When anthropologist Rowan Van Vorst thinks about her young daughter’s future, she feels anxious. With all the damage we are doing to the Earth, the increasing polarization, the people fleeing and other people fearing these refugees, it seems inevitable: “You will suffer.”
She took her concerns to twelve parents whose ideas she found inspiring. Thinkers and writers such as Arnon Grunberg, Marjolein van Heemstra, and Henk van Straaten. I’ve collected my interviews with them in the well-read Leven Doet Hoop.
Her interlocutors are worried. Journalist Fidan Ekiz says her son is growing up in a world harsher than her. The innocence is gone. “They had fluorescent light on, while we had candlelight.”
But there is also hope in every conversation. Historian Rutger Bregman realizes that his daughter’s double ear infection two centuries ago could have ended very differently without antibiotics. We are healthier than our ancestors and are doing well. “In fact, it is almost arrogant for the Dutch to ask themselves whether it is wise to bring children into the world now.” Van Vorst’s conclusion: “These kids are lucky.”
Rowan Van Forrest
Life makes you wish. Parents about their children’s future
platform; 167 pages €22.99
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