ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 2002-11 > 1036957975
From: "Cliff. Johnston" <>
Subject: [ROOTS-L] Romance - addendum
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 13:52:55 -0600
I might add one wee bit more to the discussion. If one looks for correlations then religious morality is very closely linked to population density. The greater the population density, the greater the control sought by the religious factions, ergo, the impression that a higher morality exists.
As one looks through history one can see this happen over and over again in Europe, Asia, and Central America in particular.
One historically interesting city-state in Central America was surrounded by other city-states and had no room for further expansion. The priests then went the usual route for control - sexual expression denial. The control issue became so severe that sexual intercourse was allowed only during one month of their calendar year. Anyone found "expressing" themselves at any other time was put to death, including pregnant woman. The surrounding city-states became so revulsed by this religious excess that they joined together and totally annihilated the offending city-state. It was razed to the ground and the people killed - one & all. If I remember correctly it only came to light to the scholastic community about 15 or so years ago when some hieroglyphs were found and translated.
As population density increases so does trade and travel. This in turn increases the exposure to diseases. A high density population is at increased risk to disease epidemics. One only has to look at the epidemics of the 1520-1550 era. Religious institutions (Christian) jumped on the band wagon to declare that the diseases were the wrath of God and religious "moral" control was tightened considerably. Unfortunately, it also had the adverse effect of prolonging medical ignorance and human suffering by discouraging medical research.
I came to the conclusion some time ago that morality is the state of mind of the contemporaneous beholder. In early Christian times we had a 2-tier marriage. If one year after the initial wedding ceremony there were no children, the wife was not pregnant and the couple decided to part ways, they did so - simply, easily, with no negative social repercussions and with the blessing of the church. If after one year there was a child or the wife was pregnant, then a second ceremony took place, and it was considered a marriage for life; however, one must take into consideration that women married as young as 12 years of age at that time (some even younger), and on average they were dead before they ever reached 25 years of age. This 2-tiered marriage ceremony was a custom that was inherited from the Jewish religion at the time - of course some semi-cloistered old men with near-zero sex lives thought that they could improve on that imperfect custom! The rest is history, as th!
ey say. I've attempted to talk with several priests and ministers over the years about this 2-tier marriage custom. Interestingly, they all acknowledged that it "might" have existed, and then they quickly and usually awkwardly changed the subject. It's kind of like one of those "dirty little secrets that no one wants to talk about".
In India the Kama Shastra was written. It is something similar to the Kama Sutra, but I believe slightly older and perhaps more true to nature in its observations according to some scholars. Today some religious moralists consider it to be pornography. Modern sex researchers though have found it to be a collection of very astute observations on human responses that they have been able to duplicate and observe clinically. So one might say that the "old timers" were not as ignorant as many today would like to assume them to have been. One of the basic goals of the Kama Shastra was to promote "romantic" love. So they were very "in tune" with romantic love way back when. Even further back in history ancient Chinese writings (I believe ca. 10,000 B.C.) there is a reference to birth contol in romantic situations between a husband and wife. So romance was alive then too - and I assume alive and well in my family too.
As the French say, "Vive la difference!"
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