As socialized people — are we required by the laws of man and by our covenant with the Gods — to kill our children in order to prove we are willing to preserve the greater good?
Isn’t the greatest sacrifice we can offer to others and to ourselves that which is most precious to us?
There will always the insane that seek revenge in the blood of innocents — but what if your child had a severe infection that would kill the entire community and the only way to heal the city and clean the earth was to cleave your child’s head from the body?
We offer them to drug lords for monetizing.
We offer them to predators for sexual satisfaction.
We offer our children to ignorance and truculence — and their ultimate slaughter — by limiting their minds to predestiny dogma and by instilling in them irrational fears of ethereal forces.
Even if those children aren’t your children – they are still your congenital, community, offspring.
So the only possible answer to the question, “Will you kill your children to save the rest of us?” is, “Of course, I will kill my children, because I am a loving member of the state and my child is not above the best interests of the society that sustains me.”
Is that vow we are required to make to each other somewhat dimmed with the bright news of cloned children? “Yes, I’ll kill this kid and have a duplicate made.”
Have science and technology — once again — trumped the will of the ultimate human gesture by dulling the dangerous wager we are required to seal with each other that no one is above the wants of the community whole?
The bad answer is yes we are required to do that but would anyone really? Has anyone really? Maybe that mom that drowned her kids in the tub. That was more selfish, though. Insane like. I see you linked Medea. What about Antigone? Same thing?
I think those examples are insanity, Anne. No community good was served in the killing of those children even if the name of God was invoked in the deed.
Antigone is interesting. It wasn’t likely she who sacrificed, but rather the stone-headed King who lost his son and then his wife by allowing Antigone to martyr herself.
I always liked Antigone. She was brave.
Abraham is a good example. I can’t think of other modern “kill my child” things that are as important. Can you?
I’m not a big Antigone fan, Anne. I think she was a coward. She chose death over a more difficult life of compromise and open reconciliation. What did she win but death all around her? Her arguments were actually so convincing that she changed the mind of her sister and the King — yet she was unable to see that change of heart in those she was opposing. That’s the mark of a fool in my book.
The closest modern day sacrifice we have that is similar in tone of Abraham’s act would be, I suppose, war. Generals send their sons into battle with no guarantee of their return because they want to save the country. Even suicide bombers in some way are sacrificing their lives/children for a perceived overall benefit for the community.
Simply awesome article David.
There are several similar examples in Indian mythology.
I agree with you – not providing our kids a solid foundation of everything (essential commodities, values, education etc.) is the other name of killing them.
Why give birth to them then?
We still lose so many gem of persons in the name of this false patriotism….
Outstanding comment, Katha!
What are the examples of this notion in Indian mythology?
You’re right that we kill out children in small ways every day as part of our ordinary ideal of suffering to find meaning in life. I agree: Why have them in the first place if you only plan to discard them anyway?
The first example I could remember was not mythological but historical – it happened in 1458 in Rajasthan, India.
One maid servant of a King sacrificed her own son to save her master’s, – misplaced loyalty…?
I am not sure.
History glorifies her – though!
That is a fantastic example, Katha, thank you! I’d say her sacrifice was expected in order to maintain order in the kingdom.
If you think of other examples — please provide them!