The major reason people get divorced are money issues, infidelity, lack of healthy communication, changes in priorities – deciding to have children or deciding not to have them, changing jobs. Emotional commitment to the marriage starts to wean after being together for a while – some sub-issues under this are basic perception changes like behavior that you once found cute or charming – humming to the radio, popping gum, telling lame jokes repeatedly, leaving dirty laundry lying around, not doing one’s share of household chores. Sexual problems or sexual incompatibility makes the top of some lists, but is generally around the middle for the cause of most divorces. Additions make the top ten – alcohol is a major cause under that heading, gambling, hard drugs, prescription painkillers. After a while the hazy fog infatuation wears off and it turns out one’s spouse in not a knight in shining armor or a princess. Couples start to see each others flaws. Amazingly small things – he is not a Mr. Fixit and she does not have a cure-all for his problems – and who knew men whined so much or that women could be so emotionally distant ( these could be reversed as well). And last in the round-up is abuse – that abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. Statistically men are more likely to be the physical abusers and women the emotional abusers. Mixed in with all of those is the point at which couples just get on each others nerves because they are together so much. Currently the median length of a marriage is 11 years. Back say 4,500 years ago – the best guess as to when marriage started as a cultural institution by pagan cultures, if you lived past 40 you were really old. So those thought of as older, as elders were those in their thirties. If you married in your late teens or early twenties, and most of your days were filled in with basic survival behavior – gathering food, a little hunting, preparing food, cooking food, protecting the family/village from predators and invasions – the years went by fairly quick. That your marriage lasted until death do you part probably took some effort, but hardly a surprise it lasted. Though fast forward to say the age of reading, religion, institutions, advanced math, government, books – say 1509 and the good Christian King Henry VIII. Henry established Protestantism in England or the Church of England, which was a lot like Catholicism, except allowed divorce. Henry was divorced twice and had two wives beheaded. It might be fun to blame modern marriage wows on 1960’s hippies, color TV, hi-def porn, feminism or whatever, but marriage as an institution and other partnership arrangements have been, in modern times, problematic. While historical trends are noted there is much about modern behavior and relationships that defy explanation solely in terms of evolution. Modern culture and economics has a large role in who, when and how successful a relationship can be. That said relationships have a basis in biology. That includes the emotional accessories – love, loneliness, simple companionship, concerns about social status. What if you could take a drug would increase the chances of staying together. Most of the reasons that people separate are rotted in emotions. We have drugs that affect mood – medication for anxiety, pills to increase sexual stamina, drugs for depression. There are probably drugs that help with addictions like playing poker or betting on horses. Our Chemical Romance – A love pill.
Perhaps if it were true that these activities could really all be understood as essentially acting “on the biological level” in the same way, then there might not be a reason to see any moral difference between them. But it is obvious that marriage therapy does not “act at the biological level” in the same way that a dopaminergic pill does; in the first case, insofar as the activity of talking about your relationship leads to the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, it does so by a complex process of dealing with the real obstacles that impede love, and reminding the couple of the real qualities that make one another lovable — all of which allow for the natural emotional responses associated with love, which do indeed tend to correspond with the release of these neurotransmitters. Pills and “neurolove potions” on the other hand, insofar as they are effective, would start with the release of these neurotransmitters, causing the person to feel the emotional responses associated with love, but not in any direct connection with any of causes that might make these responses meaningful and true — namely, an actual, loving relationship with another person.
The President’s Council on Bioethics addressed this to some extent in Beyond Therapy when they argued that “drug-induced ‘love’ is not just incomplete — an emotion unconnected with knowledge of and care for the beloved. It is also unfounded, not based on anything — not even visible beauty — from which such emotions normally grow.” Savulescu and Sandberg argue that these objections might apply to the inducing of new relationships, but would not to apply to established relationships. That may be partly true: most people would probably find it worse to establish a relationship through drug-induced emotions than it would be to maintain an existing relationship. But similar objections still apply to the latter: severing the connection between the emotion of love and its proper object could still threaten to make a relationship detached from the real circumstances on which such emotions are normally sustained. And if an established relationship has the kinds of problems that would require a “neurolove potion” to keep it going, then maybe it is those problems themselves that need to be addressed. For instance, Savulescu and Sandberg argue that it is basically a good idea for a woman to take love drugs in order to tolerate her husband’s infidelity. Is that really a prescription for personal and moral progress?
Fulop Laszlo (Philip de László) – Portrait of a Lady and her Daughter, 1902. Laszlo was an Hungarian artist who specialized in portraits of aristocracy.
A long read about a cold-case murder solved after 23 years. A Case So Cold It Was Blue
The murder of newlywed Sherri Rasmussen went unsolved for 23 years, with the Los Angeles police assuming it was a burglary turned violent. Then, one morning in 2009, when a detective opened the cold-case file, he got his first clue that the killer had been under their noses the entire time.
I get that Detective Stephanie Lazarus did it out of jealously, but I do not understand the lag time – she had not dated Rasmussen’s husband since college. I also do not understand the intensity of her rage under those circumstances.
Statistics are boring, but it’s important to wrap your head around this latest one from the Federal Reserve as the definitive epitaph for the American dream. Wall Street’s financial shenanigans, the banking games that made some fat cats outrageously wealthy as they turned home mortgages into toxic securities, wiped out 20 years of growth in American families’ net worth.
“Americans saw wealth plummet 40% from 2007 to 2010, Federal Reserve says,” is how The Washington Post headlined the startling news that all of the economic gain of the past two decades had been destroyed by the banking meltdown. And with housing values—the bulk of middle-class savings—indefinitely moribund, the situation will not get better anytime soon.
Cultural memes. The national buzz. How events and issues are framed. Those things do not occur by magic. The middle-class and low-income workers as well, took a huge economic hit. Even for those that have clawed their way out of a hole, have done so with slightly lower wages and benefits on average. Having lost all that pie – their portion of the GDP, conservative Republicans have found this catastrophe a great excuse to say the nation cannot afford Medicare or student loans and that we need to ratchet up retirement age to 70 or more to collect Social Security. So the people who did not do anything wrong or did not act with the kind of negligence and malfeasance of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase, or Bank of America or Well Fargo are making pre-recession profits and bonuses for the most part, they are not to sacrifice paying a few more percent in income or capital gains taxes even though they were saved by the people who are now expected to not send their kid to college or have full Medicare benefits. Conservatives Republicans like to get out front on calling any opposition to their plutocratic economic socialism. Yet they certainly believe – regardless of how much they complain about TARP (complaining is cheaper than action) in Marxism for corporations, banks and their wealthy elitist friends.
John Cale – Perfect
POE – Angry Johnny