's issue when they shifted the balance of nature. By breaking the rules and helping people who should not have kids reproduce, they have started a downward spiral that I do not wish to subject anyone to with out their consent. Statistically speaking, kids don't have a say about whether they'll be born or not (100% of children were born without prior consultation).
I learnt a few interesting things about my friend though. While I perfectly understand his desire to have kids, he cannot fathom my want not to have them. It just doesn't compute. Something to do with going against the grain of human instincts. It also reconfirmed my inability to have a meaningful discussion with him. Discussions are usually bi-directional. This discussion was more like an anti-tug-of-war, where my arguments were pushed back before they could be delivered. This inability for him to understand my position extends to others as well - the other friend who set S off some weeks back, for example.
There are some people in this world, who are able to understand, though, and I feel so happy when someone does. Not that I need their approval, but I know I won't be in a 30 minute one-sided discussion. Again.
Writing this has lead me to think again about what I think I'm achieving. Sure, there will be 2.4 fewer people on this planet, and in 30 years time, there will be 5.76 fewer people. Big deal. I hope there are other people out there, and I know there are, who are doing the same. Lots of small steps might go some way to correcting the balance.
Should I kill myself to increase that 2.4 to a 3.4? Perhaps. It would be the logical thing to do. I won't though.
You see, I have learnt what it is like to be alive, and I wouldn't want to lose that. Had I not survived my childhood illnesses, I would not have learnt what life was like, and would not have missed it. Unfortunately for me, I like being alive, and will continue to do so for a while.