A Tentative Defence of Monogamy I would be the last to deny the promiscuous nature of man. It is evident that many of the failings of modern-day coupling and marriage is due to the fact that it is imposed upon an instinctive beast that has little ability to control self through the intellect and must be coerced, threatened or rewarded and/or indoctrinated into a moral dogma in order to remain disciplined and moderate. Common man, governed by a need that emerges in times of indigence, has carried this superfluity like a camel carries its hump into a luscious rainforest. This doctrine of excess, which forces out behaviours of gluttony, is an expression of undiscriminating tastes and subdued palates that are more interested in quantity than quality. The practice of suppressing sexual drives, that sometimes threaten social order and harmony, has been a deciding factor in the emergence of civilizations and complex human economic and cultural structures. It enables the full participation of males/females in the system and the full investment of these males/females in the system itself that turns them from rebellious vagabonds or indifferent observers into defenders and guardians of the norm. This imposition of monogamy on a polygamous species has been successful, or relatively so, mostly through the utilization of institutional authority and the restriction of female sexual choices. But I am going to defend and describe a spontaneously emerging form of monogamy that is not a product of moral and cultural force or paternalistic social order but more a product of refined tastes and noble predispositions. It would be remiss of me to neglect to state that the creation of distinction and refinement could only happen, ironically, in times of superfluity and in ages of abundance, for in times of poverty all, by necessity, become ascetics and minimalists and it is leisure that often results in heightened awareness and wisdom. This spiritual refinement that is shaped by hypersensitivity and an overabundance of inner strength leads to a discriminating palate and a pickiness that should not be misconstrued for snobbery or pretentiousness; this discriminating taste that leads to some form of monogamy should not also be misjudged as another instance of the common form of monogamy that is more a result of moral imperatives, hypocrisy and socio-economic pressures as well as cultural conformity than anything else. Since metaphor and allegory are the best ways to become precise while still remaining discreet and indirect I begin by encapsulating my perspective of this more noble form of monogamy with symbolism: Let us then take wine as a substitute for mating, since it is an unnecessary aspect of individual survival, as sex is, while still retaining the attraction and sweetness associated with coupling. The common man, with his unsophisticated tastes, gluttony-sometimes reaching the proportions of alcoholism-and insensitive tongue, may find that all wines are the same or similar enough to not make great differentiations, and all that really is at stake here, for him, is access and availability. In other words, the average man wants wine on his table-if it is his preferred beverage- as a sign of affluence or happiness or conformity and its quality, its distinctive bouquet, the year and the region it was harvested in, is of no or little importance to him. For him the experience of wine drinking is merely encompassed in the general sensation of swallowing and tasting its broad and obvious aroma and in the inevitable high-spirits it inevitably results in. Any bottle will do, within reason, from any time and from any place, and large quantities of it are preferred so that his greedy needs are met, his belly and ego are engorged and his needs momentarily placated. But for a refined palate, one that can discern nuance and subtlety, not all wines are created equal. His discriminating tastes are not a consequence of pretentious snobbery and feigned aristocracy but a result of an oversensitive taste-bud and a hypersensitive nose. He cannot ignore, no matter how much he may try, the faint fragrances, the quiet bouquets, the textures, the aftertastes or the colorations of each Olympian nectar; for him the wines history, its symbolism and art are just as relevant as its simple drinking. He may drink an inferior fermented grape, from time to time so as to not insult a host or as to not make an unwarranted fuss, but given a choice he will prefer abstinence from indulging in pigswill and fire-water. The refined palate, therefore, will choose asceticism rather than to debase and degrade one self by settling for inferior products and individuals just to quell an inner instinctive need or desire. He will see any submission to his hunger and thirst, which often demand compromises of great proportion, as a defeat, as an insult to self and a loss of dignity that is often felt in hindsight. We must keep in mind again that this refined taste is not an act of conceit but a product of awareness. It stems from this extreme sensual perceptiveness [hypersensitivity] that is inescapable, as no man can blind himself to what he sees or ignore for long what he hears, and it also stems from a deeper appreciation of emotions and of self. It is an appearance of pride we call nobility. What a common man calls ‘love’, ‘compassion’, ‘loyalty’, ‘responsibility’, ‘commitment’ and ‘empathy’ pales in comparison to what a noble mind understands them to be. If we are to understand hypersensitivity or awareness or refinement we must here use, once more, some figurative symbolism. Two men walk into a room in which a party is going on. The first is a common, average man for whom the scene is a joyful one, full of smiling faces, mirth, clinking glasses, the din of happy conversation, the smells of food, all engulfed in a kaleidoscope of pleasant background music and dazzling lights. The second, “suffering” from hypersensitivity, perceives a totally different scene. He sees what the first man sees but also so much more. He sees a momentary frown, a glance, a stolen kiss, a discreet touch, a smirk; he hears a sarcastic giggle, a stomach churning, a door slam; he smells perfume, cologne and sweat; he knows who’s had a little too much to drink, who is walking with a limp, who’s talking with whom, who wore mismatched socks today, who just hit on someone’s wife and so on. It is possible for two individuals to experience the same thing but perceive it on different levels, levels of lucidity if you will. It is this lucidity that gives reality, life and emotions more substance for the noble man. His love is more precious to him and not something he gives out lightly, his compassion is more profound, his loyalty more true, his friendship more deep and weighted down with meaning and not mere words he flings around to appear civilized and moral or to ensure another’s respect. This noble man of refined tastes takes responsibility seriously and that’s why he enters it so rarely, he takes commitment more austerely and that is why he rarely commits. For him love/hate, loyalty/betrayal, compassion/cruelty, mean so much more than for the common man that enters relationships of enmity or cooperation blindly and full of hypocritical innocence, delusional confidence and naïve hope derived from an absence of awareness or an inability to self-discipline. That’s why Christianity and Democracy, or any ideology that institutionalizes emotions and behaviours, is an anathema to him. Compassion and love are precious things to a noble mind; precious things beyond measure that are offered only to the worthy and to those that have earned his trust and loyalty and that is why his emotions are so much more weighty and meaningful and not just words that lead to ephemeral commitments of need. Common love relationships often begin with an attraction based on superficial criteria. A man may just be attracted to a woman’s ass, to her full bosom or wavy hair, a woman to a tall, dark and handsome man or a rich man or a man of status and so soon reality will disenchant them from their fantasies about how things could be or should be. Sometimes shallow relationships are a product of physical needs and social imperatives that force two people into each others spaces for better or for worst, often the second more than the first. Shallow choices lead to shallow lives where often the sense of something missing is felt and one blames the other or conditions but rarely ones judgment, original choices and criteria of evaluation. So errors are repeated, over and over and over again. In comparison noble love relationships are more difficult to find and so much more valuable. It is difficult enough to nourish and remain noble in such a world of superficiality and narrowness, it is rare that the right genetic and environmental circumstances will arise in an individual at all and that the right balance of strength and awareness will coincide in a single entity, so two noble spirits finding each other is a rare thing indeed especially when one considers their solitary and shy nature. This is what makes them precious and an exemplification of idealistic romantic love. Their rarity and value is due to the fact that they are based on more than just mere lust but exhibit a spiritual interconnectedness where two people become united in more than a physical way, although the physical is always the first connection. Here the mind takes precedence and decides when to suppress or express desire and need, when to expose or hide vulnerability and strength, when to love, commit and remain loyal because only it can comprehend the full breadth and depth of the issues involved. This nobility of spirit, this refinement of taste forces the individual endowed with it, into some uncomfortable choices: Either find solace in solitude and asceticism through the denial of instinct, as many sages have done, so that no compromises are made and no loss of self worth ensues or search and wait for that single one, that diamond in the dirt that lives up to heightened standards and meets reality eye-to-eye, that gives as much as it takes and understands the entirety of what commitment, loyalty, trust, compassion and finally love entails. Only nobility can love where a common man merely lusts.