So many problems seem to loom up if love becomes the basis of marriage. But they loom up only because we see things through the screen of our old concepts and beliefs. The day we accord love its highest value, the idea that children belong to individuals, to parents, will become meaningless. Really, children don’t belong to individuals; they really never belong to them. There was a time when the father was unknown, only the mother was known. That was the age of matriarchy, when the mother was the head of the family and descent was reckoned through the female line.
You will be surprised to know the word father is not that old; the word uncle is much older. Mother is an ancient word, while father is very new. The father really appeared on the scene when we institutionalized marriage; he was not known before. The whole male population of a tribe was father-like; only the mother of a child was known. The whole tribe was loving to its children, and since they belonged to none they belonged to all.
It is not right to say that ownership of children by individuals, by parents, has been good for children. True good will happen when children belong to a whole commune or society.
You ask what the position of children will be when we will make love the basis of marriage. Will not they become a social problem? No, they will not be a social problem then. They are a social problem tight now, when we have left them at the mercy of a few individuals, be they parents or relations. And in view of the new vista of future possibilities opening up before us, it is certain that the old foundations of our society are not going to last any longer.
For instance, in the old world a father was a must for a child to be born, it will not be so in the future. In fact, he has already become redundant. Now my sperm can be preserved for thousands of years after my death, and it can give birth to a chill even ten thousand years after me.
Then in the future, even the mother, who has so far been so indispensable, will not be needed for the birth of a child. Soon science is going to find ways and means – we are at the doorstep of its consummation – when a mother will not need to carry the burden of a baby in her womb for nine months. A machine, an instrument like the test tube will do the job better. All the facilities that are available to a baby in the mother’s womb will be provided to him, and he will be better provided for in a test tube or whatever we will call it. And then it will be difficult to know the parentage of a child. Then the whole social structure will have to be changed. Then all women will play mothers and all men will play fathers to children who will grow up under the collective care of the community. For sure, everything is going to change.