- Gender and Relationships
Charles Darwin Theory Meets Relationship Advice - Darwin's Bridget Jones-esque List of Marriage Pros and Cons
Everybody knows about Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, but the man had a love life too. At one point during his adulthood, Darwin had a Bridget Jones-esque moment of crisis regarding marriage, and decided to make a pro and con list in his very own diary to help him decide whether or not to remain single for the rest of his life.
It is hard to determine what is more amusing about this journal entry - the items themselves, the fact that it bears surprising similarities to the "personal journal genre" of chick lit, or the simple fact that a man who pioneered early thought on such a groundbreaking concept of evolution should nevertheless find himself hemming and hawing over relationships.
I have summarized Darwin's pros and cons of marriage below so that you might find if, according to Darwin's criteria, YOU should get married!
The Pros of Marriage
The following items, according to Darwin, are the upsides of married life:
- A constant friend in life
- A companion in old age
- An object to be loved and to play with ("better [sic] than a dog anyhow")
- Good for one's health
- Someone to take care of one in old age
- A second life
The Cons of Marriage
Darwin knew that marriage is by no means a perfect arrangement. The downsides of marriage, according to this famous man, are as follows:
- "Terrible loss of time"
- Freedom to go where one wants to go
- Freedom to choose who to hang out with - or to withdraw to solitude
- Freedom to hang out with the guys: "Conversation of clever men at clubs"
- The bliss of not being forced to visit relatives
- No being forced to "bend in every trifle"
- No stress of having children
- Avoidance of "fatness & idleness"
- Less cash for books (this is my favorite argument)
- No need to take on extra work in order to support many children
- No risk of having to move out of the city (London, in Darwin's case) should the wife not like urban life
Darwin did not want to be all by himself- and wrote as much in his diary - just like Bridget Jones
Darwin's Final Decision
In the end, Charles Darwin decided to get married. His final decision can be very well summed up with this typically Darwinistic paragraph from his journalized inner debate:
My God, it is intolerable to think of spending ones whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, & nothing after all. — No, no won't do. — Imagine living all one's day solitarily in smoky dirty London House. — Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music perhaps — Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro' St. Marry — Marry — Marry Q.E.D.
That's rather touching, isn't it?
According to Charles Darwin's criteria, should you get married? Take the quiz and find out!
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The Value of Pro and Con Lists - PROVEN!
I hope you have found Darwin's conjecture on the concept of marriage to be both informative and amusing. Not sure whether or not marriage is right for you? Well, I think the biggest take-away here is that pro and con lists are totally acceptable, so make your own! Even if your pro and con list includes some funny points, don't feel ashamed. If Darwin can throw in notes about dogs and money for books, you certainly have the right to bemoan the prospect of regularly having to put the toilet seat down or not eat ice cream out of the tub on the couch every night while watching DVR'd soaps.