A new documentary in Israel discusses a growing trend in Israel: open marriage. The film presents couples that express feeling stagnation in their marriage and wish to “vitalize” their relationship. Open marriage is only one facet of a much broader phenomenon of accelerated disfiguration and dissolution of the family unit in an attempt to “freshen up” people’s relationships and “revitalize” their lives.
I can understand where the need is coming from. Humans are dynamic beings. As such, they need constant changes and innovations. This has nothing to do with whether or not we are inherently monogamous.
The current perception is that people have families, raise children, bring them to independence, and pass away. We expect this to continue for eternity, but this is not our vocation; it is the vocation of animals, and we have within us something that does not belong to the animal kingdom: We not only live, we ask about the purpose of life. Whether we know it or not, our lives are dedicated not to living, but to understanding why we live.
In most people, the question about the purpose of life is still dormant, but in many others, and in many more people every day, it has awakened and demands answers. For such people, nothing is a given; they challenge everything and need to understand why they do what they do. It is not a desire to ruin, but the urge to understand, to comprehend everything that happens on the deepest level.
This drive is the reason for the shattering of our traditional social institutions. You find it not only in our homes, but in every aspect of our lives. We question education, economic systems, forms of government, religion, and family.
Even if we cannot find answers, there is critical value in questioning existing systems. Distrusting and shunning them liberates us from the shackles of tradition and moral restraints, and the sense of freedom allows us to develop something entirely new, which is not anarchy, but healthier and more fulfilling relationships. Such a society will be one where everyone is willingly and voluntarily committed.
In such a society, people are committed not only to their families, but to the entire community, and eventually to all of humanity. Moreover, they are committed to the same extent, and even more than they are currently committed to their families. However, they must choose this commitment freely, and they cannot be forced into remaining committed should they choose to leave. Perhaps it is hard to imagine such commitment at the moment, but humanity is headed toward it nonetheless.
In such a society, where everyone is committed to everyone else, everyone cares for everyone else and the natural feelings of alienation and suspicion no longer set the tone in society.
Family ties in such a society will be very strong and solid, but not because people are forced to remain monogamous. The whole purpose of the relationship will change, making issues of monogamy and fidelity irrelevant.
In this future society, people will focus more on their spiritual life than on their physical. They will cultivate their spiritual connections rather than focus on their physical actions. Such people will judge themselves not by their ability to satisfy their own whims, but by their contribution to their community.
Living in such a community means that everyone around you cares for you and helps you grow. The natural result will be that you will want to do the same for them.
When people work on that level, they feel free because they are free to give, and they receive from everyone. They do not need to “refresh” their relationships because their relationships never become stale. The more people give and receive, the more they grow and change, and the dynamism of the relationships keeps them new and vital.
Granted, we are not there yet, but this is where humanity is going. How fast we get there depends on us, and in my opinion, the sooner the better.