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Your Better Self with Akanna: One Man, One Wife

Akanna Okeke

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Akanna OkekeJoseph Daniel Unwin was a very well known anthropologist, who studied almost all the cultures in the world before he died in 1936.  After looking through 5,000 years, he concluded that “the whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous”.

So, he was basically saying that strictly abiding by a ‘one man, one wife’ policy was what was responsible for a society being advanced.  He found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint that they observe.

I agree with Unwin, but I wouldn’t blatantly say that monogamy is what directly leads to civilization.  I would say that the virtues of monogamy are what help build a civilization.

The mark of true civilization is predictability.  I live in a civilized society and I can predict when the bus that takes me to work is going to come by, because public transportation runs on a schedule.  I can predict that when there’s a red traffic light telling the people on the road perpendicular to mine to stop, they would stop. And that means it is safe for me to go.  There would be no ramming me from the sides should I keep on driving through my green light.  I can predict that, for the most part, I can walk the streets at night and not get waylaid; I can go for a nice run and be safe. I can plan my day, my week, my month, and even my year in advance and not be met with undue surprises.

Why is this so? Because of discipline.  People who live in a civilized society are disciplined people.  They conquer nature everyday and it can first be seen physically in the structures they build and systems they put in place, which rise above the natural chaos of this world to the structured order of an organized society.  And then, non-physically, in the way they conduct themselves – suppressing their natural tendencies, exercising restraint and disciplining themselves so they can rise up to their ‘unnatural’ aspirations.

It is unnatural for a man to devote himself to one woman.  Men are created with an insatiable sexual drive that is fueled by fantasy and variety.  But when a man rises above nature and is committed to his wife and to the family that they raise; then he is cultivating those virtues of self-restraint, discipline, fidelity, integrity, commitment and dedication.  Now picture all men in a society practicing monogamy and therefore possessing these virtues. What would that society look like?

A civilization is largely built on the backs of its men.  This is true, whether we care to admit it or not. Now when you have men who cannot ‘keep it in their pants’, there’s a huge problem because it means they lack the virtues required either to build a civilization or to retain one.

Unwin also concluded that there was no example of a group retaining its culture or civilization after it had adopted less rigorous customs.  This means that when a society begins to justify why it is only natural for men to cheat because they have ‘needs’, then that civilization begins to decline.  When it is okay to have baby-mamas, which translates to lots of men shirking responsibility and passing that same mindset down to those unfortunate kids, then that society is in trouble.

Succumbing to nature is the beginning of trouble.  That was why I said that the bible was the best personal development book out there, when I wrote the list of My Top 10 Books So Far.  It always calls us to rise above our natural tendencies.  In fact, it typically does not give us a commandment that we can naturally do.  It always tells us to do what goes against our nature.

So, we are told to work because our natural inclination is to be lazy.  We are told not to crave what others have because our natural inclination is to be covetous.  We are told to honour our parents because our natural inclination is to want to bite the fingers that feed us; even suckling babies want to bite their mothers’ breasts every once in a while.  We are told to be generous because our natural inclination is to be selfish.  We are told to be wise because our natural inclination is to be foolish.

It also calls for men to be devoted to their wives – one wife, and not to covet those of their friends and neighbours.  I’m pretty sure that’s because the opposite is the natural inclination of the ordinary man.  But ordinary men do not build great civilizations.  Only extraordinary men do.  They have the discipline to work hard, the integrity to put trusted systems in place that reward such hard work, and the self-restraint to stop themselves from sliding into corruption and taking advantage of the same system that they put in place.

They are not born with these virtues.  No, they are born ordinary men. They only become a little bit extra by choosing not to do what the average man would do, but to cultivate these virtues by voluntarily following simple principles and guidelines in their personal lives.  And these could be as restrictive as not sleeping with whomever they like, but instead limiting it to one man, one wife.

22 Comments

  1. chops

    May 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Hm you mean the bible WAS the best personal development book hmmm. Okay, if it WAS tell me which book tops it?

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 8, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      Oh I see…No, the “was” there refers to my article which is in the past. I guess I should have used “is”. Sorry about the confusion. It still is!!

  2. chops

    May 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Men should learn from solomon you can never get satisfied with anything in this life,i know men are wired to be adventrous and only GOd tru his word can satisfy that desire if you like sleep with nicki minaj or kim kardashian you will discover yiur still not satisfied. This is why getting married to kim didnt erase the pain in kanye’s life. Only God satisfies

  3. susi cho

    May 8, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    nice witeup akanna.If you pledge to monogamy, start with not cohabiting with your girlfriend before marrige,, its a proof u are disciplined and can hold your self when other she wovles come for you after your married. Trust me the seduction out there is not only high and desperate but comes with spiritual forces too so any man wanting one woman sholud know you need sth extra to hold the fort like akanna said.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks susi! And that’s a good point you made too!

  4. Marcus

    May 8, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I never comment on things but I can’t believe you started your argument with the racist rumination of a white anthropologist. This is such an ugly take for real.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Oh…

  5. Physio Tinu

    May 8, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I have a problem with the quote on which you base your entire argument “the whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous”.

    How about the famed mogul empire under Ghenghis Khan? Or even more recently and closer to home-the great Bini empire? They were polygamous and poly amorous in practice. How about Islam? Both as a religion and as a culture it continues to be polygamous. Except your definition of “civilisation” is narrow and parochial, your entire argument is flawed. Very very flawed.

    • eyi woke

      May 8, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Biko tell them akanna men just cant keep it together it gets me thinking, do we still have faithful men in this world?

    • eyi woke

      May 8, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      Emm mr physio i also disagree with yo,u its totaly flawed in your eyes, he has a point you could say not in its entirety

    • juice

      May 8, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      you should firstly define civilisation in your understanding physio, then tell me how civilized the benin empire is. Do you know what goes down when the oba of benin dies? How many virgins are said to be buried with him? Idoes it sound like a civilised empire?

    • gracious

      May 9, 2018 at 6:33 am

      Do you know the world power has shifted from america going from nations like egypt, germany etc now china? This is n connection to what aknna has written. America is falling.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      Yes, I really think Physio Tinu should let us know his definition of civilization. I think I have narrowed mine down to one definition and that’s why it may seem parochial. I for one believe that there’s nothing like civilizations – there’s no plural – there’s only one civilization. It is a very advanced way of life that runs the same way no matter what region it’s present at.

      We should also look into JD Unwin’s definition and see if he was consistent in his premises and conclusion before we can announce that his argument is flawed

  6. Mamamia

    May 8, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Ermmmm this is where the men will come out to play. Cause that hit a nerve. Akanna, I really hope you are not cohabiting with your girlfriend as it was mentioned above cause I was about giving you a big squishy hug for getting it right. Our problem, is mediocrity, we can’t wait to have sex, we can’t wait to taste other women/men even after eating the one thing God forbids us to do before marriage soon that isn’t enough we now look at each other as sex objects and decide to practice this with our fellow man or woman even this isn’t even enough we start looking at sleeping with animals cause sex is just sex (nothing special) we then graduate to having a sex doll and no that wouldn’t do we now do a sex change cause we are attracted to our own. The day we will realize the graves we are all digging for ourselves just by our actions is the day we will understand that half of our problems are man made. immorality has eating so deep that those that are trying to keep it together aware wrong. No one said mistakes don’t happen but don’t abuse it! Some people are so comfortable in sin that it baffles me.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 9, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Very true, Mamamia! Sexual depravity is not something we want to slide into, and it could start with seemingly innocuous things like cohabiting and having pre-marital sex – sex without commitment, without responsibilities attached, casual sex. And there’s nothing casual about it. It is a sacred act that should be treated with respect and the responsibilities that come with it. It is the process for bringing a human soul into this world, so I don’t think it should be treated casually.

      To answer your question – No, I don’t cohabit with my girlfriend. Like I wrote in my article – So, This is My Love Language (https://www.bellanaija.com/2018/02/better-self-akanna-love-language/) – we are long distance so that makes it easier not to be tempted, luckily for us! 🙂

      You’re right that this hit a nerve for the men. And I won’t be surprised if they focus on attacking other things like the definition of civilization or race of the anthropologist than focusing on the matter at hand and addressing how we can refrain from sexual depravity and build a great civilization for ourselves.

      Thanks so much for writing in! 🙂

    • Continue

      May 9, 2018 at 11:47 pm

      @Akanna “You’re right that this hit a nerve for the men”
      Can you particularly prove this, This is a gross generalization of the fact. You seem to think so little of Men and you are a man too right?

  7. Rekia

    May 8, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Absolutely beautiful writeup!

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 9, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks Rekia!

  8. emem

    May 8, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    (So they can rise up to their unnatural aspirations) thats tru how many presidents or prime ministers have you seen with two wives? If you aspire great things it will require you to sacrifice some pleasures. All the governors and presidents in america, involved in sexual scandals where either forced to resigned or jarred and disgraced why? Becos you cant get to the top with baggages like having more than one wife.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      May 9, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Good point, emem! We have to lay aside every weight if we want to attain a crown of glory!

  9. oluwatosin

    May 9, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    very good write-up!

  10. Funmilola

    May 10, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    *nodding head in agreement*

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