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January 18, 2018

Is Procreation the ultimate act of Selfishness?

Cooped up at home recovering from a total hysterectomy and first round of chemo, I kicked back on the sofa with a warm aromatherapy bean bag sitting on my chest. I was holding it longways, and—as gravity would have it—the beans made their way to the bottom of the bag, forming the shape of a tiny baby’s bottom.

I found myself holding the bag just as a new mother would hold her precious infant, close on her chest. It got me reflecting on what I’d just been through and why I never had children of my own.

I spent the majority of my young adult life questioning why we, as humans, procreate at all.

Are we—just like any other mammal—simply doing what our instincts drive us to do? Or, for those of us who were raised on the Bible, do we procreate because that’s what we’re commanded to do?

Do we have children to see an extension of ourselves? Is this why so many—men, in particular—are opposed to adoption? Is it simply because we are intrigued about what our little creation will look and be like? Or is it for the sake of guaranteeing a caretaker when the time comes? Then, of course, there’s the age-old “feminine craving.”

I can tell you, I’ve experienced that one firsthand.

Was procreation the ultimate act of selfishness? Narcissism at its best?

Especially now, when there is just so much wrong with our world. More suffering than ever before. More acts of terror, more hatred, more chaos. More tension between sides, among countries, among people. More killing. More turmoil in general. Why would anyone choose to bring new life into it?

It’s a toughie and one I’ve spent a lot of time in introspection trying to answer.

The only thing I could come up with, the one and only sound justification in my mind to bring another human being into this crazy world, is that we’ve made a conscious decision to take on the amazing responsibility of raising another human being so exceptionally well, and laying such a solid foundation, that they would undoubtedly grow up to be strong and empowered adults. Accepting and tolerant of themselves and of each other, capable of not only surviving in this madness, but thriving in it.

And possibly, with the support of fellow exceptional beings, even change the ways of it. That was it.

You see, my friends, considering the state our world is in today, what we really need is exceptional parenting and exceptional people to procreate, something more and more exceptional and intelligent people are, sadly, deciding to do less and less of.

But maybe they’re onto something.

Maybe we do need to take a break. Maybe we do need to take a step back to reflect and take a closer look at the state of affairs.

Perhaps we need to focus our attention more on radical action and repair, before we continue to multiply into oblivion.

It makes sense when you think about it. Like cleaning up the playroom before buying more toys. Cleaning up our messy world before subjecting our children to it.

And to those of you who have decided to raise adults in these unprecedented times, I give you heaps of credit. I’ll admit, I’d be terrified. But if you’ve consciously opted to take on this incredible feat, may God bless you, as our future is literally in your hands. And possibly, even, on your chest.

~

Author: Michele Coriale
Image: Author’s own and frank mckenna/Unsplash
Editor: Kenni Linden
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson

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Michele Coriale