Re: Non-feeling, or just sensible?

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 10 May 1997 14:34:30 +0200 (MET DST)

On Fri, 9 May 1997 wrote:

> I had an interesting experience this week. My little brother's
> girlfriend had a daughter (my niece). I /am/ now and "uncle". My whole
> family seemed to think this was /supposed to/ mean something to me. I found
> nothing particularly exciting about it. After all, it isn't my child. Nor
> does /being/ an "uncle" change who I /am/. My whole family (none of whom are
> extropians) seemed to think I was uncaring or something. I simply saw no
> /big deal/ in the whole matter. Would you classify me as "non-feeling" or
> just "sensible"?

Our culture values family cohesion (often so much that some families break
down due to the pressure to be happy), and if there is any area where
people are conservative, it is family roles. My own associations to the
word 'uncle' suggests a friendly older mentor to the child, and I think
this is quite close to what most people associate with avuncularity. So
when you become uncle, many people expect you to conform to this role; by
not doing so you upset their basic assumptions about family, which in
turn causes a reaction.

I really don't know how one *ought* to behave in this kind of situation.
There is nothing wrong with not feeling (I know that this view is rare in
our currently emotion-promoting society), just as there is no reason to
avoid feeling anything; it is a personal decision what/if to feel. Of
course, it might be an useful strategy to play along to put others at
ease, but this is also an individual decision.

Personally I hope my brother has a child, I really look forward to play
uncle and give the child extropian ideas from the start... ;-)

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y