In recent years, in some streams of Western media and throughout the world, articles have appeared that some conservative-minded segments of the population have found disturbing. The subject of these articles are the ‘childfree’, adults and often couples who voluntarily choose not to have children of their own.
The question instantly arises, “What kind of a phenomenon is this? Is it possible to deliberately suppress the Gene Preservation instinct inherent in all living nature?”
Statistics show that childfree adults are most common among highly educated, urban, successful, well-off and less religious portions of the population above the average childbearing age. Following the principles of The Last Faith, I would say that the ‘childfree’ are among those with higher than average levels of Freedom of Choice.
Without doubting the original statistics, I would be inclined to interpret them differently.
According to my personal observations, the majority of these people originally come from a relatively poor background, are aware of high standards in life and when they were younger, dreamt of being able to provide these standards of living to their own children in the future.
Devoting themselves entirely to the achievement of a successful career, they do not notice how quickly time passes and by the time they have achieved success after 45-50 years, they face the real threat of not having enough time left to bring their own children up until they are old enough to stand on their own two feet.
Moreover, by this age they are drained by the fear that having children will mean that they will lose the comforts of life to which they are now accustomed, i.e. they develop that well-known phenomenon: age-egoism.
Now they simply find themselves having to explain their situation and so they tell others that their decision not to have children is deliberate, i.e. that they are childfree.
In my opinion, the situation is in fact exactly the opposite, i.e. in their youth, these people experienced an over-inflated sense of responsibility for their future children. In other words, for the Law of Gene Preservation. Their claims that they are satisfied by relationships with their favourite pets, or at best, with their nieces and nephews, are not entirely convincing.
It brings to mind a story from many years ago published in the Russian ‘Literary Magazine’ about two students from the same university who were in love but then argued and split up over some trivial thing. To prove himself to his love, the young man devotes himself to science, in the end becoming a well-known scientist, academic, and winner of all kinds of awards. And then one day, once he had retired, he was walking through a square and came across an elderly lady, surrounded by a bunch of merry grandchildren and recognised that she was the girl he had loved in his former university days many years ago. They gave each other a hug, sat down and began to reminisce about the past. When it came to parting, the academician gave a sad sigh and said: “How gladly I would give up all my titles and rewards for all these charming little ones to be our grandchildren.”
Of course, among the childfree there are those genuine individuals who decided not to have children at a young age. There are even so-called ‘childhaters’.
Returning to the main question however: ‘what makes a person suppress their natural instinct, mutation or extreme Freedom of Choice?’, I am of the opinion that the question is something for geneticists. I am sure that genetic studies are already being carried out in this area, just as once studies were made of homosexuals.
Either way, the more conservatively minded portion of the population can rest assured – the childfree phenomenon by definition, cannot be passed on genetically.
P.S. During the period 1960-70, ethologist J.Calhoun conducted experiments on rodents placed in artificial, ideal living conditions with food provided. In the case of rodents, these conditions led to the cessation of reproduction, however, the transfer of these results to equivalent behaviour in human beings raises great doubts. We all know that couples who are already rich or become wealthy at the peak of childbearing age almost always have many children.
Karmak Bagisbayev, professor of mathematics, author of “The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer”