The Fathers of Philosophy

John Kaag in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Photo_51339_portrait_large“Do you want to cut it?”

No. I wanted to run and hide. To find some quiet corner of the hospital that had nothing to do with pregnancy, labor, or children. Like the psychiatric ward. It didn’t even look like something that was meant to be cut—it looked like something between a vital artery and the nylon rope you buy at the hardware store. So cutting it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Instead, I wanted to point out to our lovely midwife that my father hadn’t even been in the delivery room when I was born. (In that moment, for the first time ever, I found myself not entirely blaming him.) I also wanted to tell her that I’d only very recently stopped calling her “the Wiccan Priestess,” but that her question had once again convinced me that she clearly was one. Didn’t she know that I was a philosopher, not a surgeon, and therefore not schooled in this sort of occult ritual? More than anything, I wanted to state the obvious: that one end of that cord was attached to the only woman I’d ever really loved, and the other end was affixed to a total stranger. And that once I cut it, that little stranger would become its own person, and would be irreparably ours to take care of.

So, no. I definitely did not want to cut it.

More here.