Human, male, student – uncle?

Yesterday evening my big brother’s girlfriend gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I’ve now become a “little grandfather”. I’m of course happy for them and glad that everything went well; the pregnancy has been much more exciting than it ideally would have been.

Last year I lost my grandfather. This year I gained a nephew. Small steps on life’s long road. Life goes on.


March 17, 2012 - Posted by | Personal, Random stuff


  1. Congratulations!

    Becoming an uncle earlier this year has been the greatest thing to happen to me for years. I’ve always been skeptical about babies, but holding her in my arms just flicked some switch in me, and turned on an outpouring of the purest love.

    Comment by WilliamJansen (@WilliamJansen) | March 17, 2012 | Reply

    • “turned on an outpouring of the purest love (oxytocin?)”

      It’s likely that a significant part of your response was purely ‘biological’. Of course that doesn’t make it any less true or real.

      I heard my nephew cry over the phone at the end of the conversation I had with my brother earlier today, and even just hearing the little guy through the phone triggered an emotional response on my part. We’re quite interesting creatures.

      Comment by US | March 17, 2012 | Reply

      • I am quite convinced, that my response was biological. I’ve read “The Selfish Gene”, and accepted it’s main thesis, as I presume you also have.

        Here is the spooky part; I am not biologically related to my niece, and I still got a strong feeling, that I lay down my life for her no questions asked. It appears that a cultural understanding, my purely intellectual decision to consider her to be my niece, is able to override my “selfish genes.” It appears that the meme trumps the gene.

        Anyway; being an uncle is awesome. Have fun with it!

        Comment by WilliamJansen (@WilliamJansen) | March 18, 2012

      • Memes trump genes on a regular basis in modern societies (in some areas). A perhaps more obvious example would be the hundreds of millions of women who each year have sex with a male while using birth control; every time two people have sex while actively attempting to avoid pregnancy, they are in effect screaming ‘f*¤# you genes!’

        However… Think about this scenario: You’re a couple years older, you’ve found a girl you love and you’ve had two children with her – and you really love those children. Would you think the same way about your niece if that were the case? Or would you decide that it would not be worth it to sacrifice yourself for her because your own children were more important?

        The coefficient of relatedness between two humans who live close enough to meet each other and connect the way you have with your niece has historically always been strictly larger than zero; probably significantly larger. Also, single males without children are, from the point of view of the selfish genes, some of the most ‘dispensable’ of all individuals; and the older they get, the more ‘dispensable’ they get (surely part of the reason why the highest suicide rates of all demographic groups are those of single, elderly males). What I’m saying is that it needn’t have been the memes which were doing the heavy lifting, though it might have been.

        I’m definitely looking forward to the uncle experience.

        Comment by US | March 18, 2012

  2. Congratulations.

    Comment by info2 | March 17, 2012 | Reply

  3. “Also, single males without children are, from the point of view of the selfish genes, some of the most ‘dispensable’ of all individuals…”

    Good point, despite the fact, that you use an inaccurate keyword. It is not the fact, that I am single, but the (not necessarily related) fact, that I am not sexually active, that makes me expendable.

    As for the protected sex; I think it is primarily a result of millions of mutations and refinements taking place in one environment, and the end result being transplanted into the 2012-version of the Western World. We weren’t “programmed” to prefer unprotected sex, because our desire for sex was sufficient to promote multiplication of our genes up until our parents birth.

    Comment by WilliamJansen (@WilliamJansen) | March 19, 2012 | Reply

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