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.
Reader, I almost owe an apology for the above extract. I thought it expedient. I have extolled Mr. Wright's book as a whole. In a few words, I will do justice to this phase of it. On coming to a close, on this subject, Mr. Wright attempts to fill up what has been wanting in sound, direct, and pertinent argument, by open-mouthed and foul slander of his opponents. In the unlimited and universal manner in which he has penned and left the above, it becomes aggravated falsehood. He, at least, ought to have "known" this. If any reader, who knows something of the amount of falsehood in it, can give him even the apology of ignorance, he is bound in charity to do so. We confess to finding it difficult for us to do this. Again I say, I covet not that part of the head or heart which can so "descend to the level" of a lower manhood. His putting such slander into the mouth of his ideal lady, is not very tasteful; (so it stands in his book.) We will not give what would be a just retort, lest we seem to follow his example. The reader of his book will find some more like our last quotation, but we pass it. Had it emanated from a lower mind, and been disconnected with so much which was really good, I should not have thought of noticing it.
Such slander will always injure the cause which it indirectly aims to upbuild; so we can afford to let it pass back to its own side of the house.
If the only possible condition of connubial purity and chastity is with one, and that the one eternal mate, as Mr. W. teaches, the world is necessarily in a deplorable condition, for it is naturally impossible for any man or any woman to be sure of finding and knowing that one, till far advanced in life. No person can know their mate till, or any farther than, they know themselves. A man cannot know his own nature and power faster than it develops in him. This, at the best, is only little by little; or gradually. Towards woman, he first develops to an all-absorbing love for the feminine. This may be to some particular woman, in whom the feminine element manifests itself most in accordance with his ideal of woman. Perhaps his own spiritual and intellectual powers are yet comparatively in embryo; so these are secondary in their influence upon him. He marries on this plane of his development, and experiences great felicity and harmony. He feels his cup comparatively full, and "no room for more." So does his chosen one. In a little time, each begin to come forth in the more important features of their religious character. We will suppose this to be between twenty-five and thirty. Here they are not organized alike, and so, from necessity, they grow apart: no fault of theirs.
One is conservative, the other reformatory. One looks religiously back, the other forward. We say, this is no fault of theirs. Again, from thirty to forty, each begins to really know his or her intellectual power. Here too they go apart. One has less, the other more : no fault of theirs. They still love; and perhaps have no less love, but one's cup is not now full, and they have not entire harmony. Perhaps one is now far from the equal of the other. Each may suffer more or less from this inequality. Neither complains of the other. We write here what we have more than once seen as an actual fact, and what we should have experienced in our person, if Providence had not in the first instance saved us from the act of actual marriage. Still we insist that marriage, in the case described above, is not false, or against nature. Such a marriage is, so far as it goes, in harmony with nature, and is chaste, on its own plane. Yet such a couple could not live eternally in a first relation, each to the other. Nature leaves room for, as well as works her changes in such cases of unequal growth. She gives various degrees of divorce, but not always absolute and entire. She also has her degrees in marriage. And so far as any one keeps in harmony with her varied promptings, all is well.
There need be, and there will be, no collisions.
Adhesiveness has her degrees of concentration, and her like changes. We are sure Mr. W. cannot fairly do away with the force of these suggestions. Mr. Davis agrees with us, in the main, as to the past.
I think Mr. Wright encourages sudden and vehement love attractions, by the power which he gives it over the entire mental and moral manhood. He represents its action as uncontrollable, and hardly leaves room for the real power of our free agency. But whatever may be the amount of truth in his statements, I must caution the inexperienced mind against an unnatural and sudden flow of abnormal attraction. We often see this rush of amativeness, in its reactions from the equally unnatural restraints of law and bondage. I do not so much condemn as deplore it. Though, under the circumstances, it is not strange, its consequences are often very unfortunate. Some very strong love attractions are far from being healthy. Reason should never fail to guide wisely and safely the soul's ship of love. Let me illustrate. A physician of the very first eminence, related to me the following case which came under his observation. "A man of refinement and standing in society, suddenly found himself 'in love' with a lady of equal refinement. The lady reciprocated his attachment, and they were soon, as is common in such cases, absorbed in this over-powering love." (Mr. Wright's book would most certainly justify its extreme power.) "The man had a wife.
But she was a real believer in the doctrine of Move over law,' and in 'obeying the latest connubial affinity.' She did not wish to hinder the testing of her husband's latest love, if the thing could be managed wisely in view of the tongues of out-siders. The man moved with his law wife, and his lady love to a place where they could manage their love relations, unharmed by society around them. In less than two months, this all-controlling love began to relax. It reacted to indifference, coldness, and a slight disgust, on both sides. All extreme regard ceased. Of course, they were now in an awkward dilemma. But we must leave thorn here." After relating, in substance, the above, the Doctor said to me, "What do you think of it?" I I said, "I think it a case of partial disease of the affections. It was an amative fever." "That is it," said he. "It begins, comes to its crisis, and ends in reaction, like disease."
When the system loses its equilibrium, when the blood rushes unnaturally from one part of the body to another, from head to heart, or from heart to head, wo all consider it more or less disease. It is a real derangement of the physical man. So when nearly the whole life and action of our entire loves, social, moral, and intellectual, concentrate upon the connubial or amative, the affectional equilibrium is lost. The mind is unbalanced, and is incapable of judging or acting wisely. This is abnormal. Revivals almost always partake of the same religious disease, or abnormalism. We fully admit, that even this, in religion, or in connubial love, is sometimes better than stagnation - than moral and sexual death. But life and love are much better than either.
I have no doubt, but such cases of unbalanced love, as I have related above, will vastly increase for some years to come. The law bonds upon love are to be taken off; and men are not yet sufficiently developed, and wise in experience, to use their freedom without much wrong and suffering. But liberty will work its own cure. We rejoice in the assurance of a still larger amount of returning health. Men and women are too deeply involved in what Mr. Davis calls "extremism and inversionism," to regain their health, without a season of these alternate chills and fever. These sudden and excited developments of love are called "falling in love." It often is "lfalling in love." It is better, in every step of our progress, to rise in love.
A leading feature in Mr. Wright and Mr. Ballou is an expression of abhorrence of any deviation from one in love; or of not receiving the entire love and worship of the mate. This sort of, to us, sickly sentiment, always occupies more space than any sort of argument. While we have the most entire respect for those who, for good reasons, live to their exclusive bonds; we have none for this narrow and belittleing feeling which these writers so boastingly hold in the fore-ground.
Mr. Wright urges the necessity of striving, by careful cultivation, to perpetuate love. This is good instruction to the undeveloped, for whom he wrote. But those who are actually developed to their higher plane of connubial love, have nothing to watch or to strive for. Such love, in entire spontaneity, will protect itself. All on that plane are beyond any possible thought of jealousy, distrust, or fear, as to the present integrity, or as to the future, of a mate.
Marriage makes one of two, and one of many. So much so, that either fraction in the one will as soon be jealous of him or herself, as to have the same feeling towards any other person in the unit. "Perfect love casts out all fear" and restless anxieties. Each loves the other, through and through, as him or herself. Yet in this state, each person in the two, or in the many, lives his or her entire individuality. No one is owned by or owns another. Each is his and her own; and each knows how to live his individuality, so as not to harm another. Dear reader, all of this is possible. Perhaps not possible for children, but possible for real adults. There is a lack of spontaneity in Mr. Wright's love marriages. So does each lose much in individuality. But more of this when we come to Mr. Davis.