This is part 2 in a Deep Dive into why we have kids. Here’s part 1.
* The word ‘dominant’ in the title of this, in reference to us humans, refers to our potential (beneficial or destructive) influence in this planet. So even though plantlife or animal life may have some greater influence on the planet that we are (or aren’t yet) aware of, or a consciousness we simply don’t understand or can’t interpret, for the purpose of the argument, this post takes an anthropocentric view.
Look around you…
Do you see packs and packs of Grizzly Bears walking around you? Do you see Rhinos everywhere making decisions on how planet earth is run? Go to the beach and tell me if you see dolphins creating weapons that could destroy life on earth in 2 seconds with one push of a button. Can you?
Probably no. And that’s because we as humans have gotten to a point where we are comfortable at the top of the food chain (whether we are on nature’s food chain is a topic of discussion in some other area). So our numbers (of people) are good. 7 billion seems pretty fine to continue on as the dominant species on the planet (even though the biomass of ants on the planet is greater).
So if the purpose of humanity is to consoildate our position and grow smarter and live better, why do we keep making more kids? There are already thousands (millions?) around the world without positive influences or guidance. Kids that without that positive guidance or support grow up in highly unstable (and sometimes scary) ways in their formative and some would argue, most crucial, period of life.
These are actual for realsies kids who need that positive guidance and support. kids without parents, who may end up bouncing around foster homes, with parents who may threaten to ‘send them away if they misbehave’ (from Australian adoption organisation Barnardos: www.barnardos.org.au/adoption/).
‘But I want a kid who is truly mine’
Firstly, nothing is truly yours, as you don’t have control of anything. And though you may have more control over your kids than most things, you don’t control if they grow up loving you and looking up to you, or hating you and never speaking to you. That’s up to them.
Secondly, it may be possible that people want kids they can raise from the start. Kids they may share their DNA. But those two things may be manifestations of a fear that you can correct the waywardness of previous poor guidance, that you’re philosophy on life is not strong enough to reverse past errors of judgement forced upon impressionable kids. And the ‘I want kids who share my DNA’ is possibly nothing more than a selfish concern about your legacy, that that person’s DNA living on is actually more important than the positive wisdom and guidance they’ve accumulated and understand and someone who truly needs it could benefit from (if that person has any).
Thirdly, the DNA argument doesn’t stand up anyway, because you are connected genetically with every other person (and living organism for that matter, and also what the first living organism was born out of also), so essentially to say that you want a child that is yours, is really saying ‘I want a kid who shares a slightly greater genetical similarity to my DNA.
And how much is ‘I want someone who looks like me’ a motivating factor?
But, is it possible that a lot of people also have kids the traditional way just because it’s easier? And there’s no paperwork, bureaucracy, waiting periods and application fees to do it the old fashioned way?
Anyway, the question of whether there is anything altruistic about bringing more children into the world, based on what I’ve talked, could be a valid one.