Sunday, October 3, 2010

About physiology and marriage

MEDITATION I.
THE SUBJECT.

Physiology, what must I consider your meaning?

Is not your object to prove that marriage unites for life two beings
who do not know each other?

That life consists in passion, and that no passion survives marriage?

That marriage is an institution necessary for the preservation of
society, but that it is contrary to the laws of nature?

That divorce, this admirable release from the misfortunes of marriage,
should with one voice be reinstated?

That, in spite of all its inconveniences, marriage is the foundation
on which property is based?

That it furnishes invaluable pledges for the security of government?

That there is something touching in the association of two human
beings for the purpose of supporting the pains of life?

That there is something ridiculous in the wish that one and the same
thoughts should control two wills?

That the wife is treated as a slave?

That there has never been a marriage entirely happy?

That marriage is filled with crimes and that the known murders are not
the worst?

That fidelity is impossible, at least to the man?

That an investigation if it could be undertaken would prove that in
the transmission of patrimonial property there was more risk than
security?

That adultery does more harm than marriage does good?

That infidelity in a woman may be traced back to the earliest ages of
society, and that marriage still survives this perpetuation of
treachery?

That the laws of love so strongly link together two human beings that
no human law can put them asunder?

That while there are marriages recorded on the public registers, there
are others over which nature herself has presided, and they have been
dictated either by the mutual memory of thought, or by an utter
difference of mental disposition, or by corporeal affinity in the
parties named; that it is thus that heaven and earth are constantly at
variance?

That there are many husbands fine in figure and of superior intellect
whose wives have lovers exceedingly ugly, insignificant in appearance
or stupid in mind?

All these questions furnish material for books; but the books have
been written and the questions are constantly reappearing.

Physiology, what must I take you to mean? 
 
Balzac, THE PHYSIOLOGY OF MARRIAGE,  
Produced by Dagny and John Bickers


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