Monday, February 20, 2012
Natalism and Epistemology
In my completely unscientific opinion, possibly influenced by Facebook, natalism is making a comeback. Even if we've seen hundreds or thousands of baby pictures, we always seem able to spare some energy to look at a few more. Even if all babies look substantially alike there is still something reassuring about seeing new ones anyway.
There was very little cruelty for me or the people I remember as a young child, but there was also relatively little enthusiasm for their specialness as well. It was simply a matter of course that responsible adults of that time got married and had children, so the opportunity was there to take them for granted. Since then, there has been a signifcant demographic shift in the wind. Birth rates have been declining almost everywhere in the developed world. This has been less dramatic in the US less than some other countries, but has affected us too. Maybe because we've had the chance to experience actual scarcity, we appreciate the specialness of each baby more now than before.
The theologians say that God is omniscent, and I have no dispute with that. However, as a speculation if nothing else maybe it's at least as accurate to say that God is multiconscious. That's to say, instead of trying to emphasize that God completely comprehends the content of all knowledge, we can also say that He experiences all things from every vantage of perception.
As ordinary schmoes in the world we have the self-perception of consciousness and self-determination. That's our gift but it's also our trap. Part of the joy of seeing the little crawlers is the realization that there is a way out of the trap, even if it's not available to us directly.