Monday, July 30, 2012

Outdated wiring

As we pass from childhood to adulthood, our bodies add features needed for baby-making.  At the same time, our brains develop a recognition template for physical beauty in the opposite sex.  Generally, the markers of this beauty tend to be signs of health, vitality, and a high probability that the beautiful person can participate effectively in creating children and parenting them.  A good parent is alive and present, for starters, so being healthy increases the chance that a parent will at least survive to the point that a child has also become capable of reproduction.

I have read that the French tend to think of a person as a child until the person is a parent.  I'm not sure if that is true or widespread, especially in an age of birth control and a limited number of births.  Roughly speaking, when my children have children, I have completed my assignment as a biological entity.  Now, that my child's children have flourishing children of their own, I am all the more biologically superfluous, redundant, unneeded.  Still, I am alive and kicking and may be so for quite a while yet.

You may have heard older people state that they feel as though they are still in their 20's or 30's inside. That can seem weird or silly but I can see that in some ways it is true, despite the cane or the pain or the trouble remembering something.  People in their 90's may still feel the same sorts of attractions and repulsions they felt in junior high school.  We know some such seniors who fear that others in the nursing home dining room are flirting with the Mrs. or the hubby, even though we realize that none of the residents can see who is who at those distances.  

But within the sensory range that still works, the shoulders or the breasts, the biceps or the buttocks that grabbed our eye in college still grab our eye when we are too old to remember why our attention is focused on the target.  It seems that the biological force that designed us and hooked us on each other continues to work even when times have changed and things are different.
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