Thursday, December 02, 2004

Why do we need Marriage?

Other monogamous species do fine without the institution of marriage.

If the response is - because those species are incapable of such a complex social institution as they do not have the cognitive capacity, then that just begs the question - why, if we are so much more intelligent, do we need marriage when species with far less capability do not?


Blogger Greyshade said...

In the beginning, O best beloved, hominine apes of a monogamous disposition lived in small hunter gatherer bands and when a young male HAMD reached the age of puberty he would eschew the young lady HAMDs of his own band. "For", quoth he, "She is my sister and what is more was a yucky girl when I was a small boy growing up". And he would instead betake himself to a young lady HAMD of a neighbouring band and talk sweetly to her. And if his sweet talk was to the lady's liking she would leave her band and come and live with his and the two would be joined together according to their monogamous dispositions. And the young lady's band were glad to let her go for they knew it was to the ultimate advantage of both sets of genes.

Now there was a certain band of berry-pickers that had mostly female offspring. And the elders of this band noticed that they were doing more picking than was normal for their age because they had a net outflow of younger people. So they spoke unto the young single ladies and when next a young male HAMD bespoke one of them she gently brushed her hand over his chest and whispered "Alas I cannot leave my people until I have picked my share of berries for the elders". The male HAMD, being sorely motivated, gathered his friends and together they picked berries all day. Then at evening they bore them in banana-leaf baskets to the male's intended. And everyone was happy and the thing became a custom among all HAMDs.

And when HAMDs invented settled agriculture they continued the custom but gave goats rather then berries and then the girl's father (for the nuclear family had likewise been invented at this time) would give a great feast (thereby consuming the goats) and the entire village would share in the merriment. And these feasts were called marriages and the old women of the village would remark on how beautiful the bride and groom looked and remember when they were just young rascals and weep for the loss of innocence. And the young unmarried people would dance around the fire and in and out of the bushes whilst contriving the loss of their own. And the worthy grown-up villagers would sit around feasting and drinking too much fermented berry juice and sometimes forgetting their monogamous dipositions.

And then finally the Priests got in on the act for, as it is written - "When you've got them by the balls there hearts and minds will follow." And the feast and merrymaking were replaced by a solemn ceremnony. And everyone would dress in their best clothes and sit in reverent silence while the priest pronounced the rites and prayers and the choir sung the hymns and then, only then when the service was all completed, could they go back to the party. Where the old could weep for the loss of innocence while the young contrived it and where the middle-aged ate and drank too much and sometimes forgot their monogamous disposition.

Birds are just less evolved. But... I did see a sparrow talking to a cardinal last week.

2 December 2004 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger stephen said...

"Other monogamous species".

There's your problem right there...

2 December 2004 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Greyshade said...

Try "Mostly monogamous". most birds, some canines, - and humans.

3 December 2004 at 9:38 AM  

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