Helpless, moi?

ImageEver since I had children of my own I have been aware of the power of those marvels of manipulation we call babies. Hiding behind a description so opposite of the truth that it can only have been coined by Orwell, helpless babies are anything but. Their ability to survive, grow and thrive in all but the most dire circumstances is proof of the powerful selective process of evolution. It does not matter that babies cannot walk, talk or even focus when they are born. They don’t need to because they have one and often two or more creatures, each with between fifteen and thirty or more years of experience of walking, talking and focusing, at their beck and call, unable to ignore their slightest whim. As Lauren Becall famously said ‘ you have to put your lips together and blow’. Well actually open your mouth and make a noise.

It isn’t just parents whose lives are frozen mid thought when the baby starts to cry, complete strangers are unable to ignore the compulsion to respond, or at least the feeling that they should, the feeling of discomfort if they don’t. We didn’t need fancy science to tell us this but its always nice to see the obvious demonstrated by clever people with time on their hands and toys to play with.

We are never so powerful, never so in command of others as we are when we are newly born. Life’s progression is one of becoming increasingly independent at the expense of losing our hold over the immediate reactions of others. Only in love do we perhaps recapture some of that hold over the reactions of another, perhaps that’s why some look so earnestly for love and others fear it with equal determination.


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