Saturday, August 30, 2008

Unleashing your inner monster

It may be true that having a child to care for mellows some previously insensitive individuals, turning them into gentler human beings. But it could be just as true that some previously soft-hearted folk are instead hardened - as their inner monster is unleashed through the crucible of parenting.

For instance, as Sonny's uncle was saying earlier today, parents who must contend with their offspring's wail-happy ways can come to lose any sense of sympathy for the travails of children other than their own. When they hear some young 'un begin to scream, or kick up an unholy fuss, their reaction is not to wonder if they might help, but to think, "Good job that's not one of ours". Over time, relief could be magnified into actual glee over the predicament of the affected family.

We might wonder how many of the famously cruel personages of history were parents gone wrong, who begin as sweetie pies but had some weird moral flaw activated after becoming dads (or mums). Admittedly, we've had no time to substantiate this revolutionary theory, and would welcome researchers with data to offer. But for anyone who think the suggestion is simply off the reservation, here are three words in response: The Corleone family.

That's right, the notorious Mafia clan may have been fictional, but it's fairly well accepted that Mario Puzo in The Godfather was basing his plot and milieu on the realities of the Italian Mob. In the classic film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola, too, observe how the Godfather, Vito Corleone, is fanatically attached to his own kin and goes on and on about the importance of "family". Could it not be the case that an excessive fixation on one's own children insulates you from sympathy for the suffering of others outside the linkages formed by blood ties? Generalising from this, of course, we enter familiar territory in politics - where shady demagogues have always tried to sway crowds by turning every issue into a matter of "us" versus "them".

You mightn't agree, of course. Parenting is all about becoming ever more inclusive and giving, you insist. But we don't care about what you think any more - we've got to nip off and change a diaper.

2 Comments:

adn@n said...

A nice blog. I've got many knowledge. Thanks a lot.

Cloudsters said...

You're very welcome!