I had this meditation over the last month, as I have been eager to start a family. But after spending time in nature, both in Berlin and California, I realized how dire our problems are ecologically, and what a supreme responsibility and tragedy it is to have children in this age of machines destroying the earth. Our earth is getting warmer, less hospitable. Food and water are becoming scarcer. There is less grace and abundance being sent our way, as we have raped and murdered nature’s creations relentlessly. Action and equal and opposite reaction. The laws of the universe. Only the arrogant ego (maya, illusion, ignorance) could ever think that he would be above the inexorable cycles and laws of creation, of our cosmos. Action and action in kind.
Also, in my meditation, I realized that I thought I was ready to have a partner. I was so sure that finally I was mature enough, that I had put in “the work” and paid my dues spiritually, and that finally, miraculously, just because I had moved on to a new phase in my life professionally, that that automatically meant that I was also mature enough to start a family. And my meditation helped make me aware what a conceit that was; that I had been well-wishing and self-delusional. That I had not looked at those things that were really blocking me from enacting my visions, from realizing my dreams. I had not done the shadow work. And part of that shadow work helped me reexamine whether having kids at all is ethical in this day and age; let alone popping them out without deep and thorough consideration, like many people happen to do.
the world is filled with people. people begetting people begetting people. and such is the nature of creation. but, when we start reproducing out of control, which means:
I = PAT Impact on the environment equals production x affluence x technology.
This could be one person with incredible overreach and externalization. Or 10 billion people teetering on the edge of existence. The choice is ours. I think the model of the ecological footprint is best, and perhaps only after we’ve lived within our boundaries, and gotten to know the land quite well, that we should think about having children.
Then we see that overpopulation has to do with far more than just the numbers of people; although that can be a factor, too. No, what is going on is that people are conceiving children for the wrong reasons: greed, workforce, aggrandizing one’s own power and property, lust.
As long as children are being made unconsciously, we will be out of balance with the planet. koyaanisqatsi.
it is not just the creation of children, it is sowing the soil for them that matters
when we start to live right livelihood, right words, right action, as the Nagara Sutta’s vision of the noble eightfold path:
- right view
- right aspiration
- right speech
- right action
- right livelihood
- right effort
- right mindfulness
- right concentration
Now, all of this also applies to reproduction. How we reproduce is more important than the reproduction itself. The same goes for Walter Benjamin’s Work of Art. Taking the time to work on ourselves before we create more responsibilities ensures that those that come will live lives full of the virtues that we live and wish to inculcate, and that we initiate a trajectory of humility and piety bringing love and kindness rather than our own traumas further in the world.