Day by Day Daily Cartoon by Chris Muir

The Mad Scientist... Mwahahahahahahahaha

Monday, October 05, 2009


It should come as no surprise to anyone that I am a conservative-leaning sort of fellow, both fiscally as well as socially. Hence, I do subscribe to quite a largish number of right-leaning blogs, most of which are in my blogroll. One of these blogs, or rather, new media platform, is Pajamas Media. Their Web Video platform, also known as PJTV, showcases commercial-free conservative and libertarian (and yes, the occasional lefty) voices mostly in talk-show formats.

One of them is Mrs Instapundit, Dr Helen Smith. And I was just catching up with her video on polyamoury. Here's the thing in itself; she prefaces it with talking about gay marriage and how many of us fear the slippery slope down to polygamy and polyandry and so on. Lo and behold, she finds two people who are heading up the World Polyamoury Federation or somesuch, and puts them up front and centre.

Now, mind you, they played it so straight I wasn't sure whether they were on the level or whether there was a large amount of tongue-in-cheek involved in the whole video. Certainly, the two reps sounded quite serious, and Dr Smith herself asked cogent and in all appearance serious questions about their philosophy and way of life. Still, I can't quite tell.

They state their first principle is Hippocratic; first do no harm. I am reminded of this because basically, human relationships are, on a fundamental level, broken. And instead of repairing it, or aiming to restore right relationships, these people are going in the exact opposite.

You see, humans have an incredible capacity for emotion and commitment. And the level of emotion and commitment put into anything depends very much on the proportionate amount you are invested in it; both how much you have invested in it, and how much of the investment itself you have.

It stands to reason that if you have invested 10% of yourself (time, or money, or effort) in something, you are going to be much less committed and emotionally involved in it than if you have invested 75% of yourself in it. Similarly, you would expect that if you are amongst ten thousand other investors, you would care much less than if you are amongst only five. Or two. And if you are the sole investor in something, chances are you're going to care a lot about it.

What happens when you are invested in something that has a limited number of other people also invested in it? Well, chances are, you will end up with the Yeo Hiap Seng debacle. Everyone has a different opinion and agenda, you see, and trying to move forwards in a united fashion was almost impossible - indeed, by the third generation, it was completely impossible and destroyed the family relationships between the Yeos. Now imagine the same situation repeated many-fold as you are not only invested in one, but multiple such investments. You will end up with conflicts between the various investments you have made, unless you are exceedingly careful in managing your investments.

What makes you think that sexual and intimate relationships between people are any different to this? In the YHS incident, no one has any real answers. The only thing that may have worked was ensuring that a single party was dominating, so that you could have a proper leader and an indisputable direction. Fancy trying that in a marriage! The Bible records many accounts of polygamy (one man having multiple wives)... and not a single one of those accounts was it ever recorded that the man had less than the usual marital conflicts. In fact, with the two or more wives constantly jockeying for position, it was more of a headache than usual!

In relationships as well as in economics, you see, it makes sense to specialise. There is always something in which you have a comparative advantage; there is always something you are better at, proportionally, than others. You specialise (i.e. become exclusive) and then you trade. When you try to be too diverse, hold too many positions, a significant amount of your resources go into simply maintenance rather than real growth and real productivity. It is the same with relationships. Even if you fell in love with twins, there will always be one of them whom you will love more, care for more, cherish more. Try to maintain both relationships and inevitably, everyone gets hurt.

Of course, that's assuming that everyone's got skin in the game. If you're not really invested in the relationship, then you don't get hurt as much... but that kinda defeats the whole idea, doesn't it?

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