The Urantia Book
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE
Presented by the Chief of Seraphim stationed on Urantia.
84:0.1 MATERIAL necessity founded marriage,
sex hunger embellished it, religion sanctioned and exalted it,
the state demanded and regulated it, while in later times
evolving love is beginning to justify and glorify marriage as
the ancestor and creator of civilization's most useful and
sublime institution, the home. And home building should be the
center and essence of all educational effort.
84:0.2 Mating is purely an act of
self-perpetuation associated with varying degrees of
self-gratification; marriage, home building, is largely a matter
of self-maintenance, and it implies the evolution of society.
Society itself is the aggregated structure of family units.
Individuals are very temporary as planetary factors -- only
families are continuing agencies in social evolution. The family
is the channel through which the river of culture and knowledge
flows from one generation to another.
84:0.3 The home is basically a sociologic
institution. Marriage grew out of co-operation in
self-maintenance and partnership in self-perpetuation, the
element of self-gratification being largely incidental.
Nevertheless, the home does embrace all three of the essential
functions of human existence, while life propagation makes it
the fundamental human institution, and sex sets it off from all
other social activities.
1. PRIMITIVE PAIR ASSOCIATIONS
84:1.1 Marriage was not founded on sex
relations; they were incidental thereto. Marriage was not needed
by primitive man, who indulged his sex appetite freely without
encumbering himself with the responsibilities of wife, children,
84:1.2 Woman, because of physical and
emotional attachment to her offspring, is dependent on
co-operation with the male, and this urges her into the
sheltering protection of marriage. But no direct biologic urge
led man into marriage -- much less held him in. It was not love
that made marriage attractive to man, but food hunger which
first attracted savage man to woman and the primitive shelter
shared by her children.
84:1.3 Marriage was not even brought about by
the conscious realization of the obligations of sex relations.
Primitive man comprehended no connection between sex indulgence
and the subsequent birth of a child. It was once universally
believed that a virgin could become pregnant. The savage early
conceived the idea that babies were made in spiritland;
pregnancy was believed to be the result of a woman's being
entered by a spirit, an evolving ghost. Both diet and the evil
eye were also believed to be capable of causing pregnancy in a
virgin or unmarried woman, while later beliefs connected the
beginnings of life with the breath and with sunlight.
84:1.4 Many early peoples associated ghosts
with the sea; hence virgins were greatly restricted in their
bathing practices; young women were far more afraid of bathing
in the sea at high tide than of having sex relations. Deformed
or premature babies were regarded as the young of animals which
had found their way into a woman's body as a result of careless
bathing or through malevolent spirit activity. Savages, of
course, thought nothing of strangling such offspring at birth.
84:1.5 The first step in enlightenment came
with the belief that sex relations opened up the way for the
impregnating ghost to enter the female. Man has since discovered
that father and mother are equal contributors of the living
inheritance factors which initiate offspring. But even in the
twentieth century many parents still endeavor to keep their
children in more or less ignorance as to the origin of human
84:1.6 A family of some simple sort was
insured by the fact that the reproductive function entails the
mother-child relationship. Mother love is instinctive; it did
not originate in the mores as did marriage. All mammalian mother
love is the inherent endowment of the adjutant mind-spirits of
the local universe and is in strength and devotion always
directly proportional to the length of the helpless infancy of
84:1.7 The mother and child relation is
natural, strong, and instinctive, and one which, therefore,
constrained primitive women to submit to many strange conditions
and to endure untold hardships. This compelling mother love is
the handicapping emotion which has always placed woman at such a
tremendous disadvantage in all her struggles with man. Even at
that, maternal instinct in the human species is not
overpowering; it may be thwarted by ambition, selfishness, and
84:1.8 While the mother-child association is
neither marriage nor home, it was the nucleus from which both
sprang. The great advance in the evolution of mating came when
these temporary partnerships lasted long enough to rear the
resultant offspring, for that was homemaking.
84:1.9 Regardless of the antagonisms of these
early pairs, notwithstanding the looseness of the association,
the chances for survival were greatly improved by these
male-female partnerships. A man and a woman, co-operating, even
aside from family and offspring, are vastly superior in most
ways to either two men or two women. This pairing of the sexes
enhanced survival and was the very beginning of human society.
The sex division of labor also made for comfort and increased
2. THE EARLY MOTHER-FAMILY
84:2.1 The woman's periodic hemorrhage and her
further loss of blood at childbirth early suggested blood as the
creator of the child (even as the seat of the soul) and gave
origin to the blood-bond concept of human relationships. In
early times all descent was reckoned in the female line, that
being the only part of inheritance which was at all certain.
84:2.2 The primitive family, growing out of
the instinctive biologic blood bond of mother and child, was
inevitably a mother-family; and many tribes long held to this
arrangement. The mother-family was the only possible transition
from the stage of group marriage in the horde to the later and
improved home life of the polygamous and monogamous
father-families. The mother-family was natural and biologic; the
father-family is social, economic, and political. The
persistence of the mother-family among the North American red
men is one of the chief reasons why the otherwise progressive
Iroquois never became a real state.
84:2.3 Under the mother-family mores the
wife's mother enjoyed virtually supreme authority in the home;
even the wife's brothers and their sons were more active in
family supervision than was the husband. Fathers were often
renamed after their own children.
84:2.4 The earliest races gave little credit
to the father, looking upon the child as coming altogether from
the mother. They believed that children resembled the father as
a result of association, or that they were "marked" in this
manner because the mother desired them to look like the father.
Later on, when the switch came from the mother-family to the
father-family, the father took all credit for the child, and
many of the taboos on a pregnant woman were subsequently
extended to include her husband. The prospective father ceased
work as the time of delivery approached, and at childbirth he
went to bed, along with the wife, remaining at rest from three
to eight days. The wife might arise the next day and engage in
hard labor, but the husband remained in bed to receive
congratulations; this was all a part of the early mores designed
to establish the father's right to the child.
84:2.5 At first, it was the custom for the man
to go to his wife's people, but in later times, after a man had
paid or worked out the bride price, he could take his wife and
children back to his own people. The transition from the
mother-family to the father-family explains the otherwise
meaningless prohibitions of some types of cousin marriages while
others of equal kinship are approved.
84:2.6 With the passing of the hunter mores,
when herding gave man control of the chief food supply, the
mother-family came to a speedy end. It failed simply because it
could not successfully compete with the newer father-family.
Power lodged with the male relatives of the mother could not
compete with power concentrated in the husband-father. Woman was
not equal to the combined tasks of childbearing and of
exercising continuous authority and increasing domestic power.
The oncoming of wife stealing and later wife purchase hastened
the passing of the mother-family.
84:2.7 The stupendous change from the
mother-family to the father-family is one of the most radical
and complete right-about-face adjustments ever executed by the
human race. This change led at once to greater social expression
and increased family adventure.
3. THE FAMILY UNDER FATHER DOMINANCE
84:3.1 It may be that the instinct of
motherhood led woman into marriage, but it was man's superior
strength, together with the influence of the mores, that
virtually compelled her to remain in wedlock. Pastoral living
tended to create a new system of mores, the patriarchal type of
family life; and the basis of family unity under the herder and
early agricultural mores was the unquestioned and arbitrary
authority of the father. All society, whether national or
familial, passed through the stage of the autocratic authority
of a patriarchal order.
84:3.2 The scant courtesy paid womankind
during the Old Testament era is a true reflection of the mores
of the herdsmen. The Hebrew patriarchs were all herdsmen, as is
witnessed by the saying, "The Lord is my Shepherd."
84:3.3 But man was no more to blame for his
low opinion of woman during past ages than was woman herself.
She failed to get social recognition during primitive times
because she did not function in an emergency; she was not a
spectacular or crisis hero. Maternity was a distinct disability
in the existence struggle; mother love handicapped women in the
84:3.4 Primitive women also unintentionally
created their dependence on the male by their admiration and
applause for his pugnacity and virility. This exaltation of the
warrior elevated the male ego while it equally depressed that of
the female and made her more dependent; a military uniform still
mightily stirs the feminine emotions.
Among the more advanced races, women
are not so large or so strong as men. Woman, being the weaker,
therefore became the more tactful; she early learned to trade
upon her sex charms. She became more alert and conservative than
man, though slightly less profound. Man was woman's superior on
the battlefield and in the hunt; but at home woman has usually
outgeneraled even the most primitive of men.
84:3.6 The herdsman looked to his flocks for
sustenance, but throughout these pastoral ages woman must still
provide the vegetable food. Primitive man shunned the soil; it
was altogether too peaceful, too unadventuresome. There was also
an old superstition that women could raise better plants; they
were mothers. In many backward tribes today, the men cook the
meat, the women the vegetables, and when the primitive tribes of
Australia are on the march, the women never attack game, while a
man would not stoop to dig a root.
84:3.7 Woman has always had to work; at least
right up to modern times the female has been a real producer.
Man has usually chosen the easier path, and this inequality has
existed throughout the entire history of the human race. Woman
has always been the burden bearer, carrying the family property
and tending the children, thus leaving the man's hands free for
fighting or hunting.
84:3.8 Woman's first liberation came when man
consented to till the soil, consented to do what had theretofore
been regarded as woman's work. It was a great step forward when
male captives were no longer killed but were enslaved as
agriculturists. This brought about the liberation of woman so
that she could devote more time to homemaking and child culture.
84:3.9 The provision of milk for the young led
to earlier weaning of babies, hence to the bearing of more
children by the mothers thus relieved of their sometimes
temporary barrenness, while the use of cow's milk and goat's
milk greatly reduced infant mortality. Before the herding stage
of society, mothers used to nurse their babies until they were
four and five years old.
84:3.10 Decreasing primitive warfare greatly
lessened the disparity between the division of labor based on
sex. But women still had to do the real work while men did
picket duty. No camp or village could be left unguarded day or
night, but even this task was alleviated by the domestication of
the dog. In general, the coming of agriculture has enhanced
woman's prestige and social standing; at least this was true up
to the time man himself turned agriculturist. And as soon as man
addressed himself to the tilling of the soil, there immediately
ensued great improvement in methods of agriculture, extending on
down through successive generations. In hunting and war man had
learned the value of organization, and he introduced these
techniques into industry and later, when taking over much of
woman's work, greatly improved on her loose methods of labor.
4. WOMAN'S STATUS IN EARLY SOCIETY
84:4.1 Generally speaking, during any age
woman's status is a fair criterion of the evolutionary progress
of marriage as a social institution, while the progress of
marriage itself is a reasonably accurate gauge registering the
advances of human civilization.
84:4.2 Woman's status has always been a social
paradox; she has always been a shrewd manager of men; she has
always capitalized man's stronger sex urge for her own interests
and to her own advancement. By trading subtly upon her sex
charms, she has often been able to exercise dominant power over
man, even when held by him in abject slavery.
84:4.3 Early woman was not to man a friend,
sweetheart, lover, and partner but rather a piece of property, a
servant or slave and, later on, an economic partner, plaything,
and childbearer. Nonetheless, proper and satisfactory sex
relations have always involved the element of choice and
co-operation by woman, and this has always given intelligent
women considerable influence over their immediate and personal
standing, regardless of their social position as a sex. But
man's distrust and suspicion were not helped by the fact that
women were all along compelled to resort to shrewdness in the
effort to alleviate their bondage.
84:4.4 The sexes have had great difficulty in
understanding each other. Man found it hard to understand woman,
regarding her with a strange mixture of ignorant mistrust and
fearful fascination, if not with suspicion and contempt. Many
tribal and racial traditions relegate trouble to Eve, Pandora,
or some other representative of womankind. These narratives were
always distorted so as to make it appear that the woman brought
evil upon man; and all this indicates the onetime universal
distrust of woman. Among the reasons cited in support of a
celibate priesthood, the chief was the baseness of woman. The
fact that most supposed witches were women did not improve the
olden reputation of the sex.
84:4.5 Men have long regarded women as
peculiar, even abnormal. They have even believed that women did
not have souls; therefore were they denied names. During early
times there existed great fear of the first sex relation with a
woman; hence it became the custom for a priest to have initial
intercourse with a virgin. Even a woman's shadow was thought to
84:4.6 Childbearing was once generally looked
upon as rendering a woman dangerous and unclean. And many tribal
mores decreed that a mother must undergo extensive purification
ceremonies subsequent to the birth of a child. Except among
those groups where the husband participated in the lying-in, the
expectant mother was shunned, left alone. The ancients even
avoided having a child born in the house. Finally, the old women
were permitted to attend the mother during labor, and this
practice gave origin to the profession of midwifery. During
labor, scores of foolish things were said and done in an effort
to facilitate delivery. It was the custom to sprinkle the
newborn with holy water to prevent ghost interference.
84:4.7 Among the unmixed tribes, childbirth
was comparatively easy, occupying only two or three hours; it is
seldom so easy among the mixed races. If a woman died in
childbirth, especially during the delivery of twins, she was
believed to have been guilty of spirit adultery. Later on, the
higher tribes looked upon death in childbirth as the will of
heaven; such mothers were regarded as having perished in a noble
84:4.8 The so-called modesty of women
respecting their clothing and the exposure of the person grew
out of the deadly fear of being observed at the time of a
menstrual period. To be thus detected was a grievous sin, the
violation of a taboo. Under the mores of olden times, every
woman, from adolescence to the end of the childbearing period,
was subjected to complete family and social quarantine one full
week each month. Everything she might touch, sit upon, or lie
upon was "defiled." It was for long the custom to brutally beat
a girl after each monthly period in an effort to drive the evil
spirit out of her body. But when a woman passed beyond the
childbearing age, she was usually treated more considerately,
being accorded more rights and privileges. In view of all this
it was not strange that women were looked down upon. Even the
Greeks held the menstruating woman as one of the three great
causes of defilement, the other two being pork and garlic.
84:4.9 However foolish these olden notions
were, they did some good since they gave overworked females, at
least when young, one week each month for welcome rest and
profitable meditation. Thus could they sharpen their wits for
dealing with their male associates the rest of the time. This
quarantine of women also protected men from over-sex indulgence,
thereby indirectly contributing to the restriction of population
and to the enhancement of self-control.
84:4.10 A great advance was made when a man
was denied the right to kill his wife at will. Likewise, it was
a forward step when a woman could own the wedding gifts. Later,
she gained the legal right to own, control, and even dispose of
property, but she was long deprived of the right to hold office
in either church or state. Woman has always been treated more or
less as property, right up to and in the twentieth century after
Christ. She has not yet gained world-wide freedom from seclusion
under man's control. Even among advanced peoples, man's attempt
to protect woman has always been a tacit assertion of
84:4.11 But primitive women did not pity
themselves as their more recently liberated sisters are wont to
do. They were, after all, fairly happy and contented; they did
not dare to envision a better or different mode of existence.
WOMAN UNDER THE DEVELOPING MORES
84:5.1 In self-perpetuation woman is man's
equal, but in the partnership of self-maintenance she labors at
a decided disadvantage, and this handicap of enforced maternity
can only be compensated by the enlightened mores of advancing
civilization and by man's increasing sense of acquired fairness.
84:5.2 As society evolved, the sex standards
rose higher among women because they suffered more from the
consequences of the transgression of the sex mores. Man's sex
standards are only tardily improving as a result of the sheer
sense of that fairness which civilization demands. Nature knows
nothing of fairness -- makes woman alone suffer the pangs of
84:5.3 The modern idea of sex equality is
beautiful and worthy of an expanding civilization, but it is not
found in nature. When might is right, man lords it over woman;
when more justice, peace, and fairness prevail, she gradually
emerges from slavery and obscurity. Woman's social position has
generally varied inversely with the degree of militarism in any
nation or age.
84:5.4 But man did not consciously nor
intentionally seize woman's rights and then gradually and
grudgingly give them back to her; all this was an unconscious
and unplanned episode of social evolution. When the time really
came for woman to enjoy added rights, she got them, and all
quite regardless of man's conscious attitude. Slowly but surely
the mores change so as to provide for those social adjustments
which are a part of the persistent evolution of civilization.
The advancing mores slowly provided increasingly better
treatment for females; those tribes which persisted in cruelty
to them did not survive.
84:5.5 The Adamites and Nodites accorded women
increased recognition, and those groups which were influenced by
the migrating Andites have tended to be influenced by the Edenic
teachings regarding women's place in society.
84:5.6 The early Chinese and the Greeks
treated women better than did most surrounding peoples. But the
Hebrews were exceedingly distrustful of them. In the Occident
woman has had a difficult climb under the Pauline doctrines
which became attached to Christianity, although Christianity did
advance the mores by imposing more stringent sex obligations
upon man. Woman's estate is little short of hopeless under the
peculiar degradation which attaches to her in Mohammedanism, and
she fares even worse under the teachings of several other
84:5.7 Science, not religion, really
emancipated woman; it was the modern factory which largely set
her free from the confines of the home. Man's physical abilities
became no longer a vital essential in the new maintenance
mechanism; science so changed the conditions of living that man
power was no longer so superior to woman power.
84:5.8 These changes have tended toward
woman's liberation from domestic slavery and have brought about
such a modification of her status that she now enjoys a degree
of personal liberty and sex determination that practically
equals man's. Once a woman's value consisted in her
food-producing ability, but invention and wealth have enabled
her to create a new world in which to function -- spheres of
grace and charm. Thus has industry won its unconscious and
unintended fight for woman's social and economic emancipation.
And again has evolution succeeded in doing what even revelation
failed to accomplish.
84:5.9 The reaction of enlightened peoples
from the inequitable mores governing woman's place in society
has indeed been pendulumlike in its extremeness.
industrialized races she has received almost all rights and
enjoys exemption from many obligations, such as military
service. Every easement of the struggle for existence has
redounded to the liberation of woman, and she has directly
benefited from every advance toward monogamy. The weaker always
makes disproportionate gains in every adjustment of the mores in
the progressive evolution of society.
84:5.10 In the ideals of pair marriage, woman
has finally won recognition, dignity, independence, equality,
and education; but will she prove worthy of all this new and
unprecedented accomplishment? Will modern woman respond to this
great achievement of social liberation with idleness,
indifference, barrenness, and infidelity? Today, in the
twentieth century, woman is undergoing the crucial test of her
long world existence!
84:5.11 Woman is man's equal partner in race
reproduction, hence just as important in the unfolding of racial
evolution; therefore has evolution increasingly worked toward
the realization of women's rights. But women's rights are by no
means men's rights. Woman cannot thrive on man's rights any more
than man can prosper on woman's rights.
84:5.12 Each sex has its own distinctive
sphere of existence, together with its own rights within that
sphere. If woman aspires literally to enjoy all of man's rights,
then, sooner or later, pitiless and emotionless competition will
certainly replace that chivalry and special consideration which
many women now enjoy, and which they have so recently won from
84:5.13 Civilization never can obliterate the
behavior gulf between the sexes. From age to age the mores
change, but instinct never. Innate maternal affection will never
permit emancipated woman to become man's serious rival in
industry. Forever each sex will remain supreme in its own
domain, domains determined by biologic differentiation and by
84:5.14 Each sex will always have its own
special sphere, albeit they will ever and anon overlap. Only
socially will men and women compete on equal terms.
6. THE PARTNERSHIP OF MAN AND WOMAN
84:6.1 The reproductive urge unfailingly
brings men and women together for self-perpetuation but, alone,
does not insure their remaining together in mutual co-operation
-- the founding of a home.
84:6.2 Every successful human institution
embraces antagonisms of personal interest which have been
adjusted to practical working harmony, and homemaking is no
exception. Marriage, the basis of home building, is the highest
manifestation of that antagonistic co-operation which so often
characterizes the contacts of nature and society. The conflict
is inevitable. Mating is inherent; it is natural. But marriage
is not biologic; it is sociologic. Passion insures that man and
woman will come together, but the weaker parental instinct and
the social mores hold them together.
84:6.3 Male and female are, practically
regarded, two distinct varieties of the same species living in
close and intimate association. Their viewpoints and entire life
reactions are essentially different; they are wholly incapable
of full and real comprehension of each other. Complete
understanding between the sexes is not attainable.
84:6.4 Women seem to have more intuition than
men, but they also appear to be somewhat less logical. Woman,
however, has always been the moral standard-bearer and the
spiritual leader of mankind. The hand that rocks the cradle
still fraternizes with destiny.
84:6.5 The differences of nature, reaction,
viewpoint, and thinking between men and women, far from
occasioning concern, should be regarded as highly beneficial to
mankind, both individually and collectively. Many orders of
universe creatures are created in dual phases of personality
manifestation. Among mortals, Material Sons, and midsoniters,
this difference is described as male and female; among seraphim,
cherubim, and Morontia Companions, it has been denominated
positive or aggressive and negative or retiring. Such dual
associations greatly multiply versatility and overcome inherent
limitations, even as do certain triune associations in the
84:6.6 Men and women need each other in their
morontial and spiritual as well as in their mortal careers. The
differences in viewpoint between male and female persist even
beyond the first life and throughout the local and superuniverse
ascensions. And even in Havona, the pilgrims who were once men
and women will still be aiding each other in the Paradise
ascent. Never, even in the Corps of the Finality, will the
creature metamorphose so far as to obliterate the personality
trends that humans call male and female; always will these two
basic variations of humankind continue to intrigue, stimulate,
encourage, and assist each other; always will they be mutually
dependent on co-operation in the solution of perplexing universe
problems and in the overcoming of manifold cosmic difficulties.
84:6.7 While the sexes never can hope fully to
understand each other, they are effectively complementary, and
though co-operation is often more or less personally
antagonistic, it is capable of maintaining and reproducing
society. Marriage is an institution designed to compose sex
differences, meanwhile effecting the continuation of
civilization and insuring the reproduction of the race.
84:6.8 Marriage is the mother of all human
institutions, for it leads directly to home founding and home
maintenance, which is the structural basis of society. The
family is vitally linked to the mechanism of self-maintenance;
it is the sole hope of race perpetuation under the mores of
civilization, while at the same time it most effectively
provides certain highly satisfactory forms of
self-gratification. The family is man's greatest purely human
achievement, combining as it does the evolution of the biologic
relations of male and female with the social relations of
husband and wife.
7. THE IDEALS OF FAMILY LIFE
84:7.1 Sex mating is instinctive, children are
the natural result, and the family thus automatically comes into
existence. As are the families of the race or nation, so is its
society. If the families are good, the society is likewise good.
The great cultural stability of the Jewish and of the Chinese
peoples lies in the strength of their family groups.
84:7.2 Woman's instinct to love and care for
children conspired to make her the interested party in promoting
marriage and primitive family life. Man was only forced into
home building by the pressure of the later mores and social
conventions; he was slow to take an interest in the
establishment of marriage and home because the sex act imposes
no biologic consequences upon him.
84:7.3 Sex association is natural, but
marriage is social and has always been regulated by the mores.
The mores (religious, moral, and ethical), together with
property, pride, and chivalry, stabilize the institutions of
marriage and family. Whenever the mores fluctuate, there is
fluctuation in the stability of the home-marriage institution.
Marriage is now passing out of the property stage into the
personal era. Formerly man protected woman because she was his
chattel, and she obeyed for the same reason. Regardless of its
merits this system did provide stability. Now, woman is no
longer regarded as property, and new mores are emerging designed
to stabilize the marriage-home institution:
84:7.4 1. The new role of religion -- the
teaching that parental experience is essential, the idea of
procreating cosmic citizens, the enlarged understanding of the
privilege of procreation -- giving sons to the Father.
84:7.5 2. The new role of science --
procreation is becoming more and more voluntary, subject to
man's control. In ancient times lack of understanding insured
the appearance of children in the absence of all desire
84:7.6 3. The new function of pleasure lures
-- this introduces a new factor into racial survival; ancient
man exposed undesired children to die; moderns refuse to bear
84:7.7 4. The enhancement of parental
instinct. Each generation now tends to eliminate from the
reproductive stream of the race those individuals in whom
parental instinct is insufficiently strong to insure the
procreation of children, the prospective parents of the next
84:7.8 But the home as an institution, a
partnership between one man and one woman, dates more
specifically from the days of Dalamatia, about one-half million
years ago, the monogamous practices of Andon and his immediate
descendants having been abandoned long before. Family life,
however, was not much to boast of before the days of the Nodites
and the later Adamites. Adam and Eve exerted a lasting influence
on all mankind; for the first time in the history of the world
men and women were observed working side by side in the Garden.
The Edenic ideal, the whole family as gardeners, was a new idea
84:7.9 The early family embraced a related
working group, including the slaves, all living in one dwelling.
Marriage and family life have not always been identical but have
of necessity been closely associated. Woman always wanted the
individual family, and eventually she had her way.
84:7.10 Love of offspring is almost universal
and is of distinct survival value. The ancients always
sacrificed the mother's interests for the welfare of the child;
an Eskimo mother even yet licks her baby in lieu of washing. But
primitive mothers only nourished and cared for their children
when very young; like the animals, they discarded them as soon
as they grew up. Enduring and continuous human associations have
never been founded on biologic affection alone. The animals love
their children; man -- civilized man -- loves his children's
children. The higher the civilization, the greater the joy of
parents in the children's advancement and success; thus the new
and higher realization of name pride comes into
84:7.11 The large families among ancient
peoples were not necessarily affectional. Many children were
84:7.12 1. They were valuable as laborers.
84:7.13 2. They were old-age insurance.
84:7.14 3. Daughters were salable.
84:7.15 4. Family pride required extension of
84:7.16 5. Sons afforded protection and
84:7.17 6. Ghost fear produced a dread of
84:7.18 7. Certain religions required
84:7.19 Ancestor worshipers view the failure
to have sons as the supreme calamity for all time and eternity.
They desire above all else to have sons to officiate in the
post-mortem feasts, to offer the required sacrifices for the
ghost's progress through spiritland.
84:7.20 Among ancient savages, discipline of
children was begun very early; and the child early realized that
disobedience meant failure or even death just as it did to the
animals. It is civilization's protection of the child from the
natural consequences of foolish conduct that contributes so much
to modern insubordination.
84:7.21 Eskimo children thrive on so little
discipline and correction simply because they are naturally
docile little animals; the children of both the red and the
yellow men are almost equally tractable. But in races containing
Andite inheritance, children are not so placid; these more
imaginative and adventurous youths require more training and
discipline. Modern problems of child culture are rendered
increasingly difficult by:
84:7.22 1. The large degree of race mixture.
84:7.23 2. Artificial and superficial
84:7.24 3. Inability of the child to gain
culture by imitating parents -- the parents are absent from the
family picture so much of the time.
84:7.25 The olden ideas of family discipline
were biologic, growing out of the realization that parents were
creators of the child's being. The advancing ideals of family
life are leading to the concept that bringing a child into the
world, instead of conferring certain parental rights, entails
the supreme responsibility of human existence.
84:7.26 Civilization regards the parents as
assuming all duties, the child as having all the rights. Respect
of the child for his parents arises, not in knowledge of the
obligation implied in parental procreation, but naturally grows
as a result of the care, training, and affection which are
lovingly displayed in assisting the child to win the battle of
life. The true parent is engaged in a continuous
service-ministry which the wise child comes to recognize and
84:7.27 In the present industrial and urban
era the marriage institution is evolving along new economic
lines. Family life has become more and more costly, while
children, who used to be an asset, have become economic
liabilities. But the security of civilization itself still rests
on the growing willingness of one generation to invest in the
welfare of the next and future generations. And any attempt to
shift parental responsibility to state or church will prove
suicidal to the welfare and advancement of civilization.
84:7.28 Marriage, with children and consequent
family life, is stimulative of the highest potentials in human
nature and simultaneously provides the ideal avenue for the
expression of these quickened attributes of mortal personality.
The family provides for the biologic perpetuation of the human
species. The home is the natural social arena wherein the ethics
of blood brotherhood may be grasped by the growing children. The
family is the fundamental unit of fraternity in which parents
and children learn those lessons of patience, altruism,
tolerance, and forbearance which are so essential to the
realization of brotherhood among all men.
84:7.29 Human society would be greatly
improved if the civilized races would more generally return to
the family-council practices of the Andites. They did not
maintain the patriarchal or autocratic form of family
government. They were very brotherly and associative, freely and
frankly discussing every proposal and regulation of a family
nature. They were ideally fraternal in all their family
government. In an ideal family filial and parental affection are
both augmented by fraternal devotion.
84:7.30 Family life is the progenitor of true
morality, the ancestor of the consciousness of loyalty to duty.
The enforced associations of family life stabilize personality
and stimulate its growth through the compulsion of necessitous
adjustment to other and diverse personalities. But even more, a
true family -- a good family -- reveals to the parental
procreators the attitude of the Creator to his children, while
at the same time such true parents portray to their children the
first of a long series of ascending disclosures of the love of
the Paradise parent of all universe children.
8. DANGERS OF SELF-GRATIFICATION
84:8.1 The great threat against family life is
the menacing rising tide of self-gratification, the modern
pleasure mania. The prime incentive to marriage used to be
economic; sex attraction was secondary. Marriage, founded on
self-maintenance, led to self-perpetuation and concomitantly
provided one of the most desirable forms of self-gratification.
It is the only institution of human society which embraces all
three of the great incentives for living.
84:8.2 Originally, property was the basic
institution of self-maintenance, while marriage functioned as
the unique institution of self-perpetuation. Although food
satisfaction, play, and humor, along with periodic sex
indulgence, were means of self-gratification, it remains a fact
that the evolving mores have failed to build any distinct
institution of self-gratification. And it is due to this failure
to evolve specialized techniques of pleasurable enjoyment that
all human institutions are so completely shot through with this
pleasure pursuit. Property accumulation is becoming an
instrument for augmenting all forms of self-gratification, while
marriage is often viewed only as a means of pleasure. And this
overindulgence, this widely spread pleasure mania, now
constitutes the greatest threat that has ever been leveled at
the social evolutionary institution of family life, the home.
84:8.3 The violet race introduced a new and
only imperfectly realized characteristic into the experience of
humankind -- the play instinct coupled with the sense of humor.
It was there in measure in the Sangiks and Andonites, but the
Adamic strain elevated this primitive propensity into the
potential of pleasure, a new and glorified form of
self-gratification. The basic type of self-gratification, aside
from appeasing hunger, is sex gratification, and this form of
sensual pleasure was enormously heightened by the blending of
the Sangiks and the Andites.
84:8.4 There is real danger in the combination
of restlessness, curiosity, adventure, and pleasure-abandon
characteristic of the post-Andite races. The hunger of the soul
cannot be satisfied with physical pleasures; the love of home
and children is not augmented by the unwise pursuit of pleasure.
Though you exhaust the resources of art, color, sound, rhythm,
music, and adornment of person, you cannot hope thereby to
elevate the soul or to nourish the spirit. Vanity and fashion
cannot minister to home building and child culture; pride and
rivalry are powerless to enhance the survival qualities of
84:8.5 Advancing celestial beings all enjoy
rest and the ministry of the reversion directors. All efforts to
obtain wholesome diversion and to engage in uplifting play are
sound; refreshing sleep, rest, recreation, and all pastimes
which prevent the boredom of monotony are worth while.
Competitive games, storytelling, and even the taste of good food
may serve as forms of self-gratification. (When you use salt to
savor food, pause to consider that, for almost a million years,
man could obtain salt only by dipping his food in ashes.)
84:8.6 Let man enjoy himself; let the human
race find pleasure in a thousand and one ways; let evolutionary
mankind explore all forms of legitimate self-gratification, the
fruits of the long upward biologic struggle. Man has well earned
some of his present-day joys and pleasures. But look you well to
the goal of destiny! Pleasures are indeed suicidal if they
succeed in destroying property, which has become the institution
of self-maintenance; and self-gratifications have indeed cost a
fatal price if they bring about the collapse of marriage, the
decadence of family life, and the destruction of the home --
man's supreme evolutionary acquirement and civilization's only
hope of survival.
Presented by the Chief of Seraphim stationed on Urantia.