Archive for September, 2009

Toward a community of lovers

September 30, 2009

I’ve been thinking about communal living, poly-amory and open relationships. It’s time to start writing. Of course the problem with where to start is still something I’ve yet to solve, but editing is the necessary step for any finished writing, and so I write without regard for beginnings.

Poly speaks of different lovers, but I’d like to suggest as well different loves. There are different ways, or kinds of love. You can love someone in a moment, for the moment, a light and easy love, and there is a passionate love, unconditional, non-temporal. And these loves can exist simultaneously.

love is a relationship, but a relationship can also be a mistake. You can make a mistake in a love relationship, and you can make a mistake in a mistake relationship.

When people speak of open relationships they are most often thinking of multiple relationships. Relationships are generally understood as a coupling; that we are to choose one lover. When this choice is made, which is really the expression of a wish or desire, the expression is reciprocated by the other or rejected, the rejected person continues to search or remains open to potential lovers, but the reciprocated wish, the affirmative choice, closes the relationship and ends the search. In the case of the commonly understood open relationship everything remains the same, but the search continues. Practitioners of the common open relationship are poly-amorous in that they have a number of lovers, but lover in this sense is a common term that implies an exclusive or closed relationship. The common open relationship can be understood as a series of exclusive or closed relationships. It is only open in the sense that it is not limited to a single exclusive (closed) relationship.

The open relationship I desire, is completely open.  It is non-exclusive or positively, inclusive. It could be described as a community of lovers. The question is always “How does that work?” There’s a need for the development of a theory that is yet to exist, based on actions that have yet to be performed.

starting-point

September 26, 2009

Ax. VI.   A true idea  must  correspond with its ideate or object. – Spinoza

We must start from what is known… …For the starting-point is the fact. -Aristotle

Something finer and more sublime

September 26, 2009

“For even if the good of the community coincides with that of the individual, it is clearly a greater and more perfect thing to achieve and preserve that of the community; for while it is desirable to secure what is good in the case of an individual, to do so in the case of a people or a state is something finer and more sublime.” – Aristotle

Far from being taken out of its context, this quote is the context in which The Ethics is placed.

Notes toward an everyday life activism

September 7, 2009

“The bourgeois whose existence is split into a business and a private life, whose private life is split into keeping up his public image and intimacy, whose intimacy is split into the surly partnership of marriage and the bitter comfort of being quite alone, at odds with himself and everybody else, is already virtually a Nazi, replete both with enthusiasm and abuse; or a modern city-dweller who can now only imagine friendship as a “social contact”: that is, as being in social contact with others with whom he has no inward contact.” (Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment. p.155. Continuum, New York)

Activism is guided by the things we say and write. The ideas and theory, the whys and what fors are important, but their necessity is linked to the action they direct. The affect of activism is in the doing. An effective protest is an action that creates a difference. A theory of everyday life is necessary for an everyday life activism.

two choices

September 7, 2009

love or shit

More notes on the basis for change

September 4, 2009

Last night I watched The Devil and Daniel Johnston, there were two things that stayed with me, because I’d just earlier come across very similar things.

I’d referred to a common acquaintance as a sufferer, as in , that person is a sufferer, and the person I was talking with asked if that were a “term”, like if it were something I’d just made up it wasn’t worth coining, as thought the drawing of distinctions, the minting of terms is a practice only for the hands of professional, those entitled (say PhD) to make changes to the language, of course sufferer is a common word with a fairly generally accepted meaning. Anyway, watching the documentary there’s a look at his art, and Johnson has drawn a pun on the silver surfer, as the silver sufferer. So yes, sufferer is a term. The most well known sufferer is Jesus, you may have heard of him, here’s God, the perfect agent. He can raise the dead, turn water into wine, feed a multitude with a few bits of food, walk on water, and is one with the power that created heaven and earth, but His hands are tied (nailed to the cross) when it comes to social change. Jesus suffers the sins of man. For this powerful agency to choose to suffer is a testament to the desire for suffering, the acceptance of the sins of man, the ultimate powerlessness in the face of contemporary action. So yes, sufferer is a term, and a sufferer is the antithesis of Camus’ Sisyphus who we are reminded to imagine as happy in his travails (not suffering them.)

The second was an idea that Daniel Johnson has chosen his story, that his illness may have been an expression of a creative narrative. I’d earlier in the week read an article in the Utne magazine by Lorrie Klosterman, that was an interview with someone who saw narrative and healing as linked. We are all aware of Language as a virus. There are t-shirts. But the physiological affect of the word, the word literally and physically becoming flesh, is a necessary understanding for anyone who desires change.

Walter Benjamin also speaks of the storyteller as  giving as counsel.

notes toward a critique of traditional marriage

September 4, 2009

For years I sung my daughter to sleep with Some Day My Prince Will Come as a lullaby. Here’s the narrative of relationships in a couple verses. prince comes, be as one, married, castle forever, happy.

Side note: Today waiting in line for the corkscrew roller coaster at the PNE, I was behind a young woman wearing a shirt which read “Only Vampires can love you forever.”

It’s not like the narrative hasn’t been falling apart, It’s not like we don’t understand that it rarely happens, but the narrative still has power. The ideal, the happiness is still desired. Like I know that song is not cool.

Another side note: Miles Davis is cool.

But the song is fodder for cynics, and cynicism is cool. I love the song. It comforts children, and the idea comforts me as well. Someday my prince will come. It’s hard to knock a hope like that.

On Communal Living

September 3, 2009

I’ve been holding off writing about communal living for a while now, mostly because the writing would be an expression of a desire that can only ever be frustrating. I thought about putting something down after reading this post by Favianna…  But recently a family member wrote a post on the subject. And even more recently some friends mentioned the desire to open their relationship. It seems now’s as good as any time to start writing about the subject, and really, I should have been writing about this immediately, I mean the subject of communal living should be a theme woven through this blog. Really, any discussion of any desire for change should touch on communal living.

I say it should be a theme weaving throughout this blog, and now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t really know where to start. There are a number of reasons I desire communal living. There are so many social practices and institutions that work against the idea, and then there are so many possible conceptions of the idea of communal living itself, that any one of these factors could be a starting point.

I could start with a critique of traditional marriage, which would create a false opposition and misdirect from the difference of communal living. Or I could start with a set of distinctions between open relationships, communal living and poly-amorous orientations. I’m trying to think of what’s essential. Why is communal living so difficult to imagine? Is it a question of narratives? Or the lack of narratives? How do we understand the sublime? Camus writes that one must disparage the greatness that insults. And somehow that seems relevant. Again, how do we understand the sublime?