Dashiki Dialogues: A world stranger than fiction

2012-04-20 07:55

Welcome to the future. This is life beyond 2000 where all the ideas your baby-boomer parents handed down to you about life are obsolete or at least questioned.

Humanity now finds itself increasingly in dire need of a new language to talk about things previously considered basic and true. Like the idea of what constitutes a family, the meaning and structure of a marriage or the validity of culturally derived morals. The most outlandish thing some of us were told by our parents about the origins of babies was that they were dropped from aeroplanes.

Though we were confused a bit, we accepted it.

That’s all in the past. The subject has become much more murky. Not just for infants but for their parents too.

Think about it. These days, men and women are able to walk into a medical facility to “buy” sperm or eggs to conceive. Some women even get help from surrogates to carry their fertilised eggs. This means biological motherhood doesn’t even require one to be pregnant, technically speaking.

Consider the Hollywood rumours around fake pregnancies of the rich and famous, such as Miss Bootyhop Beyonce.
This has interesting implications. Here’s how I stumbled upon them. I recently had chat with a pregnant friend. She is going through it alone since the would-be father absconded.

Now my friend was raised by her grandparents. This means she was socialised into the world by an older value system. One that prescribes that mothers give birth to their own babies and marriage is between a man and a woman.

While considering my friend’s predicament, I realised that her fears are probably not as big as they seem. The world is not what it used to be.

People born in the 1970s and 80s remember a time when a TV set was a luxury and personal computers were science fiction stuff. Now these things can fit in your pocket.

I imagine ideas around artificial human reproduction and cloning will move us into a new way of explaining life to our young. My friend’s child is likely to go to school with children raised by same-sex parents. Some of their schoolmates will be results of artificial insemination.

All these things were unheard of in the 1940s when many of our parents were born. Humanity isn’t what it used to be and there are new ways of coming into the world.

It’s a whole new planet, where we simulate a dialogue with life on a petridish, and channel affection through social networks while spotting digital dashikis.

» I’m on Twitter @Percy_Mabandu

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