a thought whose time really hasn’t come yet

I just went out for dinner with my sister and mum, followed by the film Creation, the Charles Darwin biopic. A humble evening out but “one of the best of my life!” according to Mum.

I guess, if you think from a mother’s perspective, having one’s disparate daughters together and to oneself for an evening must be rather a treat.

Darwin, so the theory goes, was terribly guilty about the death of his eldest child. Charles had married his first cousin, so as a scientist he knew he may have biologically weakened his daughter to the point where she couldn’t fight off her illness.

It’s brought to mind again something I’ve thought about, with no answers in sight:

Considering that in our day and age it’s possible, via the wonderful world of hyster/vasectomy, to prevent contraception with no room for error, is there any real impediment to first cousins taking up with each other again?

Actually, the theory also runs to any close relation, but as the title of this post suggests, the idea is so uncomfortable I’m not sure it’s quite ready to see the light of day.

The way I see it, as soon as you remove the danger of inbreeding, the remaining danger of incest is emotional damage. Surely, I think, it’s emotionally toxic to confuse family and romantic relations. Then I think: that’s how many, many people still see homosexuality. As though it’s psychologically damaging.

I’m one of the many who think it’s a no-brainer that same-sex love is natural. It’s love. Will people think the same about love between relatives in 100 years? (Let me be clear – I’m not equating homosexuality and incest, just wondering whether it’s possible our perception towards it could change in the same way.)

By the fact that first cousins used to marry all the time, we can see that it’s not inherently emotionally perverse. It was completely normal back in the day, before the dangers to offspring became clear(er). So if we can take those dangers away?

Anyway, I don’t think this is a comfortable thought for anyone, but it’s an interesting question all the same.

About anna cowan

I look around, and here I am - housewife and aspiring romance novelist. This seems unexpected.
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3 Responses to a thought whose time really hasn’t come yet

  1. Cheryl Nekvapil says:

    It was such a lovely night out for me with Anna and Rose; because it was a very present outing! From what I’ve read and been taught, intimate relationships between siblings is one of the earliest themes in mythologies and ancient stories; and is a reality in our society today thought lagely silent because it’s ‘tabooo’ and seen as abusive as you’ve dared to relect on Anna. In “Love My Way” I was holding my breath to see if the story would go into that domain with those two central characters (loosing the punch here as I can’t remember their names) at last finding each other, with the possibility definitely sitting there that they might be siblings given the mother’s uncertainty about who the father was of our heroine. It didn’t go there, but neither was the question answered!

    The Egyptian pharoahs married their siblings for spiritual reasons as they saw it; and that civilization is a parent to our own. The elite have been able to bring ‘incest’ out of the silence. Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgewood were children of the elite. Thanks for the question Anna.

  2. Trip X says:

    An interesting look at an age old taboo, Biblically old at that. What would be the danger if offspring were out of the question? What about twin sisters that live together after their husbands have passed and they crave each other’s company till one passes and the other follows soon after? Questions create conversation, conversation sparks controversies, and controversies conjure up think tanks which in turn offer solutions. Thank you for starting the chain of events that may eventually bring a resolution to this ages old question. Another famous family riddled with incestuous offspring: DuPont

    • thanks for reading! It’s interesting to me that people are interested in engaging in this conversation – as you say, in first opening it up to controversy. Part of what interests me, I think, is that right now it’s almost impossible to imagine it having a socially acceptable place in society, but at the same time I can see exactly how that might happen. It’s looking into the possibility of something shifting absolutely.

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