This section is from the book "Free Love: Or, A Philosophical Demonstration Of The Non-Exclusive Nature Of Connubial Love", by Austin Kent. Also available from Amazon: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures.
Mr. Davis asks: "Does not every well developed person obey the law of harmony? What is harmony but the unity of variety - that is the centralization of diversity?" I only reply, a variety in harmony, is consistent with the action of every love of the mind. Connubial love "centralises" on woman. He adds; "Every love, as I have hitherto affirmed, is monogamic: 1 speak now of the regulated soul. When the soul finds that occupation which meets its attractions, it does not wish to be divorced therefrom, but steadily loves and labors onward." I fully agree with this sentiment, as I understand him here in the use of the word "monogamic." In my reply to Mr. Ballou, I said that every faculty was, in one sense, confined to one desire - one object. But man, in this "regulated" state, finds this one desire - one object, met in many persons. Even benevolence has but one desire - it desires but one object; still it takes a universe to supply material for its gratification.
"Alimentiveness" has but "one desire," but it takes a variety of articles, and a variety of diverse mixtures to fully supply it. " But presently comes a fatigue, a thought of monotony, a longing for novelty," in exclusive monogamic marriage. " Well, have true lovers no other resources? Let me think. * * * * Society is accessible - friends are to be visited and entertained, the imperative demands of the remaining five affections are to be considered, and to all these varieties may be added an endless programme of pleasurable efforts and realizable aspirations for the world's advancement."
Mr. Davis has here totally annihilated his entire argument, if he meant it as an argument, from the monogamic nature of all the loves. Because, if that monogamic law confines connubial love to one person, it alike confines every love to one person. So all of this "society," and these many "friends," are licentious. That law, so carried out, would take all, like the mythological Adam and Eve, into a dual hermitage.
Mr. Davis expresses his opinion of our views somewhat freely, but we pass it. "Can there be freedom in error?" No, never. "The truth shall make you free." Yes, always. But we ask our opponent, what is truth? Where is the truth on this subject? and we take our present leave of his slight argument, (we are not sure that he really meant it as an argument,) by inviting him back to the subject.
Mr. Davis refers to the testimony of Swedenborg, as to the dual marriages of heaven; and relates a particular case of great glory, resplendent beauty, and comparative loveliness. Probably no testimony from the other spheres has gone past this. Jesus testified beyond it, but from what evidence, we do not know. In the nuptial pair which Swedenborg describes, much of their beauty, to him, was from their beautiful clothing. He writes much of the coverings, or apparel of angels, as well as of their marriages, and yet he barely drops the testimony, that "the innermost angels, go naked." (I quote from memory.) I testify that there is no exclusive marriage or clothing in the higher or real heavens. All exclusiveness, and all veils are there taken away. Nature is too pure and too beautiful to need, or be marred, by covering. But we should have supposed that even if they were naked, they might have appeared in clothing to his sight. It would have been wise. Still we have no doubt but exclusive marriage and clothing may be common in Paradise, Purgatory and the Hells. I presume Swedenborg saw that loving couple, in what I should call Paradise - or some of the lower heavens. Paul saw, in vision, to the "third heavens," but he thought it not expedient then to tell us what he saw there.
The customs of heaven and of earth, on the same moral plane, will be nearly alike.
But there is another interesting view of this case, which may be suggested, as it is so appropriate a reply to Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis tells us in his book, that it was "visions of the vulgar female extremist" which " supplied Swedenborg with material for his infernal spheres." We saw, twelve years ago, that the great seer's description of the "celestialangels" of heaven, was nothing more than a truthful view of some of the celestial angels of our sphere. It did not exceed the truth of the moral or spiritual elevation of some minds of our mundane world. And we then thought it more than probable that he was only relating "visions " of the future elevation of progressed humanity on our globe. With this view, his relations of the glorious nuptials of heaven might have been simply a just tribute of prophesy of Mr. Wright's and Mr. Davis' Love marriage, and possibly the identical image of "Ernest and Nina" in our friend Wright's mind. But we have no need to resort to such an exposition, believing, as we do, that what exists here exists there.
Mr. Davis sees and foretells a coming war - "a bloodless war," on the subject of marriage: and yet in his position, he seems compelled to entirely ignore one of the first, if not the first, great and honorable champions in this war, John H. jNoyes. We tell Mr. Davis, the hardest battle will come when and where men are required to relinquish their monopolizing grasp upon woman. When the man feels that the last vestige of what has more or less strengthened his ownership of sex, is giving way before the fires of coming truth, then and there we shall see a sensation which has not been equaled in modern times. Man, in the past, has rested upon deeds and marriage certificates for the protection of his lands and sexual claims. Our reformatory opponents require him to yield the certificate and some times to consent to a change of possession. This, as Mr. Davis foresees, he will oppose. But we shall only see the full strength of his opposition, when the demand comes home to him to unconditionally and forever yield his entire personal and exclusive grasp upon each and every woman; resting each year, month, day, hour, minute, of his coming future, upon his own inherent lovliness to attract and supply his coming wants.
This is a condition which undeveloped mind is far from coveting; but is ever ready to seek to avoid. Our non-exclusive principle, added to our entire and absolute freedom of woman, is what will "lay the axe into the root of the tree." If the past teaches us any lesson - and we think it does - it is that as man has progressed, this man-power over woman, with its monopoly of exclusive ownership, has become less and less. Polygamy is a sort of wholesale and one-sided sexual monopoly. Monogamy is an improvement in the right direction. Its monopolies are less, and it is more just to man and more reciprocal; yet it is far from being entirely just, even on its own principles, to woman. The rich and the powerful have receded from many to one; so far as they have lived to their covenant. Marriage, in her present injustice, is old in years, and strong in power. She seems to sit in comparative ease, and in her slumbers, as did slavery a few years since. But she sits upon a volcano of smothered and crushed affections, which will in a coming hour, break her slumbers and arouse her from her lethargy.
The fires of a true and burning Love will yet burn up and consume, as they are fanned by the perpetual gales of truth, her exclusive and selfish con-nubiality. Their powers are at work, and nothing can stay them. Everything will forward and hasten it. The more narrow minded and sexually selfish have always felt it keenly that they were not permitted to carry their exclusive system into heav-en; but the prophesy of their religion had taught them not to hope for this. But when these lower minds - I speak what I know - see that another prophesy in the same book is to have a fulfilment - that the will of God is to be done on esrth as it is done in heaven - as the higher angels do it - they will howl in their misery. Such minds do not, and can not at once enjoy the free spirit of angels. We should be glad of the assurance that the coming war would be entirely "bloodless." Still we have no fear personally. Nor have we a thought of living to • see the full consummation of all of which we speak. Progress is slow at the best; and doubtless it is well that it is so, on the whole. We tell the, as yet, undeveloped world, there is to be a mighty change. Now selfishness is the rule in everything. Benevolence is the exception. Progress will change all this.
Benevolence will one day be the rule, and selfishness the exception. When man has fairly grown to his manhood, he will be nothing lower than this. The marriages of Mr. Wright and Mr. Davis are glorious, compared to the past, for they really and truly elevate love to the lower phases, or to the germ of spiritual and harmo-nial connubiality. But we prophesy that even these, in the future, will have comparatively "no glory," by reason of the glory which will then so far exceed them. The fruition of a ripe, manly and womanly love will then comprehend and absorb all of the good in all below it; then, in connubial love, benevolence will be the rule, and selfishness will be the exception. I glory in the hope and assurance of such a day; and in living to hasten it. The formation of man's brain promises all of this, and it will not lie. Mental philosophy never lies. Progression will redeem its every pledge. Nothing is more sure. We come back to that "war" - as we hope "bloodless war." We agree with our opponents that it is coming.
We, in entire respect and friendship, yet solemnly, put the question - when that war fairly comes, in all its intensity, and aims its most deadly blows against our non-exclusive principles, where will Mr. Wright and Mr. Davis be found? That hour will try the souls of reformers. We, in the commencement of this mental, and more than mental, stir, stand in defence of all, or nearly all, in which these opponents have parted from the principles of the past. Where will they be when the crisis more fully reaaches our camp? I must repeat my interrogatory - will they then be found, on the whole, for, or against us? We aver that we are not anxious for ourselves, or for the cause which we identify, as to the practical answer which the future may give to these questions. Each in his book, has classed us with the enemy. Will these men ever retract that folly? Double folly to the real cause which they seek to promote ! I will not speak for Mr. Wright, but I think Mr. Davis, if he does not then directly favor free love, will be a mental and moral non-resistant towards it, and treat it with entire respect. We hope not to be disappointed.
More, we hope he will yet rejoice, and feel "everlasting thanks" to a higher power, in the final fulness, as well as in the infancy, of his Har-monial philosophy.
We and our opponents alike contend for the absolute freedom of woman. This is well. Then it is right that she should be "allowed to choose the father of her children" We here tell our oppo-nants if she, in freedom, shall continue to do this, in strict harmony with their dual doctrines, we will never reproach or condemn her for it. Are they ready to meet us here, if in such freedom, she shall, to any extent, act in harmony with our views? We have a right, and do demand as much as this of them. We ask Mr. Wright in the name of ev-ery principle of justice and consistency, after having so nobly defended the rights of woman, to take off and keep off his hands from all women, and from man also. I honor the man or woman who, from an honest faith, or belief, lives to his or her dual pledge. I have no heart in me to reproach or slander such. We ask, and demand of our oppoments, who talk freedom, to feel and act freedom - allow freedom.
If we fail to make them understand our mental philosophy, we will then meet, and appeal to them to let woman be free; and we covenant with them to keep hands off - judgments and reproaches off - and we will abide by her practical decision. We can join issue here, if they and we really mean the freedom of woman. This is a good and fair test. We shall write our book as they have theirs, and then wait with entire trust to the developments of the future. Woman will have her freedom. Truth will grow and prosper, and that shall be our final arbiter. 12