Metaphysics and Moral of a Modern World: 1) Marriage vs Career

Updated: Oct 29




INTRODUCTION

Upon engagement into a social study conducted through means of social media, I’ve sought to uncover how today’s generation, inundated with technology at every forefront, considers moral and metaphysical concepts of the self and others by a simple poll format. A poll, typically providing a yes or no response, is engaging when presented in an instagram format, as humans innately like to feel a part of something. The simple action of reading a question which they can press provides a subconscious importance, and is almost exciting to some as the image before them naturally moves onto the next slide. Game like entertainment prompts and encourages users to continue with the study, without even realising they are taking part. This is why I decided to use Instagram Stories as a means of attaining the results I have, which are to be explored throughout this dissertation. The questions asked, though selective and seemingly harmless in their inquisition, uncover a deeper thought process of modern society. It unveils a realm of the mind that illustrates how people readily contradict themselves, how they seek to be happy, and what does make them feel at peace in concepts of the universe and how we are governed as living beings. Concise as I can be, I strive on with this text… to illuminate any reader of how the human mind is evolving - for better or for worse? That is for you to decide.

EXPLAINING METAPHYSICS

Metaphysics in regards to philosophy and the psyche is a broad branch with many leaves exploring concepts of the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality. In metaphysics, we study questions relating to what it is for something to exist, and what types of existences there are. We like scavengers strive to find answers in an abstract and generalised manner, exploring “what is there” and “what is it like”? Consider the themes of existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect and possibility. It ravels together to woven blanket that humans cocoon themselves in so avidly, with yarns of epistemology, logic and ethics in tow. Now, as for moral perception, this would be defined as man’s ability to perceive, witness, observe and recognise the differentiation in their intentions, decisions and actions, and whether they are proper or improper. Morality is a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct, typically fuelled by philosophical, religious or cultural roots. Coercion of metaphysics and morals opens a box of many tricks and treats, playing on the mind like a spinning top, ever turning, and every learning.

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THE QUESTIONS AND THE RESULTS

The questions asked to a pool of 15 people in total (who answered) enquired to them the following:

1 Marriage vs career

2 Photo albums vs Instagram

3 Know when you die vs How you die

4 Really like yourself vs Have everyone like you

5 A measuring bar of health above one’s head vs a measuring bar of happiness above ones head

6 Stealing food for the poor/hungry being a crime vs not being a crime

7 Everything happens for a reason vs Everything does not happen for a reason

8 We are monitored and governed like characters in a game by some superior force yes vs no

9 Are natural disasters ever beneficial: yes vs no

10 Loss of sigh vs Loss of hearing

The questions, one may think, seem abstract, unrelated and random - and you wouldn’t be wrong. But similarly, they link to one another in subtle ways which lead to suggest the conceptualising manner of modern people in a society fuelled typically by presentation of the self (that is to say: our hierarchal standards and self-image in reality and in social media formats). It is the results which we will be analysing, and from each result drawing thoughts and presenting suggestions on how we are evolving as people, how society has shifted, and what this could mean for the future of ourselves in return:

1 Marriage vs career

29% marriage

71% career

2 Photo albums vs Instagram

38% photo albums

62% instagram

3 Know when you die vs How you die

40% know when you die

60% how you die

4 Really and truly like yourself vs Have everyone like you

80% really and truly like yourself (to like who you are)

20% to have everyone like you

5 A measuring bar of health above one’s head vs a measuring bar of happiness above ones head

20% measurement bar of health

80% measurement bar of happiness

6 Stealing food for the poor/hungry being a crime vs not being a crime

50% stealing food if hungry/to feed the poor IS a crime

50% stealing food if hungry/to feed the poor IS NOT a crime

7 Everything happens for a reason vs Everything does not happen for a reason

100% everything happens for a reason

0% everything does not happen for a reason

8 We are monitored and governed like characters in a game by some superior force yes vs no

75% we are monitored and governed like characters in a game

25% we are not monitored and governed like characters in a game

9 Are natural disasters ever beneficial: yes vs no

75% natural disasters are beneficial

25% natural disasters are never beneficial

10 Loss of sight vs Loss of hearing

29% would rather have a loss of sight

71% would rather have a loss of hearing

ANALYSIS OF THE RESULTS: A Conceptual and Abstract Metaphysical and Morally Perceptive Overview

1 Marriage vs career

29% marriage

71% career

Marriage is the beginning for most, The beginning of a family and is regarded as a life long commitment. It may shock you to know that divorce was only legalised in 1969, whereby the official Divorce Reform Act was passed, allowing couples to break the once sacramental vows of marriage, only after they had been recognised as separated by the law for a duration of 2 years, or 5 years if only one of the members within the couple was filing for divorce. A marriage could finally be ended, on conditions that it had irretrievably been broken down and neither partner not longer had to prove fault. More interestingly still is the history of marriage. When did mankind become infatuated with the desire and concept of finding ‘the one’ and betrothing their undying and eternal love for them? How did we evolve, as a non-monogamous species, to want monogamy? The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting a man and a woman dates as far back into the Mesopotamian era circa 2350 BC. It is over the next several hundred years of so that the ancient great civilisations adopted the ceremony, embraced widespread from the Hebrews to the Greek, and the Romans. The roots and formalities of the event were dominantly to ensure breed, the correct handling of granting property rights and to protect bloodlines, as well as the idea of sexual relations, which in the Bible states: 1 Corinthians, written by Paul. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (interpreted by many in this era as premarital sex being a sin). Further readings from the Bible, one of the oldest holy scriptures, leads on to say in Thessalonians 4:3,4,7 says, "God wants you to be holy and to stay away from sexual sins”. How times have changed.

Not long before divorce was legalised did premarital sex slowly start to become more common, in Western culture, within the 1960s. You’d think perhaps this was to do with a direct change in our belief systems, but in actuality, it has little to do with it during the 1950s-60s and that concept is more applicable only within the last decade or so following the boom in social media usage and its avid manipulation and advertisement of the human body as an object. The true reasons for the evolution of sex before marriage becoming more normalised starts with the fact that in the 1860s, women did not mature reproductively until the age of 16 (average), in contrast to the age of a woman maturing (i.e. having her first menstrual cycle) at the younger age of 11-12. Biological studies of the human anatomy show this, with reasons for the evolution being unclear. Fast forward several decades and centuries even, and we see the dawn of contraception, reduced parental supervisions, more women in the workforce and more gender equality in jobs too. Sex aside, marriage was - once upon a time - the be all and end all desire of woman, more so than man, who would often parade the concept of remaining a bachelor. So what has lead to contemporary women assigning the belief that their career, their status, their social reputation and accomplishments are of greater importance?

Between 1914 to 1918, women started working. More than a million women, for that matter, with the primary reason being to fill the gaps left by the men who went to war and served within the military. With multiple agencies, companies and factories left as dust ridden pits, society came to realise that women are just as capable as men in providing to the community, and not just by means of having children and cooking cakes. From driving, to postage and policing, women finally had a foot in the door within the business world, and it’s from here that they began to excel in mental capacity as well.

When we learn new skills, we become more confident. Prosocial behaviours are adopted, whether consciously or not, as we attain better communication skills, a broader knowledge set to utilise in conversation, or even just for leisure. It is with continuous learning that we form the necessary skills in acquiring critical thinking, and discovering new ways of relating to people from different cultures.

Now, from the pool of people who participated in the study on Instagram Stories, they were - amazingly - all women. No men chose to engage with the poll on any of the questions that were asked - which says something for a females brain and social engagement levels in itself. Based on the sole fact that only women participated however, we’re able to see how there has been a shift in contemporary woman in regards to their want and urgency to feel more valid and independent, as opposed to being supported and a ‘decoration’. The 21st century has dawned multiple new coins of phrases and an abyss of terminology frequented on social media. With the power of the hashtag, we have almost been able to create cults and cliques where we recognise each others mutual interests, and girls happen to be the heaviest utilisers of this simple little signage. A ‘Boss Lady’ is a prime and key example in this study. A Boss Lady is what it sounds like: a woman who runs the show. Whether this is in the work space, or just a hardworking mother of three holding down two jobs - a woman who is a ‘Boss’ “gets the job done”, whatever that job may be. They know the beauty of balance, the value of self appreciation, and the importance of valuing others in turn. The term manifested out of a belief that when a woman takes charge, they’re immediately classed by the opposite sex as ‘bossy’ - which simply isn’t the case. It’s the negative feedback of man on woman stemming solely from intimidation that the misinterpretative vocalist arises. A woman who is a Boss Lady is honest, which can oftentimes deplete or call out someone for wrongful actions. Honesty can also be disquieting to some, who favour the life of white lies and tall tales, as opposed to being straight, concise and to the point. It’s with honesty that true relationships are built, and we see people for their true character, as opposed to a facade that is vapid and unopinionated - a sad reality rife within social media. Following swiftly from honesty is the trait of being outspoken. Being outspoken is, contrary to popular belief: not rude. It doesn’t make a woman lary for standing by their opinion, contradicting your own or having an alternative belief upon a topic. Though outspokenness curtails to an idea that the individual is mean or aggressive, all it truly emphasises is your strong build in character, opinion and your defence system for what is morally correct. Assertiveness is another dominating facet in a woman who acts ‘like a Boss’, and is where the misconstrued of being bossy is highlighted in the most brash of neon pinks imaginable. People feel intimidated by female leaders, which is unsurprising when from the dawn of time, man has taken the lead. It is almost engrained into our primal evolutionary psyche to consider a woman to have to be obedient, to follow, to tend to and to make do, and with what is actually a very rapid shift in concepts and constraints (i.e. women only truly taking to the stage across the past 50 years or so), that some people remain in the ‘old mode’ of the place of a woman. To be assertive is to have mastered the art of passivity and aggression. You get what you want, with a strong sense of yourself and value, without diminishing your accomplishments to better the feelings of those around you. If you did the legwork in that group presentation, but everyone gets equal credit, your assertiveness is what will speak out when informing the grader of this fact. It’s not incorrect: it’s factual, it’s right and it’s your personal power to behold.

Let’s look at some powerful women who hold a poignant and inspiring feature in modern society as we know it today. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first women I’m going to mention is Oprah Winfrey. As one of the richest and most powerful women in the world, she has impacted more lives than one is able to account. Starting in the 1980s with her own television show, after a traumatising childhood heavy with poverty, rape and racial abuse, she’s grown to have her own production company, books, cable channel, magazine and more. Though not single and in a relationship with the same man since 1986, the author, businesswoman and renowned motivational/public speaker has never tied the knot. Which goes to show that marriage is, not only an outdated concept in the belief that one needs to be wed to show true matrimony to a loved one - but that career should remain more of a sparkling focus than that of a diamond ring. A career also, in a way, is a relationship. In the same way that you get what you give, as the leader of this ‘relationship with the future’, you are taking the initiative, the motivation and dedication to create something that will not fail you upon success. A marriage simply cannot guarantee that. Now matter how much time or effort you put in to a person, you can still end up in smoke - whilst a successful and buildable career, or an ample education will always benefit you, regardless of your circumstances. Girls today are fast realising their potential and their abilities, and instead of being ushered into a line, are stepping out and creating their own music to dance to. Whilst I am very happy to see that the percentage against women prioritising career over marriage was of the higher format, I am certain that there will be a few individuals who are perturbed by the very notion of relationship remaining out of wedlock, of the commencement of a family without this outdated concept of solidity,

Across the pond in ‘the land of the free’, which in actuality is far from that, America holds dear the concept of marriage. One need only look to the glistening spectacle of neon lights and kitschy lust laden chapels to see the stupor sentiment behind being in love and wanting to tie the knot. At first blush, America follows the positive trajectory of this required rite of passage, seen as a genuine embodiment of shared values, but now? Marriage serves, still as a desire, but more as a game-show prize of Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire, or a booby prize on my Big Fat Obnoxious Wedding. Shows parading the labyrinthine expedition to find the perfect wedding dress, or to surprise the bride with a wedding theme they never wanted rack in viewings and keep the cash register of multimedia agencies going caching caching caching all day long. We’ve gone from marriage being a deep rooted, emotional and moral mode of action, into a bridal industrial complex that amounts to $100 billion’s worth of the economic income for the United States alone. It outpaces the movie business industry, which averages at an approximated 45 billion a year, including sales and rentals. Egged on by celebrity magazines and wedding planners, boujie gifts and even retail giants like Amazon providing and prompting the option to make a Wedding List when adding items to your cart, regardless of whether you are engaged or not, affianced couples undertake increasingly baroque spectacles that take years to plan, costing on average 20,000 dollars in total. It’s a show, with very little meaning, as statistics indicate today some 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

The Love Story that we all dream about is now a culture and a cult, encouraged and supported by family members of older generations who die to get involved in every facet of a wedding for the youthful branches of their family tree. But the fact remains that with the women’s movement ever flourishing, and the sexual revolution being pollinated at a record rate, the pill providing the ability to be a nymph at one’s leisure, on top of various economic shifts, the marriage centric society has been irrevocably transformed. It could even be considered an endangered species, which the instagram poll I’ve conducted only further supports as a theory for the future of marriage.

Social conservatives blue divorce, cohabitation and illegitimacy and the demise of the traditional family values circulating around belonging and remaining together as a direct result of society’s ills from poverty, crime, juvenile delinquency and moral decay. Our relaxation around marriage being a must, some would say, is precisely why divorces are at higher rates than ever before: because we know we can. There is the option to do so, and with little difficulty for most if the decision is amicable and reciprocated by both parties. A good career, whether married or not, will keep you financially secure. It will enable you to have the oyster card to travel, dine and wine in luxury, if you work hard and play your cards right, which in theory will pave a yellow brick road more opulent than Dorothy could ever know. But in the same breathe, is humans’ very existence as an innately social being to find ‘the one’ with whom they can be supported, prompted and encouraged by; to have a voice and physical body other than their own to say their name and comfort their existence? We can only do so much alone, and often require - at some point - the notion or voice of reason of another’s perspective to balance our emotions and provide the wind to our sails that guide us back to shore when our own compass parts on a frenzy. The hands of time will stop when we are in turmoil, and a spouse could very well be the only decent watch mender to whom we trust to wind us back up so we can carry on ticking.

Marriage, ultimately, does not build cities. Careers do. Marriage does not create apps and modernised technology for human development, nor does it cite and critique essays that lead us to better understandings of the working mind. Marriage itself has therefore come in for broad reassessment, but is ironic and interesting to consider how something like same-sex marriage has become such a pivotal focus in enforcing and legalising on a global scale, when it is women and oftenest ‘the outcasts’ who do put their efforts more so into their careers than that of a family. In the 1970s, marriage was actually at its lowest ebb in public approbation, but by the late 90s there was a resurgence of appreciation of marriage, seen in the levelling off of the divorce rate. Although the claims for the value of marriage by conservatives and gay rights proponents have always been from two ends of a spectrum, they came together at least at the rhetorical level for what marriage accomplishes and how critical is is as a social institution. This is an unusual moment in the life story of the love story, if you will of matrimony. As same-sex copies line up for marriage licenses at courthouses across Massachusetts (a state commonly associated with a deep crimson-red hatred towards homosexuality), opponents predict the death of marriage itself. One side sees tragedy in the making, whilst the latter wishes to rewrite the script entirely.

Now, what if we were to consider the freedom to choose and to be chosen as a further perspective of the statistic acquired by the study? Humans wish to be free, it is practically written into our DNA. The human desire for freedom, whether a clerical or an industrial, would rather a sense of personal worth and achievement within their existence, whilst dealt with recognition for their accomplishments as opposed to having a salary or security in their profession. Even if we are in a job which racks in a monthly pay check that would turn onlookers green with envy… if we feel ourselves to be a puppet as opposed to being the puppeteer of our own actions, decision and livelihoods, we will end up retaliating, or simply quitting. This is, after all, why we run through the rat race of jobs: to become the manager, the CEO, the founder or the entrepreneur, rather than start and remain as the little man - even the middle man. In other words, the typical man puts above anything else the need to feel that he is doing something worthwhile and that he can increase his skills and move forward by his own efforts. No one is foolish enough to believe that, under any system, we can all become millionaires. But what we truly long for is the need to know that we can earn status and the recognition of one’s fellows in their own life and their own job. Could this be why marriage does still remain within society, and almost a job? After all, when one accepts the hand of another in marriage by a proposal, it is the very act of being chosen (thus feeling superior and ‘a favourite’ by an onlooker), coupled with our own ability to decide yes or no to the proposal. It’s the perfect marriage, some would say - which is also perhaps why so many people simply remain engaged, as opposed to every solidifying into marriage. Because we have been and are choosing, but maintain independence and flexibility to alter our course should our initial decision falter.

So what of rejection then? Does perpetual rejection lead to a more vicious hunger for life and the materialistic elements of the world in which we live - could it be that the percentage of women and men remaining unmarried have faced rejection too many a time in their life that they deem the very concept of marriage folly, thus spend the remainder of their lives in a subconscious state of mistrust for others, but trusting within themselves? Are there the happiest of people… or are they quietly alone and long for the burning lustrous luminosity of a loved one, that they’ve simply never mastered the art at forming and keeping? Perhaps we shall never know this in depth concept through and through, but from my mind I think it to be true. Rejection, after all, does not necessarily have to be of a romantic form. One can be rejected as a child by their family members, or ostracised in the playground from a group of popular children. It is in our development as children, teens and even as young adults that we formulate our perception of the world, which will embody both subliminal and conscious steering for the rest of our lives. I, for example, once wanted the standard marriage, a beautiful home, children of my own, and a happy ever after But the woes of life, the swaying branches of emotional turmoil and an avalanche of health afflicting concerns have since shifted by deepest desires to that of a focus on self love, true happiness, financial security and a more intense focus on the family I have that exist, as opposed to the fabricated family that may be. A woman who is abused, a woman who is met with ill health and a woman who is wrenched of love too many a time will come to undergo what I perceive as a beneficial metamorphosis into an Amazonian goddess that men (or woman) around will fall to the feet of… will lust after… will chase with hope and might - but will simply never understand her being, and never be able to coax the butterfly from the cocoon no matter how hard they try. A woman who has been hurt is a Queen Bee happy in her honeycomb kingdom of sweetness that she herself governs, and she herself will live. Her home and leisurely passions burn more ferociously than the fires in Dante’s Inferno, rather than wishfully wafting as a housemaid to tender to the needs of others. A woman who is truly independent will never seek or crave validation from others, but will rather look into a mirror, wink and kiss herself goodnight, without superficiality or egocentric motives. She will simply be happy as she is, alone, but not lonely; strong in mind, soul and body.

No totalitarian regime has ever succeeded in destroying or even seriously limiting the activities in seeking of freedom. It is the sense of achievement alone that a man can attain under any system that will keep him stumbling forth through free competition, and free enterprise alike. Man cannot fulfil himself as an individual within the termite hill of a totalitarian system. This is the inescapable truth which dooms totalitarianism from the start. The very seed of destruction lies within the Republic of Plato, the latifundia of slave-powered second century Rome, and the eighteenth century Brazil; the Russian Gosplan, the British modified socialism and all other totalitarian efforts. Uprisings yield, we take to streets as nations to stand for our rights and desire for liberty. Lest not forget the French and their renowned saying: “Libetré, égalité, fraternité, French for "liberty, equality, fraternity", is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti, and is an example of a tripartite motto. We should even consider, more specifically than other nation (having mentioned America more times than worthy of counting already), in our perception of love. The French have long been considered the romantics of the world, with French being one of the most profound romance languages, coined ‘the language of love’ unanimously by all travellers and non-natives to the land of blanc, rouge et bleu. The French are renowned for their sensuality, their rich eroticism and love for love expressed in history, literature, the arts and even in their food. Intimacy is considered beautiful, and purity, honesty and openness - despite their promiscuity - to be valued. Patience comes from the act of couples spending hours at a single meal together, sampling small tastes and eating very small but explosively flavoursome chocolates developed by the superlative Parisian chocolatiers of the world. This is why France is relatively ‘chill’ on equalised and sexualised love, as it’s not the only avenue for intimacy that they consider. Their attitudes are mature like the wine and cheese they serve: whether they are introducing a child to a petit glass of claret wine, which they are educating them on in regards to the art of the process, as opposed to the means of getting drunk. From grapes and vineyards, to grinding and ageing, their patience for passion is what keeps the fire for eternal love alive. Though divorce rates are just as equal in France as with any other nation of the world (average 50%), the maintenance and persistence of l’amour prevails. Marriage, though dropping by an approximated 57,439 per annum when comparing 2004 records to 2019 records, is still common practice, and valued - as in any other nation.

The fact remains that marriage and career both have their own unique pros and cons. It is an individualised opinion and a personal right whether to be bestowed with lavish of life’s career ladder, or to settle in harmony with another betrothed. From a personal stance however, I’d rather be married to success of bounty, than to the booty.


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©2019 by Lait Mylk