The Miseries of Enforced Marriage Research Paper
Ethics, about love and marriage, takes into consideration intersecting issues in the field of philosophy, sociology, law, and economics (Shue 709). As such, a look into how ethics affects love, and marriage requires background knowledge in all these subjects. It is noteworthy that all these disciplines focus immensely on practical questions about how people ought to behave and how they ought to regulate the behaviors of other people around them (Shue 709).
A good example is why laws are put into place in the first place. They are meant to regulate the behavior of the society, enforce its ideas, and resolve possible conflicts (Shue 709). However, what the society ought to do in an actual sense depends, to a large extent, on the possible consequences of its actions (Shue 709). The current society is more commercialized than ever before. As such, consequences of individual or societal actions are measured in terms of their economic implications, with less regard to the necessity of, for instance, love in marriages.
However, the true consequences go beyond economics and play a huge role in constructing the building materials of society, and the socio-political condition in which a society may want to live (Shue 709). This paper will look at the ethics of enforcing marriages not cushioned in love, and the psychological or socio-emotional impacts they may have on the victims.
Ethics is the pillar of moral thinking and ought to guide every righteous deed. In making decisions about marriage and the purpose of it, consideration of what impacts this decision might have on individual parties as well as the society is significant (Jie 2). It is for these reasons that most societies across the globe have made marriage an institution and an obligation of every young man and woman.
Marriage is viewed as a way to conform to laws and morality. Since time immemorial, it has been seen as the only way to continue a society, a race, a clan, a lineage (Jie 2). This belief is held so strongly among most societies in the world that men and women not eloped by the time they are nearing thirty years are forced into arranged marriages.
In societies that do not force arranged marriages, people would make up all manner of vulgar names and insults directed towards young men and women seen to be straying from the norm. These taunts are argued to be for a good cause. However, herein lays the ethics of these forms of marriages (Jie 2).
Love and marriage are matters of the heart and, therefore, extremely personal. The decision on whether to marry or not to marry is a personal one. It should, therefore, rely on ones love for their partner. In her short story Love Must Not be Forgotten, , Let us wait patiently for our counterparts (Pg. 15). Marriage should be guided by a stronger bond between husband and wife rather than the urge to conform to law and morality, and a tinge of commercial barter that accompany most of the modern marriages.
This is because the consequences of conventional barter marriages devoid of real love are detrimental. Society has embarked on commercial marriages, and the result has been sky-high rates of separations and divorce never witnessed before. Young individuals marrying without knowing exactly what they wanted from each other get wiser with time, while in their marriages, and discover their partners were not the right choices to propel them to their dreams and aspirations (Jie 4). The result has been the widespread collapse of marriages and increased proportions of women living as single parents.
In Love Must Not be Forgotten, the author is 30 years of age and not married yet, although she has a bonafide suitor; Qiao Lin. She cannot seem to make up her mind to marry him, her main reason being that she is not clear what attracts me to him, or him to me (Jie 1). This stand by Zhang Jie is, to a large extent, dictated by her relative enlightenment compared to most women in her society.
It is also inspired by her late mother, whom she had to watch, suffer, and die in loneliness as a result of the wrong choice of marriage partner. Her last words to Zhang Jie were Shanshan, if you arent sure what you want, dont rush into marriage better live on your own! (Jie 1). These words guide Zhang Jies choices as can be seen in her arguments in the story. Her late mother married someone she did not love and who she believes did not love her, to comply with the laws and morality as dictated by her society (Jie 4).
They bore Zhang Jie but were forced to separate by the realization that they were not fit for each other. After the separation, Zhang Jies mother, though she found a soul she loved whole-heartedly, could not remarry (Jie 4). She had given her whole heart to this strong character with political ideologies and worshiped his every word and actions, including the gifts he gave to her like Chekovs Collection of Stories (Jie 5). However, they went to their graves without as much as ever clasping hands because they feared to ruin a third persons life.
The man himself, a political revolutionist, had married the daughter of a man who had put his body in harms way to protect him, dying to leave behind a miserable widow and daughter (Jie 6). This he did, not out of love for the girl, but to show her gratitude. He too had found his missing counterpart in Zhang Jies mother, but the two could not act upon their undying love for each other, because he was married. This fact is brought out in the old mans rebuke of Zhang Jies mother when they met unexpectedly after a long time without seeing each other (Jie 4). In a concealed rebuke, because of the presence of young Zhang Jie in her mothers company, he retorted,
Ive read that last story of yours.You shouldnt have condemned the heroine there is nothing wrong with falling in love, as long as you dont spoil someone elses lifeThe hero might have loved her tooOnly for the sake of a third persons happiness, they had to renounce their love. (Jie 7)
In Red Beans, Jiang Mei is deeply taken by Qi Hong, but it is her suffering and that of millions of other ordinary Chinese people, and Qi Hongs noble status that keeps them apart. Even at the time of their deepest affection for each other, Jiang Mei is not utterly certain of what makes her attracted to Qi Hong (Pu 258). Jiang Mei is keen not to make an obvious mistake with Qi Hong, and even when the rising inflation is biting, and her aging mother is bedridden, she does not bring herself to ask him for help. She figures she needed to know Qi Hong well and his real intentions before committing fully to him.
However, Qi Hong and Jiang Mei, on the one hand, seem like a love that is falling victim to the expectations of the society because there are a lot of economic and moral considerations. The whole story pits Jiang Mei on one side speaking for the less fortunate Chinese population and their apparent distaste of officials and the rich (Pu 258). On the other side, Qi Hong is portrayed as a representative of the noble class and their apparent disregard of the plight of the ordinary Chinese population. Therefore, despite their love for each other, and Jiang Mei even accepting that she must compromise to be with Qi Hong because there were things that Qi Hong and I will never agree on (Pu 258), the economic situation in the country remains a stumbling block in their relationship.
It is, therefore, imperative to say that Love Must Not be Forgotten paints a picture of true love denied by wrong choices. It speaks about two people who, after making the wrong choice of marriage partners, discover that their hearts belong to each other. They are deeply engulfed into each others worlds, but their action upon their love is curtailed by their previous mistakes. They end up spending their whole lives without ever clasping hands, even during their numerous secret walks together. On the other hand, Red Beans is a story of two young individuals who deeply love each other and have no prior experiences with love in their lives.
In contrast to the first story, the primary cause of doubt in their love hinges on the socio-economic disparity between them. The two are certain they love each other and are even willing to compromise on the issues they cannot agree upon. They are, however, forced to reconsider their suitability for each other because of the struggles the girl and people of her kind are facing in the wake of sky-rocketing inflation in the country. Their love is, therefore, denied by political and economic factors; a familiar trend with most of the modern relationships and marriages.
Economics has taken center stage in modern relationships and marriages out of the need to secure ones future. According to Shue, this is because most economists see the need to project their calculations into the future (710). Further considerations are, however, often taken on how far in time to run their projections, based on the consequences of such calculations. However, depending on the number of generations considered, and how heavily those distant in time are considered, these aspects of decision making have been shown to skew analyses completely. In spite of this insight, economists are amazingly quick to decide that the solution is to use wholesale discounting of total future welfare (Shue 710).
This move is of no ethical sense as it has a general result of dwarfing the welfare of the current society. For instance, indulging the number of the future generations in ones community, without worrying how to specify communities that are relevant to your course, will dwarf the number of people that are currently living (Shue 710). The ethical rules are, therefore, broken here since consideration is given more to parties not yet involved. In the process, the welfare of the people that matter most- the currently living, has been put in jeopardy. To balance between the present and the future, the selectivity of some kind cannot be avoided. However, for ethics, indiscriminately discounting all aspects, major and minor, vital and optional, of the welfare of future generations is only one familiar, and comfortable way to proceed (Shue 710).
Shue laments about the approach used by most policymakers given the future generations. Ironically, the rate of discount selected to determine what the future generation ought to adopt as their policy is often picked from the current economic performances, such as interest rate (Shue 711). The arbitrariness of this approach is put to question since it does not guarantee that the welfare of the future generation will be adequately addressed. Indeed, this approach provides an inadequate look into the significant differences between the future and the current generations, and base most of the future predictions only on the simple dimension of our current economy, like some current interest rate (Shue 711).
By doing this, this approach to policymaking only assumes that the future generations will only need to spend so much to provide for themselves something to substitute for something else we did not provide for them (Shue 711). According to Shue, this is a narrowed perspective since it seems to suggest that the current generation is only concerned with sustainable and marketable commodities such as the cost of medical care in the treatment of adverse health effects. The ethics of this kind of policy formulation is, therefore, inadequately addressed (Shue 711).
A good example is where developments in energy sector lead to the generation of a lot of hazardous nuclear waste, which has potential to cause malignant or even fatal health conditions to the future generation (Shue 711). Current love and marriage provide for the compensation of affected members of the society if their formulation results in fatal illness. This is not to say that life is worth only a certain amount of money; it is only meant to symbolize respect for life. The current policy also compensates people for unavoidable deaths caused by the implementation of love and marriage (Shue 711).
On the other hand, formulating a love and marriage that allows for the temporary disposal of hazardous waste, with an assumption that illnesses will not occur for many generations is tantamount to denying the future generations the full compensation if this happens. Ethically, it is wrong to adopt love and marriage with full knowledge that it is likely to impact negatively on other peoples lives (Shue 711). Most sane policies strive to find the best ways possible to avoid deaths. Compensations are, therefore, often made for unavoidable deaths, for instance, were avoiding these deaths would have been rather expensive, like (Shue 711).
Justification of this can, however, be made, especially if the cost of saving an additional life has become so high that the amount involves, if invested in safety elsewhere, may save many more lives (Shue 712). As such, there is bound to be reduced or no expenditure on road safety at all, as it is now considered unreasonable (Shue 712). However, this move is irrational since it does not account for the many more lives that will be lost on the roads, as a result of the reduced or no expenditure on road safety.
This dilemma could be solved if our policies exercised restraint against the infliction of deaths and bodily harm (Shue 712). This is the fact that, only then, will we start focusing on the correct rate at which to compensate those affected by the implementation of these policies and worry instead of finding ways not to inflict these deaths and harm. For instance, the policy should provide for neither the generation of deadly waste, as long as there is no concrete plan to handle the waste, nor increase Carbon emission from alternative use of coal. Therefore, limitations in the conventional analyses emanate from the ethical assumptions that have not been argued, which show that in the future, unlike the present, everything can be compensated for, not in the arbitrariness of particular assumptions about the rate of compensation (Shue 712).
Regarding love and marriage, their primary weakness has been their frequent ignorance of subjects deemed to be outside what is taken to be the relevant constituency. Ironically, despite this being wrong, it is sometimes needed, a fact that adds a lot of complexity into the laws and moralities that govern marriages (Shue 713). Regardless of thee laws and moralities, love and marriage should be the primary fundamental freedoms in ones livelihood. This freedom can only be achieved by promoting individualism, rather than communism, with regards to love and marriage.