Biology is unfair, part 2


I think I understand the origins of human civilization a little better now.

From the very day Stellan was born — from long before it, in fact — Emily has had an obvious, and intense, emotional connection to him. To the point where just the sound of him crying causes her active physical discomfort.

I haven’t got that. I think the little guy’s awfully cute, but my interactions with him so far are mostly logistical: insert food, remove diaper. While I’m sure I’ll develop that emotional connection with him over time, it just isn’t there yet. Babies are born so unformed — that whole idea of the fourth trimester is really dead on — that at this point there’s really not much personality there to connect with (and what is there is difficult to see, since he has no way to express it yet). So while I can intellectually relate to him as someone who is going to be a person someday, that deeper connection hasn’t happened yet.

One interpretation of this, of course, is that I’m just a heartless and unfeeling person, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I try not to dwell too much on that possibility. No, seriously, that isn’t it. No, really.

What it is, I think, is biology screwing with our brains again. Emily’s totally got the whole lioness-protecting-her-cubs thing going on: I don’t know if it’s hormones or the nine months of physical connection or some more subtle programming, but it’s happening on an innate, prerational level that just isn’t available to me.

If this experience is at all common, then I am completely understanding how it is we developed societies where the men go off hunting while the women stay home and take care of the kids. Because there have been more than a few occasions over the last few days when I’d have loved an excuse to grab a spear and head off into the wilderness for a while.

Which is really difficult for me to accept, because ideologically I’m completely opposed to that idea — gender equality yay, biological determinism boo. I very much don’t like the fact that blue-state-living, hippie-liberal me is basically re-enacting stone age social mores. But that seems to be how it’s playing out anyway. I guess the challenge is going to be figuring out how to get past that stage and on to something more palatable as soon as possible.