Re: LIFE/SOC: Marriage/Pair-Bonding (was Re: is marriage extropic?)

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Nov 24 2000 - 18:25:24 MST

Thanks to everyone for commenting on this question. Apparently whether
marriage is extropic or not depends on how we define marriage, how we
experience it individually, and ultimately, how we get on with our
marriage partners. Some of us may be married to technological singularity,
and some may have wed a cryonic community. In any event, undertaking
marriage vows while functioning as a biological carbon unit has not lost
its allure for now, but it may do so for posthumans (we can't know with
presently available data). Also (for now) marriage tends to lend social
credence and respectability to any movement.

As for the element of love in human relationships, Max wrote:
Most studies of which parts of the brain are stimulated by emotions have
focused on "negative" emotions, especially fear. But here are some results
for love. Next time you're gazing at your sweetheart, you can say: "My
darling, as I look into your eyes, I sense a surge in activity in my
anterior cingulate cortex, middle insula and in parts of my putamen and
caudate nucleus." :-)
scerir added:

How many of us would leave our spouses for the chance to merge with an SI
or to upload to a more complex adaptive sentient system, we can't tell
until the real opportunity presents itself. Then again, marriage may have
nothing to do with extropy at all. It's just a matter of individual taste.
I mean, is the color heliotrope extropic? Not in itself obviously, and
neither is marriage (in itself) extropic. Will Mind Children mind if their
parents aren't married? Probably not, but Hans Moravec is married for
other reasons we presume.

If marriage has extropic qualities in and of itself, then that makes
extropians rather conservative vis a vis the social engineering of the
last several decades in Western civilization. No problem. Scientists as a
group are perhaps one of the most conservative populations of all. "Change
the environment. Don't change man," Buckminster Fuller is quoted as saying
(For good reason: If we change ourselves, we may destroy our ability to
change back again [the Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde problem] but if we keep
ourselves intact, there's always the possibility that we can restore a
damaged environment.)

Internet associations may make it easier for compatible couples to find
each other, or the Net may make marriage seem less interesting and
relevant to the digerati. We won't know until the Digital Generation
answers this question for itself.

Damien Broderick quoted:
"Antisthenes rejoined: If that is your conclusion, Socrates, why do you
tutor your own wife,
Xanthippe, one of the most difficult women of times past, present, or

Perhaps Socrates did not tutor his own wife, Xanthippe, because "Once made
equal to man, woman soon becomes his superior," as he is occasionally
cited as saying. (That statement may have another meaning as well:
defective psyches sometimes become dictatorial and overbearing -- like
Xanthippe -- so don't give them the chance by granting them equality.)

Max M. W. Rasmussen wrote,
"Until we can change our genes, marriage in one name or another will be
to stay."

I find that the most compelling perspective in this discussion. When
transitional humans transcend biology, their views of inter-personal
relationships will, it seems to me, have to undergo radical change. The
ultra-extropic step of leaving (carbon-based) biology behind cannot fail
to also leave the memetics of intimate relationship behind as well.

Michael Lorrey wrote,
"Marriage laws in most states are essentially permitting two illiterates
to incorporate as a partnership without any business experience or
training, no assets, and allows them to assume major 18 year debts
(children) every nine months with no credit record or proof of ability to
pay, and the ability to declare bankruptcy on those debts while retaining
ownership of the assets. If that's not a recipe for disaster, I don't know
what is."

In light of this analysis, I'd have to conclude that marriage doesn't seem
extropic, not even a little bit. But some people can make a bad idea work
very well all their lives. That says more about the adaptability and
resourcefulness of people than it says about marriage. The saddest thing
about marriage is that it too often persuades two losers to combine their
misery into one agonizing self-defeat.

Not everyone agrees that marriage is based on biology of course. See for
" ...the kind of official marriage that existed during the times of the
Old Testament isn't around anymore. ... Back then - and for centuries
after - marriage wasn't designed to be a loving and lifelong union between
a man and a woman; it was designed to be a productive and lifelong
contract between a father or brother and a husband for ownership of a
Apparently the modern version of marriage has been around for just a few
hundred years.

At any rate, I think we can all agree that a copious amount of money would
afford one more opportunity to pursue the benefits of extropic activities.
Hence, if you know of an extremely wealthy individual who would like to
discuss marriage, please forward information to me privately.

Stay hungry,

--J. R.
3M TA3

"It's not your vote that counts,
it's who counts your vote."
--Al Gore
(Or was it Joseph Stalin... Hitler? Oh well, one of those socialists.)

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