Saturday, December 13, 2014
It's wrong to tell lies
It's really just the proportions...
Why do people think it's OK to casually lie to children, as though they don't count as persons who deserve to hear the truth? I've said many times that I "don't like children" but this is only a shorthand way of saying that I don't like them the way so many other people seem to, as though they are toys or pets. I am deeply suspicious of the sentimentalist attitude towards children one so often sees in women. They coo and gurgle over babies because they are babies, not because they have any kind of fellow-feeling about them as people.
The "Oh isn't she cute" response that appears to be nearly universal among women is something I feel extremely wary of. I don't think it is children they like, because they so rarely treat children as though they are real people you could get to know. I think what they like is their own feelings, something I've described as the "cutness thrill". It's the same thrill one gets from looking at kitten vidoes on the internet, and when you get it from babies or small children, you are really indulging in a kind of emotional drug rush.
Humans, and particularly women, are simply neurologically wired to have that emotional rush when they see something with the right, infant-like proportions, a fact that Walt Disney understood and magnified into an entire multi-zillion dollar industry. It is exploited again and again by the various industries selling us their worthless trinkets, a brazen manipulation of bio-chemistry that we ought to be ashamed of indulging. In Japan it appears to have been elevated into an entire culture, which I find almost nauseating.
Personally, I don't get the cuteness thrill from human infants. Not enough fur. To me, a baby or a child is just another human. In some cases, I have an attachment of some kind to a child, he or she is in my family or part of my tribe in some way, and therefore becomes a person whom I would kill or die for. But I'm never going to make those stupid girly noises over him, and I'm never going to treat any infant I know in the way I treat my cat.
I think the pope lied to that little boy about animals going to heaven because he was not interacting with him as one would with a fellow human being. He was doing what many adults do and thinking of him as a toy or a pet one had to soothe emotionally, and to whom he owed no duty of truthfulness. I don't think it is at all uncommon, and I think it is something that our culture strongly encourages. We see children now as a kind of luxury commodity, appealing to a privileged (or maybe peculiar) few. They are, in effect, accessories.
I was raised by and around people who reacted to children this way, and was treated as a toy or a doll, something to dress up and play with when the mood struck, by nearly everyone. I was taught to talk and behave as a miniature adult, parroting phrases about art and history and politics with plenty of three-syllable words, as though I were a performing animal because it astonished and thrilled my mother's friends. "Oh! isn't that so CUTE! she can quote Suetonius!"
God help me if I ever treat a fellow human being that way. God forgive my mother for never, ever learning to think of me as a fellow human being and treating me like a dress-up doll, and then discarding me when I suddenly came to life and started demanding to be treated like a fellow human being.
And God forgive the pope for treating that little boy like he didn't deserve the truth.
Update: It seems now that someone has done a little digging that Pope Francis may not have said this to the kid as it was reported in the Italian press. But the point remains that people say this kind of thing to kids mainly because they don't think of children as genuinely persons deserving of the truth.