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HM Stray Toughts

Collective Living: A Utopia?

Does twosome bliss exist? Some people claim that it exists, but there’s little evidence of it. Most individuals seem to go along with less than ideal conditions. Ask Graham Greene, he dissects so-called happy marriages in The End of the Affair in the most appalling manner. He cuts deep, but there’s no doubt about his understanding of the mechanisms of jealousy, boredom, loneliness, and heart-wrenching sorrow that goes into a marriage.

Must we pity or envy those unmarried lovers that stand outside, longing to be inside? Maybe no good solution can be found. So many humans are lonely whether in or out of relationships. Those who know how to deal with our innate loneliness, or learn to enjoy solitary pleasures, are probably better off than everybody else.

Of course, there will always be those moments of doubt. Moments, when we crave company, but there’s nobody to talk to. Friendships may be the best alternative. Still, there’s the question of sex. Is it true that sex and marriage don’t go together too well? Promiscuous sex causes all sorts of problems. Yet, we need somebody to make love to, to feel we’re truly alive. It could be so simple if we didn’t have the idea that we can own a person. When will we learn to understand that ownership has nothing to do with love?

Love is a gift, but not a contract. Marriage may be a contract, but then it has little to do with love. Is it a common mistake that Eros and agape are one and the same? It couldn’t be further from the truth.

That brings me full circle. Would it hurt a good erotic friendship to turn away from being lovers and elect twosome and married bliss? Probably. What would model love-life be like in an ideal world? Is it possible to avoid being possessive in love? Who knows?

I suppose there were attempts to rule out such complications in the sixties’ and seventies’ collectives. If ten or more people share a living space, the questions of loneliness don’t arise. There might be other problems though. Like how to sort out practicalities: who should cook, get in groceries, clean, and do the laundry? That can be difficult in a small family unit, but would these difficulties increase, or would it be a matter of organisation. How would the free love-life fare? Nothing is simple where humans get involved.

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© HMH, 2020

4 replies on “Collective Living: A Utopia?”

That is realy insightful. It’s taken me 7 decades to see the wood for the trees in a relationship and what is reasonable to accept and reject.

Thank you, Lucinda. It isn’t easy to live in a relationship. Sadly, it’s as hard living alone. I don’t know why people have such trouble being reasonable and kind. I don’t profess to have a cure, but then, nobody has. Life is absurd, but we have only one option: to make the best of it.

I think your final sentence sums things up well, Hanne. We are all different and whereas some people find comfort and peace of mind in marriage, others may prefer a number of relationships or communal living, as you say. The standards expected and accepted in any relationship vary just as much. All I can say is that it’s a funny old world – and people are even funnier.

Thank you, Millie! It is true that people have as many different preferences as there are stars in the sky — roughly calculated. Perhaps that is why the entire relationship rigmarole gets so complicated. It is a funny world. People get confused, and no wonder.

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