“Why Happy Couples Cheat | Esther Perel | TED Talks”

Having previously listened to Esther Perel’s audiobook Mating in Captivity, I am glad to stumble across her talk here on TED.

“Steve Harvey: What Makes a Man in Today’s World”

Interested in checking out Steve’s book now.

“World Views and Values: Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women” (lectures 4-6)

Continuing with Dr. Sadler’s lecture series on Mary Wollstonecraft’s views, picking back up with lecture 4:

Lecture 5:

Lecture 6:

As always, terrific lectures. This series has been especially timely and useful to me. The first 3 lectures are available here.

Entertaining ourselves to death with extreme negativity?

Got to thinking about something again today that went through my mind a while back. Has focusing so much attention on the online “manosphere” and its claims and drama these last 2+ years actually contributed to worsening the guilt complex I’ve developed during my latest relationship? Because I can see points where it certainly didn’t help, like when it came to all the bashing of women and speaking about us as being these horrible people out to take advantage of men and laughing about us “hitting the wall” by hitting age 30 and ridiculing females who put on any weight, etc. It’s like, geez…listening to and reading some of that shit is a mindfuck in its own right. I kept looking into it because I was curious and obviously am interested in social dynamics and all the ways it can play out, plus how the future appears to be unfolding in the U.S. and elsewhere, plus imbalances in power and questions of justice — but damn. That “manospherian” shit can be toxic to keep consuming. Bad for the mind and spirit, not helpful if the goal is to heal gender relations where possible, and just cruel more often than not.

Don’t think I would’ve stayed around to listen and read so much of that if I hadn’t already been in a precarious spot emotionally and socially, though it certainly didn’t improve any of that. Mostly made me think society is going mad and ramped up my fear of having to return to the dating scene. And I think it’s played into my insecurities more than anything else, not enlightened me on how to become a better person. It’s looking to me now to be one of the negative influences feeding into my life and darkening my worldview, which has proven no good for me or anybody I interact with. Just a bunch of mean-spiritedness mostly and that shit can poison one’s mind and outlook.

Taken up too much time dealing with those circles and their incessant negativity and bitterness. There are a few people who affiliate with those groups whom I still do like and intend to continue interacting with, but overall I’m ready to take a BIG step away from all that drama. Because what is it really achieving? People are hurt and lash out in response — I get it. But where does the reacting end? What comes next? I don’t want to stay steeped in anger and pain and resentment for years and years. Whole demographics of people aren’t the enemy, only select individuals are, and every demographic contains some assholes and jerks.

Sometimes shit just goes wrong between people, and while the blame game may feel satisfying for a minute, it doesn’t actually improve a thing in going forward. We’re all mad at and hurt by some folks out here in the world, and if we’re honest with ourselves we’d likely recognize that we’re not saints either and have done our share of causing pain to others as well. Welcome to human life. It’s complicated. None of us escape this existence unscathed. To live is to be active, which makes us actors, and we all impact one another whether we realize it or not, regardless even of what we might intend.

Once again, nobody promised us a rose garden. It largely is what we make of it, though we can’t help but be impacted by others. And some of them are gonna break our hearts, and we’re gonna break some of theirs too. Or offend, or obstruct, or annoy, or enrage, etc. Some of them are going to prove reckless and inconsiderate and even downright mean at times…but that’s life. I can be awfully mean too and won’t pretend otherwise. So far as I can tell, we humans are a mixed up lot. Living is a learning process and all of us fail at times and make bad choices and behave in ways we wish we hadn’t, and the best we can do with that is learn from these experiences and try to move forward. Stewing in pain and anger for years on end winds up holding us back, does it not? I understand that we all go through phases and life can be extremely overwhelming at times to where we just have to hunker down and lick our wounds for a while, but doing so isn’t the basis for a movement. And whipping people who are already down into a further panicked frenzy doesn’t help a thing, just ensures the pain keeps paying forward.

We like to think that what goes on online doesn’t really bleed over into our everyday lives, but that’s not true. These attitudes do carry over, and people can be genuinely affected by the vitriolic harshness they’re exposed to online. I worry most for younger people with limited life experience who take so much of this negativity in and start believing in it uncritically. Because that’s not doing them any favors, not really. Then someone like me comes along and stumbles across that “manosphere” stuff and it just enhances my own worries and stokes my own aggressiveness and defensiveness. Men and women do tend to differ in ways, but so what? We all differ in countless ways regardless of our sex/gender or race or nationality or political leanings or whatever else. Humans are a diverse species, as should be pretty obvious to us. And lots and lots of us will find reasons to take issue with one another. That’s just life. We all impact and react, so it’s a question of becoming more conscious of all of that and figuring out what power we do possess and how to hopefully wield it in a more productive way. Because what else do we have? Everybody else on earth aren’t about to change to suit us and our individual preferences. Sure, charlatans and users do exist — absolutely they do. Helps to be cognizant of that. But do we want to become fearful? Do we want to become hateful and spiteful? If not, then we better become aware of what we’re taking in and how that may be influencing our outlooks.

I don’t want to live mired in pain and anger over the past anymore. Spent enough years going through that. Really don’t want to deal with that for the rest of my life. Would like to become a better person, because lord knows the person I’ve been hurting the most through all these years has been my own self. Not to mention the toll it can take on one’s loved ones. I don’t want to keep falling prey to my insecurities or to continue viewing myself in a negative light. So I no longer have the patience to continue listening to people spew cruel words about entire groups of people, looking to inflict emotional pain and nervousness onto others because they themselves are malcontent. Helps nobody. Doesn’t even help them in the end. Nobody out here is perfect. Besides that, the people being impacted by these harsh messages aren’t likely the intended audience so much as the curious onlookers and those that care enough to take the time to listen to someone else’s point of view. So they’re not even whipping the people they’re wanting to whip since those people wouldn’t grant them the opportunity. Instead they’re just whipping themselves into a frenzy and upsetting one another and people like me who are prone to stare into the abyss for long spells of time. In short, the hurt and angry are impacting others who are hurt and angry and/or curious, and that’s about it. Those who don’t care aren’t listening in the first place, and those who do wind up receiving the hard time and blame. Well, I don’t have energy for that anymore.

Healing and moving forward is my personal aim at this point, so I’m going to try to seek out sources and information that aid in that endeavor. Two years proved to be enough of taking that all in. Learned some things that altered my outlook by broadening my concern horizon, so that part was worthwhile, but the incessant blaming and bitching and stereotyping is just nuts. And hopefully more people will figure that out themselves and choose to move on too.

Men are not all capable of being on the same “team” because men are not all equal.

Tonight I read a post from a participant on AVFM’s forum named Wio, and here’s the snippet I’d like to zero in on:

Taking a risk does not make you less of a man and taking precaution does not make you a greater man, so I see no contradiction here. MGTOW is not some standard of how to be a “real” man, and I’m pretty sure we all agreed such standards need not exist.

 

Are there not better men than others? Men more deserving of being esteemed and treated with honor and respect more than some others? And couldn’t the same also be said of women? Even while taking into account whatever differences we generally may have.

The question really is where we draw the lines, and obviously that can divvy up in countless ways across the spectrum. I understand what I personally esteem and appreciate in men, as well as what strikes me as notably honorable in women. A bit tricky trying to spell that out for others since it’s a nuanced understanding within myself that has evolved over time (and likely will only continue to evolve). But I do distinguish between people and don’t pretend they/we are all constituted equally. No. We are not all equal, and that’s not just solely determined along sex/gender lines. Simply put, some men are pieces of shit, as are some women, for whatever reasons. How many? Who can clearly say? But we know lowlifes exist across both of the sexes. Fact of life, subjectively determined as it can’t help but be.

So let’s stop for a moment and think about how it divvies up among males in particular, since some in the conversation pertaining to the in-fighting between “MGTOWs” and MRAs, particularly folks being haphazardly labeled as “traditionalists” simply because they choose to marry (or at least might be open to and tolerant of marriage). That’s somehow “the enemy” now, yeah — I’ve read and watched some of this shit unfold. Makes me long for a better hobby.  LOL

not_equalMen are not all equal, just as humans in general are not all equal. Can’t force us to all be either. Different natures, different genes, different socialization experiences, different drives. Etc. Not one and the same. Might be equal in some sense under that which we like to call God, or perhaps to a larger extent nowadays operating according to that which has been deemed The Law — that much I agree with. But each and all equally constituted? Not a chance.

A few are very sick and demented, as we’re all aware of and crime stories attest to. Some others out here are feeling very jilted, and perhaps in however many cases justifiably so through no fault of their own (at least initially). But a number of these jilted people are working with very limited experiences that they feel profoundly impacted by; sometimes legitimately so, but for others it’s like they fixated on the loss or heartache so intensely for so long that it warped them. They became a hater. That is, in this case, one driven to destroy that which is sacred to others out of covetousness and spite. They who began desiring to paint it all black. Some envy you and yet cannot or will not be like you. Some scorn you for having access to what they think they want and should be entitled to. And however many believe they ought to act on impulse and work to take away what another has because they’re so damned miserable with their own existence that they have grown to strongly resent others with lives that resemble their idyllic fantasies. That serving as just one example of how destructive drives may play out. There unarguably are those who aim to directly prey on folks who threaten their own insecurities. We know these cases do exist.

That initial comment just tapped into a can of worms I’ve been pondering on a while now. In reality, not all men are on the same side. Can’t be. Fundamental differences between them do exist. Just as not all women are on the same side as one another, though females are generally reported to be more collectivist or at least communal in nature. But in terms of masculine ideologies — doesn’t work that way. Impossible to all be on the same “team.” That’s gender-ideology-taken-too-far way of thinking, and it won’t work, not unless the haters all came to rule key social hierarchies and sufficiently intimidated most other males into adapting to their ways of being or standing down — not likely to happen.

All women aren’t one way and looking for the same things necessarily in a mate, same as with men. We know this. And yet people sit there and debate as if they subscribe to some universalized truth. Like the sexes, categorically, having irreconcilable differences and therefore sex segregation is in order (?). Some people online like to get nuts on this shit, especially young people operating with rather limited life experiences while saturated with ideologies. What’s most important winds up being obscured by comparably trivial distractions. But there are strikingly different worldviews among men that will prove every bit as irreconcilable as, if not more so than, the natural divide between the sexes.

But getting back to the original YT topic threads in question…  Simply enjoying one’s marriage, even if both spouses work, is now considered “traditionalist”? Living together is now deemed “traditionalist”? What next? Gonna label having a girlfriend as “traditionalist”? Having sex with women? Even acknowledging women? How Orwellian. Seriously.

People are blowing my mind. Not sure what to make of what all we’re trying to do here. I can sympathize to varying degrees, but damn. We’re not all on the same team here, not according to sex or race or class or whatever else we may identify with. And the “enemy” of my “enemy” isn’t always necessarily my friend by default. Not a secret.

This notion of all men coming together won’t happen because males tend to be more individualistic. That unavoidably matters. So males are forced to adopt different strategies as a result. However many clans wind up going their own ways. It will be interesting to observe how that may unfold. That is, if the online “manosphere” can manage to not get mired in unproductive drivel the way Feminism has.

Anyway, enough rambling for tonight.

____________________________________

March 18, 2015: Decided to record reading this post aloud:

“HYPERGAMY VS MGTOW”

An interesting take on the MGTOW “movement,” claims of “hypergamy,” and a breakdown of the positions of men in our modern society:

That video was created by Sarge willie Pete.

“Using MGTOW As An Excuse”

A video titled “Using MGTOW As An Excuse” by the Critical G:

Watched several of his videos by now and generally appreciate where he’s coming from, especially in this very reasonable video.

Excerpts from Warren Farrell’s book “Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say”

Excerpt 1:

Excerpt 2:

Excerpt 3:

“Woman, Be Silent!” (plus my thoughts)

Tonight finishing listening to The Thinking Atheists’s podcast titled “Woman, Be Silent!”:

Rarely do I listen to podcasts of any sort, but I found this one interesting. Was already familiar with pretty much everything mentioned therein, but it was still worthwhile to listen to. I like the podcaster’s style and his decency toward guests. Very refreshing, especially for an atheist (just keeping it real). Provided me with food for thought.

Like the story of Lilith, which I’ve known about for several years but never really deeply studied up on. Should do that. (Btw, hence “Lilith Fairs” attended by feminists and lesbians.) The way I interpret that story is it represents the pre-domesticated woman.

See, this rise of civilization has been all about domestication. First humans aimed to domesticate animals, then came humans, with the rise in male-dominated (religious) hierarchies taking the role of domesticator of womenfolk (that being my current thoughts and understanding on that anyway). Just the way history shook out. And the “wild woman” is something that’s been demonized pretty heavily ever since. Sad fact of life apparently, says one modern wildish woman out in the crowd. The wild woman couldn’t be properly broken, which is a big reason why she’s been written out of history and left forgotten in religious circles — no one wants to speak her name except when condemning her. She’s considered a pain in the ass, unwilling to submit. Fell out of favor for a long time, yet, that spirit seems to be brewing back around again, though commonly in a distorted way that proves to be what some consider excessively hedonistic and promiscuous. Guess it comes down to one’s perspective on the matter. This is a time of sexual liberation but also of learning consequences resulting thereof. Can and does present tough lessons to reckon with.

I’ve been thinking about all of this wild woman vs. domesticated woman stuff for quite a long time as I’ve been forced to wrestle with my own lifestyle’s impact on myself and others. And I’m still left with a lot of mixed feelings.

On one hand, the push toward domestication disgusts me — it feels too unnatural, too restrictive at times, too often rendering what was once on some level regarded as sacred into popularized rubbish. Our needs aren’t apparently getting met, hence why we’re so prone to continue deceiving one another. We feel the need to explore despite it not being considered socially proper during certain life phases. And I’d argue we’re being driven into one another’s arms sexually all the more because so many of our other bonds have broken down. What at first seems like rampant hedonism on the surface might actually be a glimpse at the reality created through the utilization of remaining avenues of exploration and connection in a time when so much else is denied or rendered foreign to us. It’s a thought.

And on the other hand, there is a real need for self-control in each individual. We can’t just give into any and all impulses and whims — doing so will undermine the very values that we claim to esteem. Like loyalty and romantic faithfulness in a union. Most people can’t help but care about this (though I personally remain on the fence and in the outfield on the subject — double standards admittedly continue twisting me up). We value certain bonds over others, and each relationship sets its own parameters. But there still appears to be this need to deny desires at times so as to focus that energy on projects deserving to be catered to or bonds willfully being committed to. Because that’s the way life goes — we each have social needs and obligations. That requires a give and a take, which means not doing everything we might individually want whenever it strikes our fancy.

I know I personally struggle with some of this, as one highly individualistic and defiant one out in the bunch. Blame it on my immaturity if you must, but I’m still not sold on where to go from here. While I know that I don’t desire to resume my previous lifestyle since it wound up leading into some dark places, I’m not so interested in pretending to be someone I’m not in an effort to appease someone else’s ideal. Can’t do it anymore. Tried and crashed and burned. Epic and sad failure on my part.

I just don’t know what to do now other than take time to think and sort and ponder.

Getting back to the podcast, I really appreciate how well the podcaster treated the female Methodist pastor. Very respectful despite their differences in perspectives. My family is Methodist, and it is more lenient than Baptist faiths I encountered down South. Just to throw it out there, my ex-husband had been raised and home-schooled in a Primitive Baptist family where his father became a preacher. His father didn’t tolerate women wearing pants either, and he believed it was within his right to continue belting his adult daughters, to mistreat his sons, and to punish his wife physically. Very full of himself. So yeah, I understand much variation exists out there, especially comparing Southern experiences to liberal Christians up here in the Midwest. Big differences.

Also, I too appreciated Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book Infidel and would recommend it to others as food for thought. Very disturbing and illuminating read.

[Lightly edited on 10/7/2014 for greater clarity.]