October 4th 2018

By Salil Gewali

Even in Europe, marriage still has value.

Couples hope for a successful marriage — though far too many fall apart too early. Of course, the reasons for this are many. While some are understandable, some are less obvious. True, our minds are influenced by modern thinking and we often fail to see the thing as it really is. Again, for one’s flawed discrimination and sensibility, coupled with the false expectation and its fulfilment, one often witnesses too many crises after marriage and after the break-up. Thank God, nature, so designed by the Almighty, itself “teaches” some, with a few hard blows, to come to terms; while others who can’t cope with, just plunge into the sea of depression.

The Guardian has published an article which attracted my attention. A discerning female writer from Michigan – Ms. Rose Hackman chooses the long title for the article as   – “Is marriage really on the decline because of men’s cheap access to sex?”.  Ms. Rose should be applauded for not trying to bury her head in the sand. The discussion in the article is concerned with modern psychology and the increasing number of failed marriages. The writer logically reasoned out some of the important factors in the article. She quoted an eminent sociologist from Texas — Mark Regnerus who paraphrased a telling adage –

“nobody will buy the cow if you’re giving away the milk for free.”

Moreover, philosophers have long realised that an objects utility is enhanced when it is obtained with a degree of difficulty. The scarce availability always makes it more appealing. But people start finding it less appealing, even want to “keep away from” an object if they are bombarded with it. Again, going by the comments on that article, which run into hundreds, one comes to understand that the unsuccessful marital relationship and consequential existential crises of the west will surely affect other countries where marriage is guarded by rigid values and moral ethos.

I don’t think one needs to go deeper into “sex phenomenon” and its inherent “binding force”. But here the main concern is that its “binding strength” is rapidly getting weaker and weaker. Many ascribed this situation to the easy accessibility of sex. One scholar thoughtfully remarks:

“So much splurged on the media, so much on display, and so much abused, the “sensuality” is no more sensual. Then, what is there in store to attract the opposite sex?”

Yes, “desensitization” of sensuality is already the bane of society. In a similar vein, science explains many natural phenomena with the theory of “saturation”. A dry cotton absorbs the moisture/water more quickly while the wet cotton cannot do that. A “Mind” that is fast becoming like a wet cotton, cannot respond to the moisture of sensuality.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of opportunities to eat delicious food outside, your “lovely kitchen” at home will be just ignored, you don’t even turn your head to pay a glance over it. You would never care whether the kitchen is clean or untidy, or even infested with rats, mice, and cockroaches. Figuratively, every sensuality outside only acts as “interference” in the development of healthy relationship between the two sexes.

Have we not heard the scientific term — electromagnetic interferences (EMI)? What will happen when we move a powerful “magnet” around our laptop/mobile/radio? There are an increasing number of unfaithful husbands who just get pulled into by such sensuous interferences. And, there are millions of devoted wives who have been forced to lead loveless lives because their husbands are under the influences of external sensual interferences.

Moreover, one always becomes less respectful of that which is ubiquitous. However if the same “sexual sensuality”, which is in existence for the “purpose” since the dawn of the creation, could have been achieved with difficulty, and with struggle, if it’s a private affair, it would have made ones definitely go “crazy after”.  Had it been well hidden by the “cover of modesty” then one’s  “mind” would just become keener on it.  One even would love to “get lost” in the romantic imagery. The serenades by the likes of Keats and Shelley would have been burst out.  But now, in the midst of the brazen show of immodest indiscretion poetic romanticism cannot find its emotional expression. There is no space for the healthy imagination.

Have we gone too far by overdoing, particularly in the modern times? Have we not over-exposed what should have been relished in the hallowed privacy? William Shakespeare rightly says,

It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance”.

Is it not then that by sipping the drink of modernity and shedding values of decency we have almost “killed the goose” that would have continued to lay golden eggs? 

A renowned economist Alfred Marshal had thought out a golden principle as Diminishing Marginal Utility” in order to bring home the market situation with respect to an object of importance/value/utility. It explains how an object is rejected when it is over-supplied. I notice the same principle perfectly applies to sex and sensuality which which modernity is casually and brazenly juggling. We have transgressed the boundary of decency by immodestly giving ourselves over to the beat of modern depravity