Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Origin of Monogamy (podcast)

The podcast is from Miller-McCune, the Curiouser and Curiouser Podcast, featuring Dr. Laura Fortunato, an anthropologist at the Santa Fe Institute, discussing the origins of marriage and monogamy with Jai Ranganathan.

However, as the image above (from New York Magazine) suggests, not everyone agrees. Many people think traditional monogamy is obsolete. In The New Monogamy, marriage is less rigid and restricted than most of us would think.

I, however, do not buy into that perspective. I agree with Robert Augustus Masters (Transformation Through Intimacy: The Journey Toward Mature Monogamy, Kindle only, the paperback is available through Robert Masters' site) that mature monogamy is a spiritual path that can transform our lives.

The Origin of Monogamy

Where does the idea of marriage — monogamous marriage specifically — come from? Anthropologist Laura Fortunato has some answers.

Ways of listening to the audio podcast

1. Listen to the podcast in your browser

With summer here, the 2011 wedding season has finally arrived. But with all of the ill-shapen bridesmaid dresses, Bridezillas and talk of till death do we part, one question comes to mind: Where did this idea of marriage — monogamous marriage specifically — come from?

It may seem like a difficult question to answer, given that people have been getting married since prehistory. In this podcast, Dr. Laura Fortunato, an anthropologist at the Santa Fe Institute, discusses how she got to the bottom of the marriage mystery.

Fortunato, who spoke with Michael Haederle last year about the agricultural roots of monogamy, talks about a recent study of hers, published in the journal Human Biology, where she used current patterns of language and marriage to determine when monogamous marriage got rolling for Europe and much of Asia.

It turns out that this kind of marriage is much older than anyone had thought, beginning 8,000 to 9,500 years ago in what is now Turkey. And monogamy likely established itself for a very modern reason: to avoid headaches with inheritance.

Jai Ranganathan’s travel to the Santa Fe Institute was arranged and paid for by the Institute.

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