Typos p. 1: etre [= être]; p. 2: But this by the way [= But this is by the way]; p. 2: sigificance [= significance]; p. 3: sexul [= sexual]; p. 5: in any essay [= in an essay]; p. 5: is .the fourth chapter [= in the fourth chapter]; p. 5: incompatabilities [= incompatibilities]; p. 5: DAUER [= "Dauer]; p. 5: Bewis [= Beweis] p. 7: That is to day [= That is to say]; p. 8: disparaties [= disparities]; p. 8: understading [= understanding]; p. 8: beatuy [= beauty]; p. 10: Shapera [= Schapera]
Divorce and the psycho-physical disparity of spouses
Anthony M. Ludovici
The International Journal of Sexology 7, 195354, pp. 111
- p. 1 -
Although this study was not inspired by Dr. Popenoe's interesting and suggestive study on Divorce as a Biologist Sees It *; for its main theme is the necessary outcome of the thesis expounded in my Choice of a Mate (1935) and especially in my Quest of Human Quality (1952), it may perhaps serve as a useful corollary to Dr. Popenoe's paper. As moreover it is in all respects consistent with the principle he enunciates, it actually confirms this principle by bringing it support from a quarter apparently unsuspected, or at least unmentioned, by him.
It will be remembered that in Plato's Symposium, Erixymachus proposed that the assembled company should discuss the theme of love. It is well to keep this in mind in reading the various speeches, otherwise the important bearing of some of them on the question of human heterosexual unions may be missed. Also, if we wish to read the speech of Aristophanes in particular with understanding, it is essential to be aware of certain features of life in ancient Greece which to-day find no parallel among us of Western Europe, and probably ceased altogether to exist as the result of deliberate policies many centuries before the present Industrial Age dawned.
Among the most conspicuous of these features was, in the first place, the insistence of the ancient Greeks on personal beauty, and on the fundamental inseparability of the visible and invisible features of a human being, in the assessment of his or her quality and desirability. Above all, we must never forget the ancient Greek association of personal beauty with goodness i.e., virtue.
If, from a generally accepted principle of social life such as this we may infer that it was but the unconscious codification of customary usage conditioned by the ruling values of the time and place, and, consequently, that it sprang from the repeated observation of a constant correlation, we should be entitled to conclude a priori that there was probably widespread morphological standardization and individual psycho-physical harmony among the Greeks of the centuries preceding the Hellenistic period.
This a priori conclusion, if correct, would incline us to guess that there was therefore much inbreeding among these people. When, however, we learn that this assumed fact is in truth established by known records, and that heterosexual unions were habitually countenanced which to-day we should condemn as incestuous, the guess in question would appear to be abundantly justified, as is also the a priori conclusion regarding widespread morphological standardization.
In their mythology, the relationship of Zeus and Hera and of Hyperion and Theia, both brother and sister marriages, points to the probable prevalence in early times of closely incestuous matings, whilst the six sons of Aeolus, mentioned by Homer, who lived in peaceful marriage with their sisters, is a further indication of the same practice.
Marriages with nieces and aunts were lawful, and between brothers and sisters were certainly allowed provided the spouses had different mothers; and the marriage of Cimon and his sister Elpineke seems to show that in noble and conservative families even more closely incestuous marriages were not frowned upon, certainly down to the time of the 5th century B.C.
Now we know and I hope there is no need to adduce the abundant scientific evidence to hand in support of the fact that inbreeding and, a fortiori, close inbreeding, tends to produce morphological standardization in all human and animal stocks. So it is neither extravagant nor even very novel to claim on scientific grounds that the Greeks at the time to which the Symposium relates, were probably highly standardized morphologically, at all events very much more so than we are to-day, and that, in view of this, the established equation embodied in their famous principle, Kalos
* Originally published in Marriage Hygiene and revised and reprinted in Dr. Pillay's Sex, Society and the Individual. Bombay, 1953.
Independent confirmation of what is here claimed in regard to the ancient Greeks of Attica is provided by a custom alleged to have prevailed among a neighbouring and kindred people, the Spartans, who had many traits and practices in common with them. According to Hermippus, the choice of a mate among these people was accomplished as follows: "all the damsels used to be shut up in a dark room, while a number of unmarried young men were shut up with them, and whichever girl each of the young men caught hold of he led away as his wife."
Now this practice could obviously have been possible only under conditions of high morphological uniformity and a widespread norm of desirability; for it is arguable that no such practice would have been persisted in if it had repeatedly led, as it certainly would amongst us to-day, to the constant pairing of grossly antagonistic couples, or to the union of tolerably desirable young people with mates terrifyingly ugly, deformed, defective, or otherwise biologically inferior.
A parallel to this ancient Spartan practice is at least hinted at by Professor Richard Wilhelm in his contribution to Keyserling's Book of Marriage; for, according to him, it might with success be adopted by the highly standardized people of certain large areas of China. This great authority on the Chinese says: "Owing to the great similarity of personalities (in China) it does not make much difference to a man which woman he marries, for they are all more or less alike." Crawley in The Mystic Rose mentions other peoples in different parts of the world who might also with impunity adopt the Spartan practice reported by Hermippus.
The Spartans were, in any case, as prone to what we should regard as incestuous matings as their neighbours in Attica. The fact that they allowed the marriage of men with their sisters uterine alone indicates that inbreeding was probably prevalent among them. So that with them also, quite apart from the statement attributed to Hermippus above, we may assume that morphological standardization was in all probability very high.
Indeed, it is even arguable that the marriage of marked disparates, if such could occur, as the result of the vagaries of hereditary mechanisms in a people morphologically uniform, was resolutely frowned upon in Sparta; for we know that King Archidamus II was heavily fined by the Ephors in the 5th century B.C. for marrying Euporia, a woman who was conspicuously disparate from him. This could hardly have occurred in the case of a King unless the mating of disparates among the people had not also been generally regarded with aversion. At all events, this condemnation of a monarch by the most important executive authority in the State is probably the last instance of a profoundly wise ruling in what F. H. Bradley termed "the supreme problem of politics" (i.e., concern about the biological condition of a population), which the history of Europe records. For, after this last example of wisdom, the gradual spread of Socraticism and Christianity left this supreme problem of politics for over 2,000 years to the mercy of European executives who, from the standpoint of the preservation of biological desirability among a people, were little short of demented.
F. H. Bradley actually described the policies observed by European rulers during the last 2000 years in this matter as "full of blindness, cowardice, superstition and confusion unspeakable." And he was right. But this by the way.
If now we return to the speech by Aristophanes in Plato's Symposium, and wish to appreciate its full sigificance, we should do well to bear in mind that in the background of his thought there was the picture of heterosexual unions in ancient Greece of which we have tried to sketch the main outlines above. That is to say, in all essentials, he assumed the existence of an affinity between the couples forming heterosexual unions, without which he could hardly have imagined such unions possible. And it is important to emphasize that this affinity was assumed, even if it was not actually stated, because by virtue of the only conditions he knew, the people's morphological uniformity was implicit in his ideas of marriage. It is not insisted on here that this morphological uniformity was such that it was machine-like and exact after the manner of a coinage stamped from the same die. It is only necessary to appreciate the fact that, compared with the wild and unlimited diversity of all individual men and women to-day, and the marked disparity prevailing between them, which makes psycho-physical
This then constitutes more or less the picture Aristophanes probably had in mind when he rose to speak at the Banquet, and which he had before his eyes throughout his early and adult life in ancient Greece. And what does Plato report of his speech?
Aristophanes is described as having said, among other things, that originally human beings were composite and bi-sexual man and woman in one, without the stigma attaching to the hermaphrodite monster of his day. Owing, however, to the formidable strength they were able to exert in this composite form, Zeus had decided to make them less of a threat to the gods by slicing them in half, "so that, while making them weaker", they would be "more useful because of their multiplication".
This having been accomplished, and Apollo having trimmed each half up after the bisecting operation, "each half in longing for its fellow, would return to it and yearn to be engrafted on to it." "Thus", in brief, "in olden times was love rooted in mankind," by the act of "recovering the original composite condition of humanity and healing the human wound by rejoining the two severed halves."
Hence, when "a lover of any sort" chances to come across "his own particular half", the couple experience "that magically ecstatic love and attachment" which makes them "loath to leave each other for one second at a stretch."
"The cause of this state of affairs," says Aristophanes, "is that we were formerly as I have described . . . and the longing and search for that whilom wholeness is called 'Love'."
The essential passages to be noted here are, first, the enthralling experience it is alleged to be for the lover who chances to light on "his own particular half", and, secondly, the declaration made by Aristophanes that this recovery of original human wholeness by the fortuitous finding of one's own particular half is what is known as "Love".
All this clearly implies the most consummate affinity between the two halves. For, not only have we the original slicing of a single composite person, so that two halves result an operation which, in the imagination of the speaker and all those present at the Symposium would necessarily produce two halves of the same type which, as issued from one person, would represent a bisected homogeneous whole; but we also have the definite implication that the magic ecstasy of love occurs only when each half resulting from the original bisection, happens to recover its other "own particular half."
Now here is an image, or a myth, which derived its plausibility both for him who recounted it and those to whom it was recounted, only from the fact that those present had in their mind's eye precisely that psycho-physical compatibility i.e., morphological and psychological affinity which they knew to be an essential and ever present factor in the only love and mutual attraction of which they had any experience.
Thus we may assume that for Aristophanes and his listeners all Greeks of a period mentioned by Sir Francis Galton as that in which the inhabitants of Attica were as far above the modern Englishman as the latter is above the negro love and heterosexual unions were unthinkable without the completest psycho-physical affinity. Indeed, this view of love and ideal heterosexual unions was, as the introductory passages of this study indicate, contingent on the only kind of heterosexual matings of which the ancient Greeks, prior to the establishment and spread of Socratic values, had any knowledge, and their idea of the ecstasy of true love was derived from it.
When, however, owing to the gradual envelopment of all human destiny in Europe in the thick unwholesome fog of Socratic and ultimately Christian error, this view of love and of the conditions securing it, gradually, very gradually, became undermined and ultimately destroyed, the instinct of all organic beings to seek their visible like suffered first enfeeblement and ultimately complete annihilation except here and there in exceptional cases.
The infantile idiocy of the claim made by Socrates regarding the major, if not the unique importance of the soul in the assessment of human quality and desirability an idiocy incorporated, lock, stock and barrel in Christianity made it at least probable that morphological considerations in seeking one's sexul mate would tend, in the long run, to be wholly discarded. It is only recently, indeed, owing to the latest discoveries of medicine and psychology, that the inseparability and inextricable interdependence of body and soul have been scientifically established, and the philosophical tomfoolery of both Socrates and of his monstrous
Thus if Professor Raymond H. Cattell is able to assure us that "Personality can definitely be shown to be related to physique" (An Introduction to Personality Study, London 1950, Chap. IX. 6), and if Dr. W. H. Sheldon feels justified in stating that "Probably nobody who has given the matter serious thought has ever really doubted that somehow in the economy of human motivation structure end function are closely related," and "We find no break no discontinuation between what is physical and what is mental. We find no 'psyche' and 'soma' . . . We find only structure and behaviour, which seem to make a functional continuum." (Varieties of Delinquent Youth, 1940, Chap. I); if, I say, such recent expert investigators feel entitled to make declarations of this kind and scores of similar ones could be quoted it is in any case due to only comparatively recent scientific discoveries, which are more and more disabusing men's minds of the Socratic myth, now over 2000 years old, to the effect that soul values are of primary, if not unique importance in judging personality, i.e., human quality and desirability, and are independent of morphological values.
All too late, perhaps; for untold damage has meanwhile been done! Yes, but so many millions of the ill-favoured in the last two millenniums have enjoyed, as Socrates himself did, a far higher prestige than they deserved, owing precisely to his unscrupulous travesty of the facts about human nature, that the exposure and the discredit into which he himself has fallen were inevitably long delayed.
Nevertheless, such was the instinctive resistance offered by the sounder elements among European populations to the corrupt influence of Socraticism, that it is really only within the last three or four hundred years that the extreme application of his myth became paramount and widespread, and we had to wait until comparatively recent times before European and especially Anglo-Saxon dementia could reach the stage of supposing that, because two young people as visibly disparate as a chimpanzee and an orang-outang, both liked Dickens, Wagner and Picasso, and both had a sense of humour, they were therefore compatible and qualified examples of heterosexual affinity.
Nor, in spite of the recent findings of science, which have established beyond all cavil the close interdependence of body and soul qualities, should it be assumed that the teeming millions of Europe's masses, high and low, have as much as begun to absorb this fundamental truth, much less to apply it. They are still very far from even suspecting that the joining of disparate types necessarily involves conflict owing to the profound differences of character and mentality that accompany all types of morphological peculiarities. They have never heard what should be shouted at them from the house-tops that Dr. Sheldon "has pointed to the danger of indiscriminately mixing children of different types in schools", or that Dr. H. S. Sullivan "has written of the particularly good results obtained in acute cases of schizophrenia by the simple device of providing the patients in asylums) with attendants who are themselves of schizothymic type." (Dr. J. D. Unwin's Hopousia, 1940. Introduction).
Observe these couples who confront you in church, chapel, the theatre or on a bus, train or liner, and if you can discern a single visible characteristic that they have in common, you have a keener eye than the present writer. As Professor Raymond Dodge and Eugen Kahn remark, speaking of modem civilized people: "The number of variations is equal to the number of individuals." (The Craving for Superiority, 1931. Chap. I); and Dr. Samuel H. Holmes, commenting on the same phenomenon, says: "A little observation of the multitudes we encounter in going along a street cannot fail to impress one with the heterogeneity of his fellow creatures." (The Trend of the Race, 1921. Chap. II).
And yet, despite the universal and frequently conspicuous disparity of type, shape, pigmentation, size, and, in fact, every feature they possess, these people themselves and those about them are fondly persuaded that such visible incompatibilities have no importance whatsoever and indicate no likelihood of corresponding "soul" discordances and conflicts if they marry. On the contrary, provided a couple professes some common footling predilection for spaghetti and Chekov, it is assumed that they will harmonize and suffer each other's close companionship for the rest of their lives without sharp and irreconcilable differences.
If this does not prove the complete and successful conditioning of the whole of Western populations by the childish idiocy of Socratic dualism, and their present imperviousness to the recent dis-
Nor is it among the ill-informed alone that this stupidity persists. In spite of this universal mating of disparates, obvious to all, experts and officials all over Europe and America contrive to profess themselves puzzled and shocked by the soaring figures of divorce and separation rates.
They actually form research bodies who solemnly set to work to try to find out "what is wrong with modern marriage", when all the while, staring them in the face, are the vast hordes of these disparate heterosexual couples whose only common factor is, and possibly can be, their sexual urge, which sparks and splutters in the early months of marriage, only to die out with more or less speed and to leave nothing behind except their fundamental and exasperating differences.
It would, to be sure, prove most interesting to ask these moderns whether they really believe that physical disparity between spouses matters. In 999,999 cases out of a million, it is to be feared that their answer would be emphatically, "No!"
As Keyserling says, in any essay otherwise full of nonsense: "The differentiated man or woman of to-day is guided almost exclusively by erotic impulse." This is good. He should also be given the credit of one other intelligent remark. Discussing marriage failure, he says that "most civilized people" are "unsuitably married, because they are too differentiated." (The Book of Marriage, Part I).
Strange to say, however, he does not see the obvious implication of this last remark and, therefore, does not proceed to its logical conclusion. On the contrary, he fails altogether to trace the causes of marriage failure to the reasons for the increasing differentiation and individualization and, therefore, disparity of modern people, together with the infinite incompatabilities this involves, and thus leaves the fundamental problem of ruling values and their results in the marriage crisis of Christian civilization in the air, and of course can suggest no fundamental remedy. For instance, he seems to imply that if only all men and women knew the meaning of marriage, they would not choose the wrong person as a mate, as if to-day it were merely a matter of knowing the meaning of marriage in order to be able to find one's psycho-physical affinity. He says: "Almost everyone woos the wrong person because hardly anyone knows what marriage signifies." But would even encyclopaedic knowledge of what marriage signifies help anyone to-day in finding his psycho-physical affinity amid the teeming hordes of unique, odd and infinitesimally differentiated people of Western civilization, every one of whom is disparate from his neighbour in some visible, marked or occult way?
It is strange that a man like Keyserling can be so near the truth and yet fail to grasp it; for we shall see in a moment that he must have felt, vaguely at least, most of what is claimed in this essay.
In Continental Europe, a great poet certainly did come forward in 1809 to emphasize the importance of affinity for a lasting heterosexual union. What is more, is .the fourth chapter of his Wahlverwandtschaften he explains that the affinity he means is analogous to a chemical one a conclusion which, despite its faultiness, does at least depart wholesomely from a purely "spiritual" interpretation of the term. Moreover, despite his own incorrigible fickleness, he argues quite rightly that where this affinity is found, permanent heterosexual unions must result.
This is not to say that Wahlverwandtschaften is the fundamental protest against Socratic imbecilities which, coming from such a source, we might well have expected. For Goethe, as he often shows in other connexions, was, in spite of his pagan professions, still too much under the spell of Socratic and Christian values to be able in the Europe of 1809 to adopt a wholly sound attitude towards human mating. Truth to tell, in a letter to Charlotte von Stein, it might seem as if he openly proclaimed his adherence to the superstition regarding the unilateral importance and independence of the "soul" in determining personality, and hence in effecting harmony in marriage; for he wrote: DAUER der Liebe ist immer ein Bewis der Seelischen Aehnlichkeit". ("Lasting love is always a proof of spiritual likeness"). Nevertheless, his novel, philosophically muddled and, incidentally boring, as it is in many respects, was a move in the right direction; for, seeing that he never actually denied that physical and visible likeness should always be implied in spiritual likeness, we may give him the benefit of the doubt, and absolve him of the modern idiocy of supposing that two people, male and female, utterly unlike in type, pigmentation, cranial and other features, build etc., can nevertheless live all their lives in
It is strange that we should have had to wait nearly 2000 years before human knowledge showed any signs of returning to the sanity of the ancient Greeks in the matter of the inseparability of body and soul values. It is all the more odd that this long delay in perceiving the infantile error of Socraticism should have occurred, especially in view of the innumerable and formidable signs of damage and injury suffered by the people of Christian civilization year in, year out, during the last two millenniums precisely owing to this childish error.
But, confining our attention to the question of marriage, we soon find that the present situation is such that even the most sanguine, conservative and hopeful of modern investigators are beginning to show alarm.
The failure of modern marriage is, indeed, so constant, complete and widespread, at least in Europe and every other kind of Europe, and the statistics of divorce and separation rates have recently revealed such steep and staggering increases, that many of the more superficial investigators and thinkers have decided that monogamy itself is a superannuated institution and should be abolished.
This conclusion is typical of most Anglo-Saxon reformers; for in Anglo-Saxon countries there is an infirmity which at all seasons of the year may be regarded as endemic, and the chief symptom of which is to lay the blame of all institutional decay and rot on the institution itself rather than on the people who are no longer capable of running it. Thus, in these countries, it has become a routine practice, inside and outside Parliament, to go to endless pains to seek and apply every conceivable remedy, no matter how far-fetched, to a foundering institution, before the true and fundamental cause of its breakdown is even suspected. And this despite Emerson's profound observation, uttered over a century ago, that "no institution will be better than the institutor."
As the enormous increase in divorces alone in England is now a commonplace, it is unnecessary to give many figures substantiating the claim here made that marriage in all Christian countries is now on the rocks.
For instance, to refer only to recent years, whereas in 1938 only 9,970 petitions were filed, in 1947 the number had risen to 47,041. True, this figure was not maintained because, owing to the decline in War hysteria, fewer of the romantic, hasty and ill-judged unions, due to the glamour of military uniforms and the factitious "jolliness" of girls at cocktail bars, began to take place. Thus by 1950 the figure was down to 29,482.
If, however, we take this year alone, we shall see that the general situation was in every sense disquieting.
Altogether, in that year, 50,000 married couples came with their domestic discords to court i.e., 100,000 men and women; and as the News of the World reporter adds: "These figures do not include the large number who live apart by mutual agreement, or those who have not taken their cases to court." Thus, this same reporter computes that in 1950 there were in all probability 100,000 "marriage casualties."
As to legal separations, no official figures show the sums paid into court under "maintenance orders"; but, according to the same reporter, there are 1000 courts in this country and some of them "receive as much as £100,000 each year from husbands against whom maintenance orders have been made." He therefore computes that a modest estimate of the sums received and paid out by these courts every year would be in the region of
But thousands of such husbands either cannot pay or refuse to do so. In such cases the National Assistance Board supplements the wife's allowance, and it is alleged that not only are £100,000,000 now paid out annually in National Assistance, but also that the amount is steadily increasing. This is the cost to the public of the crisis in modern marriage among the poorer classes of the community alone. (News of the World, 161251).
Reviewing these figures and bearing in mind the married lives we have observed among our own relations, friends and acquaintances, and the scores of cases we could cite of unions which, although wretched and constantly brought to the verge of disruption by bitter disagreements and upheavals, never reach the public eye either because one or both of the partners may dread the publicity, or may prefer endless secret misery to public shame, it seems to me that the News of the World reporter in estimating that the "marriage casualties" of 1950 numbered 100,000 was guilty of gross understatement. With my hand on my heart, indeed, I can vouch for the fact that, except through the medium of such biographies as those of Gladstone, Beatrice
If we narrowly scrutinize the conditions of even the best marriage, we immediately see how the situation created by a man and woman deciding to live together in close and intimate contact, year in and year out, "till death do them part" in any case bristles with difficulties of the most perplexing kind, and for the following reasons:
(1) First, because, as Keyserling in the third of the few intelligent remarks, made in his first Essay (Part I) in The Book of Marriage, shrewdly observes: "Man and woman . . . are fundamentally different and incompatible." G. K. Chesterton held the same view. In What's Wrong With The World (p. 54), he says: "The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible." It will be remembered, too, that Nietzsche not only acknowledged this fundamental incompatibility of the sexes, but also spoke of it in even more emphatic terms than either Keyserling or Chesterton; for in Beyond Good and Evil (Aph. 238) he recognizes the "profoundest antagonism" and the "eternally hostile tension" between man and woman; whilst in Ecce Homo (Ch. III, Sect. 6) he declares that "Love in its foundation is the mortal hatred of the sexes."
In any case, the fact that the incompatibility of man and woman is basic, seems undeniable.
Their sexual functions, alone, demand quite different and discordant satisfactions. Their sexual cycles are, both as to duration and nature, wholly unlike. And the interests, pastime and aspirations contingent on these functional differences are generally utterly at variance, not to say antagonistic.
(2) Secondly, companionship and the pleasure and recuperation derived from it depend, to a far greater extent than is generally admitted, on its temporary nature and the change it brings. That is to day, we seek companionship when we are tired of the communion between I and me. It is when this communion has for the nonce grown stale, or has momentarily ceased to amuse or interest us, that we seek the diversion and refreshment of companionship.
But this is tantamount to admitting that the last person to whom we are likely to turn with any success for companionship is precisely our life-partner, whose mind we have long explored, whose every remark we can almost anticipate with accuracy, just as she can anticipate ours. She is to us, as we are to her, an alter ego, a twice-, if not a thrice-told tale; a creature so customary, so expected, squeezed so utterly dry, that unless she cuts her finger or falls downstairs, or steps on our toe, we hardly notice her. As with Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Shaw, long silences are rather the rule than the exception with one's alter ego.
So that to expect the solace, stimulation and spiritual recuperation from a spouse, which one legitimately can expect from a companion of choice, whom one is careful to see only occasionally, is unfair.
Marriage, as companionship is, therefore, an illusion, a hoax, and those who confuse companionship with the presence of some wholly familiar person sitting breathing not three feet away, are guilty of a fundamental mistake which will certainly cause them sooner or later to find marriage a fraud. But it is a fraud only if we expect of it pleasures it cannot give. Among subjective and psychologically ignorant people, however, the sense of loneliness, or boredom, or mere blankness which may supervene when companionship is sought in the presence of the legal partner, may easily lead to a feeling of irritation and resentment towards the partner which, at the slightest provocation, may develop into a bitter or spiteful exchange of reproaches, and ultimately to a major altercation.
(3) Thirdly, all human relationships, whether of spouses, siblings or friends and acquaintances, are subject to the incessant tension created by the presence in all of us of the Will to Power. Only foolish sentimentalists, incapable of honest introspection, or else intelligent hypocrites deny this universal "demon" as Nietzsche calls it. But in the lives of those who are daily in contact for decades at a stretch, the hourly adjustments needed to effect a peaceful truce between the wills to power of the partners in marriage are often both difficult and exhausting, more especially in Anglo-Saxon countries where the modern female, owing to her secret penis-envy, is always over-anxious to yield no point lest the inferiority feelings pivoting on her penis-envy suffer provocation.
As Stekel well says: "In every marriage there reigns a silent, often concealed but inexorable war for mastery" (Marriage at the Crossroads, 1931, Chap. XV).
Thus, in the intimacy of the home, even the peace of the most ideal marriage finds itself hourly threatened by the devilry of this universal "demon", and where the partners are not united by deep and far-reaching affinities, hostility is soon roused and quickly takes permanent command of
(4) Finally, there is the influence exerted by the children; and here again, owing to the striving for ascendancy in both spouses, the children are likely to be used as a means of dominating or otherwise defeating the partner. Indeed, the children themselves, when once they have grasped the advantage to be gained from playing one parent against the other, may use this method either for exercising power over their elders, or else, as frequently happens, for causing friction and disagreements between them. (On this point see Susan Isaacs: Social Development in Children, pp. 237 and 240).
This brief and much simplified list of difficulties inherent even in the best married relationship, suffices to show that there are present in the home of the most loving, united and affinitive couples, explosive elements, enough without complicating the situation and aggravating its more serious drawbacks by adding to them the incessantly provocative and antagonizing factor of psycho-physical disparity. For while tact and mutual consideration may help to overcome all the four difficulties mentioned above, if the love inspired by complete affinity is always paramount, no tact and no consideration can repeatedly and successfully forestall those paroxysms of profound misunderstanding and irascibility which psycho-physical disparaties, often hardly comprehensible to the parties concerned, may be guaranteed incessantly to generate.
Thus, what the relatively recent system of wild and reckless disparate mating introduces into the delicate and ever labile situation of married life, are factors which render it incapable of duration, especially in those classes where ignorance is usually compounded of subjectivity and a complete lack of understading in matters of human motivation. For, to the basic incompatibilities of the sexes, which no power can alter, there are then added characterological, temperamental and physiological divergences aye, even divergences of body temperatures, perspiration rates and centres, and even aromas which make harmony, unity and even patience, quite impossible.
Even people drilled in tact and consideration and capable of secreting the milk of human kindness from every pore, could not in the long run hope to maintain a frictionless relationship where such essential divergences aggravate the fundamental incompatibility of the sexes; for, at every turn, to be confronted with whims, moods and reactions one does not even understand, much less, therefore, sympathize with, cannot fail to cause estrangement. This being so, when we gaze on the endless procession of wholly disparate couples which modernity sets before our eyes, our astonishment is roused not so much by the frequency of their divorces and legal separations, as by the fact that any of their marriages can endure a twelvemonth.
John Cowper Powys declares that "much of the savage insistence which we find . . . as to the irreconcilable war between men and women," springs from the fact that "the predestined mate is so hard to find." (The Meaning of Culture, 1930, Chap. X). This is true. But Powys never points out why the predestined mate is now so hard to find; nor have I been able to discover any passage in his works which would suggest that he suspected the true cause.
The alert reader may be wondering whether the wild and reckless mating of divergent types and of disparates in general was not always with us, and why I speak of it as relatively recent.
The fact is that overwhelming evidence is to hand which proves conclusively that, owing to difficulties of transport and all the other restrictions, whether geographical, legislative, customary or merely occupational, placed on demographic fluidity throughout the history of Europe, before the Machine Age, there was in most areas, especially in the islands, peninsulas and naturally enclosed or isolated areas, an enormous amount of inbreeding and therefore of type standardization and beatuy. And consequently in different parts of the whole continent there came into being definite and more or less uniform national types. They may never have become as uniform as they did in China or ancient Egypt, but the use of parts of the body as standards of lineal measure, and the varieties of these standards in old and bygone Europe, alone, indicates that local pockets of standardized types were once much more common than they are now.
The recent decline in human beauty everywhere in Europe since transport facilities increased constitutes more evidence of this (See my Quest of Human Quality for the relation of beauty and type standardization to inbreeding); whilst the testimony of an investigator like Dr. Franz Boas (Race, Language and Culture, 1940, pp. 3132) can leave us in no doubt that the extreme diversity and individual differentiation which we find everywhere in Europe to-day is a more or less recent
Thus, Dr. Holmes says: "At the present time, where railroads and steamships, to say nothing of other conveniences of travel and communication are bringing races into closer contact, the process of race fusion goes on at an accelerated pace." (Op cit. Chap. XI). He might with equal justice have added "type miscegenation within a nation."
Is there, however, any evidence to the effect that psycho-physical affinity does lead to the conjugal happiness and stability which Goethe supposed it would? The alert reader will easily appreciate that, as the correlation of conjugal instability and unhappiness with the wild and reckless practice of disparate mating is so far from being a commonplace in sociology that this is probably the first long essay on the subject, it is idle to expect extensive data relating to it and supporting the unfamiliar contention here made. For, as far as I have been able to discover there has been no systematic attempt either to dispute or to substantiate Goethe's claim.
Any evidence in favour of this claim which I have been able to discover is wholly due to my own independent researches and has been furnished by writers on the most varied subjects who were very far from suspecting that the phenomenon of soaring divorce and separation actions could bear any relation to the lack of that affinity between married couples which Goethe insisted upon. It is impossible in a short essay to give all the evidence I have been able to discover, but a selection of the data will suffice to show that they support Goethe's claim.
The only instance I have been able to find of a writer who, whilst emphasizing the happiness and long duration of a marriage, definitely refers to the affinity of the spouses concerned, occurs in Dr. Samuel Johnson's essay on Sir Thomas Browne, written in 1756, where Johnson says: "He married in 1641 Mrs. Mileham". Then quoting Whitefoot, he adds: "a lady of such symmetrical proportion to her worthy husband both in the grace of her body and mind, that they seemed to come together by a kind of natural magnetism." And the learned doctor concludes: "She lived happily with him over forty years and bore him ten children."
Mr. Thomas H. Mason, in the Islands of Ireland (Chap. XII) tells us that on the Blasket Islands, where marriages are arranged for young people by friends or by the parents, "one would imagine that marriages arranged in this fashion would not turn out well, but the fact is that one seldom hears of unhappy unions." He speaks of the spouses being united "by an affection which survives all their vicissitudes and binds the family life with ties which are very strong and beautiful."
Yes! But he also informs us that the people are much inbred and mostly good-looking, which is as good as to say that they are morphologically standardized.
Romanzo Adams, in Interracial Marriage in Hawaii (1937), also has some interesting things to say which are relevant to the present issue. The Hawaiians, when originally discovered, were already a people of mixed racial origin, although they had become "a people of stabilized race mixture"; but, since that time, the influx of Chinese, Japanese, Americans and Europeans has done much to make both the original stock and their customs and organization less stable, and interracial marriages often occur.
Among both the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, however, there remains a strong bias against "out-marriage". "The Chinese mores are very unfavourable to marriage with non-Chinese" (Op cit. p. 142), and Japanese "social control adverse to out-marriage is effective almost everywhere." (Op cit. p. 160).
Now it is interesting to note that Adams declares divorce "much less frequent among the Chinese and the Japanese than among the others" (pp. 218, 219); and, generally, Adams says, "in the case of the in-married all races there were 16 persons divorced per 1000 married population as compared with 23 divorced in the case of the out-married."
For the Chinese and Japanese "there was a marked difference, the divorce rate being two or three times as high for the out-married as for the in-married." (p. 224).
And he adds (p. 226): "The divorce rates are highest . . . among the members of the racial groups that out-marry most."
Thus, he concludes: "the marriage of men and women who differ considerably in racial traits . . . does involve some extra problem of adjustment. There may be clashing habits and standards. The difficulties in the way of understanding are greater." (p 255.).
He does not mention that the disparate features of different types within the same national population are equivalent to the different racial traits in countries like Hawaii, but it is clear that they are. (For evidence of this see The Quest of Human Quality and Dr. F. A. E. Crew: Organic Inheritance in Man, 1927, Chap. V).
Many accounts of life among primitive people could be quoted bearing out the important implications of the above findings by Adams; but Professor J. Schapera's Married Life in an African Tribe (London 1940), is a case in point.
Speaking of the Kgatla tribe, Professor Schapera says: "They held that it was eminently desirable for a man to marry his first cousin . . . The marriage most preferred was with the mostwala or cross-cousin, i.e., the daughter of a maternal uncle or paternal aunt."
The people claimed that "cousin marriages were most likely to succeed," and a local proverb says: "Side by side with his cousin a man is always happy." (Chap. II).
Professor Shapera adds: "Divorce is not at all frequent." (Chapter. X).
Returning now to Professor Richard Wilhelm, according to whom, as was shown above, the uniformity of type in China makes it a matter of relative indifference whom a man marries, "for they are all more or less alike", it is interesting to note that this authority also assures us that "the average Chinese marriage is more peaceful than marriage anywhere else" (The Book of Marriage): whilst Professor "Westermarck seems to confirm this by his statement that "divorce is rare in China." (History of Marriage, Chap. XXIII). If then we connect these two statements with Mr. Owen Lattimore's observation in Solution in Asia (1945, p. 191) that "the Chinese have a vast territory and the largest homogeneous population in the world", we find considerable support for my contention regarding the radical instability of marriage between disparates.
Keyserling himself goes a long way quite unwittingly, it is true towards endorsing my thesis, when he says, speaking of standardized (and, presumably, primitive communities) "where the type dominates the individual marriages arranged by experienced relatives are usually happier than love-matches." And he adds: "in a primitive state of society it is not difficult to make a proper choice of partners . . . almost any person may marry any other, as long as they harmonize as regards type . . . The problem always becomes more difficult to solve as differentiation increases." (The Book of Marriage, Part I.)
It may carry little conviction to state that in the early 18th century, when English people were much more inbred and, therefore, more standardized than they are to-day, that "divorce" should have been "almost unknown" but such is the fact (Trevelyan, English Social History, 1944. Chap. X).
Meanwhile, to repeat what has been implied throughout this essay, the fact that divorce proceedings and applications for maintenance after separation, have been soaring pari passu with the increasing mobility, not to say, fluidity, of all civilized populations, may or may not seem to the reader to reveal a causal connexion between the two phenomena, but, it is submitted by the present writer that the two are most probably connected hence the disorganization and the corruption and chaos of customs and all human relations, including the sexual, which have always been the price of Empire, and which, even in the ancient world, when transport was still most primitive, introduced a corrosive element into every department of social life.
It remains to discuss the bearing all this has on Dr. Popenoe's paper, Divorce as a Biologist Sees It. It will be remembered that under this title, Dr. Popenoe discusses the relation of ill-health and biological inferiority to divorce, and comes to the conclusion that divorcees, compared with successful husbands and wives, are "biologically inferior" i.e., they have "a shorter expectation of life", and they have "high rates of mental disease, suicide, crime and insanity."
Dr. Popenoe points out that "there is an important proportion of the broken homes that could easily be avoided by more careful selection of mates." But, where morphological disparity is every where conspicuous, even between brothers and sisters, how can the average man and woman to-day hope to find their affinity?
By and large, however, what Dr, Popenoe's thesis amounts to is that divorce and matrimonial failure in general are contingent on biological inferiority and ill-health.
In that case, we should expect the recent spectacular increase in broken homes to be paralleled by an increase in biological inferiority in all civilized communities. Can this be shown to have occurred?
My reply is that it is implicit in the phenomenon already abundantly discussed, namely, the widespread psycho-physical disparities now known and seen to prevail between all the members of every civilized population. This extreme diversity which means that every individual man and woman is visibly a unique specimen, with morphological features, endocrine balance, and all other characteristics differentiating him and her from the rest of the human world, means, that is to say, owing to the law of the offspring's independent inheritance of bodily parts from either parent, that nobody is or can be harmoniously co-ordinated; nobody can be fundamentally sound and well balanced in constitution. For, since every child inherits all its bodily parts, down to its blood constitution, independently from either parent, and all parents to-day are more or less
In this sense, my thesis in the present essay and Dr. Popenoe's actually complement each other, and incidentally supply each other with confirmatory evidence.
For data bearing out the claims made above in regard to the unfavourable consequences of breeding from disparates, and in regard to the independent inheritance of bodily parts from disparate parents, see, Darwin: The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Vol. II. Chap. XV; Mjoen: Eugenics Review, Vol. XIV. p. 37; F. A. E. Crew: Organic Inheritance in Man, Chaps. IV and VI; and Ernst Rodenwaldt: Die Metitzen auf Kisar, p, 405; H. Spencer: Principles of Biology, pp. 307308; Bryn: Human Heredity, p. 296; Mjoen; Volk und Rasse, 1st Article, pp. 171173; 2nd Article, p. 74; Ruggles Gates; Heredity in Man, p. 239, and Heredity and Eugenics, p. 29; Davenport: Ibid, p. 239 Talbot: Degeneracy, Its Causes, Signs and Results, p. 98; Fleming: A Study of Growth and Development, vii; Lundborg: Die Rassenmischung beim Menschen, p. 90.