Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

On the Uselessness of Couples for Reproduction

Posted on | July 16, 2011 | No Comments

The classical nuclear family model has seen better days. Divorce and separation rates are skyrocketing, a phenomenon linked to the ever stronger presence of women in the workplace and the consequential increase in income (even if there is still a lot to do on this level).

These social upheavals are therefore not necessarily bad news, but on the contrary reflect a new found equilibrium in men/women relationships. The latter are no longer dependent on their spouse. Still, the old ideals are not about to go away anytime soon; people still get married swearing faithfulness and eternal love.

While reproduction is not the only motivation behind romantic pairing, it is still an important life goal. Being in a steady relationship is often seen as prerequisite to planned parenthood (and is sometime a more or less fortunate consequence of some unforeseen accidents). If the last years have taught us something though, it is that children can perfectly grow and thrive even if
they do not live with both their parents on a daily basis.

Why not rethink our entire approach to reproduction? As parents, we are looking in other parents most of all similar values, a fondness towards kids, and confidence in the other’s abilities as an educator. Why enter more permanent and intimate relationships as adults if we can perfectly handle our role as parents outside this union?

Envision two persons who have known each other for a while, who have developed strong ties of confidence and friendship even though they have no romantic feelings towards the other. We could easily imagine a parental model where these two persons
would only live together in the year following birth, which would allow both of them to be present in this crucial stage of development. It would also allow the father to support the mother after birth given the immediate psychological, physiological and economic realities that need to be addressed. This said, the duration of this period could vary according to both parents’ social networks.

Following this, and preferably agreed upon before conception, both parents will share custody of their children. This allows them to keep their friendship strong without looking for an inexistent love. The couple is no longer necessary; this avoids useless fights and bitterness caused by the end of amorous relationships; fights which poison children as well as parents’ lives. Such families may reveal more caring than many nuclear families.

We’re not there yet, neither socially or legally, but we are getting nearer to such a reality. Maybe you even already know people who have made such arrangements?


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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

    Tous droits réservés, Patrick Meunier, 2010

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