During 98% of human history, this question made no sense. Man met woman…woman accepted man … baby happened…end of report!
What’s more the more babies the better, because they then grew up to be your free labor force. Lately, however, we’ve inherited all these labor-saving devices. So who needs kids? No surprise that in the most technically advanced societies, the number of births continues to plunge. That has the demographers in Europe and the United State in a frenzy, because of “the invasion of fertile foreign immigrants.”
Putting aside the statistical hand-wringers, what does all this mean for today’s mommy and daddy?
Researchers have been grinding out a mountain of contradictory data on this [which is sorta what researchers do, because they always on-the-other-hand their every statistical conclusion]. Although they all use the same set-point — how happy kids make you feel — they define happiness very differently. For some of us, happiness is when you’re free and independent to chase your own dreams, not those of a brood of yapping kids. If that’s you, you’re probably living in a snazzy high rise in the city!
Others define happiness as the fulfillment they feel in creating and helping realize the dreams of their all genetic offspring. For you, diapers and PTA meetings are simply part of a trip to the stars. You’re probably living with a sprawling back yard in the suburbs!
Wherever you live and whatever the demographers are warning you, kids will remain a part of your life [or at least those of your family and neighbors]. So here’s a pragmatic way to deal with this reality. Unless you’re in China, neither you nor I nor the demographers are going to change our baby-making habits. Frankly the world’s habits have been around much longer than any of us.Perhaps it would be best to just embrace Stanley Kubrick’s conclusion: “The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent.”
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