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Starting from his profession as a psychiatrist, Leonardo reflects upon his own personal condition as a man without children, a point of reference for his nieces and nephews and for the comunity as a whole. He espresses his view in support of a decreased birth-rate, critizing the utilitarian and economic principles at the root of the generational turnover.

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LEONARDO: «I didn’t have children, although when I was younger the idea of potentially have children wasn’t something I disliked or that I wasn’t interested in.
Then, these are decisions that you keep postponing and at some point it becomes too late.
In retrospect, what comes to mind is that since I chose a life on the road,
traveling, full of commitments, I think it would have been pretty complicated to be able to be a decent father… So in the end nothing happened.
Moreover, I also think that, on a somewhat different, less conscious level, the work I’ve been doing throughout my life as a psychiatrist
I have constantly dealt with families and parents with troubled children, and I have to say that it’s quite daunting the idea of confronting these people’s pain
over a child who has serious psychiatric problems.
Moreover, there are many of them, it is not uncommon for families to have a more or less serious psychiatric case within the family.
It is a fairly common.
And beyond suffering… Suffering intended as a human expression, the problems created by a person, especially a child with major psychological problems, causes a general discomfort to the whole family.
I don’t think that determined my choices because I believe that if you considered this aspect very few families, very few couples could think to bring children into the world.
However, undoubtedly it might have been one of those quite unconscious moments
that may have then determined a choice, or if not a choice, not an extraordinary inclination to the idea of starting a family.
I insist that my work has taken me to different places for different periods of time, even very long experiences abroad, and perhaps even a tendency to travel
that could come into conflict with the sense of stability one has with family or children.
I come from a family with many children, especially in my generation.
In the generation after mine, there have been children but not as many as in my generation or the generation before me.
I don’t feel that there was ever a negative judgment toward my situation.
Moreover, I can also think that for the following generations, the idea of having an uncle who was always available, social, who could help psychologically and economically, may have been an even important element that… Indeed, it may have somehow fostered the idea that my not having children could be an advantage for others as well.
It’s a kind of so-called sociobiological approach that families always expect to have a son or daughter who doesn’t reproduce, so that the overall wealth of the family will not be too much reduced and dispersed.
It’s a rather well-known theory that also explains why in the past there were children who were priests, nuns, or cadets who didn’t have children so that the family assets would not be dispersed.
There is a material legacy that will turn to my grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s benefit, unless I decide to leave something to some association dear to me.
There might also be a psychological legacy, because I’ll leave a sense of independence and freedom which I believe it can be important for everybody.
And I can see that clearly because I see how my relatives and my grandchildren
consider me an interesting person, who has succeeded, especially who has been lucky enough to achieve a position of privilege and recognition, and I think this can be educational for everybody.
I guess there have been some comments perhaps negative, but not expressed directly to me, about the idea of not having children, but these comments are quite common towards people who have no children, who are seen as people who are only concerned about their own welfare, very individualistic, certainly selfish.
I have to say that my position is totally different,
because I think that what really happens is that a person without children will leave a lot to others.
Moreover, precisely in the most practical aspects I am a person who pays taxes that will go to other people’s benefit, especially the education of others, and I actually do not receive much in return, from that point of view.
I have to say that lately I have been reflecting upon the topic of declining birthrate.
While instead I think, contrary to general opinion, the decreased birth-rate should be, let’s say, a positive aspect of our society that is probably reaching a more and more decreased birth-rate precisely because there are too many people out there.
And we know that too many people out there mean a disaster for the environment, which let’s say is there for all to see.
If there were fewer of us, it would be easier for everyone, there would be more resources for everyone.
The idea that a decreased birth-rate could create problems for future retirements plan is a very instrumental and also quite vulgar element.
The idea that you have to bring children into the world so that they will be able to support future generations, seems to be a rather utilitarian limitation of society.
Neither can a couple decide to have children thinking that the future of society
depends on their having or not having children.
Their decision is made by… Maybe it’s not even a decision, children also happen a little bit by chance.
And contrary to this idea of being critical of decreased birth-rate, it should also be said that it’s certainly not an economic fact.
Statistically, it is a proven fact that it’s the richest families to have fewer children, and that in the fifties, sixties, so only a few decades ago, poor families had more children than rich families.»

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