IVF and global warming

IVF is a sign of our times: society encourages us to remain non-adult ever longer, but our bodies ignore this cultural infantilizing of our minds.

It strikes me that there is a parallel here with our response to something like global warming. We have created a virtual reality (the human world) and imagine that it IS reality. Meanwhile the world continues to turn, global warming approaches inexorably, and we don’t realize that there is a REAL reality and that no amount of argument or wishful thinking will keep it at bay.

Posted by Ricardo

writer and blogger

10 Replies to “IVF and global warming”

  1. I didn’t say that rapid change was not a factor – rather I said that I didn’t think it was the critical one here… I do agree with you that we are not good at adapting quickly – well, when I say that, it does seem to me that we’re brilliant at adapting to changes in the ‘virtual world’ that is our culture – consider how quickly we have adapted to computers, to mobile phones…

    and what I mean by ‘virtualization’ is the gap between the cultural, human world we live in and the underlying reality of nature that lies underneath… This ‘virtualization’ is an ongoing process (that is accelerating all the time)… To make this clear… if you consider water. Initially, all of us had to live beside a source of water… it determined the location of our settlements. Then we build acqueducts to carry it over distance. By the time that it is coming out of a tap (faucet?) in our home – the business of getting the water we need to live has become ‘virtualized’… With respect to water we are no longer aligned to its availability in lakes and rivers. As long as our reservoirs remain full, water can be considered to be an abstract utility indistinguishable from the news that appears on our televisions, of the electricity that is magically there in our plugs… There is no need to have any notion where these things come from, personally… so that there are children nowadays that don’t realize that milk come from cows, or eggs from chickens… or even that chicken is a meat from an animal of that name…


  2. I disagree in that rapid change is not a factor. I believe humans (or society) handle rapid adaptation poorly. I read an article recently where it was found that snakes are given a higher priority by the human brain than global warning. The scientists in the article theorize that that animal part of the brain is still “driving the ship”.

    I’m more curious about this concept of “virtualization”. Can you give me your definition of this phenomenon? Do you refer to supplantation of many aspects of life with internet use (like us talking here *smile* )? Or, do you refer to an aspect of consumerism, where people purchase items that subscribes them to a process whose nature they do not comprehend? Or, perhaps you refer to the tendency toward specialization where any individual is dependent upon society because one cannot even change the oil in the their car if need be?

    How is “virtualization” linked to the exploitation of resources?

    More information…please.


  3. It does seem to me that change is occurring more rapidly than before – but I don’t think that that is the critical factor – as much as is the direction in which change is taking us. Specifically, I believe that what we’re experiencing is an ever increasing ‘virtualization’ of our lives – that is, an ever widening gap between the lives we lead and underlying reality… and that what is powering the widening of this gap is the exploitation of natural resources – fossil fuels, wood, water, soil, the oceans… That we privilege youth – a necessary consequence of this virtualization – then becomes a cause of further virtualization (through the action of the natural irresponsibility of youth) – locking us into a (potentially fatal) positive feedback loop…


  4. Ha, you have defected to join the celebration of the youth.

    I digress: change has always been a part of society; therefore, it must be that change is occuring more rapidly than every before. Youth is now a factor in being better equipped for this new world. As a result, it is more highly regarded, as it produces a superior adaptation.

    Then, what is it that you decry? Join the party, and stop mourning.


  5. A celebration of youth, a fear of death. I am intrigued by your theory. It may explain another phenomenon that has puzzled me. The marginalization of the elderly.

    In by gone eras, the elderly were respected as a storehouse of wisdom. Now they are packed into nursing homes, which seem more like death-watch facilities. Who can tap into their wisdom when they are so disconnected?

    I am further fascinated by your assertion that there is too much information. How can that be possible? This reminds me of another annoyance: the educational system. It seems that it does not teach people how to find and sift information, rather bombarding them with static facts to memorize. A difference between giving a man a fish, rather than teaching him to fish. The internet is a vast sea: no one should starve.


    1. I believe there is a critical factor that underlies both the marginalization of the elderly and our obsession with youth: namely, change – the constant, relentless changing of our world. Capitalism coupled with technological development drives a constant transformation of the way life is lived, of the infrastructure of where we live. Furthermore, even our societies are in constant transformation – the relationship between the sexes, between age groups, between people of different cultures. This means that, though the elderly may have accumulated a great store of wisdom, it is, primarily and increasingly, wisdom about the past – in some cases it actually could even be catergorized as prejudice. The young, who naturally specialize in learning and adaptation, are in contrast, by this constant change, put in a position of privilege… and it is they who possess real ‘wisdom’ – if we see that as constituting a knowledge of how the world works… today!

      The potential of the internet is, of course, vast. But it seems to me that the real value of information is in the digesting of it. If I may recast your analogy, I would suggest that the problem is not learning how to fish, but rather that the fish are constantly leaping onto our plates in such overwhelming numbers that it is hard to find the time or space in which to cook one… never mind finding a quiet place to eat it… *grin*


  6. I too feel that people aren’t growing… surely this is because we are obsessed with youth… which in turn seems to me a fear of death. Is that any wonder when we hide death and hide from death…?

    As for what you say about information – isn’t that perhaps another example of hiding? There’s simply so much of it – and, if that wasn’t bad enough, we have lost authority – or, rather, there are so many authorities – so that there is VAST amounts of information – and an equally vast number of opinions on every bit of information – so that, in fear of drowning, many fear to even go down to the shore…


  7. I am uncertain of the link also, between IVF and imaginary worlds.

    I agree that I am noticing a trend whereas people in general don’t grow. One may say that they don’t mature. It is sad in this age where information is so readily available that folks refuse to freely tap into it.

    I read an article a few years ago about how young folks (in the US) don’t know geography (where is Iraq?) and they are proud of it. Proud of ignorance.


  8. My thesis is the growing gap between reality and how it is that we perceive reality… of which I cite IVF and our attitude to global warming as examples… Of course there are different reasons that people resort to IVF – and, perhaps, I should have made it clear that I was referring to its use in attempting to ARTIFICALLY extend fertility… As for your comments that the more disadvantaged part of society still reproduce naturally – is that a surprise? Since, by the very nature of their situation, they are least able to participate in the artificial, virtual reality that absorbs so many of their more privileged peers…


  9. We are talking about In Vitro Fertilisation, right?
    I’m not sure whether cultural infantilizing is the only reason for IVF… People might actually be very busy changing the wold for the better, and therefore have no time to have children. Actually, I find that the ‘unthinking, lower classes ‘ (I use class as society label, not money-earning label) find no problems procreating – witness the 15-year old pram-pushing chavettes in town.
    Another reason for IVF is of course people who want to have children, but can’t for whatever medical reason. And let’s not forget that women now tend to go out and work, in stead of agreeing to stay at home tending the bun in the oven (and then tending the bun when it’s out of the oven).
    So, all in all, I am not convinced of the correctness of your statement. And then I haven’t even started on the link with global warming yet…


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