Today’s koan: Choose oblivion!

October 21, 2008

I’m sure you’ve seen this bumper sticker:

“SMILE!  YOUR MOTHER CHOSE LIFE!”

I saw it again the other day, on a mini-van which was also sporting one of those “Support Our Troops” ribbon magnets (of course it was!), and it finally hit me why that bumper sticker offends me so.

It’s not just that I can infer that the driver of this van is a pro-life nut, which means they are probably a religious nut (and that all presents a whole slate of issues that I can easily poke through with reason and intellect) –  it’s that the logic of the sticker’s message is entirely flawed.

I understand, emotionally, that this message is supposed to make me feel grateful toward and indebted to my mother for not aborting me when I was in her womb.  I am supposed to think, “Oh yeah, that’s right – if my mother had had an abortion, I wouldn’t have this great life and I wouldn’t get to… etc. etc.”.  The message of the sticker is supposed to elicit a feeling of loss – how I wouldn’t have gotten to experience my life if my mother had chosen differently.

But this, my friends, is entirely my point.

Just think about it intellectually – if you had never been born at all, you wouldn’t have this sense of loss.  You wouldn’t have anything!  No consciousness, no brain, no memories – nothing.  So, you wouldn’t even have any comprehension of what you were missing out on.  So, if your mother hadn’t “chosen life”, you wouldn’t even know the difference!  Death of the ego!  Isn’t that what all the Buddhists are always clamoring about?  Well, there you have it!  Ponder that puzzle for a while!  You didn’t ask to be born (unless you believe the rantings of some of the New Age wackos).  Your mother simply chose to be a mother, for whatever reason – because her religion and/or family demanded it, to keep her man, to have a little baby to love and cuddle, to simply do what her mother did – whatever the reason.  And contrary to the charge delivered by the 5th Commandment, honor and respect of one’s parents should not be automatic, as George Carlin once said – rather, “it should be earned.  It should be based on the parents’ performance.”  Some people, like in Nepal, for instance, sell their daughters into the sex slavery trade of Calcutta’s red-light district.  I’m quite sure these girls are not smiling about the fact that their mothers “chose life” while some guy named Habib is shelling out rupees so he can rape them.

So, lady in the minivan – quite frankly, you can go fuck yourself, because my mother chose to be a mother.  Period.  End of story.  And so here I am, left to sort this all out for myself – as we all are – and ponder the oblivion from which I sprang forth, and which awaits me when my carcass finally gives out.

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2 Responses to “Today’s koan: Choose oblivion!”

  1. Mardé Says:

    This is fantastic, Minds! Smile, you’re just a part of the human race, a being with an awareness that never ever existed and never ever will exist again, a thing somehow cast upon this earth to feel and to live. Yes! To live, that is the question. To realize the glory of being alive, you, that totally unique thing created by random chance, one chance in a billion billion, you have the great opportunity to live! See and feel the beauty of this world, this life you have, knowing it will be gone, extinguished, vanished into nothingness some day, any day. “Death is the mother of beauty”, said Wallace Stevens in his great poem, “Sunday Morning”, a poem in which Christianity is pitted against paganism with the latter winning out by the end with the final three lines, after a description of the beauties of nature, being the following:
    At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
    Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
    Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

  2. mindserased Says:

    One in a billion, baby. You got it. As I’ve said before, the atheist has more regard for the precious nature of life than the devout among us, whose dwelling on the afterlife are nothing more than a grand excuse for sadism in this life.


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