Who Are You?

Not you, so that rules out one person. My name is James and I live in the under-developed developed undeveloped world.

The following are a collection of observations, reasoning and feelings stemming from a journal I started early 2014. I use these melodramatic posts to better facilitate discussion between myself and I.

I encourage you to comment as hatefully or constructively as you want.

Follow me on Twitter @bad_crisp.

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The Masked Man

I was standing in an empty bank. It was in the fictional city of Varrock on the fictional planet of Gielinor, but the experience to follow was real. A man wearing a troll mask appeared from thin air. “1000 days since I last logged in,” he began in the hopes somebody would listen. Being the only other person present, I volunteered to be that honourary somebody and stepped away from the booth to meet him. “The game has changed so much,” he finished. “That’s a stylish mask,” was the non sequitur I forced in reply. With a haha and thanks he asked where he could find the ‘achievements’ window in his interface. A few clumsy descriptions on my part later, he found it. “Ah yes!” he remembered. “I’ve done all these.”

Undoubtedly, it was a disjointed start, but that’s the way things were on this character-limited conversational medium we inhabited. I don’t quite remember how we reached this next part, but we did. You see for some reason, I mentioned, “online games are made by the people who play them. After all, what’s an experience with none to share in it?” This struck a chord with the masked stranger, so he told me of his old clan and the chat rooms he used to frequent. Friendly names in friendly chat boxes from a distant time. “I’d like to show you my house,” he said before handing me the means for teleporting straight there. “Shouldn’t you buy me dinner first?” I replied before using the teleport. Stepping inside, it was an opulent place. It had a large garden with sparkling orchards. “I used to love working on this place,” he said to me as I marvelled at the grey-bricked mansion. The furniture was immaculate, but the floor plan or lack thereof would have made the Minoan Labyrinth look like a hedge maze.

“I’d like to show you the dungeon,” he said as politely as possible, although no amount of tact can make a line like that look appealing. “I’m an avid dungeon architect myself,” I replied in jest. When downstairs, I saw it was an impressive construct. The walls were covered in skeletons and torches while Hellhounds patrolled the corridors. Ferocious demons and dragons guarded the various treasuries. “Walk with me” he said, adding to the otherworldly, cinematic feel of this experience. This mysterious he or she behind the mask was leading me through winding corridors, recounting their experiences of a better time. “Thank you for indulging my nostalgia,” he began as we made for the exit. “I’ll find something to give you for your time.” At this, I had to decline. “Nonsense,” I replied in the grim light of his macabre dungeon. “It’s rare to see someone else with appreciation for aesthetics.” Although I vainly delighted in the irony, I primarily meant the reply as opinion. The game had gone from an experience of discovery to one of cruelly indifferent efficiency over its lifespan, a thing he seemed to agree with.

Eventually, the fearsome tour came to an end and we ventured to the top floor of the home for some brighter scenery. Upstairs, there was a study, a bedroom and a nexus of portals to various locations. I went into the study and observed the arcane furniture. There were orbs, charts, books and a lone telescope was situated pointing out a window. Standing by it, he commented, “I used to love looking out that thing and chasing comets.” I stood away from the charts and paraphernalia to listen more intently. “My friends and I were part of the largest group in the game to chase them.” Having made my way through a variety of online games, I knew theirs was a story that many have echoed; good times followed by the emptier.

The masked man then delivered his final requiem, pacing about the room. Again, it didn’t seem real. I’d shared in a tour through the past of a lone stranger I’d met in an empty bank minutes before. With so many others, I’d simply run by without a word, yet with this one I decided to stay and entertain the thought of conversation. He talked to me about how the game changed after a significant update, the Evolution of Combat (EoC), had soured his experience. “I thought I could avoid it,” he told me. “I thought I could get around having to touch it just by doing quests, the thing I enjoyed most.” The way he paced was like a performance. He was clearly making sure his character mirrored his feelings. I was half concerned this whole exchange was an elaborate joke, or perhaps a live streamer playing to the audience. “When I encountered a quest that demanded the use of EoC mechanics, I just couldn’t stomach it. The game just wasn’t the same. I had to quit.” Being the manifest enemy of fun I am, I decided to play devil’s advocate. “I have come from a similar place and a similar time,” I began truthfully as a fellow veteran. “You’re right. This is not the same game that it used to be. Although if you joined now instead of in 2010, you wouldn’t have preconceived notions about what it ought to be.” To this, he replied in a manner that once again made me question whether or not I was part of some forgotten How I Met Your Mother Script, for I swear to you now he used an ellipsis in his reply. “…You’re right,” he began while parking his character face-to-face with mine. His troll mask intimately locked eyes with my ferocious bastardisation of a medieval helm; I was afraid of getting pregnant there and then. “I’ve been comparing two completely different things this whole time.” He then followed with something quite unexpected. “Thank you so much for listening to all this,” he continued. “It’s so good to just have someone listen. I’m actually tearing up a little. All this nostalgia, everything’s just coming back. I was just logging in to check my stats and then log off, but you came up and listened to me. Thank you.”

I was taken aback. Throughout this little piece I’ve joked and made light of this exchange, but I truly did enjoy listening to the numerous experiences and trials this person had gone through. The friends they’d made and lost along the way. At this point, it was humbling to know it meant so much to someone I’d only met 20 minutes ago in an online game that someone was listening. “What you said earlier,” he continued again. “About people making the game. That’s very true. Thanks.” All I could say in reply was, “It was my pleasure.” However, I could only let the moment sit for a few seconds before I couldn’t help myself. “So is this the part where we have sex?” We laughed, and then he led the way to his old portal room. It would have been seven years old or more. “I know there are all sorts of newer ways to teleport around now,” he lamented, “but these do the job.” After sharing in enough profundity for one evening, I offered to leave. “Shall I make my grand exit by dramatically stepping through one?” In reply, he said, “That would be lovely.” So, I stepped through and smiled. Seldom do I have interactions like this anymore. However, it does serve as a potent reminder of what lies behind each avatar in all these games. Every person has their story, and the people surrounding that story. This might be optimistic, but I like to think this is a lesson in how to conduct yourself with all people. It’s good to be productive and efficient. It’s good to seek profound experiences, but all of it means nothing if you’re alone in an empty bank.

Alexander

Mother murder, father king,
I feel the icy water sting.
Wash away the gallant prey.
Flick the world to disarray.
Dearest friend, true companion,
You were here to bridge the canyon.
In my thoughts on Persian sea,
Only here in history.

 

Mother murder, please refrain,
You’ve done enough to cause me pain.
Embittering your favoured son,
Like spitting back the persimmon.
Father king, oh so revered,
Long ago your name was feared.
Twisted knife was all it took,
To dull the point of Philip’s hook.

 

Mother, father, I will mourn.
Now I know why I was born.
My followers will shake the earth,
Footfalls sound a great rebirth.
My ships will fill with beating shields,
We’ll burn the fruits of foemen fields.
I’ll see the earth through siege & flame;
The world will not forget my name.

Is Having Kids Careless?

Parenting is widely considered a noble pursuit. It’s not easy moulding a floppy lump of flesh into a functioning adult, after all. Any environment short of a perfect one can damage the child. I once caught a glimpse of television at age four & have been a pawn of Satan ever since. However, when I’m not spraying acidic vomit & shaking with existential anguish, I like to consider things. Such as, the troublesome idea that parenthood is noble & free of moral tribulations. It surprises me that nobody gets offended by the notion of getting together with someone & having a child. Why? Well, wouldn’t you like to know, you dirty rascal? I’m sure you would, which is why I’m going to put aside the mild flirtation & uncork this bottle of fermented thought.

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There currently exist millions of children. Many, no doubt, have homes they are happy with even if their economic circumstances don’t allow for Netflix & Instagram accounts. Regardless, try to picture this on your Cambodian dial-up. You’re one half of a whole couple wholly indecisive about children. You’re both 28 & in safe careers. “Hun, I think we should have a kid,” you say to your ambiguously gendered coitus compatriot. The statement alone, however, presents an issue. The question is solely whether you should or should not have a child. “Have” implies to own, or to create of one’s own genetic material.

So what’s the alternative I’m gesturing at ineffectually like a dinner guest pointing at the salt shaker trying not to get involved in the heated conversation? Adoption, as you may have guessed three thousand sentences ago during an unrelated article. Adoption is an ever-present, seldom taken alternative. Certainly, there are many good foster parents out there. Many good institutions. However, there are still countless numbers of struggling children in a variety of unacceptable circumstances. So how can potential parents justify creating more? Many we already have are not looked after. Surely, it is not ethically sound to abandon existing children in favour of creating new ones. Yet, the convention of widely creating new children is accepted as normal & encouraged. What then becomes of these others? They are abandoned, praying to find a home. Put on waiting lists. Dumped in orphanages bunked full of others.

Let us try further to understand the reasoning of, “The Conventional Parent” (CP). I define this as, one or more people(s) responsible for the creation & subsequent raising of a child. Creation can be through conventional intercourse or technological methods. Thus, gay, lesbian & trans people can be conventional parents. So what are potential reasons for conventional parenthood?

  1. The CP believes their genetic material is valuable & ought to be passed on.
  2. The CP believes a genetic connection is necessary for them to bond with their child.
  3. The CP wants to establish a union with their partner via the sharing of a child.
  4. Accidental conception…
    4.1 Void of reasoning, or
    4.2 With religious, secular ideological or economic reasons preventing abortion, or
    4.3 Justified after the fact.
  5. Unreasoned, non-cognisant compulsion.

There are almost certainly other reasons why a parent may choose to have a child as opposed to adopt one, but I selected these for the purpose of discussion because they reflect a large number of outcomes. I will discuss whether or not each is, independently or combined, inadequate justification for having a child as opposed to adopting one.

  1. This is a judgement call on the basis of each parent’s self-worth genetically speaking. To decide upon having a child on this basis is to proclaim that the life of an existing child is less important than a new, unnecessary one of my creation because mine will have better genetics. Not only is this a judgement call on the parent(s) basis, meaning it is subject to being incorrect, but it disregards the value of a life that may or may not be of equal or higher genetic worth, however one wishes to measure “genetic worth” to begin with. This has intangible components, which present problems for the measurement of such. In addition, existing life has higher worth than potential life, “potential life” in this case merely designating “the idea of a child” in any potential parent’s mind. An existing child is being disregarded in favour of one that does not, nor does not need to.
  2. This reason has a stronger basis. There exist plenty of cases, particularly after the Soviet Union’s collapse, of adopted children simply not bonding with foster parents. Having been abused or mistreated, they recoil & take on a variety of undesirable characteristics, which would-be parents may seek to avoid. The use of this reason, however sound, calls a new question forth. What is the worth of a parent’s dissatisfaction compared to a life made comfortable? The noble thing would be to put aside one’s own reservations for the sake of another, but this is raw selflessness that cannot be expected of all people. It requires a constitution befitting saints, or at least the truly disciplined. Forcing a parent to be selfless would distress them, reducing their ability to function & thus perform their duty. In this situation, we have a troublesome child being raised by the strained & unwilling. Invitation for those same adverse circumstances worthy of escape. So, there is an argument to be made for bonds between child & guardian being a necessity for sound upbringing. In the case of an abused child requiring special attention, a foster parent must be strong enough for the both of them. If they are not, then they can be excused from their moral obligation to adopt. In a scenario where the child is of a hypothetical “neutral” disposition however, their own reservations are insufficient moral reason for creating a new child. Yet, their unwillingness remains a factor & presents the risk of an unsavoury home environment once more.
  3. I promptly reject this reason for having a child. Intelligent life is being created here, not a totem of affection. Disregarding an existing child’s life for the sake of producing a symbol is an exemplary piece of callous sentimentality.
  4. Void of reasoning, accidental conception is morally unacceptable. In this case, a child’s life is disregarded without thought. For the previously mentioned reasons, it becomes trickier, for one must weigh the value of religious or ideological freedom against the life of a child. If a parent were forced to put aside their reasons for not aborting, it could lead to circumstances as presented in 2. It could even be worse, for the parent may believe they were forced to kill their child. A traumatic event, certainly. So, this reason must be accepted as adequate for not adopting. Although an orphaned child is denied a home, that home could be one of traumatised or unwilling parents. “Justification after the fact,” to clarify, designates any number of reasons given after the decision has been made. They are arbitrary & represent the same circumstance as a decision void of reasoning.
  5. Non-cognisant compulsion refers to emotional reasons for wanting a child. “I just do. I’ve always wanted to be a mother/ father/ other. I’ve always known I’d be a parent.” At first glance, it is tempting to classify this with the same contempt as a decision void of reasoning, but that is unfair. Emotions are human & their presence, however little I may wish to accept them, must be given weight. Given this, the ability of one or more parents to realise this compulsion must once again be weighed against an existing child’s life. If a parent is denied their wishes & has adoption thrust upon them, this could certainly lead to unhappiness & adverse circumstances described earlier. If a parent is granted their wish & creates a child, they are deciding that their emotional satisfaction is of higher priority to them than a child’s life. If this did not enter into their decision making to begin with, then ignorance of their decision’s consequence can be condemned equally.

From these, one thing is clear; the satisfaction of the parent is paramount. Even if their reasons are deplorable, they are essentially holding morality hostage. If all potential parents could stoically disregard their reservations in favour of a child’s life, then they should. However, absent these qualities the only reason they are excused is because their dissatisfaction would result in unbefitting circumstances for the adopted child. This may be considered a practical stance more than a moral one, though. A parent still ought to take on adopted children before creating new ones in all cases. Forcing them to do so is simply not practical.

As one last hypothetical, imagine bonds can be chemically forged. It is a cheap course, where the parents & newly adopted children each get oxytocin injections & therapy sessions. The parents are compelled to love their child, and the child is compelled to love them back. If this treatment existed, should all potential parents adopt? The answer becomes a far more definitive yes. This example reveals how practically-founded the current reservations of adoption are. Ones bound by our own physiology & bio-chemical quirks. If it were not for these, the moral component would be far more clear. Unfortunately, this treatment does not yet exist. So, to conclude, I must say that adoption ought to be prioritised over the creation of new children wherever practically possible.

Thank you for reading.

 

You’re White. What Do You Know?

One Saturday evening, I found myself in an uncomfortably sticky eatery with my girlfriend. To be fair, any amount of stickiness is uncomfortable for me, but this was markedly so. It was an end to an evening of drinking, although where my friends drank alcohol I drank the atmosphere. Our planet has roughly 20 minutes of air left as a result. Physics humour aside, I always enjoy the cloud of fear simply dissipate around shyer friends. It’s a pleasant change to see everyone laid so bare in a way that muscular inhibitors & medieval racks can’t achieve.

So here we are, just the two of us, in this dank little nutrient hovel enjoying the privacy of its nooks & crannies. Somehow, our 2:00am conversation leads us to the discrimination faced by women from myriad non-European countries who live there. In such a conversation, there are many sound points to be raised. For instance, a woman from Pakistan may face religious discrimination. Perhaps her skin colour isn’t to the liking of a stray white supremacist? There are plenty of concerns faced by those in unfortunate circumstances as these. The conversation never went here, however. It was instead to do with the micro-offenses faced by these women. For example, being asked where they’re from originally, which is certainly tiresome for them to endure. However, I was then shown a page of these women then going on to generalize all white men, all white people, or all of whatever group chosen as responsible for slights against them in any given situation. Although discrimination is certainly impermissible by my standards, so too is holding the many responsible for the few’s actions. It was here that my lovely conversational partner made a remark that bothered me because I’d heard it before. An insidious remark protected by well-meaning, youthful defenders of social justice.

“You’re white, so how can you know.”

If you are a well meaning defender of social justice, you may see this as a perfectly reasonable response. I have never been in these women’s situation. How can I possibly know the discrimination they face? How can I know the troubles they’ve seen? Of course to pounce on me thus is passion preceding precaution. Imagine spit flying into your eyes at all that P alliteration. You see, there is an old logical principle that states you mustn’t attack the person, but the arguments they present. If I told you that humans needed air because our blood requires oxygenation, saying I’m no scientist & therefore couldn’t know does nothing to test the claim. It serves no purpose other than to give the impression that I’m wrong. It happens in court rooms. It happens in politics. It happens in every day conversation & it’s called the ad hominem fallacy. It is invalid.

So why do so many people feel justified in doing this? From here, I can only offer speculation, but it is the question of most interest to me. I certainly believe passion is a culprit. To those who empathise with discriminatory suffering & those who endure it, this is an emotionally charged issue. Rightfully so, I might add. If I were the subject of regular discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexuality, I might feel rage boiling. I might feel the need to rip apart any who may move to sin against me once again. It is an almost primal reflex to be offended thus. Act first, think later. One might not hear the arguments being presented. All they might hear & all they might see is, “a person not of my position is attacking my struggle.” To me, all I’m doing is criticising a statement, the content of which could be literally anything. It could be an argument about trees, grapes, war or famine & it wouldn’t matter because this is a logical discussion where Ps and Qs are the premises. The separation of logic & statement itself is I suppose a fairly abstract thing, so I can certainly understand the position of offense. However, ignorance does not excuse the injustice; no matter who you are, if you attack a person instead of their argument, you are making an invalid argument. It’s a basic principle. High school stuff. It’s this particular rendition that has bothered me enough to write.

I expressed all this to my girlfriend, and she rethought her position. Apparently, she knows plenty of people using this reasoning in the name of social justice. She remarked if I had met them, they wouldn’t have reacted to my explanation as calmly as she did. Honestly, I would have loved to see their reactions. It certainly wouldn’t have resulted in as sticky of a situation as the one I found myself. Why on earth was that place so sticky?

Thanks for reading. Take care of yourselves, or I will.

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Official Artwork from Fifty Shades of Grey 2: Rack to Back Entertainment

Paralysed Penmanship

There is a problem inherent to my writing. Perhaps it’s inherent to yours. What I refer to is the ever-present question, “is this worthy of words?” Every thought must stand up to scrutiny if it is to become an article. More often than not, it doesn’t. Reasons for this vary. Sometimes, the idea isn’t developed enough. It could be full of regrettable holes. Other times, I might think it’s well-trodden ground with every argument already expressed. In this case, I must either justify why my contribution would offer something new or scrap it entirely. For example, Trump is so thoroughly drowned in conjecture that any additions on my part may as well not be.

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Image shamelessly poached like an egg from araugustyn.com

Regardless, I was able to justify my Trump article because I saw insufficient discussion on the desensitising effects of over-criticism. I understand it’s flawed, as everything I write will be. What does it matter though? This blog is insignificant. These are not earth-shaking decisions I make concerning literary worthiness. The only reason I have this writer’s anxiety is concern that one day these words may come to represent me. The number of dead users on the internet may one day outnumber the living. This little blog is essentially my tombstone. I want to be proud of the scrawlings that deface it.

It’s almost an act of arrogance to write, thinking you have something special to say. If that’s believed, it becomes much easier. The self-righteous don’t fear their writing lacks integrity. In turn, they don’t lack writing & it fills our eyes like compost on a patch. Perhaps I ought to be more arrogant then. There is a chance, after all, that I’ll have contributed something. Monkeys & typewriters.

Right, I think I should say something positive to close this out. Follow your dreams? No, that’s physically impossible. Follow your heart? Possible, but not without surgery. Have a nice day? Possible, but having a nice day is a tad possessive. To own a day implies ownership over a large span of time. If that’s the case, what does that entail? Do you own the spacial constituents of this time frame? For 24 hours do you own all the stars, planets & beings within each? If not, what does ownership of that timeframe even mean? It’s like owning a timeshare of literal time; easy to buy, hard to get rid of. You’d also need to define what the quality of ‘niceness’ in reference to a day entails. In the case of not being entitled to any elements of space, you could apply any quality to this useless commodity to no avail. So I suppose we have to make the argument for why ownership of a day also entitles you to ownership of space within that day. With my limited physical knowledge, space & time are irrevocably intertwined; one cannot be had without the other. If this is the case, the ownership of a day implies ownership of its spacial constituents. Now that’s quite a good deal, if not a recipe for absolute corruption should anyone achieve this saccharine-sweet gift of mastery over time & space known as, “a nice day.” Therefore, I wholeheartedly wish against you having a nice day. I like you too much to see you more corrupt than my original Spanish copy of, “The Brible.”

Ah! I’m writing more already. Thanks for reading.

The Virtuous Pedophile

I recently watched a video about Todd Nickerson, the self-proclaimed “virtuous pedophile.” In summary, this is a pedophile who considers himself virtuous because he doesn’t act upon his desires, encouraging others of similar persuasion to follow. A fascinating insight. However, it is the backlash I find most worthy of discussion.

Being Human

Before we begin, I must say that acting upon pedophilia is not just criminal, but unethical. Children are incapable of consent, being neither psychologically nor biologically equipped for sexual congress. Nickerson admitted to the public that he was a pedophile. He founded a community for pedophiles who recognise the harm in acting upon their desires, choosing never to do so. As I’ve asserted ad nauseum, I hypothesise that every action & inclination is a product of our being pulled in directions dictated by evolution. For example, hunger is a useful survival mechanism that keeps us nourished. Lust kept the lineage of primal man alive. Our impulsivity allowed us to fight or flee as needs warranted. Every gene mutation & quirk that wasn’t weeded out remained. From imperative to impediment, these traits are now unneeded, but guide our actions all the same. We are not creatures of pure reason. Without radical modifications through the use of arcane technology, we won’t become this way either.

So what is the worth of our will overcoming inclination? Well, it is proof that we are beyond mere animal. Against all survival imperative, we are able to act in accordance with values we derive. Survival needn’t be our unconscious goal; we may strive for whatever cause we wish, however grand or small. At the expense of our lives if we so wish. Now to make the relevant connection: the will of the pedophile who bows to their desire is animalistic. Although their ‘inclination’ as with everyone else includes basic survival necessities & the full suite of emotion, theirs also includes the desire for intercourse with children. Most of the time, giving in to something like hunger also has rational benefits as well. If one is dead from malnutrition, they cannot accomplish any assigned goal, after all. In a case like continuous nourishment, both inclination & goals of the will are met, be it by coincidence or otherwise. In the case of pedophilia however, there is a divide. The pedophile’s desire is intercourse with children. However, the rational pedophile ought to also know the ethical implications of doing so. So, when the pedophile gives in to this desire, not only are they conceding to their animalistic self, but are also fully aware of the rational implications. In addition to the child being violated, the pedophile has diminished the quality that makes them human. They’ve used their will to serve inclination, rather than inclination being squashed when reason requires.

Pedophilia & ‘Virtuous’ Pedophilia

This, however, isn’t what the backlash is about. This is vitriol targeted at the self-proclaimed “virtuous” pedophile. For the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to believe this claim entirely. For all intents & purposes, Nickerson is a pedophile who has never acted upon his desires. Despite this, the video was covered in comments of disgust, not just disagreement. People were horrified at this alleged normalisation of pedophilia. The seething anger directed at this man was reminiscent of anti-homosexual arguments. Please note that when I make this observation, I do not imply the two are the same, or are even at all similar. I merely state that their logic was similar. For example, one popular criticism of Nickerson was that he has made an unethical choice to be a pedophile. That he ought to seek a cure. However, the video stated that he has always been this way & it’s just who he is. Of course, there is a clear difference between homosexuality & pedophilia; the former can be indulged ethically at no harm to anyone. All the same, the understandable knee-jerk reaction toward pedophilia is disgust & anger. This disdain might be warranted of convicted pedophiles who have damaged the life of an innocent. However, Nickerson is a law-abiding citizen, encouraging other would-be pedophiles to abstain from their desires. Yet, the hatred this man received is identical to that of an offending pedophile. Highlighting his story is considered by some to be glorifying it. We can now see that isn’t the case. If anything, it’s glorifying the abstention from pedophilia. This story glorifies overcoming desire in favour of rationality. However, there is an elephant in the room that science has not yet dispelled.

Is Pedophilia Inherited or Learned? Does it matter?

Nickerson stated he discovered his desires at a very early age. Knowing that he is a ‘virtuous’ pedophile, it makes little sense why he’d ‘choose’ a sexual persuasion he’s so against. Why would he choose to be a pariah? At risk of creating a false dichotomy, I’m inclined to believe this must either be a trait acquired at early childhood or at birth. Other options may include, “he’s lying & he really has acted upon his desires.” Another possibility is he’s simply not rational, adopting pedophilia with no awareness of societal implications. For now, I discount these possibilities. So, for the sake of progressing this already-verbose article, I am going to assume that pedophilia was effectively acquired at birth, ‘effectively’ meaning it was acquired at a formative age for any given reason. For instance, he was abused as a toddler; perhaps that influenced him. Perhaps pedophilia truly is a mutation in a similar vein to homosexuality. We don’t know. The point is; the acquisition of this ‘sexuality’ was not his choice & was entirely out of his control. As it stands, this is a law-abiding citizen encouraging other law-abiding citizens to act as he does. Yet, he is still thrown into the proverbial muck alongside convicted pedophiles. Surely, this cannot be just. We have all manner of desires we do not act upon. We may desire a cake without eating it, for instance; the desire itself does not make us a glutton. So too may a pedophile refrain from their desires.

Although Nickerson may not be considered ‘virtuous,’ he should not be considered a sinister criminal deserving of revilement, because he isn’t one. None of us had any control over the inclinations we were born with & learned in earliest childhood. When we grow up, we choose whether or not our inclinations rule us. As far as we know, Nickerson became this way at no fault of his own. In spite of this, he made the choice to defy his nature & instead be ethical. Demonising him is not only illogical & cruel, but cripples our ability to one day understand the reasons behind pedophilia.

Thank you for reading.

The Lay of Legacy

For some, the drive to act is singular & resonant. Scientists, for instance, want for discovery. Why? To be remembered. They may say their motive is improved posterity, which for many is true. However, the desire to be remembered for their efforts lingers in that shadow. They want their names to be said in classrooms for years to come. The leader wants greatness, not only for the benefit of his or her people, but for the endurance of their name. The author wants theirs to carry through time so their voice might waft across that mighty expanse.

What is it that attracts figures from all fields to wanting a legacy? Why does it matter to us whether or not we are remembered? Surely, if we do our duty and succeed in our endeavours, what use is being remembered? Once again, I look to the evolution of rational creatures for a theory. In other words, I look to the most ruthlessly practical way in which mutations may benefit a unique species like ours. In this case, that ‘mutation’ is the desire to be remembered.

First, let us look to the practical benefits of this mechanism. If I am any given rational creature built with the compulsion to be remembered, I gravitate to action worthy of remembrance to facilitate this end. Granted, such action may entail horrific deeds, but the process of evolution is no arbiter of right and wrong. It is the cruel process that ensures survival regardless of means. Let us look at two outcomes from some rational creatures in the gene pool developing the need for legacy.

  1. Failure to achieve remembrance. This is straightforward; many with this need to be remembered won’t necessarily be. In this case, the mutation has had a neutral effect on the survival of the species.
  2. Successfully remembered for their deeds. If a person is remembered for their deeds, those deeds need to be extraordinary, as ordinary deeds are commonplace. Regardless of outcome, if a deed is both extraordinary and remembered, it will always have some kind of historical value. For example, if a scientist fulfills the extraordinary deed of developing a cure to a disease, future generations will praise them. Their behaviour will be called exemplary. Some will try to emulate them, which is beneficial to the survival and advancement of the species. If a tyrant kills ten million people, this deed is both extraordinary and memorable. Future generations will study the ways in which they rose to power to prevent a similar occurrence. The tyrant is held in contempt by future generations. Thus, the future is bettered.
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Bad or benevolent, leaders wish for remembrance.

Of course, these outcomes are not guaranteed. The motives of all people now and into the future are near impossible to predict; I merely make assumptions about behaviour based upon other evolutionary pillars. For example, the desire to not harm others is a feature that aids survival. If there’s in-fighting within a tribe, its chances of survival are diminished. If they are cooperative, it is more likely to thrive. Therefore, the desire to cooperate lives on and violent tendencies diminish. On the other hand, violent tendencies do have evolutionary use in other facets of primal life, such as war with other tribes or the slaying of animals. I use this example to illustrate how I make assumptions in merely this facet.

Unfortunately, one cannot accurately make statements about ‘any given human’ on evolutionary grounds either. There are mutations and differences that emerge within the population, after all. Sociopaths & psychopaths, for instance, may not have the same inhibitions that a relatively standard human would. However, people with this mutation struggle to integrate with the unaffected. If we still lived in primordial jungles, these outsiders would be less inclined to promote special survival, no matter their masquerade.

So why is leaving a legacy important to us? We may have more altruistic reasons, but ultimately, it is a compulsion that aids survival. Those who are remembered are remembered for a reason. Future generations see that reason, pass judgement and decide whether they ought to be emulated.

Thank you for reading.