Everybody in the media is having a field day with the fact that John Edwards has just revealed that he had an affair a couple of years ago. It's bigger news than the unbelievable (but believable) other revelation this week that a top CIA Official just admitted in a book - AND on tape! - that a forged letter linking Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks was ordered by the White House and probably came directly from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. So, the fact that a former senator and current non-candidate had an affair is more interesting than the fact of one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated by a sitting president or vice-president in history?

Okay, then, let's go with. What's the big deal about Edwards' affair? That he "cheated" on his wife? That he's a major political figure who lied about cheating on his wife? Both? Neither? Or is it perhaps that we are all just really fascinated by the obvious breakdown at all levels of society of "traditional marriage?"

Ah, now you're talking my language. As an observer of overt societal trends and as a practitioner of the "inner arts" of human development, I can tell you without a doubt that marriage as we've known it is in its death throws. It's terminal. History in the making. See ya! More than half of married people end up divorced, and fewer and fewer adults at later and later ages are getting married in the first place.

Marriage was doomed, of course, from the start of its becoming an "institution," from the moment rules and vows were made to define it and contracts and licenses were issued to control it. And as an almost pure external manifestation of ego, the end of the Institution of Marriage is a cause for celebration.

Historically, marriage was never about love in the first place. It was created as a way to control property and bloodlines, and as a bargaining chip between empires. The idea that you should be in-love with your spouse is relatively new and was never an essential part of the equation, and still totally isn't today. Many people today get married for reasons of financial security or social status or because of emotional insecurities. I remember vividly the exchange between my ex-mother-in-law and me when my wife and I divorced back in the 1970's. When she asked me why we were separating, I told her that we weren't happy together. She looked at me as if I were a fool, and said these words that I've never forgotten: "Happy? What's happy got to do with marriage?"

No joke. She said that with a straight face. So, in despair at that advice from an elder, but undaunted, I turned to my grandfather, who I knew would have something wise and worldly to say. Here's what "Grandpa Pete" offered: "Petey," he said to me, "go to the butcher shop and buy a nice piece of meat and go home and make dinner for your wife."

Yep. Nothing brings back the Eros like a good rib eye.

Anyway, here's the thing - Eros, like every powerful force of nature, can't be controlled by the human ego or will. That's what makes being in-love so great, that we can experience and participate in something that's bigger than us, that can sweep us to a higher place, with only the "effort" of letting go and surrendering to it. Without wings, we can fly when we're in-love, we can see things that are otherwise invisible, we are unshakable in our knowledge of Truth and Beauty.

But as soon as we try and wrap Eros up in rules and fence it in with contracts, we lose the connection to it. True, it may leave at some point anyway, but the irony is that by trying to pin Eros down, it leaves sooner.

So, marriage, as most of us have been taught to practice it, is actually an Eros killer. The fact, then, that fewer people are getting or staying traditionally married, or that some are trying various forms of "open marriage," is a great sign for the potential of human beings to experience Eros in their lives. This is great for the world, because as I've said many times, anyone experiencing great love, Eros and sex is never inclined to cheat or steal or forge documents in order to start a war.

Good-bye traditional marriage. Whew!

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