.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

War of the Genders

A confrontational soapbox for rants and politically incorrect manifestos regarding feminism, chauvinism, dating and gender issues.

Name:
Location: Jerusalem, Israel

This isn't a dating site. If you wish to propose marriage or to beat me up, leave me a note.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Orgy on a Leash

Why seek a utopia? Why go to extremes? Why not lead a moderately enjoyable, but safe and simple life?

Does everything have to be black and white? Why describe relationships with such extreme words and why make things so difficult when we can just lay back and have safe, sober fun with minimal maintenance and no dangerous attachments? Why not have easy-going, simple friendships instead of intense romance? Why invest so much in one person and not simply throw a net and catch several moderate pleasures at once? One may even argue that to go for extremes is to increase the chance of failure and unhappiness.

First, as explored earlier, there is the issue of power and its dangers. When playing around electricity, you either follow strict rules, take all necessary precautions, and go the exra mile, or you get electrified. It's very black and white. You can be a mediocre piano player and get enjoyment out of it, but a piano can't blow up in your face.

Then again, perhaps you can say that relationships have different levels of enjoyment and that you are satisfied with the moderate but safer levels. Is it possible to have safe, mediocre, dispassionate but practical and fun relationships? I suppose it's theoretically possible, but I hold that this is difficult and restrictive and usually only suitable to those with an easy-going (i.e. boring) temperament. The truth is, moderating a fire is much more dangerous than the two extremes of putting out the fire or learning the strict rules of living in it.

Also, in many cases, the person living this lifestyle is simply dysfunctional and incapable of fire in the first place, which explains the lack of danger.

And even if it were possible, I dislike mediocrity. Many people wish they were super-heroes but the fact is, all humans have superpowers which are either ignored, or undeveloped, or undisciplined. Man has wings to fly, yet is content with taking the train - is it any wonder he hits his head on the ceiling?

To adequately explain my love for extremes however, we must dig into the concept of pleasure:

Judaism is the only religion I know of that punishes people in the after-life for not enjoying physical pleasures. Not that man is obligated to pursue pleasures or to make pleasure a goal and live the life of a hedonist, but he is punished for not making his work in this world pleasurable. There is a subtle but crucial difference between seeking pleasure, and enjoying what you do. Obviously there are rules and restrictions, but uncalled-for fasting, celibacy, and other forms of fanatical restraint are considered very negative traits.

To do what is necessary with the added value of pleasure has the effect of getting your body to co-operate. It harnesses the pleasure drive and raises the whole package of spirit, body and materialism together instead of forcing the body to grumble and stay detached while you tend to 'more important matters'. In the end, pleasure isn't just for fun, it's for growth and restoration. Judaism doesn't preach that this world is only temptations, weaknesses or even distractions; the world is a toolbox and one must accomodate and involve the body by partaking in pleasures.

Also, to eat healthily is to ingest a variety of foods and vitamins; To grow spiritually is to expand one's understanding; To experience God is to grasp the absolute, unlimited, flowing potentialities of his existence and to note their comprehensive and rich variety of physical instances in the world he created. In other words, a theoretically limited viewpoint and experience is un-Godlike.

A Jew has blessings to recite when he hasn't tasted from certain foods in over a year, and blessings for when he sees beautiful landscapes and phenomena. This both teaches and encourages Jews to take note and experience a variety of pleasures and then to remember their source. But note again how easy it would be to slip from enjoying the richness of life, to pursuing enjoyment or indulging in physical whims. Jews are punished for not enjoying what their eyes see in nature and the supermarket, not for not travelling to Timbuktu to find a new exotic fruit.

There is a framework for pleasure. Pleasure is one of the means, not the goal, and yet, at the same time, pleasure must be embraced and indulged in. It's interesting to note that the word 'orgy' originally had to do with worship ('work') of Greek dieties. Only the modern term took on the meaning of unrestrained pleasure for pleasure's sake.

For me, there's an additional message in the obligation for pleasure which is that mediocrity is a 'sin'. The commandment to enjoy the pleasures of this world is a warning against pursuing safe, one-dimensional lifestyles. You must partake in pleasures and to do so means harnessing powers and letting yourself be thrown into the forge. To stay safe and avoid dangerous pleasures is death. To experience dispassionate relationships encourages passivity. To quell or detach from fiery lusts and romantic passion is to give up power. To marry just in order to have someone to chat and have sex with is unchallenging.

There are two negative aspects to a life of asceticism: The neglect of the physical world, and the abstinence from stimuli.

This lack of extremism also shows itself in the way we date nowadays. More and more people look for 'non-pressured' open relationships, we filter out any potential intensity and challenge by choosing safe, non-complicated people, we postpone the commitment phase as long as possible, and instead of leaving sex to the end as relationship candy, we immediately bite the candy, swallow all of its sugar in the first few seconds, and thus burn the natural fuel that would have pushed us to make the relationship special. To have sex too fast and then work on the relationship is to eat all the sugar before baking the cake.

Note that my goal here is not to preach about 'sinful' sex. Quite the opposite: I'm trying to show that we are not tapping into full enjoyment and power. We are cheating ourselves of deep, passionate pleasure by taking shortcuts. Pleasure is not a prize, it's a benefit and a boost and itself benefits when placed within a framework. If it were the prize there would be no downside to cheating and grabbing it before we run the marathon.

Everyone is in search of the orgasm, the multiple orgasm, Tantric sex, exotic positions and techniques, exciting sex games, sex counselors, etc. but don't realize that to add more sugar only desensitizes you to sugar. To enhance sugar you must work on its context and framework. When attached to powerful goals, the candy becomes sweeter and richer, but when the candy is the goal, the sweetness eventually runs out. When you focus only on new sexual positions to keep the fire going, you are ripping open the golden goose instead of feeding the goose.

So on the one side we have focus and restraint enhancing our power, on the other we have indulgence in pleasure driving us to experience more and to experience it fully. When merged, to restrain is to enhance and therefore indulge, to indulge is to focalize and therefore restrain. The result of both is to intensify.

I don't know about you but in these matters I'm a power-hungry, foolhardy extremist. I'm sick of zombies with fake grins distorting their faces. I want focused passion that will burn through everything but the best. I want to bungee jump into relationships, not amble through them. Perhaps I will fall harder sometimes, but in the end I will wear my cape and fly.

Moderation is a fatal thing... Nothing succeeds like excess.
Oscar Wilde

I have but the simplest taste - I am always satisfied with the best
Oscar Wilde

11 Comments:

Blogger peacefulwoman76 said...

Wow. You know, I read this entry twice before I felt able to respond in an intelligent manner. The points you made were made in a way I had never heard. I have thought about my own past relationships recently as I have been experiencing a sense of unfullfillment in that area. I am also the type to fall in head first and often end up hurt. I am now battling the survival instinct to go with the non-relationship. The one that is superficial and no one knows eachother beyond a favorite dinner or sexual position. These are not fullfilling. We all know that.

The Judaism info that you have been sharing is all quite new to me. I know very little about Judaism, but the idea of being more aware of the pleasures we have on a daily basis is awesome. If we could all just stop taking them for granted, then maybe we would feel a little more peace. Well, maybe it is just me.

You mentioned that you felt those who were satisfied with the mediocre has the easy-going personality that you described as boring. Also, that they are disfunctional and "encapable of the fire in the first place". Don't you feel that you might be being a little harsh here? Maybe they are satisfied with mediocrity because they have never experienced anything better. What if your definition of mediocrity in something is different from thiers/mine? If that person was shown something more spectacular and pleasurable, then don't you think they might learn to achieve it as they come to crave it more?

Ah, well. You certainly gave me much to ponder. I have long thought and believed that sex in a relationship too early is an effectual death wish. However, sometimes it is too long between feelings of passion, that mediocrity being so overwhelming, that when the passion is there, we loose our thoughts. We need be stronger, yes, but human we still are. Some of us are striving to better ourselves.

June 11, 2005 4:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Strict rules for fire…”- that is almost an oxymoron... I guess a sentence like that could only come from someone with a real passion for extremes…

Doesn’t living in the fire pretty much mean letting go of rules? Don’t you think that having rules pushes towards that safe relationship you spoke so little of?

Isn’t having a “framework for pleasure” just being restrictive?

How can you really fully explore something if you have such strict rules?

And finally, with such boundaries, frameworks and strict rules- how is it possible to fly?

P.S- I enjoyed the cake metaphor (although I don’t completely agree with it:)

June 11, 2005 9:27 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

To (sometimes) peacefulwoman:

Thanks for the feedback.

Regarding Judaism and pleasures: The goal is not just to remind one of pleasures but also to remind one to put them in their correct framework and understand their scope and variety, each with its own meaning or purpose.

Regarding the 'easy-going' personality: I did use the words 'many' and 'usually'. Obviously there may be other reasons for leading this lifestyle. Some may choose this easier lifestyle for painful reasons as well but that's exactly what I think Judaism is warning against: Giving up and choosing safe, unchallenging, superficial relationships.

Note that there's also the extreme of being reckless: Choosing bad partners to jump into the fire with or choosing incompatible or needlessly difficult people. That's the thing here: controlled extremity. The extreme is in how far you go with it, not in how reckless you are.

June 12, 2005 4:57 am  
Blogger Baron said...

To anonymous:

I suppose I may have overused metaphors just a tad. Also, obviously, most metaphors break down when analyzed too much.

But see, I differentiate between different kinds of extremes, and more importantly, I believe in controlled extremes. As the (provocative) title suggests, it's a controlled orgy (which is an oxymoron but suggests the idea I'm trying to describe here).

So yes, there are restraints and rules, but as explained, these only serve to intensify. The restrictions actually serve to make things more extreme. Letting go to chaos and what people nowadays call 'freedom' only serves to dissipate the power. To restrict is to focus, like a laser, and this makes things exponentially more powerful.

To be extreme doesn't mean to do anything you want. It means to push for the strongest goals of all using what is necessary to achieve that goal.

Also, as mentioned in my previous comment, it would be silly to be reckless.

Do you think birds don't follow strict rules when flying? Ever see the hard work and discipline it takes an eagle to reach those heights? Do you think it doesn't need control so as not to plummet when the wind blows it out of line?

June 12, 2005 9:33 am  
Blogger June said...

I see you write mostly about relationships, but in my opinion everything can be applied to other life issues as well.
I read today "If you're hanging onto any situation which isn't love-based, you must either heal it or leave it. If you don't, it will leave you". I understand love in the quote and passion as you describe it as the same principle.

June 12, 2005 5:33 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

Well I consciously keep a very strong focus in my blog so that even if I bring up general subjects like pleasure, passion, holiness, determinism, extremes etc., I make sure to link it to a gender/relationship issue.

The quote you posted may or not be relevant - it sounds like it is. But I would have to understand the context and its definitions of 'situation' and 'love' first.

June 12, 2005 9:26 pm  
Blogger peacefulwoman76 said...

I wonder, do you believe in the "happy medium"? That is,in the area of relationships. Can a person find someone who sets them on fire physically and intellectually and still be able to keep the "easy-going" persona alive. For instance, some of us want that fire. Crave it to prove we have a connection with the other person, but it is often the wrong thing. Some of us look for someone who doesn't set us on fire, but someone we are comfortable around. This often leading to boredom and boredom to other ways of entertaining themselves. There are good arguements for each goal, however, can their be a "happy medium"? Can I have someone who sets me on fire, but causes me to be comfortable too?

I agree that much of what you write can be applied to other life issues, however, I see those other life issues being mainly relationship related. Not necessarily male/female but, those that are same gender and even power-oriented.

Found the mine, huh? Oh well...I am not going for the same goal as you with mine. I hope you enjoy it. You might even find a little insight into the female psyche.

(sometimes) Peacefulwoman

June 13, 2005 8:31 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

To (occasionally) peacefulwoman

I'm not sure I understand why you portray the extremity/fire I mentioned and comfort as exclusive.

I mainly discussed two types of extremes: Extreme pleasure (which forces us to get closer and work for a deeper relationship), and extreme goals (to go for the most power and things that give you growth potential and challenge).

Regarding the former: I don't know about you, but extreme pleasure and passion makes me feel very comfortable. And besides, having an intense romance obviously doesn't mean being swept off your feet 24 hours a day. Couples sleep, cuddle, read books, go to work, study, eat. Where is there room for feeling uncomfortable here? If someone feels uncomfortable with intense passion then I'd say there's a fear factor involved and perhaps some baggage he/she needs to deal with.

Regarding the latter: OK, so challenges are not always comfortable. But again, if a relationship is 24-hour difficulties then there's something wrong. I thought it would be obvious that I'm not portraying an ideal relationship as one that is always difficult. Also, most of the challenges are external and are achieved together with the aid of this intensely close relationship, and therefore don't necessarily introduce a lack of comfort.

So yes, I believe in a 'happy medium'. We can lead an intense, extreme, and comfortable relationship. There's no contradiction there.

Perhaps you are talking about a difficult personality vs. one that is comfortable to be with. But that's irrelevant to the discussion. You can have a gentle personality and have an extreme relationship, or vice versa.

I understand that when you say 'easy-going' you are referring to the personality I mentioned that has no extreme relationships. I.e. you are asking to merge the easier lifestyle of purely dispassionate relationships with purely passionate ones. But rather than try to merge black and white, I'm trying to show that 'extreme' doesn't mean 'uncomfortable'.

If you are asking whether an extreme and passionate relationship can be also 'easy' and not such a roller-coaster, then the answer is no. If you want to live easier lifestyles then go ahead, but you'll be missing out. And that's the whole point of my post.

And what do you mean by 'it is often the wrong thing'? Why is it wrong? Unless you mean that it's an unhealthy relationship with something missing and therefore this craving for passion comes from a bad place.

Also (but this is irrelevant), if comfort leads to boredom and boredom to a wandering eye then that's purely the person's fault. It's up to people to be loyal, not the relationship.

June 14, 2005 9:24 am  
Blogger Baron said...

P.S. By the way, a fiery, extreme relationship can have benefits and levels of comfort that 'easy-going' ones can never reach.

With a detached relationship there are some issues or personal problems you would feel uncomfortable raising if only for the fact that they have never been raised before. With intensely close relationships, chances are you dealt with the biggest issues already, and are therefore comfortable talking about them again and have probably found some kind of solution or compromise which makes things a lot more comfortable.

This also includes personal problems that you may have that your partner could help you with if you were close.

So it can be argued that extreme relationships are much MORE comfortable than dispassionate ones.

June 14, 2005 10:16 am  
Blogger peacefulwoman76 said...

I don't believe I will ask about why you said (occasionally) peacefulwoman instead of (sometimes). I think I know why.

I am glad to hear you say that you believe in a "happy medium". I am even more so that you say that an extreme relationship can also be comfortable. I also believe that it exists, although, having never experienced it, my faith in it sometimes weakens and I begin to question whether I am asking for too much. I don't think so.

As for "it is often the wrong thing", I was refering to it being a situation were it is all passion of the physical kind where a person can get burned easily.

Thank you for your insight and for sharing it with even when I got off topic. There are many things that I used to think I understood when it comes to male/female relationships, that I have recently begun to question.

Some people believe that there are "soulmates" for everyone, do you? Do you feel that a person experience an extreme relationship with more than one person in their lifetime? (ok. that was off topic too- just curious.)

June 14, 2005 5:58 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

More than one extreme relationship, definitely. A soulmate is a complicated matter however and it may be the topic of a future article if I ever do the research necessary.

June 15, 2005 3:26 pm  

Post a Comment

Links:

Create a Link

<< Home