Sunday, December 31, 2017

With apologies to Raymond Carver: what we talk about when we talk about love

Lots of people talk about love, especially at this time of year, but what does that word translate too in our day to day, minute to minute experience?
What does love mean in a traffic jam or crowded parking lot when other people don't behave as you have it they should?
what does love mean in the context of family members who refuse to conform to your expectations
what does love mean in abbatoirs and factory farms?
what does love mean in the supermarket aisle and at the rubbish bin
what does love mean in casinos and advertising agencies and news rooms and in our addictions to the dark sticky energies of conflict and resentment and self justification?
what does love mean in aged care facilities with a ratio of one worker to ten inmates
what does love mean for animals that you have stewardship of
what does love mean when we don't know, or are overwhelmed, or are hurt, 

or are masking hurt with anger, or trying to escape what looks like boredom?
how does love acknowledge our limitations?
how would love support us?
what would love have us let go of, if anything?
what would love have us accept and embrace?
what would love have us do?
what would love have us be?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The seeing is the doing (Krishnamurti)

Once we understand how the mechanism of self -justification works in our selves - how we make things alright and fudge boundaries as soon as we see an advantage for ourselves in something - and everyone has some area where they do this - then we can better understand how to manage this in ourselves, and possibly model this self management for others.

The heart's slight sleight of hand
how friends become food in enabling circumstances
how good neighbours
may strip and rob other neighbours
of their family heirlooms
when the barbarians invade
and how some do not

how everyone does good
up to a point. and beyond that doesn't care,
or cares, up to the point they know
everyone cares about something
but certainly not about what you think they should care
so take care

The body as process

When I returned from India early 1998 I went around telling people they are not their bodies ( or their minds ). Some people were receptive to this idea, others were threatened by it. My source for this was the aempirical discourse of advaita (non-dualism), which has no need of the evidence game, but while reading Norman Doidge's book on neuroplasticity "The Brain That Changes Itself" I found "scientific" corroboration for this truism.

In the chapter titled "pain" Doidge reviews the brilliant work of neurologist V.S.Ramachandran on the phantom limbs of amputees, and on the difference between the body ( which is itself an abstraction, assembled out of episodic flashes of sensation) and body image.


I did a shop today with an 86 year old Jew originally from Hungary that was like a Vegan Greenie's worst nightmare. He stopped at a Europen style 'delicatessen' and bought many flacid, pink phallus-like things stuffed with minced pig flesh and nitrates and god knows what else. He bought shaved ham and pulled ham and quartered ham and tortured ham. He bought salamis and brockwurst and blackwurst and bloodwurst and umpteen cheeses. He bought duck liver pates and if he could have bought the testicles of bulls and the brains of sheep he would have.

Then we tottered on grimly to Coles where, despite my offers of cotton bags I'd specifically brought along, and despite my horrified and hate filled glances, he insisted on putting each piece of fruit, and each vegetable he bought, into a separate plastic bag...those microthin plastic bags that are good only for choking turtles and uglifying landscapes. By the time we got back to his unit I was ready to accidentally push him down the lift shaft, but somehow desisted. Instead I whistled the tune from "Bridge over the River Kwai."

Toxic masculinity, nature, nurture or a combination?

I wonder if any research has been done in Australia re profiling men who murder their female partners. I'd be curious to know if patterns and common denominators emerge in areas like:

family of origin - what were the dynamics there?

schooling - single sex schools and the reinforcement of toxic masculinity

post school education, including apprenticeships

working life and industrial sector - do certain sectors like mining with its FIFO workers (Fly In Fly Out) experience greater levels of domestic violence along with the higher levels of drug and alcohol use?

alcohol and drug use, gambling

social connectedness vs isolation

nature of bonds and bonding with other men

presence or absence of healthy cross generational relationships with older male mentors
financial stress

rigid or flexible expectations and beliefs around male and female roles

beliefs around honour and shame

If anyone knows of research done in this area please point me to it

Male sexuality and # me too

We have many parts of ourselves, where and when - if anywhere -  will the subversive inappropriate self - the one that cares nothing for the superego or the past or the future or prudence or respectability or empathy - be allowed to live in the sun? If it is shamed into hiding will it just vanish? 

Once, I think perhaps for my 45th birthday, I went on a day long Tantra workshop. In one exercise the women were encouraged to dance freely and "womanly" in the centre of the room, while the men were asked to stand on the perimeter and "hunt" a particular woman they felt attracted to with their eyes or body language, or through dance ...I think direct touch may or may not have been excluded by the female facilitator. 

In such an environment, where we were being encouraged to play with a ritualized male female polarity, where men were being invited to own and act out a 'predatory' sexual role, and women to seduce or signal availability, and where all participants were consenting adults who had come to explore and find some kind of hoped for fulfillment, I found it "impossible" to participate in this exercise, and stood there wooden and paralysed and perhaps terrified of something (rejection? shaming?) that I had brought with me into the room from my past and conditioning. 

Certainly there were women there who moved me, but to own this in an overt and visible way was not accessible. And I experienced this as a kind of blockage in a natural flow...these things are nuanced and delicate and the reactive world with its fear driven approximations and demand for guarantees does not often support the kind of unpackings which really resolve an issue. 

"The seeing is the doing". (Krishnamurti)