Marriage: Keeping It Yours

It is the rare fight that is about what is said during the fight.

Everyone grows up once and thinks of themselves and their experience of growing up as ave rage; or as being the norm. Whatever that is supposed to be.

It is truer that what you experience is normal for you and why when we impose our own experience as normal – we end up in poor communication with people who grew up in different “normal” circumstances from birth order to the number and gender of parents as a base on up to how the family structure functioned for everyone.

Dysfunctional family structure has never had a truth sense to it for me, since the families that operated with various abuse, addition, absentee in spirit or physically parents still got through the day and functioned in their own manner of functioning.

Malfunctioning seemed to my mind the more accurate term.

It seems that each of us carries the family norms, the structure, the roles, the battles in our heads and we end up projecting that onto our second families – the ones that we make as an adult.

Only now, it’s not here’s the family structure – but a blend of two family structures with all the battles, assumptions and expections of the first family structure – our childhood family imposed on the second adult family that we form.

A sustainable marriage, which is the better measure than the vague “happy”, since sustainable ill include happy, but also be a stronger basis as it includes managing through difficult times that are externally or internally not happy – it’s the sustainability in the longer term that is the hallmark of successful marriages.

One way to ensure sustainability is to keep the marriage between the two married people.

Each of us has an impression of what our parent’s relationship was like – or what the pattern of relationships of each of our parents and maybe the pattern of relationships that one or both parents also had – the step parents!

In any case, like a family with multiple children, each parent will have a favorite kid, so to do the kids grow up favoring one parent over the other – it may change during our lifetimes and the reasons for which is favoured will vary.

But it seems to me that when our own relationships fails, it is largely because we are engaged in our minds in the resolving of the conflicts in the relationships we observed as children – as if we are both parents in our minds trying to resolve their conflicts in our own relationships with a person who has their own parental conflict resolutions also being projected into the current you and them relationship.

When the structures are not compatible, depending on the values both raised and society’s values – we either end the structure in divorce and move onto third and maybe fourth families or not.

Certainly the advent of divorce allowed for unsustainable families to disentangle themselves – so it’s telling that religious camps are the ones who most often lament the end of families in divorce or the prevention of family creation by abortion.

Not only do they tend to politically have the mindset of my country, right or wrong – but this is extended to families, right or wrong.

To the fundamentalist, it is family and country that matter, rather than whatever qualities and sustainability said family or country has.

In a way, fundamentalists are the ultimate idealists, as it is the idea that they hold most dear and so far above all else that the reality of how the ideal is being uphelded or lived is literally beside the point.

Fundamentalists are so emotionally attached and invested in the ideal of family or country or god, that they cannot actually define any on a way for fear it will fall short.

Which is why the ideal cannot be questioned – for questioning whether the country’s policies are right or wrong is to question the idea of country – and same for family and god.

But, by not qualifying the ideal, for those of us who are not fundamentalists, we need the why the how and what for…. we can’t buy into the ideal of anything.

Ideals are guides, not goals, the process and the quality is what matters for it is the journey or process that gives meaning. An ideal is cold comfort and empty of content until you define and measure it.

So, it’s not until society is inclined to  change what family aka marriage means that the religious folks get all uptight and appear inconsistent when they opposed gay marriage but remain silent on the subject of polygamy.

To the religious person, polygamy is not inconsistent with marriage, since it is merely one man with several simultaneous wives – in practical terms, little different than a man who has a series of wives over a lifetime – only he’s just married simulatanuously.

And why gay marrriage seems to fundies to be wrong because their ideal of marriage was suddenly no longer understood to mean 1 man and 1 woman, and they now had to scramble to define marriage as such in order to maintain the exclusivity by exclusion.

Fundies only appear to be hypocrites about who gets included in marriage, since they held the ideal without definition until their ideal was challenged.

This explains why they do not have a definition of marriage outside of not two same gender people, but marriage can include atheist heterosexuals, non-breeding by choice heterosexuals, elderly and polygamy, but no thought to polyandry (one wife with multiple husbands, because is it rarer and too culturally remote.)

And why, non-fundies who go by the practical application and who don’t define themselves by group values and ideals, have no issue with gay marriage, since, a gay marriage and a straight marriage – both as 2 people exclusive of others – are not incompatible.

Despite the fundies plea for tradition to be unquestioned – it is because they have not questioned what exactly the tradition is, that they appear to be hypocritical – they have never defined marriage across the board socially because it was always assumed that marriage was 1 of each gender – and why fundies cannot now answer what is marriage when you factor in things like transgendered couples – what if one member of a gay couple changes gender – can they get married now that they are legally different genders?

And why when they attempt to define marriage in ways that exclude gays – non-procreative sex – they are at a loss to explain how heterosexuals who cannot have or choose not to have children still get to be included in marriage but not gays who may choose to not have children, or who could adopt or use other procreative methods.

For those who attach strong value to ideals to the point of not being able to define them – are then at a loss and are inconsistent in then defended the ideal; which is an impractical and impossible standard because one size rarely fits anyone, never mind all.

And, this explains why fundies are so terrified of non-conformity – because if we all conformed, we wouldn’t need to define the ideal, because we’d all just know.

Which is why, there can truly be no god, because we would all just know – and we all know different things and we know them differently.

Cleaving to an ill defined god is the ultimate in unified conformity, but there is no actual god or uniform conformity. This is the central internal conflict of the fundie/godbot – and why there is no much inconsistency in religious ideas, because it’s patch-working the flaw at issue, without looking at the comprehensive whole to resolve by definitions in a way to include every possible situation.

There is nothing that can unify everything, so no idea that unified everything can be true – expect for one.

Relgion and the Social Contract

social contract metaphor

The social function of religion is to explicitly codify the unspoken social contract.

In theocratic countries, the population has accepted a restrictive social contract – and any attempts by outsiders – aka Western Christians is an attack on the religion of the country, since it’s the religion that defines their culture and social structures.

People who were dissatisfied with the social contract of their country’s culture immigrated – when Europeans populated the Americas – there was an explosion of religions as population groups were remote from each other.

When population increased and religions overlapped, there were groups of people driving changes to the social contract in many directions – women suffragettes, the sexual revolution starting in the 50’s with rock n roll which caused a rift between teens and adults because Elvis, coming from a social strata where there was no difference between white and black people, showed middle class white American teenagers that they weren’t any better than their black counterparts – this made the civil rights movement of the 60’s for black people possible – Elvis also showed blacks that there was no reason for them to not be treated the same.

To Elvis, this equality was natural and not an intentional concept he brought to national attention – Elvis just wanted to be middle class – to make enough money to take care of his parents and family. Elvis was not the rebel he was portrayed as – Elvis wanted to join the establishment that he was socio-economically unable to join as a child – and after he was economically part of the establishment, he continued to be rejected for his class background and southern roots.

What Elvis showed the artists who followed him was that art is a means of social change – and Bob Dylan and the entire counter-culture arts scene created art to challenge conventions – and they were granted “artist” status with all the street cred that entailed – and Elvis, without whom it would not have been possible – was never included in the emerging culture that he created. Instinctively, the next generation rejected the parent Elvis generation of artists.

Elvis remained an outsider to the establishment and the anti-establishment – which, in a way, gives him the most artistic cred – since he basically died from fame – he truly suffered the ultimate for his art – and continues to be misunderstood 30 some odd years after his death.

Social change is only possible with social clash – one group of people expresses dissatisfaction with the status quo and there are a variety of paths to bringing about change – some form militias and use violence, others public protests, others infiltrate the establishment (which can be government, business, churches, artworld, grassroots activism), and others stand as far away from the status quo and use the social structures – ie legal system – to bring about change.

The most successful employ many of the techniques and best of all, each group is able to build on the groups before.

This is why the gay community appears to have made such fast advances in a short time period and with not a lot of violence.


The larger mainstream community sees the inevitable and resists the change less with each group. Women’s ability to vote was hard fought and won – but women’s equality is a battle that continues, despite equality under the law.


Black rights dominated the ethnic minority discussion and the avenues available to the white women of earlier decades were not available to this community – so they splintered and undertook a multi-pronged front to create social change – from the impassioned reasonableness of Martin Luther King to the violent intimidation of Malcolm X  to the elegance of Rosa Parks.

Gays and lesbians had long been major players in music, movies and theatre – so the struggle for inclusion and dignity that were protests in the 70’s and legal challenges in the 80’s really began with major motion pictures from the 1920’s German film Pandora’s Box (the Bridget Jones of the day) with protagonist Lulu being the first obvious on screen lesbian – and set the tone for lesbian stories for decades as Lulu is murdered by Jack the Ripper.

Louise Brooks is Lulu

 

Aside: It was funny to me that this film is one of the most dissected film in classes, yet no one else seemed to catch that the movie takes place after WWI, yet Lulu is murdered by Jack the Ripper, as the character is identified in the credits – and Jack had long disappeared before WWI.

Changing the social contract has to come from within that contract – change cannot be imposed from outside – unless there’s a multi-generational plan for occupation.

This is the core of why America is not as liked as they think they should be. From the American POV, they are bringing freedom and technology – from the countries receiving this dubious largess – it is cultural imperialism.

I think it underscores that change must come from inside – since it is largely advances in western medicine that has allowed the global population boom.

Countries that were, for all intents and purposes, pre-industrial, were not culturally or psychologically prepared for the massive changes industrialization would bring. What we tend to ignore is that many countries today were largely in the metal eras of technology when the Industrial revolution changed production, where the jobs were and altered the family structure.

elderly people are treated worse than elderly pets

 

For the first time in global history, we have a huge elderly population, more people live in urban not rural areas, and habitat destruction and massive changes to the landscape from open pit mining, to damned rivers to bulldozing the Everglades and other swamp areas to create arable and livable land; the agricultural run off of fertilizers and pesticides causing havoc with many wildlife species and algae blooms at river mouths exhausting the water’s resources by overpopulation and leaving a water desert behind.

No other species in Earth’s history has remade the globe in their own image for their own intentional purposes and with so many unintentional results owing to our shortsighted greed and lack of knowledge.

Other animals live in an area and move to the next valley or pond when the one they were in gets too poopy, but not humans – we have left ourselves no where to move and we are opposed to even slowing down the industrial impact never mind cleaning anything up in a meaningful manner.

And, it’s sadly ironic that is it largely religious driven groups that oppose any change to business and industrial practices – possible some with a Pollyanna motivation that daddy-god will make everything better and others with the scary Yay, Armageddon is coming and everyone else is going to get theirs.

 

Left Behind: The Video Game

 

If humans are going to continue to survive and be as successful as the dinosaurs who has several millions of years as a good run – we need to change our social contract, because we’re not even at the half million year mark and we are running towards extinction with blindfolds on – and like Ghaddfi in Libya – we are determined to take everything with us.

 

American bison skull heap. There were as few as 750 bison in 1890 due to overhunting.

 

 

 

what good has Christianity done?

The only dubious benefits that I can see that Christianity has done for the world was to preserve some historical texts and writings during the dark ages – but even then, they inserted Christian dogma into writings that pre-dated Christianity.

And, it was only some texts.

Christianity is far more known for book burning than book preserving.

The Church – and that is the Catholic Church – was a primary sponsor of artists – not so much the art, since they forced the content to reflect their own agenda – but that the artists were able to make a living and develop techniques is a good thing.

It’s funny to think that in the Europe of Middle Ages, that the Catholic Church was the whole of Christianity. Whereas today in America, it’s the Protestant version that is deemed Christianity and the Catholic Church is something other than.

I wonder how much of that comes from the isolationism of American politics, so they rejected King George and the Pope combined….

Still, I expect that  we’d probably have had all the same wars – but perhaps without religion inciting the flames – we would have had to work harder to justify war and probably not allow it to last as long as they did.

Especially the crusades….

We  probably could have avoided the witch burnings, the Jewish holocaust portion of WWII, Spanish Inquisition and so forth – it seems that the horrors we inflict on each other are religiously inspired.

Capitalism is not compatible with religion.

The basis of religion is suffer now for a reward later

Capitalism is about accumulating rewards in the here and now. The sooner the better – and if at the expense of someone else… better still.

Religion at face value isn’t so much as screw the other person out of their profit, but I think that that’s more civilized than religion’s real message of converting by the word or the sword.

So, the middle ages – preservation of some texts, altered as they were, sponsorship of great artists – a plus – but witch burnings, crusades, the roots of severe anti-Semitism which is still felt today – all outweigh that good.

And what has Christianity done for us lately?

Well, more religious intolerance towards other religions, 2 terms of George W Bush and created a massive divide in US politics where the perception of morals overrides actually political issues and has pitted Americans against each other on matters of abortion, gay rights, well, civil rights generally and deep racial hurts that show little sign of healing.

Perhaps if the religious stop clinging to tradition – code for legal slavery and women as chattel.

Is this really a tradition worth retaining?