Home Forums General Discussion Polygamy or monogamy

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  PaulM 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • MartyR

    The title says it all really, but what does our biology say?

  • MartyR

    I see no one has replied to this but interestingly I’ve just read an explanation of the theme in Freedom. I may have read or misunderstood this incorrectly but it seems the only explanation supporting monogamy as an argument is an interpretation of the biblical/philosophical texts?

  • PaulM

    As with a lot of these things, there is the explanation for how and why something came to be before the human condition emerged, and then there is a different explanation for how and why something occurred after the emergence of the human condition, which is usually a psychological reason.
    Firstly, in chapter 8:11B of FREEDOM (par 784) Griffith explains the basis of monogamy under the duress of the human condition. He writes: “In the case of the convention of marriage, this institution was invented as one way of containing the spread of upset. By confining sex to one life-long, monogamous relationship, the souls of the couple could gradually make contact and coexist in spite of the sexual destruction involved in their relationship. As stated in the Bible, in marriage ‘a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one’ (Mark 10:7, 8).” Obviously there is a lot in that – to understand it fully it is necessary to understand that we became psychologically upset as a result of the batttle between instinct and intellect, and that this upset was increased through exposure to upset that around us; and that sex was an expression of upset, and in turn spread upset. But essentially Griffith’s explanation is that today monogamy is a societal construct designed to limit the spread of upset.
    I had to do a little bit of searching to find the where Griffith explains monogamy/polygamy in our pre-human condition history, but it is there! If you go to Freedom Expanded Part 8:4D there is a very interesting section on monogamy amongst our ape-ancestors. To understand this topic fully you obviously need to be familiar with Griffith’s ‘love-indoctrination’ theory which is presented in Chapter 5.4 of ‘Freedom’, the fossil evidence of which confirms it in the following chapter, and the living evidence in the bonobos in the one after that.
    So in Freedom Expanded, Griffith explains that there was an important biological reason for monogamy in that it was a very effective way of containing sexual opportunism once selfishness had been overcome in our ape ancestors. Griffith writes: “If bonobos had been able to complete the infancy stage and become a fully integrated species they would no longer need to use sex as an appeasement device and, in fact, would have developed monogamous relationships. To explain, once competition for mating opportunities was brought under control, monogamy would have become the natural state because, firstly, each female pairing with a different male maintains more variability than the situation where one male dominates a group of females, and, secondly, because it provides infants with the greatest stability and continuity of love. Although the multiple partners, ‘free love’ strategy that bonobos are having to employ for appeasement while selflessness is still being perfected does provide more variability than monogamy, it doesn’t offer infants the same stability and continuity of love as monogamy. Again, the reason variability is advantageous is because it gives a species the greatest chance to genetically adapt to different situations, and it has to be remembered that the longer life span that accompanied the longer infancy period in the love-indoctrination process limited variability and thus adaptability, so monogamy helped counter that limitation.”
    So, as with most aspects of our lives under the human condition, monogamy has a psychological basis, but Griffith also explains how monogamy was established in our species prior to the advent of the human condition.