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Monogamy and the Western Civilization Part 1
One of the most interesting things about the development of Europeans and their significant advance compared to each and every other civilization is the fact that they are the only race of people that seem to be naturally inclined towards monogamy, and as such inclined towards the concept of romantic love and pair bonding.
All of the other races and civilizations apply the rather common male polygamy model that is common in all primates- all of the females belong to the dominant male and none of the other males get to breed unless it is given as a reward by said dominant male.
In contrast, monogamy produces the best long term results,
at the cost of a slower breeding rate- probably the reason why Neanderthals
were outbred by the African hominids.
Monogamy means most males get to breed so the creative male genes have a
higher chance to be passed on. This is nicely helped by the incest taboo, and
the result is that a larger variety of genetic material is passed on and
recessive genes have less chances to be activated, thus increasing the quality
of the overall genetic pool.
However, it is interesting to observe that the inclination
for individualism is necessary in order to have a successful pair-bonding based
society. A household with one man and one woman needs to have a very definite
set of rules and chores to be shared, which not only accentuates the role of
the man, but also empowers the woman in a way that is impossible in male
polygamy. In a pair bonded couple the woman is just one, not one of many. Her
responsibilities are hers, and while there exists a cooperation between women
of the same extended family in various matter like raising children, at the end
of the day she is the one that keeps her home together. The woman is the
hearth, the shelter and nurturer for both her children and her mate, and thus
her power is considerably higher than if she’d be alone or part of a harem.
And existential dread is an European trait. Thus your woman is not your property, she has to be your hearth, the shelter from everything bad happening outside. “Us against the world” requires at least another half of the “us”.
This is the reason why the women are the keepers of Western civilization. The men might go to war, work the fields, serve their seigneur- this carries across all social classes. It’s the woman who runs the house, makes the clothes, cares for the children. While the man might bring in the relation with the outside world into the family unit, it’s the woman that gives it stability and focus.
The result of this is that the nuclear family is not actually nuclear as much as it is more concentrated than the larger “extended family” across the Hajnal line. There are fewer children but women are better prepared to look after them, healthier when they birth them, therefore the return on investment on having three children in the medieval west is higher than that of having 15 children in eastern Europe out of which at least 7 will die.
Furthermore, this also creates the very European concept of community. A community is the greater non-related family that you are part of, as opposed to the clannish tribalism of the polygamous cultures. A woman who successfully raised kids into functional adults has an implicit interest in the community her kids would go forward into being successful. This creates an alliance of all of the women of said community- by virtue of having invested so much in raising their own children the community becomes theirs as a form of adopted descendant.
It’s interesting how few, if any, other cultures emphasize pair bonding as much as the various European cultures do. In most non-European myths and stories, love as motivation seems very rare to almost absent. The women might be strong and dangerous, but their bond to their mate is taken for granted.
It is also interesting to note what these cultures value in their women. While beauty seems to be an universally desired trait, in most non monogamous cultures women’s loyalty is being taken for granted because they aren’t free agents. They are property and property doesn’t get a say in whether or not it agrees to be owned.
This doesn’t actually happen in the West’s myths and stories. All heroines are of course beautiful, but it’s their other qualities that are important. In history, the West’s heroines are strong women. Whoever cares about how beautiful Cornelia Africana was? But 2000 years later we remember she refused to marry a king so she could educate her sons.
Amalasunta is a
skilled negotiator and ruler. Theodora is a very good politician and the
greatest empress Rome ever had. Alienor of Aquitaine is educated, decisive
and independent. She chooses to marry
Louis and when he fails to be a strong enough partner, she chooses to
leave him and marry Henry Plantagenet,
whose mother, Mathilda, dowager empress of Germany, was noble enough to stop a
war she couldn’t win for the English crown. Mahaut D’Artois is a peer of
France- voting on the Royal Council and waging war. Isabelle de France fights
her own husband for her own honour and dignity.
Greece was daring and smart, but the obvious absence of calming women over its men can easily be blamed for its constant feuds and unavoidable downfall. The greatest citizen of Greece is the one whose spouse was also an advisor- what is Pericles without Aspasia?
As Greece falls and the centre of Western civilization moves
towards the colder North, we see the wife as partner tradition becoming
established and paralleling the development of Rome, its triumph and decay
coinciding with the rise and fall of the traditional Roman family. Cornelia
Africana is revered after 2100 years for dedicating herself to her sons’
education. Cleopatra, European in her education and habits, from a line of
Greek pharaohs, is remembered as cunning more than anything.
As wives’ importance falls during the reigns of Tiberius,
Caligula and later Nero, we see the Empire floundering.
By allowing women to marry later, their value as a mate and
member of society increases. They can be more educated in the homemaking arts,
and in the upper classes in the arts in general. They are biologically
stronger- more likely to carry healthy babies to term and survive the winter.
By having women marry later and have more kids, you basically unchain the woman from the broodmare bonds and create someone who is a man’s equal, his shelter as much as he is her protector.
We saw this carried over to the US- in Victorian times on both sides of the pond women were expected to be educated, capable of handling the family affairs, implicitly support their mates. and make a good figure in society. They are not just broodmares.
Who can forget Gone with the Wind? While the movie is deeply focused on the adventures of Scarlett O’Hara, in the background the role of the women in that society are clear. It’s Ellen O’hara, Scarlett’s mother, who manages the large estate, keeps track of everything, does charity work and makes the decisions in the household.
By contrast, in polygamous societies the influence over men is exerted mainly by mothers- who become small despots of the harems and oppressors of the wives and daughters. Not only are these women not actual partners to their spouses, but an argument can be made that their interference in politics causes real damage- the Ottoman Empire starts decaying with the Sultanate of Women.
The above is not by any means an exhaustive argument. The point is that monogamy and the marriage as partnership that developed west of the Hajnal line are fundamental factors in the success of the European civilization. The traditional family is the most successful model of raising human children, and 2000 years of history show that men’s best results happen when they have strong women by their side.
Monogamy is significant because it’s based on loyalty- and it takes a conceptualizing race to understand the importance thereof.
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