“There is one possibility in interpersonal existence in which meanings of romance and friendship may interpenetrate to such an extent that a new world can evolve marked by deep personal happiness and fulfillment; this possibility is to be found in marriage” (Sadler 339). The choice, the option, the decision of marriage is one that I have been currently making and via the thoughts and conclusions of, specifically philosophers, I have been able to successfully develop my own. Many have concluded that the origin and true meaning of marriage strictly is directed towards an extremely pragmatic lifestyle.
This point of view attempts to strip the concept of matrimony from any sense of emotion. This seems to be more of an attempt to ignore any sentiment towards any want or any need, simply to communally create and permit an opportunity for this race to rise and prosper to the greatest of extent. Emotion in this case only serves to slow and deter one’s efficiency and mind. “Obviously modern marriage has lost all rationality… the rationality of marriage lays in its indissolubility in principle. With our growing indulgence for marrying for love , we have eliminated the very foundation of marriage, that which first makes an institution out of it.
An institution is never , ever founded on an idiosyncrasy; marriage as I said is not founded on ‘love’-it is founded on the sex drive, on the drive for property (woman and child as property), on the drive for domination which constantly organizes the smallest unit of domination-the family” (Nietzsche 76). Marriage has been discouraged on many accounts mostly because of its disruption towards individual rights and lives. “Even at its best, the marital relationship as Kant portrays it is fundamentally a system of mutual exploitation: Each partner uses the other by taking advantage of the other’s vulnerabilities.
The man victimizes the woman’s physical and intellectual weakness , which is ramified in her position of social and economic dependence. The woman uses her allurement, emotional sensitivity, and self-control to play on the man’s passions and affections. Love as a natural inclination depends on the superiority of the lower over the beloved. ; reciprocal love therefore always depends on a kind of mutual superiority, in which each partner has some decisive advantage over the other” (Kurks 257).
Hegel, on the other hand, rejects the Kant’s notion that marriage is nothing more than a “civil contract”. He contends, rather, that this contract being the legal and formal expression of the free consent that constitutes the ‘ objectives origin’ of marriage, is indispensable. Precisely by contracting ( as bearers of individual rights) to become “man and wife,” men and women enter freely into marriage. Hegel also maintains that the marital contract is unique. It is in his view, ‘a contract to transcend the standpoint of contract’ is the standpoint from which people are viewed as bearers of individual rights.
The sense in which men and women “transcend” this standpoint when they contract to marry is that they agree to enter a relationship in which neither relates to the other as a bearer of individual rights. According to Hegel, this is a crucial part of what agreeing to marry involves. In his view, the internal life of the family (modern as well as traditional) falls outside the realm of individual rights” (Hardiman 178,179) Hegel in no way completely ignores the element of feeling in a union such as marriage but he thoroughly believes that the true and genuine center of the agreement and proceeding to marry is logic and reason. . . Hegel disparages the modern romantic notion that the essential thing about marriage is “being in love”.
Undoubtedly personal inclination cannot be ignored. But to put exclusive emphasis upon this is to base marriage entirely upon subjective feeling. No doubt marriage is based upon feeling, but only upon feeling which has reason at its core”. Therefore meaning that marriage, like any other “ethical institution”, is directly based on reason. Aristotle lays women down many levels below any man. The stigma of inferiority stapled on women is in a sense a rare achievement for mankind.
Woman is an unfinished man, left nature superior, and the female inferior; the one rules and the other is ruled, and this principle extends, of necessity, to all mankind”(Stace 410) It is suggested that a man of thirty-seven consider marrying a woman early in her twenties because they will both simply be at the same level mentally and socially. ” What attracts Aristotle to this matrimonial mathematics is the consideration that two such disparate persons will lose their reproductive power and passions at approximately the same time” (qtd. in Durant 66) Hegel, strongly disagrees with the notion that women are no where near equal to men.
But, he does on one hand, believe they are incapable of excelling in the art of rationality and logistics. “Though formally women are persons with abstract rights, marriage is the mutual surrender by both parties of their independent personality. . . Hegel finds women unsuited by nature for a rational and reflective education, and consequently for life in civil society and the state: Women may well be educated, but they are not made for the higher sciences, for philosophy, and certain artistic productions which require a universal element. Women have many insights but they do not contain the ideal” (Wood 43).
Soren Kierkegaard never married. No great philosopher has ever been married, Nietzsche falsely suggests; it would be comical for a philosopher to marry. The philosopher “does not deny ‘existence’ he rather affirms his existence and only his existence. . . to the most powerful action, which is in most cases the path to unhappiness-the philosopher loathes marriage along with all the arguments in its favour-marriage as obstacle and disaster on the path to the optimum. Which of the great philosophers up to now has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer-none of them married; further, it is impossible even to imagine them married.
A married philosopher belongs in comedy, such is my proposition: and that exception Socrates-the mischievous Socrates, it seems, got married ironice, expressly in order to prove this very proposition”( Nietzsche 86) After his experience with women it would have made sense for Kierkegaard to more or less attack marriage as opposed to defending it. In actuality, Kierkegaard was simply only defending the “validity of marriage, but in aesthetic terms”. “Marriage deepens the love by giving it the dimension of time, making it possible for love to have a history”(qtd. in Hannay 166) He took an incredibly mature approach to pain.
But, because his experience in a sense can directly be linked to pain, his view, his vision towards marriage has to, inevitably, be a result of his feelings as opposed to his rationale. “No longer having it in prospect he could do the Hegelian thing and look at in retrospect , but not exactly in the Hegelian way, since he had no real reason to suppose that marriage itself was not ‘valid’ and could be surpassed; it was simply that it would not do for him, and so there must be some way of seeing that marriage is a task for which not all are fitted, not because they are too immature but because they are overmature, or too little natural.
He was later to say that it was due to Regine, his melancholy, and his money that he could become a writer. They were all in a good cause. He even speaks, without a trace of irony, of Regine as having helped him with his relation to God and, in this way, to become ‘myself’. Marriage was a good thing but had to be sacrificed”( qtd. In Hannay 167) Kierkegaard himself attributes the beginning of the second part [of Either / Or] to marriage; he claims the reason it begins with that concept is because it ‘is the most profound form of revelation of life’.
This man also has a distinct point of view when it comes to the roles both men and women play in their marriage or in their non-marriage. “Women are not bound to men in the nature of understanding itself but also by the nature of relationships they find themselves in with men. Women are oppressed by men, but they are also married to them, taught by them, guided by them, parented by them, bound to them by a hundred small commitments” (Lyn 169)” The destruction of marriage is unlikely as long as the one who reflects on marriage is male, even when that male is H. H.
The institution remains rooted and secure, and questioning remains in the domain of exploration of alternative ways of choosing to marry or not to marry. But, H. H. never considers how it might change the discussion for a woman to reflect deeply upon marriage. A woman’s being in a patriarchal culture is subsumed under her relationship to marriage. Whereas a man might wonder whether to marry or not to marry, a woman is married or unmarried, miss or mistress. To attempt to understand what it means to be a woman requires genius, because she has no meaning in the existing order except as a subset and attachment to Man.
To reflect on Woman as such is to step out of humanity, for humanity is but another name for Mankind. This is a revolutionary realization, an extraordinary realization, a not knowing of something so simple as her species and straightforward that it is a kind of insanity to wonder about it. The first revolutionary act is a realization of the roots of the meaning of the established order by uncovering one’s own disrelationship to that meaning”(Lyn 109). Marriage is typically either praised or blamed for a change that developed in the person, in the couple, or in a society.
It usually is accounted for any difference in the lives of those affected post-wedding bells. Usually it is the people, their maturity, their level of open-mindedness and communication, that is simply not suited for marriage. This is what destroys the concept of marriage. The concept in itself does not need to be tainted. It is perfect in nature. It is men and women that don’t completely respect, acknowledge, understand, devote, or believe in the beauty of it, that lose all concept of what was originally agreed upon.
There have been many attempts to rationalize, to perfect,. to teach, the true essence of the institution but really it was all a lack of willingness to be vulnerable and emotional about a figurative journey one could possibly embark on. Marriage is either dived into or completely avoided. People either list great reasons as to why they should map out their entire life together via a certificate or create long and tedious dissertations as to why a life “together” should never occur.
And, of course, there is always the middle-men that list the “to do” and what “not to do” while you’re married… this and this make your marriage a successful one. These thoughts and arguments should of course immediately lead you to great happiness. Unfortunately, not one of these is the answer to everyone. Every concept that exists, fact or opinion, all boils down to the individual that interprets it. Whether it is positive or negative is incredibly subjective-marriage is one of these concepts.
John Stuart Mill evaluated a successful marriage as well, specifically in reference to its affect on growth. “What marriage may be in the case of two persons of cultivated faculties, identical, in opinions and purposes, between whom there exists that best kind of equality, similarity of powers and capacities with reciprocal superiority in them-so that each can enjoy the luxury of looking up to the other, and can have alternately the pleasure of leading and of being led in the path of development-I will not attempt to describe. . .
I maintain, with the profoundest conviction, that this, and this only, is the ideal of marriage. . . The moral regeneration of mankind will only really commence. . . when human beings learn to cultivate their strongest sympathy with an equal rights and in cultivation”(Habibi 45). Buddhists strongly believe in the union of both the male and the female. The concept of marriage is not necessarily intertwined between them. There is more of a sacred belief in the sexual possibilities and relations that can be carried out via both the man and woman.
Another , Samantabhadra (‘he who is all-pervadingly [sic] good’) is depicted, though primarily Tibetan Buddhism, in sexual union (yab-yum) with his female consort, expressing the view that meditative concentration can be intensified through the combination of both male and female energies in a single person”(Billington 73) This eastern concept mostly orbits around the main goal of pure and complete spiritual fulfillment. “There are three categories of the way to spiritual fulfillment: ground, path and fruition.
The ground is the one who meditates: the path is the way of meditation, which purifies the ground; the fruition is the attainment of the ‘great perfection’ of ati-yoga, or dzogchen. Tibetan Buddhists recognise [sic] the twin polarities of male and female, representing, on the one hand, rationality and skill, and , on the other, intuitive wisdom and compassion. The highest experience involves the union of both-a belief that is pivotal in the Chinese teaching of yin and yang” ( Billington 83).
Marriage is essentially a religion. For just as all important questions are ultimately religious , what we choose to worship -what we recognize as the highest-in turn guides our way of seeing all of life’s important questions, including the question of marriage. One way to understand marriage, then, is to believe that we ourselves are the creators and masters of our marriages. The marriage is bigger than the couple and also points to something beyond itself.
It would be appropriate to attribute my decision to practically every word that has been stated thus far. The most logical form of making this decision in particular would be of course to list and to ponder for days the many pros and cons. I admit this is the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. I can only agree or completely argue against these many points of view. I cannot say they immediately entered my brain in the process of deciding.
Therefore, I cannot admit I truly thought about my decision. I know that I felt my decision. I also felt that it was right. I feel every mind that offered an opinion above felt their decision, to either marry or to not marry was right as well. It was only after they felt their decision that they rationalized it and put it into words. “So far, I have argued that romantic love is a quasi-religious ideal that cultivates religious attitudes of devotion and yearning and projects salvation through the beloved.
In this respect, the ideal goal of romantic love is fusion or some kind of a shared identity that would mark the overcoming of individual isolation and despair and the achievement of “eternity” through the beloved. Romantic lovers inhabit their own world, and although this does not need to entail the suppression of separate interests or to involve doing everything together, their individual identity is to a great extent superseded by the formation of this “we self”.
According to the romantic model, only the latter brings fulfillment and completion to the individual life. Similar to this, in marriage two people present a united front to the world”(White 64) The relationship involves differences as much as it involves a commitment. Arguments and sacrifices don’t fit quite inside the meaning of the terms. In other words, an argument or a sacrifice doesn’t truly seem like an argument or sacrifice at all because they are simply small products of something much bigger-a love worth anything.
This type of love is important because it creates the “sacred character of the world” and “transfigures our own experience”(White 76). Passionate love truly offers the most intense, the most powerful possibilities of self-transformation. “Since it changes the physical, the emotional, and spiritual aspects of individual life”(White 76) . Only after truly experiencing the nature and life of a passionate and unconditional love can I agree with the few sentences above.
Only after truly feeling what it is like to live with such a love can I make the decision as to whether I should commit to this arrangement for life. The statement: “you just know”, in that sense is certainly not a cop out. These philosophers, in particular, did not necessarily aid in the search for the right person or the right decision in following what I solely believed was true and right, they only allowed me to view the difference of thought from one mind to another-from one continent to another. They simply reinforced what I felt to be true and realistic.