Epic Sperm: Fertilization as Lord of the Rings-esque Quest

1 01 2011

Continuing my series on “The story of Mr. Sperm meets Mrs. Egg” and asking ourselves the question, “What does it all mean?”, we now have this hilarious/deeply inspiring little clip:  (For our purposes, just watch the first 2:00.)

I bet you didn’t know that fallopian tubes had zombies inside of them, did you?  Neither did I.  Man, this video is full of hilariously quotable lines, such as:

There’s no turning back… no surrender… and only one winner.

From a sperm’s point-of-view, landing in Emily’s vagina is like D-Day… Inside is a dark, treacherous maze of uncharted tunnels… One wrong turn, and it’s a slow lonely death.  Emily’s elite defense force will be waiting to take them out.


This whole discussion started back in this post with me discussing “the stories we tell ourselves”, and how they can give us insight into how we view sex, gender, and life.

So in this case, “The story I tell myself about sex” is that it’s a quest of life and death, a story of epic proportions, much like, say, the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  There is one tiny, humble hero (Frodo-Sperm) carrying a “genetic payload” (the Ring of Power) to his quest’s final destination (Mordor/the Womb).  Landing in the womb is explicitly described as being like arriving at Normandy on D-Day: The “Elite Defense Force” of the female body waits (like Orcs or Nazi soldiers) to destroy our hero and prevent him from achieving his goal.

Apparently, both of these are scientifically accurate depictions of what awaits a sperm inside of a woman's body.

So what does this story tell us about life?  Gender?  Sex?

#1: The Glorious Truth communicated by this video

Chosen Child #1

What I love about this video is that it reminds me of the epic proportions of the life that we all live.  We really do live in a world where the stakes are incredibly high and the deck is stacked against us.  We live in a world filled with danger and pitfalls at every turn.

Further, many of us struggle with believing terrible things about ourselves, such as, “I’m a failure”, “I’m a loser”, or, “I’ll never amount to anything”.  But this video reveals a deeper truth about all of us: Before you were even born you were literally one in a 100 million or more.  The very first thing that was true about you was that you overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become the “you” that you are.

Chosen Child #2

The deck was stacked against you to a degree that you will never again have to face in your life – and you were victorious!

Chosen Child #3

I think maybe God is trying to tell us something here.  He could have made things differently, but this is how he made them.  Do you think that you became you (instead of the billions of other possibilities your father produced) by random chance?  Or because God chose you, and is capable of doing great things in and through you?  Either way… the truth is that your existence is the culmination of a great quest: In

Chosen Child #4: YOU!

many of the great mythic stories, there is a Child whose birth is foretold, whosebirth signals the beginning of the end of the reign of evil; but in order for the Child to be born, great odds must be overcome.  You are like that child!:  The child who “will bring balance to the Force”; “The One” like Neo; “The Boy Who Lived” like Harry Potter.  This is your true story!

And your story is itself a recapitulation of the even greater True Story of the Child whose birth we just celebrated a few days ago, whose birth signaled the true beginning of the end of the reign of evil in this world!

The True Chosen Child, after whom your life is patterned.

#2: The Distorted Truth communicated by this video

On the flipside, you may have noticed that the story told by this video also distorts the truth.  Scientific language and observations are supposed to help us see truth more clearly, but in this case, scientific language distorts the truth: When the narrator says that sperm, “have but one aim: To deliver a genetic payload from the male to the female”, you almost forget that the act he’s describing is the most beautiful and intimate relational interaction of which human beings are capable!  Instead of being portrayed as an intimate partner in the beauty of procreation, the woman’s body is here viewed as the enemy: a destructive and deadly force (a damaging view which I previously addressed in this post).  Science Fail.

The truth about sex and fertilization that this video mostly ignores is that this whole story is a part of a Great Dance of love and intimacy that occurs between a man and a woman, discovering in one another both a comforting familiarity and an alluring and mysterious difference.  As a man and a woman do this, they are drawn up into a story greater than themselves, sensing that the story they have fallen into is not just about a specific “me” and “you”, but also part of the epic, archetypal and mythical dance between Man and Woman that has been going on since Adam first laid eyes on Eve.


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