Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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I wish I could remember where I read it, but I once read a very thoughtful piece by a biologist about this.

The idea was that all sorts of creatures - even primitive ones - feel pain. Pain is a necessary feedback to keep the organism from doing itself harm. Only higher organisms, however, feel "agony". He defined this "agony" as the debilitating emotional anguish associated with pain. The biologist contended that this agony we feel when we think about pain or anticipate pain or feel pain is probably unique to primates.

Makes sense to me. Notice that people in traumatic situations often hardly notice pain until the traumatic situation is over. They react to the pain: favoring the hurt limb or holding pressure on an open wound, but they are too busy to think much about it, so the agony of the pain is absent (until later).


That suggests that there are at least THREE levels of nervous system response to a noxious stimulus:

- reflex (spinal cord)
- pain (cortex)
- agony (prefrontal cortex)

Even single-celled creatures, however, recoil from and try to get away from noxious stimuli. Insofar as any organism is capable of learning to recognize or anticipate and avoid a noxious stimulus, there must be something more than just a reflex occuring -- some kind of sensation or perception that, by association, would condition the recognition and avoidance of the stimulus.


Here's a fascinating insight from Moshé Feldenkrais: Only creatures that are capable of movement have a brain at all. (Oceanic lifeforms that are mobile in the first stage of life but then attach themselves and become sessile in the mature stage, have a rudimentary "brain" in the first stage which degenerates and disappears once they no longer move.)

I'm thinking about the fact that the purpose of the experience of pain is not one-time avoidance (a reflex could take care of that), but learning. A fetus has no reason to anticipate harm, and no way of taking action to avoid harm if it came; therefore it would have no need for an experience of pain.

Freud imagined, however, that the fetus experienced a blissful "oceanic feeling" -- existence without separation or fear -- which later recurs in some religious and mystical experiences. Who knows. But if there were such a feeling, surely its abrupt disruption and end would be as noxious a stimulus as there could possibly be.

sleipner we believe the scientific study that reviewed 1500 different studies on the matter, or do we believe this Fundie congress and the antiabortionists whose ultimate goal is to ban all abortions everywhere? Tough choice.

The real question to ask much cost does the "offering anesthesia to the fetus" add to the process, and does it take it out of the price range of some lower income women if it ends up becoming required?


Sleipner, you prove my point: we believe whichever one we want to believe.


Well of course we believe what we want to believe. That's a no brainer.

The real questions are..which is most likely to be fact based? Which is the one most likely to glean the real truth behind the "beliefs"?

What people want to believe isn't especially relevant to the matter.


Carla, I know women who have a devastating disorder that causes them to feel intense pain (in their genitalia, no less) with, often, no change in the skin that is visible to a doctor. For decades, those women were disbelieved by doctors and sent to psychiatrists; many medics believed the pain was psychosomatic or imaginary.

The very caution of the language in the review article shows that these scientists (to their credit) are not claiming to know for sure. They're talking about probabilities. The media have leapt on it and turned it into a fact. We'll never know for sure what any creature very different from us, or even another human being, feels.

Of course there is an ulterior motive behind the Congressional bills, and that is to chip away at the right to abortion. A majority of Americans in many states may end up agreeing that late term abortion should be restricted or banned except to save the mother's life or health. They are unlikely to agree that early abortion should be banned.

j. james Mooney

The question I have is does it matter whether or not a fetus can feel pain?

The issue here is about life, and life is not the same as pain. We can not feel pain and still be alive yes?

I don't think this precludes us from being able to compromise. I think if we can shift the paradigm we may be able to find a middle ground on abortion.


Very interesting post. I recommend following that link.

You may know that I also compared early abortion to "collateral damage" here, not exactly the way you do, James, but in the sense that both are moral gray areas.

I particularly liked your rejoinder to one commenter. He said:

"The fact is that many abortions are due to women who make poor sexual choices and then use abortion as an 'easy way out' rather than deal with the responsibility of their choices."

And you said:

"This part of your response I found particularly offensive. It takes two to tango so I don't think you should completely shrug off the responsibility of the man. Where is that personal responsibility you are so fond of?"

One of my favorite lines is, "If you're going to force a woman to bear every child she conceives, then bring back shotgun weddings, too."


I saw a speech given by a girl who was a *botched* abortion. There are quite a few of them around, missing arms, etc and having serious health issues.

This young lady recounts the taking of her twin, how she remembers feeling and how it has affected her throughout her life. The twin brother was a successful abortion. When the mother realized she was still pregnant, she refused a second abortion to suck out that noxious, stubborn weed that cluung to the inside of her womb... for dear life?

This girl is beautiful, but the pain she has endured w/the many surgeries to correct the damage done from that narrow escape of an abortion...

Why not ask an abortion survivor if they felt any pain? They may answer... every day.


Bringing up the one in a millionth case is a favorite tool of anti-abortionists. That plus sobbing testimonials of mothers who later changed their minds and horrific pictures of late-term abortions.

They never mention that these are hugely in the minority of abortions, that almost all abortions occur early in pregnancy and go by with no complications, and the mothers, though often regretful, mostly thought it through beforehand.

And imagine anyone being shown pictures of any surgery...for instance liposuction, or a nose job...I think it'd gross out a lot of people, Nip and Tuck aside. Did you know that for some nose jobs they peel your face off first?


Gee, sleip. and to think I was worried about your absence of late. Glad to see the old sarcasm still there, bud.

I find it very amazing that all the Liberals speak of equality and yet there are always some more equal than others. Each life is of equal value and even if the numbers don't stack against eachother, a few hundred survivors in a few million abortions, those few hundred are of equal value. It doesn't make the fact that lives are changed and taken that are the same as ours in value any less of a big deal for those people.

It's a lot like RU486. So, only a dozen or so deaths. Shouldn't make it more difficult for those who still want it. Like, how many canaries can go down the shaft and come up dead before we notice the sky is falling? How many men went blind before Viagra was pulled from the shelves?

I believe life begins at conception. I believe all men are created equal. Created. Equal.


Whoa, where's the love people?

Sleipner, I must admit that I find some of your comments disheartening even though I am left-leaning on social issues. Even if I disagree with someone, I usually try to mention points of agreement first or make a statement suggesting that the other person's perspective is understandable.

I find that first gesture of civility can lead towards much agreement. Besides what is the purpose of a belligerent stance when in a mixed audience? Does it not only entrench the other side?

For instance, in the abortion case, I would bet that you don't consider abortions an unalloyed good. Meaning it would be better to prevent pregnancy in the first place. After all, abortions cost money and pose some threat, as would any invasive medical procedure, to the health of the mother. Therefore, the fewer the abortions the better.

I would also wager that you would favor non-compulsory social programs which would have a lower abortion rate as a consequence: better education, etc.

So both of you, in a way, would be glad if abortion rates were to drop. In that we are far away from eliminating all abortions should that dispute not be postponed until we have satisfied our initial goals? Maybe even there might be some legal limits you both could favor such as banning third-trimester abortions with exceptions for the life of the mother? But at this early stage in the game, you two might actually be able to cooperate.


Let's grant that abortion is murder. If an outright ban in abortion would lead to rich women leaving the country and poor women using a black market, thus only minimally reducing the abortion rate, would you support a blanket ban, especially given the suffering likely to accompany such a black market? And what if the costs of enforcing an outright ban were extremely high? What if it became just like prohibition and led to all sorts of other crimes and violence?

The problem you fail to take into account is that there is demand for abortion. To me the most sensible solution to the problem is to implement moderate and reasonable legal restraints on abortion and to leave the rest to social programs or most importantly culture.

I'm firmly of the opinion that virtue that is forced is no virtue at all. Meaning would it not be preferable if women chose not to have abortions or chose to be responsible rather than forcing women to bear children against their will?

Now, my metaphysics gives me more leeway on the abortion question than you. Given that I believe in reincarnation, I merely think that someone who is denied entry via an abortion will find entry somewhere else eventually. I don't view it as if there entire being were snuffed out irrevocably.


Wish I believed in reincarnation, there would be no real point to defend life, then :)! i consider them treasures layed up in Heaven, although if the mom didn't really wat them here, how can they be treasures. Well, they're God's treasures.

I went to the above link... the middle and left a couple of comments, shaky ground for a Catholic to be anywhere near the Middle. I'll learn. And, Adam... i was just ribbing Sleipner, i was wondering where he was, and can say I did miss his attitude. He's got a farther ways to go to get to the Middle than i do, IMhumblepieO.


Wish I believed in reincarnation, there would be no real point to defend life, then :)!

Well, I know you were just ribbing me, but here's my reply anyways :)

Well, for me, believing in reincarnation allows me to downgrade abortion from absolute evil to an unfortunate event. I think people have a purpose here, and so in most cases killing a born person is wrong (exceptions: war etc.).

However, with abortion it becomes trickier. If you took the argument to its ultimate conclusion, I would be sinning for denying people into the world by not procreating! I guess I think it becomes worse to kill someone the more firmly established they are, or conversely how close they are to death. Meaning I support both abortion, and the "right" to die. Not wholeheartedly, but I think some pro-lifers make a life equal a life equal a life. If I had to kill someone I would rather kill a young fetus than a young child.

Interesting comment about treasures in heaven. I interpret that statement to be about good karma rather than people waiting to be born.


The treasures in Heaven is a quote from the Bible, Matt 6:19-21...
19. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where theives break in and steal;
20. but store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neithermoth nor rust consumes and where theives do not break in and steal.
21. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

I think the pain of losing a child must be like this. Miscarriages, esp and think of the joy when finally meeting the one who was lost.

i was ribbing a bit, but I really mean it. It must be a joy not to have to worry, but it doesn't seem like Faith, or is it?

Maybe, for women like amba, who realize the loss as greater than the choice, the treasure will be realized. It's too bad women can't see past the present dismay to a future filled w/life, and let Nature take it's course.

Had I been quicker on my toes, I would have asked Peggy Loonan about the Lord's prayer and how *Thy will be done* is a given from the mouth of Christ, taught to us to be the example and not in agreement w/abortion at all.

I find the fact that the thought of using anesthesia(sp?) before killing an unborn child is disgusting. Likened to letting the kidnapped prisoners have a last cigarette before lopping off their heads. Is that supposed to be humane thinking?


I think you misinterpret my last comments somewhat, I personally do not like abortion, and would prefer to have education and universal birth control make it unnecessary, or at least reduce the numbers (which have been in decline since 1990).

That having been said, I get really steamed at the tactics of some pro-lifers taking advantage of (as Michael recently discussed on The Mighty Middle) the tendency of humans to be fascinated by the terrible, and using extremely rare worst case scenarios to describe the entire industry. That sort of behavior makes sensible dialogue and compromise almost impossible.

Now granted, those on the far left, though I sympathize far more with their position, do get rather entrenched in their "all abortions, all the time" philosophy. Of course their intransigience is due to the fear of where the insidious erosion of Roe v Wade engineered by the religious right is heading.

The 60% in the middle really should get together and say, "Here's how it stop hitting your sibling and shut up in the backseat."

Of course even that 60% varies tremendously on issues such as parental notification, RU486 over the counter, etc.



Oh, I knew the quote was from Jesus :)

In the religious sense, I define faith as believing in things for which one does not have concrete proof. Or by extension, faith that, despite all appearances to the contrary, the divine exists and is infinitely good.

One of my characteristic metaphysical stances is that if all is properly understood, worry is totally unnecessary. Certainly, we must be responsible, do our part, and consider moral questions deeply, but I'm referring to a deep existential worry. Such as the thought that evil might triumph over good in the long run. Or that abortion is a crime of unimaginably grave consequences.

I really shy away from depressing metaphysical systems because I feel they're uneccessary.

In case amba is reading along, I remember amba distinguishing between two categories of social liberals: one are party animals and the other have a fair degree of self-restraint and don't see the necessity of rules and regulations.

Well, I must admit that I do lean liberal in part because I am of the latter category.

Nonetheless, I think this might actually be misleading and make us think that we (amba and I) disagree with one another. There are two categories of people or situations. Some people need utmost strictness: they need tough love and rules and regulations.

Usually though I'm talking about moral people who might have a tendency to beat themselves up over minor flaws. For those people, a little more of the mercy is needed. So we agree on the idea of a moral temperate zone.

As far as legislation is concerned, I could very much agree to strict rules and regulations if the data indicated it, but my preference or my default position is to allow more liberty than less. I tend to think that the highest morality is one that is from within, but I admit discipline from without is sometimes required.

I dunno Karen, I think in some cases the right thing to do is have an abortion. Better still would not to have arrived in the position in the first place, but I do not accept that any child would eventually be perceived as a gift by its mother. As I indicated before, it's almost as if a child were pulling into the parking space, but then were told that it had to wait for another one. In other words, not good, but not totally evil either.

I think the problem with the pro-life position is that it fails to take into account other goods. Life is not the only good. The dignity of a woman to be something other than a baby machine is at stake. In this instance, I might agree that the value of the life of the fetus is of very high value, but I would reject that it's value is always so high as to render naught the woman's right to determine what will grow in her own body.

I don't want to put words into amba's mouth but I'm not really sure that she would always agree that a decision to abort was wrong. That wasn't my impression from reading her "rant."



Yeah, it wasn't particularly that comment, but others you have a tendency to make. To me, it's all about strategy. To change someone's mind you usually have to get them to accept you as somewhat sympathetic to their view. Like if I were stuck in room with a hard-core bigot, I wouldn't lecture him or denounce him. I'd be like, so you don't like black people? Hmmm, why's that? Really, none of them. Are you really sure about that? Well, yeah I don't like gangsta rap either but . . .

I did it once with this evangelical dude trying to convert me, and he was like wow I haven't met many people who are as open as you are. Little did he know that I was a closet Buddhist! But once he felt comfortable, I could poke away at some of his ideas.

In some sense it might be beneficial to get Roe v. Wade overturned as the hardcore pro-lifers would be forced to recognize that they are in the distinct minority. But then again, so is the far left.


i know amba is always listening and I don't know her mind well, but I believe her heart tells her she *lost* a part of herself that can never be replaced. That makes her loss a treasure, to me.

maybe she would have done differently, that 20/20 thing and all. I just pray she reunites w/her son and the hole in her soul is mended, that's all. God knows us all better than we can ever know ourselves.

To ask a question: isn't that thing you did to the evangelist kinda like a mind game? Cause, you know, you're very bright and did it make you feel superior to him because you reversed his agenda? It's not my business and i'm not implying an ulterior(sp?) motive, but to turn tables on someone is a game, no?

Maybe you've missed your calling and should work for the CIA to get the opposing sides to divulge secrets... I bet you'd be great!! I'm not being snarky, either.



I wasn't talking about Amba's personal experience but her general stance. Again I don't know.

Obviously, one has to be careful in using such techniques. I didn't intend to do it, it just sort of happened. He was kind of aggressive, and I found ways of aggreeing with him. I then just asked him a few questions of why he believed what he believed. My major point is that when you want to engage people, you shouldn't just come out swinging.

In some sense, if he can aggressively try to convert me, why don't I have the same right to ask him some polite questions? I didn't go superaggressive; I merely focused on his belief in hell.

As you noticed, I made many stark disclaimers when I discussed religion with you. I repeatedly emphasized that you ought to do what is right for you. I took pains to do this. It wasn't as if I engaged in a total slash and burn operation. After all, I gave you ways for you to continue to be Catholic even were you to accept my arguments.

I recognize I can be argumentatively quite strong and I try to use such skill judiciously and am mindful to prevent harmful consequences.

And look, I would dearly like to see abortion vanish from the face of the earth, but I fear that a blanket ban imposed immediately would not only NOT reduce the number of abortions but create more suffering. So we agree on ends, but not necessarily means. I also think that a drop in the abortion rate has to be closely connected with a change in the culture. Abortion does make my stomach turn, and I am not so confident in my metaphysical system as to not be very cautious.

What it does allow me is a measure of patience. I hope to reduce abortion rates over the long term. I don't have the emotional pressure that makes me demand an immediate blanket ban. Besides, as I've pointed out, I think an immediate blanket ban would just create more suffering not less.


Oh and yeah, I did think it was cool that I could get him off his agenda. But any sense of wow it's cool that I can do this is swiftly balanced by a desire not to do the guy any harm. Everyone is good at some things and there are many areas where my ability is sorely lacking.

After all, what I did was no more than classic Socrates. My purpose is to make people happier, not lord it over them. But one has to be careful and follow one's conscience.


Here I've been kicking back and letting y'all guess what I think. ;-)

Adam, you say " I also think that a drop in the abortion rate has to be closely connected with a change in the culture. "

I totally agree with that. More awareness (Golden Rule) that the value of one's own life is no more or less than the value of all lives; less overvaluing of sex for sex's sake -- those are the two changes I would hope to see already happening.

From my perspective there's just so much we don't know. I am unable to choose a belief (either heaven or reincarnation) that would make me feel better about not having my son. Not that I rule either of them out; I'm just not capable of deciding it's true so I can feel better.

Am I inconsolable? No -- I've discovered that in the blogosphere all of a sudden I have several male blogfriends in their 20s. How do you like that? That consoles me.


Forgive me for extrapolating but here is my sense of your position. In your particular case, you feel that your decision was an error. If that's what you feel, you're probably right. Nonetheless, I think you've indicated that you feel a sense of forgiveness from your son. So I guess that is where my reincarnation belief fits in.

It would say that you may have made an error, perhaps your son and you had a mission together, but that nonetheless--all is not lost. It sort of would turn on my sense that eventually all would be made right. And that would be the consolation: that no error would remain forever uncorrected. That you only denied your son temporary lodging, but that he would press on undettered in the fulfillment of his destiny.

To return to a previous discussion. I'm sorry I misinterpreted your entropy comment. I was frightened you were going all Manichean on me.

When I was 15, I was all into Nietzsche, Kafka, Satre. So I have a sense of the "pleasure" of being so nihilistic. But soon after I made my break with nihilism and began to practice a particular form of chanting, I had, for me, a very remarkable experience. For a period of about six weeks I had an sensation of just overwhelming bliss unlike I have experienced before or since. I could close my eyes at any point in the day and completely bliss out. I could feel my consciousness just sort of rise and rise and almost take me to another world, sort of rising out of my body. I was a little too nervous to let that happen though. But nonetheless, having that grace, and I believe it was a grace in that the results were far out of proportion with my spiritual discipline, made me really believe in this overwhelming sense of good. And being exposed to a spritual philosophy which confirmed, extended, and reinforced this further solidified it. I certainly don't know if it's true: I don't have detailed insight into the workings of Buddhas. It's not like I have daily briefings with Tara :)

But those ideas really just deeply clicked with me. And what's more, unlike Christianity, they were not riddled with, IMHO, insurmountable contradictions.

So when I get all vehement about the power of good: it's not at all in a sense of you must believe this. It's sort of a sense of aching compassion that you just don't have to settle for any ontology which is less than utter goodness and perfection.

I do expect to become more practical as I age, but I hope to not lose my optimism. When I imagine someone in a difficult situation, I can sort of imagine that sort of stern Buddhic resolve which doesn't allow itself to be intimidated, and that despite all the horror that may be occuring in the world around him or her, that one is aware of the inner realms of light and bliss and can draw from that infinite source to undo the, of necessity, finite evil.

Now obviously, one cannot do this in an instant. But over time, there is something immensely attractive in the idea that one could attain Buddhic heights.

I think there is in some sense a love or fascination with evil in the world in the sense that it would be boring if one did not have to struggle against evil, or that every protagonist needs his antagonist. But my sense is that if one were to be in a very high Buddhic realm, one would not want even the slightest reverberation of evil to mar the exquisite beauty and bliss characteristic of that realm. Certainly, I can't imagine Buddhas waking up every morning and having to do battle with evil, at least not in their own realm. I believe in complementary opposites but I don't feel that good needs evil. I feel that good is whole of itself. Thus, the good is the Tao.

There is the sense that humanity has lost its way and has fallen in love with the husks of life, rolling around like pigs in the mud of greed, lust, and human power to such an extent that they have forgotten that they are not native to this realm. That on some level of being, they are already Buddhas were they just to recognize it. Obviously, I can't prove any of this, but having that period of spiritual bliss has definitely inclined my spirit to acceptance of such things.


It's too simple to say my decision to have an abortion was an "error." Due to my (now) husband's particular post-traumatic constellation and my inability to cope with it, we were in no position either psychologically or financially to raise a child. Yet we would also have been unable to have him and then part with him. I can't imagine what it would have been like to try to raise a child in that situation. I guess it's possible that it was exactly what we needed and we would have somehow risen to the occasion, but it would have taken a wild leap of faith beyond what I then had. I couldn't see things then the way I see them now. Which is why I sometimes think older women should talk to young women about pregnancy and abortion.

The remarkable thing about your spiritual experience is not that you had it, but that you've managed to hold on to the spirit of it and remember it so vividly.

Peggy Loonan


I don't appreciate you nixing our dialogue on Ambivablog about
God Bible and Abortion because you were clearly incapable and totally unwilling to do your homework to support your position and then come got to another site and bemoan what I had to say calling call me a “wingnut.”

You are dishonest and hypocritical Karen. I gave you the benefit of the doubt - but frankly you are no different than most all the anti-abortion extremists I debate. They spew what they have been told because they can’t think for themselves and can't defend their position in a real debate so they end the conversation.

That's one for me and my side my dear and ZERO for you and your side. You are not an asset to the anti-abortion side.

You CLEARLY couldn't defend your position that God condemns abortion. I was polite enough to leave it at that - at your request I would add.

You need to put up or shut up Karen! Defend your position or grant you can't and comment no more anywhere on the subject.

AND if you have anything to say about me - be courageous enough to say it to my face -

Peggy Loonan

karen said...
I visit Ambivablog daily, keeping up with the *Center*, although it leans way left. It feels a lot like being on the moon, but Annie is so witty and has a variety of posts.

My point is, on one post: *if Roe Goes Down*, a woman named Peggy Loonan commented hugely on her new organization *Life and Liberty for Women*. She broke away from Naral because they were too drastically negative and polarizing and wouldn't converse or debate w/pro-lifers.

She goaded me into debate using the Bible, which I never like to do. Told me it was no good to support a cause that I couldn't defend when called to do so.

I did my best, but to her and her group, the life of a born woman eclipses that of an unborn because in one of the early books (maybe Exodus) one of the laws deals w/the death of an unborn child calling for $$$$ compensation, but the punishment for death of a woman during a fight is death in return.

That, and the fact that we are not fully human until we breathe because Adam truly lived when God breathed in him.

This is scary. Howard Dean says,"A moral value is personal resposibility and individual freedom and that is what Democrats are going to stand for-moral values" ... and this wingnut says that God is not in disagreement w/ abortion.

I call this highly dellusional.


Hold your fire!

First, if Peggy Loonan is trying to come up with a more moderate version of NARAL I applaud her efforts as one of the friends of Ambivablog, the Mighty Middle, has encouraged just that.

Second, Karen, I do have sympathy with your position but I consider your position to only be an ideal towards which society should strive. But it is only that: an ideal. An immediate blanket ban on abortion would be an utterly disastrous policy. A friend of mine who is pro-life and a republican supports a gradual phase-out of abortion. That I think is the only responsible pro-life position to hold.

And your comment that Ambivablog "leans way left" cracks me up. I mean come on. She is the most socially moderate site I have come across. She really tries to give each side a fair hearing.

Among centrist sites I've been to, Ambivablog is by far the most socially conservative site. Centrists typically lean socially liberal. This site lives up to its name.


One brief (for me) thought regarding the Bible. I've read quotes from the Bible provided by both sides, and I think it is fair to say that while abortion is not sanctioned by the Bible, it is NOT tantamount to murder.

Karen, my guess would be that the opposition to abortion by the Catholic Church is more the result of its own teaching rather than the Bible itself. In other words, popes have interpreted the Bible/Church Tradition in a pro-life way.

If I were you, I would concede that the Bible is ambiguous and say that you agree with the Church's interpretation, which is one of many. You would use the Bible as a starting point to indicate that the Bible does not regard abortion as neutral and then use other non-Biblical arguments to arrive at a strict pro-life position. But you likely can't stand on it alone.


Thanks, Adam. I may lean "way left" of Karen, but that's not saying much.

When I was originally researching the Rant, I found fascinating websites with details about the history of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist attitudes toward abortion. I ultimately did not leave those links in, because it was too much. I will see if I saved them somewhere and can post them here. The upshot of it was that although no words of Jesus specifically refer to abortion, the early Christian church was very anti-abortion, while the medieval Christian church allowed it until quickening. (In the real world, this may have had to do with population issues as well as theology -- e.g. the early Christians may have wanted urgently to increase their numbers.)


By the way, you're right that I am more socially conservative than most centrists. But I consider myself to be truly in the center, socially. I am "way left" only in the sense that I haven't gone "way right." I'm against casual sex and against people jumping into bed on the 1st/2nd/3rd date, but not against sex in serious unmarried relationships. I approve of using birth control and even Plan B. I think early abortion should stay legal but that we should move away from it culturally and do everything possible to avoid it. I understand Carla's argument -- see here -- that it empowers young unready women to keep control of their lives, BUT how much better to do that by not getting pregnant in the first place??! I'm for later abortions being illegal, with certain rare exceptions. Something there to make everyone mad. Maybe that's the definition of a centrist, sort of the way the definition of middle age is that young people think you're old and old people think you're young.


You once again rock, amba. I would slightly disagree and say you're centrist in that you perceive the Truth, the Middle Way, that only the Enlightened Ones behold :)

I have a (dumb) little slogan. Does the religious right frighten you? Does the secular left dismay you? Well, then you belong in the Buddhist middle.

As far as your prior statement concering error, I would be tempted to say, maybe, on balance, you did do the right thing, but you wish that your financial/psychological situation had been different so you could have had a child. However, this attempted synthesis is sure to be rejected before She who tolerates nothing but the purest of ambivalences :)

Kobe Bryant

dude i seriously believe aboriton is wrong and should not be allowed! Come on people ur killing a human is serously wrong

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