A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved. Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Monogamy is overrated, I once told a friend. And I still stand by the statement.
I wrote a post on romantic love as a construct akin to addiction, inspired by a TED Talk. This post is similarly inspired, that is by a TED Talk which I have included below. But this time, we are dealing with a construct namely monogamy, that is potentially more susceptible to abuse and has greater impact on society in general.
The construct of monogamy has facilitated the objectification and subjugation of women for centuries. How? It provides a justification for the control of women’s sexuality, women’s sexual expression and freedom, and to some extent, women’s participation in society including economic freedom and independence. This is not old news, it is not past phenomenon…it is still happening in various part of the world.
Let me clarify, I am NOT saying monogamy is wrong. What I AM saying is that monogamy can be a choice for many, but it ought not be the dominant standard by which others are measured and perhaps found wanting, or worse, ‘bad’.
Beyond certain religious beliefs, commitment and bonding – the elements of monogamy that are important – can exist outside this construct. Commitment to two or more persons at any one time, commitment to a specific relationship unit, bonding within three or more individuals, bonding between any two individuals in a group of individuals … the variations are endless. These commitments and bondings are no less valid or significant or real. Truly, is monogamy the only way we humans ought to bond?
If purpose is considered important, then we might need to question the basis from which the purpose is derived and whether it remains valid. Is monogamy the only way humans ought to procreate? Is purity of genes, the notion that a child ought to know his or her one true father, crucial to the survival of our species?
For all that is beautiful, comfortable and agreeable about monogamy, the awareness that monogamy is not the only way of being for relationships serves as a reminder in times when I make judgments on others and their way of life, no matter how unintentional or well-intentioned I may be.
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