Category Archives: Issue No. 5: Marriage, Family & Friendship

PREAMBLE

Black and white photo of a girl and a woman sitting outside in bright sun, the woman in a dark dress and broad hat

ANGELICA BELL AND HER AUNT, VIRGINIA WOOLF

This essay revives and completes another, “Love & Marriage,” that I started in 2001. It consists of eight theses and five codas. I use the word thesis because the essay draws on my lived experience of the human condition and its conundrums. Theses are not laws or rules; life is not a set of algorithms…

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THESES

THESIS 1: MARRIAGE CONTINUES FAMILY

A colorful painting of several figures outdoors with a tentlike shelter

A SUMMER CAMPING SCENE, PAINTED BY VANESSA BELL

My first thesis is that marriage, as the continuation of childhood, is as wrapped up in family as it is in the desire for love that gives rise to it.

We are born into a family and it forms the context of our lives through our upbringing. We make friends and eventually we split off from our family in order to form another…

CODAS

DUNCAN GRANT WITH ANGELICA AND QUENTIN BELL

Work is life’s other great thread—with school, the great inculcator of discipline. It’s also the enabler of family, providing the wherewithal to achieve a measure of independence, to marry, and to support a household. A topic in itself, work deserves mention if only to note the social costs of economic stagnation and exploitation. One achievement of the postwar era was to quell for a time in selected countries the terrors of unemployment and put family life on sounder footing…

AFTERWORD & SOURCES

AFTERWORD

A black and white photo of a man and woman sitting on stone steps in the sunshine

DUNCAN GRANT AND VANESSA BELL

The earlier version of this essay was more of a manifesto. I came to doubt that this was the right way to approach it. I tried writing another essay, “Buddha’s Ladder,” but set it aside as derivative of Stephen Batchelor’s Alone with Others. He addresses what I’ve called the quantum nature of human life. As individuals who are also social creatures, saddled with biology and traditions, we …