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May 21, 2004


Ralph Luker

Hugo, Did I hear you say "intelligent design"? Isn't it bad or no science at all? And if bad or no science at all, how can it be good gender theory?

Dana Ames

Many blessings and many happy returns of the day!

You can be mid-thirties if you want to be.

"Freedom" is a touchy subject and can lead one off on many philosophical tangents. One mind boggling concept I have been thinking about lately is the question, What if what God wanted for us, what we humans were meant to do, was to ultimately become beings who are able to be "set us free in the universe to do good"? (Dallas Willard)

On the maternal issue, are there societies in which children have been raised communally over generations (not just during the hippie days), from birth on? I have read of a few where children are raised communally after about age 6 or 7, or raised by many others of the same sex. Has the thing your old textbook author was setting forth actually been tried over the long term? Just wondering.

I have a different perspective; not that I was raised communally, but that I'm adopted. My parents weren't perfect... and they loved me very well. Better than most parents, I think, the more I talk with people over the years. A person doesn't have to be related to the child to be a good nurturer.

Hope you feel 100% soon.



Thank you, Dana, for pointing out that shortcoming in my argument.

I have a great deal of sympathy for "ID", at least some versions thereof, Ralph... I'll post more on that another time.



I'd stick with mid-thirties until you're in your forties, if i were you...


...but seriously. You say " I remain troubled by any movement that sees communal nurseries and patent feeding (lots of infant formula, I presume, instead of that awful breast milk) as superior to devoted care from one mother and her own flesh."
I'd have to counter that you're comparing 2 extremes, and there's lots of grey ared in between. Don't forget that formula milk was invented to save the lives of infants who couldn't breastfeed.

Formula milk and nurseries are not necessarily the tools of some evil movement; used well they are life-enhancing, and even life-saving innovations.


happy birthday!

Derek Catsam

Hugo --
I'm a 33 year old who is scheming for my obsolescence, and thus I decree -- 37 is definitely mid-30s.


"And I'm alienated by the description of a life of service and of nurturing as merely "gratifying the needs of others". "

So am I, but I also worry about the Victorian "Angel in the Home" rhetoric; the idea that a life of service and nurturing is the highest calling and therefore we should shut up and do what we're told. Not that I think you're implying this--far from it. The question is, how can we serve and nurture others without making ourselves doormats and easy prey for those who want to take advantage of us?


Eww! How am I late! Hugo, Hugo, Hugo: big birthday wishes and thanks a million for being such a powerful voice in the blogosphere. Happy Birthday!


Indeed. Happy Birthday!


Hope your birthday was fantastic, Hugo.

Jonathan Dresner

Ray Bradbury calls "age thirty-seven, the strange age between yesterday and tomorrow." ("Thunder in the Morning," Driving Blind, p. 181) No, I don't catalogue those things, I just came across it and thought of you. I'm about a half-year behind you....

Happy Birthday.


Oh, I love the Bradbury line. I'll repeat it!

Both Maggi and Emily add important nuance. Of course, breastfeeding is not the "only right way" to nurture a small child. What I object to is the notion that the village can raise a child BETTER than the family can. I am all for scientific innovation that helps families care for their children more effectively and healthfully.

We also need some serious conversation about what a life of service for others really looks like today, and what balancing our needs and desires with those of others ought to look like. Somewhere between that Victorian angel and Carrie on Sex and the City, I suppose.


"What I object to is the notion that the village can raise a child BETTER than the family can." - yes, Hugo, there is something in your point that I agree with. But I also DISagree with the idea that families (whatever you mean by that - but we usually mean the separate unit of parent(s) and child(ren)) should raise their children single-handedly. If the village is a benign extension of the family - the grandparents, the neighbours, the school community - it's much better for children to be raised in a broader environment than just their overstressed parents. The idea of family that we perpetuate in the West is an ideal that is not achievable. At least, not compatible with the ideals of your womens' studies!


Indeed, I reject intensely the relatively recent (and unChristian) idea of the family as a discrete unit separate from the larger community. I long for stronger community support FOR families, I just don't want the community to serve as a replacement!


Sorry I don't drop by more often - belated birthday wishes! I hope you're off the Prednisone or will be soon - I know my steroids make me ravenous!

Thank you also for your continually thought-provoking posts - they give me such a lot to think about!

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