Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Marriage - Its Need, Futility & Origin

One of the freakier thoughts that has occurred to me in the past is the possibility that, the only reason for one's existence is procreation and furthering of the species.
That's what all living things do, beyond doubt. They screw!
Every act of life seems to be aimed at this as the final goal. Even aesthetics, mind you. Correlations are deep and intricate, but it should suffice to mention here, that a high aesthetic sense implies a higher level of evolution and therefore a better mate.

Isn't it profoundly depressing to realise that we are all here only because someone screwed someone! I mean, at a fundamental level, do you really believe that, while doing it, that someone and someone were thinking about how a good human being will develop out of their activity?!

Procreation & Marriage
Among human beings, this social function called 'marriage' seems like a vague attempt to cover the fact that at the end of the whole jazz, basically the 2 people concerned are gonna screw away to glory. What other significant difference occurs in their individual lives apart from THIS? (which otherwise cant be achieved in a really good long term friendship with a person of the opposite sex)

So, is marriage some sort of a moral cover up?

I could have said here that I appreciate other animals, for they at least don't cover up. And accept boldly that they need to propagate their species. But they hardly have a choice. And moreover, they don't read this blog.

Human beings, with all their intelligence and years of evolution, are the only species that seem to have an in built control mechanism against 'free and fair sex'. The only biologically and environmentally sound reason for this control that I can think of is, overpopulation. The irony is, that human beings are also the highest in number! what control are we talking here?
I am thus, unable to comprehend, the reasons for the existence of "marriage" as a custom. What does it do? Commitments can happen without it. In fact they do happen without it. Marriages do break. I have known extremely successful live-in relationships, and equally successful marriages. Then where is the differentiator? Where is the need of mandatory marriage (in order to propagate your species)?

Marriage as Celebration
One sane justification of marriage that I tend to agree with is, marriage being a symbol of celebration of commitment, and beginning of companionship! Great.. but why does it then extend into a legal contract? And multiple social obligations? Here is a short hypothetical account of the origin of marriage, with celebration is the premise.

I feel that marriage originated as just an occasion for celebration. Like how you throw a party when you win the 20-20 world cup. It was basically a party, and a symbol of the fact that something worth celebrating has happened in the lives of two people. Soon the trend caught up and these parties became very frequent.
Someday, some smartass who wasn't getting a companion, was too lazy to woo one, and was too eager to wait for the right one, realised that he just had to showcase the symptom (party), and the cause (companionship) will be assumed. So he got another dumbass who wasn't getting a companion and started celebrating. That, I think, was the first day when marriage came into existence!

So, I don't think marriage should be a compulsion. Either social, or moral!
I don't think its necessary for a successful relationship, nor does it guarantee success in any way.

I do realise that these thoughts are too radical. I'd like to tag them as "ahead-of-their-times". But futility if marriage is a question that has failed to lend itself to a convincing answer, at least in my life, so far.


mads said...

crimson, you aint here because somebody screwed someone. you're here because two people made love. which came out of deep understanding, friendship, and the desire to stay with and stand by each other for a lifetime. The 'party' is thrown because it's one of the best things to happen to anyone. And yes, someone and someone DO think of what a good human would come out of their love. Otherwise there's contraception. Propagating all that free sex, you'd know better that most births (at least these days) are planned.
Marriage is NOT a moral cover-up of sex. It's a sign that the couple is mature enough to decide that they want only each other, and has the GUTS to declare this publicly. True commitments can happen without marriage, but most of them end up in marriage!
Believe me dude, there's nothing better than meeting the right person, and no better feeling than that of getting your union blessed by Agni and all your loved ones. Celebration indeed!

Crimson Feet said...

i am not in disagreement with u at all...

i wud not have mentioned "marriage as celebration" otherwise,

but just like everyone does not celebrate their birthday, or valentines, day or any such "day"... and there isnt any moral/social/legal obligation to celebrate these "days"...
smiliarly there shud b no obligation to celebrate companionship in the form of a legal/social bond and call it marriage..

...thats what i feel.

Marrying or not marrying has no correlation with the beauty of companionship, making love and bringing new life on earth!

Lord Jim said...

I second u crimson feet, heart, mind and soul!

Jazz Mafia said...

Most agreeable. I couldnt think otherwise. I think marriage is indeed a social obligation, a big one at that.
marriage is meant for procreation. All jazz like committment and true love and soulmates and all that romanticism eventually leads to only one thing, that is, KIDS. And more over, there are so _many_ social obligations bound to a "marriage" that I personally believe, its jus meant for other folks to see, oh here they are, old and settled. its not a "moral coverup" for sex, its jus sex put subtly. There are very few marriages one can really admire (and yes, I am outta examples to "for instance", sorry!) and even fewer that really last. Most folks stick with each other (50 years of marriage! or more, or less) for the sake of their children. I cant imagine myself sharing a bed with someone or having a person around in the house 24*7, it'd drive me crazy, or to put in Jean Paul Sartre's words, "Nauseatic", but then thats jus me. The point to note here, is that at least in India, marriage is regarded as a completely social function to please other ppl, let them know that ooooh you found love and you're ready to "settle" down. I am sure there are examples of successful live-ins as well which is much easier considering there's no legal procedures in the event of separation or otherwise. Its frustrating to see friends and other acquaintances ebing pushed into a forced marriage. Well of course, most of these peeps willingly agree to marry, thats a story in itself. But a marriage per se is not my subscription anyway. It jus rebels against my own (but ever changing in a good way :) ) philosophies but then there are always those people who are forever getting married :) (phew, sorry, twas long!) lol hehe

catmiester said...

raised an interesting question there, crimson!!! ;)

From the point of view of a person currently going through the so-called pressures of getting married... I can honestly say that I don't agree with u completely.

Inspite of all the pressures, and my own personal skepticism towards the institution...I cannot underestimate its importance...within society as well as my personal space.

Considering the fact that we are an evolved species ( so we think !) and we have created certain structures and systems within which we operate... at some level, marriage too is a means of possibly putting a system in place to overcome the whole ' screwing each other' game. Else what's the difference between us and the dogs on the street.

Like u said, not that commitment is not possible outside marriage... however if I love someone, and I am a part of society at large... then why the hesitation to use the institution of marriage to make it public?

If at some level I do agree with the thought that marriage is infact a celebration of a relationship... possibly making my commitment even stronger? Then what am I out to prove by not going in for it? why the hesitation?

And, believe u me...Ive been in a steady relationship for 5 years... which broke up over the question of marriage. ...and I still cant understand it? If u can be committed to a person for so many years while out of marriage... then why the hesitation when it comes to the so-called crunch??

There's gotto be something in it.

Crimson Feet said...

@ Lord Jim

@ Jazz Mafia
:) sure that was long, but strong views dont easliy lend themselves to curtailment (unless u can be as crisp as Lord Jim!)

-- one small thing i'd like to mention. I have nothing against THOSE who willingly marry. I just feel that, it should be equally ok for two people to willingly NOT marry!

@ cat

hope u doing fine!
let me say first, that i am NOT against marriage. I am only against marriage being an compulsion/obligation.

to reply to a few of ur points --

1. marriage as a "system" to curtail "the whole screwing each other game" --- may b u didnt give enuf thot to it, but people still "screw each other" inspite of marriages. either literally or figuratively. In fact there is less screwing in live-in due to the "free n fair" nature. a commited guy/girl does not entertain others irrespective of marriage.
also, do u really think that, marriage or no marriage, women will allow animalistic screwing by one and all?!
i believe that self employed structure/system is much more effective than a socially enforced system.

2. "why the hesitation to use the institution of marriage to make it public?" --- No hesitation to make it public. If thats the way BOTH of u want! (by public i am sure u mean those who are close to u and who matter/to whom your relationship matters)
I feel that along with marriage, comes an assumed artificial statement that "BOTH of us will remain together FOREVER". Being practical, it doesnt always happen. Being negative, this makes a break-up even more embarassing. And being positive, I believe that if you have to stay together forever, you will do so even without marriage.(just my view)
But yes, I do agree that making it public showcases your CONFIDENCE that u r ready to take this forward as long as u can, and will give it ur best shot. if marriage is the only way to make it public, then u r totally rt.

3. "Marriage as celebration" is my own interpretaion. and thus there is no hesitation in it. in fact i'd love to celebrate the begining of my commitment. BUT, as i said, thats my interpretation. society does not treat it as JUST that.

4. And the most important point. sorry but, u lost out on a 5 yr old relationship due to marriage. does that ring a bell? i have no idea of what u have been thru and i dont intend to hurt u in anyway.... but tell me if i am wrong... if u guys were happy the way u were, wht did anyone achieve by enforcing a social/legal/moral binding around that happiness?

just look around and u'll find so many empty marriages. thrust upon people by themselves (there are GRT ones also, but less in number) I have been analysing this specifically for over 2 yrs now..

i am also in a similar position as u are.. my parents want me to marry... situation with ex is too complicated... and parents are sharing new bios with me on a daily basis. i dont say no to them (i just say no to the girls ;) ). as i said, my thots are quiet radical. in the current society, i know i'll end up marrying. my parents happiness is more important than my rebellious attempts at redefining social constructs ( !! impressive eh! :) ) thats when i blog it...

i'll just make sure that i am WITH the girl because i want to be with her and not because i married her... my marriage will most probably be simple and zero jazz... but the CORE of the idea -- commitment & companionship -- have to be 100%.


catmiester said...


got me there.

1. Self-imposed structures being better than socially imposed ones?

I've never denied the thought that we shouldnt question structures which have been created through centuries, just cause they exist. Certainly, just because it's there, doesnt make it right.

But the fact remains... where social structures have been built and been broken over years and years... marriage is one instiution which has sustained itself...Why?

Maybe the 'sanctity' of it has been lost somewhere... however that is only due to personal choice. As a globally accepted social phenomena, the step into marriage is certainly to celebrate love.
With what mindset you step into it... How u treat your marriage and what u do within it, is then defined by your personal thinking!!

2. considering we are not living in isolation ( and I dont think it is possible either)... by public I mean not only my close family and friends... but society at large.As much as we deny it, social acceptance is something each one of work towards, either consciously or subconsciously. ( I know u wudnt agree with me on that!!:)

Anyway... all the best for the (wo)man hunt!! :)

Know exactly what's going on there!!!

Crimson Feet said...

sure... i disagree! :)

...all the best to you too cat!

Which research agency are you with? I am looking for some mid level ones in delhi for a qualitative project. A few references will help.

catmiester said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
catmiester said...

No problemo... glad it was of help.

Will let u know if I can think of anything else

Jazz Mafia said...

Catmeister is right about its importance in society, no denying that at all. And there's nothing wrong with making it public either. Most people believe strongly in that. And she's right abt the crunch too, I understand, completely.

Umm, I didnt really understand this: "but strong views dont easliy lend themselves to curtailment" And yes I have nothing against those that marry either, I'm rather happy they choose what they want. Some ppl have very much fixed ideas in their head about marriage and stuff. Well, its good for them in any case :)

i believe that self employed structure/system is much more effective than a socially enforced system. << 100% agrees

my parents happiness is more important than my rebellious attempts at redefining social constructs << lol, I am willing to forgo it. Stated much in advance to my folks, dare you not start all that jazz with me. I'm only a kid yet :P

But the fact remains... where social structures have been built and been broken over years and years... marriage is one instiution which has sustained itself...Why? < you cant say so very strongly, at least not in the "kalyug" (lol, sorry I had to put it there :) ) I'd surely like to hear about other social structures that have broken down over the centuries. And marriages surely CAN be a success provided both willing parties think so by making it work by varied methods. Most ppl take it for granted, but I am hell sure there's so much work involved in keeping a marriage "working.

social acceptance is something each one of work towards, either consciously or subconsciously. < Well, you could make it generic by saying "most of the ppl" that "each of us" because believe me, not everyone works towards it. There are some that jus dont care :P like me :P

KC said...

"Til death do you part...." feels like a prison sentence at best...

Commitment, devotion, love, affection, loyalty - don't need to be legalised or even put on paper. Its from the heart and the morale code a person lives with.

But for some... they need to belong to something bigger. For me... it doesn't have to come with a piece of paper. Just an understanding of the heart.


Naseeb said...

Once upon a time, two people fell in love and they wanted everyone to know that were in love and wanted to give a name to it. Marriage.
Like monkey's , everyone wanted to do what the other's were doing - so left, right and centre people started getting married. These were people in love.
Down the road, like everything, it got misinterpreted and became an unwritten rule that people should get married after a certain age or else...your life would never be complete.
That's when people were paired with each other (whether they liked it or not) and the era of loveless marriages began.
Sex was an added bonus for these folk.
Today, we question the need for marriage- do it if you want, don't if you don't want to.
Not so easy. We have to adapt and 'fit' into society- we SHOULD get married to have children etc etc. Otherwise we become social misfits.
Where is all this written? I love and am loved, but I don't want marriage. There is no need for a label.
I have other ways to celebrate love and companionship and can make it lifelong without being married.
Basically, do what you want, for yourself. Happiness is crucial- one way or the other.Whether society approves or not.

Crimson Feet said...

@ jazz!

sure kid! wrt parents, we'll talk again after 7-8 yrs :)

@ KC
so true... and the tricky part being that marriage or no marriage, "an understanding of the heart" remains an elusive notion!!

welcome to my blog kc... is interaction on a personal blog more personal than avanoo?!... anthropology and sociaology in the age of the net is sure interesting! :)

@ naseeb
good theory for origin of marriage! very likely to be true!! i like the monkey analogy :)...
(i personally have a bias towards monkeys...i find them funny and thus support them... everytime anyone compares humans with monkeys, i start imagining all the people on streets, in office, media, tv, malls etc as monkeys... its hilarious... try imagining!)

i am not too sure if "Basically, do what you want, for yourself" philosophy, provides either "completess of life" or "happiness"... especially when theres another person involved... thats what probably is the CORE reason for creation of "marriage as a system", so that even if the hearts dont meet, at least the male dominated society ensures that the man gets his regular action!!

... so u finally are cheating on your livejournal partner! ...if simple blog commitments can be maintined, what does one expect of marriages and life :)

Naseeb said...

If I'm not getting what I want from one thing, I WILL switch to another.Be it livejournal or relationships.
It's a personal choice I make, whatever makes me happier.
Men-humph ,today they are like malai to me(I hate them right now,with exceptions ofcourse-uff cant stand the diplomacy but can't put the men who have been good to me in the same category!).
So,dont even get me started on this male dominated society hogwash!!
It all comes down to taking risks,doesn't it.Marriage, life...all of it

Crimson Feet said...

oops!... had not read your comment before writing my next post! kindly dont correlate the two..

also, i dont think "male-dominated" is a hogwash. its a fact of the past at least. neither am i supporting it, nor do appreciate it.

...and yes.. i agree! it all comes down to taking a risk. the uncertainty of the future plays a more important role in shaping lives than the certainity and learnings of the past!

rayshma said...

i guess it's more a part of growing up. of accepting responsibility for ur own decisions... and of facing consequences thereof...
i don't see any "need" for marriage. but u know... having been there, done that... i'd say a marriage is a hell lot more work than a r'ship! :) and yeah, it has it's moments which make it SO worth it! :)
so i guess it's more like a necessary evil - u can't live with it and u can't live without it!

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