By Salil Gewalli
Even in the West, the marital relationship is still a treasured subject. Both opposite genders pray for the successful marriage — though it mostly falls apart pretty too early. Of course, the reasons are various. While some are clearly understandable, some are little beyond one’s mental grasp. True, our conditioned mind swayed by modern proposition and narrow likes and dislikes always fail us to see the thing as it is. Again, for one’s flawed discrimination and sensibility, coupled with the false expectation and its fulfilment, one often witnesses too many crises after marriage and also after the break-up. One just likely to fall into an unpleasantly unexpected situation and run into troubling issues. Thank God, nature, so designed by the Almighty, itself teaches some, with a few hard blows, to come to terms; while other weak lots, who can’t cope with, just plunge into the sea of depression.
The Guardian of UK/USA, which has recently published a beautiful article, attracted my attention. A discerning female writer from Michigan – Ms Rose Hackman chooses the long title for the article, as – “Is marriage really on the decline because of men’s cheap access to sex?”. Ms Rose should be appreciated for not trying to bury her head in the sand. The discussion in the article is concerned with the modern makeup and the increasing failed marriage. The writer logically reasoned out some of the important factors in the article. She quoted an eminent sociologist from Texas — Mark Regnerus who paraphrased an adage – “nobody will buy the cow if you’re giving away the milk for free.”
Moreover, every philosopher has proposed that an object/subject of utility is valued when it is obtained with difficulty. The scarce availability always makes one’s heart ache for it. But, however, people start finding less appealing, even wants to “keep away from” an object/subject if they are flooded with that only. Again, going by the comments on that article, which run into 5/6 thousand, one comes to believe that the unsuccessful marital relationship and incidental crises of the west will surely be going to affect our country too.
I don’t think one needs to go deeper into sex phenomenon and its inherent “binding force”. But here the main concern is that its “binding strength” is rapidly getting weaker and weaker. Many ascribed this situation to the easy availability of sex. One scholar thoughtfully remarks: “So much splurged on the media, so much on display, and so much abused, the “sensuality” is no more sensual. Then what is there in store to attract the opposite sex?” Yes, “desensitization” of sensuality is already the bane which ails everything. In the similar vein, science as well explains many natural phenomena with the theory of “saturation”. A dry cotton absorbs the moisture/water more quickly while the wet cotton cannot do that. “Mind” that is fast becoming like a wet cotton, cannot respond to the moisture of the sensuality.
On the other hand, if you have a lot many opportunities to eat delicious food outside, your “lovely kitchen” at home will be just ignored, you don’t even turn your head to pay a glance over it. You would never care whether the kitchen is clean or untidy, or even infested with sneaky rats, mice, and cockroaches. Figuratively, in the situation, ones have to call out only the virtues from within, if any available, to salvage the marriage.
Subsequently, one also just becomes less respectful of that which is ubiquitous. I don’t think it is a healthy trend in the society. However, for instance, if the same “sexual sensuality”, which is in existence for the purpose since the dawn of the creation, could have been achieved with difficulty, and with struggle, if it’s a private affair, it would have made ones definitely go “crazy after”. Mind would just become keener on it. Then, one even would love to “get lost” in the romantic imagery. The serenades by the likes of Keats and Shelley would have been burst out. But now, in the midst of the brazen show of the immodest indiscretion that poetic romanticism cannot find its emotional expression. There is no space for the healthy imagination.
Have we gone too far by overdoing? Have we not over-exposed what should have been relished in the hallowed privacy? William Shakespeare rightly says, “It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance”. Is it not then that by sipping the drink of modernity and shedding values of decency we have almost “killed the goose” that would have continued to lay golden eggs? A renowned economist Alfred Marshal had thought out a golden principle as “Diminishing Marginal Utility” in order to bring home the market situation with respect to an object of importance/value/utility. And, it well explains how an object is detested by the senses when it is over-supplied. I notice the same principle perfectly applies to sex and sensuality which the modernity is casually and brazenly juggling with. Phew, the under-nourished marital relation may find hard to survive when the sharpness of the sensuality goes blunt.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.