Congratulations on being sincere, Eliezer! (or: On the selfishness of having children)

Laughing Fool, by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen

It is not every day that we see ordinary people being extremely sincere, let alone reality show celebrities. Of course, the sincerity here did not come from a place of wisdom, quite the contrary, but it is still sincerity. To contextualize: Eliezer and Viih Tube are two former participants of Big Brother Brasil who started a relationship after the show. They had a daughter named Lua and now they are expecting another child.

Why waste time talking about them? Because a few days ago, I saw two posts on the ex-Twitter that caught my interest. The first one wasn't even from Eliezer or Viih Tube, but from a random person with tens of thousands of followers named Fernanda. The second post was from Eliezer himself.

In a post that went viral, Fernanda wrote:

“Question to think about:

You who chose not to have children, who do you think will take care of you in old age?”

Eliezer's post is not exactly a post by him, but a public dialogue between Eliezer and some other random person. The random person claimed that the only reason Eliezer didn't fall into obscurity after Big Brother Brasil was because he married “Vitória YouTube”, to which Eliezer replied as follows:

“I disagree. Being married to someone famous is not enough to stay in the media or to close deals. If that were the case, all the husbands of famous people would be in the media booming. I didn't fall into oblivion because I had a strategy and found myself in a niche.

In other words, for the brand, this is construction and discourse. I made money as Lua's father, not as Viih Tube's husband.”

Many were the criticisms made, much of them based on historical materialism and other dogmatic philosophies that intend to justify becoming as necessary. For example, much was said about how having children to make money with them is absurd, that it is a selfish, materialistic reason, and that it harks back to a time when families had children for them to work in the fields and take care of the parents in old age.

When reading these politically beautiful criticisms, I was struck by how people fail to realize that, from a collective point of view, this is exactly what all societies do, even those societies that claim to be egalitarian, progressive, and historically advanced. Collectively speaking, human reproduction is and always will be a pyramid scheme. It will be so whether in capitalism or communism.

In my case, I could criticize more forcefully because I understand that all reproduction is, even individually speaking, a selfish act. No one has a child because the child asked to exist. We have them because we want to have them. Even if we think we want to have children so that they can enjoy all the good things that life has to offer, this does not constitute an altruistic motive, because it is us who want it. The entity that does not yet exist wants nothing. What does not yet exist has no voice to choose whether it wants to exist or not.

Therefore, all reproduction is a selfish act. This fact is inescapable, and trying to deny it is laughable.

However, I saw myself not as a critic, but as an admirer of Fernanda and Eliezer's posts. It's not that I think what they did is nice, I don't. But, ironically, I thought that at least they are being extremely cold, like psychopaths are cold, when talking about the reasons why they are reproducing. Both have abandoned any emotional or altruistic pretensions and gone straight to the point: they want children because they want to have someone to take care of them in old age and to make money with advertising.

This kind of sincerity is rare.

by Fernando Olszewski