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Life and Nautical Metaphors

My wife is currently gestating a new human. She totally has an organ that grows humans, and it is in the process of doing its thing.

I think this fact is often glossed over a bit in the materinty wear and baby showers. Currently my wife is taking nutrients from food, and is in the process of constructing a being with an intricate chemical and quantum balance. Half the time she also throws in a copy of this same organ that will eventually also be capable of this same feat.

Of course all that I said is also largely true of any sized mammal. A lot of people toss around the word "miracle" to describe this. But I think that actually diminishes it. It is like saying building the Hoover Dam is a "miracle", like it just showed up one day, rather than "mindbogglingly impressive process of successful engineering".

I often think about when, precisely the first spark of electrical activity is kicked off. About the logistics inherent in arranging the very first chemical potential and subsequently kicking the whole thing off.

Different religions seem to have a different opinion on the larger question that poses. For a long time it was simply referred to as "the quickening", referring to a period around 3 months when the child could first be felt stirring. In modern times it seems to have been pushed back a full 3 months to the point at which a cock starts considering its options. As if it is a gigantic soul conducting Tesla coil wand, dancing arcs of life's possibility emitting from it outwards onto everything.

This is very likely TMO, but for both conceptions we had been trying for a few months, stoically enduring for the 2 minutes of each monthly test, eyes hardened steeling ourselves for the statistically likely disappointment.

We endured many of these. However, the last "negative" test in each affected me acutely, as I was certain that it would be positive, that it *should* be positive. When it wasn't it was like a punch to the gut. I'd mope around in a haze for a few weeks until, both times, on a hunch, my wife would test again (early), and find that, indeed, the previous test had been incorrect.

I took a logic class in college which showed that often times the best way to prove something was to attempt to prove its opposite false, and so in my various states of belief I have pondered the exact logistics behind the concept of the creation of a soul many times.

To be frank, belief in a soul is to believe in magic. It is to essentially believe that at some point the particular biological organism is imbued with this magic. If you examine the process, there isn't much place for this bit to hide other than the act of sexual congress, essentially redefining it as a magical act that actually calls forth into existence a new entity. Creation of a new soul.

I don't know if I believe that, I'm also not sure what the average joe believes about it. There are plenty of pop cultural artifacts that seem to elevate this particular act above its base unpleasant mechanical reality, and an equal number who seem in favor of demystifying this act as one of our animal impulses which our puritan cultural remnants seem uncomfortable discussing openly.

I like the symbolism of the first interpretation, however I dislike that it essentially gives credence to hateful arguments made by crazy people about the sanctity of "a man and a woman" and other such screamed gibberish.

For awhile I wrestled with the ethics of choosing to bring another child into the world. My pessimism about the long term sustainability of the world seems to grow every month. What right did I have to bring another crew member aboard what, logically I believe to be a sinking ship in many ways?

Logic, in this case might be right, but not precisely helpful. Then, the other day I heard a quote that changed my attitude about it. Paraphrased it was a man asking another:

"If you knew the world would end tomorrow, what would you do?", his response? "Plant a tree.".

This makes me smile. As it recasts the concept of Irrational Hope as the "punk rock" response to apathetic determinism. Which seems like an irrefutable "good thing" to me, as long as you don't take so far that you're denying that impending problems actually exist. Like the lighthouse keeper who had good reasons to think that no more ships are coming, but decides to tends the light anyway.

It is important to note that in this metaphor, the lighthouse is my penis.

1 comment:

"What right did I have to bring another crew member aboard what, logically I believe to be a sinking ship in many ways?"

My answer: Won't Kelvin appreciate having a brother (or sister) when the shit hits the fan?

by: Mike (contact) - 07 Dec '10 - 23:21


Meta Information:

Title: Life and Nautical Metaphors
Date posted: 07 Dec '10 - 10:57
Filed under: General
Word Count: 785 words
Good Karma: 96 (vote)
Bad Karma: 65 (vote)
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