Monogamy is a form of sexual bonding involving a permanent pair bond between two beings. You meet this one woman, date for a while and decide to have sexual intercourse with only her for the rest of your life. But as you’ve probably noticed in your own life or perhaps that of a friend, monogamy is damn hard.
People cheat on each other day and night. Countless divorces are being enacted right now. The sole reason being infidelity. In addition to many more. Both men and women get a fair share of the blame. Many happy families have broken up because one of them cheated on the other.
But why is monogamy so hard? Why is it that the people who succeed at it are the exception not the norm?
-introducing the law of blind processes.
It’s all around us but I suppose you’re hearing it for the first time.
The law of blind processes states that; over time, random subsequent events behave as if someone or a supernatural power is controlling them – to produce something far more complex. You might even call it the law of hindsight bias.
Look at human beings. When you study evolution of life on earth, it’s almost inconceivable that complex beings such as humans are descendants of single-celled microbes that evolved over a course of billions of years. Yet it’s the truth. From microbes, the subsequent organisms that survived were the fittest depending on the genes and their environments.
Leave the process to play out over millions of years and you end up with human beings. If you look at things in hindsight (as no one was around at the time), you might think someone or a supernatural being designed the human beings. But that’s not true.
This law of blind processes is going to help us figure out why in the world is monogamy widely practiced yet it’s damn hard.
-Monogamy is made for the society, not you.
When you look at all blind processes, one trait stands out. The survival of most entities (such as humans) depends on the stability of the environment. When the environment is unstable, very few entities survive. And so, the entities that survive, for the most part, are those that aid the stability of the environment.
That’s why we’re social animals. It’s in everyone’s advantage if we work together to solve problems.
That’s where society comes in. Most of the ideas, actions and behaviors advocated in our societies today don’t necessarily help the individuals in the long run. But they help keep the societies stable. There is less chaos, less conflicts and less uncertainty. The prerequisites for a stable society.
When the society is stable, more people survive. When there is chaos, less people survive. And because in nature more emphasis is given to survival than happiness, this way of living wins.
So you end up with a stable society that has so many unhappy individuals. It’s the price you pay for living in a stable society. To make matters worse, most people are not aware of this. Because as I said, no one ordered things to be like this. Not the men in suits.
It’s just how things roll over a long period of time. Otherwise, those people who were wise enough to see the whole drama at play and entertained opposing lifestyles never lived long enough to pass on their genes.
So, where our ancestors monogamists too? No they were not. Then what happened to us?
-The grand entrance of the Agricultural Revolution.
The Agricultural revolution around 12,000-13,000 years ago kick started the modern view of the world as we see it. Before that every single community on earth was made of hunter gatherers. Our hunter gatherer ancestors never lived in a single place for long. They were always moving from one place to another.
During those years, the men used their natural physique to survive. And the women used mostly sex (to lure men into helping them) to survive. People lived in small bands of relatives. Everyone knew everyone. No one was a stranger. And so women didn’t have any problem to sleep with a number of men as long as it ensured their survival.
By nature women are more filtering of who they sleep with but if it’s not a stranger and it ensures their survival, then no problem. The men on the other hand are wired to sleep with anyone with a skirt. Stranger or no stranger.
But after the agricultural revolution, people began settling in villages and towns. All over a sudden, people owned properties and assets. Populations increased as a result of more availability of food. Now strangers where common. Life was never the same again.
-Wealthy and ownership of property.
With cultivating of land, there came ownership of farms. With ownership of farms, there was need for labor. With the need for labor, there was need to have stable families. The accumulation of wealth meant one needed a family to maintain and inherit all his properties.
You could only entrust your property to a wife who belongs to you alone. You had to be sure the children were your own and not of other men. Monogamy was inevitable. Monogamy was born. It was necessary for a stable society. Even if it would be hard on the individual because of his biological deficiencies.
If something works in the society’s view, additional incentives are invented too. That’s how marriage came to the scene. Women loved it. Their fathers loved the dowry. It became unstoppable.
And remember, all these things take a lot of years to get to where they are. Thousands of years. It’s possible that the ideas of marriage and dowry were spaced by thousands of years, when coming to the scene. Without anyone in control as we want to believe in most cases.
That movement has never stopped ever since then.
-The role of Christianity.
The movement had one problem though. Lack of direction and too much dominance by the rich. Monogamy was still raw and impure. Religion solved that. Christianity solved that.
God wants one man to have only one woman, people were told. Adultery was considered as committing a sin in the eyes of God. The power of the rich was cut down. Once a resourceful man was married, there was no room for additional women in his life. The rest of the men now had a shot at marriage.
This fairness brought about by Christianity added immense fuel to an already well-oiled machine. Monogamy became the order of the day. The society was stable. People survived in harmony.
-But why is it so hard –The nature of men.
Women are only capable of releasing around 400 fertile eggs in their lifetime. Men on the other hand can release approximately 500 million sperms in one ejaculation. In nature, there very few coincidences. The reason for this is simple, men should be ready to make a woman pregnant at a moment’s notice. That’s why you’re still tempted to cheat on your girlfriend even when you love her so much.
It’s deeply ingrained in your DNA. And once something is biological, good luck opposing it. It is damn hard. Almost impossible for most of us.
Yet here we were, in a society whose stability required monogamy.
There you have it. Monogamy wasn’t designed for you, it was made for the society.
It’s hard because it goes against your very nature. Any war against nature is doomed for failure. Like it or not. At least not in the short-term.
Society values and cords evolve faster than our own biology. And so it becomes really hard to meet the expectations of society. Because our biology is just not there yet. We really need a good thousands if not millions of years to act as required. Even if I think this monogamy movement is doomed to fail.
The way forward is this: Do whatever you think is best for you. If you want to give monogamy a shot, good for you. And if you happen to want it the other way round, I still wish you the best. But whatever your choice is, don’t expect an easy ride.
Once monogamy is your choice, recognize the reality that it won’t be easy. No matter how much “in love” you think you’re. Be ready for your biology to cause havoc in the future. For reasons you might never be able to pin down.
If you decide against monogamy, recognize the fact that the society is going to go hard on you. You’re threatening its stability. Be ready to stomach that pressure as most of the people condemning you have no idea why they want what they want.
What do you think? Is monogamy right for you? Leave your comment below as I reply to all comments.