Sunday, November 26, 2017

My First Acid Trip

Last week I took some LSD. It’s a schedule I drug so the only way to access it is through the black market. I have never really cared about legality especially when it’s based on fucked up laws that make no sense to me. I have always been a psychonaut. What this means is that I have always been profoundly interested in altered states of consciousness. I have always been an introspective person, that coupled with periods of crippling depression have allowed me to get deep into my own mental processes. It’s not always a pleasant thing especially when you feel like you have no control over what you are thinking about. I have tried enough drugs in a desperate attempt to numb pain or escape the pain. If I wasn’t trained in psychology I think I would have been way worse off but depression can creep up on you and all the knowledge in the world is sometimes is not enough to save you.

LSD is not exactly cheap but I wonder how much value one can put on sanity and general well-being? My small brother who also suffers from depression had already tried half a bloater and so far, I have seen some tremendous changes in his mood and social interactions. This time we split it with him. A friend of mine also took half and split it with his brother. I think it’s the best thing that I have done for myself and for him. I know you are probably thinking that there’s something wrong here and that as a therapist this was an irresponsible thing to do or that this is just another drug to numb and escape but hold your horses.

I have smoked a lot of marijuana which is a very weak psychedelic so I know a bit about altered states but I wasn’t prepared for this. The method of ingestion is oral. You put the bloater in your mouth for about 15 minutes which should allow your capillaries to absorb it into your system. I ate mine because I didn’t want to waste anything. The setting (mental state and environment) are very important for anyone who wants to do a psychedelic drug.

 We were listening to music and smoked some pot while we waited for the high to kick in. When my brother tried it the first time it took about one and a half hours to kick in so we were patient. When the LSD starts kicking in it feels a bit like a weed high but you soon realize that it’s also different and very distinct, you don’t feel intoxicated but your mind becomes very clear. I was watching some visualization while listening to the music, I have never seen colors so rich, the patterns turned into this weird 3D universe, changing form and transforming in the most beautiful way ever. I really can’t put to words what that experience was like, it’s something someone has to experience for themselves.  I felt this calm that I couldn’t explain and at some points I caught myself smiling for no apparent reason. This was about 2 hours after I started feeling the effects of the drug. There were also visual distortions for about 30 minutes, faces appeared smudged or people’s heads (I was watching a series at this point) started getting bigger, it was all very amusing for me, I couldn’t stop laughing about it. My brother and I talked about all sorts of things which was very interesting under the trip. One of the effects I noticed is that you can’t sleep for a few hours, I had taken it at around 4 pm and slept at about 5 am. Everyone else confirmed that this happened to them as well, I had initially thought that it was the excitement but it seems to be a side effect of the drug.

All this was amazing but that’s not my immediate interest in psychedelic drugs, I think that they are very powerful mental tools with unimaginable healing power, mankind has used psychedelics for millennia because they exist in nature, it’s even argued that some of the rock paintings discovered were drawn by people under altered states of consciousness. It’s ironic that they are now illegal but that’s a story for another day. My depressive symptoms have subsided, that is not to say that I am healed but I feel like the LSD trip catalyzed that process, I have noticed a lot of positive changes, I am now very productive, this is even the first time that I have written in a long time which really something I am thankful about. I feel like my mind is clearer and that I am more patient with myself and others. I downloaded and watched all the literature I could get on LSD because that is what I can access at the moment.
 I now understand a lot about how psychedelics affect brain and it explains a lot what I have been experiencing. They interrupt your default mode network, this is the part of your brain that is active in wakeful rest, like during daydreaming and mind wandering. LSD for instance reduces blood flow to these regions leading reduced activity, the brain reacts to this by activating new neural pathways in an attempt to communicate with itself, recently they did a study where they put people who had been given LSD under and fmri and observed their brain activity. What is really interesting is that the brain under LSD is highly connected, parts of your brain that are normally not active are activated, this is why people smell colors and hear music under an LSD trip.

Psychedelics have been used to treat depression, PTSD, addiction and even anxiety and with ridiculous success rates (there are enough studies published in reputable journals for anyone who would love to learn more). I think this is why psychedelics are illegal, I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am skeptic but it makes a lot of sense that drugs like these are illegal, there’s a lot of money to be lost if one or a few trips under the guidance of a trained therapist can alleviate all these conditions. Liquor and cigarettes on the other hand are very legal even though they kill more people than natural disasters and combined acts of terrorism.

As you can tell by now, I extremely excited about this drug, I can’t wait to talk to anyone who would care to listen to this discovery, I intend to conduct my own little experiments with myself and a few select people who I know might benefit from it, people who have tried antidepressants in vain or people struggling with all these conditions but can’t afford therapy and treatment which is ridiculously expensive. Part of the reason I have never looked for therapeutic help is that I can’t even begin to afford it, I am a trained psychologist so I have been my own personal doctor.

The point of all this is not to encourage drug use, psychedelics are immensely potent and if not taken under the right environment can cause some psychological problems, they are also not for everyone, it’s all about finding what works best for you. The intention of writing this is to spark and arouse some curiosity in you, no one should take all I have written as gospel truth, we live in the information age so ignorance is not excusable. For those interested turn on, tune in, drop out.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Depression Chronicles: A beginning to an end

I have never actively thought of killing myself. I have however entertained the idea of my non existence occasionally.  But as Freud said, it's impossible to truly think of one's own death. This because you somehow have to be there to imagine your death.

Many people do not know this about me but I have been struggling with low moods for a couple of years now. I have a couple of speculations on what has led me to this but that's for a different post.

Depression is a somewhat curious condition and I have always convinced myself that I don't have it. Sadly, I am also a psychology graduate and so I know all it's tell tell symptoms.

Depression is like getting burned from your insides. You can almost feel the raw pain, what happens I don't know what exactly happens but it's something to do with an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Too little dopamine re-uptake  Too much cortisol production? I am no neuroscientist, all I know is that I hate how it feels. The frustration comes from trying to feel normal which is like trying to lift yourself by pulling at your bootstraps.

I haven't had such a bad life, we have had family issues, we are not the most close knit family but then isn't this the story of everyone's life? Abuse comes in all it's shape and sizes and emotional abuse can be just as bad as it's physical counterpart. 

I remember during graduation, I had just gotten a second class upper. It was supposed to be my happiest day and yet I remember feeling empty. I knew I should be happy but i wasn't, I faked the smiles of course, human emotions are easy to replicate with a little practice. Only a skilled person can see beneath the layers of pretenses  and only an expert can see the layers of darkness.

I was lucky to land on a job almost immediately after campus with a liberal and really awesome boss. I work between 8am and 2 pm. This is the job of my dreams since allows me a lot of freedom and space to be creative and pursue my own interests and hobbies. And yet sometimes even getting satisfaction out of this can be difficult. Sometimes only sleep can help one escape the mental torture these moods can subject one to. Some poet talked about being together alone. This is really how it feels sometimes, you are locked in your own bad of bones on an indefinite sentence. 

Depression is like a demon that is also a part of you. You feel like you can't escape it because you can't outrun yourself. It erodes a little bit of your everyday, you watch  yourself fade. You feel helpless and this just sends you further down the black-hole  People who commit suicide I suspect are usually trying desperately to exorcise these demons, anything to make it stop, a pop of few pills, the ones with a flair for the dramatic blast themselves to hell (or should I say from this hell).  I think I now understand why people commit suicide. It's not cowardice, I think it's a final act of defiance. It's recognizing that there's no escape route anyway.

I consider myself a nihilist, I am not sure if my views led to these persistent dark moods or whether it was the other way around.  Perhaps it was an ugly marriage between the two, I will never know. I have never given much thought to suicide but at the back of the mind there's always that nagging question. What's the point of all these, why do we struggle to live when we are just living to die. Sometime it's easy to shake these feelings off, but days like these are usually a drag. A grim reminder of the fragility of existence. That thin line between being alive and non existence.

Not to toot my own horn but I will leave you with a quote I came up with in one of the depressive and perilous days "Mortality is always around the corner, lurking, no walls of denial and pretense are high enough to keep away the little hints life is always dropping everywhere around us. We are always reminded of this morbid eventuality, some more often than others..."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On Being a Kenyan Illuminati Devil Worshipping Atheist

An article from a local daily (The Star) here in which we were featured in has made me famous (or should I say infamous?) over the last couple of weeks. The article was on atheism in Kenya and the reaction to it has been rather interesting to me. Well, I knew it would cause some heat but even my wildest imagination did not prepare me for the responses we got from our dear Kenyan readers. It ranged from mild abuses from the Christians, to racism and even outrageous calls for our deaths. We were promised death, hell and eternal damnation among other threats which the pea brained commentators could think of or manage to spell.

You are probably wondering what I am on about. Allow me to bring you dear reader up to speed. I am a 24 year old Kenyan who thinks that believing in God is like growing up and keeping one’s belief in Santa. A less insulting way of describing me is non believer although I use atheist whenever I want to create a bit of a stir (You have to admit that it does the trick even though it’s only a negation of a position). A neutral definition of atheism is the lack of belief in deities. The Star was doing an article on atheism in Kenya and I happened to be featured in the interview. That has been the source of fifteen minutes of fame and apparently instant hatred from random believers as well.

Now that you are up to speed, let me get back to my rant. The most surprising accusation we got was that of being devil worshipers  After picking my jaw from the floor and surviving the fall when I jumped out of the window, I tried to rationalize how someone outside a mental institution could make such a claim. I am afraid that I might get to my grave before getting satisfactory answer. Daily nation prior to this had covered a story on atheism as well and I remember they hash tagged Illuminati when they posted it on their twitter feed. I thought this was infantile and rather stupid for a major local daily but I understood. However, I cannot get how I somehow worship the devil even after clearly stating that I do not believe in anything supernatural.

Anyways, everyone seems to be interested in why there has been a surge in non believers in this lovely ‘Christian Nation’ of ours. Is it the beginning of the end of the world? Are the religious institutions failing? Could it be because of the accessibility of information? How then would you explain all those morons commenting in the thread section of our article? There is probably a multiplicity of factors and I am not an expert in that sort of thing so I won’t comment on that.

 I have always had my doubts about religion but campus is really where I became a full-fledged atheist. I have always been a bit of a rebel and my inquisitive nature makes me a terrible candidate for religion. Christianity requires a sheep like unquestioning mind; it demands one to be a yes man (or woman).  I remember reading an article by Christopher Hitchens on Vanity Fair, from his works I got introduced to the rest of the horsemen and at some point I couldn't read those new atheist books fast enough. I was a convert for reason and science and I have never looked back.

Now that I think of it, Maina Kageni did contribute to this public outcry for our blood. When the article came out he did mention it in his morning show on Classic fm. He said we were out to ‘poteza watu’ as I was told by a friend who had been listening. Now apart from the people who are forced to listen to the show on Matatus (where it has become like an anthem of sorts) everyone else who listens to the show is probably either stupid or ignorant or both and is likely to be a Christian. These are the same people I suspect were vilifying us about the article. It probably never occurred to them that they could use the same internet to check out what atheism is all about (or not about) before typing all that garbage. These are the very same people who probably have never used the internet for anything else apart from Facebook and whose idea of a good time is listening to Maina and that other guy Mwalimu in the morning. I digress.

I am also in another group FIKA (Freethinkers Initiative Kenya) which has attracted quite a bit of controversy and conspiracy theories as it was mentioned in the article as well. This is interesting since I partly started the group in 2011, I would know if we were part of a conspiracy. But then again that’s the sort of argument I would make if FIKA indeed was a conspiracy or some government project. To deny a conspiracy is to affirm it so I won’t make it a point to convince anyone that we are not a secret society (whatever that entails). We will instead shine in the publicity it creates. What I will do is tell you what FIKA actually is because I am the current vice chairman so I should know right? We are a freethought group advancing critical thinking and rational approaches to issues; we are also a secular group meaning that we are of the opinion that there should be a separation between Church and State in public space. We advocate for freedom of religion but also strongly advocate for freedom from religion. We are not going to bring this about by burning churches but by having honest and intellectual conversations with the public. We hope to persuade people through reason and not using the crude ‘conversion tactics’ the church for instance used in the past and still does to various degrees.

I hereby come to the conclusion of my rant, there’s much to say on religion, non belief, secularism and our society but this works as catharsis for now. Always remember that the pen will always be mightier than the sword. To all those wishing us death, know that it’s easier if you just engaged us in discussion to find out what our views are. And in the words of my favorite villain (arguable) V, “Behind this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there’s an idea, and ideas are bullet proof.”

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


What is reality? I do not want to get into any philosophical or existential discussion about the nature of reality. As you all know a large percentage of the youth in this country and world are now addicts to the virtual world and more specifically the social networks. At some point I thought well this is going to be the end of our social lives as human beings. I remember one day we were supposed to be hanging out in campus but at some point everyone had their phone in their hands, Facebook, twitter you name it. I remember thinking to myself if we are like this and we got our phones mostly after high school, what is going to happen the future generation.
Kids now get internet browsing phones when as young as nine years. Are these boys going to know how to talk to a girl outside Facebook? Will they be able to take them out on a coffee date, will they even know the common courtesies involved in dating and well…in everyday life? There’s a fear that kids are learning more than they should be for their ages thanks to the internet age. This fear is justified because with the internet comes with unmonitored freedom, while it’s a good free source of knowledge, the internet has no guardian to keep the pedos and the child molesters out, with the typing of a link a kid can access all the pornography in this line. This verse from my favorite rapper Lupe Fiasco captures this dilemma beautifully. “Now imagine a group of little girls nine through twelve, on the internet watching videos listenin’ to songs by themselves, it doesn’t really matter if they have parental clearance, they understand the internet better than they parents.”
 I have come to change my view and not simply because I can now consider myself also hooked to the virtual world. I tried to stay for a week without technology but I only lasted two hours. Today I was watching an anime (Japanese cartoon for the anti geeks) called Serial experiments Lain. It’s basically about how thin the line between reality and the virtual world really is. The anime pushes this further by suggesting that in fact there might be no difference between the real world and the virtual one. The two worlds get blurred and interchangeable with devastating consequences. Luckily we have not reached there but who knows with this ever growing technology what tomorrow has in store for us. Today I and the rest of the frequent visitors of social networks have more virtual friends than they do in ‘real life’. But I’m I justified to even draw this distinction? What is reality anyway? Is it not simply whatever our brains can conjure and convince us that that is how the world is? When we are having a nightmare and we wake up, palpitating and sweating profusely, for all intents and purposes was the dream not real enough to us? When we get absorbed in a good book, when we cry when we watch a sad scene in a movie, is this less real than everything else we experience in our day to day lives? 

I was previously arguing that with the social networks comes the beginning of the end of social lives but my position is actually the opposite now. With the coming of all this technology and social networks then we are simply ushering in a new reality. The same way some people have argued that the end of the Christian world and the second coming as simply the mark of the coming of the new age of Pisces but that is a story for another day. More than ninety percent of my friends now come from interactions in the virtual world. Like the cartoon I was watching today it is becoming harder and harder to draw the line between the real and the virtual world. And just like in the cartoon my real world and the virtual world are starting to increasingly merge. Lovers, friends, enemies have been forged in this virtual world, others developing into real life friends others remaining in the interwebz. Some people could argue that it’s healthier to have more real life friends but this argument has not legs to stand on, real life friendships also go through the same phases virtual ones do, they too are not everlasting or perfect. And what are people? Aren’t they just the sum total of what they communicate to us and what we interpret about them? Bodies are nothing more than machines that allow for this interface, computers can now provide all that is required to interface with each other. We do not require physical bodies to communicate with each other, we can still make each other laugh, cry and even angry well from behind our keyboards, while the anonymity has brought with it’s a certain stain of callousness and the dark side of people, it has also allowed us to explore different personalities, to create how we want to appear and what we wish to communicate to the different faceless virtual interfaces we interact with on these social networks.
So while some people argue that social networks are the death of our social lives, we can tell them this is simply the birth of a new reality, a new world , more flexible, more exciting and easier to construct without all the burdens that arise in the real world. So a toast to the new matrix in which we are all pioneers of, we are free to shape it however we want it, the limit only lie with our imagination and creativity. With the every end comes a new beginning after all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


So today I was listening to Serj Tankian’s new album “Harakiri”.  “Within our dreams we wake up to kiss the ones who were born to die.” The song and in deed this about how humanity is washing away in the drains as result of human stupidity and materialistic greed. The album was of course downloaded from torrents. Being a fresh graduate means that I have joined the rest of the population of the unemployed youth, full of ideas but trapped in this shit hole of a place called Nairobi. As if things couldn’t get any worse the electricity is cut off as if to remind me of the KPLC competence levels.

My laptop battery so old and will only last me five minutes before it goes off, I can’t replace the battery and my dad is the stingy type who will never replace it. I will have to postpone listening to this album. As I listened to the album my mind kept racing about humanity and life in general. What really is the cause of our problems? Is it human greed or is it plain old stupidity from us the citizens? I mean we have let a group of incompetent old hags (politicians) to dictate how this country should be run. We have given them the power to burn this country to the ground without the slightest protest or fight. I hear everyone complaining about the economic situation in Kenya, about how politicians have screwed them over. My question is always this, if everyone is complaining then who the fuck put them there in the first place. Like a majority of the youth I have never voted, I wonder what position that puts me, if we all vote then we can definitely tilt the scales towards the leader we would like to see in office. Like the rest I am disillusioned, I don’t think my vote can make any difference, so we keep waiting for the world to change, but who the fuck is gonna change this place?

My ideos finally runs out of battery and I pick up my nokia phone and get hooked back to the social world. I have more friends on Facebook than I do in real life of course. Can I call them friends? Acquaintances perhaps, I have forged true bonds with some of the people I met online though. We love the virtual world because of the anonymity it creates for us. On the virtual world we don’t have to hide who we are, we don’t even have to be who we are; we can create personas and facades behind which we can hide behind. The online world allows us to pour vile and to be rude to people and in deed brings out our dark side sometimes. We don’t have to look into the faces of the faceless online members; we don’t have to see the consequences of what our words might cause, the sadness we might inflict in others, the tears and how disheartening our words can be to those strangers. On the internet it’s easy to forget or pretend that the people we are communicating with are also people like us, with ambitions, emotions and feelings. Does the virtual world change us or does it bring out our real selves? Hmmm

The nokia too finally gives way, I hate being alone with my thoughts sometimes. They usually get too loud sometimes, sometimes they go on auto pilot and I find myself running conversations in my head, with questions and answers to them as if there was someone else in my head. I am not sure if this happens to everyone or whether I should see a shrink. It’s hard to stay without electricity especially since I seem to be addicted to my facebook…ah the virtual world. The real world is dull sometimes and downright ugly in some cases, the virtual world on the other hand is much more ordered, you can filter what you want to see and everything is perfectly represented by words and numbers. Perhaps this is the reason this world seems so appealing to us. I have always thought about death, don’t get me wrong, I am not suicidal…not at the moment anyways. I don’t believe in god, I think the misery present in this world makes a confident case against the god hypothesis. I am willing entertain the idea of a malevolent god but of what use is such a god? He doesn’t deserve any respect from me. As an atheist only this life matters, with this realization people claim to get a sense of how precious life is and to live it to the fullest. A Christian friend once asked me why I didn’t just kill myself; we are going to die in the end after all, right? While I brushed this off as silly, I kept wondering whether there really was a point of life. We struggle, we smile, get our heart broken several times, cry in joy but sometimes in pain and deep suffering…then we die. At that moment when you die, all the memories fade away, all your thoughts, all the relationships you ever forged will disappear, just like that. How can we justify having lived all that time when the grave is all we have to show for what we did in life. I now understand why the prospect of the afterlife is so enticing for most people. If we get to be reborn when we die then all this wasn’t for nothing. We will still have our thoughts and memories about those we loved, the good times we had in this life. The atheist however cannot objectively support the importance of his/her life without falling on axiom that life is important because it’s important. Philosophers would call this circular reaoning.

Why do people commit suicide? I think it takes great balls to end one’s life. I hope that I will never be forced to make such a decision. I can’t imagine the courage it takes one to plunge into the depths of the unknown. At the end of the day my guess about what happens when we die is as good as the next guy’s that alone create so much anxiety and fear about dying for people. I can understand why someone would want to do it, I have a bit of a depressive personality myself so I have experienced trips where I want to escape from my own head, I guess it can get too much to bear that someone would do anything just to make it stop, to numb the pain that can be unbearable. Life can ironically kill you in the end, making death appear like an angel coming to your rescue, shutting down your system, shutting down the voices, the hurt, the pain, the disillusionment, the heartache, some use drugs, others escape into music (guilty), writing, reading, poetry, art you name it, the suicidal individual however knows that this is just buying time. Eventually a solution needs to be found, temporal or permanent.

The electricity is finally back on, time to plug in back to the system, time to keep this mind occupied once more lest it strays too much into the darkness.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Everyone feels bad or sad at one point of their life or the other. While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time and often without reason. People with depression find it hard to function every day and may be reluctant to participate in activities they once enjoyed. Many of my friends have reported feeling depressed at one point of time or the other. Sometimes I am concerned, other times I just roll my eyes because I have a fair understanding of what depression entails having studied psychology for four years.
Depression if unattended to can lead to among other things a destabilization of one’s mental health, stress related illnesses and even suicide in its most extreme cases. It is now in deed a fact that most of the reported cases of suicide especially among teenagers are as a result of depression. Cases of depression have been on a steady increase especially in the western world. One might be tempted to think that this is only so in the Western countries but they would be gravely mistaken. The reason for this is not that depression is low in Kenya but its because psychology and psychiatry as fields are largely nonexistent. We can only boast of one mental institution…one mental institution in a country of about forty million. Did I mention that the institution is overcrowded and lacks an adequate number of specialists in the field of mental health?
It can’t get any worse than this, right? Wrong, the situation on the ground far more grave. I have to restrain myself from smacking the large number of people who keep asking me not to read their minds whenever I tell them I have studied psychology. The fact that majority of Kenyans get their information about psychology from fiction is amusing at best and depressing(pardon the pun) at worst. As a result of this confusion about what the field can and cannot do has led to mistrust of the professional as a whole. Many Kenyans think that counseling is largely a waste of money. After all how can paying someone to listen to your problem possibly help to resolve them they say. You have to appreciate the irony that these are the same people who pay charlatans in the name of religious leaders every Sunday to read to them excerpts of an ancient archaic book (buybul). I don’t mean to compare the two fields because one is clearly based on science while the other is based on a few ramblings of first century goat herders. Given that you are reading my blog I assume you know which is which, but I digress.
So what is depression? When should you seek professional help?
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable; experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions; and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may be present.
Common signs and symptoms of depression
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
If you experience a majority of these symptoms then you should make it a point of seeking professional help. Interpersonal therapy has been found to be very effective when combating various types of depression. The earlier the condition is recognize the better the chances of dealing with it before it escalates and causes too much damage.


Friday, August 10, 2012


A friend of mine recently posted an article on marriage; she wanted to know what my views were on the institution as a whole. It hit me that I have never given marriage any serious thoughts; it has just never been on my bucket list. Marriage to me is one of those things that people have always been doing and as result have never questioned. Is marriage relevant in the twenty first century? What was the basis of marriage? Is it possible to love someone till death do you part?
I understand that most atheists are reluctant to approve of the marriage institution because of the sanctimoniousness and the superstition that is tied to the whole affair. Christians for instance are eager to marry and even stay in clearly failed marriages because it’s written in the Bible that what God has put together let no man put asunder or something close to that. People end being prisoners in prisons they put themselves in. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows the fickle mindedness of human relationships. There are times the people we thought we loved turn out to be complete strangers, do they change or is we that adjust the way we used to view them? Sometimes this can happen within weeks or months. How realistic is it then I wonder, to suppose that one can have a relationship that lasts to their death? This is a clearly wishful thinking at its worst.
The proponents for the marriage institution usually argue that we need the institution for among other reasons to show how committed we are to the person, provide a context for taking care of kids and perpetuating the human race. These might look like valid claims at face value but disintegrate under closer analysis. Do we need to put a ring on someone’s finger to show just how we feel about them; do we need to sign papers to prove that we will stick by them through thick and thin? I think marriage might have served a purpose in the past; according to evolutionary biologists marriage was useful in making sure there were enough resources for the female to raise the kid. The father also benefited because he was provided with a steady outlet for his sexual needs and desires. Marriage also ensured that the father invested in his own children. We can see how this might have been important in the African jungle a few thousand years but the society has changed and our notions of marriage must change as well. The rates of divorce coupled with the number couples going for marital therapy is a clear sign that there is something very wrong here.
Lastly, it’s only fair to say that being an existentialist; I appreciate the fact that some people might find marriage to be fulfilling or even meaningful. To them all I can say is more power to them. I have always been a bit of a cynic and I think the world has a few billion extra people and it would be a great disservice to humanity for me to bring and extra mouth in this world. Marriage being a children churning institution therefore makes very little sense to me.  I know a lot of Christians might use this to confirm their unjustified notions that atheism leads to a bleak view of life. So let me clarify my position, I believe that its possible to care for someone, I might even use the word love for emphasis. It is possible for me to stay with someone that I feel this way about, they should be open minded however, they should be willing to question the conventional notions including those about marriage. I know we all love our fairy tales; we hate uncertainty and profoundly dread change. However a society that is too conforming and stuck up in its old ways it bound to stagnate. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the question of marriage.