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July 24, 2008

Comments

TheophileEscargot

Better to never have loved at all, than to have loved and lost.

Tom

"Better to never have loved at all, than to have loved and lost."

Couldn't agree more. Wonder what retard came up with the opposite statement originally?

Bob B

Interesting recent analysis of demographic trends in Britain:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2285670/Most-children-of-British-mothers-born-out-of-wedlock.html

Most children of British mothers are now born out of wedlock. Evidently, long relationships and families are out of fashion.

Who was it who was saying something about "societal breakdown"?

HDS

The 'retard' was Tennyson, by the way: try In Memoriam.
Re the blog ... As a parent with 4 children (youngest 38 yrs), 10 grandchildren (one autistic) plus another who died during birth, I can only assert that for me the value of loving was and is in the experience. Not just the big orchestral moments, but the quieter times and also when suffering has been endured and shared.
I can't prove it, but I can almost always tell if someone has experienced a full relationship or not. However I will put a four-figure sum on knowing whether someone has brought up a child: a childless person will lack a certain juice, like a fruit that has gone over before ever ripening.
But what's the point of loving? Learning the truth about yourself above all, which can't be done alone.
But you can stay ignorant if you wish ... might be better for some retards.

eliane

"there’s something flawed about this sort of happiness research"

It might have something to do with the fact that, speaking as a parent, when I look at the behavior of the people I know, I end up concluding that those without children haven't really become adults yet. By which I mean that they have yet to learn the meaning of the word responsibility. They don't understand the interdependence of human life. (This is a gross generalization -- even I can think of exceptions.)

Tom

"But stay ignorant if you wish... might be better for some retards."

I'm not ignorant to love, I have been in love and heartbroken as a result, and I can truly say the negatives associated with being heartbroken have significantly outweighed the benefits of being in love.

Sorry to use a cost-benefit analysis approach in this.

Shuggy

"that there’s something flawed about this sort of happiness research. But what exactly?"

Jesus, man! If you're acount of it is anything to go by, it is reductionist as it is depressing. I don't suppose you've got a pdf paper that charts the impact that doing happiness research has on happiness, do you?

passer by

Im sure serial killers are much happier when they are serial killin. just a hunch.

danny

Chris it is your oil conspiracy-obsessed mate from the day job again, first and foremost I'll lay my cards on the table and say I have a two-years-three-months-old-daughter. My initial reaction is simply to agree with HDS in his comments, and note that while the study says that two years after the birth of the child, 'happiness' (measured how?) is less than if you never had the child, this certainly does not ring true to me. My wife had severe postnatal depression after our child was born, as a result of which inter alia she spent half a year in a mental hospital, and then when she went back to work some 18 months after the birth, she was completely and utterly shafted by her employer as a result of this mental illness in terms of pay and conditions, etc - as a result, this evening I am freshly back from the London South Employment Tribunal in West Croydon (lovely - the only cash machines are non-bank affiliated and trumpet the fact they will ream you for usage!) where we are pursuing redress for this situation. Cost to pocket, quality time with family and years at the end of my life lost thanks to stress now you can postulate for yourself. Yet I would not change a thing!!! How irrational, in the utility maximisation sense of considering the benefit of children, is that? Yet I don't think there is a luckier man on the planet. I don't intend this to a uselessly mawkish post, I have a real point to make, and it is this: the good old British empiricist tradition that informs (quite rightly) MOST of what we would call 'rational' thinking is as poor as capturing the 'upside' of child-rearing as it is as capturing the upside of religion. As a humble suggestion I would suggest that you familiarise yourselves with some aspects of Continental philosophy, and I don't mean that lazy wanker Derrida. Instead I am referring to Emmanuel Levinas and his conceptualisation of what he terms the 'face-to-face' nature intrinsic to some (religious? parental?) relationships which by his definition we cannot just reduce to a (classically empiricist) 'side-by-side' account of experience which does not admit of our own implication in the very fact that the relationship exists in the first place. I know I'm sounding woolly now but in my opinion it's a real similarity cutting across the most vexed questions in terms of religion, irrational love of children and what we mean by the aesthetic judgment statement 'beautiful' (problems in aesthetics and morals generally mirror each other, as any fule kno........)

Mark Harrison

It may be unacceptable for economists to attack parental love as irrational, but in other fields (such as machine intelligence) it's been well-known for years that we, for want of a better term, over-anthropomorphise humans :-)

Oh, and I'm not sure why it defies probability that each victim of knife crime is gifted - I've not carried out an in-depth study, but my recollection is that numerous "gifts", including but not limited to numeracy, fluency in multiple languages, sporting prowess and musical ability have been lauded. This may show a reporting bias in which the good attributes are praised, and the poor ones not mentioned, but doesn't, prima facie, suggest any other anomaly.

My own obituary will, I hope mention my love for my kids, and maybe my intelligence, but will, I trust, gloss over the fact that I have the soccer ability of a a bookcase and were I to film a Yoga DVD, any vendor would face a moral dilemna in whether to categorise it as "comedy" or "horror".

Charlieman

"Which raises the question: why is it socially acceptable - and even popular - to attack some irrationalities, such as religion, but not others, such as parents’ attitudes to their children?"

Some attitudes towards loved ones are "acceptable for attack". Sonia Sutcliffe was repeatedly attacked in writing for visiting her husband in prison without any evidence of complicity by her in his crimes. Her critics were unable to accept that love is at least partially sighted, or that a person capable of evil is also capable of loving acts.

But when a young person is killed, by accident or criminal act, most people opt into support of the bereaveds' cognitive biases, in order to support the bereaved. Nothing is achieved if the local newspaper reports that "local residents can expect a reduction in the number of daytime break-ins following Joey's death". So why not turn a blind eye to the black side of a dead person's character, if it helps others in their loss?

Teenage dead people are also less likely to have "a criminal reputation" than a victim five years older. Their criminality (or just the fact that they are an obnoxious fool) may be known locally but it will not have been recorded in public. In contrast, we can comfortably say "good riddance to bad rubbish" when the 24 year old local hooligan with four court attendances for pub violence gets run over by a bus. When an 18 year old dies, the main character reference for him/her is provided by the family. Without contradictory evidence, we have to take that reference at face value.

And in most cases, the family character reference is pretty accurate: a bit eulogised, but unless it becomes part of a prosecuation, we should just live with it.

Dipper

so, cognitive disonance is our friend!

Charlieman

"It finds that people do indeed fully adapt to both marriage and the birth of a child. They get happier as these events draw nearer, but less happy afterwards."

Births and weddings are communal as well as personal highlights. In both cases, the community can expect a good knees up in association with the serious event, even if it is just a christening or similar, after child birth. Community expectations (in the build up to a big party) and happy party memories will have an influence on the couple/parents. Decline of happiness after the event is surely just reversion to norm?

Has anybody studied how contented couples respond in terms of "happiness" after having several children? Happiness in families in developing nations?

Regarding the death of a child, death primarily affects the immediate family. The community contains many children and will survive as a group unless there is an epidemic disease; the burden of a single loss is thus carried by the parents.

When a new child is born, we can bring along clothes, blankets, money and food for the household. Everyone feels internally warm about a birth. When a child dies, the community feels sorrow, but does not share the emotional commitment of the parents. Nor can the community always explain its loss in a way that the parents can understand in their grieving.

Charlieman

"so, cognitive disonance is our friend!"

Cheers, Dipper, but understanding it is important. I am an engineer by education so I will hold my hand up when I get things wrong.

Maynard Handley

"It might have something to do with the fact that, speaking as a parent, when I look at the behavior of the people I know, I end up concluding that those without children haven't really become adults yet. By which I mean that they have yet to learn the meaning of the word responsibility. They don't understand the interdependence of human life."

Right. The world is awash in a sea of problems most of which are caused by overpopulation, the breeders are constantly whining about how the rest of us should pay for their kids, and yet it us without kids who are the irresponsible ones?

We have a choice before us.
1) We can continue to live as kings, can ALL live as kings, but only if our numbers are limited or
2) We can throw up ever more vicious barriers to keep out the starving masses, can condemn them to their lives of poverty, while a small number of us continue to live well or
3) We can try for option (2), but at some point the stress will result in devastation that tears the whole system down, and no-one gets to live as a king.

And yet when I point out these elementary numerical facts, I am treated as some sort of life-hating thug. I, who want EVERYONE in the world to live well, am a monster, while people like Eliane, who (by action, regardless of what they might claim) actually want the world of option (2), go on about what wonderful life-affirming saints they are.

Screw you all. There are retards in the world alright. You're all going to get option (3) in the end, and lets see how happy the precious kids are then, when they have to live in the resource depleted wasteland their moron parents have bequeathed them.

Maynard Handley

" [sad story about kid...] as a result, this evening I am freshly back from the London South Employment Tribunal in West Croydon ... where we are pursuing redress for this situation... Yet I don't think there is a luckier man on the planet. "

So you are the luckiest man on the planet, and yet you are asking the government for money? So which is it

- you are lying about your luck and happiness or

- you think it's a fine thing to take money away from those who are happier and less lucky than you to improve your welfare even more?

That's one hell of a morality that parenthood engenders.

chris

Shuggy - ask and thou shalt receive.
This paper shows that happiness researchers are seen by others as being happier than other economists:
http://www.crema-research.ch/papers/2007-16.pdf

A "Breeder"

You sound like a right barrel of laughs to me, Maynard - fancy a pint?

"The world is awash in a sea of problems most of which are caused by overpopulation, the breeders are constantly whining about how the rest of us should pay for their kids, and yet it us without kids who are the irresponsible ones?"

All 'breeders?' Done some research on that, have you? It's a statement about as balanced and well thought through as a Daily Mail headline.

And overpopulation is behind "most" of the world's problems is it? Let's take 'starvation' as an example of something that most people would associate with overpopulation. The population was many times lower in Medieval Europe, and yet starvation was only ever a failed harvest away. The level of population was never actually the issue - it was our ability to maximise our resources. Ultimately, technological advances improved things for us because we could feed many, many more people from the same acreage. The same principle is also true of diseases.

Nothing's changed.

Today, the starving, diseased masses are starving not because there are masses of them - but because they live in underdeveloped countries where subsistence farming and poor medical infrastructure continues to kill them in their millions.

And why are those countries underdeveloped? Because of governments and businesses are acting in their interests rather than in the interests of the people.

areeya

that 's very intersting!

Dipper

Charlieman - my comments were on the original post. Didn't mean to question your coments which I thought were perceptive.

danny

Maynard, it is the luckiest man again - perhaps I should have made my point clearer, by 'redress' I certainly don't mean any financial compensation (in our particular case very little compensation, if any at all, is likely, and that is because of the nature of the alleged misconduct). I meant instead simply the verdict from the Tribunal on whether or not my wife was treated fairly or not on her return to work, which in itself then obliges the employer to consider non-financial remedies regarding her position, responsibilities etc. My whole point was that despite a near-continuous series of highly stressful misfortunes since her birth, and all of which can be linked directly to her birth, I am certainly happier than I was two years ago before my daughter was born. You see what I've done with the 'two years' there? It sort of links back to the whole point of the report Chris was talking about in the first place, in response to which I was offering my own situation as an arguably extreme sample of post-birth misfortune, the kind which you might well expect to help validate the report conclusions. 'Cept it doesn't. Now, does that mean the report is flawed or does it mean there is something wrong with me? Having read your posts, I'm not sure you're the best person to comment, however......

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