TLDR: it’s okay to make babies b/c over-consumption & not overpopulation is the main problem; it’s okay for me to have babies & ask for support from my friends & family because otherwise capitalism wins; University is organized crime; the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists & its freedom from colonial occupation can help save many Earth(lings)
I haven’t done much personal writing or reflection lately and it has been several months at least since my last intimate blog post, but here it is I guess. I am writing now to process and share out some feelings I feel trapped inside my body and I am hoping that by publishing this and getting it “out there” I can begin to address and communicate the wounds involved. My second child recently arrived to this Earth and we are very blessed that they are a healthy baby. Yet a lot of challenges have come up socially, personally, and politically around the fact of my babies’ existence. I feel like the world, or rather some portion of persons residing on Earth, are demanding justification for my existence and even more so for that of my children. I don’t feel that such a justification is needed at all, but I do feel the need to chop down certain eugenics-thinking I see at work.
I was inspired to write this in response to building feelings of judgement from a range of relations including close friends and complete strangers. As though I should not be having children without attaining a much greater degree of economic stability first. Or, as though no humans should be having babies at all because of overpopulation. In my mind, these are both elitist arguments that essentially mean that poor people should be eliminated. Where some think it is irresponsible and unacceptable for people to have children without first being in a “good place” economically, I say that I am personally, politically, and spiritually unwilling to surrender that responsibility passed to me by my ancestors and descendants; just because some financially wealthy people (i.e. the prime beneficiaries of slavery and genocide) set up a system where very few are allowed to succeed does not mean I need to internalize their agenda and ethics. On a very related note, just because some financially wealthy people think the main problem with Earth is too many “poor” people, does not mean I think we should all give up now and let the ruling classes exterminate the majority of “humans” so they can have more space for their robot society. If you are still reading and you think I am just being selfish or short-sighted, I recommend looking into over-consumption vs overpopulation with an emphasis on understanding over-consumption and alternative and ancient ways of organizing relations. I believe that the generations of “humans” arriving to Earth around this period are arriving with clear purpose and that they need to be supported and welcomed and looked to as a primary source of leadership. That is not to say that as babies they should not be guided though. They are just getting accustomed to their bodies and existence on the physical plane and an extremely polluted planet. But I really do believe they know quite a bit more regarding the possibilities and fates of Earth moving onward from this moment than what those of us who have been caught in the mess here in our present forms have to offer. Where do babies come from?
I would also like to address the fact that we are living in the Hawaiian Kingdom and are currently benefiting from the U.S. invasion of this country. I am continuing my Ph.D. work in Alternative Futures & Indigenous Politics and I am beginning to work on my dissertation on University as organized crime. It is a project that addresses historical crimes of the first European Universities against my own ancestors during the Witch Hunts and connects that historical trajectory and process of colonization to the U.S. invasion and occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. And currently I am struggling to even exist despite the massive relative material benefits I have as a settler here. The primary income for my family has been student debt, some $50,000 per year for this year and last. I have also worked while in Seattle when we attempted living there again for awhile after my first child arrived. It seems regardless of where we choose to live it is a struggle to survive, and I know I am talking about “first world problems” kind of struggle here, but it is not easy anywhere even in Seattle with a full time teaching salary in a city with a decent teacher’s union. Yet here we are back in the Hawaiian Kingdom and I am continuing the doctorate program and with hopes of making some positive contribution to the original people of this thoroughly invaded country. But all I seem to have to offer is words. Any material privileges I have due to my maleness, whiteness, able-bodiedness etc. have been directed at begging for support for the maintenance of the basic existence of my own immediate family rather than to supporting the houseless or precariously positioned Kanaka Maoli who continue to be dismembered and severed from these lands and waters by the U.S. invasion that flew us here on an airplane and allowed us to rent an apartment. Yes we will continue to live here for at least as long as is necessary to complete my Ph.D. despite living this contradiction. We will continue to grow our relations here in the meantime and see how the paths unwind. While we really are here with the best of intentions, I remind myself and others always of Ivan Illich’s speech “To Hell with Good Intentions.” Where we will establish our hearth or hearths in the long run is really hard to say with the world as chaotic as it is, but we have no desire to participate in the theft of lands from the original peoples of any place and it is not easy for us to return to anything that could easily be considered our own homelands.
When I first started thinking about writing this post I thought of quite a few other references and articles and authors that I would link and refer to in the course of the writing, but I will leave it more simple for now. Sorry if my hint to intimacy and getting personal at the top didn’t go deep enough for you also, by the way. I guess this has mostly been a rebuttal to all of the negative judgments I feel and not a very carefully thought out one at that. I will just go ahead and share it though so I can at least feel I have spoken back.
I will end with the following talk I listened to recently while on a walk about to get my first born to sleep and which I cannot recommend highly enough for others to listen and heed:
PS – as of this posting I am still over a thousand dollars away from being able to cover rent and other basic living expenses for my family, so if you are in a position to help out, please do!