Complexity and Contradiction; or, Thanksgiving Dinner inside My Head  

rm_connor696 61M
944 posts
8/18/2006 11:05 am

Last Read:
9/7/2008 4:59 pm

Complexity and Contradiction; or, Thanksgiving Dinner inside My Head


First they watched cartoons. Then, growing up, the boys played Streetfigher while the girls played the Sims. The girls read Sweet Valley High, as their mothers may have read Nancy Drew; the boys read graphic novels--Hellboy maybe, or manga--as their fathers had read the Hardy Boys mysteries. Later, some girls went on to read Jane Austen; some boys, Joseph Conrad. And they watched television shows, and listented to songs, and always the movies: the chick flicks and the actions films. So it comes to this:

She says:

He should be confidant (but not arrogant)
He should be ambitious (but always put our relationship first)
He should be attractive (but not given to girlish grooming)
He should a rock (but tender and open)
He should be emotionally close (but give me my space)
He should be a doer (but a listener)

And he says:

She should be agreeable to my needs and moods (but not clingy)
She should dress sexy (but not nag about my appearance)
She should be bright (but not argumentative)
She should be lusty (but not slutty)
She should see me as her world (but give me the space I need)
She should let me be me (but be open to all my suggestions for her)

Some people claim a purity of soul. They live lives characterized by a certain simplicity--some of them austere, as if they were monks governed by an order, but others simply single-minded, with every thought and action subserving an exclusive goal. And some even suggest that this outer unity reflects an inner one: they lead well-ordered lives because they remain absolutely true to their unchanging core identities.

Others--most of us, maybe--trip, stumble, and too often fall walking the shifting sands of hope and desire, of who we are and who we wish to be. Back in the 1907s pop psychology gurus used to speak of the "integrated self," as if these disparate and seemingly contradictory strands might be woven into a coherent pattern, a glorious tapestry synthesizing and harmonizing elements that otherwise clash noisily.

Maybe that is always possible. Maybe no set of tones can be so dissonant that a true genius could not arrange them into a coherent and unified work of beauty and power. Maybe. For the rest of us, though, we often end up trying simply to slough off one bit or another, jettisoning pieces of ourselves so that we don't end up like some kind of of Hydra, a many-headed beast frozen into immobility by the attempt to navigate several paths at once.

You can see this on so many of the profiles here, where the set of desired characteristics includes contradictory qualities. But the same phenomenon usually infuses our lives more generally. And maybe there is simply no help for it. Maybe we must just recognize it and, like Phaeton, hold on tight while the chariot sometimes careens out of our control. As Walt Whitman said, "I am large. I contain multitudes." Those multitudes are family, though, and like any family, they are far too involved with one another to get along without a lot of fireworks. Maybe we need simply to sit back and watch the show, all the while hoping we don't get burned too badly.

I've never seen The Sopranos, but I get the idea of a large, power-hungry family where various members are killed off, one by one. A lot of contemporary cognitive scientists now believe consciousness to be the result of that sort of internecine struggle: various versions of "reality" compete angainst one another, and consciousness is whatever version wins this interior--and preconscious--battle royale. Even so, they concede that perhaps the losers are not always as gracious as a code of chivalry might require. Perhaps they stick around, bitching and moaning, in a physiological analogue of Freudian repressed drives, leaving us always a bit unsatisfied. Wouda, shoulda, coulda . . .

I dunno. When I think about my "ideal woman" . . . well, first I laugh at myself for even considering the idea that some unique ideal is possible. Still, when I try to get specific, all I ever perceive is a field of possibilities against which different elements vie for attention, with one candidate popping out in a flash of salience and then another, contrary one upstaging the first--each, I fear, destined to be a "poor player that frets and struts his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more." I mean, I always fall back on the demand for a woman who is smart and slutty. But life is so much more than that, and as they say, the devil is in the detail.

Life is messy. And sometimes we do need to clean it up. But maybe sometimes we should just treat it like the big honkin' Rorshach test it is, and if one day that which looks like a vagina strikes us on another as obviously a butterfly, well, so be it. They are both pretty cool critters.

florallei 100F

8/18/2006 11:44 am

Well Connor, you never seem to fain in your delivery. So much meat on this post.

It always leaves me thinking in a new light or you have made me think period!

I do have an "Ideal Man"...I know what I want...the trouble is...it is never just found in one Man...sigh...as am sure you will agree with the other gender.

The list above of he or she says are ironically TRUE...I suppose a beautiful balance is in order.

TY for a delightful banquet.
hugs,
flo


free2chose2 67F

8/18/2006 1:00 pm

Where's the clay to cast this "ideal person"?

Don't worry, be Happy


rm_song2262 55F
643 posts
8/18/2006 1:05 pm

god Connor, you always hit it. I had recently had a vision of my own tapestry, each strand representing those who have walked with me on my journey. Some strands more visible, present, long-lasting. Others brief, like shots of silver, momentarily impacting my life. Other strands representing the complexities of me, the multilayers you express so succinctly in your writing.
Ah then the dilemma in desiring an IDEAL partner - "field of possibilities against which different elements vie for attention, with one candidate popping out in a flash of salience and then another, contrary one upstaging the first" I'm tired just contemplating it

florallei I agree with you, connor leaves us thinking in a new light, a beautiful balance IS in order, and the thoughts ARE a delightful banquet.

thanks to you both


nightis 54M

8/19/2006 6:00 am

Very interesting thoughts delivered with a fine perspective and pen! Very well done sir!


rm_connor696 61M
834 posts
8/19/2006 8:28 am

    Quoting florallei:
    Well Connor, you never seem to fain in your delivery. So much meat on this post.

    It always leaves me thinking in a new light or you have made me think period!

    I do have an "Ideal Man"...I know what I want...the trouble is...it is never just found in one Man...sigh...as am sure you will agree with the other gender.

    The list above of he or she says are ironically TRUE...I suppose a beautiful balance is in order.

    TY for a delightful banquet.
    hugs,
    flo
Awww, you're making me blush!

(Thank you.)


rm_connor696 61M
834 posts
8/19/2006 8:30 am

    Quoting free2chose2:
    Where's the clay to cast this "ideal person"?
Heh. Even if we had the clay, the matter would still be out of our hands, wouldn't it? So it goes.


rm_connor696 61M
834 posts
8/19/2006 8:33 am

    Quoting rm_song2262:
    god Connor, you always hit it. I had recently had a vision of my own tapestry, each strand representing those who have walked with me on my journey. Some strands more visible, present, long-lasting. Others brief, like shots of silver, momentarily impacting my life. Other strands representing the complexities of me, the multilayers you express so succinctly in your writing.
    Ah then the dilemma in desiring an IDEAL partner - "field of possibilities against which different elements vie for attention, with one candidate popping out in a flash of salience and then another, contrary one upstaging the first" I'm tired just contemplating it

    florallei I agree with you, connor leaves us thinking in a new light, a beautiful balance IS in order, and the thoughts ARE a delightful banquet.

    thanks to you both
Well. No one ever accused me of being succinct before!!

Maybe I'll see you later in that store . . . what's it called? Oh, yeah, "Organic Wholes R Us."


rm_connor696 61M
834 posts
8/19/2006 8:36 am

    Quoting nightis:
    Very interesting thoughts delivered with a fine perspective and pen! Very well done sir!
Here's the dirty little truth: be glad that I didn't use a pen, or the words would have been entirely illegible. (Though who's to say whether that would have been altogether bad?)

Thanks for the kind words.


rm_connor696 61M
834 posts
8/19/2006 8:41 am

    Quoting PreciousOrchid:
    Conner I wish I could come up with an elegance, considered clever comment tonight, but the only conclusion I have drawn is 'I can't decide what I want for supper, let alone what I want in a man'

    Hugs to you and have a wonderful new school year.
Hmmm. I would have thought the chief requirement for both a man and a dish for supper would be the same: one that stays down.

Hugs back atcha.


rm_FreeLove999 47F
16127 posts
8/23/2006 4:08 am

it's kinda funny that when i met gaeb, i had "put out" to the "universe" the ideal sort of man i was looking for and gaeb met every criteria, which was really unsettling at the time, and made me feel unstable and crazy. after knowing him some months now tho, i realise that even tho he matched my criteria, there are things that i didn't put on the list, that are important to me, criteria he doesn't match. so he is not my ideal.

the funny thing about that is i find that easier to handle emotionally than i found it to handle meeting this "ideal". i actually enjoy the more complex possibilities of relating -- learning to relate -- to the imperfect. i am more conscious than ever now that a relationship is something you MAKE/BUILD/CONSTRUCT/CREATE together, it is a process of invention -- quite separate, in many ways, from the personalities/ characters of the humans in that relationship.

as a creative individual, i enjoy the "pieces" i am making in collaboration with others that i am in relationships with. therefore, it ceases to be about "characteristics" as such, and more about two people willing to enjoy the process of creation -- creation of relating.

(i haven't read the philosophical treatise "the many headed hydra", but thru knowing people who have, have some borrowed ideas from it. i believe very much that i am not one self, but a multitude, and i actually enjoy the freedom of that. one self is, i find, too confining. and in political resistance, having many faces makes it difficult for the fascists to fight us all at once or to destroy every face...)

p.s. i am not normally attracted to older men, but i find you incredibly sexy both in the way you think and the way you look



[blog freelove999]


rm_connor696 replies on 8/23/2006 6:49 am:
Hey, thanks!! I hadn't even heard of the book "The Many-Headed Hydra," but now I have, and its quasi-Marxist theses (that capitalism inevitably produces a multicultral democratic movement) sounds intriguing.

I totlly agree with you about the creation of love. I'll even go farther and use a dirty word, "commitment," because I do believe that commitment helps you build a relationship when you confront one of those areas where you're thinking, "Hmm, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind."

The best of luck to you and yours, especially Thandi, who has one hell of an adventure coming up.

WyndePrincess 47F

10/17/2006 6:31 pm

I know you're not a book review club, but there's a book that has helped me a great deal with communications between the sexes You Just Don't Understand, women and men in conversation
(Deborah Tannen, Ph. D.) She proposes some interesting connections between Intimacy and Independence.
CatWyndePrincess


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