Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

On Marriage, Human Relations, and Society

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 25, 2011

At it’s core, marriage is a state of human affairs permitted and governed by the state.

In this context, the word “state” refers to governmental authority. Governmental authority in the United States is defined as being the will of the people as determined by the ballot.

Why does the state regulate human affairs?

It is because of an overriding sense of justice, an overwhelming sense of right and wrong. It is because to “do wrong by” another person is a transgression of an inherent social contract that occurs at the very core of humanity, one which is by its very nature unspoken, yet fully known in the human heart.

Why, for example, on any playground the world over, can we hear children cry out in loud voice, “that’s not fair!” when they are transgressed against?

Oh? Really?

Perhaps the reader would like to ask those children, “who told you? What philosophy are you basing your thoughts upon?”

Indeed… how did those innocents obtain such an inherent sense of “fair play”?

Why also, for example, do we disallow polygamy? Why do we penalize men (or women) whom do not pay child support – and call them “deadbeat dads” or “unfit mothers”? Why indeed should parents support their children? Why are not children simply allowed to run free? Why do we have compulsory education? And why is drug abuse, theft or murder illegal?

All these questions and more point to the social nature of humanity, of course, but direct us even deeper to a moral law that is ingrained upon our hearts from our birth. It marks the point at which our consciences are developed. Our consciences do not suddenly appear one day as fully mature. They, like any other thing, have a span of development.

And yet, why does a baby cry?

It cries because it cannot talk. It cannot perform for itself the activities of daily living. It is dependent upon another for its very life. Hopefully, the parents will feed it, or change its diaper.

But why do we even bother to care for the innocents – those whose very being is wholly reliant, and dependent upon another?

Were one to say “because it’s the right thing to do,” would simply be an insufficient answer, because it would not have addressed the question of how we have come to determine what is the “right thing to do.”

Again, we return to the core issue and acknowledgment that as children, we are ingrained from birth with an inherent sense of right and wrong. As we mature, we are increasingly inculcated with values, some of which may strike blows to those early and sensitive values.

To address it as an attack upon children would be the most humane way to characterize some adult human behavior, but the attack is not physical, nor is it emotional, but it is against the values every child has. In essence, it is against child-like values.

Animals – mere brute beasts – care for their young, and jealously guard them against predatory attack, defending them, if necessary, by sacrificing their very lives to preserve the lives of their young. One dare not come between a sow and her cubs, or a lioness and her cubs. Alligators and crocodiles are fiercely protective of their nests, and hatchlings, and will attack any creature that comes near them. Even aquatic creatures seek to preserve their own life and the lives of their unborn young by scaring away or attacking those that would eat the developing eggs or small fry.

The natural world is replete with examples of protection, not only of the unborn and juveniles, but of selection and cultivation of mates.

Does during rut, for example, may not be bred to another buck because the stag fiercely protects his breeding rights to the herd, and jealously guards them against intruders, young bucks, and  other dangers.

There is a balance, there is an order, there is natural justice in the natural world. Humanity cannot transcend the natural order – as in the sense of being independent of, and therefore inherently superior to, as a maker would be – but may superimpose upon it values that are transcendent in ideal and in practice, yet which at their fundamental, reside upon a foundation found in the natural order.

We cannot, for example, violate the law of gravity, without serious, even fatal consequences. We may transcend that law temporarily, by relying upon a higher order – that of thermodynamics or other laws of physics – for example, to allow flight and travel.

Eventually however, even more fundamental laws again impress their preeminence upon us, when fuel runs out, and we find ourselves again relegated to a lower order.

Though it remains a popular euphemism, we cannot “run on empty.” And as the other celebrated song says, “nothing from nothing leaves nothing.”

How do these things, these issues, these observations relate to marriage?

Quite simply, the social order has a value that, at its core, is reliant upon a natural order, one which is inescapable, inviolable, and permanent.

Humanity’s temporary transcendence of that order through exercise of social human values places the rules and regulations we observe and adhere to as an intricate level upon that foundation, one which is continually energized by our own adherence to a sense that we are superior to the trees of the forest and beasts of the field, and therefore are the rightful caretakers and keepers of the world around us, and all that is in it – including ourselves.

When we default, we succumb to that fundamental natural order, and amidst the rubble of our own making, find ourselves once again, face-to-face with the inviolable preeminence of the natural world, which again begs us to arise like the mythical phoenix to recreate order from the chaos, to again, emulate our own making, and carry forth a higher order in the understanding of genuine charity.

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