‘invisible reality’

The science indicates parental influence has very little to do with a child’s adult outcomes. That’s right parents: all your efforts, anxiety, and enthusiasm basically amount to self-exhortation – barring outright abuse, your kids will turn out the same no matter what.

This is hard to believe, so I’m forever trying to ‘do the right thing’ for my kids – and constantly explaining myself (to myself) by reference to my own childhood.

My mother was genuinely crazy, and if yours wasn’t you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about. She believed hers was a pivotal role in the history of humanity, and her own actions were going to bring about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was a very little boy when I decided this (probably) wasn’t true.

So we argued.

She argued in the way of the missionaries. She repeated her ‘truth’ over and over, with no discernable proof, by deploying what she felt was incontrovertible logic – if there is any ‘invisible reality’ at all, then the wildest imaginable realities might be true, and I couldn’t prove they’re not because they’re invisible.

I did the only thing a boy could do: I rejected the possibility of ‘invisible reality.’ This made for odd conversations (“don’t you believe air is real?”). It took her a long time to let go of me, but eventually she kept to proselytizing more ‘gullible’ characters.

Comes the man, and a little ‘invisible reality’ might be handy once in a while. ‘Love’ is an invisible reality, and I’m studying the science texts trying to discover the mechanical contexts for some kind of verifiable brain-to-brain communication so I’ll know that ‘love’ is real.

You’d think somehow I might just try believing in it. But the little boy knows what you’re up to.


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