Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Should everyone wish to get married?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

The problem is the "till death" part. No one can know what they'll be thinking and feeling that far into the future. It's like signing your life away. Furthermore, I don't think contracts should/can be personally/legally based on emotions -- I think it's already been pointed out in this thread that emotions aren't provable in court.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eiuol, JASKN, et al.,

 

There appears to me to be a persistant premise that the emotion love ought to provide a unique exemption from agreements about living together long term, e.g., it's only human to agree to love and not expect to be held accountable to that agreement.  To me, that represents a positive assertion that agreements involving love are fundamantally different than all other agreements that ought to be relied on.  I need some more persuasive evidence than, I don't feel like performing on my agreement, to reconsider my position.

 

There are wedding vows that substitute a promise to love until death do us part with a promise to remain with thee so long as we both shall love each other.  Is this not a better and more consistent way to avoid the kind of emotional trap you're concerned with??

DA, in your ideal world, if one person in the marriage says "I don't feel like performing on my agreement", what would you like to see happen as far as the law is concerned? I'm not asking about morality here, just the law? Do you think the courts should fix damages, or do you think the courts should do something more? if so, what?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eiuol, JASKN, et al.,

 

There appears to me to be a persistant premise that the emotion love ought to provide a unique exemption from agreements about living together long term, e.g., it's only human to agree to love and not expect to be held accountable to that agreement

Right, but legal accountability isn't the only kind of accountability, and accountability can only be in regard to choice. Falling out of love means feeling like not performing on an agreement to love, because that is a feeling. The person ceases to feel the reason to maintain the agreement. My revised case is an example where two people are doing the right actions, until one day, it hits one of them: their values changed slowly, in ways that love didn't disappear or do anything at first. They no longer feel like continuing the agreement.  No one can predict love disappearing except for moral failing like abuse for instance or ignoring the other person. That is, unless you CONSTANTLY say EVERY little THING you do, which I'd say undermines love because that demands people stifle their independence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is the "till death" part. No one can know what they'll be thinking and feeling that far into the future. It's like signing your life away. Furthermore, I don't think contracts should/can be personally/legally based on emotions -- I think it's already been pointed out in this thread that emotions aren't provable in court.

 

I would tend to agree with the 1st part of your response, and therefore suggest that a rational lover ought to know that about themselves and opt for the less binding option, "so long as we both shall love each other".  However given that emotions are effected by actions which are voluntary, should one freely wish to bind themselves by a vow to, "love until death do us part", one ought to be willing to be held accountable to that pledge.

 

As to the 2nd part, I'm no lawyer but I believe there actually are legal measurements of ones emotional state of mind which help shape judgements on accountability.  I'm adding the following link to help support this assessment:

 

"(3) Then-Existing Mental, Emotional, or Physical Condition. A statement of the declarant’s then-existing state of mind (such as motive, intent, or plan) or emotional, sensory, or physical condition (such as mental feeling, pain, or bodily health), but not including a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the validity or terms of the declarant’s will."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_803

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DA, in your ideal world, if one person in the marriage says "I don't feel like performing on my agreement", what would you like to see happen as far as the law is concerned? I'm not asking about morality here, just the law? Do you think the courts should fix damages, or do you think the courts should do something more? if so, what?

 

In general I believe that agreements which only effect participants ought to be left for the participants to dispose of.  So if for whatever reason both participants agree to release each other from their prior obligations, this agreement forms a new agreement freely entered into and ought to legally supersede the prior one, in the manner a more recent will supersedes any prior versions.

 

In response to the last part of your question, and given the emotional nature of marital contracts, a rational judge might order a cooling off period with counseling prior to granting a divorce on the chance that party having changed their mind might as easily change it back.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, but legal accountability isn't the only kind of accountability, and accountability can only be in regard to choice. Falling out of love means feeling like not performing on an agreement to love, because that is a feeling. The person ceases to feel the reason to maintain the agreement. My revised case is an example where two people are doing the right actions, until one day, it hits one of them: their values changed slowly, in ways that love didn't disappear or do anything at first. They no longer feel like continuing the agreement.  No one can predict love disappearing except for moral failing like abuse for instance or ignoring the other person. That is, unless you CONSTANTLY say EVERY little THING you do, which I'd say undermines love because that demands people stifle their independence.

 

Parents often predict love disappearing when their children act on emotions they feel at the moment, but choose to ignore the long term obligations that follow.  Marriages rely on witnesses to the event to ensure both parties "know" what they are agreeing to and not being coerced into something they might regret later.  I think splitprimary adequately addresses your 2nd Jack & Jill scenario, and as I've already stated, I don't consider a "change of heart" to be a sufficient excuse for breaching a contract, when one can as easily avoid emotional traps by limiting the scope of emotional promises prior to agreeing to anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I don't consider a "change of heart" to be a sufficient excuse for breaching a contract, when one can as easily avoid emotional traps by limiting the scope of emotional promises prior to agreeing to anything.

Nor do I... All I've argued is that marriage does not improve love, and the reason is contracts cannot secure love. Change of heart is not sufficient to breach a contract. In fact, how you feel is irrelevant. But you've argued that feeling love is relevant based on how you say marriage secures love, so clearly if love fails to be secured, the contract is broken. Then, here, you're maintaining that change of heart is not sufficient to break any contract, so it is not sufficient to say the other person fell out of love in order to claim a marriage contract is broken. In that case, the marriage contract isn't securing love. I see a contradiction.

 

Look, I get it. A witnessed event is great, and so is declaring love. That says nothing about how a marriage contract succeeds in securing love.

Edited by Eiuol
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In response to the last part of your question, and given the emotional nature of marital contracts, a rational judge might order a cooling off period with counseling prior to granting a divorce on the chance that party having changed their mind might as easily change it back.

Cooling off simply delays the issue. But, I think you're saying that if they come back and ONE party says he/she still wants the divorce, the judge will grant the divorce and focus only on the monetary/property aspects, and responsibilities vis-a-vis kids. It that correct?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

Look, I get it. A witnessed event is great, and so is declaring love. That says nothing about how a marriage contract succeeds in securing love.

 

If my response to you in post #81 wasn't persuasive, then we'll have to leave it at that, but as always I appreciate your feedback.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Divorce is the result of someone making a faulty claim about their intention to remain married long term; a kind of misrepresentation.

One can intend something completely at one point, but then later various things happen to lead to one not doing what one originally intended. Whether the person was right or wrong about not doing that thing, it doesn't retroactively alter their previous state of intent.

 

There are wedding vows that substitute a promise to love until death do us part with a promise to remain with thee so long as we both shall love each other.  Is this not a better and more consistent way to avoid the kind of emotional trap you're concerned with??

 

. . . and as I've already stated, I don't consider a "change of heart" to be a sufficient excuse for breaching a contract, when one can as easily avoid emotional traps by limiting the scope of emotional promises prior to agreeing to anything.

I do think that second option is much, much more reasonable. That's a promise on what actions one will take given certain conditions. That's something one can choose to follow through with. The first option is a promise to feel though. One cannot force emotions or be omniscient about what the future holds to know that circumstances will never become such that they no longer feel a particular way. Basically, I think making a promise to feel a certain way for life is a fool's errand to begin with and that it makes a horrible bases for a legal contract.

 

Though, in regard to the original topic of this thread, even making that more reasonable promise, I don't really see how the legal papers are the bee's knees for a relationship that people make them out to be.

 

there is still a moral failure there. this couple intended to stay together, willed it, declared it, and couldn’t follow through. if Jill cared about the marriage, and was actually trying to maintain it or “take the actions required for love” like you say, Jack should have been part of all those “little changes” that were going on. they would have been talking about her values as they shifted or at least the difference would have been known to both, and either Jack’s values would have changed in step with hers, or in the course of their interaction he could have provided the check she needed, if the original values they shared, which she was abandoning, were the better ones.

 

we’re talking about fundamental values. it's already been covered here that you don’t fall out of love because your taste in food has changed. if you make it trivial enough that it’s a difference in preferences without any moral significance, then it’s too trivial to make anyone fall out of love. if the issues are big enough to make someone fall out of love, then someone either significantly improved or severely corrupted their philosophy, and in a healthy relationship this would never happen to one person in isolation. if Jack had known about the value change all along and they still managed to end up in disagreement, he would also want to end the relationship and it would be a mutual decision. but if Jill’s values changed like that, especially over enough time for the new ideas to have already been automatized so that her preferences are different but she can’t trace why, and Jack is only finding out about any of this when she’s serving up divorce papers, then Jill was absolutely NOT “taking the actions to maintain love”.

 

Jill is breaking a contract she made with Jack, who hasn’t breached it, and it’s not a mutual decision. if she wants to end the marriage, she can force a divorce and it will be a “no-fault”, but the damages are on her and so is the moral blame. Jill failed / is choosing to fail to honor an agreement she made.

 

Morality is not the only thing that romantic love depends on. If morality was all that mattered, Yaron Brook would have to be beating off the suitors with a stick. Romance depends on sense of life. One's sense of life is not completely determined by one's morals/behaving morally. Generally, sense of life is a pretty stable thing once one isn't a little kid anymore, but it isn't impossible for it to ever change. Additionally, hierarchy of values factors heavily into this. Jill could change in such a way that she now puts a lot more emphasis on something(s) that used to matter little to her. Jack is lacking in the department of this particular value(s) of Jill's. That used to not matter, since neither of them cared about that particular thing, but now it matters to Jill, but it still doesn't matter to Jack. So, Jill can still be romantically attractive to Jack, because he doesn't care about that stuff one way or the other, it's a moot issue to him, meanwhile Jack is no longer romantically attractive to Jill because what he lacks is *not* moot to her in regard to romance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

Basically, I think making a promise to feel a certain way for life is a fool's errand to begin with and that it makes a horrible bases for a legal contract.

...

 

Making a promise to oneself and others to feel a certain way for life is essentially establishing, as a goal, the kind of happiness one chooses to pursue.  As a choice, marriage reflects consistency of thought and practice of Objectivist philosophy regarding ones fundamental nature as a trader, benefiting from the kind of actions one ought to take in order to effect happiness for oneself and those one cares about most.  However there remain inherent risks involved in the union of fallible beings, as current divorce rates suggest.

 

Everyone should wish to establish long term relationships that are mutually beneficial, and avoid those that aren't.  Finding a partner one can live with is challenging enough.  Choosing the kind of relationship to enter into, e.g., marriage, civil union, cohabitation, friendship, largely depends on what kind of agreements are worth the effort of being held accountable to.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can promise to do your best to do things to support maintaining a feeling, but that's the end of the line. Actions one can choose, feelings are not within the realm of direct choice. You can influence them indirectly at most, something which still leaves no guarantees of what results one will get. How does "marriage reflect consistency of thought and practice of Objectivist philosophy regarding one's fundamental nature as a trader"? Marriage is far from the only way to "establish long term relationships that are mutually beneficial" in romance. Furthermore, please elaborate on what is entailed by "being held accountable to" here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can promise to do your best to do things to support maintaining a feeling, but that's the end of the line. Actions one can choose, feelings are not within the realm of direct choice. You can influence them indirectly at most, something which still leaves no guarantees of what results one will get...

 

If I choose not to feel hungry and take actions to obtain food and eat it, have I not caused myself not to feel hungry?  Is the process different for choosing not to feel lonely??  That I may or may not feel hunger or loneliness in the future doesn't invalidate the premise that intentional actions produce desirable emotional outcomes.

 

... How does "marriage reflect consistency of thought and practice of Objectivist philosophy regarding one's fundamental nature as a trader"? ...

 

I covered this in post #77, so unless you're disputing that marriage as a contract represents the kind of beneficial agreement one relies on to pursue happiness, or that happiness is effected by ones actions, e.g.,  to choose and maintain a long term marital relationship, we should be able to agree that there aren't any philosophical contradictions regarding marriage within Objectivism.

 

... Marriage is far from the only way to "establish long term relationships that are mutually beneficial" in romance...

Which is why I include the examples, "civil union, cohabitation & friendship".

 

... Furthermore, please elaborate on what is entailed by "being held accountable to" here.

One is held accountable to whatever obligations one agrees to fulfill in order to benefit from agreements with others, n'est-ce pas?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can't choose to not feel hungry, you can only choose to ignore or hopelessly try to erase the feeling. Similarly, you can't choose to not feel lonely. All you can do is take actions which establish having an emotion, but once you feel it, that's it. All you'll be able to do is take new actions to replace your emotions. On top of that, any actions you take can and will affect your emotions, even if you aren't trying to replace your emotions. Note the difference between choosing actions, with the resulting feeling that happens regardless of your intention to feel an emotion.

 

Paying a loan is a choice in that it is entirely up to your intention, making it fair to make contracts for loans. Feeling love is only partially up to your intentions, so it isn't fair to make contracts for love. There is not necessarily moral failure if you end up feeling differently than you want - the parts of love unavailable to choices and intentions aren't up for moral judgment.

 

Which is why I include the examples, "civil union, cohabitation & friendship".

Do you mean to imply a ranked list of levels of commitment? In other words, do you think marriage is inherently more commitment than a relationship of cohabitation without marriage?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can't choose to not feel hungry, you can only choose to ignore or hopelessly try to erase the feeling. Similarly, you can't choose to not feel lonely. All you can do is take actions which establish having an emotion, but once you feel it, that's it. All you'll be able to do is take new actions to replace your emotions. On top of that, any actions you take can and will affect your emotions, even if you aren't trying to replace your emotions. Note the difference between choosing actions, with the resulting feeling that happens regardless of your intention to feel an emotion.

...

 

I'm not even sure why we're arguing this point.  Of course you can choose to feel something.  Isn't that the whole point of having a right to pursue happiness, specifically having the freedom to act with the intention of being happy??  By your description, it sounds as though achieving a desired emotional state isn't possible by choosing to act/behave a certain way.  If that is what you believe, where is your motivation for acting any particular way?  To what end??

 

...

 

Do you mean to imply a ranked list of levels of commitment? In other words, do you think marriage is inherently more commitment than a relationship of cohabitation without marriage?

 

I think agreements that carry legal consequences are inherently more binding than those that don't, but all voluntary relationships involve a certain level of commitment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not even sure why we're arguing this point.  Of course you can choose to feel something.  Isn't that the whole point of having a right to pursue happiness, specifically having the freedom to act with the intention of being happy?? 

 

Choosing the pursuit of happiness, not choosing happiness! I choose to pursue happiness, but it is never sufficient to act with only an intention in order to attain happiness as an emotion. It is always sufficient to act with only an intention in order to achieve non-emotional ends. Will yourself to be happy, and you will fail in futility - more is needed than your will and choice to act. Will yourself to pay a bill, and you will succeed - all you need is to choose to act.

 

My motivation to pursue happiness is that it is necessary to do right actions, but there is more to an emotion than simply a consequence of my actions. I didn't say it isn't possible to achieve a desired emotional state by ways of chosen actions. It is affected also by things like sense of life especially, and any alteration to that will change how your emotions work, love included. Those changes happen naturally and aren't always subject to moral blame, as it doesn't reflect on your honesty or selfishness negatively, aside from how it's not a choice anyway how your emotions will work. In any case, if I don't take any actions, I'm doomed to fail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"... I didn't say it isn't possible to achieve a desired emotional state by ways of chosen actions. It is affected also by things like sense of life..." ~ Eiuol

 

Then we are in general agreement, with some argument remaining over the degree to which ones intended emotional state is disrupted by unintentional actions/circumstances, i.e., life.  My point is that the actions one takes to pursue happiness are more significant in the long run than whatever unforseen circumstances arise along the way.  If this were not the case then one would simply be continuously beset by emotional states that were beyond ones ability to deal with.  So just as one ought to take responsibility for ones actions, because they are effective, one ought to take responsibility for the emotional state that results from ones actions, or lack thereof.

 

Jack & Jill pledge to love one another for life and perhaps they cannot fulfill their pledge, but the law and common sense allows that they can try.  If Jack falls down and breaks his promise, Jill is entitled to restitution because it was within Jack's ability to watch his step.  To say that one or both were at fault should they fail to maintain their pledge is obvious, given that their agreement was freely assumed and within their ability to effect the desired emotional outcome promised.  Again, if it were not, both the law and common sense wouldn't have permitted them to make the attempt in the first place.

 

The bottom line is, fallible beings ought not be given a pass for "being human".  A vow to perform is attainable or it is not, and where the law and common sense allows one to make the effort, one assumes the responsibility for failing to perform, just as one assumes the credit and benefits for success.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

The French Christianism is really special, I am glad to have been raised beside it,

 

We have a long story between our state and the religion,

 

But for a century, it's losing its power over here, as the wedding isn't anymore a proof of love.

 

I don't plan to marry anyone, but I suppose 'love' comes when it has to come, and feeling confident, respected and listened today is more a quest than a chance,

 

I agree on the marriage principes but, it should be think as a step between a couple, not the result of X years of relation,

 

Lot of couple get to think that after the wedding, they don't really need to keep up their taste for each other .. The rate of divorce in France is bit higher than the number of wedding. People swarm around and do not appreciate what they have at the moment.

 

Nice topic tho, thanks :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...