Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chaos and the Butterfly

Many years ago when I was a child, a teacher read to my class, "For the want of a nail the shoe was lost..."  I didn't understand it but we had to memorize it.  So I could say it but I didn't know what it meant nor did I care.  After all, it was just school, where I memorized many things that made no sense to me and forgot most of it anyway.  Of course at my age now a lot of what I learned no longer is considered true or even relevant to this day and age.  Amazing to hear that children, at least in Florida, no longer have to learn cursive.  How many hours I spent writing my letters over and over again.  So much time in fact that I developed a callus on my finger from all that practice.  Now we have computers to do it all.

I was just talking to a college friend the other night and we were lamenting the changing of the world.  So much change we don't recognize this new reality as "our" reality.  No one talks to anyone anymore, we text.  I shouldn't say "we" because I don't text much.  I have been known to take two days to respond to a text message.  Same could be said about my email.  At first I was enthralled by our instantaneous communication devices, but gradually I have come to realize that we have lost more than we have gained by our new technology.  I miss my childhood memories of family gatherings, where stories were told, music played by family members, and dancing.   Instead family gatherings are few and most often filled with individuals peering intently at their cell phones.  Time, who has time?  Conversations seem weird, disjointed.  In fact often I feel like the only discussions are scripted by the Internet.  I have lost my satisfaction in talking and even eating.

Food tastes weird, don't you think?  It doesn't taste like it use to taste, doesn't even look like it use to look.  Am I that time traveler transported by age into a world I find so little appealing.  I am tired of the noise, the smells of our new age.  Maybe it's my age or just tiredness of this world created by corporate greed and hubris.

My friend and I talked about our babies, all grown-up.  And now grandchildren.  And how mothers don't breastfeed anymore, they pump their milk.  Isn't this another aspect of a massive disconnect of human nature?  We make our moms separate from their babies because economic survival is dependent on every adult being employed.  And our babies become part of this massive movement away from human contact towards the blue glow of megabytes and gigabytes.  Breastfeeding is becoming human milk feeding. Everyone writes and talks about them as if they are one and the same thing.  We shower our new mothers with numerous products so that she doesn't have to connect with her child.  We take away time she needs to get to know this new little being.  Time, a treasure that has been usurped by our technology.  Your computer time moves as fast as the speed of light in comparison to the your time spent at the beach.

Human milk has become this commodity to be given, bought, or sold.  It's property but not property of the mother or the child.  But property of some company.  We accept that ownership.  We accept this complete disconnect from mammalian behavior.  We think we can understand and teach breastfeeding with our technology.  Yet that doesn't seem to be happening, at least I don't see it.  We seem to have enticed many women to choose breastfeeding but our technology is not creating a breastfeeding society.

Variation in B minor of "For the want of a nail..."

"For the want of a stem cell, human milk was lost.
 For the want of human milk, breastfeeding was lost.
 For the want of breastfeeding, the baby was lost.
 For the want of a baby, the family was lost.
 For the want of a family, the community was lost.
 For the want of a community, the world was lost.
 And all for the want of a stem cell."

Copyright 2012 Valerie W. McClain

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