The Vasectomy Project is encouraging men to join forces and take responsibly for family planning. This is an opportunity to bring people together to talk about our collective responsibility while offering men a concrete way to contribute towards a solution by having a vasectomy.
All of the teachings, all of the knowledge and all the framework exists to help us rise up to our potential, but somehow we keep falling short.
I just got back from a few days of vacation in the Berkshires. We were in one of those few remaining pockets without cell reception and without internet. I’m sure it’s good to “disconnect” from time to time, but the honest truth is I love being “connected” especially when I’m deep into a project.
Between my obsession with population on the planet and vasectomies and my commitment to produce a soap opera in Haiti with a focus on reforestation, I find it hard to stop working.
And then, as it turns out, even harder to get started again. In fact it’s so green in Massachusetts at this time of year that you quickly forget that in many parts of the world it’s not like that. Two days ago, I was in the midst of an undeclared war on wasps that had overtaken our porch, countered by the experiential pleasure of the beautiful lake that needed swimming in. Then yesterday, I got home to the latest news about men killed fighting fires in the Southwest, another “protest in Egypt” with the army threatening a coup d’etat (now a fait accompli) and a suicide bomb in Kabul with bunches more dead. Reality can be overwhelming.
And it makes no sense at all. We should be filled with joy at the very miracle of our own existence. And treat life with the reverence it deserves. All of the teachings, all of the knowledge and all the framework exists to help us rise up to our potential, but somehow we keep falling short. Some credit God. Some blame Him. Others say it’s just life. Or maybe it’s luck. However you frame it, Earth is a pretty damn good place to be.
People ask me, why am I obsessed by this vasectomy project. Well, let me clarify.
1: I want to do my part to sustain the beauty of this planet.
2: I’m obsessed by everything I do. If I’m not obsessed, I’m probably procrastinating.
3: I love the intellectual challenge of this project. I believe that the juxtaposition and the connection between the highly personal (making babies) with the highly public (managing the social consequence of life) is very intriguing.
4: For me, when an opportunity presents itself, be it by my own making or simply the chance patterns of existence, I grab on for dear life. It’s like canoeing down a river. When the water runs fast, paddle faster. Eventually you’ll hit slow water. Hopefully momentum will carry you far enough forward to get you to the next set of rapids. At the end of the day, you’ll find the right place to rest.
This weekend is July 4th. A good time to rest and celebrate. The resting part is out for me. As far as celebrating. I’m on one of those river rapids and with my children all gone; at the beach, at a wedding (not theirs) and I don’t know where (my 24 year old son is hanging out), so I’ve got time to concentrate.
For me, Independence Day is not about patriotism as I certainly don’t over identify with “country”. Yes, I am grateful to have been born here and deeply respectful for people who have sacrificed their lives to make it so, but I don’t value America more than I value life itself. Countries, while beautiful and powerful manifestations of human existence, are also boundaries that exclude one group or one person from another which often lead to wars and violence and hatred. Do we need them? Apparently so, but in the long run, I believe it would be better to be united by a higher principle than borders. Easy to do? I’ve observed the UN. It’s not.
This July 4th, I’m thinking about the freedom that comes with having control over one’s fertility. Something many people take for granted. I heard today about a documentary that explores the one child policy in China. Sounds like women being hounded to get their tubes tied. And indeed, China’s population rate has been going down steadily and soon India will become the most populated country in the world. So, you might think that their policy works, and I guess if it’s just about numbers, I’d agree. But while I am sure some people only want one child, and should have that right, the same should hold true for those who want more. Should there be limits on the freedom to have as many children as we want? Should there be some basic requirement that puts the responsibility to care for those children on their parents? Or should the state cover those costs? All are tough questions.
I don’t want to hold children responsible for the choices made by parents. I don’t want to make having babies something only the rich and privileged get to do. I don’t like the idea that the state controls our fertility. But I also don’t believe that incentivizing more children is healthy. Today we have the freedom to choose. Vasectomy is part of that choice.
Yes, we can also wear condoms and obviously, we should, especially if we’re either fertile or promiscuous, but let’s be honest, putting on a condom is a drag. You simply can’t compare intercourse with a condom to without. As you get older you may have less sex (is that true?) but it doesn’t have to be lesser sex.
All of these choices are apparent with knowledge. Most men don’t have access to this knowledge. Doug travels around the world sharing it. Our film can help. But each of us carry the responsibility to make that choice.
I once wrote, “The ultimate journey is the human mind. Our final destination is freedom.” There may come a time in life when procreating is no longer an option or a desire. As men we have the choice. It’s called a vasectomy. It’s not the only choice … but it works.
We want you to join in a new conversation about over-population and over-consumption, by asking men to take a very personal action to change the world. For weekly updates and announcements, please subscribe to our Campaign News.