The Nature of the Thing

We've spoken often of views marriage, and especially of Aquinas' concept that matrimony is based in natural law:  that is, it is based on human nature.  Our nature imposes upon us certain requirements -- if we wish to survive as a species, or as a culture, these requirements take the force of duties.

Of course, it's a duty that doesn't have to be done by everyone:  there are some who reject it for themselves, which is fine so long as they support it when it is done by others.  If it is a fact of human nature -- and surely it is -- we have to sort out a way to make this work.  It's a duty that falls on us all, either to bear ourselves, or to support.

But she is wrong to say that children are poor conversationalists.  That may be true for children whose parents didn't bother to talk to them like people.  If you did, though, you probably found that they were very interesting conversationalists.  A child who has been engaged enough to have learned to speak well and properly presents quite a challenge in conversation.  If you take them seriously, and engage them seriously, you'll have few conversations as interesting in your whole life.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I dunno. We've had five, and I might be with Ms. Shaindle on that part. They are fascinating because they are yours when they are little, and the whole development angle is fun, but they get more interesting to talk to every year - and not really fun until well into teen years. Before that, it is the surprising moments when they do say something intersting that are so enrapturing.

As for natural law and matrimony, I assent. You can perpetuate the species with any number of mating systems. You can kinda get by in civilization with some polygamy. But for the nice sensible, law-abiding, prospering kind of civilization we all like to live in, matrimony has been the only successful model to date.

We are apparently going to run the experiment of abandoning that, whether I approve or not.

douglas said...

As to whether or not children are decent conversationalists, I suppose they vary quite a lot. Of course, adults also vary quite a bit in their quality of conversation!

douglas said...

Oh, I'll add that we never really liked the baby talk thing, and have always spoken to our children in the most normal manner possible- obviously at times things need to be simplified, but usually we speak as we would with an adult (aside from subject matter), maybe with elaboration on possibly new terms, and it works well.

Kids that get spoken down to constantly with highly simplified vocabulary and subject matter naturally aren't going to be able to have as interesting a conversation.

Grim said...

I talked to a little girl today who was plainly shocked by being addressed in the way an adult speaks to an adult.

She did her best to answer like a woman, but she was only five. But I think she had it in her, if only she'd been taught to do it all along.