Sunday, June 19, 2005

Entitlements

In the grand scheme of things, there are no entitlements. Whole species got wiped out, get wiped out, even without the agency of selfish human consumption. Once you ignore all our dopey mythologies, not one of us is born with any guarantee, any signed deal or destiny. Having been born, all that then passes for such deals and destiny is what our parents can provide in shaping us and supporting us with some version of the world they try to engineer. Despite my inability to see or prove that life is really much more than the collection of whatever creatures can manage by hook or by crook to reproduce and survive, there are things about human life that seem quite clear to me. The frightful and wonderful gifts of awareness and language put us in a special position. Our vision can encompass history. We develop society to the point that our species-as-it-lives is now defined by extra-genetic transmission, i.e. science and culture in combination with genes. These two imperfectly used gifts have led us to fashion a fractured and rough scheme within the grand scheme. In this human scheme of things, we clumsily carry out our survival programming, sometimes in horrifically wasteful and finally counterproductive ways.

In this inner scheme, we all know the child did not ask to be brought into the world but is here through the hopes or carelessness of its parents. Just being born, it already has a load of expectations. Of course, it should not grow up to be a danger or a burden but even more, it is expected to carry on the culture and the tribe and so on. If someone has a yoke tossed on them without their consent, then parent, tribe, society and all those who have done the tossing, for reasons more forceful than just fairness, owe the burdened one the best support and preparation they can offer. "Offer" and not "afford" because a nickel and dime approach amounts to saying "let's see if we can afford to have a future".

Helpless, clueless, infinitely malleable and with a vulnerability all but the sickest humans instantly recognize, the infant has entitlement to nourishment, safety and loving instruction.

The human scheme of things, reason tells me, is doomed and hopelessly broken if that entitlement is not upheld at all costs. And my heart tells me so as well.

2 comments:

Gerry said...

I hate reading your blog, Greensmile. I get so awestruck by your brilliance that I feel totally inadequate and then cannot write a word in my own blog. I know... "Do not compare yourself to others..."

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is
I enjoy reading your blog.

GreenSmile said...

You are too kind Gerry, and way too tolerant of overwrought English. I see you get your strokes in and tellingly: your dissection of young Douglas was damning [and highly due].

You get it about pacifism...now just don't keep quiet about what you know!