Jonathan Stack is traveling around the world to create a documentary film about vasectomies. Here’s why.
I’m about to board a flight to Australia to complete work on my latest documentary THE VASECTOMIST. It has inspired me to begin writing these blogs and hopefully, get you all involved in a mission to make a difference on this planet. It’s probably the most controversial film I’ve ever made; one both deeply personal and profoundly political. The film explores not only the most personal issue anyone can face (making babies), but the most public result of this very personal choice (the impact of human population on planet Earth).
Most of my life I have engaged in sex without regard beyond the pleasure it gave in the moment. Yes, I’ve had a lot of girlfriends and a lot of fun, and I ended up with three beautiful children. I don’t regret any of it, but if I could do it over, I’d have lived my sexual life with much greater consciousness. I know I’m not alone. It’s estimated that 50% of babies born in America are the unplanned result of much the same behavior. Did I mention that my children are with three different mothers and the strife and stress we share and have imposed on each other has also been the children’s burden? No, I’ve done plenty of wrong.
That said, my children are fortunate to have been brought up in stable homes with loving mothers and although I’ve not been there for them as I might have been, I am a loving father and offer the best I can. I believe they’re mostly happy children, but their suffering is real and I am surely responsible for my share of it.
I sometimes wonder why the same person who can be so thoughtful and generous can also be so thoughtless and selfish. You could say that the sex was always ‘consensual’ and therefore there’s nothing to regret and that’s true, up to a point, but for the fact that these moments of pleasure were not just about myself but impacted on future generations, my own family and of course the children themselves.
I don’t think there’s anything I can do to justify my poor behavior. I grew up in a loving home and was clearly taught right from wrong, but I also know that the same people who make terrible choices can also make good and smart ones, and that we are not condemned to live out our lives based on the past, but can evolve into something better and more hopeful.
That spirit of change, of growth and of human evolution is what inspired THE VASECTOMIST project. Knowing that in storytelling we can shift our destiny gave me hope that I could do the same with myself. Indeed, I have seen it many times in the films I’ve made. I’ve done it for others and so I hoped that the same powers I used to heal the wounds of others could be applied to myself.
And yet, what began as the simple desire to do the same for myself that had been done for others, turned into a project about the future of the planet. The twists and turns that got us here are what make documentary storytelling so extraordinary. Nothing is more interesting to me than reality and reality, like fiction, can be altered and adjusted by conscious thoughts and conscious deeds.
Over the next six months, I’ll be sharing with you the birth of an idea and how a simple desire to transform myself, just one individual, can actually make a difference in the world. I’m doing it because I believe I’m unique, I’m doing it because I think we’re all unique and if we actually lived our lives knowing this to be true; if we really did imagine each of ourselves capable of saving the planet, then together we actually could make a difference.
Miracles happen, but not without a lot of hard work. The journey began with a simple desire to gain control over my own fertility. What’s at stake is not only our individual ‘choice’ as men, be it making babies or exiting the gene pool, but the future of our planet. I know where the story begins. We don’t know where it ends…
Join in the journey through our series of webisodes starting with a competition between me and the film’s character, Dr Stein. Check out the intro video here and start viewing and liking to vote for your favourite episode.
For more info about the project visit http://thevasectomist.net and subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to see each new episode released by your vote.
That’s where each of you (and me) come in… so let the games begin!