Birth / natality

Humans come into the world through one another. They slip into the light through the spirit-body of a woman as bloody, slimy, shitting, hungry, and totally dependent newcomers.

Each mother for her part is a daughter of a daughter, passing the life she has received from the daughter of a son and the son of a daughter on to the next generation. To be born means that a unique, never-before seen individual traverses at a distinctive time and place from a matrix to a new, generational structure – a second matrix.. From birth to death humans remain dependent on the world which can be seen as a second matrix. At the same time they are free to act, free to weave the thread of their unique existence into the fabric that has been there before.

The umbilical cord is severed after birth. From now on the newcomer relates to the world directly instead of through the medium of the womb. Over the years she or he is accompanied by others into what is called „self-reliance.” However, self-reliance does not mean independence because humans always remain interwoven with the matrix world: No one is able to survive even five minutes without air, or a week without water. Nor can she or he exist without food, animals, plants, language, culture, traditions, or community. Always and everywhere each human remains intertwined with the texture of generations, and one day he or she will die and return to the earth, often after having lived through periods of dependency which can be compared to childhood.

Regarding humans as natal beings means conceiving them in different terms than those offered by the dualistic systems of body and mind, freedom and dependency, and so on. Starting from their true beginning means thinking of them in the sense of „not only… but also”, so both dependent and free, mind and body, equal and different…

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, Chicago 1998 (orig. 1958)

Ina Praetorius, Natality as a New Anthropological Paradigm. Reflections of A Protestant Christian, in: Oltre l’individualismo. Relazioni e relazionalità per ripensare l’identità, a cura di Lorella Congiunti, Adrian Ndreca, Giambattista Formica, Urbaniana University Press, Città del Vaticano 2017, 391-397

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