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Here we be again my good blog denizens. Have a safe holiday season. Warm wishes.

Hey folks,

Reaching the mighty 45 today, and still mostly enjoying life.  There is life after separation from one’s partner.  It is different, the weird pangs one experiences with the absence of a well worn rituals remind me of what once was.  Not really painful anymore the only ones left are the kind of feelings that make you pause for a bit of remembrance and introspection.

We are our past. It’s been a bit of a struggle to get properly contextualize past events.  Steps in the process, so I’m told.  Only through the passage of time can one frame the traumatic incidents in a more forgiving and positive light.  A big thanks to all of you for being a welcome distraction when time in meatspace wasn’t really a hospitable place to be.  Know that you’ve helped and I appreciate most everyone who takes the time to share this little corner of the internet with me.

We’ll see if we can get a more indepth this upcoming year and tackle some of the topics that continue to put angry bees in my bonnet.  Take care folks, and be well. :)

 

Have to reshare my current musical labour.

Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis:

And on earth peace, goodwill to all people

 

Vivaldi captures some of what the tapestry of life is like.  The text is celebratory, yet the music is mostly sombre with majestic swells and delicious tension and harmonies if you listen for them.  Life isn’t always happy, but rather, complex and should be celebrated as such.

 

(Edited one this morning, already.  If anyone wants to be my copy editor let me know….sheesh. 😊)

Christmas time.

Celebrate the season; live with loss.

Be happy; feel the keen echoes of what once was.

Remain standing; help others when you can.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year from all of us here at DWR.

Arbourist
Mystro
Bleatmop

Hey Folks.  This is a sad day for me.  It is a day of mourning, a day of grief, a day of loss.  Intransigentia as she is known here, my partner in life, crime, and marriage for the last 15 years and I are parting ways today.  The house is sold, the belongings divvyed, the transition… moving… only forward now.

Way back when, in a different time, we were neophyte singers and we really enjoyed singing together.  This was the first duet we ever sang together, it was extra special because she to arranged the counter-melody and scored the music for us to make it a duet.  Her mother, a master pianist and accompanist played with us.   The Bach Gounod arrangement of Ave Maria is staggeringly beautiful, and I shall always remember singing it with her as one of the most treasured shared moments of our existence together.

If nothing else, we are the memories we make with the people we love.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share this musical experience with her, it means so much more now that things have changed so much.

So, I’m sharing this with all of you now, as a quasi memorial to what once was and the beauty and happiness that was once found there.

 

Life is change, whether we like it or not.  Our life transition has been in the works since the beginning of the year, and I’ve been slowly digesting and processing the new context of what life is going to look like.  Ultimately we’re both going to be okay and stuff so don’t worry about us.

 

Thank you for listening.   We’ll see you tomorrow.

The Arbourist

 

 

 

So no history, political analysis, or radical feminism today.  Today is for highlighting my semi-annual consternation with the limitations of ‘acceptable’ men’s bottom wear.

Spring is tentatively arriving in Canada’s northern-most provincial capital.  We are slowly emerging from the long dark of winter (no thanks to daylight savings time, as it is dark as of today, *again* when I wake up) and temperature are, ever so slowly, beginning to creep toward not hurting your face levels.  For instance, today the high will be a balmy +2 degrees centigrade.

The hell that is winter-weather enforced trouser wearing is almost over.  But at the same time, I would like to avoid situations like this:

   Well not really, but that cartoon is too good not to share. :) Blinding people with the pale luminescence of my legs is secondary however to the comfort concerns involved. Daily spring temperatures in edmonton The Great White North have an exceedingly wide temperature range depending on whether the sun happens to be out or not.  Exhibit A:

Yeah, so a high of plus 4, but then -12 as a low, then +2 as high then -8 as low.  Climactic variability is quite problematic, as +4 degrees centigrade is clearly shorts weather, but -12 degrees centigrade clearly, is not (stop laughing/cringing right now equatorial friends this is warm weather).

So what is one to do while locked into the strict trouser/shorts binary?  I’m more than ready to give the heave ho to long pants, but I’m also a big fan of not freezing my tuckus off in the cold mornings that typify the Edmonton spring cycle.

The 3/4 pant are not part yet a part of the mainstream male lexicon, and the tights + shorts option seems to be in a very specific context of people who enjoy torturing themselves by running at obscenely early in the morning, but not something one would want to teach in outside a of non physical education setting.

My usual solution, is to dress for the expected high temperature and let things fall as they may.  But I can’t help but think that there must be a more elegant solution to my conundrum.

 

Welcome to part 5 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

We’ve done quite a lot to show that reproduction is a very bad idea. Despite all the reasons explored in Stage 2, parts A, B, and C, The Breeder is resilient. Privy to the other side of the coin, they are ready to share all the reasons I ought to be poppin’ out youngin’s. Let’s look at the most common of these in:

Stage 3: The Rebuttal

“You change when you have one / it’s different when it’s your own”

To my ear, this translates to, “if you let biology mess with you, biology will mess with you”. Oh boy! Hormones will make me lower my standards, scramble my values, but make me think I’m happy about it? I’ll pass, thanks. The effect is analogous to that of heroine. Before you have any, you can clearly see all the negatives. As soon as you try it yourself, though, your biology gets you hooked on it. From then on your happiness is dependant on keeping up your habit. It doesn’t matter how objectively anyone demonstrates how much the child/heroine is detrimental to your life, nothing can make you give it up.

“You’ll regret not breeding/You won’t be fulfilled until you do”

This is just another version of the very first initial reaction back in Stage 1. Like responsibility, fulfillment can be realized in a multitude of ways. Your zeal for this one source does not devalue all others. Check your arrogance and tunnel vision at the door.

“What if the love of your life wants to have children?”

By now it should be clear that there is a pretty big difference between how The Breeder and I see the world. Thus anyone who wants kids cannot possibly be the “love of my life”. The Breeder might insist, ‘but what if, otherwise, she is THE ONE?? You’d be giving up life long happiness just because you’re stubborn’. No. Caving to values I don’t share would be giving up life long happiness just to get a constant companion to accompany me in my poorer life. Further, the entire concept of‘The one’ is total bullshit. Relationships are built, not discovered. That is, success depends on partners finding someone who is more or less aligned with each other. Then, through work, communication, and experience, each grows into the little gaps that used to separate them. The One perfect match is a naive fairy tale. Time to grow up.

“What if your parents thought like you do? You wouldn’t be here.”

This is pretty ridiculous, but I hear it all the time. My knee jerk reaction is to point out that people benefit from the bad choices of others all the time. That in no way obliges you or makes it desirable to repeat those bad choices.

Best bumper-sticker ever

For any shining examples of happy parents with happy children who all make the world a better place by their very existence, I point once again to the survivor bias. I consider myself unimaginably fortunate and I am filled with gratitude for the people and circumstances that have saved me from countless terrors that plague so many people. There’s no reason to think any foray into the child-rearing world I undertake will go anywhere near as well.  And finally, the argument simply doesn’t follow. Let’s try the form with a substitution, say the first interracial couplings. ‘What if your parents went abroad for a mate instead of finding each other in their own country? You wouldn’t be here, thus it’s a bad idea’. Doesn’t sound so clever any more, does it? So much had to happen for me to be here, it would be impossible to respect and replicate all of it. Further, me being here isn’t that special. Sure, I personally think it’s pretty important, but I also recognize that that sentiment is quite heavily biased.

“Who will look after you when you’re old?”

The $250,000.00+ I saved by not procreating. Next?

“I think you’d make a great parent.”

And if you committed 20 years and $250k to scrubbing out portable toilets with your own toothbrush, I’m sure you’d get pretty good at that, too.

“You have no fitness, evolutionarily speaking.”

Yes, I’ve actually had someone say this to me. Why would anyone consider their own fitness from an evolutionary standpoint? One of the greatest side effects of the capacity for abstract thought that our species has developed is that we are now the orchestrators of meaning and purpose. Instead of being slaves to instinct, we have within us the potential to point our efforts in any direction, to any goal we deem worthy of our attention. There are no mosquitoes working on ways to reduce the spread of malaria, so as to treat their food sources more ethically. There are no angler fish fighting for the end of sex inequality. There are no stand up comedian squirrels. To reduce my ambitions to what my biology urges want from me is to deny my humanity. But on top of being misguided, this point is also uninformed. As a member of society I interact with a great many people. These interactions will leave impressions and influence future behaviour of those I encounter. Behavioural adaptation is just as key to evolution as its physical counterpart. If anything, it’s more important, as I will show in answering a related rebuttal:

“No one will carry on your name”

It amuses me when a group claiming moral superiority uses an appeal to vanity to justify their position. I can think of no greater example of hubris than the thought, “Humanity needs MY genetics, or the world is lost!” And it’s just so very stupid. Humans are all related and it doesn’t matter.

Milton Glaser poster

Like “races”, names are superficial and empty divisions. As a species, we get a common ancestor for all humanity every 2000 years or so. That is, a couple millennia ago there was a person that everyone alive today is related to. There is someone alive today that will be related to every single person alive in the year 4000 (assuming we last that long). On top of that, an individuals genetics is completely washed out of the gene pool in about 1000 years. For a species that’s around 300,000 years old, that’s a pretty quick reset rate. Thus, individually, you breeders will have about as much affect on future generations as I will. Or perhaps, as I go about my day trying to make the world a better place while you’re busy cleaning up poop, my life efforts will be more long lasting and beneficial to the species than yours will.

“If everyone followed your lead, humanity would end!”

This one overestimates my leadership to an embarrassing degree. It is never the case that everyone follows my lead. It doesn’t matter how often I’m right, or how much I support my position, people just don’t want to listen. Even if, somehow, this is the one time in my life I end up being a global trend setter, humanity will not be in danger. Biology will ensure there will still be accidental conceptions. The rare few people who actually should be parents and who want to be parents will still go ahead. The only possible result of my views being well received is that there are fewer humans born, especially fewer humans doomed to an existence of pain and misery. “Yeah, but what if??” Ok, fine. Humanity ceases to be. So what? It’s not like we’re the nicest species about. From a very interesting anti-natalism article, David Benatar writes, “If any other species caused as much damage as humans do, we would think it wrong to breed new members of that species”. Or, if you’re more inclined towards pop culture references

While this might be considered a bit pessimistic, the reasoning is fairly solid. The human race will eventually die out. The question of ‘when’ only really matters to whatever organisms that happen to continue to exist after our demise. From their point of view, would it be better if our inevitable extinction came sooner or later? And from our perspective, would we rather come to some abrupt horrific end, or gradually dwindle our population to zero? I’d say the latter sounds more pleasant by far.

Wrap Up

And there are the three stages dealt with. The Breeder’s grab bag of cookie cutter responses and anecdotal reasoning is nothing more than a flimsy veil, covering arrogance and insecurity. To the rare exceptions out there that actual do well at parenting and truly enjoy it, I must tip my hat. Their contributions to their children, and ultimately society as a whole, cannot be understated. But to The Breeder, I say this: those great parents are in the minority. Most people should never breed, especially if they must be coerced into doing so. The raising of children is just too critical a job to be placed in the hands of the inept. Forsake your romantic notions and myths surrounding procreation. At the very least, leave us non-breeders be while you mindlessly multiply us into oblivion.

Welcome to part 4 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

So far in Stage 2 we’ve looked at why I personally don’t want kids and why the world would be better off if I didn’t. Today, we will look at one last key figure. I am ashamed to say, although I’ve had this discussion regularly, I was about to overlook this entirely for this series. Many thanks to The Intransigent One for reminding me to write of the ones who suffer the most from our culture’s addiction to procreation: mothers.

They are Life Threatening

I have never understood how a woman can look at someone going through a pregnancy, with all its aches, pains, discomforts, swelling, nausea, reduced mobility, exhaustion, hormonal imbalances, and think to themselves, “Now THAT is something I need to try”. And this is the best case scenario in a developed nation with some of the best medical care in the world. World wide, 830 women die every single day due to pregnancy or birthing complications. In Canada the maternal mortality rate is 7 deaths out of 100,000 births.

Even for those fortunate to live in a developed country and not die, things can, and often do, go wrong. From the CDC, common health issues of pregnancy include anemia (low red blood cell count), urinary tract infections, depression, hypertension, gestational diabetes, and obesity. It doesn’t stop there. Other health issues can include ectopic pregnancies (egg implanting in the fallopian tube) causing bleeding pain and dizziness; hyperemesis gravidarum – morning sickness that doesn’t go away resulting in weight loss, faintness, and dehydration; and placental abruption (separation from uterine wall) causing bleeding cramping and pain.  There are also a slew of infections to be on the watch for, including Bacterial vaginosis, Cytomegalovirus, Group B strep, Hep B, and Influenza. Each can pose serious risk to the mother and/or the unborn child.

And before you brush off that listing of depression, it is a leading cause of new mother fatalities, with violent suicides.

All that and we haven’t addressed the actual birthing process yet. It carries many risks of serious pain and injury which are often ignored or even unknown by  a lot of parents (I’m especially looking at you, fathers).  Let’s start by talking about labour pain.

You know what? No. Fuck that. Let’s start by watching some labour pain.

I told a bit of lie just now. That wasn’t true labour pain. The thing is, these guys were in control. The severity and duration of their pain was adjustable and avoidable. They could have opted out at any time. With a flick of a switch or a pulling of a plug, all their pain would immediately cease. Think of a time you endured pain because you wanted to prove a point. Contrast that with a time that you endured pain because there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. I can think of no way to precisely quantify that difference, but it’s huge. Recognize and respect that difference.

Oh hey, did you know there’s something called ‘eclampsia’? It’s a life threatening condition where high blood pressure causes pregnant women to get massive headaches, and get blurred or double vision. Or they could just suddenly go into seizures or a coma.
What’s that? You never heard of it? Neither had I until I was researching this piece. Just another horrifying thing that most people don’t know about going into pregnancy. Sure, it’s rare, but it still happens and an important thing to consider if one wants to make an informed decision about giving birth. There’s another thing that many people don’t think about, but this is far more common.

Tearing.

Or, iffin you wanna get all technical, Obstetric trauma: fourth-degree perineal lacerations; laceration of the cervix, vaginal wall or sulcus; injury to bladder or urethra; and repair of obstetric lacerations of the uterus, cervix, corpus uteri, bladder, urethra, rectum and sphincter.

It’s like this, but a little bit lower, if you know what I mean.

Now fellas, I really want you to think about this the next time you consider the ‘joys of fatherhood’. Imagine shoving a scalpel up your ass and slicing yourself open, sphincter to shaft.

That, my friends, would be the male equivalent of an episiotomy. It’s a procedure done in an effort to reduce the harmfulness of  obstetric trauma. Again, that’s cutting yourself from your stink-hole to your pee-pee in an attempt to REDUCE harm. It is even more unpleasant and insane than you imagine.

After you’re done cringing and have composed yourself, recognize that serious obstetric trauma is a reality for 16.9 out of every 100 mothers giving birth in Canada.  Probability wise, thats a little bit higher than a roll of a dice. Is that a chance you want to take? Is that a chance you want your significant other to take?

Such a serious injury does not go away quickly and can have some long term effects. For instance, postpartum urinary incontinence is fairly common yet rarely addressed.

Let’s sum up, shall we?

…except for one tiny little detail. Despite all the health issues that come with vaginal births, cesarians are far from desirable. The risks are as numerous as they are severe. There’s chance of infection (incision site, bladder, uterus), haemorrhage or extreme blood loss, injury to bowel or bladder, and scar adhesions. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Now, this may be a bit presumptuous of me, but I feel that most people are at least amicable with those they are planning to have a child with. And if you care about someone, how can you want them to endure this kind of pain and take these kinds of risks? I wouldn’t even wish it upon an enemy.

And if all that wasn’t enough, it turns out that pregnant women are twice as likely to be murdered than not-pregnant women. This makes murder the leading cause of death for pregnant women. A societal fuck-you-cherry atop a biological shit-sundae women have to risk just by “playing their role” in biology’s plan for them.

I cannot fathom why anyone would voluntarily endure a pregnancy with all this physical and mental duress threatening their wellbeing. At the very least, I think we owe it to the future mothers of the world that information about these risks be more readily available, making their chances at an informed decision more likely.

They are Legion

I have one final reason to not have children before I move on to Stage 3. If I undergo a complete change in values and personality, as the Breeder often predicts I will, and suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to be a parent, there is still no reason to make my own. In fact there are millions of reasons not to. There are so many parentless, homeless children in the world all in desperate need of people to care for them. That is to say, there is already too much need for society to handle as it is. Why create more? It just further demonstrates how much the drive to be a parent is based on biological manipulations.

I think that about covers it. Some are powerful reasons why I personally would never want to reproduce. Some are excellent reasons I should not bear spawn even if I wanted to. Many are both – my case is iron clad. The Breeder, however, will not be dissuaded. Of course, the Breeder never tackles any of my objections head on. In the face of solid reasoning, there’s nothing for them to say. As denying isn’t an option, I’m met instead  with an attempt to devalue and deflect. It’s time to look at the other side of the coin. All my objections, *cough* while technically accurate*cough* don’t actually carry much weight when compared to all I would lose out on by not having children. Next time, I’ll look at the Breeder’s most common reasons I ought to reproduce in Stage 3: The Rebuttal.

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These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

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short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

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