I was invited to speak with a group of teachers at an English school today. I was expecting to meet a bunch of boring middle-aged men and women, but since this is Russia, they all ended up being gorgeous young women :) All very nice as well! I talked to them about traveling, TROM and TVP- my three favorite Ts :). I challenged a number of their cherished beliefs about the world, one particular conversation that stood out to me was the concept of having children.
I don’t want to have children for many reasons, but in particular:
1. I want to travel around the world, have fun and not have to take care of anyone else.
2. Overpopulation is a problem.
3. After many years of studying how our world actually works, I do not see a bright future on our planet.
One young woman brought up the idea that having children is an “instinctual feeling”- we’re animals, we have to reproduce for our species to survive, that’s why we want children- and we can’t get rid of this feeling.
But after having traveled so much, I can’t help but wonder how much of this “desire to have children” is actually biological, and how much of it is pushed upon us by the culture we are exposed to.
In Russia, having kids is a BIG thing. This is like everybody’s goal– university, work, marriage, KIDS. Once you have kids, it’s like you succeeded in life- you did your duty, good job. If you don’t have kids, there is probably something wrong with you, or you’re just not cool enough to succeed in life :D
Everybody talks about having kids on a daily basis here! We took a group of college kids (age 17-20) hiking once, and they sat around the table talking about what names they will choose for their children.
I couldn’t imagine seeing this kind of cultural behavior in Australia. When I went to university in Sydney, the idea of having children was very rarely talked about, and when it was, it was usually in a negative way. Likewise in Hawaii and New York. Of course, people still have children in Sydney, Hawaii and New York, but in those places “having children” is not treated as a concept- a test as to whether you have succeeded in life or not. There is much less cultural pressure placed upon having children.
In Russia, this idea of having children is pushed so far by the culture that my 9 and 11-year-old sisters were talking about how they wanted to have children!! Since my sisters have not hit puberty yet, this clearly shows that the desire to have kids is not just an “instinctual feeling,” but very much pushed by culture.
“Now comes the next problem: overcrowding due to culture. It is extremely dangerous because the system is perpetuating the idea that family is the goal of every man’s life and children are part of this idea.” TROM
I particularly enjoyed Peter Joseph’s spiel in this video :)
“I’m not having children. Why? First of all, I wouldn’t feel good. I would feel utterly negligent and irresponsible at this point in time, to bring in another human being. Most people, when they give birth to children, it’s a traditionalized self-serving, established notion where, “We are going to have kids and a family. To hell with the carrying capacity of the Earth, to hell with the fact that we might be impoverished.” […] For me to bring in a child, is for me to actually say, “I believe the world will be in good shape for the duration of my child’s life.” And then it becomes, “What if my child has a grandchild?” Should the world have the integrity to maintain stability for that child as well?” This is the question. This is what all parents out there should be asking themselves. They shouldn’t be having children for their own self-serving needs. […] Humanity has to start thinking about its relationship to the Earth. Until it does so, we’re fucking doomed. We have created an economic structure, a religious-philosophical structure, that is absolutely de-coupled from anything tangible and real, and these ideologies are what will destroy the human species and destroy the planet.”
One more fun fact for you- the concept of an engagement ring was created by De Beers diamond company.