Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

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Gambit37
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Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Gambit37 » 14-Jan-10 18:37

We're genetically predisposed to reproduce. All animals are, in one way or another.

As (probably) the only animal with free will, we can choose not to procreate. I'm 37 years old and single and still hopeful that I will one day meet my perfect partner. It may or may not happen. Either way, I'm pretty sure that I don't want children. However, generally speaking women have a much greater biological imperative to reproduce. So finding a female partner who doesn't want kids, and yet simply wants to be part of a loving couple, seems very hard.

I wonder how it is that we can override our biological imperatives through our free will and personal choices? Clearly, our life experiences help set our life expectations. And the expectations of society play a role too.

I love kids, but I can't see myself being a father and I'm about 90% sure I don't want kids. Of course, maybe this is simply because I've not met the right person?

Just an interesting few thoughts that I've been having recently.

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Zyx » 14-Jan-10 19:27

I wonder how it is that we can override our biological imperatives through our free will and personal choices?
Just on a biological note, most species are programmed not to reproduce when they are too young, too old, too weak, too hungry, too confined, too stressed, not in spring, not in rut, etc. So there isn't even a need to search directly for free will or purely cultural or personal choices to explain this conduct. You can simply set yourself (recurrently with your personnality and representation of things) or be set by the society into a context that triggers the inhibitions of pro-parenting, reproductive behaviour, already inscribed in you.
What I mean is that maybe what you perceive as an antinatural behaviour is in fact just you being in a perfectly natural state triggered by hardwired responses to certain stimuli.
Wether these responses are adapted to these new, modern, urbanized, culturalized stimuli or wether the modern context has changed so much that your natural set of preadapted, primitive, geneticly hardwired reflexes requires new adjustements, is one of the questions that a brain must resolve when it discovers the power to determine itself and thus overcome it's "natural behaviour". Should you influence the stimuli, should you change your context so you start reacting differently?
If we have any free will, then we only need to choose which preprograms of ours we want to run, we just need to program an ordered and weighed list and submit it to our multiparallel procesor which is the brain, and start acting differently than before.

So if you don't want kids and don't want to want them anyway, keep going. If it bothers you not wanting them, change yourself. For example, sharing a couple project with a significant other, agreeing with what you do, think, and live (being satisfied with your life), can lead you to the will to share what you do, what you are, and what you think, with other people, up to the point of wanting to guide and offer love to somebody, feeling ready to assume the responsability over such a fragile and dependent thing that is
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a kid.

We are programs that can juggle with their biological imperatives, and as such, making a choice OR following an imperative is a false dichotomy: we navegate in a sea of imperatives.
End of the side note. Things should be a little clearer now. :wink:

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Gambit37 » 14-Jan-10 19:39

:D Succinct. Clear. Well said.

On another note: does anyone have a blue-faced clue what Zyx is going on about? ;)

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by ian_scho » 14-Jan-10 21:16

Sure. "Don't worry about it"

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by cowsmanaut » 14-Jan-10 21:17

That all animals have the ability to stop the urge of reproduction based on both internal and environmental factors. Therefore humans have this as well since we're just another animal.. However humans have the ability to trigger various abilities with our own thought process. For example someone who thinks about the taste of something they don't like and causes them selves to vomit. this is a life saving reflex given to the body to preserve itself when toxins have been ingested.. however no toxins have been in this case.. just the thought of something they think of as toxic.

Therefore those who see negative aspects of child rearing will likely override the desire to have them.

To this I agree somewhat.. however.. we are not talking about the desires of animals having offspring. we're talking about their desire to procreate, and that means sex. Those who don't have children by choice, still have sex in many cases.

We see animals act out what we see as instinct to 'mother' something. Gorrillas with kittens, crows with kittens, wait.. everyone likes kittens!! ;) seriously though, we see this behavior all the time and do we think that it's a desire to have offspring? to raise something.. or just instinct?

Humans often complicate things with their own heads. Having children to gain some level immortality, or to be normal, etc. Many reasons which have nothing to do with the child. It's an argument presented on the child free websites. People choosing to have children for the wrong reasons. Though without saying what the right ones are..
http://www.childfreebychoice.com/

anyway, point is, no need to feel bad about not wanting kids. Everyone has their choice in life. The thing I hate are those who are child free and say nasty things about those who enjoy the idea of their own children.

To me, a person who does not desire children would make a bad parent anyway.. and in the end, it's all about the child. Their chance to have a good life and make a valuable contribution to the world. After all, it's all we desire for ourselves.. to have a good life, to feel confident, and useful.

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Parallax » 14-Jan-10 21:56

I am not aware of any animal species in which males can reproduce by parthenogenesis, nor do I believe humans are such a species. Therefore I submit that this soul-searching is a bit moot in your case, Gambit.

When you find your soul mate, then you can have a discussion with her about whether or not to reproduce. If you cannot come to an agreement at that point, then it is likely she would not be your soul mate.

I'm with Ian_scho on this one: Don't worry about it.

As an aside, I never wanted kids until my first child was born (I saw him as something inevitable that was coming into my world, ready or not, like it or not, somewhat like an extinction-event-sized asteroid, if you will. Now I wouldn't trade either of my sons for the world. Minds can, and do, change.

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Ameena » 14-Jan-10 22:21

Gambit, it looks like we have fairly similar views in this - I don't want kids, for a whole bunch of reasons. I'm (and always have been) single, with no particular desire to become, err, un-single. If it happens, it happens, but so far it seems somewhat unlikely - I'd be pretty clueless and probably horribly awkward about anything "physical" that might look like happening, so basically I'd rather just steer clear of that altogether. Finding someone I get along well with and ending up living with them is something I wouldn't mind doing, just preferably steering clear of all that messy business ;).
Basically, I'm fine with being friends with people, but anything more than that would be just...ugh, too much bother for now :P.
And definitely no kids, please - I will stick with my fuzzles (who I don't have because I don't have room right now, but when I do, I will) :D.
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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by RAF68 » 14-Jan-10 22:59

- and for which reason gambit32 you don't want to have of child???

- ameena you also don't you want children??? and why No that???

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Ameena » 14-Jan-10 23:21

Oh gawd, you want me to list the reasons? Bleh...can I do it tomorrow? It's 11:20pm and I was gonna go to bed over an hour ago, lol. I blame Wuffy (and it is his fault) for constantly keeping up with replying to my posts in the DnD-game section of the forum. So of course I have to keep replying, and it's taken aaaages. Still, we spammed out the IC thread a bit so now we can leave it for everyone to kill themselves over tomorrow when they find there are tons and tons of posts they have to wade through ;).
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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Gambit37 » 15-Jan-10 00:22

ian_scho wrote:Sure. "Don't worry about it"
I knew that :-) I'm not worried, just was thinking out loud really.
cowsmanaut wrote:anyway, point is, no need to feel bad about not wanting kids. Everyone has their choice in life.
Parallax wrote:I'm with Ian_scho on this one: Don't worry about it.
I was just musing out loud. I'm not worried about it, and don't feel bad about it. Not sure why everyone thinks that; it's not what I said in my post. I was simply making the point that I (more or less) know what I want, yet it's hard to find a woman who shares the same view.
cowsmanaut wrote:Those who don't have children by choice, still have sex in many cases.
But of course! I'm not talking about wanting a sexless relationship. What would be the point of that? :shock: :P ;)
Parallax wrote:As an aside, I never wanted kids until my first child was born (I saw him as something inevitable that was coming into my world, ready or not, like it or not, somewhat like an extinction-event-sized asteroid, if you will. Now I wouldn't trade either of my sons for the world. Minds can, and do, change.
Yes, I know several guys who felt the same way; didn't want kids, but then it happened anyway and now they wouldn't change that for the world :) It might happen to me too, who knows!?
RAF68 wrote:For which reason gambit37 you don't want to have of child???
Lots of different reasons. Some reasons are related to the difficulties my parents had and their eventual inability to hold together their family. I do not want to repeat that; some of my brothers and sisters who got married and had children also did the same thing, despite their insistence that they "wouldn't make the same mistakes as Mum and Dad." They still screwed up their kids.

And some reasons are coldly practical: I have nothing to offer a child (in terms of security) as I can barely support myself. I also have doubts about my ability to be a good parent (I'm too self absorbed, too easily distracted and lack patience and discipline) -- and there's also that small issue of bringing a person into the world who doesn't even want to be here. And the age thing: I don't want to be retired by the time my children are going to university. Having children is for the (relatively) young.

Anyway, as Parallax says, it's all moot until such time as the scenario presents itself to me. Being single and not actively looking for a partner (my job/career is my focus at present), having children isn't on my "to-do" list.

Interesting comments everyone. I like starting threads like this :)

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by PaulH » 15-Jan-10 01:57

I frequently don't have the urge to reproduce more after several pints and a few glasses of wine.

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Zyx » 15-Jan-10 06:20

I don't want to be retired by the time my children are going to university.
Why?

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by ian_scho » 15-Jan-10 07:35

Gambit37 wrote:there's also that small issue of bringing a person into the world who doesn't even want to be here.
This feels really wrong to me. Why? My two kids seem to be enjoying themselves thus far! I can't say that things will continue like that for them, but they will soon make their choices as well. It is such a fantastic opportunity to be human. I can't think of any other creature that I'd want to be, and the thought of not existing at all doesn't appeal right now :?

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Gambit37 » 15-Jan-10 10:46

Zyx wrote:
I don't want to be retired by the time my children are going to university.
Why?
Poor wording on my part. I should have said something more like "I don't want to be an old man while my children are still growing up." Why? Mainly because I don't think I could physically cope -- I'm already a very tired person. But that's a whole other discussion.
ian_scho wrote:
Gambit37 wrote:there's also that small issue of bringing a person into the world who doesn't even want to be here.
This feels really wrong to me. Why? My two kids seem to be enjoying themselves thus far!
I was being more flippant than serious -- but there is an element of truth here: children don't ask to be born. Do we automatically arrogantly assume that the lives we bring into the world actually want what we can give them? I appreciate that this probably says more about my current view of the world than anything, but it's an interesting question. Perhaps I am just a misanthrope; but deep down I try hard not to be.
ian_scho wrote:It is such a fantastic opportunity to be human.
An inescapable truth!
ian_scho wrote:I can't think of any other creature that I'd want to be, and the thought of not existing at all doesn't appeal right now :?
If you weren't human, you probably wouldn't be able to think that anyway ;)

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by cowsmanaut » 15-Jan-10 11:35

plenty of women who don't want kids.. dated one.. they have a variety of reasons for it.. and the easiest way to deal with that conversation is to have yourself "snipped".. it ends all discussion. "I am physically incapable.. end of discussion" and then they decide if they want to stick around :P

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by T0Mi » 16-Jan-10 11:47

Eeeek horse story ahead! on-topic! yay!

Mares usually don't show signs of 'being interested' toward humans (probably knowing how little we have on offer, in horse terms), even tough a horseman knows about the signs to look for, I've never recognized any signs of my mare going into heat. Female horses have a equal cycle female humans have. About 21 days of inactivity and 8 days in which the ovulation takes place. So to be sure I've been collecting urine samples for more than 6 weeks and send it to a horse clinic to have it tested. The result: my mare was offically declared to be "güst" (there is no translation and I doubt any German here has ever heard that word. ;-)), meaning she could never have kids. So I fulfilled a long-term dream and brought in a second horse, a Trakehner stallion. He eventually grew up, got into and through puperty, but as expected I never saw them getting intimate in any way, she would always chase him away when he got interested.

Until... one morning I counted 12 legs instead of 8. Noone knew, noone had noticed, including that stupid oh-so-much-into-horses human now practicing the longest face ever.

So the point is:
If the circumstances are right and even against all odds or proven facts, 2 souls fitting together, barriers can be taken down.

Finding the right partner and maybe you can't wait for the arrival of the newcomer. Your kid. :-)

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Jan » 16-Jan-10 13:27

T0Mi wrote:Until... one morning I counted 12 legs instead of 8.
LOL. Now, that's an excellent story, and a beautiful video! What a happy family enjoying the snow! :D
Finally playing and immensely enjoying the awesome Thimbleweed Park-a-reno!

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Ameena » 16-Jan-10 16:50

Aaaww, the little foal is so cuuuute :D.
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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by ian_scho » 16-Jan-10 18:35

It's great to see all the horses so happy and jaunty like that.

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by T0Mi » 16-Jan-10 20:03

Thank you for your nice comments! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. :D
(and now quickly back on topic. :oops: )

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by MasterWuuf » 24-Jan-10 03:13

Hmmm. Gambit, my friend, I think you should worry about it. :lol:

It'll turn you prematurely gray. I think you'd look just 'spiffy' in a mantle of white/silver.

P.S. My name fits my hair
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and I happen to have four children.
Guess I might be wrong as to the reason a person turns gray? :shock:
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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by Zyx » 24-Jan-10 09:41

I think movies like Click or Cold Souls can throw in an interesting argument: what's the difference between living our life or just stepping aside -outside -?

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by MasterWuuf » 28-Jan-10 23:51

I read a sign, the other day, that said, "I want to live my life to be the man my dog thinks I am."

Many dogs don't need a great man/woman, in order to be totally devoted to him/her.

Personal choice, if that choice is to have children, brings about such varying personalities.
I have been blessed
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Oh how I love my children
with four children.
Watching their individual personalities and choices develop has brought much stress and pleasure/joy.

I've been surprised by the aggressive disagreements of the last child I would have expected to become actively angry with me.

I've seen the one we both (wife and me) figured would be the most self-reliant,
allow her doubts about herself control her actions.

I've found out that, at our best, we 'guide' the attitudes and actions of our biological/personal choice to have children.

P.S. Grandchildren? They are GRAND! :wink:
Our first grandchild is a 6-month old girl. Can't wait to spoil her, then send her home with mama. :lol:
And before anyone 'jumps' me for spoiling the Runt, as I call her...well, I can honestly say I spoiled 'each' of my children, as well.
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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by ian_scho » 29-Jan-10 08:09

Four children?! That's great! How many grey hairs though? :)

It's almost strange to see a family with three children around here, in my opinion.

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Re: Biological Imperative vs. Personal Choice

Post by MasterWuuf » 29-Jan-10 10:08

ian_scho wrote:Four children?! That's great! How many grey hairs though? :)

It's almost strange to see a family with three children around here, in my opinion.
How many gray hairs? Hmmm. Approximately two novillion
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That's 30 zeros
:wink: .
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