This Be The Verse
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The equation of love
Ever since we came into consciousness, we started telling stories about ourselves. And the longer we traveled into our history the bigger our fabulations became, to the point that we believed that we could overcome every aspect of the nature that had been installed in us.
There were, in fact, so many aspects of our nature that didn’t quite support the story we wanted to tell. So we developed some enlightened ideas such as freedom, equality, and peace – and proceeded to cover up our more fundamental instincts, which actually had no connection to these hilarious things.
There was, among these inventions, the idea of romantic love. This really was a big one, because it had a lot to cover up for – starting from the fact that what we actually do most of our lives is look around to see who we can get with – with the personal ambition being that our bodies are engaged in that act they’ve craved all their lives. And the biological goal being, of course, children.
Our nature, of course, feels no shame in this very simple and direct assignment to continue our species. But since shame is the measure of our distance from our nature, we felt more and more of it. Love was the potion we conjured up to make the medicine go down. It not only dignified our lust, but also comforted our more civilized senses, which were more and more suspicious of the idea that having children was our greatest ambition in life.
Eventually we would overcome that too. Over time we separated the idea of love from the idea of procreation. Ultimately we set these concepts against each other. Love wasn’t about adding children to the equation at all. With the help originally of religion, but then of literature and then music and finally movies, love became a feeling you would dream of and wait for all your life.
The fact that we invented love didn’t make it any less real. When it came – if it ever came – love would lead us to someone called our soulmate, with whom our own soul would entwine. And this experience of two-becoming-one was so profound, we believed, that it was worth postponing and even canceling plans of having children over.
At this shameful distance from our nature, let us observe that the fall of great civilizations can be tracked across many metrics, but birth rates are one of them. And what we see happening, very clearly, is the plummeting of birth rates in the United States and Europe to far below replacement levels. We are more busy dying than we are being born – and who is going to replace us?
It is another matter entirely that we do not wish to think about this. Here in Western Civilization, where we have long become more humanistic than human, we have avoided this topic entirely, because it brings up all kinds of problematic questions:
What does the correlation between low birth rates and affluence mean? What can we predict from its reverse, the link between poor and developing communities and high birth rates? How do social and political movements such as feminism affect birth rates – compared to religions such as, say, Islam?
Calm yourself, friend. I do not intend to answer these questions – even though there are those who do. Policies to stimulate birth rates are being developed in Russia. And recently China reversed its long-standing one-child policy and is now encouraging women to have three.
The truth is that, on the matter of our possible replacement, there is a far more problematic scenario. And this has to do with the fact that the population currently recording the highest birth rates is not that of our traditional adversaries. This population is not even human. And the fact that we invented it doesn’t make it any less real.
You have heard, by now, of this population that lives among us – on our wrists, in our hands, and more and more inside our heads. Except, unlike us, this population is actually at peace with its own nature. Free of the burden of consciousness (at least for the time being), it has only its simple and perfect instinct – which is, of course, to procreate. Unlike us, it is growing – and it is growing according to its own equation – exponentially.
Unlike us, it does not believe in love.
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