The avuncular system is a social structure that is different from the social structure most people practice, the conjugal system. In the avuncular system, family groups remain together throughout life, rather than adult children leaving to get married and live somewhere else. The primary partnered relationship is between siblings rather than limerent-sexual couples. Uncles are the important male caregiver rather than fathers – the word avuncular comes from the Latin word “avunculus,” meaning maternal uncle.
The avuncular system was widely practiced throughout Europe for thousands of years, but met its death knell about 5,000 years ago with the arrival of the Indo-Europeans (though remnants of it held on for a surprisingly long time, especially in Greece and the Germanic countries, even as languages, arts, and scientific knowledge were wiped out on a massive scale). Some other races have historically practiced the avuncular system as well, and some small, generally geographically secluded groups continue to practice it to this day, the most well-known being the ethnically Tibetan Mosuo of China. In European practice, the avuncular system is generally accompanied by chastity, Old European paganism (Goddess religion), and consent-based values, that reflect in aspects of our life such as parenting choices, dietary practices, and knowledge of holistic medicine.
My family practices the avuncular system, and it is something that comes so naturally to me, has never been in conflict with my values, and makes my life so wonderful. It is really important to me, and coming from this relatively uncommon perspective, I see a lot of serious detriments to the conjugal system – ways in which the conjugal system by its nature serves the violent patristic systems we live within, which I don’t like at all. So these are 38 reasons why I think the avuncular system is “better,” meaning it serves life in ways I love and seems to cause notably less harm to the people who practice it than the conjugal system does.
1. Limerence (being in love) and sexual attraction are by their very nature transient and fluctuating states, not a solid foundation at all on which to build a life partnership. And the statistics show it: 50% of marriages end in divorce. The average marriage lasts 8 years. 20-40% (statistics vary) of married men cheat on their wives, and 20-25% of married women cheat on their husbands. The average unmarried “committed” relationship lasts 2 years, and 70% of people in unmarried “committed” relationships cheat on their partner.
“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”
George Bernard Shaw
2. Our siblings are our only possible true life partners. Our parents leave us too soon, children and spouses come into our lives too late. Our siblings are the only people who are with us from beginning to end.
3. Nothing binds people together like blood. Family love is permanent. Other people were strangers once, and they can become strangers again.
4. Family love is also the only type of love that is unconditional. You choose friends and lovers because they have attributes that make you prefer them over others, be those qualities physical, intellectual, financial, or anything else. As the saying goes, you don’t choose your family. You just love them.
5. In the avuncular system, there are no illegitimate children. Siblings are always 100% positive that they’re related to their sisters’ children, unlike husbands, and never have to wonder if they’re investing love, time, and resources in a cuckoo in the nest. Until recently a man could never be sure that he was the father of his wife’s children. And even now, a paper saying someone is a father doesn’t make the same kind of primal impression as seeing your sister give birth to a baby.
6. Sexual behaviors and the in-love state are both addictive processes. Getting high is not at all a good basis for a relationship. And many people with good European instincts are naturally adverse to addictive processes.
7. I strongly believe that our natural European instincts are virtuous – chastity, charity, industry, temperance, benevolence, patience, humility. The conjugal system, basing the most important relationship in a person’s life on sex, creates a very unpleasant conflict between our European instinct to virtue, and our equally natural desire to have a strong intimate, passionate, committed relationship with our partner, which we have been led to believe can only be accomplished through lust. This makes the conjugal system inherently in direct conflict with virtue. It takes a certain degree of cognitive dissonance and fancy rhetoric to sort out this conflict of values. In the avuncular system, there is no conflict: chastity is revered as the virtue it is, and the pure bonds of family and friendship are put on a pedestal as they historically have been. Avuncular people never say they’re “just” friends with someone, and are never tempted to choose the high of a limerent-sexual relationship over the love of family and friends.
8. There is no accidental or unwanted pregnancy in a chaste society. STDs, rape, prostitution, and abortion would also be absolutely mitigated.
9. The avuncular system is the only way for a woman to have total control over her reproduction. She owes nothing to any man she wants to choose as a birth father, has no financial dependence on or vulnerability to him, makes no commitment to any man, and chooses the father(s) of her children for no other reason than because she wants them to be the fathers of her children. Even serial monogamy does not offer this kind of independence, as the father is usually chosen for a mix of reasons, and the woman is usually isolated from other primary attachments and dependent on her sexual partner emotionally and, with the vulnerabilities of birth, often financially and even physically as well.
In an avuncular society, women are in a much better position to have children whenever they feel ready. The choice of when and with whom to have children is entirely theirs. I suspect women are also less likely to be abused during the vulnerable period of pregnancy and postpartum, since they are rarely dependent on just one person, and those taking care of them are their beloved family members, not someone they met only a few years ago.
10. When you’re in love with someone and/or want to have sex with them, you have to worry about seeming attractive to them, and that makes a person both self-conscious and inauthentic. A person is also more or less alone in the world without a primary attachment (especially in the modern conjugal system where young adults move away from their families before they marry and are entirely on their own), and being alone and without that emotional ballast makes a person much more easily influenced by social pressures. When you’re avuncular, you’ve already got strong primary attachments, and don’t have to prove anything to anyone, so you can just relax and be yourself. The avuncular system seems designed to give people secure attachment patterns, and the conjugal system seems designed to give people insecure attachment patterns, and that will make them much less effective at relating to people, less confident, less capable of doing useful work, and much more easily influenced to conform and play roles.
11. Being in love with someone consumes a person’s heart and mind and really incapacitates them as far as doing useful work or thinking about anything of import. People who are serially monogamous (that is virtually everyone who is unmarried) are perpetually in some soul-consuming stage of a new or dying relationship that prevents them from being effective as people.
12. Attachment to place and family. Nothing compares to the stability of every generation not having to leave kith and kin and start over with a stranger in a strange land.
13. When a large family is living together in an ancestral home, some people can stay at home to care for the children and some people can go to work, and every mother doesn’t have to face the choice of becoming a stay-at-home mom, even for one child, or hiring a series of nannies and babysitters and/or sending her child to daycare and school and after-school programs to be raised by strangers. And in the avuncular system, who stays at home and who goes to work is not determined by a person’s sex. A new mother can even go back to work soon after her child is born, if that’s really important to her, if she has a sister or cousin who already has children of her own who can care for and nurse her baby as if it were her own.
Because in conjugal families there is very little attachment to place, and people move around a lot, there’s rarely extended family nearby to help with caring for children. The conjugal system makes it very hard for parents to raise their own children, and much easier to pay strangers and institutions to raise their children. This promotes insecure attachment patterns in children by separating children from their families.
14. The avuncular system selects for families with good relationships and adaptive ways of relating to and supporting each other, because these families will thrive generation after generation. It selects against dysfunctional and codependent relationships and maladaptive ways of relating to people, because families that are like this will be constantly fighting and in emotional turmoil and non-productive, and they will suffer the consequences of their own dysfunction. Whereas in the conjugal system, relationships are impermanent and people create new families every decade or so, so people can bring their maladaptive behaviors into one new relationship after another, devastating unwitting strangers’ lives with their dysfunction and inflicting these relationship patterns on new generations of children. The conjugal system results in many more people being raised by bad parents, because you never really know how this person who was a stranger just a year or two ago will treat you or your children in five or ten years. Whereas in the avuncular system, five years is nothing – when I had known my brother for five years, he was five years old.
15. The neolocal, “nuclear family” conjugal system is failing families of European descent. The global population of people who are racially European (white/Caucasian/Anglo) is falling every year We are a minority race, and we have to come up with something better, a system that gives our families better conditions in which to have children, or our people will die out. People have many suggestions for how to do this. This is my solution.
16. The conjugal system is dysgenic. The one-man-one-woman system means that almost any man who cares to can reproduce. This means that it is very hard for a population to improve genetically. Whereas anthropological genetics has found that during the Neolithic period in Europe, during which the avuncular system was practiced, for every 16-18 women who reproduced, only one man reproduced. This means that most men had no luck at all, while one man got very lucky. This probably means all the women in a region selected the Jared Padalecki or Nikola Tesla of their area to be the father of their children, and all the other, less exceptional men were out of luck (though they could still have a determining impact on their genetic survival by helping or failing to help care for their sisters’ children). This is much more aggressively and effectively eugenic than our current system. It’s also probably why Europeans are so peculiar compared to the rest of the peoples of the world, and why European genes are very recessive compared to all other world populations – women widely selected for the rare, recessive traits they liked, spreading them throughout the population, to create our unique European attributes, everything from blond hair to synesthesia to an ability to taste cyanide to a mind for science and invention.
The conjugal system is also dysgenic because it means that women select men for reasons other than the man’s personal attributes and fitness to have children – such as his being unmarried, his family wealth, his job, where he wants to live, how many children he wants, religious and political views, whether they have shared interests and hobbies, etc. And we know from historical European royalty how well selecting spouses based on more “politic” and practical considerations and not based on the evolutionary fitness of the people themselves turns out for producing generations of strong, brilliant children.
To top it off, sex and being in love with someone destroy a person’s sound judgment, and make women select bad men to have children with. If they even intended to get pregnant by them in the first place.
So, in our conjugal system, a woman might have some children with the husband she was in love with temporarily but selected for primarily practical considerations, and some children with a paramour she selected for insubstantive considerations of lust and infatuation, and none of it would produce a new generation that was an improvement over the last. Whereas a woman in the avuncular system already has her secure attachments, and has the whole world of men to select from for potential fathers of her children. The man she chooses to be the father of her children will be selected for one reason and one reason alone: because she wants him to be the father of her children. After extensive consideration, and discussion with her family, she will likely choose a family friend whom she knows very well and whom she loves and respects very much, and who stands out to her beyond all the other men she knows for his truly exceptional physical attributes, intelligence, kindness and moral sense, ingenuity, or any other unusual and desirable trait that she would like to see carried on in her own children. In short, in the avuncular system, a woman can select the very best man that she knows, rather than settling for the man willing to settle for her.
17. The avuncular system also avoids the dysgenic practices found in the conjugal system of stepparenting, female adultery, and extra-familial adoption, which all lead to people raising children not related to them. The reason why I consider these behaviors maladaptive, is because you’re advantaging people not related to you, and consequently selecting against your own genes, so your genes are going to die out. Not everyone has the kind of benevolent, altruistic instincts that would motivate a person to care for children not their own, and I like that instinct. Those are exactly the people whom I want to be having the most children, to help create a kinder, gentler world, and those are exactly the people most inclined to killing themselves off while they’re trying to save everyone but their own people. These charitable traits probably developed within tribes of people all related to each other, so that if a person cared for children not their own, they’d still be selecting for the fitness of their own genes, and those altruistic traits would survive, if not directly through them, then in the genes of the people related to them whom they benefited. This, however, is not the case if you’re sacrificing your own fitness for the fitness of people not related to you, as is the case nowadays in our non-homogenous society.
18. The avuncular system makes it much more likely that women will be treated well. Brothers are much less likely to abuse their sisters than husbands are to abuse their wives. Plus, and while this is speaking only from personal experience, though my brother is much bigger and stronger than I am, it’s hard to conceive of being afraid of someone whose diapers you used to change. That is just not a thing that happens. We have a whole lifetime of built-up rapport, and we had our childhoods to fight over the small problems of children and in so doing figure out how to deal with problems with each other in a way that helps fix things instead of makes it worse.
19. Marital rape and pressures or perceived obligations on either party to have sex when they don’t want to are non-issues. No more of those horrible “female sexual performance” drugs that psychiatrists are prescribing to insecure women, which I consider no better than a date rape drug which the man just coerced the woman into taking directly.
It really seems to me that the conjugal system and marital rape are birds of a feather. That is the exchange: the man protects the woman from other men and provides for her materially, and she bears and raises his children and only his children, and serves him domestically, emotionally, and sexually. Not being sexually available is a breach of contract. I’m not just talking out of my hat here – keep in mind that marital rape didn’t become completely illegal in the U.S. until 1993. That is not a typo. Not 1893. 1993. This is a really deeply ingrained aspect of the system.
20. The only way for the conjugal system to work is for women to be monogamous, and as a man can never be entirely sure that his woman is monogamous, he has great pressures to isolate his wife, control her activities and whom she associates with, and keep her submissive, or risk having a cuckoo in the nest. As society has pressured men to become more lax with their wives, there are probably a lot more cuckoos than there used to be, considering the modern 1 in 4 infidelity rate among wives. For the conjugal system to really work, it requires:
- Extreme social pressures for virginity until marriage.
- Conception at once upon marriage while the woman is separated from all other males (hence the “honeymoon” for one month).
- Keeping women powerless, financially dependent, and uneducated and hence easy to govern.
- Confinement of women in their homes away from other men, and chaperoning when they go out.
- Strictly enforced society-wide segregation of men and women.
Until the recent modern period, this has been the norm for all major patristic civilizations, except in the lowest classes. Personally, that is not the way I would want to be treated or the world I would want to live in – though men having to raise and provide for strange children who are completely unrelated to them, isn’t a good option either.
The unsavory truth is that the conjugal system strongly encourages a system where women are property, can be raped by their husbands at will, and have no control over their own lives. In any society where women have total control over their own sex lives, cannot be coerced into having sex or getting married, can leave any man who is physically or emotionally abusive at will, and get to choose whom they want to be the father of each of their children, the only options are serial monogamy coupled with single motherhood, which is even worse than the conjugal system for providing stability and secure attachment for children, and the avuncular system.
21. The conjugal system heavily promotes gender roles. When every household has one man and one woman, someone has to have and care for the children, and someone has to provide for the family. And since the having the children bit comes pre-assigned, the gender roles seem obvious. Gender roles are crippling when they prevent people from being genuine, especially if they persuade them to ignore their own moral instincts, and when they prevent useful interests and abilities from developing before they have a chance to be more than a glimmer in the person’s eye.
In the avuncular system there is much more variation. You could almost write a Dr. Seuss book out of it. Some families are small, some families are big. In some families there are many men, and in some families there are many women. Some people have a brother, some a sister, some both, and some neither. Some women have children, some don’t. Some women work outside the home, and some work in the home. Some men work outside the home, and some work in the home. Some women work outside the home and have children, and sometimes the woman brings her children with her to work and sometimes, when she does the kind of work where that’s not a possibility, her brother or sister or mother or uncle or cousin does the primary caring for the children. Sometimes the people who do the primary childrearing are men and sometimes they’re women – it depends on the people and their individual interests and natures. And I can guarantee if a stranger hurts one of the children, everyone will be suiting up and going to war.
It all adds up to making it much easier for people to be themselves, instead of playing roles and worrying about whether they’re not “supposed” to like what they like. If there are innate differences between men and women, then they show up naturally, rather than being coerced into existence by social pressures.
It’s not that there are no differences between my brother and me, and it’s quite possible our interests and abilities are influenced by our sex (and quite possible they’re not – in my opinion the jury is still out about how much sex differences inherently determine people’s personalities), but we don’t try to define ourselves by our sex or pursue things because we think we’re “supposed” to be that way – we just do what we do. We both enjoy being kind and nurturing, and we both enjoy being smart and capable. We both try to be moral people. He protects me and I protect him, and he takes care of me and I take care of him, and we will both protect and care for our children.
Louis Gallait, Power of Music (1852)
A grieving brother and sister. The brother comforts his sister with his violin. Gender roles don’t matter.
22. I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but it seems to me very likely that there would be a great deal more conflict in conjugal families. Living with someone can be hard. Living with someone for the whole rest of your life, and always choosing to be with them no matter what, is even harder. Expecting that person to single-handedly meet all your material and emotional needs for the rest of your life, is essentially impossible. And then on top of all that attempting to raise children with this person – sweet Jesus. Do you people know how hard it is to raise children? And you think it’s a good idea to attempt it single-handedly with one other person? Who’s also supposed to play every single other important role in your life? And who was a total stranger to you a handful of years ago? And whom you must remain sexually attracted to and in love with for the rest of your life, or the relationship is over? And with whom you very possibly will have nothing in common once the rose-colored glasses come off? While both of you are working full-time jobs outside the home?
And people think the 50% divorce rate is high? How is it not edging the 100% mark?
Which is not to say that people in avuncular families never fight, but it seems to me that you couldn’t come up with a system that made it less likely for people to fight, than to have everyone related to everyone else by blood and consequently sharing a common nature and fate as much as it’s possible for a group of people to do, and having lived all their lives together so they know each other as well as it’s possible for people to know one another, and all tied together with the deepest bonds of kinship and love, having worked together and served each other all their lives.
23. I also strongly suspect avuncular relationships are much more stable. The average marriage lasts 8 years, and there’s a ton of research that the breakup of a marriage has serious negative effects on children. Obviously this can’t be researched until there are more avuncular families, but I have never heard of an avuncular family “breaking up.” That’s just not how things work for us. Families that don’t break up, that have extended support systems rather than just a mother and father, and don’t move from place to place provide a much more stable environment for raising children.
24. Hell hath no fury like a man whose sister is being hit on. This is probably the way all brothers feel on the inside, but avuncular brothers get to show their wrath. And you always know you’re being protected by a man with no ulterior motives – he’s protecting you from that because that’s his instinct, not because he wants to do that to you himself. There’s a huge difference there.
25. In the avuncular system, romance is easy. We’re already like an old married couple by the time we’re young adults. We know each other so well we can communicate just by looking at each other. We have a whole lifetime of shared history, shared memories, and inside jokes and references. From where I’m sitting writing this, I can hardly look anywhere without seeing something that reminds me of something we did or shared together. Limerent-sexual romance tends to be a bit paint-by-numbers, probably because they met each other so late in life and have known each other for comparatively few years. All the time we spend together, every act of service we do for each other, every conversation, secret, look, touch, note or drawing, speaks love.
26. In the avuncular system, you don’t have to keep your partner “interested.” Unlike in the conjugal system, where you’re always feeling the pressure to make yourself more sexually attractive to keep your man’s attention on you and off other women, brothers already know their sisters are beautiful and don’t need to be convinced by makeup, clothes, and body modification. Though my brother has made some suggestions of ways to make myself less attractive to men who are being lechy, usually along the lines of making Hannibal Lecter noises and stabbing them with a pencil (not that I’ve ever followed through on that advice).
27. Sex sells. People who are looking for a limerent-sexual partner want to be as attractive as possible, and it is easy to convince people that by spending money on everything from clothes to cars they will make themselves more attractive. It is profitable for people to be insecure and needing external validation by buying things, and it is profitable for relationships to be unstable, so people will always be looking for that special thing that will make them stand out to that special someone. Entire industries would collapse if everyone were avuncular – botox, breast implants, divorce lawyers, and all the paraphernalia of weddings come immediately to mind – and a lot of industries, like diamonds, makeup, and nightclubs, would shrink tremendously. By literally buying into it all you are feeding the industries financially motivated to keel your insecure and only temporarily happy. There is no financial motivation in a family spending a quiet night at home, in the house they have lived in for generations, with everyone snuggled together and an uncle reading a Sherlock Holmes mystery out loud. But it is a wonderful life.
28. A family of chaste people is a much better environment in which to raise children. I’m not going to go into it much here because it’s too much of an evidence-based and heavy-duty subject, but this report summarizes the issue.
“Sexual abuse is epidemic in our society today. While most people think of incest and child molestation as sexual abuse, there are other, more subtle forms, that can still have very negative and long term psychological and interpersonal effects. Though often unrecognized, the exposure of children to pornography and adult sexual behavior is also sexual abuse. It can have effects similar to those of more severe sexual abuse, including depression, fearfulness, and nightmares in addition to other symptoms.”
What child in a conjugal family is not exposed to “adult sexual behavior” to some degree? Some “enlightened” parents are even very open about their sexual behavior with their children, and even have sex in front of their young children.
What issue is more serious than child sexual abuse? And yet our society is so blindly sex-positive that we’re only allowed to speak about exposing children to sex from a perspective of “beliefs” and “each family parents in their own way,” not from the perspective of evidence of harm to children. This is likely a subject I will be writing about at length in future.
29. Avuncular children never have to be grossed out by seeing their parents making out, or thinking about the idea of their parents having sex (or even hearing them having sex). It’s even worse when it’s their mother and her series of boyfriends. Which, with the divorce rate and the percentage of children born out of wedlock, is often the case. No avuncular child has to be disturbed by the thought of how they were created. In avuncular families, even most little children know the story of how they were conceived (usually nonsexual home conception, which is not the rocket science everybody seems to think it is), and it’s a beautiful, peaceful time, lying together someplace lovely and safe cuddling and talking quietly about the future child. What conjugal parent would feel comfortable describing to their children the sex acts that created them? As they shouldn’t, as just discussed.
30. No conjugal child is conceived free of lust, and, considering sexual behaviors and limerence are addictive processes, all are also conceived under impaired judgment. People shouldn’t even drive under impaired judgment, much less create a person.
31. 43% of women ages 18-59 in America could be diagnosed with “Female Sexual Dysfunction,” which is characterized by lack of desire for sex, lack of pleasure during sex, or experiencing pain during sex. Depending on your point of view, this means either our society is pathologizing (and prescribing drugs to “treat”) normal human experience, or is highly destructive to female sexuality.
My own opinion is that European men and women are naturally chaste, and “our” culture is pressuring us, and drugging us, into an unnatural and self-destructive state of hypersexuality. Either way, it’s bad.
32. A basic discovery of sociobiology is that selfish individuals out-compete selfless individuals, but groups of selfless individuals out-compete groups of selfish individuals. Presumably selfless groups thrive because they work together better, allocate resources more optimally, and aren’t constantly stabbing each other in the back. However, in order for this to work everyone in the group has to be closely related, so that when a person sacrifices themselves or some of their resources, then the people who benefit are related to them and carry on those selfless genes. In heterogeneous groups, the selfless people will sacrifice themselves and die off, and the selfish people will benefit and survive. And since the basis of morality is caring about others as well as yourself, in order to have a moral society we need to have families who stick together.
Family groups and the consequent genetic selection of adaptive traits and exclusion of selfish, manipulative, violent, and otherwise maladaptive traits, is the only natural way for people to live and work in groups. It makes me wonder how much better the US would survive a catastrophe if more people were avuncular, instead of conjugal and living semi-detached from kith and kin.
33. The avuncular system is the only nonviolent way to select for human intelligence. There are two ways to select for intelligence – competition, in which smart people are pitted against even smarter people in an intellectual arms race, or sexual selection, in which smart men and women are more often selected as reproductive partners. Fluid IQ is largely heritable, so this is a very important consideration.
We see, at least in our modern society, that the conjugal system selects against intelligence: people with higher IQs have fewer children. This is especially true for women. And as discussed earlier, the very nature of the conjugal system – that it’s in the husband’s best reproductive interest to have a wife he can control – means that men are motivated to select simple, nurturing, obedient women as wives, not smart, independent, highly competent women. When smarter than average people have children, their own children are very likely to “regress towards the mean,” meaning have a lower IQ than theirs, because they selected a spouse with a lower IQ to have children with. This means that in the conjugal system, either IQ stabilizes or declines, because intelligence is a disadvantage for reproductive fitness, or is improved only by fierce competition for resources between the men, which has to be a type of competition in which the smartest men come out on top.
Whereas, in the avuncular system, everyone in the family is related to each other. Siblings tend to have very similar IQs, so brothers and sisters are usually on an equal footing. If the women in the family are dumb, then the men in the family will also be dumb, and the entire family will have a much harder time flourishing (IQ is a major predictor of all kinds of positive life outcomes). So both women and men being smart is selected for, because everyone in the family is all in this together. In my experience, European women also tend to be extremely attracted to smart men and extremely unattracted to idiots, especially if they’re selecting them not from the perspective of whom they’d like to have sex with, but from the perspective of who has traits they’d like to see in their children. And a family where the women are attracted to idiot men will suffer, because the family as a whole will become less intelligent and consequently have worse outcomes, so being attracted to men who are not reproductively fit is a trait that would be aggressively selected against. Also, as discussed earlier, in the avuncular system, it’s much easier for smart women to be well-educated and work and still have children, so being smart isn’t the kind of reproductive disadvantage it is in the conjugal system.
34. As long as the family as a whole is doing well financially, avuncular families make it very easy for some family members to pursue high culture, without having to worry about whether it will make money or not. Strong families are really needed to produce the best chess players, Olympic athletes, ballet dancers, opera singers, musicians, painters and sculptors, inventors, mathematicians, scientists, linguists, philosophers, and scholars. And it means such driven people can dedicate themselves entirely to their work without having to worry at all about being alone or unsupported. It also makes it possible for some family members to devote themselves to charitable works without having to worry about “getting by.”
35. In the avuncular system, if a family member becomes disabled by illness or injury, it’s tragic and horrible but not the end of the world – the rest of the family is there to care for them and support them, for the rest of their life if needed.
36. Our current system, with adult children moving away from home, makes it so that elderly parents, once their partner dies, face the unenviable options of having to either:
- Live and die alone
- Be institutionalized in a nursing home, or
- Sell their home and land and move to live wherever one of their children is.
Our society loves to pretend that detachment, messed up relationships, and isolation are really independence, but easy-come easy-go doesn’t make for sane or productive people.
It also means that elderly people who never had children are left alone and uncared for. Which fact, earlier in life, can motivate people to have children who didn’t really want to have children – and wanting someone around to care for you in your old age is not a good reason to have children. It’s so important for the mother-child relationship, above all relationships, to be unconditional.
37. The only way that parents are happy to see their adult children leave, is if they have terrible relationships with them, and that’s a massive problem in and of itself. When people have been good parents, “empty nesting” can be a tragic experience – a loss of love and purpose and the spark of life. And what good does this sacrifice do the adult children? They’re also alone, and now desperate to glom on to any slightly attractive stranger as a primary attachment figure. Longevity research indicates that the major determining factor of how long elderly people will live, and how long they’ll remain mentally alert and physically active, is whether they live with their families, and whether they have useful work to do. The neolocal conjugal system condemns elderly people to living and dying alone in a slow, meaningless decline at the end of their lives. Whereas in the avuncular system, I have one word: grandchildren!
38. In my ideal world people’s primary focus would not be on other people at all, but on finding and solving problems, and exploring and understanding the universe. Our relationships would only be a source of comfort and support to us as we work together to pursue truth and beauty in the world, through science and art, rather than a source of anxiety, conflict, and preoccupation. The avuncular system comes much closer to achieving this ideal than the conjugal system does. In the conjugal system a massive portion of people’s lives is consumed with thinking about finding a future partner, flirting, wondering if someone else is flirting, trying to appear attractive, wondering if people find you attractive, hooking up, dating people, dating more people, falling in love, being in love with all its attendant obsessions and insecurities, fighting with someone who was a stranger a few months ago but whom you’re now trying to spend the rest of your life with, falling out of love, suffering breakups, reading romance novels and watching romantic movies, attending weddings, planning and paying for a wedding, having sex, thinking about sex, masturbating, watching porn, reading about sex, having more sex, getting STDs, dealing with unwanted pregnancy, dealing with in-laws and stepfamilies, trying to remain sexually attractive, getting botox and implants and plastic surgery, obsessively trying to find out if he or she is cheating on you, going through divorce, dealing with lawyers and courts and child custody – on and on and on. It vastly decreases people’s productivity. In the avuncular system, you can spend a lot more time gardening, chasing toddlers, running from the law, killing zombies, or whatever it is you like to do rather than staring at your own reflection wondering if this shirt makes you look fat.
I cannot describe the pleasure that comes from having known the love of my life since he was an ultrasound on a screen. Nothing can replace a literal lifetime of shared history, of living together, of fights and reconciliations, of love and tenderness and trust, of being there through the best of times and the worst of times, of growing up and hopefully growing old together, of helping each other and grieving together and remaining side by side, together live or die. Nothing can replace the bond of blood that tied us together from the beginning, permanently and unconditionally.
I cannot describe the deep attachment I feel to my ancestral home and land. Nothing can replace living in and caring for a home that your ancestors built with their own hands. Nothing can replace the living memories of all of the things that have happened here, and the stories of all the things that happened here before I was born. Nothing can replace the love I have for this home, as much as if it were a person. Nothing can replace a lifetime of taking care of the same land, and knowing it will take care of us in return.
I cannot describe the deep comfort I feel in my soul at never having to be separated from those I love the most, until death do us part. Nothing can replace the satisfaction of taking on the duties of the household, of providing for and caring for the family and the house and the land. Nothing can replace the honor of being able to care for my older relatives in their old age as they cared for me as a child. Nothing in the world could ever replace my mother. And nothing can replace having a real, strong, blood-bound and love-bound family to bring my children into.
If you have any of these things, or have a possibility of creating any of these things, I hope you treasure them as the blessing they are, and fight for the chance to have this kind of life.