We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.
Why do so many forces resist our sustained fulfillment? Why is conventional marriage so much damned work? How has the incessant, grinding campaign of socio-scientific insistence upon the naturalness of sexual monogamy combined with a couple thousand years of fire and brimstone failed to rid even the priests, preachers, politicians, and professors of their prohibited desires? To see ourselves as we are, we must begin by acknowledging that of all Earth’s creatures, none is as urgently, creatively, and constantly sexual as Homo sapiens.
And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.
Men who are brought into labs and have their masculinity experimentally ‘threatened’ react in patterned ways: they are more supportive of violence, less likely to identify sexual coercion, more likely to support statements about the inherent superiority of males, and more. This research provides important evidence of what men perceive as masculine in the first place (resources they rely on in a crisis) and a new kind evidence regarding the relationship of masculinity and violence. The research does not suggest that men are somehow inherently more violent than women. Rather, it suggests that men are likely to turn to violence when they perceive themselves to be otherwise unable to stake a claim to a masculine gender identity.
It is true for me, as for so many countless others, that librarians saved my life, my internal life.
To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities – I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not – that one endures.
What depends on me and is the core of my freedom is the relationship I have with what happens to me. Am I able to welcome unconditionally what is given to me? Amor fati. The Stoic school teaches me that it isn’t first about changing, but mainly to learn how to welcome and accept. My freedom stands there. In all things, in every moment “bear and forbear.
Clearly the couple form as currently practiced is an ambivalent one—indeed, a form in decline say those census takers—and is there any great mystery why? On the one hand, the yearning for intimacy, on the other, the desire for autonomy; on the one hand, the comfort and security of routine, on the other, its soul-deadening predictability; on the one side, the pleasure of being deeply known (and deeply knowing another person), on the other, the straitjacketed roles that such familiarity predicates—the shtick of couple interactions; the repetition of the arguments; the boredom and the rigidities which aren’t about to be transcended in this or any other lifetime, and which harden into those all-too-familiar couple routines: the Stop Trying To Change Me routine and the Stop Blaming Me For Your Unhappiness routine. (Novelist Vince Passaro: “It is difficult to imagine a modern middle-class marriage not syncopated by rage.”) Not to mention the regression, because, after all, you’ve chosen your parent (or their opposite), or worse, you’ve become your parent, tormenting (or withdrawing from) the mate as the same-or-opposite-sex parent once did, replaying scenes you were once subjected to yourself as a helpless child—or some other variety of family repetition that will keep those therapists guessing for years. Given everything, a success rate of 50 percent seems about right (assuming that success means longevity).
Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don’t even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality.
I call a theorist someone who constructs a general system, either deductive or analytical, and applies it to different fields in a uniform way. That isn’t my case. I’m an experimenter in the sense that I write in order to change myself and in order not to think the same thing as before.
Instead of shooting arrows at someone else’s target, which I’ve never been very good at, I make my own target around wherever my arrow happens to have landed. You shoot your arrow and then you paint your bulls eye around it, and therefore you have hit the target dead centre.
I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.
When confronted by a sour note… the [musician] gets nowhere by forcing. The mistake has to be treated as an interesting fact; then the problem will eventually be unlocked.
If one looks at the history of debt, then, what one discovers first of all is profound moral confusion. Its most obvious manifestation is that most everywhere, one finds that the majority of human beings hold simultaneously that (1) paying back money one has borrowed is a simple matter of morality, and (2) anyone in the habit of lending money is evil.