When I started to write this post the words of Bob Dylan came to mind: The times they are a-changin'. When I was growing up in small town Kansas men did not attend baby showers. Later I reached a more advanced civilization in California and I can remember attending a baby shower where the ratio of men to women was about equal. Today I attended a baby shower; I was in California, the mother-to-be was in Colorado, other participants were scattered in various places from Texas to Europe.
The event occurred within Second Life and was incredibly great. The attendees were mostly from the extended Extropian/Transhumanist community. The mother-to-be is an extremely intelligent person and held us all with rapt attention as she discussed topics ranging from IVF to childbirth to mother and child bonding to the issues related to women and family and children in science and technology careers. The discussion was a combination of text and voice and worked well for the most part. It lasted over an hour and the time went quickly. Comments and questions were good for a lively discussion.
It seems to me that this baby shower in Second Life can serve to help illustrate the changes which have already occurred and those which will likely occur in the coming decades. The technological changes (hardware, software, networks) which allow for this real time communication in a virtual world are one obvious feature. But beyond that are the increasing roles of women in science and technology fields. This is not to say that there are not obstacles for women however progress has occurred. Now women have more choices including freezing their eggs so that they can pursue education and careers for a couple of decades and then in their late 40s or early 50s become pregnant. The ability to be healthy enough for bearing a child at that later age is being facilitated by the general increase in knowledge about human health and how that health can be extended to later in life.
But these advances are not uniform through out the world. They are not uniform geographically but they are also not uniform within in a geographic region. So let us work to steadily increase the choices and liberties of individuals. Think about what the baby shower will be like in a few more decades? Hopefully everyone everywhere will have the opportunity to be at least at the social and technical level that I experienced today. Hopefully we will all be even more advanced.
And why just think about baby showers a few decades in the future? What about a few centuries? What will a baby shower even mean? I would like to be there. So yes the times are changing and we can all work to make the changes positive and to increase individual liberty. It may not be a guarantee to a better future but it the best path that I know of.