Transcend the Tragedy
“Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient”. - Jordan B. Peterson
Aiming for expedience does not guarantee a morally sound outcome, or what is best for the future. The Machiavellian idea of “the ends being justified by the means” is a destructive philosophy. The ends are not justified by the means, and often only thinking rationally demands efficiency while ignoring virtuous significance. My Judeo-Christian upbringing has taught me that killing is wrong, and we see this to be fact even in our secular society. Few sane human being would disagree with this fact. As a result, we punish those who break that law, but the majority of us tend to ignore our socially accepted ethics on killing when it comes to abortion.
Instead, we use the Machiavellian philosophy to decide if a child in the womb should live based on mere convenience. The possible birth of a child is viewed as a threat to our current standard of life - this is what is known. We have this sense of control over our lives by sticking to a schedule. But all of this can be turned upside down through the fear of the responsibility of raising a child that we might not have prepared to. Therefore, to prevent the unknown future of our lives with the child in it from taking over, we choose the expedient response at the expense of the moral one. That is, we end a child’s life to preserve our lifestyle as we know it.
Abortion is often seen as a remedy to the unplanned interruption to our social lives - the financial impact that raising a child might have on the parent, stress involving a balance between work and home, and the responsibility of raising a child to become a responsible citizen. Additionally, if a parent is faced with these future responsibilities alone, fear suggests that these are impossible to carry out. Fear is a natural response to the knowledge that our comfort zones might be suddenly reversed with the arrival of a new responsibility or danger, especially if it involves a person's life. However, there are ways to overcome and rise above it which allow for life of both preborn child and parents. This is through seeing the possible suffering through the lens of meaning. Meaning destroys that illusion of imminent danger. The expedient response to an unplanned pregnancy would be abortion - remove the cause of temporary hardship with a permanent solution. Expedience sacrifices the future for the present. But what sacrifice allows us to uncover is the known unknown - the future. Sacrifice now, gain later. This idea is not innate, it has to be learned.
“Despite the fact that you are a fragile, damaged, mortal creature, you’ve found something that has announced itself to be worthwhile. That’s meaning.”
- Jordan B. Peterson
Meaning allows us to transcend the tragedy. The Crucifixion of Christ revolves around this idea, to “take up your cross”, bear it, and transcend that tragedy because He is motivated by a higher good (saving souls) than the preset suffering. The foundation of Christianity is based on the pursuit of a meaningful life, and the way to do that is to battle through our trials and tribulations. Life is suffering, we all know that, and we have the capacity to overcome that a moment at a time. We can do the same when we are faced with the arrival of a child. Fear drives abortion, no woman wants to have an abortion. She feels that it is the only choice she has. There are several reasons that we can come up with in that moment of chaos of why it would be better for that child not to be born. Furthermore, there are more solutions to those constructed issues, and the death of an innocent human being should not be one of them.
We choose to believe that our unknown future would only involve struggle or pain but not joy or happiness. Life is suffering, tainted by malevolence. So what is the meaning? There is pain to allay, there is chaos to confront. There is order to establish and enkindle. There is evil to constrain, not least in our own hearts. And that is meaning enough for everyone.
"Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that…. The person who wishes to alleviate suffering—who wishes to rectify the flaws in Being; who wants to bring about the best of all possible futures; who wants to create Heaven on Earth—will make the greatest of sacrifices, of self and child, of everything that is loved, to live a life aimed at the Good. He will forego expediency. He will pursue the path of ultimate meaning. And he will in that manner bring salvation to the ever-desperate world.”
- Jordan B. Peterson