Musings on love in the abstract:I've been thinking about crushes I've had over my life, and asked myself the theoretical - if by some chance not only did one of those that remains were to become available, but all of them did and wanted simultaneity, would that be doable?
Also, having been reading about Mohammad's life..
Pondering human nature - what I call my primal self tells me that I don't know if I could handle having multiple so's, but I know I could not handle dating someone who were dating other people. Pondering that primal self - is it really primal, or am I just painting some aspects of myself improperly onto our species? If it is primal, could it differ between males and females? Dangerous ground, I realise. Is it possible that the "gut instinct" or "relational hardwiring/defaults" differ between human males and females? No single person could get at both through introspection, I think - I would want to restrain the type of inquiry, if it's even real in the first place, to people who are comfortable with being what their sex is, and perhaps, but I am not sure about this, people who are straight - if I were to decide yes on the latter, I would be disqualifying myself, of course. The dangerous question: could it be that there is a male primal self that can handle multiple mates but not handle those mates having other mates, and coult it be that there is a female primal self that could handle having a single mate that has other mates? I'm not sure how we could possibly test this.
I don't think I really want to test it either - encouraging that form of relationship to the exclusion of its opposite is dangerous to society - even if it is true on some level, it is something which I believe we must forego in order to preserve greater equality between the genders in society. We know that males and females do have lightly different broad tendencies and capabilities based on brain development, but we reject making policy or allowing society to focus on that mental sexual dimorphism in order to protect the range of capabilities that each gender has - in doing so, both genders benefit, and society as a whole benefits, even if there are some costs.
It's an open question on if and how we should talk about sexual mental dimorphism given that - at the very least when we speak of it in broad forums (the body public rather than academia and medicine) we should treat it with care, vigourously attack those who abuse the topic (from our perspective), and force a shift of tone to the academic/clinical.
I have long been troubled by the US Government treatment of the early Mormons and their form of polygamy, and also but a bit less troubled by cults that practiced some of the same form of male-centred polygamy - it constitutes cultural interference, which from my earlier perspective was not kosher. I think now I have a different way of judging it (although I don't have enough information to make an actual judgement by the metric) - any subculture which teaches women that they have a particular role to play in society that differs from that of men can expect an overarching liberal government to intervene if they teach that too strongly. Institutions in such subsocieties under a liberal broader society must not too vigourously promote gender dominance or they may be modified, restricted, or dissolved by a the broader society. Applied, if the early mormons or any modern-day cult created a society that imposed too much difference in hardship or barriers to liberty (including right of free divorce), then it is fair for the central government to move against, create special programmes to aid in exit from, or illegalise and dissolve those institutions and/or subcultures. It does not matter if such societies are voluntarily entered by their adults - society has an obligation to all its members, and giving up on its values in order to try to be a neutral container is a betrayal of the liberalism that such a society is committed to. A liberal society is one that can contain all reasonably compatible subcultures, not one that attempts to contain all of them with no content of its own.
It is for this reason that I think private Shar'ia courts should be viewed with extreme skepticism and perhaps banned, even when agreed to freely by all parties - the social pressure, norms, and property/institutional arrangements can effectively bind women into accepting those courts or lose everything. The Muslim experience in Canada and the United States may always be one of 「Dar al Harb」 by some standards - we expect the community to melt a bit, like everyone else in our melting pot, but as a result we have liberal western Muslims rather than generic people without a subculture (generally speaking). It is not that they are guests so much as they are expected to become to some extent our kin, and there are some ideas of ours that we will insist upon in order to remain western (even as we struggle with conservative elements in our own society over what the basic norms are and should be).
I suspect that to whatever extent those aspects of Shar'ia that are objectionable to our basic principles can be agreed upon to be removed, a reformulated Shar'ia could potentially be permitted in private and voluntary arbitration/administration (likewise with other systems). The degree to which such changes would be acceptable to such communities and the scope of the necessary changes combined with the social cost in itself of allowing private legal codes might make that impossible or bad for society though. There is also the dual danger of the scope of such courts growing larger and people losing sight of the law of the land for the law of the subculture. There is something to be said for forcing everyone to eat at the same table, even if they bring their own food.