“My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted.”
Steven Wright cracks me up. His droll delivery of distilled nuggets of simple, yet warped observation always strikes me as funny, and often gives an amused pause for thought. Getting to where he ends up requires strolling in from new and unusual directions, something that can be very good for keeping perceptions fresh and challenged.
The line above, of course, caught my eye and started me down a thought path that has led to a blog post. How handy, since a blog post was on today’s “to do” list.
Although “The Evolutionary Benefits of Adoption” is a ridiculously grand title that appears to claim one hell of a lot of ground this post never even begins to approach, it makes me laugh … striking me as funny on many levels … and reflects my morning ponderings prompted by Mr. Wright’s one-liner.
There are plenty of people who would never choose to put the words “adoption” and “benefit” in the same sentence, some even going so far as to suggest that adoption itself spawns nothing less than mass murderers, serial killers.
The website “Adopted Killers” … picture lurid, blood-red copy on a black background … that postulates this connection is high drama, courtroom photos and turgid bombast that in spite of supposed intent ends up making a pretty good case for adoption.
(Keeping with the theme of amusing lines, one from this site is a classic, although I doubt it was devised to entertain:
WHY are there twice as many Adopted Killers who are known to be in the category of Adoptees Who Killed Their Adopters?
Now, really … isn’t that one of the funnier lines you’ve seen in a while? Not only the spontaneous use of capital letters which is always a hoot, but the heart and soul –no mention of brain, of course — of this classic example of nonsense and illogic. I have to laugh ever time I see it … and it is fairly widely quoted by those who apparently don’t see the joke.)
As I read through the sketchy examples of adopted killers, I can’t help but notice the damaging effects of inappropriate kinship placements, foster care, mental illness and genetics, and it occurs to me that some of these people may have found less dangerous paths if adoption had been more a feature in their lives, rather than less.
As for evolving humanity, the examples of adopted people making huge changes for the positive in the world are impressive.
From way back in the 300s BC when Aristotle’s parents died … he wasn’t officially adopted, but raised by a guardian, then married an adoptee and adopted himself … and the basis of what we now call science was born, to the 1800s in America that saw George Washington Carver, one of this country’s most important inventors, adopted after the death of his mother, the evolution of our humaneness has been spurred by adoption.
Would I be writing or you be reading today without the contributions of Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison and who they became at least partly through their adoptions? Perhaps, but there would be long odds on the information age developing as it has had they not forged the trails they did.
So, perhaps there are some “evolutionary benefits” of adoption, after all, since the world has more than marginally improved through the efforts of adopted people who have passed along the positives.
If nothing else, I suppose, those opposed to adoption might take comfort in the idea (?) that twice as many adopted killers are adoptees who killed their adopters, therefore suggesting to anyone equating adoptive parents with evil incarnate that the result is fewer of those.
I wonder what Steven Wright would do with that …
(Here’s a list of famous people with adoption in their backgrounds.)