Adam Phillips in his book Monogamy
(of which I have read only a small part), a book of aphorisms, says:
"At its best monogamy may be the wish to find someone to die with; at its worst it is a cure for the terrors of aliveness. They are easily confused."
"Infidelity is such a problem because we take monogamy for granted; we
treat it as the norm. Perhaps we should take
infidelity for granted, assume it with unharrassed ease. Then we would
be able to think about monogamy."
And what I find absolutely brilliant - the view of monogamy as religion:
"Not everyone believes in monogamy, but everyone lives as though they do. Everyone is aware of lying or wanting to tell the truth when loyalty or fidelity are at stake. Everyone thinks of themselves as betraying or betrayed. Everyone feels jealous or guilty, and suffers the anguish of their preferences. And the happy few who apparently never experience sexual jealousy are always either puzzled about this or boast about it. No one has ever been excluded from feeling left out. And everyone is obsessed by what they are excluded from. Believing in monogamy, in other words, is not unlike believing in God."
Phillips sees monogamy as a kind of religion where we are supposed to believe in it. He notes that even the terms we use are borrowed from religion.
And the equally brilliant:
"Our survival at the very beginning of our lives involves us in something like monogamy. Our growing up involves us in something like infidelity (we challenge our parents, we betray them, we let them down). So when we think about monogamy we think about it as though we are still children and not adults as well. We don't know what adults think about monogamy."
Do you agree? How are we to liberate ourselves from a religion so strongly imposed on us? I know people who have stopped being religious, but if they were born into it they can never escape it and their new life is always under a feeling of sin and betrayal. Should we liberate ourselves or embrace it?
Even if one is an atheist, how does one live in a world where everyone pretends to be believers, and hold others to a morality they almost never adhere themselves?