Azekeil (azekeil) wrote,

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Interesting Times [an opinion piece]

This morning I watched some of Kilroy. I know, it's my own fault really. But it got me thinking. The program was about couples where someone had cheated on their partner and the discussion was about people's experiences with being taken back and given a second chance or not. A man was talking about his remorse and regret at his having an affair and wanting to be taken back.

Up until this point it had been a frank and open exchange of views, with no one jumping down anyone else's throat, people just telling their experiences.

A woman responded to this man with the opening line, "How can you love two people?"

My interest in the program abruptly switched off. Well actually that's not true - my level of empathy for the people involved nosedived. I wanted to see what they said about it. Not a lot - it was accepted implicitly by the audience in their deafening silence on the matter. Sometimes it's a shame the show's producers miss a trick by casting their nets wider to get the BIGGER picture, not just what's socially accepted as the norm. I must admit, I didn't watch the program to the end as I was already late for work.

But in any case, it got me thinking. There are fundamental flaws with monogamy. It's by definition posessive, promoting negative behaviour like jealousy. Because it's the socially accepted norm it is also the default, the ignorant choice. It puts pressure on people to 'find the right person'. It promotes a very insular and introspective style of relationship; in standard marriage vows: '..forsaking all others..'.

The woes of peer pressure continue, promoting living together as the natural next step. One that is often taken without much thought for how it will actually work; what each person's needs are, financial and emotional commitments, etc.

Now, before you get me wrong, this is not a post about monogamy bashing. I know a good few people who are in fantastic monogamous relationships. Polyamoury has a whole host of different flaws as well. For example, there are those who get swinging and polyamoury confused, much to the detriment of all concerned. Polyamoury is not the norm, it is difficult for people to accept, an uphill struggle. Polyamoury forces people to communicate. Also, because it is not the norm, it can do exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to achieve; it can close off whole sections of people. Some dismiss it out of hand as alien, but there are also those who consider it but decide it is not for them.

The legal system and businesses in this country on the whole have no concept of polyamoury let alone consideration for it in their policies. Polygamy is illegal: in some forms it would be classified as bigamy.

It can be a lot more difficult to juggle each person's needs in polyamourous relationships, leading to feelings of being left out, and the same old problems of jealousy. There is of course the issue of increased risk of STDs. Not only is there an increased risk but each person must take responsibility not just for their own health but for the health of every other person in the relationship. Many polyamourous relationships have simple ways of dealing with this.

I explored briefly the possibility of alternative living arrangements, such as a commune or some much more cohesive group than tends to be found in society today. As technology has progressed, it becomes less and less important to give back to the community in which you live as it becomes easier and easier to spend your time elsewhere. Increases in transport and further, increases in difficulty in transport have lead to the breakdown of the community as the foundation of our society. Increases in communication have also had the same effect, but have also lead to the formation of new communities, of which LiveJournal is a great example. Communities which can share similar outlooks on life, interests, attractions, and nearly the whole gamut of human interactions. Of course, this is not without downfalls. It is a lot easier to avoid any sort of responsibility for ones actions in these new-formed communities. Only those communication methods which call for an investment in time and emotional effort will be successful in promoting close-knit communities where people can interact profitably. I personally keep most of my interactions to people I can or have met, by way of increasing responsibility and thus the value of my interactions.

In the advent of diminished responsibility, it can lead to people feeling like they don't belong and they can feel overwhelmed with not being able to find a place to 'fit in' or 'settle'.

I want to consider the social, cultural and political ramifications of the perfect transport system; free teleportation. It would allow communities to interact more freely; promote much more interaction between people and cultures that wouldn't otherwise get to interact. It could open up avenues of trade and skilled working that would have been impossible before.

It also has the potential to start more and bloodier wars than ever before. Security would take on a completely different meaning, and potentially be completely unenforceable. Politics would have to be revolutionised. Countries would no longer exist. Cultures would lack the insulation to generate their cultures in the first place.

Take Britain as an example. As an island it has the world's busiest airports and a high population density for a first-world country. It has been an attractive prospect for many people of all cultures to come and live and work here. The advent of cheap and accessible transport has enabled that.

But as a result of cheap and available transport, people neglect their responsibilities to their local communities and move elsewhere or simply interact elsewhere.

If you look at any group of people today, the ones with the most individual culture and the most community responsibility are those with the least available transport and communication.

You can see the lack of responsibility manifesting itself in modern-day problems, such as increased numbers of single parents. The close-knit communities of the past would have frowned on that sort of outcome and put pressure on the roaming parent to stand up to their responsibilities. Of course, that's not to say that that was the best solution. Violence, abuse and inequality were far more rife then.

The point is that I believe that we are going through a societal and cultural revolution. I have no idea where it will end up but slowly and surely the problems faced by everything from communities right up to world politics is facing the pressures caused by increases in availability of communication and transport. Soon it will reach a point where something will snap, and it will have a cascade effect.

These are interesting times.
Tags: current events

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