Re: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] 6/27/12 questions and discussion

From: Mike M.
Sent on: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 6:36 PM
Wow, what an interesting array of topics. I sometimes think that you people wait until I don't show up to bring out the really interesting things to talk about.
Many people ''try'' marraige because it is touted as a good thing. Speaking from experience, (we had no children, by choice), I found that youth, higher education, careers, politics, lifestyle opportunities, etc., turned a marriage monotonous. Not having children and parting amicably after 14 years was among the more intelligent things I did in my life. With all due respect to those who raised children, I think with such a foreboding future ahead for this civilization that this is an excellent opportunity to try new systems of producing children.
Thank you, Jon for the excellent written summary ! 

From: Jon Anderson <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Tuesday, July 3,[masked]:14 PM
Subject: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] 6/27/12 questions and discussion

questions and discussion 6/27/12

1-what ought we do with our misfits?6
2-does free will make sense if one doesn't have religion?5
3-how do we define being human in the 21st century?6
4-should we have unlimited resources for our elections?2
5-why/why not have kids?8
6-is voting useless?4
7-would it help us become more human to admit we're part of the ape family?5


why/why not have kids?8

Lucy: Initially my reason for not being a mom was that I was in school, then it became my deteriorating marriage. No one ever asks parents "why DID you have kids?" I ran into an old friend once who said "Hi, babies?" before saying anything else. People with fertility problems don't wanna discuss it. There are reasons, financial reasons, other kinds of resource reasons. I don't know for myself.

Jon: are you experiencing the proverbial "clock ticking?"

Lucy: sure.

Jon: are you feeling the pressure more on the inside or the outside?

Lucy: inside.

Tor: I have a daughter. As a wedding gift I bought her a fantastic bed -- not a subtle hint about my wish to be a grandpa. They decided to not have kids of their own but they did adopt a child. There was a sense of loss for me at first; my genetic line would die out. I'm over that now and love my grandchild. Having kids in my neighborhood is a great thing. Emotion easily overwhelms us on this issue.

Lucy: But why the pressure?

Tor: survival of species.

Mike: people love their kids and it's significant, yet most with people with children are self-described as less happy as parents as they were when single/childless. They will also say parenthood is the most significant relationship of their lives.

Art: I have a niece spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get pregnant. Humans take a long time to become wise. We should only allow parenthood for older people.

Sean: tradition is important as an influence. My ex-wife/s culture (slavic) held that making children is the purpose of marriage and my wife made it clear before we married that she expected it of our marriage. The economic argument ist a good one. Russia and France are now paying people to have kids.

Jon: Jonathan Haidt's book The Happiness Hypothesis (referred to above my Mike) claims that our species evolved an emphasis on success over happiness. Having offspring is a sign of a species' success. This is why parents report being happier before they had kids: we've evolved to be willing to sacrifice happiness for children.

Anecdotally my wife has a college pal who has Lupus. This makes it very dangerous for a woman if she has kids. In spite of this she told her husband-to-be she intended to have a child before they married. He agreed, she got pregnant and did almost die from childbirth. She got better eventually -- minus the unavoidable health issues with Lupus -- and a couple years ago amazingly had another child. This time the consequences have been worse. Her kidneys are failing and she's waiting for a donor. She is not insane in my opinion. She's an extreme example of how our psychology has evolved. She values bearing children more than she values her own life.

Mary: success is happiness; I think Jon's anecdote is about a mentally ill person. I and Lucy are about 30-40 years apart. For me having children was a cultural understanding -- it's just what you did. Feminist understandings of motherhood were slower arriving to my part of the country (here in the midwest) but I was well aware of them when I decided to be a mom. It's not only the child but also the family. The feminist issue is, if I do decide to have kids we ought not make it so hard for me to do both career and motherhood.

Lucy: feminism and non-feminism aren't exclusive. "Mommy Wars" are about whether women can "have it all."

Jon: feminism changed the perspective on mom-ness.

Lucy: when I was married we thought maybe we should adopt due to the family's illnesses (alcohol, mental illness). At divorcee groups I'm the odd person out because I have no children.

Tor: European birth rates are in decline, China's "one child" thing has been a disaster. You, Lucy, are more free with this question than at any earlier time in our history.

Lucy: choices are self-imposed. I don't want to be a  single mother. Freedom is greater than it was for my parents but I remain on that biological clock, there's no choice in that matter.

Jeremy: doing vs. non-doing. We "DO" here in USA. Paradox: somehow having kids is seen as being safer than not, which doesn't make sense. It may be culturally "safe." Maybe a fear of death motivates making kids; a form of immortality.

Siva: this issue is not to be taken lightly. My parents did take it lightly.They never seriously considered whether or not they either wanted to have kids or whether they were up to the task. There are several questions that need answering. Spending time and resources on existing kids -- children already in existence -- may be more productive than making new kids. Others bugging you about it is completely irrelevant.

Lucy: when they ask me why I'm not a mom yet, I'll retort: why do you have kids?

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