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a solidarity of instinct

Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 1889, Kaufmann translation, “Skirmishes of an Untimely Man”, sec. 39:

….The rationality of marriage—that lay in the husband’s sole juridical responsibility, which gave marriage a center of gravity, while today it limps on both legs. The rationality of marriage—that lay in its indissolubility in principle, which lent it an accent that could be heard above the accident of feeling, passion, and what is merely momentary. It also lay in the family’s responsibility for the choice of a spouse. With the growing indulgence of love matches, the very foundation of marriage has been eliminated, that which alone makes an institution of it. Never, absolutely never, can an institution be founded on an idiosyncrasy; one cannot, as I have said, found marriage on “love”—it can be founded on the sex drive, on the property drive (wife and child as property), on the drive to dominate, which continually organizes for itself the smallest structure of domination, the family, and which needs children and heirs to hold fast—physiologically too—to an attained measure of power, influence, and wealth, in order to prepare for long-range tasks, for a solidarity of instinct between the centuries. Marriage as an institution involves the affirmation of the largest and most enduring form of organization: when society cannot affirm itself as a whole, down to the most distant generations, then marriage has altogether no meaning.— Modern marriage has lost its meaning—consequently one abolishes it. —

The creation of enduring institutions is the male heterocosmic reaching out beyond its mortal confinement. It is his only chance at this. She has a more organic connection, saving her this trouble at least. It has lost its meaning because it has come to be seen as a luxury for her and for him slightly shameful. She has other options. He, at long last, is coming to realize what his real business is… But for a long time yet the practice will continue in the way some still say ‘Bless you!’ at another’s sneeze—without actually fretting the soul’s displacement by a demon.

Posted by luno in marriage, Nietzsche (Friday July 22, 2005 at 1:05 pm)

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