For me at least, one reason infants are so fascinating is that no one really remembers what it was like to be an infant. What does preverbal thought look like? Is it the same as the kind of nonverbal thought that we do after having mastered a language? Or does learning a language so shape our brains that we can no longer think in the same manner as we did before language?
I wonder, do infants experience existential angst? Do they wonder, with some kind of preverbal, innate human impulse, "Why am I here? Who am I? What is it all about?" Perhaps that question goes on only at the completely subconscious level, driving the newly born person to search for patterns and connections, for meaning in the strange and mysterious phenomena he or she is constantly observing.
But when babies cry seemingly without reason--when neither nursing, nor burping, nor distraction, nor changing their diaper does any good--could it be that they are simply frustrated by their limitations? Do babies at times feel a primitive longing for transcendence, for "more," for that nameless something which drives all human individuals and societies forward?
Am I perfectly ridiculous for even asking? But even infants are human, after all. Isn't existential angst an innate property of human beings?
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