Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Yes, I'm afraid I've been sicker than I thought possible for several weeks now, hence my long absence. I even hallucinated a bit that I was inside a giant clam, very much like Venus here, but instead of a robe I was being handed a tiny box of Kleenex. Yikes. Today seems more manageable so I eagerly want to get back to this little psychological journey you took with me.
Selfishly I do hope you read every word, and consider carefully a comment - or not - but could you please read it all. Thank you! It makes a difference.
All of you responded so passionately about an act performed in the tens of thousands each day, but just not by you or to your beloved ones. Someone else's not-so-beloved ones. Surely they count to someone? I'm afraid that's not a given. Real flesh and blood parents throw out their kids daily, they beat them, starve them, sell them, and worst of all, ignore them. Is it as simple as people who keep journals make good parents?? It would seem they certainly make eager ones! While it gladdened my heart it made me think - of honesty for one.
"I'd die for my child."
"I'd kill for my child."
"I'd kill you then myself for my child."
I know you mean this.
"I'd give up all future personal happiness for my child."
That's the other half of what you're saying, isn't it?
I notice DB and Mt. Dora took special note of the "no exit clause" when I quantified this question with "if you had no choice" which of course means, you would have to kill someone. And I saw immediately and not surprisingly that women (between the sexes, the majority keep journals) react with fierce almost defensive protective instincts, opting not to address the scenario by stating they'd not kill anyone at all, or kill themselves which is the same thing, seeing life as precious in all forms now that they've given birth to something living. And I believe men feel the same paternal tug, just sans a uterus. But again, that wasn't the scenario. As DB wisely notes, someone will have to die - and you'll have to kill them. Can you? It's easy to play it safe.
I think you're thinking, no parent could kill their own child what a ridiculous question. Maybe those parents who suffocate infants just don't keep blogs, but I know they're out there and they're not all psychologically challenged. They're part of the body human - not Satan's seed.
So we'd basically choose our progeny over the needs of our heart. We'd sacrifice personal emotional fulfillment as long as we could keep our children, is this what we're saying? (For Christian folk, in the bible God sort of did the opposite didn't He) Anyway it's noble, human, not surprising, but for some reason I thought a few folks skirted around the whole issue - if there's no other way, your partner would die, your child would live. And you'd live with...what? Well your child for one, and all that entails, all the joys and sorrows, the surprises and headaches, the moments you want to freeze in time.
Then I wonder - what kind of parent would you be? You were forced to kill your most beloved partner to keep your child. There's nothing absolute here, it can't be either right or wrong because deep inside we all want personal gratification from another human, yes? Not a child either, that's another form of satisfaction.
I also notice age played a part in this - if someone lived a long life you wouldn't have as much of a problem killing them off. Notice at a funeral people are not as sad if the deceased is over 75? If they're young, it's "They had their whole life" if they're old it's "They had a full life." I think we really go to great lengths using so many of these rituals and mantras.
But when WE cause the death? And it's not a crime but a proposal, a decision?
What makes one person more important to you? For parents, you've known your child it's whole life, I'm assuming - and know your partner alot less - and in your answers I hear "My child needs me more than my husband" ...... how do you mean that?
Is it "My child needs me more than my husband needs me" or even "My child needs me more than I need my husband" Could it be that it's not someone else being less "valuable" but a child being SO MUCH MORE PRECIOUS as to surpass any value we can assign to it? DO you need your child more than you need an emotionally fulfilling partner, a beloved, a soul mate, a help mate? Okay most of you are thinking, what's the difference without a child. Why have a life mate if I have no one to pass on my happiness and love to. But alot of people do it, they don't want or NEED a child. Don't we always see them as a bit selfish? Come on, be honest - DON'T WE?
Or just put ANY word in place of "husband" it's a matter of the NEW LIFE we place into the world and our reaction to it - our responsibility maybe? Well since when did it become incumbent upon people to be automatically responsible because they're parents? Let's be real. It's just something that should happen and makes us feel better when it does. But it just isn't so.
Does it have to be connected to love? Oh yes. But truly unself-ish love. If you love a child but are not responsible, not the best possible person to raise it, it's difficult but self-less to let a "better" person do it. Like it or not, our children represent something we believe is "ours" something we own, surely something we have rights to. In our heart of hearts, can ANYone ever be as good a parent as we believe we are? (Of course, but we'll never admit it, we'll rant and rave about how we're the only possible perfect person to raise our child - there's that instant "ours" possessiveness. What about a good child, were our parents happy with us as children? Did we fulfill their lives? More importantly, why should it be someone's responsibility to complete us, especially a child?
(Note: In another post I'll go into how we are the possessions of our parents legally from the instant they turn us into the government by filing a birth certificate - not that involved and absolutely true: check yours, is your name in caps?)
And even now in life, I think we're still trying not to disappoint our parents. It's nothing to do with love. It's more basic. Is your child at this moment trying to be the happy center of your existence, and weren't you, and me? I wonder how we, so young and untried, knew there were certain people we should always please, even without understanding the vocabulary. Could it have been something as basic as "I won't have a full stomach if I don't"?
If I were emotionally starved for affection because I chose my child over my partner, (and don't forget, I killed him/her) how would my child react to my sadness? Daily. What would I be silently teaching it? The nobility of parenthood? The need for a killing instinct? Or that it's their fault Mom's always crying.
For those whose parents are still living, now that you're no longer a child do you still feel beholden to them, feel obliged, to listen, obey, respect etc? More than likely. We learn to feel these things, I don't think they're part of the "human package" when we're born. So, as an older person now, and a parent yourself, you would kill your parents to save your child, you certainly as much as said so. I suspect your parents would've reacted very similarly to save you. We become what we're given as we grow, I'd say. There's really no set answer here, only passions. And most are "cop-outs". It's not "I'd do anything for my child" or "I don't like killing but my kid comes first" etc. It's a direct situation of choice where you will either kill your lover to save your child, or vice versa. That you love your child was a given in this scenario. In the real world, it never is - many can't rise to the emotion of even liking their progeny, they never bond and can't understand parental instincts to foster and protect. Still, look how much feeling most put into defending our unbreakable bond to our little ones! Incredibly human and perfect -- in a perfect world.
To the dear friend who decided she had to answer for both men AND women :-) your comment made me smile, I could sense the power behind those words, and to all else I think you were as honest as you could be in the moment, not needing a scripted second's worth of thought to form your answer. That says something in itself - "My child comes first". But what? Well, something very human to my mind. We seem hard-wired and almost programmed to "need" to care for small, helpless things, and surely our children arouse a unique, undeniable urge to cover them with our bodies if we must, to shelter them from life's unfair rules. Bringing life to bear changes you, men and women alike. Would anyone disagree?
Remember that little boy who fell down into the gorilla enclosure at the zoo, and the ape, our 99.9% genetically identical cousin, held him gently, understood something basic about how frail he was, took him out of the rain, etc. Yes, we're hard-wired alright.
An old story goes that a man was fully prepared to kill his son when asked to do it by someone he desperately loved.
Fortunately, I know of no deity demanding we sacrifice our children on a mountaintop to show our devotion.
Thank you all for explaining how you feel and why. I learned from this, as I hoped to.
Posted by Cathy at 1:14 PM