- For the "History and Philosophy of Exclusive Relationships" series, Luke Brunning presents an in-depth analysis of monogamy, a type of exclusive relationship whose effectiveness has often been questioned.
We have to accept it, we live in different times and for some the idea of monogamy is completely outdated. Whether it is due to social changes, perhaps love disappointments or simply a free personality, many are discarding the idea of having only one partner to make way for a different experience.
And of course, it’s understandable. There is talk of complications of problems, jealousy, possessive relationships, lack of freedom and other defects typical of any relationship. But is it really that bad? Luke Brunning thinks … it could be.
Monogamy and philosophy
Brunning is a philosopher and professor of ethics at the University of Birmingham who has just written a book whose title raises the very interesting question: Does monogamy work? In it, the author presents strong research on relationships , sexuality and emotional issues such as jealousy within monogamous relationships , through which the reader inevitably causes them to completely question their relationships and the possibilities of polygamy … Yes, of that strange subject.
Through the history of monogamy (which involves slavery a little, as in some ancient societies men could have relationships with their female slaves), the author also presents the difficulties that can arise, what these relationships are like and how they currently work. With close attention to illustration and ease of reading, it is easy to understand how monogamy originates through choices of society, but it can be individualistic and separatist. In some countries, monogamy is a thing of the past.
But polygamy isn’t perfect either. A work on Monogamy in Antiquity, published by Princeton and Stanford Universities, points out that in some societies, through the choice of women, polygamy can be beneficial, as a man with sufficient resources can provide for different families. However, here the problem of sexual inequality is presented, which distances men without these possibilities from that pattern, remaining excluded from it. On the other hand, biological disadvantages within a “closed” society can be mentioned.
Likewise, polygamy within the patterns of slavery and social division, in a way caused controlled communities to develop a rejection for it, as they sometimes did not have the choice of being part of a polygamous relationship , being victims of sexual abuse.
Luke Brunning’s book does not give a “prize” to monogamy or polygamy , but rather presents them side by side with their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the ethical context in which they can be presented and the real situations in their current application.
For the philosopher, modern monogamy arises as a kind of relationship demanding: “In post-romantic ideas of monogamy you are not just trying to start a family with one person, or have your property inherited by someone from your family. Now it is a more demanding ideal of emotional and social form, and even a bit political, but it is a modern development. […] This idea of love as something that offers an important or central value to life that is better – or more intense – than other types of values is relatively modern. And I think it’s problematic because I don’t think it’s real, to be honest. But it’s something we’re working on. I think a lot of people who are fighting the dominance of modern monogamy are doing it because they think they are leaving other types of relationships behind, ”he told Mashable.
An example could be relationships in which there is an emotional bond but another person appears with whom you would like to share something, perhaps not for what is considered love, but for another type of emotion. Another example would be the time that is devoted to each relationship.
In the end, relationships are too complex to be understood in their complexity. Brunning’s book offers no answers, but rather valuable questions that cast doubt on the idea we currently have of union with a person, and what can truly satisfy him.