Saturday, December 19, 2009

Politics of Marriage

"Book VII (of "Politics") is the counterpart in Aristotle's work to Plato's "Republic", a description of what it would be best to do if we had to found a new state.
A state is not a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of mutual crime and for the sake of exchange. Political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship.

Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government.

In inquiry about the best form of state, it is necessary to decide first which is the most eligible (choice-worthy, preferable) life for individuals.

Aristotle summarises parts of his "discussions outside the school concerning the best life". A happy man must have external goods, goods of the body (e.g. health), and goods of the soul (virtue).

"Some think that a very moderate amount of virtue is enough, but set no limit to their desires of wealth, property, power, reputation and the like of external goods. But experience shows that happiness is more often found with those who are most highly cultivated in their mind and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities".

"Let us acknowledge then that each one has just so much of happiness as he has of virtue and wisdom, and of virtuous and wise action. The best life, both for individuals and states, is the life of virtue, when virtue has external goods enough for the performance of good actions.

The good state will therefore be one which makes it possible for its citizens to engage in intelligent and virtuous activity, including scientific and philosophical thinking".

The word "Politics", to me, is automatically linked to Aristotle. So, I thought I should go through his enlightening e-book of the same title to see if I could draw some similarities between forming a political society and forming a marriage partnership.

Well, if you are able to apply the above findings by Aristotle on forming a new state, you would be able to postulate that people get married for various reasons, depending on what kind of partnership they want to have with another person.

Many tie a knot for all the rights and benefits that come along i.e. intimacy, family and responsibility. Some walk down the aisle for all the desires to own, sit on a throne and to be well known. A few exchange their rings for having someone to spend the rest of their life with. Sadly, rarely one marries another knowing that by being in sanctity of matrimony together, each of them become a better human. May I conclude that people get together in a marriage for reasons they know best.

What prompted me to share this valuable thoughts of Aristotle is the fact that we, outsiders, are making a lot of noise when one Bung-who is said to take an actress as his second wife. We say both of them are being insensitive to his first wife's feelings, that the actress is simply a 'pisau cukur', and that man is just plain 'gatal'.

Please, could we just stop interfering with other people's personal life?

That one Bung-who is well known to make sexist remarks in the August House, which would make us wonder why on earth those voters in Kinabatangan sent him there - fully paid.

Aristotle says, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies". I just wish that once he's married to one Lithe Young Lady[1], he would have more respect to women, be more accountable to the responsibilities and start acting like a real gentleman because only when you have found love, only when you know that you are worthy of being loved, only when you are capable of sharing your love, only then you and your sense and sensibility are alive.

Maybe, you want to listen to Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman and Shania Twain's "From This Moment On".

[1] I am referring to the actress. Her mother told the media that she's concerned about her status at the age of 31. Indirectly, the mother was saying that the actress doesn't want to be labeled as old maiden. Well, I am so old maiden. So, who do you think would consider me as Lithe Young Lady? If you can answer me correctly, can you tell me the probability of finding one without a wife and children? Thanks but no thanks. I'm not that desperate...


joshua wong said...


Your point about two strangers becoming better human beings when they married each other just open my mind. I had never thought of that before!

And Aristotle words "love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies" is just divine.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts in words. This is one beautiful article.

Fi-sha said...

Dear Joshua

Thank you for the support. I'm forever grateful...