MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE
84:0.1 MATERIAL necessity founded marriage, sex
hunger embellished it, religion sanctioned and exalted it, the state demanded
and regulated it, while in later times evolving love is beginning to justify
and glorify marriage as the ancestor and creator of civilization's most useful
and sublime institution, the home. And home building should be the center and
essence of all educational effort.
84:0.2 Mating is purely an act of self-perpetuation
associated with varying degrees of self-gratification; marriage, home
building, is largely a matter of self-maintenance, and it implies the
evolution of society. Society itself is the aggregated structure of family
units. Individuals are very temporary as planetary factors -- only families
are continuing agencies in social evolution. The family is the channel through
which the river of culture and knowledge flows from one generation to
84:0.3 The home is basically a sociologic
institution. Marriage grew out of co-operation in self-maintenance and
partnership in self-perpetuation, the element of self-gratification being
largely incidental. Nevertheless, the home does embrace all three of the
essential functions of human existence, while life propagation makes it the
fundamental human institution, and sex sets it off from all other social
1. PRIMITIVE PAIR ASSOCIATIONS
84:1.1 Marriage was not founded on sex relations;
they were incidental thereto. Marriage was not needed by primitive man, who
indulged his sex appetite freely without encumbering himself with the
responsibilities of wife, children, and home.
84:1.2 Woman, because of physical and emotional
attachment to her offspring, is dependent on co-operation with the male, and
this urges her into the sheltering protection of marriage. But no direct
biologic urge led man into marriage -- much less held him in. It was not love
that made marriage attractive to man, but food hunger which first attracted
savage man to woman and the primitive shelter shared by her children.
84:1.3 Marriage was not even brought about by the
conscious realization of the obligations of sex relations. Primitive man
comprehended no connection between sex indulgence and the subsequent birth of
a child. It was once universally believed that a virgin could become pregnant.
The savage early conceived the idea that babies were made in spiritland;
pregnancy was believed to be the result of a woman's being entered by a
spirit, an evolving ghost. Both diet and the evil eye were also believed to be
capable of causing pregnancy in a virgin or unmarried woman, while later
beliefs connected the beginnings of life with the breath and with
84:1.4 Many early peoples associated ghosts with the
sea; hence virgins were greatly restricted in their bathing practices; young
women were far more afraid of bathing in the sea at high tide than of having
sex relations. Deformed or premature babies were regarded as the young of
animals which had found their way into a woman's body as a result of careless
bathing or through malevolent spirit activity. Savages, of course, thought
nothing of strangling such offspring at birth.
84:1.5 The first step in enlightenment came with the
belief that sex relations opened up the way for the impregnating ghost to
enter the female. Man has since discovered that father and mother are equal
contributors of the living inheritance factors which initiate offspring. But
even in the twentieth century many parents still endeavor to keep their
children in more or less ignorance as to the origin of human life.
84:1.6 A family of some simple sort was insured by
the fact that the reproductive function entails the mother-child relationship.
Mother love is instinctive; it did not originate in the mores as did marriage.
All mammalian mother love is the inherent endowment of the adjutant
mind-spirits of the local universe and is in strength and devotion always
directly proportional to the length of the helpless infancy of the
84:1.7 The mother and child relation is natural,
strong, and instinctive, and one which, therefore, constrained primitive women
to submit to many strange conditions and to endure untold hardships. This
compelling mother love is the handicapping emotion which has always placed
woman at such a tremendous disadvantage in all her struggles with man. Even at
that, maternal instinct in the human species is not overpowering; it may be
thwarted by ambition, selfishness, and religious conviction.
84:1.8 While the mother-child association is neither
marriage nor home, it was the nucleus from which both sprang. The great
advance in the evolution of mating came when these temporary partnerships
lasted long enough to rear the resultant offspring, for that was
84:1.9 Regardless of the antagonisms of these early
pairs, notwithstanding the looseness of the association, the chances for
survival were greatly improved by these male-female partnerships. A man and a
woman, co-operating, even aside from family and offspring, are vastly superior
in most ways to either two men or two women. This pairing of the sexes
enhanced survival and was the very beginning of human society. The sex
division of labor also made for comfort and increased happiness.
2. THE EARLY MOTHER-FAMILY
84:2.1 The woman's periodic hemorrhage and her
further loss of blood at childbirth early suggested blood as the creator of
the child (even as the seat of the soul) and gave origin to the blood-bond
concept of human relationships. In early times all descent was reckoned in the
female line, that being the only part of inheritance which was at all
84:2.2 The primitive family, growing out of the
instinctive biologic blood bond of mother and child, was inevitably a
mother-family; and many tribes long held to this arrangement. The
mother-family was the only possible transition from the stage of group
marriage in the horde to the later and improved home life of the polygamous
and monogamous father-families. The mother-family was natural and biologic;
the father-family is social, economic, and political. The persistence of the
mother-family among the North American red men is one of the chief reasons why
the otherwise progressive Iroquois never became a real state.
84:2.3 Under the mother-family mores the wife's
mother enjoyed virtually supreme authority in the home; even the wife's
brothers and their sons were more active in family supervision than was the
husband. Fathers were often renamed after their own children.
84:2.4 The earliest races gave little credit to the
father, looking upon the child as coming altogether from the mother. They
believed that children resembled the father as a result of association, or
that they were "marked" in this manner because the mother desired them to look
like the father. Later on, when the switch came from the mother-family to the
father-family, the father took all credit for the child, and many of the
taboos on a pregnant woman were subsequently extended to include her husband.
The prospective father ceased work as the time of delivery approached, and at
childbirth he went to bed, along with the wife, remaining at rest from three
to eight days. The wife might arise the next day and engage in hard labor, but
the husband remained in bed to receive congratulations; this was all a part of
the early mores designed to establish the father's right to the
84:2.5 At first, it was the custom for the man to go
to his wife's people, but in later times, after a man had paid or worked out
the bride price, he could take his wife and children back to his own people.
The transition from the mother-family to the father-family explains the
otherwise meaningless prohibitions of some types of cousin marriages while
others of equal kinship are approved.
84:2.6 With the passing of the hunter mores, when
herding gave man control of the chief food supply, the mother-family came to a
speedy end. It failed simply because it could not successfully compete with
the newer father-family. Power lodged with the male relatives of the mother
could not compete with power concentrated in the husband-father. Woman was not
equal to the combined tasks of childbearing and of exercising continuous
authority and increasing domestic power. The oncoming of wife stealing and
later wife purchase hastened the passing of the mother-family.
84:2.7 The stupendous change from the mother-family
to the father-family is one of the most radical and complete right-about-face
adjustments ever executed by the human race. This change led at once to
greater social expression and increased family adventure.
3. THE FAMILY UNDER FATHER DOMINANCE
84:3.1 It may be that the instinct of motherhood led
woman into marriage, but it was man's superior strength, together with the
influence of the mores, that virtually compelled her to remain in wedlock.
Pastoral living tended to create a new system of mores, the patriarchal type
of family life; and the basis of family unity under the herder and early
agricultural mores was the unquestioned and arbitrary authority of the father.
All society, whether national or familial, passed through the stage of the
autocratic authority of a patriarchal order.
84:3.2 The scant courtesy paid womankind during the
Old Testament era is a true reflection of the mores of the herdsmen. The
Hebrew patriarchs were all herdsmen, as is witnessed by the saying, "The Lord
is my Shepherd."
84:3.3 But man was no more to blame for his low
opinion of woman during past ages than was woman herself. She failed to get
social recognition during primitive times because she did not function in an
emergency; she was not a spectacular or crisis hero. Maternity was a distinct
disability in the existence struggle; mother love handicapped women in the
84:3.4 Primitive women also unintentionally created
their dependence on the male by their admiration and applause for his
pugnacity and virility. This exaltation of the warrior elevated the male ego
while it equally depressed that of the female and made her more dependent; a
military uniform still mightily stirs the feminine emotions.
84:3.5 Among the more advanced races, women are not
so large or so strong as men. Woman, being the weaker, therefore became the
more tactful; she early learned to trade upon her sex charms. She became more
alert and conservative than man, though slightly less profound. Man was
woman's superior on the battlefield and in the hunt; but at home woman has
usually outgeneraled even the most primitive of men.
84:3.6 The herdsman looked to his flocks for
sustenance, but throughout these pastoral ages woman must still provide the
vegetable food. Primitive man shunned the soil; it was altogether too
peaceful, too unadventuresome. There was also an old superstition that women
could raise better plants; they were mothers. In many backward tribes today,
the men cook the meat, the women the vegetables, and when the primitive tribes
of Australia are on the march, the women never attack game, while a man would
not stoop to dig a root.
84:3.7 Woman has always had to work; at least right
up to modern times the female has been a real producer. Man has usually chosen
the easier path, and this inequality has existed throughout the entire history
of the human race. Woman has always been the burden bearer, carrying the
family property and tending the children, thus leaving the man's hands free
for fighting or hunting.
84:3.8 Woman's first liberation came when man
consented to till the soil, consented to do what had theretofore been regarded
as woman's work. It was a great step forward when male captives were no longer
killed but were enslaved as agriculturists. This brought about the liberation
of woman so that she could devote more time to homemaking and child
84:3.9 The provision of milk for the young led to
earlier weaning of babies, hence to the bearing of more children by the
mothers thus relieved of their sometimes temporary barrenness, while the use
of cow's milk and goat's milk greatly reduced infant mortality. Before the
herding stage of society, mothers used to nurse their babies until they were
four and five years old.
84:3.10 Decreasing primitive warfare greatly
lessened the disparity between the division of labor based on sex. But women
still had to do the real work while men did picket duty. No camp or village
could be left unguarded day or night, but even this task was alleviated by the
domestication of the dog. In general, the coming of agriculture has enhanced
woman's prestige and social standing; at least this was true up to the time
man himself turned agriculturist. And as soon as man addressed himself to the
tilling of the soil, there immediately ensued great improvement in methods of
agriculture, extending on down through successive generations. In hunting and
war man had learned the value of organization, and he introduced these
techniques into industry and later, when taking over much of woman's work,
greatly improved on her loose methods of labor.
4. WOMAN'S STATUS IN EARLY SOCIETY
84:4.1 Generally speaking, during any age woman's
status is a fair criterion of the evolutionary progress of marriage as a
social institution, while the progress of marriage itself is a reasonably
accurate gauge registering the advances of human civilization.
84:4.2 Woman's status has always been a social
paradox; she has always been a shrewd manager of men; she has always
capitalized man's stronger sex urge for her own interests and to her own
advancement. By trading subtly upon her sex charms, she has often been able to
exercise dominant power over man, even when held by him in abject
84:4.3 Early woman was not to man a friend,
sweetheart, lover, and partner but rather a piece of property, a servant or
slave and, later on, an economic partner, plaything, and childbearer.
Nonetheless, proper and satisfactory sex relations have always involved the
element of choice and co-operation by woman, and this has always given
intelligent women considerable influence over their immediate and personal
standing, regardless of their social position as a sex. But man's distrust and
suspicion were not helped by the fact that women were all along compelled to
resort to shrewdness in the effort to alleviate their bondage.
84:4.4 The sexes have had great difficulty in
understanding each other. Man found it hard to understand woman, regarding her
with a strange mixture of ignorant mistrust and fearful fascination, if not
with suspicion and contempt. Many tribal and racial traditions relegate
trouble to Eve, Pandora, or some other representative of womankind. These
narratives were always distorted so as to make it appear that the woman
brought evil upon man; and all this indicates the onetime universal distrust
of woman. Among the reasons cited in support of a celibate priesthood, the
chief was the baseness of woman. The fact that most supposed witches were
women did not improve the olden reputation of the sex.
84:4.5 Men have long regarded women as peculiar,
even abnormal. They have even believed that women did not have souls;
therefore were they denied names. During early times there existed great fear
of the first sex relation with a woman; hence it became the custom for a
priest to have initial intercourse with a virgin. Even a woman's shadow was
thought to be dangerous.
84:4.6 Childbearing was once generally looked upon
as rendering a woman dangerous and unclean. And many tribal mores decreed that
a mother must undergo extensive purification ceremonies subsequent to the
birth of a child. Except among those groups where the husband participated in
the lying-in, the expectant mother was shunned, left alone. The ancients even
avoided having a child born in the house. Finally, the old women were
permitted to attend the mother during labor, and this practice gave origin to
the profession of midwifery. During labor, scores of foolish things were said
and done in an effort to facilitate delivery. It was the custom to sprinkle
the newborn with holy water to prevent ghost interference.
84:4.7 Among the unmixed tribes, childbirth was
comparatively easy, occupying only two or three hours; it is seldom so easy
among the mixed races. If a woman died in childbirth, especially during the
delivery of twins, she was believed to have been guilty of spirit adultery.
Later on, the higher tribes looked upon death in childbirth as the will of
heaven; such mothers were regarded as having perished in a noble
84:4.8 The so-called modesty of women respecting
their clothing and the exposure of the person grew out of the deadly fear of
being observed at the time of a menstrual period. To be thus detected was a
grievous sin, the violation of a taboo. Under the mores of olden times, every
woman, from adolescence to the end of the childbearing period, was subjected
to complete family and social quarantine one full week each month. Everything
she might touch, sit upon, or lie upon was "defiled." It was for long the
custom to brutally beat a girl after each monthly period in an effort to drive
the evil spirit out of her body. But when a woman passed beyond the
childbearing age, she was usually treated more considerately, being accorded
more rights and privileges. In view of all this it was not strange that women
were looked down upon. Even the Greeks held the menstruating woman as one of
the three great causes of defilement, the other two being pork and
84:4.9 However foolish these olden notions were,
they did some good since they gave overworked females, at least when young,
one week each month for welcome rest and profitable meditation. Thus could
they sharpen their wits for dealing with their male associates the rest of the
time. This quarantine of women also protected men from over-sex indulgence,
thereby indirectly contributing to the restriction of population and to the
enhancement of self-control.
84:4.10 A great advance was made when a man was
denied the right to kill his wife at will. Likewise, it was a forward step
when a woman could own the wedding gifts. Later, she gained the legal right to
own, control, and even dispose of property, but she was long deprived of the
right to hold office in either church or state. Woman has always been treated
more or less as property, right up to and in the twentieth century after
Christ. She has not yet gained world-wide freedom from seclusion under man's
control. Even among advanced peoples, man's attempt to protect woman has
always been a tacit assertion of superiority.
84:4.11 But primitive women did not pity themselves
as their more recently liberated sisters are wont to do. They were, after all,
fairly happy and contented; they did not dare to envision a better or
different mode of existence.
5. WOMAN UNDER THE DEVELOPING MORES
84:5.1 In self-perpetuation woman is man's equal,
but in the partnership of self-maintenance she labors at a decided
disadvantage, and this handicap of enforced maternity can only be compensated
by the enlightened mores of advancing civilization and by man's increasing
sense of acquired fairness.
84:5.2 As society evolved, the sex standards rose
higher among women because they suffered more from the consequences of the
transgression of the sex mores. Man's sex standards are only tardily improving
as a result of the sheer sense of that fairness which civilization demands.
Nature knows nothing of fairness -- makes woman alone suffer the pangs of
84:5.3 The modern idea of sex equality is beautiful
and worthy of an expanding civilization, but it is not found in nature. When
might is right, man lords it over woman; when more justice, peace, and
fairness prevail, she gradually emerges from slavery and obscurity. Woman's
social position has generally varied inversely with the degree of militarism
in any nation or age.
84:5.4 But man did not consciously nor intentionally
seize woman's rights and then gradually and grudgingly give them back to her;
all this was an unconscious and unplanned episode of social evolution. When
the time really came for woman to enjoy added rights, she got them, and all
quite regardless of man's conscious attitude. Slowly but surely the mores
change so as to provide for those social adjustments which are a part of the
persistent evolution of civilization. The advancing mores slowly provided
increasingly better treatment for females; those tribes which persisted in
cruelty to them did not survive.
84:5.5 The Adamites and Nodites accorded women
increased recognition, and those groups which were influenced by the migrating
Andites have tended to be influenced by the Edenic teachings regarding women's
place in society.
84:5.6 The early Chinese and the Greeks treated
women better than did most surrounding peoples. But the Hebrews were
exceedingly distrustful of them. In the Occident woman has had a difficult
climb under the Pauline doctrines which became attached to Christianity,
although Christianity did advance the mores by imposing more stringent sex
obligations upon man. Woman's estate is little short of hopeless under the
peculiar degradation which attaches to her in Mohammedanism, and she fares
even worse under the teachings of several other Oriental religions.
84:5.7 Science, not religion, really emancipated
woman; it was the modern factory which largely set her free from the confines
of the home. Man's physical abilities became no longer a vital essential in
the new maintenance mechanism; science so changed the conditions of living
that man power was no longer so superior to woman power.
84:5.8 These changes have tended toward woman's
liberation from domestic slavery and have brought about such a modification of
her status that she now enjoys a degree of personal liberty and sex
determination that practically equals man's. Once a woman's value consisted in
her food-producing ability, but invention and wealth have enabled her to
create a new world in which to function -- spheres of grace and charm. Thus
has industry won its unconscious and unintended fight for woman's social and
economic emancipation. And again has evolution succeeded in doing what even
revelation failed to accomplish.
84:5.9 The reaction of enlightened peoples from the
inequitable mores governing woman's place in society has indeed been
pendulumlike in its extremeness. Among industrialized races she has received
almost all rights and enjoys exemption from many obligations, such as military
service. Every easement of the struggle for existence has redounded to the
liberation of woman, and she has directly benefited from every advance toward
monogamy. The weaker always makes disproportionate gains in every adjustment
of the mores in the progressive evolution of society.
84:5.10 In the ideals of pair marriage, woman has
finally won recognition, dignity, independence, equality, and education; but
will she prove worthy of all this new and unprecedented accomplishment? Will
modern woman respond to this great achievement of social liberation with
idleness, indifference, barrenness, and infidelity? Today, in the twentieth
century, woman is undergoing the crucial test of her long world
84:5.11 Woman is man's equal partner in race
reproduction, hence just as important in the unfolding of racial evolution;
therefore has evolution increasingly worked toward the realization of women's
rights. But women's rights are by no means men's rights. Woman cannot thrive
on man's rights any more than man can prosper on woman's rights.
84:5.12 Each sex has its own distinctive sphere of
existence, together with its own rights within that sphere. If woman aspires
literally to enjoy all of man's rights, then, sooner or later, pitiless and
emotionless competition will certainly replace that chivalry and special
consideration which many women now enjoy, and which they have so recently won
84:5.13 Civilization never can obliterate the
behavior gulf between the sexes. From age to age the mores change, but
instinct never. Innate maternal affection will never permit emancipated woman
to become man's serious rival in industry. Forever each sex will remain
supreme in its own domain, domains determined by biologic differentiation and
by mental dissimilarity.
84:5.14 Each sex will always have its own special
sphere, albeit they will ever and anon overlap. Only socially will men and
women compete on equal terms.
6. THE PARTNERSHIP OF MAN AND WOMAN
84:6.1 The reproductive urge unfailingly brings men
and women together for self-perpetuation but, alone, does not insure their
remaining together in mutual co-operation -- the founding of a
84:6.2 Every successful human institution embraces
antagonisms of personal interest which have been adjusted to practical working
harmony, and homemaking is no exception. Marriage, the basis of home building,
is the highest manifestation of that antagonistic co-operation which so often
characterizes the contacts of nature and society. The conflict is inevitable.
Mating is inherent; it is natural. But marriage is not biologic; it is
sociologic. Passion insures that man and woman will come together, but the
weaker parental instinct and the social mores hold them together.
84:6.3 Male and female are, practically regarded,
two distinct varieties of the same species living in close and intimate
association. Their viewpoints and entire life reactions are essentially
different; they are wholly incapable of full and real comprehension of each
other. Complete understanding between the sexes is not attainable.
84:6.4 Women seem to have more intuition than men,
but they also appear to be somewhat less logical. Woman, however, has always
been the moral standard-bearer and the spiritual leader of mankind. The hand
that rocks the cradle still fraternizes with destiny.
84:6.5 The differences of nature, reaction,
viewpoint, and thinking between men and women, far from occasioning concern,
should be regarded as highly beneficial to mankind, both individually and
collectively. Many orders of universe creatures are created in dual phases of
personality manifestation. Among mortals, Material Sons, and midsoniters, this
difference is described as male and female; among seraphim, cherubim, and
Morontia Companions, it has been denominated positive or aggressive and
negative or retiring. Such dual associations greatly multiply versatility and
overcome inherent limitations, even as do certain triune associations in the
84:6.6 Men and women need each other in their
morontial and spiritual as well as in their mortal careers. The differences in
viewpoint between male and female persist even beyond the first life and
throughout the local and superuniverse ascensions. And even in Havona, the
pilgrims who were once men and women will still be aiding each other in the
Paradise ascent. Never, even in the Corps of the Finality, will the creature
metamorphose so far as to obliterate the personality trends that humans call
male and female; always will these two basic variations of humankind continue
to intrigue, stimulate, encourage, and assist each other; always will they be
mutually dependent on co-operation in the solution of perplexing universe
problems and in the overcoming of manifold cosmic difficulties.
84:6.7 While the sexes never can hope fully to
understand each other, they are effectively complementary, and though
co-operation is often more or less personally antagonistic, it is capable of
maintaining and reproducing society. Marriage is an institution designed to
compose sex differences, meanwhile effecting the continuation of civilization
and insuring the reproduction of the race.
84:6.8 Marriage is the mother of all human
institutions, for it leads directly to home founding and home maintenance,
which is the structural basis of society. The family is vitally linked to the
mechanism of self-maintenance; it is the sole hope of race perpetuation under
the mores of civilization, while at the same time it most effectively provides
certain highly satisfactory forms of self-gratification. The family is man's
greatest purely human achievement, combining as it does the evolution of the
biologic relations of male and female with the social relations of husband and
7. THE IDEALS OF FAMILY LIFE
84:7.1 Sex mating is instinctive, children are the
natural result, and the family thus automatically comes into existence. As are
the families of the race or nation, so is its society. If the families are
good, the society is likewise good. The great cultural stability of the Jewish
and of the Chinese peoples lies in the strength of their family
84:7.2 Woman's instinct to love and care for
children conspired to make her the interested party in promoting marriage and
primitive family life. Man was only forced into home building by the pressure
of the later mores and social conventions; he was slow to take an interest in
the establishment of marriage and home because the sex act imposes no biologic
consequences upon him.
84:7.3 Sex association is natural, but marriage is
social and has always been regulated by the mores. The mores (religious,
moral, and ethical), together with property, pride, and chivalry, stabilize
the institutions of marriage and family. Whenever the mores fluctuate, there
is fluctuation in the stability of the home-marriage institution. Marriage is
now passing out of the property stage into the personal era. Formerly man
protected woman because she was his chattel, and she obeyed for the same
reason. Regardless of its merits this system did provide stability. Now, woman
is no longer regarded as property, and new mores are emerging designed to
stabilize the marriage-home institution:
84:7.4 1. The new role of religion -- the teaching
that parental experience is essential, the idea of procreating cosmic
citizens, the enlarged understanding of the privilege of procreation -- giving
sons to the Father.
84:7.5 2. The new role of science -- procreation is
becoming more and more voluntary, subject to man's control. In ancient times
lack of understanding insured the appearance of children in the absence of all
84:7.6 3. The new function of pleasure lures -- this
introduces a new factor into racial survival; ancient man exposed undesired
children to die; moderns refuse to bear them.
84:7.7 4. The enhancement of parental instinct. Each
generation now tends to eliminate from the reproductive stream of the race
those individuals in whom parental instinct is insufficiently strong to insure
the procreation of children, the prospective parents of the next
84:7.8 But the home as an institution, a partnership
between one man and one woman, dates more specifically from the days of
Dalamatia, about one-half million years ago, the monogamous practices of Andon
and his immediate descendants having been abandoned long before. Family life,
however, was not much to boast of before the days of the Nodites and the later
Adamites. Adam and Eve exerted a lasting influence on all mankind; for the
first time in the history of the world men and women were observed working
side by side in the Garden. The Edenic ideal, the whole family as gardeners,
was a new idea on Urantia.
84:7.9 The early family embraced a related working
group, including the slaves, all living in one dwelling. Marriage and family
life have not always been identical but have of necessity been closely
associated. Woman always wanted the individual family, and eventually she had
84:7.10 Love of offspring is almost universal and is
of distinct survival value. The ancients always sacrificed the mother's
interests for the welfare of the child; an Eskimo mother even yet licks her
baby in lieu of washing. But primitive mothers only nourished and cared for
their children when very young; like the animals, they discarded them as soon
as they grew up. Enduring and continuous human associations have never been
founded on biologic affection alone. The animals love their children; man --
civilized man -- loves his children's children. The higher the civilization,
the greater the joy of parents in the children's advancement and success; thus
the new and higher realization of name pride comes into
84:7.11 The large families among ancient peoples
were not necessarily affectional. Many children were desired because:
84:7.12 1. They were valuable as
84:7.13 2. They were old-age insurance.
84:7.14 3. Daughters were salable.
84:7.15 4. Family pride required extension of
84:7.16 5. Sons afforded protection and
84:7.17 6. Ghost fear produced a dread of being
84:7.18 7. Certain religions required
84:7.19 Ancestor worshipers view the failure to have
sons as the supreme calamity for all time and eternity. They desire above all
else to have sons to officiate in the post-mortem feasts, to offer the
required sacrifices for the ghost's progress through spiritland.
84:7.20 Among ancient savages, discipline of
children was begun very early; and the child early realized that disobedience
meant failure or even death just as it did to the animals. It is
civilization's protection of the child from the natural consequences of
foolish conduct that contributes so much to modern insubordination.
84:7.21 Eskimo children thrive on so little
discipline and correction simply because they are naturally docile little
animals; the children of both the red and the yellow men are almost equally
tractable. But in races containing Andite inheritance, children are not so
placid; these more imaginative and adventurous youths require more training
and discipline. Modern problems of child culture are rendered increasingly
84:7.22 1. The large degree of race
84:7.23 2. Artificial and superficial
84:7.24 3. Inability of the child to gain culture by
imitating parents -- the parents are absent from the family picture so much of
84:7.25 The olden ideas of family discipline were
biologic, growing out of the realization that parents were creators of the
child's being. The advancing ideals of family life are leading to the concept
that bringing a child into the world, instead of conferring certain parental
rights, entails the supreme responsibility of human existence.
84:7.26 Civilization regards the parents as assuming
all duties, the child as having all the rights. Respect of the child for his
parents arises, not in knowledge of the obligation implied in parental
procreation, but naturally grows as a result of the care, training, and
affection which are lovingly displayed in assisting the child to win the
battle of life. The true parent is engaged in a continuous service-ministry
which the wise child comes to recognize and appreciate.
84:7.27 In the present industrial and urban era the
marriage institution is evolving along new economic lines. Family life has
become more and more costly, while children, who used to be an asset, have
become economic liabilities. But the security of civilization itself still
rests on the growing willingness of one generation to invest in the welfare of
the next and future generations. And any attempt to shift parental
responsibility to state or church will prove suicidal to the welfare and
advancement of civilization.
84:7.28 Marriage, with children and consequent
family life, is stimulative of the highest potentials in human nature and
simultaneously provides the ideal avenue for the expression of these quickened
attributes of mortal personality. The family provides for the biologic
perpetuation of the human species. The home is the natural social arena
wherein the ethics of blood brotherhood may be grasped by the growing
children. The family is the fundamental unit of fraternity in which parents
and children learn those lessons of patience, altruism, tolerance, and
forbearance which are so essential to the realization of brotherhood among all
84:7.29 Human society would be greatly improved if
the civilized races would more generally return to the family-council
practices of the Andites. They did not maintain the patriarchal or autocratic
form of family government. They were very brotherly and associative, freely
and frankly discussing every proposal and regulation of a family nature. They
were ideally fraternal in all their family government. In an ideal family
filial and parental affection are both augmented by fraternal
84:7.30 Family life is the progenitor of true
morality, the ancestor of the consciousness of loyalty to duty. The enforced
associations of family life stabilize personality and stimulate its growth
through the compulsion of necessitous adjustment to other and diverse
personalities. But even more, a true family -- a good family -- reveals to the
parental procreators the attitude of the Creator to his children, while at the
same time such true parents portray to their children the first of a long
series of ascending disclosures of the love of the Paradise parent of all
8. DANGERS OF SELF-GRATIFICATION
84:8.1 The great threat against family life is the
menacing rising tide of self-gratification, the modern pleasure mania. The
prime incentive to marriage used to be economic; sex attraction was secondary.
Marriage, founded on self-maintenance, led to self-perpetuation and
concomitantly provided one of the most desirable forms of self-gratification.
It is the only institution of human society which embraces all three of the
great incentives for living.
84:8.2 Originally, property was the basic
institution of self-maintenance, while marriage functioned as the unique
institution of self-perpetuation. Although food satisfaction, play, and humor,
along with periodic sex indulgence, were means of self-gratification, it
remains a fact that the evolving mores have failed to build any distinct
institution of self-gratification. And it is due to this failure to evolve
specialized techniques of pleasurable enjoyment that all human institutions
are so completely shot through with this pleasure pursuit. Property
accumulation is becoming an instrument for augmenting all forms of
self-gratification, while marriage is often viewed only as a means of
pleasure. And this overindulgence, this widely spread pleasure mania, now
constitutes the greatest threat that has ever been leveled at the social
evolutionary institution of family life, the home.
84:8.3 The violet race introduced a new and only
imperfectly realized characteristic into the experience of humankind -- the
play instinct coupled with the sense of humor. It was there in measure in the
Sangiks and Andonites, but the Adamic strain elevated this primitive
propensity into the potential of pleasure, a new and glorified form of
self-gratification. The basic type of self-gratification, aside from appeasing
hunger, is sex gratification, and this form of sensual pleasure was enormously
heightened by the blending of the Sangiks and the Andites.
84:8.4 There is real danger in the combination of
restlessness, curiosity, adventure, and pleasure-abandon characteristic of the
post-Andite races. The hunger of the soul cannot be satisfied with physical
pleasures; the love of home and children is not augmented by the unwise
pursuit of pleasure. Though you exhaust the resources of art, color, sound,
rhythm, music, and adornment of person, you cannot hope thereby to elevate the
soul or to nourish the spirit. Vanity and fashion cannot minister to home
building and child culture; pride and rivalry are powerless to enhance the
survival qualities of succeeding generations.
84:8.5 Advancing celestial beings all enjoy rest and
the ministry of the reversion directors. All efforts to obtain wholesome
diversion and to engage in uplifting play are sound; refreshing sleep, rest,
recreation, and all pastimes which prevent the boredom of monotony are worth
while. Competitive games, storytelling, and even the taste of good food may
serve as forms of self-gratification. (When you use salt to savor food, pause
to consider that, for almost a million years, man could obtain salt only by
dipping his food in ashes.)
84:8.6 Let man enjoy himself; let the human race
find pleasure in a thousand and one ways; let evolutionary mankind explore all
forms of legitimate self-gratification, the fruits of the long upward biologic
struggle. Man has well earned some of his present-day joys and pleasures. But
look you well to the goal of destiny! Pleasures are indeed suicidal if they
succeed in destroying property, which has become the institution of
self-maintenance; and self-gratifications have indeed cost a fatal price if
they bring about the collapse of marriage, the decadence of family life, and
the destruction of the home -- man's supreme evolutionary acquirement and
civilization's only hope of survival.
84:8.7 Presented by
the Chief of Seraphim stationed on Urantia.