Sacrificing for an Imagined Good
When we believe the “right” relationship will secure good circumstances, we assume we know today what this bond should look like in the future. When we attempt to make human interaction similar to ideas we reject other alternatives. We turn our lovers into just a means. Let’s be clear, I use others as means but they have a value beyond that as ends. A lovers happiness, serving no purpose for me, is better than unhappiness obligated to me.
People seduced by visions of contented monogamy or polyamorous bliss carry a concept where everyone is happier than they would be otherwise. This ideal is creative in terms of trial and error or a goddamn curse. We can never eat imaginary fruit and no relationship will be the thoughts about it. Moreover, when we fail to meet our mental standard, our life measured against the model can seem flawed. Our disappointments are NOT necessarily because of a problem but simply because of a difference between the events and our ideal. Despite countless ‘how to’ articles suggesting the contrary, many traditionalists and nonconformist’s both are miserable examples of sexuality for the reasons stated above. The issue put bluntly looks like the following.
“Anything the world might avail me is flawed if differences exist between it and my ideal.”
The arrogance of such thinking can’t be escaped. Partisans of relationship mythology will not state it so crassly. Fanciful concepts remain obscured in honey-words like, “you need to find the right person”, or “don’t settle for less than what you truly deserve, etc.” Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying one should accept bad circumstances. Leaving something harmful and dissatisfaction with anything different from an imagined standard are two different responses. In the latter, we must assume knowledge of everything the world might offer and the wisdom to judge it. Furthermore, we devalue partner(s) that can’t help us meet our goal.
We hide dangerous beliefs behind beautiful intentions. The world does not exist to satisfy our expectations. Moreover, among different people sexual ideas are often incompatible. Assuming anyone had the ‘best’ idea, how the hell could anyone know it true? In human relations, general ideas rest on shaky ground. Even if the beliefs were ever true in certain situations, the participants themselves cannot reproduce those events, let alone those who would imitate them.
Folks are quick to point out moments of real or imagined happiness in themselves or others as evidence for their beliefs. How many times have you observed happiness dissipate when a previously unknown fact becomes clear? Any belief that looks to joy as a measure of its truth must account for the fact that delusion or deception often abound with delightful feelings. A carefree spouse suddenly discovering a betrayal finds him or herself in a different state.
Any bias I may have in favor of the sexually adventurous does not blind me to the fact that many so-called open folks are simply taking a vacation (at times an extended one) from their customary beliefs. When circumstances become difficult old prejudices often re-emerge.
We tend to think we know what someone believes by looking at behavior but this is misleading. If someone stands naked reaching for the faucet in a shower, that person probably believes water will come out, yes we see that belief. Yet someone may do things contrary to their belief in order pursue a desire and this creates confusion.
- The beliefs that really have a hold on people are those to which they will eventually return.
Anyone might treat imagination as ground to stand on. A virgin, traditionalist, or someone sexually indulgent can fall into this trap. Beliefs built on fiction become worse when the ideas have the support of others or ‘authority.’ Also, an experienced person will have real knowledge to weave into some ideal, like arraigned props in a performance making the show more realistic. A man might know something about the clitoris but the knowledge of important facts will not make any other untrue idea into its opposite.
People do not simply mature with sexual experience and believing they do creates undeserving authorities. A fool can fuck and stay foolish and repetitions of sex with any number of partners will not necessarily help. Let us be careful assuming another an expert when the events involved, assuming they really happened, cannot really happen again.
Our love should NOT conform to prejudice, not even a beautiful one. Present events can help guide how we relate if we can see them clearly. We should use the mind, not to alter facts but rather to adapt ourselves to events, especially those that are new. We should not confuse rebellion against ideas with the recognition that a belief is false and the same holds for beliefs about our lovers and ourselves.
Now we are talking about discovery.
By Todd Vickers
1. Paraphrase of William James
Pragmatism and Other Writings (Penguin Classics)
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Edit: 11/21/2014 Grammar
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