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David Hamilton

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On Parenthood, and "Opting Out"

A strange topic to place side by side, no? Well, maybe not... In numerous psychological studies, it has been shown that marriage, and parenthood, both dramatically reduce the chances that a human being will take their own life. Wait, is this about suicide? No, not entirely.

This is about a phrase, uttered worldwide by parents, which they refuse to elaborate on "When you have a child, you'll understand"... "There is no way I can explain it to you, it just makes you a different human being, when you have a baby"... Recently Joe Rogan even reminded me "America will never vote for someone who doesn't have children. People who have children, would never put someone who didn't have children, in charge of their military... It's a weird thing... We don't trust you".

What do you really mean? Well I have an answer. Once you have a child, you have made the conscious choice, to create life in your current environment. Thus, you are no longer allowed, to "opt out". This applies not just to suicide however, it applies to revolution, and homesteading.

In the mind of every young person, but man especially, there is a desire to feel free from the constraints of society. A desire to run with the wolves and park yourself under a tree near a river. Or, a desire to fundamentally change, and re organize the society you live in. Finally, in your darkest moments, as Ralph Steadman said of Hunter Thompson "he would feel real trapped if he didn't know that he could commit suicide at any moment. I don't know if that is brave or stupid or what, but it was inevitable."

Once you have a child, you are no longer allowed to think like this, and you must re organize your life accordingly. You cannot leave the society that you brought someone else into. You brought a person into this society, and now it's hungry... Stop wasting your time thinking nonsense.

I would like to suggest, that this is the reorganization, chemical and cognitive, which occurs during parenthood.

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    Sep 5 2012: "Once you have a child, you are no longer allowed to think like this." Oh bullsh*t. After several months of not enough sleep. After fishing toys out of the toilet bowl - used toilet bowl. After you have to clean up the puke during the flu season. After the third time that day the kid says "I HATE YOU!" After the principle calls - again. After you have to call in to work because your daughter totaled the car. After any call that starts out "Mom I don't know what to do..."

    We all get that desire to feel free from the constraints of society. A tree near the river. The gym or spa. The bar. A foreign country.

    And some of us do.

    That whole baby stuff wears off real fast. But it's a nice idea. Chemical and cognitive reorganization could excuse a lot of behavior...
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      Sep 5 2012: I guess what I'm trying to say, is that most single people, without children, can't even imagine tolerating all that crap, because they are way too self interested. So something does change a bit, and I'm trying to explore what. I think you less often tends towards suicide, fleeing, and revolution when you're busy taking care of a little screaming ball of whine : p
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        Sep 5 2012: You are absolutely correct. You do not think about suicide when taking care of a little screaming ball of whine. I had one of those. It is homicide. Homicide is what you think about in that situation.

        Who does not matter. Spouse, neighbor, the lady taking so long to check you out of the grocery store. The kid. The driver in front of you that won't move. Murder. Murder would be good right about then.

        The true miracle is that parents do not run around in a psychotic rage killing people. Oh wait, some of them do. My bad.

        Just saying the self interest sometimes turns into just surviving. And still loving your kids.
        • Sep 6 2012: "Just saying the self interest sometimes turns into just surviving. And still loving your kids."

          This touches my heart and soul. So true.
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          Sep 6 2012: Wow... I would never have even thought that... but if you think abut that incredibly funny, and well constructed rant... in the context of political activism. People with children, do have a tendency, in my experience, to be more afraid of "bad people", and "terrorists", and less concerned with what happens to them... Activists tend to be young and single.

          So, parents are much less likely to opt out... but far more likely to actively pursue "anyone who messes with my family".... very interesting, really funny too : )
        • Sep 6 2012: You just made my day

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