Pic of the day: Silent waters in the autumn.
I don't usually do this, but I want to continue my line of thoughts from yesterday's entry. It touches on a central dilemma in my life and perhaps many others.
I see it in my own life. Even though I thought I would, I never had the sheer towering intellect of my mother. And I even though I thought I would, I never had the unwavering moral and intellectual integrity of both my parents. I still feel it's a precipitous drop down to the normal levels, in all honesty. But I am a downward slide, and there is no reason why it should not continue with the next generation.
I don't know what people think about having children. These days it is optional, you know. I suppose for some it may still be a surprise, but by and large I think a goodly number of people must have thought about it. What do they expect of their children?
If we go the route of giving a little more than we take, and leaving a little more than was here ... there better be someone to take it further after we are gone. But will they be able to handle a little more than was here ... or quite the contrary, will they not be able to handle that much? The physical standard of living in the rich world is quite high enough for most of us. I am convinced that my children, if I had any, would be no happier with more money than I have. They might want it - indeed, they almost certainly would - but they would be no happier. The real heritage is something else. It is the understanding of life, the concepts through which we view reality. That, and our genes of course.
I know good parents (and there are many) love their children even if they are inferior to them, intellectually and even morally. Certainly my parents did. And still does, I suppose. Still ... It is one thing to have a retarded child, and love it. It is another to realise that your children will probably be retarded, and still choose to beget them. It is a third to court and marry a retarded person in order to beget retarded children. I have not been able to make myself do that. It creeps me out.
I may be weird, but I suspect this is something that runs in my family (judging from my closest male relatives, it sure seems so). Intelligence is a big turn-on for me. I am attracted to intelligent women only. Normals can be decorative, also in a sexual way. But I don't really want them. I don't think I could stand living with one, and I would be horrified at the thought of having a child with one. It would just feel wrong. Kind of like bestiality, only not quite that far.
But it doesn't seem to work both ways. And besides, there have been other issues. Issues that may have been resolved too late. So I'm not saying that's the reason why I never did anything drastic to procreate. (And it would have to be drastic indeed, but that's another story.)
Yet what is the alternative? I suppose a person unfettered by the obligations of family life could dedicate himself (or herself) to a higher goal. Certainly many geniuses have done so in the past, the goal varying from establishing a new brand of religion to projects of art or breakthroughs in thinking. (I will not say these are realms of solitary souls exclusively, but they do crop up a lot.)
I guess I also had a vague idea that I would eventually spend my life doing something like that. But you get only so far by dreaming. It helps little to be King of Dreams ... when it is only in your dreams. I guess having children could absolve us of the guilt from not doing something great and heroic: Because we could pass on our dreams to our children, along with a shoulder to stand on while they reach for the stars. To be childless and not attain greatness is to fail utterly and forever, as far as those dreams go.
And yet I am moderately happy and then some. My contribution to humanity may have been paltry, certainly less than I expected. But I have been true to myself. I am who I was given to be. I live my life, not the life of another. I do not live my life for the affirmation of the masses or of those in high standing. I live for the affirmation of the presence within me, the one that urges me, judges me and comforts me.
Not that I mind helping others or making them happy; but their praise does not sustain me, or even guide my steps. And in that, I suspect I really do stand apart. And perhaps so do you. That's why I wanted to share this with you. Just in case you have also wondered about those same things.
I wish you better luck than I, with reaching your goals. And yet I can think of no one whose life I would live instead of mine.
Overcast autumn day
Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.