Opinion | The Pendulum

The Pendulum

©2021 by Vernon Miles Kerr, VernonMilesKerr.com
Originally posted as a rough draft to Twitter on August 6, 2021

Humans are interesting because, instead of progressing from not-so-good to better in a straight-line, orderly fashion, we seem to swing like a pendulum from one unsavory extreme to another.  Fortunately, also like the pendulum —unless aided by a push —our extremes eventually cycle-down to a happy medium. My #MorningMeditations today were sort of #Anthropological in nature.

Thesis:  Why do humans — apparently descended from practicing a polygamous social structure like the Chimpanzee or the Bonobo — seem to have settled, generally on monogamy — similar to doves, geese and a few other animals? 

Yes, there are the Bible Patriarchs who purportedly lived only 4 of 5 thousand years ago. And, there are more recent examples of religious groups who try to follow that example and who, in my opinion, serve as living proof that polygamy is largely unworkable.  Just ask any person who has fled such a group. Also ask any child, who — through divorce or untimely death —has grown up without a “daddy” or a “mommy” or a pair of same-sex parents acting in  those roles.

The vast majority of cultures arround the world today seem to favor monogamy. The pendulum seems to have already “cycled-down” to that happy medium.

I vaguely remember collaborating with a fellow San Francisco State student on a paper for Wilder Bentley’s seminar on how Utopias effect American thought. We created a paper like a chat-room transcript (long before personal computers existed) by passing a little portable typewriter back and forth across the table. The issue was Traditional Monogamous Families vs. Israeli Kibbutzim, which is more healthy?  I argued for monogamy, I think I won. And if I’m not mistaken, subsequent Israeli history bears me out.  Professor Bentley congratulated us on keeping such an emotionally-charged subject so civil.  We got a B+. (Gladly accepted, since we got out of producing a genuine scholarly paper with footnotes, bibliography and all that other academic bovine excrement.)