Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sanctity of Life

For someone who is not exactly a member of any particular religion, I follow some odd behaviors:

I never drink alcohol, dress modestly, believe in the ideal of doing unto others, occasionally quote from the Bible, partake willingly in the gender roles of a traditional marriage, and wish to create strong familial bonds and a lasting sense of family legacy in my daughter.

And recently, after many years of thinking, collecting arguments and counterarguments, bearing a child, and probing my emotional data, I have officially "outed" myself: I am a Pro-Lifer.

Declaring myself publically was as simple as joining a Facebook group a few minutes ago. Nevermind that the group's current members all believe in a religion that is not mine. Nevermind that as I was scrolling through my 416 Facebook friends looking for people to invite to the group, I became totally aware of how "uncool" I think many of those Facebook friends would think I am now. Nevermind that I also belong to the group of Californians ready to repeal Prop. 8---my views are actually not inconsistent.

Life---and the right to live it---is intrinsically valuable. Some argue that this intrinsic value comes from God, but it is enough to argue that Life itself is axiomatically valuable with or without the intercession of the divine.

As I make the statement above, I am fully aware that I have done nothing to argue for it at this moment. To do so, I would need to write for hours about my views on fate (yes, I am sure life is "fated" or, more to the point, I know that all time exists right now in one instance and the perception of free will is merely an illusion), the purpose of life in the Universe (my view: so that the Universe can understand itself through collective consciousness), luck (everything is technically "lucky" but not in the horseshoe sense; however, "luck" does not exclude meaning...luck and genetic combinations are part of the meaning), and so on... In short, I would need to argue for the meaning of life, and that that meaning should be valued.

I am ready and willing to take on the nihilists, but not in this post. ;-)

The other part of my argument is to assert that Life begins at conception. I have already structured that argument in my previous Xanga blog, and will at some point link to it here.

And so begins the life of an intellectual pariah. I used to bristle with anger at the pro-lifers who stood outside of my high school in 1998 and showed graphic posters to departing students. I mean, that was a bummer for senior year. I also used to feel that the pro-life agenda was to interfere in the private reproductive decisions of women outside of wedlock---and most of my political and social philosophies fall somewhere between libertarian and anarchist, all spiced up nicely with some nascent leanings toward utilitarianism.

Yet having reasoned my way to the idea that human life begins at conception, and believing that human beings have a right to their lives without enslavement, and believing that we must weigh our moral choices by what will hurt the Universe least and will perhaps even be good for it, and believing that we do not have the right to make other human beings suffer for our poor choices---the only logical position, for me, is to insist upon the protection of human life when that human being is too vulnerable, innocent, or voiceless to insist upon that protection for himself or herself.

Sure, doubts linger. Rape? Mother's life in danger? These are not easy topics. Those problems may not have ready solutions. But I have made a commitment in my mind to err on the side of preserving Life, and I will have to keep thinking.

So, a newly minted blog and this is the introductory post? A little heavy, I know. And even uncool in some circles. I know. Yet my whole blogging experiment has always had in mind the purpose of celebrating existence, celebrating life and all that is beautiful in it. Some of the beauty is examining complicated philosophy, to be sure. More to the point, though: how can I possibly have a blog that celebrates life without beginning to establish my definition of what constitutes Life?

I want to part with a quote from Dr. Manhattan, a quasi Ubermensch from The Watchmen:

"I don't think your life is meaningless....I changed my mind. Thermodynamic with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand sperm vie for single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter...until your mother loves a man....and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold...That is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle."