“Even babies have feelings” I was once told after I had regurgitated a particularly distasteful dead baby joke to an elder. Shocked by the old mans comment I put on my philosopher’s cap and began to dry heave. Could it be true? Could stupid little babies have 100% grow-up people feelings? Then I remembered Fartre’s maxim “Phosphorescence precedes Adolescence” and it dawned on me, infanticide was really really metaphysically unstable. “All these years!” I said to myself, “the old man was right!” I said.
The serious question is how do we cope with the possibility of our having been already killed as a child living as a delusional specter haunting our families and friends thinking everything is A-OK? Can we dismiss our own pre-mortality? Certainly even babies can die, was I not once a baby? Ergo it is at least conceivable that I died as a baby. But why do babies die? I cannot think of an a priori reason, but malnutrition, poison, gunfire, and salt come to mind. We can logically deduce from my birthplace that all these things were present at my time of birth in New York New York. But this doesn’t prove that I am dead.
Let us recall a fable of Zisex in his precipitous work The Snorlax view, “a patient in a large hospital ward with many beds complains to the doctor about the constant noise and crying from the other patients which are driving him crazy. When the doctor replies that nothing can be done if the patients are like that, one cannot forbid them to express their despair, since they all know they are dying, the patient goes on, “Why don’t you put them in a separate room for dying then?” The doctor replies calmly, “but this is a room for the dying.””
What do we learn from this story? Well I can’t make heads nor tales of it, but perhaps the doctor is important, doctors cure sick people, fact, all babies are people (although not all people are babies) and not all babies are sick, but sick one’s are more likely to die than healthy ones and since I was presumably once a baby, unless occams razor is false and all of reality is a lie, ergo I died when I was a baby…no, wait, that’s not right.
Existential philosopher Kieren Sorengaard once wrote a book called either/or which is suspiciously the title of an Elliot Smiff album, a man who, as we know, killed himself although he was not technically a baby at the time. What could this mean? Perhaps deep down inside he had always thought of himself as a baby and not a man. Aren’t we all just babies inside wearing man skin and lady skin? The terrible twos are a time that we never forget, because it is biologically programmed into our spinal cortex, but even Sadam Hussi was a dictator because of his terrible childhood memories, perhaps these memories are of his death as a child which led him to enact terrible violence in our baby ghost world, or maybe not, there is no way to tell.
There has to be an empirically testable theory to determine whether or not I died in childbirth. Some colleagues of mine have argued that because I am alive and speaking I couldn’t have died in childbirth, but why, cannot our senses fool us? Perhaps I am dead and my senses are fooling me into thinking I am a very successful blog master. The hubble telescope can see billions of lightyears into the past, but first it would have to collect light that left earth thousands of years ago when I was born to determine if I, or anyone else for that matter, survived childbirth. Can new technologies determine our role in the galaxy?
Space is very existential, it exists and is very large, but what does it have to do with the deep philosophical issue that I am addressing? Maybe Everything. All children exist in physical space and time, what, if anything is wrong with assuming we all died in space a long long time ago? Who knows not me. Mars rover trips may shed light on our dilemma, but for now let’s just focus on the facts.
A Christian apologist once remarked that there was a delusional guy who believed that he was dead, so he went to the doctors and said “hey doc, I hate to bug you, but I’m dead” and the doctor said “well if you’re dead how could you be walking and speaking” to which the dead guy replied “well this is probably just my body spasming after death” so the doctor went on and on and tried to prove to the man that he was not dead, and finally he had an idea, he said, “okay, I have a question for you mr.dead guy, do dead people bleed?” and the dead guy said, “well, I guess not, dead peoples hearts don’t pump, so I guess they can’t bleed” so the doctor pulled out a knife and slashed his arm, “aha!” he said “look you’re bleeding,” to which the patient responded “Wow! how about that! I guess dead men do bleed.”
Dead men do bleed, what about dead babies? Could our fundamental existential reality be rather like the sixth sense in which Bruce Wilard is a ghost? What did Fartre mean by Phosphorescence precedes Adolescence, does it mean that only the glowing spark of life is alive prior to adolescence which then fades as we are murdered as babies? Or is it a direct reference to the scientific fact that we have glowing skin when we are under the age of 4? Many a smarter man than me have pondered these profound existential questions, what do you think are we really already dead?