Monday, July 22, 2013

The Unenviable Life Prescribed

Ignore for a moment the media scrum. Forget all the many things which are ridiculous about this. If necessary, allow Republicanism to subside for a bit, and just focus on the noumena of the situation - the bare facts of what is about to happen.

A new child is about to be born. This is wonderful and beautiful, but in no way extraordinary or miraculous. It happens all the time. Move beyond that and see everything else that is about to happen to this particular child and just as a human story it's dizzying.

This child will be front page news the day it is born and the day it dies. It will be one of the most photographed human brings ever. Every stage of its development will be painstakingly followed by billions of onlookers. When they go to school, we'll all know when and where. When they have their first love, the romance will be broadcast, analysed, and dissected.

They have no choice of career. They have nothing to worry about, but little to dream of. Theirs is a life prescribed - a duteous pathway from which it is hard to deviate.

Now remember that this is nothing extraordinary. It is just a new child. Look at the life prescribed and apply it to yourself. Give due weight to the side-effects there of. Is it to be coveted and resented? 

Some people see their lives as a film in their heads, each moment caught by the unseen and often critical director in their minds. Now, imagine that director externalised, with his watching eye and his critical voice, showing you the rushes of your life in real time, and providing an unending and unwanted string of comment on every move you make. That is what the child is instantly heir too - a life in front of the unblinking lense. The concept is dizzying.

There shall be tremendous joy in this life. Few will have two million people cheer down the Mall at you for your very existence, but it is we who also make this child's life not as enviable as might be imagined. 

The child has the love of its parents, its family, a nation and vast swathes of the onlooking world. I wonder of those latter two. Will they also afford the infant the understanding it deserves?

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