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TripleA

"Love is a Mental Illness"

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So, a little while ago, Paul Joseph Watson (the creator of the term 'soy boy', and a British right wing commentary YouTuber) made a video named, "Love is a Mental Illness".

 

(It's best to watch the full video to get a good understanding as to what Paul is talking about.)

 

Video linked here:

https://youtu.be/HbagBeqClwo

 

In summary, he explains how the beginnings of humans experiencing romantic attraction are similiar to that of people taking drugs and getting a high, as well as how social media is preventing us from finding long term, stable relationships that lead us to marrying and having children, with dating apps and online dating as a whole on the rise - this is leading people to pursue romance less and less. 

 

We also see a rose-tinted form of romance in many books, TV shows, movies, art, etc. Where as, before, romance was seen as bad, and plays like Romeo and Juliet would have been seen as a warning of what romance love/attraction can do to someone's mental state. 

 

Not to mention that when humans experience romantic attraction, it is an unhealthy obsession with one person, they must know every little thing about that person, and they must possess them for themselves. It's almost an act of greed. 

 

To my knowledge, this lack of interest for love/relationships is prominent in Japan, where it has partly taken a toll on the birth rate in the country, due to less people having children and getting married. More and more Japanese people are seeing no point in marriage or dating, citing porn, virtual girlfriends and one night stands as ways they satisfy their needs instead. 

 

This video by The Infographics Show touches on this, and other reasons why Japan's population is slowly shrinking.

 

Video linked here: 

https://youtu.be/3tiqNlrUsHE

 

Maybe this is/will be the case in other countries such as Germany, where the birth rate is also low. Developed countries as a whole usually have lower birth rates than undeveloped countries, therefore may also not see the point in marriage or relationships.

 

However, don't get this modern form of celibacy confused with Aromanticism; they may still have romantic attraction, but only use quick fixes or alternatives to satisfy their romantic wants. 

 

Remember probably around 1% of the world population (so only around 7 million) is Aromantic, similar to Asexuals (maybe it's even rarer seeing as not all Asexuals are also Aromantic), however there are currently no studies that suggest an estimate of the Aromantic population. 

 

It is important to note, that this is just addressing romantic love, NOT platonic or familial love. Also, it is known that long term, stable, romantic relationships/marriages can make both parties happier in life. 

 

So, all of this raises some interesting questions: 

 

Yes, romantic love can be seen as necessary on a biological standpoint, but if someone does not want to have children, is romance and marriage really necessary?

 

Why legally bind yourself to someone when you will be restricted to one person and have less freedom and more responsibilities? Maybe for more financial stability? 

 

If someone does want to have children, does raising children with friends or non-romantic partners seem more logical than risking their mental health by pursuing romance? 

 

Are those who are Aromantic less susceptible to mental illness because they don't need/want to pursue romantic relationships, therefore won't suffer the pain of rejection, the friendzone or a breakup?

 

Maybe we should look into alternatives to romantic relationships to satisfy our needs instead of putting ourselves up for failure a lot of the time?

 

Should we refrain from using social media or dating apps to pursue romance?

 

Tell me your thoughts.

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There's a lot to respond to here, so I'm not going to be able to touch on everything. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Video linked here:

https://youtu.be/HbagBeqClwo

This video starts "Love. Everyone wants it." As you might imagine, I generally disagree with this alarmist, sensationalist video and the 5 other amatonormative assertions it makes without any evidence. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

as well as how social media is preventing us from finding long term, stable relationships that lead us to marrying and having children, with dating apps and online dating as a whole on the rise - this is leading people to pursue romance less and less. 

The first video you linked made this assertion (and many others) several times without any evidence at all. People not wanting long term relationships is probably the biggest reason there are fewer long term relationships. I think the lack of interest in long term relationships is due to macroeconomic effects making long term relationships harder for people that it was a generation or two ago, not dating apps. Doesn't the prevalence of dating apps suggest that people are, at least, theoretically interested in romance and trying to pursue it more? 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Not to mention that when humans experience romantic attraction, it is an unhealthy obsession with one person, they must know every little thing about that person, and they must possess them for themselves. It's almost an act of greed. 

I've never felt romantic attraction, but I have a feeling that most alloromantics wouldn't describe it like this. Or at least, a healthy version of romance like this. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Developed countries as a whole usually have lower birth rates than undeveloped countries, therefore may also not see the point in marriage or relationships.

Birth rates aren't the same as marriage or relationships. Admittedly, they're often seen as linked in Western society, but I've heard that birth rates are lower in developed countries because of things like health care, and I don't think health care is greatly affecting marriage, relationships, or the way people view marriage and relationships. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Also, it is known that long term, stable, romantic relationships/marriages can make both parties happier in life. 

I mean, long term, unhealthy romantic relationships can also make the people involved less happier in life. This feels like a very empty statement to me. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Yes, romantic love can be seen as necessary on a biological standpoint

No, no it's not. Another unbacked assertion. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

but if someone does not want to have children, is romance and marriage really necessary?

Wanting children is different from romance and marriage. You can have both at once, or just one or the other, or neither. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Why legally bind yourself to someone when you will be restricted to one person and have less freedom and more responsibilities? Maybe for more financial stability? 

Well, there're the legal advantages you get from being married, like tax breaks, hospital visiting rights, health care, financing and loans. Some people want to solidly, officially, legally declare that someone is very important to them. There are also social benefits, like people not asking you when you're going to get married. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

If someone does want to have children, does raising children with friends or non-romantic partners seem more logical than risking their mental health by pursuing romance? 

I don't know what you mean by "logical" in this context. Do you mean that, one could use a rigorous mathematical framework to deduce that one alternative is better to others? That framework would certainly have to take into account that individual's personal tastes and preferences, because some people might want to raise children in a romantic relationship, while other people might not. It would also have to take into account the economic and legal situation, because adopting or raising children can be more difficult for unmarried people. In short, I don't think that anyone can say that one approach to raising children is better than the other in general; this is only answerable in very specific, well-defined circumstances. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Are those who are Aromantic less susceptible to mental illness because they don't need/want to pursue romantic relationships, therefore won't suffer the pain of rejection, the friendzone or a breakup?

This reads to me like you're saying that aros have it easier in life because we don't have to deal with romantic/relationship problems, which isn't really the case. There are aros that want/enjoy/partake in relationships, and sometimes they have those troubles as well. And there are lots of blog posts on the internet about aros complaining about their friends meeting someone new and letting the friendship die. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Maybe we should look into alternatives to romantic relationships to satisfy our needs instead of putting ourselves up for failure a lot of the time?

Who is this "we"? Humans as a whole? I think that there's a toxicity to how romantic relationships are expected to be the sole provider of all emotional support and fulfillment, yes. But I also think that people who want to pursue romance should be allowed to, even if they'll fail some of the time. 

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Should we refrain from using social media or dating apps to pursue romance?

I think that's up to the individual. Is society as a whole going to collapse because of social media and dating apps? Considering that online dating has been around since the 1990s, probably not. 

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I generally agree that romantic love neurologically has a lot of things in comon with drugs - that's why drugs work: they use the same reward systems also used by romantic love.

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Maybe this is/will be the case in other countries such as Germany, where the birth rate is also low. Developed countries as a whole usually have lower birth rates than undeveloped countries, therefore may also not see the point in marriage or relationships.

I think the main reason for the lower birth rates in developed countries is that people see that children hurt their career and decide against them instead of children being a major insurance in undeveoped countries. People are still in relationships/mariages, they just don't get kids anymore.

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Yes, romantic love can be seen as necessary on a biological standpoint, but if someone does not want to have children, is romance and marriage really necessary?

In my opinion, romantic love was biologically necessary in early human evolution, as it was nearly impossible to raise a child alone. It also prevented STDs from spreading.

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

If someone does want to have children, does raising children with friends or non-romantic partners seem more logical than risking their mental health by pursuing romance?

As said above, being obsessed with each other until the child is somehow autonomous wasn't that bad. Unfortunately, most friendships don't have that kind of commitment.

Another question is if it is really

better for your mental health to ignore your romantic attraction than to act on it.

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Are those who are Aromantic less susceptible to mental illness because they don't need/want to pursue romantic relationships, therefore won't suffer the pain of rejection, the friendzone or a breakup?

As in my experience, there are more aros with mental illnesses such as depression than in the general public, this doesn't seem to be the case (but I don't have any numbers on that).

 

1 hour ago, TripleA said:

Maybe we should look into alternatives to romantic relationships to satisfy our needs instead of putting ourselves up for failure a lot of the time?

I think many alloromantics would say that romantic relationships ARE a need, but as I'm aro I don't know.

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The Classical Greeks did consider mania to be a form of "love".
With "romantic love" seeming to contain a large portion of manic elements.
 

5 hours ago, TripleA said:

We also see a rose-tinted form of romance in many books, TV shows, movies, art, etc. Where as, before, romance was seen as bad, and plays like Romeo and Juliet would have been seen as a warning of what romance love/attraction can do to someone's mental state.

Before the last two centuries or so depictions of anything which could be "romance" were rare in literature and seen as universally tragic when they did show up.
With motion pictures being too recent an invention to have existed in pre-romantic societies.

 

5 hours ago, TripleA said:

 Also, it is known that long term, stable, romantic relationships/marriages can make both parties happier in life. 

This turns out to be untrue. 
Getting Married Makes You Happier? Again, No

 

5 hours ago, TripleA said:

Not to mention that when humans experience romantic attraction, it is an unhealthy obsession with one person, they must know every little thing about that person, and they must possess them for themselves. It's almost an act of greed. 

It's notable that "mania" can be translated as "obsessive love".

 

5 hours ago, TripleA said:

Yes, romantic love can be seen as necessary on a biological standpoint, but if someone does not want to have children, is romance and marriage really necessary?

The problem this argument runs into is that marriage (and children) long predate romance and romantic love.

 

5 hours ago, TripleA said:

Are those who are Aromantic less susceptible to mental illness because they don't need/want to pursue romantic relationships, therefore won't suffer the pain of rejection, the friendzone or a breakup?

On the other hand aros experience social rejection/exclusion along with minority stress.
The idea that aros won't "suffer the pain of rejection" or experience "breakups" is based on amantonormative attitudes. It's likely that disenfranchised grief is an issue for aro breakups.

 

4 hours ago, raavenb2619 said:

Birth rates aren't the same as marriage or relationships. Admittedly, they're often seen as linked in Western society, but I've heard that birth rates are lower in developed countries because of things like health care, and I don't think health care is greatly affecting marriage, relationships, or the way people view marriage and relationships. 

Marriage has been in decline, amongst the industralised world, since the 1960's.

 

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6 hours ago, TripleA said:

Not to mention that when humans experience romantic attraction, it is an unhealthy obsession with one person, they must know every little thing about that person, and they must possess them for themselves. It's almost an act of greed. 

I don't know if love is always this extreme, and it probably doesn't fit for polyamory people. But I do think love as a kind of obsession, when I liste to love sons that are supposed to be "romantic". However I don't think romance can be reduced to that, there is other things like the concept of soulmate, sacrifice (in the sense people would do anything for their beloved).

 

 

6 hours ago, TripleA said:

Yes, romantic love can be seen as necessary on a biological standpoint, but if someone does not want to have children, is romance and marriage really necessary?

Maybe at the start romance and children was linked (though I would linked it more to sexual attraction, as without moderne technology you couldn't have children without sex), but now I think people seek romance for itself. It may not be necessary for a strictly biological point of view though. But not everything is in evolution I guess. Anyway I think some studies should be make about the role of romance before affirming it.

 

6 hours ago, TripleA said:

Why legally bind yourself to someone when you will be restricted to one person and have less freedom and more responsibilities? Maybe for more financial stability? 

The other day, an allo woman explain to me that people should get married because if they broke up, they had a contract that protect them (for financial reasons for instance). Of course such a perspective is more useful for allos. But I guess even aros can find advantages in marriage, if they does it for financial reasons expect romantic ones.

 

6 hours ago, TripleA said:

If someone does want to have children, does raising children with friends or non-romantic partners seem more logical than risking

Interesting how you still link children and partnership here. I will probably adopt alone someday, and maybe give my ovocytes (yes, I have strange ideas).

Also, maybe it sounds logical, but not for an allo perspective : allo people want to live with their loved one after all. I don't see why any of this partnership would be less risky for an allo? Plus it would be more damaging to their mental health to deny their attraction I think. So it is only true if you are aro I think.

 

6 hours ago, TripleA said:

Are those who are Aromantic less susceptible to mental illness because they don't need/want to pursue romantic relationships, therefore won't suffer the pain of rejection, the friendzone or a breakup?

For what I always read it is the contrary. Because we can feel rejeton,  even if it's not romantic. We have the romance zone instead of the friend zone.  And friendship break up can be painful too. And I think it's worst for us because society won't understand that, or minimize it, which leader aros to be alone to face this. Contrary to allos who will have support in their rejection.

 

6 hours ago, TripleA said:

 Maybe we should look into alternatives to romantic relationships to satisfy our needs instead of putting ourselves up for failure a lot of the time?

True. Not because of failure, but just because it is not sans to place one's happiness is only one type of relationship. Famille and friendly bounds are important too, and probably other relationships that I forget.

 

6 hours ago, TripleA said:

Should we refrain from using social media or dating apps to pursue romance?

I don't think so : romance does makes people happy. Plus, social media is just a new way to pursue it.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2019 at 9:07 AM, TripleA said:

Are those who are Aromantic less susceptible to mental illness because they don't need/want to pursue romantic relationships, therefore won't suffer the pain of rejection, the friendzone or a breakup?

 

Honestly, sometimes I feel like my lack of romantic attraction has exacerbated and fed into my mental health problems. Especially when it comes to feeling not good enough or unwanted and unworthy. And being rejected by friends can be just as painful, and sometimes it can feel even worse when you don't have the safety net of a romantic relationship. You begin to feel like all your friends will leave you for singular partners and that you'll be alone- and friends actually leaving each other behind because a partner told them to does not help this line of thought. Societal expectations of love are designed for a nuclear family set up, which is a reason why being aro can be so scary. When I first realized I was, I was terrified.

Edited by Korbin
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There have been some great thoughts already in this thread, and it is great @Mark has already commented to blow the constructed/assumed 'long history' of romantic love to smithereens. 

On 7/25/2019 at 1:37 AM, TripleA said:

To my knowledge, this lack of interest for love/relationships is prominent in Japan, where it has partly taken a toll on the birth rate in the country, due to less people having children and getting married. More and more Japanese people are seeing no point in marriage or dating, citing porn, virtual girlfriends and one night stands as ways they satisfy their needs instead. 

I will just focus on this point because it is one of the things I studied. So Japan had a big Economic boom that peaked in the 80s, yes we can all agree on that. Were women part of it? not really. Traditional gender roles were still fairly strong. Women were generally relegated to 'office flowers' who hung around until they got married or maybe once married they stayed around until they had a child. BOOM. your future is as a housewife. I know there are exceptions but in general they experienced traditional gender discrimination, be a wife then a mother and make your house your life. I'm sure there were a range of feelings and reactions in that time, but once the economy began shrinking and things were no longer so 'stable' women started breaking free. 

So suddenly you have women fighting for continued employment, men no longer able to financially support a non-working wife and kids, and a whole generation of women just entering the workforce who don't want to be housewives. Enter the Parasite Singles, not kicked out of their parents houses because they are unmarried yet not looking for husbands because they don't want to be boxed in by gender roles. With an income and few/no bills they live luxury. In the 90s and 00s they were looked up to as rolemodels/influencers/aspirational to all the young girls who want the next newest Gucci bag. Men had to go through a shift too. Suddenly independent women were more open in relationships that didn't have marriage as the final goal and culturally it was more acceptable to create, explore and join in other alternatives. 

So Japan has changed so so much in just 35 years and the old society standards broke down, a society that had very strict relationship and marriage roles for both genders. A sustainable social culture has not developed that maintains population and is appealing to the masses, digital reliance is probably just making it worse and the western fetishisation of the traditional submissive Asian wife ideal. 

So it is not quite so simple as Japanese people are seeing no point in marriage or dating, because they are talking about Japanese Marriage (and practices) and Japanese Dating (and goals). 

Though it is completely statistically true that higher education in women lowers the birthrate, and Japan has such a focus on education that it plays a big role too. For every other country experiencing a drop in birth rate you can probably point to that one factor as being a major influence. 

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This response is both related and unrelated to the topic 😅 But your post reminded me of this song I saw called "The Disease called Love". The whole song uses a pretty extensive metaphor so I don't completely understand every single part of it but the title should be enough to explain that the disease is a metaphor for love. However it's clearly a metaphor and isn't saying that love is actually a disease! That's a bit far imo.

Link (the song is in Japanese but there are English captions)

 

 

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@Emerald Cheetah oooh I'm flowing onto the unrelatedness here. Interesting song, though I'll have to dig out the lyrics in a different format because that clip is far too distracting for me to read them, at least first time through. The Japanese stuff I did sort of cut off around 2010 so in the decade since then who knows, maybe love is seen as a disease? though in that song's case computer virus would be more accurate! From the lyrics I did get it seems the 'funeral' is the conclusion of the love disease, and in love-elevator terms the conclusion of love is marriage, so marriage=funeral? Is the modern Japanese thought better off dead than married?

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13 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

@Emerald Cheetah oooh I'm flowing onto the unrelatedness here. Interesting song, though I'll have to dig out the lyrics in a different format because that clip is far too distracting for me to read them, at least first time through. The Japanese stuff I did sort of cut off around 2010 so in the decade since then who knows, maybe love is seen as a disease? though in that song's case computer virus would be more accurate! From the lyrics I did get it seems the 'funeral' is the conclusion of the love disease, and in love-elevator terms the conclusion of love is marriage, so marriage=funeral? Is the modern Japanese thought better off dead than married?

@Apathetic Echidna Yeah I keep getting distracted by the video and forget to read the lyrics almost every time I watch it as well 😂That's an interesting point. I never understood why it was referenced as a funeral but that interpretation makes sense. There were only some spots that made sense like when it mentioned that their fates were intertwined and they were dependent on the same anesthesia to survive. Makes sense since, in some cases, there are unhealthy relationships where people become, in a way, completely dependent on each other. 

I haven't heard of any place in the world evolving to such a thought process so as to throw out marriage. I mean I've heard that there is this new movement in Japan of Hikikomoris (I hope I spelt that right) and they often don't get married ,but it's not necessarily because they don't want to. It's simply because Japan's society can be a very stressful one to live in and so marriage isn't going to happen when many people can't even keep themselves together mentally. And there are even people in Japan who just go off the grid completely, sometimes leaving the families they've built behind. I don't think the Japanese people would rather avoid marriage. But I have heard that domestic violence is very common in married couples in Japan, so again, another reason to avoid marriage or be wary of it. With Japan's honor system, it can be hard to get out of things once you're already locked in. And due to all that marriage might possibly seen as a trap some want to avoid. Long story short, this is super complex and I'm no expert!

However this song seems to not so much be about the society, but about two people who are actually in love which is what confuses me most. It doesn't seem so much centered on Japanese culture but instead I could relate this to any unhealthy romantic relationship, perhaps. Luckily, when in doubt, go to the comments section! Because there will always be theorizers commenting under vocaloid songs 🙃 It's a shame most of the comments are in Japanese lol

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6 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

I haven't heard of any place in the world evolving to such a thought process so as to throw out marriage.

Me either. There certainly have been times in different areas where new marriages were very very rare (war/diseases/natural disasters), but I'm sure even then you might find some weddings, and it is also a short period of time we are talking about. Marriage is too enshrined in most cultures to be gone for too long. 

6 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

And due to all that marriage might possibly seen as a trap some want to avoid. Long story short, this is super complex and I'm no expert!

I'm no expert either! cultures, especially of large populations are so complex I doubt there are any full experts! I know there have been studies in the 80/90s showing that in traditional Japanese marriages (businessman/housewife) there was a spike in divorce rates around the time the men retired because being home drove their wives crazy. I'd be very interested to know how things are going in COVID isolation. I've seen a study that said the divorce rate is spiking in China, while at least anecdotal data (I'm sure there will be a study eventually) many pending divorces have been withdrawn in New York. There might be some interesting comparisons. 

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16 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

I haven't heard of any place in the world evolving to such a thought process so as to throw out marriage.

There are the Mosuo. Who have something called "walking marriage" which is radically different from either arranged or romantic marriage. Though they may have acquired monogamy from other Chinese cultures recently.

16 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

I mean I've heard that there is this new movement in Japan of Hikikomoris (I hope I spelt that right) and they often don't get married ,but it's not necessarily because they don't want to. It's simply because Japan's society can be a very stressful one to live in and so marriage isn't going to happen when many people can't even keep themselves together mentally. And there are even people in Japan who just go off the grid completely, sometimes leaving the families they've built behind. I don't think the Japanese people would rather avoid marriage.

Decline in marriage is't specific to Japan. Here's articles about it happening in ChinaThe UKAustralia and The US.

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On 7/24/2019 at 2:58 PM, Mark said:

On the other hand aros experience social rejection/exclusion along with minority stress.
The idea that aros won't "suffer the pain of rejection" or experience "breakups" is based on amantonormative attitudes. It's likely that disenfranchised grief is an issue for aro breakups.

I never heard of either of these terms, but they ring true to my experiences. Especially disenfranchised grief. When you lose a friend it's often like you can't even talk about it, as if the pain can't be comparable to losing a romantic partner. And maybe it's because I'm aro, but breaking up with a romantic partner never hurt me as horribly as losing a friend. So while it's possible to avoid some grief in not getting into romantic relationships... If you make connections with people, chances are you'll experience loss in some form anyways.

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Posted (edited)

In the first season of Infinity Train, this little robot named OneOne remarks(after watching someone's memory of their proposal) "Plato once wrote that love is a serious mental condition." and a character named The Cat replied "For once, me and the ball can agree on something." It made me happy so see some aro representation in a Cartoon Network show.

Edited by JustVibin'
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Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2019 at 6:07 PM, TripleA said:

To my knowledge, this lack of interest for love/relationships is prominent in Japan, where it has partly taken a toll on the birth rate in the country, due to less people having children and getting married. More and more Japanese people are seeing no point in marriage or dating, citing porn, virtual girlfriends and one night stands as ways they satisfy their needs instead

Ok, the difficulties start with the basic statistic: the birth rate, which you cite. It is the easiest measure to define and calculate. The number of live births per thousand of population per year.

It has a long lag. If in the recent past women didn't have a lot of children, it will still be low regardless if the birth rate in younger women has increased. There are fewer women in childbearing age that even can be mothers, yet, to put a not too fine point on it, all those middle aged and old people are still around.

So if a country has a low birth rate and you look at explanations in the present, that will be misleading.

As you say, regarding Japan we think of "Marriage to Hatsune Miku", but seriously – for the actual reasons you must also include at least the 90s. A woman which was 45 in 2000 is 65 now and likely still alive. So what did she do in 1975 - 2000?

The same is roughly true for men. There's theoretically a lot of more leeway here, but in practice when people marry their ages are not thaaat far apart. And in the 80s or 90s there wasn't a Hatsune Miku.

I'm not knowledgeable enough regarding Japan to do more than speculation. So

  • are the stories about "salarymen" exaggerated? Like the insane shifts, sometimes with up to 40 hours overtime a week? If they're more or less true, I wonder how they even manage to date at all.
  • it would be interesting to know more about the blue-collar workers in Japan, if it's different for them. One would assume, because for physical labor the negative effects of such overwork are much more serious. What's about the birth rate dependent on socioeconomic group?

 

Edited by DeltaV
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Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2019 at 11:58 PM, Mark said:

The problem this argument runs into is that marriage (and children) long predate romance and romantic love.

Theologians of the middle ages could write a big tome on marriage and not mention love once. It was all about sex and children.

The problem I have with this argument though is that marriages not based on romantic love were bad practices. They shouldn't be seen with rose tinted aro glasses. Not because of the lack of romantic love but because there was coercion involved to different degrees.

They exist on a continuum of harm. Usually harm for the woman or more so for her. The most "egalitarian" practice is also the worst and modern: The forced marriages of the Khmer Rouge. People were assigned to marry random strangers without having any choice in it. If the woman refused to have sex with her "husband", she was raped. If the man refused to rape his "wife", he was killed.

For traditional arranged marriages we often think just of family pressure. But e.g. the "free women" in Ancient Athens didn't get an education and were married at a very young age to a man 15 years older or so. That's again a much more sinister practice. When a 30 year old man has a subservient uneducated teenager as his wife (he probably held her in contempt). To put it very mildly...

So I simply don't know historical marriage practices which are 100% benign (no coercion) and do not involve romance.

For children it's different. We know cultures where it's normal that children are born and raised with no romance involved and there still isn't something bad going on.

On 7/24/2019 at 11:58 PM, Mark said:
On 7/24/2019 at 6:07 PM, TripleA said:

 

Before the last two centuries or so depictions of anything which could be "romance" were rare in literature and seen as universally tragic when they did show up.
With motion pictures being too recent an invention to have existed in pre-romantic societies.

I find the story of Joanna of Castile one of the most absurd ones. Historically proven is that she managed to get into a marriage based on passionate romantic love; with Philip the Handsome. That was quite rare for high nobility. Sadly he died only two years later.

There are accounts (since it's not Halloween, I keep it short) that she couldn't accept this loss; exhumed her dead husband's corpse and even traveled around with his coffin and let it open from time to time, to kiss him etc.

She was called Juana la Loca and declared insane, unable to govern and put into the care of nuns. Probably nothing of that Halloween story ever happened and it's just propaganda for political reasons. The point is, at those times people generally accepted this to be highly pathological behavior (if it was propaganda, it was done for exactly this reason).

Nowadays you can't even be sure of that! If you tell this story, there are always some people who are like:

"But.... noooo she wasn't insane!!! *sigh* 💗 She was just too struck by grief and mourning her husband. If that's insane then love is a mental illness!!!"

 

Edited by DeltaV
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On 6/21/2020 at 12:58 AM, DeltaV said:

Theologians of the middle ages could write a big tome on marriage and not mention love once. It was all about sex and children.

The only kind of love that Medieval scholars could plausibly link to marriage would be "eros" or "pragma".
There is literally no word they could have used to describe "romantic love" anyway. Regardless of if they were using Vulgar Latin, Classical Latin, Koine Greek, Classical Greek, Aramaic, Classical Hebrew or Classical Arabic.

The most obvious cultural link between "love"and "marriage" being an American song from 1955. About the time of "peak marriage".

On 6/21/2020 at 12:58 AM, DeltaV said:

The problem I have with this argument though is that marriages not based on romantic love were bad practices. They shouldn't be seen with rose tinted aro glasses. Not because of the lack of romantic love but because there was coercion involved to different degrees.

Arranged marriages have been around a long time. To the point that their origin  is unclear.
Even ostensibly romantic marriage cultures can include coercion from parents and peers.
One way in which romantic marriage cultures may be more coercive is an expectation that everyone, regardless of social class or profession, should marry. Something especially notable in contemporary Western cultures where married adults are in the minority. If anything matrimania within popular entertainment is inversely correlated with the proportion of married people.

On 6/21/2020 at 12:58 AM, DeltaV said:

They exist on a continuum of harm. Usually harm for the woman or more so for her. The most "egalitarian" practice is also the worst and modern: The forced marriages of the Khmer Rouge. People were assigned to marry random strangers without having any choice in it. If the woman refused to have sex with her "husband", she was raped. If the man refused to rape his "wife", he was killed.

If anything that specific example would appear to show women getting the lesser-evil. Though so called Honour killing does appear to have a, strong, connection with arranged marriage culture.

On 6/21/2020 at 12:58 AM, DeltaV said:

I find the story of Joanna of Castile one of the most absurd ones. Historically proven is that she managed to get into a marriage based on passionate romantic love; with Philip the Handsome. That was quite rare for high nobility. Sadly he died only two years later.

Her marriage to Philip the Handsome was definitely arranged. Arranged, even forced, marriages, can consider compatibility. Especially in the cases where a failed marriage could mean a major diplomatic incident (as happened in the 1530s) or even a war. (However nobody, at the time, would have considered "romance" to a factor.)  They married in 1496 and he died in 1506. Thus were married for ten, rather than two, years.

On 6/21/2020 at 12:58 AM, DeltaV said:

There are accounts (since it's not Halloween, I keep it short) that she couldn't accept this loss; exhumed her dead husband's corpse and even traveled around with his coffin and let it open from time to time, to kiss him etc.

She was called Juana la Loca and declared insane, unable to govern and put into the care of nuns. Probably nothing of that Halloween story ever happened and it's just propaganda for political reasons. The point is, at those times people generally accepted this to be highly pathological behavior (if it was propaganda, it was done for exactly this reason).

A large part of the propaganda appears to have been down to her father wanting her out of the way so he could continue to rule Castile.
Possibly the story derives from a Castilian (Spanish) novel. Which would, technically, make it "romantic".

 

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6 hours ago, Mark said:

If anything that specific example would appear to show women getting the lesser-evil. Though so called Honour killing does appear to have a, strong, connection with arranged marriage culture.

Difficult to say. The man had the choice between subjecting somebody to an evil act or being punished by an even greater evil act.

6 hours ago, Mark said:

They married in 1496 and he died in 1506. Thus were married for ten, rather than two, years.

Yes, yes, I meant he died two years after she became queen, which was 1504. You are right, they were married 8 years before - she couldn't have that half a dozen children in that short time, of course.

6 hours ago, Mark said:

Her marriage to Philip the Handsome was definitely arranged. Arranged, even forced, marriages, can consider compatibility. Especially in the cases where a failed marriage could mean a major diplomatic incident (as happened in the 1530s) or even a war.

It was arranged, but her father didn't have to do be pushy here. It's really rare in high nobility for such feelings be present right at the start.

The question is what should motivate people to marry if not romantic love or outside pressure?

And sure, compatibility can happen even in arranged, even in downright forced marriages.

It does probably not get any worse than the Khmer Rouge marriages. Still even in this case a lot of those couples happily lived together and did not split after the regime was toppled. It's one of the most baffling things to me, that being assigned to marry a random stranger under threats of extreme violence and death can have a better end result as marriage out of romantic love.

Some did get a real marriage ceremony after that, a voluntary one. But obviously, regardless of how happy the couple lived together afterwards it does not excuse what they had been subjected to in the beginning.

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