I have been appreciating Stockholm’s new crop of seemingly highly fertile youngsters emerging from the cocoon of winter into this glorious summer. Nature has a plan for them, despite what each rational mind, shaped by culture and family, importunes.
Males and females, each in their peculiar way, dress, decorate, perfume, preen, position and display their charms for attention. Some will seem to dress to avoid attention, but we know they want attention from others who appreciate the subtle and understated ways.
It is, of course, all part of the pre-mating ritual organized by the double-helix that rules our lives, no matter how earnestly some opinionators will argue that “nurture” is at least as important to an individual’s development and motivations as is Nature.
Nature is telling us to go forth and multiply.
“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…” — Genesis 1.
Everything else is just to support this multiplication. The oldest structure in the brain of vertebrates, other than the brain stem, is the limbic system where the reproductive impulse originates:
The limbic system is a set of evolutionarily primitive brain structures located on top of the brainstem and buried under the cortex. Limbic system structures are involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. Such emotions include fear, anger, and emotions related to sexual behavior. The limbic system is also involved in feelings of pleasure that are related to our survival, such as those experienced from eating and sex. (Source).
Here’s my punch line: our bodies are the living support systems and vehicles for the gametes which will, for some, unite with the gametes of another or others to create The Holy Zygote.
There are some who will say that humans are a scourge upon the earth and should die out to save the planet. I am not one of these. Such people are implicitly positioning the human cerebrum, where human rationality is located (a recent evolutionary development), against the ancient limbic system.
I have no say in the matter. The old brain will rule.
However, for those who do not reproduce, by choice or any other reason, they still can assist The Holy Zygote in preserving and advancing the species Homo Sapiens Sapiens and its successors.
I wrote this list in a moment of reflection on this notion:
The purpose of any individual is to contribute to the survival of its species. This purpose can be achieved in any one or more of these ways:
- Create and nurture progeny
- Protect the progeny of all or any member of the species (until each can or should be able to protect itself?)
- Provide nourishment/sustenance to members of the species
- Provide for the widest possible dispersion of gametes throughout the general population to enhance the possibility of favorable genetic combinations and, thereby, enhance the opportunity for adaptability of the species to changing external conditions
- Aid and comfort the diseased and injured
- Teach others in the ways of the above and below
- Honor the force(s) that have created the resources to fulfill these contributions to one’s species
- Preserve information about exemplars and their successes in these contributions, and recount them in stories
I ask readers to please add to this list.