Why They are so Cute

Cute, aren't they?

Mencius, a Chinese contemporary of Aristotle, was fond of the following parable: No matter how evil a person is, the sight of a baby about to fall into a well will distress him. Mencius’ anecdote is meant to show that human beings are innately good, but it works just as well as an illustration of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. If there are some people who find babies cute, lovable, and precious, and some other people who are indifferent to the wellbeing of babies, which group is more likely to have surviving descendants? After a few generations, there wouldn’t be any indifferent people left.

In Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness there is an anecdote about love for children. Although most parents believe that having children made them happier, studies which periodically question parents show that marital satisfaction suffers while children are being reared, only to return to premarital levels after children leave the household. Once again, people who believe that children make a person happy are more likely to have descendants, so this belief is ingrained in our genes and/or culture.

Don’t roll your eyes at your host’s decision to display a flower pot baby coffee table book. The decision was entirely genetic.


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One Response to “Why They are so Cute”

  1. Angelina Jolie Twins Says:

    “No matter how evil a person is, the sight of a baby about to fall into a well will distress him.” ?! What if we actually threw the baby in ourselves?

    Well, the baby issue is time and environment sensitive. Between the time you plan (T2) and want them (T1), and the time you actually get them (T3) Thus (Δ=T3-T1, ΔT3-T2) there might some hormonal, economic and social factors previously unaccounted for. Add to that the first 5 months when the baby is “just a blob” with no immediate benefits other than sleep deprivation and undetermined period of unemployment.

    If you can’t be cool enough to slip out of period with some constructive outlook, then the spiral effect would result in poopy crying babies, unemployed parent, overworked other parent, and large bills spread over the following 100 years.

    Its all a fragile balance. Parents must always take a breath and reevaluate why they did what they did in the first place, think ahead, make sound decisions and remember to redefine themselves as individuals (not just permanently become a parent and lose all other identities and functions.)

    Besides…you can always adopt and skip the phases!

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