God grant me the
serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change
the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Niebuhr
Since I’m perhaps
nearing my end I thought I’d start at the beginning.
Some of the oldest human relics that have ever been found were fertility figurines carved from stones over fifty-thousand years ago. They depicted women with a figure of big bum, big belly and breasts. Perhaps not understanding yet that sex produces children, the men were no doubt in awe of what a woman could do that they could not. Women on the other hand were attracted to men who were confident, athletic, brave, a good provider, respected among the tribe, and handsome, with nice eyes. This was because women were selective as to which sperm they wanted, and because such men protected and provided for them. Thus, in nature and in human tribal cultures untouched by modern western ideology, males predominately do the wooing. There’s a perfectly logical reason for this, eggs are more valuable than the dime a dozen sperm. Most females are limited by how many eggs they have at birth, while males are only limited by the numbers of females they can have sex with. For example, for some women today, a pregnancy can simply be a too costly and time consuming responsibility to take on, especially if one is single, and if a decision is made to become pregnant, she at least should be selective as to whose sperm she wants, whether the survival of the species depends on it or not, unlike a Bonobo chimpanzee.
The Bonobo, kin to
the other chimpanzees who lived on the other side of the river as it
were, spend much of their time fondling, rubbing, and engaging in
intercourse. Primatologist Frans de Waal described the difference
between chimpanzees and bonobos as being, “Chimps use violence to
get sex, while bonobos use sex to avoid violence.”
After studying them
for years, Vanessa Woods describes the bonobo’s world as being
where all your relatives “think sex is like a handshake”. And if
left alone, they live high quality, nearly stress-free lives. Their
world is one where everyone takes care of each other, especially the
young, and where both males and females, share the babysitting
duties, and don’t necessarily care who the father was. When having
sex they cuddle, kiss, hold hands and gaze into one another’s eyes,
perhaps even fluttering their eye lashes. While jealousy, is
considered an ugly trait. Even before eating, instead of prayers,
they all have a quickie before sitting down and empathically passing
the food around smiling at each other. Then afterwards no doubt all
take a nap. I would.
It’s perhaps not
so surprising that for bonobos, chimps, humans and dolphins, all of
whom might be the smartest of all mammals, promiscuity is the norm.
Regardless, because whether by love, lust or instinct, when a male
animal and a female animal have sex and do not use protection, there
is a good chance a baby may be conceived.
In early 1958, somewhere in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, my father’s performance reached its crescendo when the floodgates were thrown aside allowing nearly one hundred million sperm cells, the smallest cells in a human, to be ejected as semen, along with a part of his soul, and perhaps a quick pang of sadness that so often happens. Similar perhaps to how the vast majority of women have feelings of sadness or the “baby blues” after giving birth because maybe it’s that feeling that a human that grew inside her belly is now gone. In the there and then, the race was on, as the frantic sperm started swimming like crack addicted tadpoles, bobbing and weaving forward, with their long tails flowing behind. Others undoubtedly swam around like chickens with their heads cut off. Each one affected, or not, by how stressed out the father was, which could impact their future behaviour, just as a mother’s stress at fertilization can affect the egg.