Monday, June 8, 2015
An Interesting Prospect
So I am currently reading Dwight Okita's The Prospect of My Arrival, and it's good, but I am not far enough in yet for an actual review. What it HAS done though, is cause me some deep philosophical ponderance (which bodes well for the book), and it is those ponderances I actually want to talk about.
But that got me to thinking... what sort of people would and would not decide to be born? Truly?
The Resilience of the Human Spirit
I am going to start with the assumption that most of us would like our chance... that there is an error toward the yes vote because, even pre-born, SOMETHING has to look better than NOTHING.
So I think it is easier to think about maybe who WOULDN'T choose to give it a shot.
People with really horrible people for parents... this seems relatively obvious... Oh, no, I am not stepping into THAT.
People with biological depressive tendencies... though would these have manifested yet? Seems they usually appear in the teen years... But there is an opposite that is thought to be a trait (as opposed to a state caused by circumstances). Hardiness. Hardy people keep on plugging away and tend to be more resilient than more fragile people (who take things personally and are hurt easily and hold those negative feelings longer). Hardy people have better outcomes in terrible circumstances than people lacking in that hardy trait in the same circumstances, so low hardiness might mean those interviews are critical.
Competitive people seem to be MORE likely to choose to give it a try... Not sure how I feel about that. Competitive people make me tired.
Optimists seem more likely than pessimists to want to give it a go. Pretty sure someone like my husband, who sees every single thing that might go wrong and really hates uncertainty would say, “Nope. Not doing that.”
Now lets consider whether all this might be good or bad. Fewer depressed people in the world, fewer nay-sayers, fewer fragile souls all sounds well and good. But don't these personalities offer us some balance? In my personal circumstance, a delusional optimist married to a glum pessimist, he is my reality check. I have a lot of things I would just dive head long into without him pointing out all the things I really need to think about first. Now sometimes I still dive, but at least I dive with my eyes open because I have that balance. What ill-advised things might we dive into as a society without the nay-sayers stepping in?
Then again, what might be possible without all the obstacles?
And SOME pessimists might be born—those who have good circumstances or convincing referrals telling them the help there is to get through the difficulties.
Would it be good if children could opt out of lousy parents? I sort of think yes on this one... some people shouldn't get to be parents and who has more right to decide that than their children? But then who would the world be missing?
There is also the other side: much of what life is is the things and people and experiences we encounter. I mean sure, we bring some personality at the start, but those things that we go through shape us, so how much is honestly predictable before we ever start? How accurate can those decisions BE about whether to be born or not?
What do you think? Can you think of sorts of people more or less likely to opt in or out if they got to interview some people about what their life will be like before deciding to be born? Does the whole idea terrify you, or can you see some promise to it?
[and good on you, Dwight, for really getting us thinking]