Saturday, 2 January 2010

Solar quandaries

The most accursed aspect of creativity for me is that it invariably occurs late at night, whilst lying in bed, waiting for sleep to take me. She is a most inconsiderate companion in that respect.

So, tonight, there I was, another mundane Saturday night after work. Tired, and went to bed fairly early. Starting to fall asleep, but as the sense of fatigue faded a hyperactivity in me started to emerge; most profoundly with that desperate nagging, that horrendous burning feeling of words, whole structures of thought, whole new aspects of realisation - antagonised, antithesis, ready to be violated: that is, ready to be exterminated.

By sleep.

For no record, no existence of those very particular instantiations of thought. Speed, immediacy, a foreboding necessity: quick, write, cast them down! Electronically compartmentalise them, make them above all immanent, before they disappear into that void! For whilst they do not disappear, they become absorbed and integrated into that existential morass of the continual structure that is I: they exist still, but they have become like droplets that have fallen back into the ocean. The particular shape and nascent is-ness of these ones I want out now. Right now.

So I ripped myself up out of bed, switched my computer back on, and am feverishly, slightly maniacally typing away now.

So the thoughts? Disorganised that the are, I start with this thought-about-the-thoughts; just the prelude, the introduction.

This is not part 2 of "Current life synopsis". That post is still formulating in my mind, being reflected on and synthesised. I will have to steer a course generally clear of subjects that will enter into that post, because I want this one to tackle different topics.

This is an ad hoc right-now-ness.

The morass: must be quick, before it becomes indelibly entangled.

So, something about financial poverty, a hardship, a loneliness, and the delicate balancing act of the male psyche.

In times of great emotional turmoil and hardship, friends can be invaluable assets. You are reminded of that wonderful unity whereby, without any real communication, there is at least some type of shared awareness on some sort of level. It is this automatic shared confluence of being, a being-towards, and the known response back. It is something subintellectual, something fundamentally non-verbal (even if it later finds verbal expression)... something acknowledging. In common parlance, you can just be yourself with them. 

The heterosexual male-male relationship of friends is something that is commonly presented and perhaps even perceived as simple - when in fact it is anything but. Male friendships are characterised by a peculiarly antagonistic and contradistinct mix of distance and intimacy. Generally speaking, us men do not verbalise our emotional landscape to each other, most especially in those areas where the landscape has a greater admixture of what would be known as more "feminine" qualities. We keep an emotional distance from each other - which manifests on a physical plane with a lack of "intimate" (that is, sensual but non-sexual) physical contact. You would not normally see two heterosexual men walking down the street hand-in-hand, for example; yet such an occurrence between heterosexual women is not unusual. Perhaps this is a result of a more integrated sense of emotionality, physicality and sexuality in a woman; for a man they are simultaneously more compartmentalised yet precipitate upon each other. Holding hands with another man would dissolve a sense of distance and reserve that seem essential to my sense of male-ness. (Incidentally, as an aside, this is quite a different level of impulse than homophobia, which originates elsewhere).

For a woman they operate more as an organic totality - hence why a "one night stand" rarely appeals to most women, yet in most men, if they are being honest with themselves, it quite often exists as an exciting and thoroughly realistic possibility. Realistic not in terms of the likelihood or not of it being achieved, indeed even desired (even if that seems self-contradictory), but in the the likelihood of the experience satisfying to an adequate degree the expectations of the experience. The sexual-physical axis can operate to some degree independently of the sexual-emotional axis in a man. From the sexual-physical axis, the emotional axis can then begin to emerge. Of course, it can still operate in the more considered, deeper, and relationship orientated direction whereby the sexual-physical emerges as a later product of the emotional-physical. Once all three axes integrate, then a totality is formed and higher order processes come into operation.

For a woman, as far as I can tell, if the attraction is to "go somewhere" all three must instead evolve organically and in a totality from the very beginning. Normally. Hence why, when one axis is distorted or accelerated faster than the other two, it will generally result in a failure; the male is more lenient in allowing deviation, but also places a greater percentage stress on the physical-sexual at an earlier stage, which can be detrimental to both parties.

Anyway, the peculiarity of male-male relationship is that we each are desirous of maintaining our solar qualities - distance, independence, strength, solidarity, self-confidence, assertiveness. Yet between male friends, this distance gets intermingled by an non-verbalised intimacy communicated indirectly. Hence we find common ground in terms of music or films, characters or topical issues; or we use humour as a mask; and use this as a signifier towards our own emotional landscape. For example, rather than directly communicate in an emotionally open - and thereby openly vulnerable - manner about or our own feelings of loss, anguish, pain, loneliness, etc., in the context of the specifics of our own life, we would instead get together and put some music on that realises instantiating versions of those emotional states. Hence there is the non-verbalised communication. Women are generally much better able at actually talking through problems directly with a close friend, as far as I can tell.

With men the words are fewer, and instead it is a nod, or a "I know", or a similar observation about their own life. There is sympathy there, even compassion. But there isn't the earthly, absorbing, and above all empathic quality that women have a higher art for. Us men can be close, but we will tend to go forever through life without ever communicating it to each other directly, or to the world - at least until a critical moment, such as when a friend dies, for example. 

In my own moments of weakness and self-doubt, when those decidedly "emasculating" aspects feel like surfacing - such as tears - it is a female friend I would seek solace or help from, if one was there for me when I need her. The "distance" would prevent me from such an emotional communication of weakness with another man, even a very close one; in direct terms, at least. Perhaps it is that the female energy is needed to balance the male psycho-sexual energy.      

This reflects the inner tension of the male. Beneath the shell, there is the part that needs the kindness and physical openness that the empathic female brings. There is also the fierce yang aspect, that is critical for the male psyche but that must nevertheless be kept in check: the energy that responds to adversity with force, strength, and stern resolve. When threatened with crushing situations, one half of my psyche collapses towards a passive despair, a bleak, blank depression, one that seeks comfort; the other half is radically different, and infinitely more productive (but must be controlled with care); the grim determination and desire to an exert a physical authority, a battle-hardened persistence that will not allow the grey weariness of life's crushing stagnation to capture, impute, and slowly toxify one's being.

The female also possesses a similar tension, but the distribution and weighting of aspects are quite different.

This tension is the inner music of all life. It is that which you hear beyond what you hear.

The aspects all operate circularly though, and properly aligned together they form a balanced structure. Balanced, and finding a footing at your root of being, the I, is the bedrock from which your spiritual strength originates and suffuses the rest of all that you are.     


findingmywingsinlife said...

This is very thought provoking Aren and deep. I've had to read it multiple times before commenting and I'm still not sure that I've absorbed it all. But I think you're onto something with this, this pondering theory that you have going on.
The balance we need and the struggle to obtain it with polarizing opposites that make up each structure or alignment that a woman needs versus what a man needs and then to make each not only balance with the individual, but with the companion's balance as well. And that's just the tip of what you're referring to in this post I think.
As I said, intriguing. I'm probably going to be coming back to re-read it again.

Strawberry Girl said...

You put things so well Aren, I'm glad you decided to get up and jot this all down.

"Male friendships are characterised by a peculiarly antagonistic and contradistinct mix of distance and intimacy."

Generally speaking there seems to be a certain degree of underlying competition in male relationships, whereas women generally come from a cooperative nurturing culture, as you have noted.

Terrific writing here!

Aren O. Týr said...

Indeed true Strawberry girl; though, an interesting scenario tends to evolve when all male versus all female groups are put into some type of pressurised situation.

As a general rule, an all female group often tends towards dissension and internal conflict; worse, the conflict tends to be hidden and indirect - a type of cold war, if you will.

In the male group, conflict may be intense but it will normally be relatively brief and direct; some type of hierarchy will establish itself and then an effective unity results.

I suppose I have to mind the reality television series "The Apprentice" (I believe you have your own version over in the States), where in the early rounds the potential apprentices are normally always split into two competing groups, the "boys" vs. the "girls".

Perhaps the US version is different, but almost without exception (over several seasons; each season followed the same formula), during these early single sex stages, the all female group would lose. The group spent more time fighting within itself rather than competing in the particular challenge.

Of course, once at the later rounds with mixed groups, it was very much a level playing field, and indeed if anything the female competitors often proved to have a better all round balance of abilities.

I find the dynamics interesting. The female prototype is, as you say, cooperative, nurturing; highly egalitarian. Male prototype is singular, independent, fiercely competitive.

Once in a group, the dynamics become considerably more complex. It doesn't really conform to the obvious expectations based on the prototypes.


April, yes; in Taoism you could speak of the Yin and the Yang, and the admixture of both that leads to the Tao; each has an element of the opposite within itself as well as needing its polarity; the male needs the balance of some feminine energies within himself lest he become a cold, ruthless pathological authoritarian; the female needs the balance of some male energies lest she become a sycophantic, defeatist, melodramatic submissive complaisant.

Put a male and a female together and you end up with a dynamical admixture of Male->(Male:Female) and Female->(Female:Male). Hence why the much loved Yin-Yang symbol has the polar opposite circular dot within each half.

Even within homosexual relationships, you see the same complex mix, as generally even though physically the two people are of the same sex, they will nevertheless internally tend to gravitate towards opposing polarites (and this internal polarisation sometimes makes itself evident externally, such as in the stereotype of a "butch" lesbian or the stereotype of a "camp" gay man).

So I suppose I am arriving towards a perspective of a duality within each element of the tripartite division of the physical, sexual, and emotional axes.

You could perhaps restate the tripartite axes on this division too: spiritual, material, intellectual. The terms are somewhat analogous.