Because Blogger's "Adult warning" often goes into a perpetual loop (isn't working properly), I will be making all new posts at my WordPress blog. You can follow it even if you do not have a WordPress Account. There're also my Twitter and my Tumblr blog, my Facebook and my Google+ page and my group.
(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fathers

Every Saturday and Sunday morning I go for my swim down to the municipal pool in our town.  The change room is full of young men in their 20s and 30s with small children, getting them changed out of or into their cozzies.  These blokes are so likable, even adorable.  Kind, gentle, caring they take their little boys or girls to the shower, they carefully dress them, they talk quietly with them.

That's why I like fathers.  Because they have set aside all that macho crap and are prepared to show their best side, to show love and affection and kindness.  

Fran de Waal, in his fascinating book The Age of Empathy, says that when we are children, our species divides sharply in empathy.  Girls show it, even with enemies; boys have much less.  But as we get older, the empathy stakes even out.  He wonders whether the it's a case of empathy in adult male members of our species developing because we have family.

I don't know.  But I've seen hard-eyed men bursting with pride and joy, their eyes shining, at the achievements of their children.  I've seen men, strong macho, me-big-me-strong men gently dry their kids after their shower, and gently dress them, men covered with tattoos and hardware.

Frans de Waal argues that empathy is in our genes and that the economic doctrine which first postulates and then states as a fact that we are entirely selfish, the doctrine which underlies most of capitalist economics, is false as well as pernicious.  When I see men being loving and gentle and caring with their kids I know he's right.

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