4-27-05It seems to me that monogamy is a convenient fiction more than a practice of modern society. It's sort of like stealing from the office - everyone says they don't do it, but everyone does. Most men cheat, and those who don't I believe mostly don't cheat due to lack of opportunity, not some high moral standard. Most "faithful" men, if put in contact with a nubile nymphomaniacal live-in housekeeper (for instance), would cheat. The rate of women cheating seems to be much lower, which I won't begin to analyze, though it is amusing to note that this just means that the rate of women being with a cheating man is much higher. Now, I say all this from a preachy high horse since I consider myself one of the non-cheaters, but more and more I see that as not some moral high ground, but rather just a silly form of penitence or self-denial. I'm also one of the few people in the world who doesn't cheat on their taxes, which reminds me of an allegory -
A government representative meets with ten people. He puts $10,000 on the table and says "don't take that money, it's illegal, but if you do, I'll have no way of knowing who did it, and I won't investigate". He then turns his back and closes his eyes. The ten men all look at each other, and nine of them each grab $1000. One man doesn't take any money. The agent then turns around and sees only $1000 on the table. He takes it and says "well, you all took the money, I can't punish you, but since you have that money, I'm now going to charge each of you a $500 fee; everyone must pay now." The one man who didn't take the money protests - "They all the took the money, I didn't, this isn't fair, they should be punished!" The agent chides him - "Now, I can't just believe you, I don't know who took the money and I don't have time to investigate, and shame on you if you didn't take it, it was right in front of you; now everyone pay up". The honest man pays the fee and feels a fool.
I hear parents talk of their children dropping out of college, throwing huge parties and trashing their homes, drinking, sleeping around, going to jail. There's pride in their voices - they're bragging! At some point if it happens too long, the pride turns to exasperation, the kids should get over it already and do something with their lives, but initially it's pride, and perhaps envy.