29 September 2009

Sometimes it's helpful to be a robot, but not when you want to feel human.

Lately, I've just been really down. These depressions do come around periodically, but some are deeper than others, and this is one of the deep ones. The other night, as I lay in bed, waiting to fall asleep, I just started wondering what is my purpose in this life. I mean, why am I even here when an overwhelming majority of my beliefs are not shared by a modern society that prefers controlling as much existence as it can. My religion allows for much more than straight lines at perpendicular odds with each other. In my religion, there are infinite radii with no lines of symmetry. In Nature, possibilities are as numerous as the numbers go, and I think that's really beautiful, because it means every person gets the freedom they deserve just for being born into these lives. I guess I'm just in the unfortunate situation of being born a few thousand years too late.

My life took a serious change a few years ago when I discovered my religious beliefs. Most people seem to decide on theirs sooner, hence their egos find back-up that much sooner. Not me. I've been living the egos of others since I was a young boy. Even at the age of three or four, I learned to let my superego overcome my ego. The memory is hazy, but I remember standing among the clothing racks of a store, being taught to look behind me so I wouldn't be in the way of others. Contrary to what would be ideal, having a dominant superego didn't make me a super human. It made me a self-conscious head case with a handicapped ego. But now that I've been developing my religious beliefs for a while, I feel my ego developing with them.

This is a theory I'm borrowing from Joseph Campbell, but it's one that makes sense to me. Why else would people be so goddamn certain that their gods exist when there's absolutely no proof? Why else would people argue so vehemently that their supreme being is the only one if that god weren't a construct of their egos? The most likely reason is that each person is the only one in full contact with his or her own mind & soul (or in the case of extreme organized religions, a bunch of people have decided they can successfully share a mind & soul).

Because I came into religion and ego so late, I feel as if I'm just being born for real. It's frustrating, knowing all the things I believe now, yet not having the power to go back and live. It's even more frustrating knowing the people of the world could live lives full of individual power & freedom. This means never feeling any need to pad your answers, conceal an improper desire, or otherwise discount a personal decision that in no way directly imposes on the freedom and safety of another human. Instead we spend our lives finding new ways to control each other. Think about it and try to name one area of your life in which you have total control. Laws protect us from each other, but laws can't protect you from the social majority deciding your morals for you. This is where your thoughts are being controlled, and your soul simply follows suit.

One great example is sex because it's one of the basic human desires. Even ancient cultures understood that the genitals are sources of great power. Anyone who's ever had an orgasm knows this. So why do we think there's something wrong with sex? Why is it dirty? And why are we so ashamed of sexual desire that sometimes we're even willing to talk about it like it's not there? I'm not sure.

I do know though that it takes me a considerable amount of courage to admit that I just don't see monogamy as the most effective lifestyle for mature adults. I'm not even Christian, yet here I am bound by Holy Matrimony--the marital rules of a religion I don't even believe in. I got married because it made me civic partners with my soul mate. But if I were to let my body ignore the body rules of this bond, the members of our society (especially Emily) would regard me as the lowest of the low. Ask any public figure who has been shamed in this way.

I'm not promoting widespread infidelity, nor am I suggesting that divorce is a quality answer--especially in my case. I truly believe I found my soul mate. I just happened to do it on the first try. Beginner's luck, I guess. But still I wonder how we got here as a culture. Why have we decided to not be powerful? And why do we feel compelled to limit each other? Forcing a man and woman to regard each other as each others' only sexual option is about as limiting as it gets in a world of more than six billion potential experiences. (And sure, married people can still masturbate, but I don't see the majority of monogamy promoters promoting marital masturbation.) So why don't we just cut to the chase already and start spaying & neutering each other at the wedding? (Of course that would make it blatantly obvious that we're controlling each other's bodies with monogamous relationships... because the last thing we would ever want to do is acknowledge that we're failing each other by keeping up appearances.)

So what does any of this have to do with me? Well, for starters, I'm a man that thinks about sex a lot. I think most guys genuinely do. It's not just a joke we like to make. So I'm affected by it in that way. But the way I got here is that I'm really becoming fed up with fighting the powers that be. I'm one person shouting at a wall. I'm not going to change a damn thing, so it seems my ego is failing soon after coming into being. I'm tired of thinking someone else's thoughts , but I simply don't have much power left to fight any more. I am the neutered modern male, bound toward eternity with my spayed female friend.

I know I'm not supposed to admit such things publicly, but I don't much care any more. That's what being controlled does. It leads to despair, and that's where I've been lately. This discussion of modern thoughts on sex is just one of the ways I feel the utter despair of having my life decided for me by the majority rule. The rest are similar arguments that conclude with me not being trusted with individual power and freedom.

Well, it occurs to me now (at the very moment I finish a revision of this blog post) that this is the only individual power and freedom I still have. I have the truth about what I think and feel. So rather than going through the time and money of seeing a therapist to process the blames and shames in my head, why not just let them out where the public can know them? My reasoning is, most people hold onto private matters. Well, that may work for them, but I'm of the opinion that keeping secrets is more about keeping something from myself. Since there's not much of an ego in this head to process privacy, I gotta let my secrets out every once in a while, if I really want to process them.

This is the beginning of another line of posts here on the chew toy. I call it the “Sometimes it's helpful to be a robot, but...” series.


Xander and Alana Cole-Faber said...

So a question kind of related, but maybe not entirely. Have you ever read Thich Nhat Hahn? In particular The Miracle of Mindfulness? You might find it interesting, even if it is a different perspective from where you are now. I think maybe some of those writings have become sort of popular in recent years with the rise of the yoga trend, but even so it's still good stuff. It seems you can read excerpts of it online on Google. Anyway, the book is a sort of Buddhist guide book to life, which is a horrible description but the best I can do. I think a lot of the ideas in the book can be applied to relationships of all kinds as well, and it sort of explains why I actually like the concept of monogamy. For me, I'd rather devote my mind and soul and body to doing this ONE relationship really, really well rather than worrying about other parts of me or other possible relationships. And I find that decision enormously freeing. Maybe there will come a time when I don't feel that way, but that's where I am now. I'm rambling as usual, but take a look if you haven't yet.

zimdog said...

I like Thich Nhat Hahn. I've only read Living Buddha, Living Christ, and it made me wish more people had his kindness. So I may have to find the one you recommended. Like I said in the post, my ego has always been heavily dependent on other people's perspectives. And just because I'm only now developing the strength of my own beliefs, doesn't mean I'm not always looking for new perspectives.

Your take on monogamy is refreshing. I wish more people had that sort of openness, because it would allow for much more freedom among people who don't feel they've had enough. It's not that I'm looking to fuck anything in a skirt (so to speak). It's more that Emily is, and has always been, my only sexual partner, and I've always been sensitive to the limits of that. Doesn't mean I love her any less.

It didn't necessarily get into the post, but my overall gripe is that I'm not aware of any healthy opportunities for a departure from monogamy. And I think that's a result of the external pressure of moral control in America.

And rambling is a great thing now and then. It suggests the active health of an uncontrolled mind.

Xander and Alana Cole-Faber said...

Supposedly there are couples who manage to have open relationships, but so far I haven't heard of any who are in, say, their 70s and still married. I think it would take an unbelievable amount of work, I guess. I don't think it's impossible, but it's not something I have the energy to try. It's just to easy for things to go horribly awry.

I think--and this is not at all to say this is what you're doing, just to be clear--but I think a lot of people become unsatisfied with their lives or themselves and look for new relationships to help fix that. And I think sometimes it works, although the fix seems to be temporary. But this is also coming from someone with parents who have been divorced multiple times who is married to someone with parents who have been divorced multiple times. I guess I decided when we got married that I wanted to invest everything in doing this one relationship really well, because I didn't want to get caught up in thinking that a new person would bring me happiness or fulfillment. I wanted to take responsibility for my own happiness as much as possible. But we recognize new experiences are important to keeping those endorphins going, to keep life from becoming too boring, so we travel and try new things and whatnot. So far it seems to be working splendidly well. Again, this is me musing more than responding directly.

Oddly enough, because of our backgrounds, I often feel like we are rejecting what is the societal norm. Normal for me is moving from relationship to relationship, cheating, wondering if the grass is greener, etc. I used to feel almost embarrassed to tell people I was in love with my husband. Like I should be complaining about my marriage, because I didn't know anyone who seemed happy in his/her relationship. I also have had more single friends than married friends, so that made me self-conscious as well and sometimes made me wonder if I should have dated more. And then sometime a few years ago I just decided to give myself over to it, that there was nothing naive or ignorant or otherwise wrong about being satisfied with my marriage, that I was actually really lucky to have found my soul mate at such a young age, and I've been much happier since.

I could say more about this, but this is The Internets, so I'll stop here. This has been really interesting. Thanks.