Songsoptok: ‘Marriage is a lifelong symphony with one central theme but the music is played in anew everyday’ – this is a rough translation of a line from a short story by Rabindranath Tagore. Do you feel that this comment, made in a period dominated by Victorian romanticism, is true today?

BABULA: I think, Tagore was talking in the time and with reference to Victorian mindset and advocated value system. If we look into the history of marriage, particularly before the renaissance period, is a contract between a man & woman’s families, via the man and woman for power and wealth management. When, post renaissance time, a thin layer of middle class (bourgeois) slowly propped up, like today, they wanted to be like the rich and powerful. But, they had nothing to trade or make the contract upon. So … romanticism was born and the emergence of one-romance for life culminated into modern marriage of the commoner. 

In 1600 AD, queen Elizabeth -1 decreed first corporation pyramid structure based command-and-control structure via sponsoring of EIC (East India Company). Before that, there was pyramid structure but the pyramid abruptly ended with vast majority (poor / slaves) had no say anywhere. (If you are interested I can share the post doc work on how and why of egalitarian society transform into pharaonic society). The driving principle of the corporation established was to carry out an order for the wellbeing of the few at any cost. king George II in 1676 enhance EIC to conduct war and judicial actions in foreign territories to bring that as a property of monarchy; hence the rise of colonialism. 

In order to keep a middle class having something that they could call their own and fearful of losing if they do not follow law, a concept of permanent home was born that belonged to the man. Man’s home is his castle. The woman is his property and hence woman took his name. That concept of marriage in the middle class could be negotiated and/or born out of romance. But, the permanence of livelihood of a woman had a price to pay. The laws were one sided. A man could do whatever he wanted to do. a man could rape, torture his wife and/or children and law could not touch them. He could go out and have sex with others and woman had no say. there was nothing known as domestic violence until 19th century. that was the seat of modern marriage.

The marriage of perpetual love and bliss in all corner of life for life is a possibility (since nothing is impossible by laws of statistics) but improbable in the framework that has been advocated in recent centuries among the middle class (us).

Hence, indeed this comment is made in Victorian era and had little to do with science of who we are as a species. look around … all the men and women are not bad. Why is society like this? Or … what is our natural instinct looks like as chains drop?

Songsoptok: What, in your opinion, is the real chemistry of an intimate relationship? Do you think that the social institution of marriage is based on that chemistry?

BABULA: The chemistry is a social relationship term born out of a concept that if two or more chemical mix and form another chemical different from the original. There may be negative chemistry too. So, it translates to feelings of individual, when mixed together … what is the outcome of the mixed feeling. The aspect that is of importance is ‘feeling is temporal.’ One can never say I will love you tomorrow. One can say for sure “I love you now.” One’s promise of tomorrow is stochastic in nature.

Intimate relationship is temporal too. It is a merger of mind, body and spirit (the abstract essence ‘I’ – for example when I say my-mind … the mind is not ‘I’ but it belongs to I). Mind had two parts that emits what we call an essence of feelings. The limbic (primordial and spontaneous) and the other is cerebral (linguistic and rational and/or social). When they are in harmony then that is intimacy in all dimensions. However, if they are not in harmony then the intimacy is lost for that point of time. Thus, intimacy too is temporal.

Social institution of marriage in middle class was born yesterday and is dying today in the time scale of human civilization. More than 50% of the household is unmarried in both sides of the ocean. There is phenomenal percentage of people marrying and divorcing in far-eastern countries, particularly where women are economically independent.

Even when the social institution is born out of romance or positive chemistry, the conflict is on the essence of ‘permanency the concept of social marriage’ and ‘temporality of the state of chemistry.’

If and when the so called ‘chemistry’ is intact, one do not need the marriage for staying together and/or happiness. While statistically invalid, I can say that for our case where there is no contract in any form or shape but the chemistry is on … and hence the togetherness. But, we have kept our doors open for all others who can come in with love (chemistry) for both in their heart … men or women. When the chemistry is gone our union is dissolved. As of now – its alive.

Songsoptok:  What according to you are the main factors for keeping marital relationship alive and healthy?

BABULA: Keeping social marital relationship happy and healthy needs tremendous luck and slim probability that chemistry remains alive.

Also, if the people involved are creative and find a fluid solution instead of a one-rigid set of law as strict framework. This is not business and numbers one is talking about. This is emotional state of mind that needs to be healthy.

Sex is a central theme of the marriage duality. When and if the libido of two parties differ; if one loses the natural state of seductiveness for the other; if one is not appreciated the way he/she really wants to and need external reflection; if one wants to feel the pulse of new romance; and on-and-on. There are 1 trillion synapse happening in our brain at a point of time. The life, reality and interconnectedness that spews out of that complex mind cannot be simplified in few words and/or framework.  

One has to be careful on talking about sex. What is it? One way to look at it is: “Sex is Mother Nature’s combinatorial machine of information mixing.” A man and woman gets attracted (want to know of one another) … and pursues the attraction through all senses and at the end man packs his entire information in DNA package (sperms) and gives it to a woman’s egg (her DNA). Nature mixes it and a new entity is created with all the nuances of prior generations. And, you are asking alive and healthy relationship in this perplexing enigma we call micro (individual mind) and macro (social / global mind). 

Songsoptok: Very often we see that a happy marital relationship results when one of the partners surrender to the other’s ego. Do you think this is how it should be? Especially since it is most often the woman that surrenders to the man, or more generally to the patriarchal system?

BABULA: What you see from outside is not always the inside. Where is the systematic psychosomatic research of our prior generations where ‘so called’ blissful marriage was in existence. Has there been clinical test of randomly selected statistical sample of married couples who go through value-reprogramming (husband is not her god), provide economic freedom; provide alternative allure of life … and then come up with a result.

The thing we have to say is that we are not vastly different from our parents. If we see a pattern emerging form our generation, we have to observe them with scientific glasses (not emotional glasses of probable past grandeur). If there are mind-frame in us, the capacity to be economically free, learned and stand-alone then our dads and moms had it too.  They had all the sexual feelings, aspiration, dreaming as they saw other good looking men/women around and so on.

The institution of marriage with Victorian values can persist under strict one-sided laws (husband is god) and under hammer of fear.   

Songsoptok:  Tolstoi said in his story THE KREUTZER SONATA “... a marriage without love is no marriage at all, that only love sanctifies marriage, and that the only true marriage is that sanctified by love”. We all agree that this is how it should be. That there should not be a tragic end to any marriage. What is the reason then for the increasing number of divorces in all societies?

BABULA: If there is love … marriage is irrelevant. Observe the social trend. I agree with Tolstoi on his emphasis on love. The reason for the increased number of divorce is the increased possibility of pursuit of allure of life and us being TOO-RIGID in the framework of bygone concept of marriage. That is, we have not learned to be creative, imaginative and innovative to include togetherness and exploration.

This is not only in the realm of sex (physical) but in many fronts. Sometimes, just talking with another could be fun but talking may lead to intimacy. Hence, we do not talk or interact unless without emotion (work scenario / we call that professional relation). But, humans have emotions. There is emotional flow between man and woman (or two person woman-woman and man-man). There are many other factors that leads to revolution.

Like the ancient Kung Fu saying, the nimble and flexible blade of grass become upright after the storm that has uprooted the rigid giant oak

Songsoptok: By the word ‘marriage’ we generally think of a well defined relationship built on the tenet of spending the entire life together. Do you think that this in itself creates a type of suffocation which leads to break-ups and divorces?

BABULA: Yes and no. State and religion do define to an extent but not on emotion. For emotion is not governed by law. If the contract is permanency then one has to disregard emotion as a parameter of the contract. Sex is often a byproduct of emotion for a man may not be able to perform if emotionally disconnected and would be termed as having ED (called psychological ED). A woman can endure such as feat but that would be endurance if there is no emotional connection. So many married couples sleep separately and has not been together for months. I know of couple who ceremoniously perform sex where the man take Viagra to do that … and they are barely fifty. But, they have lots of money and success. And …   I am not aware what else happens outside the social vision.

What would be the purpose of spending the whole life with one person if the fun of life does not exist? What is the purpose of life? Why such restrictions needs to be imposed? Who are we as a species and what is our genetic and neural make?

Songsoptok:  In a very general way, marriage is understood as the cohabitation of man and woman with a view to reproduction. Can this narrow and very physical dimension be the essence of marriage? Doesn’t the success of marriage depends also on a communion between the personality, psychology and above all the soul of the married couple? What is your opinion? Do you think that in modern society such a definition of marriage is relevant and realistic?

BABULA: Yes … that is true. Yes, sex is important but not the only thing of companionship. The thing is, if there are so many people in the world, why have such communion only with one person. Is it a viable solution considering the vastness of the universe and complex nature of our mind and brain that is continuously morphing?

Songsoptok: It seems that in today’s society the clash of personalities, especially within marriage, is an unpleasant reality. Almost 100 years back, D.H.Lawrence said in Lady Chatterley's Lover “The modern cult of personality is excellent for friendship between sexes, and fatal for marriage”. In other words, he thought that the development of woman’s personality is actually a hindrance to successful marriage. What is your opinion? Do you think that it is the inability of the patriarchal society to tolerate the independence of women the main reason for the marital conflicts in today’s society?

BABULA: Indeed … this is so true. Marriage can prevail when woman is slave of the man. But, that is so boring for that is not equal companionship. Think of geisha tradition in Japan where a woman was a wife who stayed home and men would find friendship among geisha who would entertain men via listening, singing, playing, dancing and sometimes (once in a while) there would be sex. But, men has to pay for both … the wife and geisha. Right? Now, if the woman is powerful, she may look for a husband at home and a male-geisha to play with. Well, no wonder with economic and social liberty of women of Japan, it has turned into sex pot of the world with women leading the movement

Songsoptok: Do you think that society perceives a divorced man and woman in the same way? Most of the time we see that the woman is blamed for not making the necessary compromises. So the implicit assumption is that the success of a marriage is directly related to the woman’s capacity to compromise. What is you view?

BABULA: In modern society … yes. May be, not so much in rural places where woman is still takes on man’s name. Blaming is an emotional catharsis without deep logic. Blaming is often a conduit to escape or hide. Success of marriage is ‘love’ that is bidirectional and temporal. How long it would stay is undefined. Biologist state that as low probability.

As is discussed in previous question … what is important ‘marriage’ or ‘happy life?’

Songsoptok: Do you think that divorce affects the conscious and the subconscious of the children? What, according to you, could be the effect of a divorce in their adult lives, positive or negative?

BABULA: Depends how their minds were programmed and how their life got effected. Personally, my child is happier than a state where the home was a tomb. She grew up fine but does not have the concept of marriage for life. But, this is a question for psychologists to ponder for one sample does not depict anything.

Songsoptok:  Generally it is the mother who takes care of the children following a divorce. Although children need their mother more while growing up, what kind of impact can the absence of a father figure have on a growing child? So what according to you should be the role of the mother?

BABULA: Not true. I took care of my daughter in person … physically, emotionally and financially. She went to school from home where we lived together. But, your generalization is right. Mostly true. It depends on how the separation happened. If either party bad-mouth the other, the person who bad-mouths is the bad person in the child’s mind. Also … how old is the child also matters.

Songsoptok: What according to you could be the impact of the growing number of divorces on the next generations? Or do you think this is the way tomorrow’s society will evolve?

BABULA: The institution of marriage, as is defined now, is going to collapse soon. This is not sustainable. There would be different social constructs. Most likely, we will fall back in ancient habits of forming small groups of men and women. If someone leaves the team, others are not left alone; there may be others who could join in if everyone is OK with it; children considers grownup as their guardian each holding some posts. Lastly, for majority of the populous, such togetherness will allow more economic stability. And sexually … there would be diversity and permanency at the same time. Without such groups, majority of people would continue to be slaves of corporations and top one-percenters under pyramid laws.  In this construct, men and women grouped together has to have common passion. And it is difficult to go away for one would not be going away from one person (as is now in bi-marriage). Conflicts between two is no longer just their problem but of the whole group. There would be high and low of emotional bonding between two … but would average out. Lastly, if someone is sick (long term) or during little children time … the good time and/or bad time can be shared without having to sacrifice life all together. After all, we got one life to live in eternity.

That is my model of tomorrow. Others should come out with other models. However, grasping on to the past is not a way to happiness.  

Saying all there … there is an important question to look into and introspect. For example, what if the two people who were involved (marriage or not) are not in the same state at the time of parting. They may have different health condition (sick or has ailment), physical state (may have lost shape and did not take care of it), not in same emotional divergence etc. How does one break up without really hurting another? Society or law has taken some consideration towards the economy. If one has way more than other … share the economy. But emotion, sexual desire, apparent honor in the society which is a conjecture but is important to one who is on the wrong end and so on. 

We have spent lot of time trying to state how horrible this divorce is. It is equivalent to saying how sexual-dog men are. All the men has affairs. I ask, “Who are they having affairs with?” A woman (mostly) … right? It is time we through the old adage out of the window and ask, “We have a social problem and have a life to live. How can we come up with a solution for my life for forge a model for next gen to refer to?” They will have their own problems … but that would be their world and life. We would be gone and our life and world will vanish into eternity.

Do we need to part in order to relish life?

Let’s ponder together to provide some positive direction that touches all of us.


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