Thursday, October 31, 2013

Viva La Gynarchy

Control is a big issue, at least it is to me. Some people fight for it and some people surrender to it. I feel one should never attempt to control a man who does not want to be controlled; if you fail you will pay the price for it dearly, but if you succeed you will have a broken man. And this goes both ways. Don't try to control a woman, even though some women believe they are to be controlled, or you feel compelled to do so because you insist they do not know better. It is never okay to be in control of another human in any case and in any situation, not just romantically. Let there be mutual respect for each other's individuality, no one likes to be played like a video game even if over time they have become content to just that. I find it more than a little demeaning, and mankind should be able to evolve past that by now.

I noticed that our Arabian culture still holds the belief that women are helpless, fragile little beings, that it is the man's duty and right to be involved in every decision pertaining to her life (that is if he doesn't just do the deciding for her). And it is the woman's duty to forgive and accept the man's shortcomings and fuck-ups, and do so without complaint. It baffles me how often society allows men to get away with murder yet scrutinizes women's every action. Even when we know it's wrong, we still keep that in mind. "Be careful taking this or that step because you know people will never blame him, they will blame you". It's a reality we can clearly see is flawed yet it is one we accept nevertheless.

It was Sigmund Freud who introduced us to the structural model of the mind, splitting it into three major functions; Id, Ego and Superego. Id is the impulsive nature we are born with which instinctively drives us to get what we need and want with little to no regard to much else. In my head I imagine the perfect example can be seen in the character Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: "I want it NOW!". Or even Augustus Gloop who didn't bother demanding, he just went for it! Ego is the rational part (could we say moral?) that develops as we grow to consolidate the destructive nature of blindly going after everything we desire. I think what could sum it up nicely is to say WWJD: what would Jesus do? Or Mohammed, or Moses, or whoever. Point isn't to model your actions according to someone else's teachings as much as it is to learn from them and be able to recognize right from wrong in order to better control the thoughts in your mind. Superego is the bitch here. While I would much rather see people ask themselves "what would Jesus think?" (or Mohammed or Moses etc), Superego is what Freud believes to be the part of our mind which asks "what would people say?!", constantly strives for social acceptance and perfection in doing so. The Ego, in part, is meant to consolidate both Id and Superego rationally, the aim being to develop the Ego so much so that one has better control of their own thoughts and actions. The imbalance of the Id and Superego supposedly results in mental instability and mental illness. I must say though, the Superego in this part of the world has grown far and beyond the reach of the Ego, and with it the Id driving us towards conspicuous consumption. What is meant to be the most important part of your individual mind is instead prisoner to your desires and societal standards, creating an imbalance which further proves my belief that this society is mentally ill.

But I constantly ask: why? Why do we give in to such a ridiculously outrageous double standard. Instead of eradicating it, we are allowing this phenomenon to grow and fester by playing along. Half the society doesn't care because this double standard works in their favor. It is the women who are the victims here, but also the perpetrators. We can never expect this to change if we don't actively change it ourselves, at least in how we think and treat this absurdity. Are we waiting around for men to so generously adjust the status quo (if so, it would likely be on their terms)? Do you really think that is ever gonna happen? Historically, globally, has a man ever been the one to fight for women's rights? I say this with the slight fear that it has happened, but even if it did I doubt it was done without an agenda! Yes, we have male supporters....and what?

What riles me up are the naive, brainwashed chicks who just ruin it for everybody. They claim they like things the way they are. They claim it makes their lives easier not having the responsibility to make their own decisions, not being expected to do anything of great importance. Even the meager tasks they are left with, they fail at miserably. You lazy, robotic, can't-think-for-yourself, waste-of-a-life fuckers. Go die. Please. And the men in their lives who planted that very idea in their heads should also go die a slow, painful death.

I know there are women who still think this way because they just don't know any better. This way of life is the only way they know. Even if you give them a choice, they would want to keep things as they are just out of shear fear of the unknown. I don't fault them for that, I sympathize. Just don't impose it on the rest of us. You don't have to change anything, just please allow us the chance to. You don't approve? Tough cookies.

I'm sorry, I can't be unbiased about this. I apologize for being a bit harsh, but this just pisses me off. So much so that I am unable to be reasonable about it. I'm sick of living in a patriarchal society which aims at putting women down, making them feel less capable, when I firmly believe women can do a far better job at running things if we had the chance. And we'd look fabulous doing it too. Those women who wish to avoid the responsibility of being in control of their own lives will soon feel how empowering it is to not have to depend on a man, and how much easier life would be then. Don't wait around for a man, get up and do it yourself! Viva la gynarchy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Introspection/Outrospection



This talk/video has to be one of my favorite RSA Animates. If you take nothing from this but this talk, even if you don't read beyond this point, I would be happy so long as this video gets out there. The concept of empathy is such a powerful one, and this shows just how broadly the concept can be applied. And there was a point made that hit home for me:

There is no introspection without outrospection


It is no secret that I am a huge advocate of introspection/self-reflection, even self-love. Being honest with yourself about your thoughts and emotions is essential - if not necessary -  to know where you yourself stand in this world, not where you are told to stand or even where you are merely placed. But it is true that in this day and age that cannot happen without outrospection. If we are not open to the world we cannot truly understand who we are. We cannot delve deep into our souls in total isolation and expect to enrich our lives in the process. We need to look outside ourselves also to further enhance our lives; not to look in search for something to cling onto but to open ourselves up. We need to understand what goes on around us just as much as we need to understand what goes on within.

More and more I find that there is little value given to true human relationships; simply bonding with fellow humans on a pure, honest, genuine level. Even when we are close to experiencing it, we hesitate, we turn away, we build walls and fortresses out of fear that it is not the norm. But it is, at least it should be. People do focus (not so well) on familial relationships, professional relationships, romantic/marital relationships but we need more. A lot more. 

“The things we need most are the things we have become most afraid of, such as adventure, intimacy, and authentic communication. We avert our eyes and stick to comfortable topics. We hold it as a virtue to be private, to be discreet, so that no one sees our dirty laundry. We are uncomfortable with intimacy and connection, which are among the greatest of our unmet needs today. To be truly seen and heard, to be truly known, is a deep human need. Our hunger for it is so omnipresent, so much a part of our life experience, that we no more know what it is missing than a fish knows it is wet. We need more intimacy than nearly anyone considers normal. Always hungry for it, we seek solace and sustenance in the closest available substitutes: television, shopping, pornography, conspicuous consumption — anything to ease the hurt, to feel connected, or to project an image by which we might be seen or known, or at least see and know ourselves.”

Charles Eistenstein, 
Sacred Economics

People think of the word 'intimacy' and blush, referring to bedroom antics as intimacy. But it's so much more than that, and should go well beyond a single room with a single person. Creating a strong bond with a fellow human on any level is what makes life worth living. Even fleeting connections with mere strangers could be just as powerful. And I believe simply being able to have such strong, powerful, lasting connections with people is an accomplishment because it doesn't come easily. It actually takes work and requires a lot of trust and openness that not many people are ready to give. I feel people rarely invest in relationships that are not romantic, expecting all their human needs to be met by a single relationship with a single person. Even when they do, they feel the need to make it romantic thinking having a connection like that with someone could only be such. But I'm here to tell you it is not. Don't let such ideas cloud your judgement either. It's almost as if we have been conditioned to believe that having a closeness with someone is rare and eventually turns physical, leaving many to believe having close friends of the opposite sex is 'dangerous' for this very reason. I strongly beg to differ. We need to rid ourselves of such ridiculous and archaic preconceived notions. Clear our minds of such ideas, go forth with an open mind and an open heart, then we can truly understand our limitless capacity to love. That's when our empathetic nature truly thrives.

The thing is, even the relationships we do have, we do not give enough of ourselves. We don't put nearly enough effort into it, we expect it to just fall onto our laps. Every relationship requires a little work. As you give, so shall you receive. You cannot expect your friend to always be there for you when you are never there for them. You cannot expect your parents to love you unconditionally if you do not love, respect, and take care of them in return. You cannot expect your children to grow to take care of you in your old age if you did not love and nurture them as their parent. You cannot expect a spouse to cater to your every whim if you never consider theirs. (Read about how this man came to that conclusion after nuptials and kids. Better late than never!)

When two people meet and find that initial spark, they foolishly think that this chemistry continues to react forever. The way I see it, that reaction is a result of the state each person is in upon meeting, basically both being what the other had been wanting to find. Having found that person, the spark from the first chemical reaction is gone. The 'state' of each person has changed, creating a new compound altogether. Rather than trying to figure out what new chemical reaction might occur, how to deal with it, if it requires any catalysts for a better reaction, they just stubbornly want EXACTLY what they had before. If we want to approach it scientifically, it's impossible to relive that initial spark so long as they are now a 'compound' (and remain so). That infatuation is what attracted you in the first place, and that is the main role of infatuation. Infatuation could just describe what happens as a result of the pheromones released. If we were to continue with the chemistry analogy, infatuation would be that electromagnetic force that initially creates the chemical bond.

Armed with the misconception that the spark must last, some people may search to recreate it elsewhere. Chasing what is essentially a fleeting emotion rarely ever stops at one person as this cyclical search continues every time the spark begins to fade. We need to redefine what it is we are expecting to feel, be it 'love' or whatever you want to call it. We need to have a more realistic understanding of it, and consequently more realistic expectations. We need that radical social change to take shape on a large scale so that we can all live a little better, be a little happier. Everyone deserves to be happy, and it is within reach.....so long as we revolutionize how we choose to view and experience human relationships on any and every level. No biggie...

Finally, I would like to share with you something I personally feel is the most fascinating, bizarre and potentially revealing thing I ever came across in our dear World Wide Web. A 76-year-long study followed 268 Harvard graduates from 1937 in the longest-running longitudinal study to determine the factors which affect human (adult) development. Turns out, what matters most in life are warm human relationships. That also had a positive effect on almost every other aspect of one's life from health to professional success. George Vaillant, the study's most recent director, said one thing he learned from this study is:“That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people". Don't wait 76 years to come to that realization when you could have spent it being happy.