What was done to him was like what happens on the train, when you think you are moving forward, but are moving backward, and suddenly find out the real direction.
"Yes, it was all not right," he said to himself, "but never mind. I can, I can do 'right.' But what is 'right'?" he asked himself and suddenly grew still.
--from The Death of Ivan Ilyich
this morning I was brushing my teeth and I heard a child and her mother out in the courtyard. I thought a few things. “Oh! I guess normal people are out and about at 9:30 in the morning!” I listened some more, and heard the girl talking very excitedly. She kept saying “mama!” at the beginning and ends of all her sentences, and the in-betweens were hardly coherent, because of the “miniature female squeak” that is only ever effortlessly heard by a young girl’s parents.
And then I thought “so excited so early!” It occurred to me that this wasn’t strange at all. Children, somehow, tend to bounce out of bed. The re-set button has been pressed, and now here she is–Suzie again–just as Suzie as the night before, before that irrelevant interruption called sleep. I thought about how joyful she was sounding. And then I thought “well, aren’t all children so naturally joyful?” I mean, it is the cliche about children: they have hope, they are easily thrilled, they experience wonder and pleasure very easily, and very intensely.
And then, something popped into my head. A common (nytimesian) argument for abortion: it is better for many children (especially born into certain situations) to not be born than to suffer in life. These people are forgetting that children are often not as unhappy as adults. If life turns out to be so unbearable for them, let them consider suicide.
As Gandalf says (oh Gandalf): “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?”