Having recently ventured into the mystical land known as “the real world,” several ideas and curiosities have come to my attention. I am naïve in this world, distant from my previous home full of obnoxious party goers and dedicated academics. In this world, there are responsibilities and questions of the future. Two subjects keep arising that have grabbed my attention, that of marriage and that of having children. However, the questions are not whether or not to partake in these institutions and obligations. The questions are of when to marry, who to marry, how many kids to have, and what to name them. I started thinking, why would I get married and why would I have kids? Did I consciously decide to marry and have kids or did I simply follow social norms and biological urges? I want questions like that to be answered long before I undertake such dedicated steps in my life. Sure, the challenges are distant still, but why would it ever be too early to question these immense life steps?
I wondered if marriage was simply a way to satisfy one of our most basic insecurities. We fear being alone so to tie someone to us would help end that concern. Rather than facing that insecurity and overcoming it, we feed it. With the insecurity suppressed for a time, it never completely goes away. I imagine when the marital feuds return, the insecurity arises again and shows its destructive head. We want to tie someone to us with law and religion so that they promise to never leave us.
I cannot see the worth to something like that. If ever I am in a relationship where the person is not enjoying being with me for successive months or years, I hope they leave. I want them to go and I don’t want the law or religion to conceal or inhibit that desire to leave. I don’t want there to be laws to hinder their decision. I want them to be able to clearly look at our relationship, our enjoyment of each other and analyze those issues without the distraction of finances and social obligations. I understand that there will never be such a clean cut relationship. But why unnecessarily complicate it? What an amazing relationship to be in knowing that every day someone wakes up next to you because they want to, not because they have to by law. I imagine that could be incredibly strengthening for a relationship to know that it is entirely voluntary. People admit the anxiety with knowing that person can get up and leave any day. But this is a naive belief to think that they can’t still do that in marriage. I could go even further to attack our current concept of dating but marriage is an easier target for this discussion. To me currently, it seems a life without marriage would be much more enjoyable. In the future, if I decide to move in with a girl, we may decide our relationship was much healthier in two separate homes. With marriage, that decision would be not be impossible, but would be much more difficult. In an entirely voluntary relationship, that decision would be much more based on logic.
What about kids though? Why should I have children. Before I had convinced myself to not contribute further to the raging over population on this planet. Over population is the one current, visible, measurable imminent threat to humanity’s existence. Unfortunately, not many people are willing to sacrifice their opportunity to raise another human being in order to prevent the inevitable disaster from passing this planet’s carrying capacity. However, with my dedication to not having kids, I realized that the dysgenics theory proposed many years ago may actually hold water. When I looked into it though, I found that people, in fact, were becoming more intelligent despite the higher birth rates in the less intelligent population. What I realized we owed this healthy rise to was a process of information transmission called memetics. This, analogous to gene transmission, was the process of selection of ideas and transfer of those ideas through individuals and populations. Memetics, unlike its chemical based counterpart, could transmit itself extremely rapidly and does not have to wait for generational change. Information transmission is much more rapid and therefore a much more productive and efficient way of changing humanity than gene transmission. No longer could I claim any overarching benefit to humanity from me having children. Dedicating my time to educating the offspring of others in the next generation would be a much more effective way of helping humanity than to contribute offspring to that next generation. I cannot currently logically justify having children from a global outlook.
The question remains then, why have kids? I wondered about this question in the context of purpose. Since my junior year of high school, I have struggled with this question. Having eventually settled on a metaphysical one, in the last couple years I strayed away from such ambiguity for more tangible definition. I wondered if others questioned their own purpose or with the development of a consciousness and modern science, the question was innately within us all, unavoidable. I wondered if possibly the question was present even if now in writing or even in conscious thought. And I imagined what better way to avoid answering it than to produce offspring. Most children in the developed world are dependent on their parents for support until they are eighteen if not until their parents die. Having kids seems like an insanely easy was to either provide oneself with an obligate purpose or to avoid the question altogether. Empty nesting moms often love helping their children, washing their clothes, making them food, etc. I wonder if this craving and pleasure from serving their children once again stems from a reminder of the defined life they had before. This still does not answer my question of why I should have kids but I imagine alongside the biological cravings, this could be why many people have kids despite a looming fate for an overpopulated planet.
These are only postulations, questions on a topic which I am mostly naive too, attempts at analyzing a subject from my limited experience. But how much more worth to a possible marriage and reproduction if these questions have answers?