Ideals of Conduct: An Exposition of Moral Attitudes

By John Dashiell Stoops | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVII
THE FAMILY

In all forms of ancient society, as in China and Japan today, marriage for every son and daughter was a cardinal concern of morality. Men and women did not choose whether they would become fathers and mothers any more than they chose whether they would be born as sons and daughters.

The woman idealized in classical antiquity was the mother of children, the organizer of the home. Sentimental, romantic feeling toward a wife in Rome, as in old Japan, savored of immorality. There was an august sentiment toward the mother as the bearer of the sacred life of the race; there was no romantic feeling toward the wife as an individual. Woman is biologically different from man and the woman in ancient society lived a biologically normal woman's life. For years her body nourished the lives of her children in her womb and at her breast. Her brain and heart and intellect were molded by tradition for the organization of the family life. This classical family system did not rest on love, on sentiment, on romance. It rested on profound religious regard and loyalty.

The human mind inherited a bodily organism which, when it reached a certain stage of biological development, exhibited sexual behavior toward individuals of

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