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Philosophical Points- Family Values



Disclaimer: A bit controversial and, of course, people don't have to agree with me and are entitled to their opinions, but it's some food for thought.It is commonly thought that we need family life for a good society, and that people should respect, stand by and love members of their families. I don't disagree with that at all, but my question concerns the definition of "family". In today's culture, "family" tends to mean the people we know we are related to (typically to within a few generations, drawing an arbitary line as to who is related and who isn't) and often sexual partners. But I wonder, what about "family" meaning everyone around us, rather than just those exclusive groups? For we are all related (and this is a simple biological fact, regardless of whether you believe in evolution, creationism or whatever). Another point is that many of these "family" traditions have their origins in Christianity, but any scrutiny of the Bible will reveal that it also defines "family" as 'everyone around us'- the 'love thy neighbour as thyself' philosophy springs to mind.Some remarkable double standards have arisen between how one is expected to treat people who are defined as "family" and people who aren't, here are some of the common ones I have frequently come up against:A. One has to love one's "family" by default, but can't love one's "friends".B. You don't need "friends". Your "family" are your "friends", that's all you need.C. One can trust "family", but can't trust "friends". One should assume "family" to be innocent in all conflict situations, and "friends" to be guilty.D. "Family" relationships can be broken up by third party interference, so if someone is interfering, cut the interfering party off. However, "friends" cannot be taken away by interference- if someone appears to be interfering, the "friend" has shat on you, so cut the "friend" off. A true "friend" would stand by you no matter what, but that argument isn't applied to "family" because they're 'different'.People just blindly accept these, and so see nothing wrong with these- and get very defensive if any of them are questioned. Yet they just don't make sense to me- for instance, why would whether or not someone is related to within a few generations dictate whether or not a third party could prise the relationship apart? If anything, I'd have thought people would be more likely to interfere with friendships, for the friends usually end up getting 100% of the blame.If everyone around us were treated as "family", those double standards would become moot; also, it may be harder for people to justify things like wars, bullying, and other nasty stuff. Would anyone want to kill members of their own family? It might also result in people having more respect for those around them, rather than only respecting their immediate relatives and partners.


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Couldn't agree more. Coming from an utterly screwed up disfunctional family, I value my non-blood aunts and uncles, surrogate grandparents, adopted siblings, etc, etc much, much more than my own 'real' ones. We chose each other after all, rather than being there by an accident of birth.

The false bonds of blood can cause so much heart break if abused, and no-one should have to put up with nastiness and cruelty in the name of family ties.

In today's fractured society, where step relationships are becoming increasingly common, the family unit is often anathema anyway....

If you have a good family, then all well and good, but if not, then no-one should be made to feel like they have to put up with them :)

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Very interesting points there :unsure:

I get on ok with my "family" but they are also a huge cause for the screwing up of my mental state on a frequent basis. If my "friends" did this I would say something or no longer be friends with them but as "family" I feel duty bound to accept it <_<

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To be honest, as with most such double standards, I don't really have much against people going along with them in itself.

I think my main 'sticking point' with this issue is that so long as these double standards exist, "family" can abuse them to try and control or even terminate friendships. "Either the friend goes, or I go" is a common method. When they do, there is very little the friends can do about it, in view of the social pressure to see "family" as being "more important" and assume the "friend" to be the guilty party.

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