“Thanks to advances in science, you can know better than you who you are going to fall in love with. This is the idea of the reality show with the very evocative name, "Married at first sight", of which the French channel M6 broadcasts the third episode this Monday evening. Two people who do not know each other meet on their wedding day in front of the mayor after they have passed a compatibility test. The show does indeed claim not to act lightly and to be based on a scientific approach. The concept already exists in around twenty countries, who makes the magazine talk VOD of "last blow to marriage". The success rate of these unions is very low.
Lhe principle of the program is that of dating sites, quickly establishing profiles of people with whom you would be likely to share your life. We would be faced with a mixture of the various series The Experts, scientists from US police units, and Love is in the meadow ; science would say who to marry. And, with love in the meadow, everything goes so fast that to dawdle in the fields on the paths, on the blue summer evenings, "prickled by the wheat, tread the thin grass", as Rimbaud wrote in his poem Sensation, is a waste of time or even ratings for a program advocating marriage as a quick consumer good. Television abolishes time which is perhaps money, but also of love in the period of attachment when a couple is formed, to make marriage a PERFORMANCE in the spectacular sense – such as contemporary art exhibitions – and competitively – which will go the furthest. The pressure erases the freedom granted by time, and the extimacy prevails over the private construction of the relationship before the wedding.
Promises for life, but on trial - short - for "science"
Of course, refusal is possible at the last moment, but everything is done to push into marriage while minimizing the risk of failure.
The mutual discovery, after the use of an algorithm, therefore takes place in the presence of the mayor of Grans, in the south-east of France. Two people who do not normally know each other, with their relatives similarly ignorant, except possible surprise, of who is who among the future allies, are invited to say the magic word in front of the chosen one. Faster than the speed dating, total speed wedding organized by television where the responsibility of the beings is almost evacuated. Of course, refusal is possible at the last moment, but everything is done to push into marriage while minimizing the risk of failure. Algorithmic lovebirds promise each other assistance and rescue under the separation of property regime, as well as respect and loyalty for life with a six-week probationary period. Marriage, which is a particular contract from a legal point of view in that it is also an institution, is thus legally affirmed for what is more of a game show than of social life.
Sciences et Avenir requested an explanation of the method to the psychologist and sexologist, scientific backing of the program, Pascal de Sutter. The latter claims that the candidates were tested using the Big five, a personality test dating from the 1980s used to assess five major traits in the interviewee, namelyOpening (to others and to novelty), the Professional awareness,Extraversion,Pleasantness and Neuroticism (the ability to experience negative emotions more or less easily); as well as with the use of the test Hare to detect psychopaths. It would certainly not be necessary for a marriage with a stranger to end dramatically … The tests would make it possible to identify tendencies to unite people “compatible at more than 70%”, even 80.
Disengagement of responsibility to engage in marriage
Sciences et Avenir therefore questioned the sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann about this program which claims to appeal to the social sciences. The identity and socialization specialist bluntly declares his low esteem for the method: “The famous 'compatibility tests' are a 95% sham. In the market, it is very fashionable. This is also how many dating sites proceed which, depending on your profile and the preferences you have indicated, offer you to meet similar profiles. "And to point out the disinvestment of people in their own choices, combined with the desire for speed to explain that some people accept this market:" It's reassuring for many people to have an algorithm that makes choices for you. People have a very strong expectation for this and accept these choices which are made for them in a blind and very quick way. If he considers that discovering great personality traits can help him make his choice faster, the promise of a "compatibility rate with someone is a pure illusion."
The tests are also auditory and olfactory, in order to ensure sensory compatibility
The tests are also auditory and olfactory, in order to ensure sensory compatibility. If they are conclusive, the candidates supposedly made for each other are brought to the town hall of Grans where they discover not only the potential future spouse, but also his family. "So you're going to marry a man you've never seen?" A mother asks her daughter, taken aback. A man that she herself has not seen either and vice versa. The families present at the ceremony are embarrassed. Was there a compatibility test with relatives of the spouse? Nothing says so. Entering a family which, if it can be a surmountable obstacle, when the marriage has been seriously prepared, risks becoming a burden for a couple of strangers faced with the catastrophic catching up of time that has run out to cement the relationship.
Under the pretext of science, the ratings are built by denying consciousness in a certain way, because the human being would be defined by a few answers, and could be brought to town hall almost like the way animals are taken to the slaughterhouse. : quickly prepared, quickly weighed, quickly brought. This procedure is neither more nor less than a denial of the humanity of the candidates who lend themselves to it without going around the question, because they have disengaged themselves. We are faced with what we could qualify as fordism in love, a division of labor: the relationship is no longer built upstream with the future spouse and his family, we do not worry about whether we will get along well or not with each other: each one does his hand of work, the machine decides the probability of the feelings, the individual is at the other end of the assembly line. There is almost no need to make an effort to get used to each other in the evolution of marriage, since love would have been decreed almost certain - but on trial to be sure. .
But humans are not determined by algorithms
But humans are not determined by algorithms, they have their share of unpredictability, their choices may surprise. So, the couple from the show's first episode, shot just a few months ago, are said to be already untied : the newlywed would have fallen for another candidate to whom statistical evaluations had already proposed a woman he was to marry the following week.
The institutional discredit of a union forged with production more than with a person
If Pascal de Sutter affirms, in Sciences et Avenir that he will "never claim that what we got could be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal," one wonders, ironically, why newlyweds have to undergo a period of probation that covers six weeks in order to confirm the statistical studies which made it possible to unite them. The race for ratings which uses science as a pretext has found the vein to satisfy voyeurism, thus lowering knowledge like marriage. We pretend to enter into marriage and science on the same level, as we cross a television set without roughness or steps.
It is sad that a municipal magistrate was able to agree to take part in a union where there had not even been the slightest hint of an idyll at the birth of the first exchanges, especially since he is not unaware of than the concept of the program is at odds with the spirit and the letter of the Civil Code of which he mentions article 212 to the bride and groom: "The spouses owe each other mutual respect, fidelity, help, assistance. "It is no longer only science that is demeaned, to the psychological formation of the contract and of the institution of marriage that is undermined, it is also the seriousness of public authority that is undermined. we touch. Until then, the fiction wanted that the future spouses would really commit for life, hoping that they will keep their vows in spite of the number of divorces which is around half the number of marriages ; now, a mayor accepts the principle of a commercial game that forgets fiction to ask his candidates only one thing, to hold out at least six weeks. The marriage contract is therefore implicitly made with the producers of the show since they are the ones who set the minimum duration, and not with the married person. Through the mayor, society no longer notes the union, the elected official only sanctions a television test. If formerly, the authority validated arranged marriages to build self-interested alliances, this era saw the will of the individual pass, allowing a balance between the existence of society and that of each. Of the individual, there is little question here, despite appearances, since the person depersonalizes himself by relying on algorithms; and a mayor lends a legal and institutional support to these marriages, admittedly granted, but arranged for the audience and whose wedding dresses are quickly tapered.
Presented in the first part of the evening, the program can be seen by the maximum number of viewers. After a first episode followed by 3 million viewers, 400 more people joined in front of the production of M000 announcing 6 to 70% compatibility. Another figure, out of fifty couples already married within the framework of programs of the same kind abroad, only nine are still together at the momentor 18%.