The Evolution of Personal Belief

Politicians in recent years have gotten a lot of flack over the concept of “evolving” thoughts or beliefs. Pundits seem to equate the evolution of thought with flip-flopping. Personally, I want politicians thoughts and beliefs to evolve just as I want my own to evolve. If there is no evolution of thought then there has been no growth. And no growth means they have either not heard or read about new ideas and that they haven’t learned anything new. Considering the interconnection-ness of the world (thank you early 20th Century computer scientists) if they haven’t learned something new lately I don’t want them in charge of anything. To prove that the evolution of thought is good:
Breastfeeding – a personal case in point.

When I was 20 I went to a friend’s baby shower. Now, in all honesty, I wanted to be at that baby shower about as I wanted to have all of my teeth pulled out and the bloody little holes filled with Pop Rocks. But I went because, as everyone knows, our lives are far more about fulfilling other’s expectations of ourselves than they are about BEING ourselves. So there I was, essentially surrounded by a brigade of new mommies, a few soon-to-be mommies, several old mommies, and one really pregnant chick. The pregnant chick started opening presents and behind me I heard the weirdest noise I had ever heard in my life. Like a drowning duck. Or a wet vac or … I turned around to spy this monstrously-sized baby Hoovering (Hoover like the vacuum) his mother’s breast. I swear the kid’s head was bigger than his mom’s. I was horrified. Mortified. Was she some sort of freak? Why was the monster baby not drinking from a nice little plastic bottle? I promptly decided that breastfeeding women should be banished from polite society and I stopped thinking about it.

Fast forward a few years. Other friends, no less promiscuous but apparently more consistent in birth control usage, started to become desirous of babies and eventually started popping out the little parasites that we humans call ‘babies.’ Again, due to societal expectations, I was stuck listening to the merits of various things I had paid absolutely no attention to previously which included the benefits of breast milk. I, not wanting to think about or to see my friend’s breasts, made my arguments against it. Society, at that point in time, agreed. My friends breastfed but out of sight so I could just ignore the source of the odd milky liquid in the bottle. (A bit like ignoring meat processing plants.)

Fast forward a few more years. Women started getting more vocal about how breastfeeding is a natural thing. Well, obviously – all bodily functions are – but that still doesn’t mean I want to see them occurring. And then my wife’s first grandchild was born and her mom decided to not breastfeed despite the obvious health benefits of breastfeeding. I can’t and don’t blame her. It’s a huge hassle to breastfeed with the pump and the lurking in bathroom stalls.

Fast forward again. Breastfeeding women are essentially chained to the kid and stuck at home until a consistent schedule is established. But man, that’s really not fair. She should be able to go out with the baby, get some fresh air, or do some shopping. I mean what’s the big deal? It’s not like she’s flashing passerby … [another time lapse] … At this point, in my thought process, I see nothing wrong with a woman breastfeeding in public. The baby needs to eat. The mom needs to feed the baby. There is no shame in the activity. And, at this point in time, society is also acknowledging that breastfeeding in public is okay which is good for moms and babies now and in the future. Perhaps, someday, it will be as accepted as talking on the cell phone.

But only if our thoughts and beliefs keep evolving. Twenty years ago a woman breastfeeding in a living room freaked me out but as I’ve learned more about breastfeeding my ideas and thoughts about the activity have grown. As people grow mentally they grow out of ideas and beliefs they held earlier just as surely as they grow out of their clothes. They change, adapt, evolve. Changes of thought or belief are not always big and can occur at various speeds for various people. But they are necessary for people, and society, to progress to better states of being.