The Unexpected “One” in the Midst of the Many (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 248)

I sat in the restaurant and looked from corner to corner, front to back, booth to booth and high bar to low bar, and what did I see? A room full of people not talking to one another, not being attentive to one another in any present degree, not enjoying or savoring one another’s company, not sitting affectionately close together or touching or even displaying silent nurturing and encouraging body language towards one another. Obesity rampant throughout the crowd, yet in no greater of a consuming percentage than that of the frowns, smirks, faces face planted in their respective phones, crossed arms, avoided eye contact, base redundant gestures and comments parroted back and forth without any type of meaningful acknowledgement or reflection of thoughtful intent. Many seemed eagerly poised and ready to argue or complain or display boiling impatience at the egregiousness of anything and anyone they approached or any sensical inconvenience that might disrupt the most minute microcosm of the environment from serving only their own self aggrandizing compulsions and gluttonous spontaneous gratifications.

A group of adolescent girls in the corner appearing to all try to mimic one another in every way possible without having the slightest clue as to why they are cookie cutting themselves into life, a man as widely spaced from his wife as possible in the seat adjacent to her and yet possessing his toddler daughter as only his trophy or blankie if you will, and the typical white wealthy pretentious cow-chewing-their-cud dazed and confused elderly couple of cold and solemn sterile silence amongst themselves, were all noticeable amidst the other earbudded, monosyllabic grunting, and rigidly withdrawn from even their own party, patrons.

But there was one table that suddenly stood out to me. An outlier or beacon of hope, in the middle of all that insanity, itself lost to all of the isolation, withdrawal, apathy, and loneliness, surrounding it. A large black man and a large white woman sat across from one another at that table. The black gentleman donned a pair of glasses and sprouted a semi-groomed beard along with a slight overabundance of untamed curls which trickled over the edge of his seemingly flat topped head. The woman was of pale complexion and possessed a straight flowing but full bodied mane of dyed jet black hair. The glint of her unilateral nose piercing could also be seen from time to time as a solitary sparkle when she moved her head a certain way under the overhead lights. Both were very casually dressed in cheap garments.

These two people leaned in to one another in that booth, not in an aggressive or intimidating proclamation of posture, but in the comfy and cozy manner one might gently snuggle up as close as possible to the warm flames of a much desired fire. Their facial expressions were persistently relaxed and softly glowed or radiated an obvious aura of appreciation and contentment for the unrushed and unhectic moments they were choosing to share. Neither ever picked up a phone while I watched or displayed any nervous energy or made any attempt to dominate the other. It was astoundingly beautiful and I found it hard not to stare.

I was sitting next to the register and when they eventually came up to check out, I was so touched by what I had seen between the two of them, that I came very close to telling them how much they had stood out to me in the nature and energy of their interactions with one another, but I finally decided against doing so. Why invade such emotional intimacy between two others? Why interject myself into the energy they were sharing at the moment? Why not let them hold on to the purity of those moments for as long as they might all by themselves?

It is amazing sometimes just how much one unexpected person or one unlikely couple can bolster your hope and faith in others and maybe even in yourself. This outlying couple certainly did such a thing for me today.

Cribb          2018

Why did you let me? (Love vs Sex 252)

‘Yes, you call it love but I call it torture,’ I said. ‘Why did you let me go into society if you thought it so evil that you ceased to love me because of it?’

‘It was not society, my dear,’ he said.

‘Why did you not use your authority?’ I went on. ‘Why didn’t you lock me up or kill me? I would be better off than I am now, deprived of all that made up my happiness. I should have been very happy, instead of being ashamed.’

I began to sob again and hid my face.

‘Yes,’ he began, as though continuing his thoughts aloud, ‘all of us, and especially you women, must discover for ourselves all the futilities of life in order to come back to life itself: the experience of other people is no good. At that time you were far from having got to the end of that sweet and charming nonsense that I used to enjoy in you, and I left you to have your fill of it, feeling that I had no right to stand in your way, although for me the time for that sort of thing was long past.’

‘If you loved me ,’ I said, ‘why did you stand by and allow me to go through with it?’

‘Because even if you had wanted to accept my experience  you would not have been able to: you had to find out for yourself — and you did.’

‘You thought it all out – thought it all out very carefully,’ I said. ‘You did not love very much.’

We lapsed into silence again.

‘That was harsh, what you said just now, but it is the truth,’ he exclaimed, suddenly rising to his feet and beginning to walk about the veranda. ‘Yes, it’s the truth. I was to blame,’ he added, stopping opposite me. ‘Either I ought not to have allowed myself to love you at all, or I ought to have loved you in a simpler way.’

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

Cribb Comment: I believe this passage exquisitely portrays a dynamic all too common in any relationship involving one member who is maturely and aptly at peace with themselves and their existence versus another member who is immaturely floundering about in nervous energy anxiety (etc.) and the narcissism of satiating themselves in societal delusion and distraction. The passage is even more profound and relevant for this dynamic when a significant age disparity exists between these two entities. The man of this passage (the more mature entity in this case) profoundly loves this woman and he almost refused to marry her earlier in the book because of his prophetic knowledge of how things were likely to play out. The last sentence in the quote refers to this. His other counter to this tragedy, in this very same sentence, is to say “or I ought to have loved you in a simpler way.” My interpretation is to assume that this simpler way means without such passion or remaining further removed, but it is feasible that he is simply referring to enacting greater patience and personal acceptance of the “cost” involved in remaining unselfish and supremely stable in such a relationship. Any of these behaviors by the man would have required enormous self sacrifice and essentially equate to him moving into a long term yielding (negative) transcendence state (instead of a horizontal or upperward transcendence state) with someone he dearly loved.

At the time of this passage in the book, the female character has already bucked a simple, intimate, and quieter life with her husband, opting instead for the chaotic excitement and thrill which dwells most manicaly in the nervous energy of the fickle societal herd. She has run that course out of her own choice with some component of said choice being related to her utter defiance of her husbands stable posture and contentment which she cannot help but perceive primarily as authoritarian in nature. After profoundly discovering through her own experience and suffering that the societal bosom is never more than a “futility of life,” our female character must look to blame another for the consequences of her own unrelenting egocentric perspective. She must blame him, damn him for being too authoritarian or for not being authoritarian enough, to justify the suffering and consequence that she so proudly chose to march into with such gleeful determination. Our female character now sees all of the wasted and nonrecoverable time that she threw away in the suffering and consequence of her independent choices.

Cribb          2018

 

An Affectation of Simplicity: Tolstoy on Insecurity and Misperception (Love vs Sex 250)

Another thing that used to rile me but which I afterwards enjoyed was his complete indifference and, almost, disdain for my appearance. Never, either by word or look, was there a hint that he thought me pretty : on the contrary, he would make a wry face and laugh when people complimented me on my looks in front of him. He took a positive pleasure in picking out my defects and teasing me about them. The fashionable clothes on which Katya liked to dress me up and the way she did my hair for festive occasions only provoked his mockery, mortifying the kind-hearted Katya and at first disconcerting me. Katya, having made up her mind that he admired me, was quite unable to understand his not liking to see a woman he admired shown off to the best advantage. But I quickly came to see what was behind it. He wanted to be sure that I was devoid of vanity. And so soon as I realized this, I actually was quite free from any trace of affection in the clothes I wore, or the way I did my hair, or how I moved; but a very obvious form of affectation took its place – an affectation of simplicity, at a time when I could not yet be really simple. I knew that he loved me; but whether as a child or a woman I had not then asked myself; I prized his love and, feeling that he considered me better than all the other young women in the world, I could not help wishing him to continue in the illusion. And involuntarily I deceived him. But in deceiving him I became a better person myself. I felt how much better and more worthy it was for me to show him the finer side of my nature than any of the physical attractions. My hair, my hands, my face, my ways – whether good or bad, it seemed to me he had appraised them all at a glance and knew them so well that I could add nothing to them except the wish to deceive him. But my inner self he did not know, because he loved it and because it was in the very midst of growth and development; and there I could – and did – deceive him. And how easy my relations with him became once I understood this clearly! My groundless confusion and awkwardness of movement completely disappeared. I felt that from whatever angle he saw me, whether sitting or standing, with my hair up or down, all of me was known to him and, I fancied, satisfied him. If, contrary to his practice, he had suddenly told me, as other people did, that I was beautiful, I believe I should have been anything but pleased. But, on the other hand, how happy and light-hearted I would feel when, after something I said, he would gaze at me intently and say in a voice charged with emotion which he would try to hide with a humorous note : ‘Yes, oh yes, there is something about you. You’re a fine girl, that I must admit.’

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

Cribb Comment:

In this passage Tolstoy writes from the perspective of Masha or Marya who is married to Sergei. Masha’s description of her own feelings is intended to display her inaccurate perception and interpretation of the behavior of her husband Sergei due to the insecurity and immaturity which plagues her soul. Sergei finds Masha to be the most attractive woman that he has ever known, but his profound love for her originates even more so in his awareness and appreciation of her drive and inner spirit. Sergei perceives and appreciates the unique exquisiteness of the totality of Masha’s essence far beyond any other person mentioned within the novel.

I would suggest that the conundrum and potentiated expression of Masha’s insecurity and misperception is buried within the “dominance challenge” created by the union of these two special souls. Masha’s unusually profound love for Sergei is both a supreme blessing and a curse to her as it bombards her relentlessly. Due to her youth and her lack of mature comprehension of the “simplicity” of genuine love and genuine life, she throws herself into an undulating and unstable fear-love pendulum of  perception and assumption. Her fear of losing Sergei’s love, which is too simple and too unexcitable to satiate her preconceived notion of such things, leads her to subconsciously exert efforts to justify her own attempt to dominate and/or demonize him.

The first third of the passage ends with a clarifying explanation. Sergei’s befuddling behavior has been focused primarily on a true appreciation of Masha’s exquisite beauty and, because of such awareness, not wanting her to run to ruin via the all too temptible sin of such exceptional attractiveness, vanity. Masha goes on to state that she “could not yet be really simple” and that she wasn’t sure if he “loved her more as a child or a woman.” She continues by saying that nonetheless “she prized his love” no matter how unfounded it might be and that she could not help herself from wanting to enable “this illusion” of his. To paraphrase, she is saying that she is scared and unable to comprehend how a man of such worth could love her in such simplicity. This fear leads her to doubt the true nature of his love, and though she cannot escape that insecurity, she also cannot let go of the possibility that his love could actually be genuine. Thus, she must continue down her undulating path of uncertainty by “wishing the illusion to continue.”

Masha’s many references to Sergei knowing, seeing, and perceiving her in every respect, also illustrates a dynamic rift in her psyche which she is unable to resolve at this time. On one hand, she is enamoured and overjoyed by his attentions, but on the other, she feels looked down upon, pitied, and too exposed by her vulnerability to be a worthy equal. As a result, she focuses on the mental triumph of “deceiving him” in order to raise herself up in confidence and self worth. That deception takes place secretly or passive aggressively in her psyche to avoid the direct or natural correction that would confront such behavior if she employed it directly or consciously.

Masha’s unwarranted fear and confusion turns into an undulating mind game which is then used to justify her passive aggressive need and employment of willful deception to bolster her self worth and confidence. Because she cannot fathom how Sergei might love her otherwise in simplicity, she attempts to turn herself into the exact opposite of such simplicity and/or his direct opponent. She cannot sustain the vision of how Sergei sees her. She can only sustain the vision of how she sees herself.

In the last line of the passage, we swing back once more into the slight glimmer of a faint flame of hope. Paradoxically, a simplicity is displayed in that sentence by Sergei that seems to somehow slip through all of Masha’s defenses to keep a tiny lingering tendril of her love for him enduringly intact.

Cribb          2018

Monster (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 237)

Monster

So we were up
Throwin’ dice in the dark
I saw you late, last night, come to harm
I saw you dance in the devil’s arms

The night kept coming
Really nothing I could do
Eyes with a fire, unquenched, by peace
Curse the beauty, curse the queen

So we come
To a place of no return
Yours is the face, that makes my body burn
And here is the name that our sons will learn
Curse the beauty, curse the queen
Curse the beauty, leave me

So when you’re weak
When you are on your knees
I’ll do my best, with the time, that’s left
Sworn with your spirit, you’re fully fleshed

So fuck your dreams
And don’t you pick at our seams
I’ll turn into a monster for you, If you pay me enough
None of this counts, if you do, cloud up

So we come
To a place of no return
Yours is the face, which makes my body burn
And here is the name, that our sons will learn
Curse the beauty, curse the queen
Curse the beauty, leave me

Mumford and Sons

Songwriters: Benjamin Walter David Lovett / Edward James Milton Dwane / Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford / Winston Aubrey Aladar Marshall
Monster lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

It is Little to Give (Love vs Sex 246)

“What is there I can give you? Love, it is true.”

“And is that so little?” I asked looking into his eyes.

“Yes, my dear, it is little to give you,” he went on. “You have beauty and youth. Often now I cannot sleep at night for happiness: I lie awake and think of our future life together. I have lived through a great deal, and I think I have found what is needed for happiness: a quiet, secluded life here in the depths of the country, with the possibility of doing good to people to whom it is easy to do good which they are not accustomed to receiving; then work – work which one hopes may be of some use; then leisure, nature, books, music, love for a kindred spirit – such is my idea of happiness, and I dreamed of none higher. And now, to crown it all, I get you, a family perhaps, and all that the heart of man could desire.”

“It should be enough,” I said.

“Enough for me whose youth is over, but not for you,” he pursued. “You have not seen anything of life yet. You may want to seek happiness elsewhere, and perhaps find it in something different. At present you believe that this is happiness because you love me.”

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

Cribb Comment: I am extremely fond of this passage. Tolstoy reveals the hard to tell truth about love that most do not want to hear or even come close to contemplating; it must be grandiose and dramatic, fervent and uber passionate, and a thrill ride of unending emotional hype, stimulation, and volatile exchange, never just basic, simple, easy, and quietly profound in its energy and transcending bond. He also touches on the attainment and understanding of happiness in life which requires a security and willful stability in individual perspective and contentment of purpose. His promotion of the importance of untainted and unhypocritical good will towards his fellow man is also captured elegantly and succinctly by “doing good to people who are not used to such things and doing so without forcing this “good” upon them in an overstep of intent.” Lastly, his point of youth and its hunger, aware or unaware, for more than love, for more than genuine happiness, is presented with the unselfish tenderness and empathy of a saint. It is an undeniable truth that most youthful “old souls” can’t quite accept about themselves and their overriding desire. They seem unable to digest that real happiness and real love might just be too pure, obtainable, and stable, for the premises and constructs they have anchored into their psyche as defining a normal existence.

I would have preferred for Tolstoy to postulate a manner or theory in which these two characters could have worked together to address and resolve the youthful subconscious yearnings (their burden of misunderstood nervous and excitable egocentric energy) of the wife more effectively and profoundly. It would seem that Tolstoy might believe such a transition utterly impossible without the context of further life experience to curb and temper such youthful yearning.

2017

Cojones Grandes (Love vs Sex 239)

Moderate body-size dimorphism isn’t the only anatomical suggestion of promiscuity in our species. The ratio of testicular volume to overall body mass can be used to read the degree of sperm competition in any species. Jared Diamond considers the theory of testis size to be “one of the triumphs of modern physical anthropology.” Like most great ideas, the theory of testis size is simple: species that copulate more often need larger testes, and species in which several males routinely copulate with one ovulating female need even bigger testes.

If a species has cojones grandes, you can bet that males have frequent ejaculations with females that sleep around. Where the females save it for Mr. Right, the males have smaller testes, relative to their overall body mass. The correlation of slutty females with big balled males appears to apply not only to humans and other primates, but to many other mammals, as well as to birds, butterflies, reptiles, and fish.

In gorillas’, winner-take-all approach to mating, males compete to see who gets all the booty, as it were. So, although an adult silverback gorilla weighs in at about four hundred pounds, his penis is just over an inch long, at full mast, and his testicles are the size of kidney beans, though you’d have trouble finding them, as they’re safely tucked up inside his body. A one-hundred-pound bonobo has a penis three times as long as the gorilla’s and testicles the size of chicken eggs. The extra-large, AAA type. In bonobos, since everybody gets some sugar, the competition takes place on the level of the sperm cell, not at the level of the individual male. Still, although almost all bonobos are having sex, given the realities of biological reproduction, each baby bonobo, still has only one biological father.

So the game’s still the same—getting one’s genes into the future—but the field of play is different. With harem-based polygynous systems like the gorilla’s, individual males fight it out before any sex takes place. In sperm competition, the cells fight in there so males don’t have to fight out here. Instead, males can relax around one another, allowing larger group sizes, enhancing cooperation, and avoiding disruption of the social dynamic. This helps explain why no primate living in multimale social groups is monogamous. It just would not work.

As always, natural selection targets the relevant organs and systems for adaptation. Through the generations, male gorillas evolved impressive muscles for their reproductive struggle, while their relatively unimportant genitals dwindled down to the bare minimum needed for uncontested fertilization. Conversely, male chimps, bonobos, and humans had less need for oversized muscles for fighting but evolved larger, more powerful testicles and, in the case of humans, a much more interesting penis.

We can almost hear some of our readers thinking, “But my testicles aren’t the size of chicken eggs!” No, they’re not. But we’re guessing they’re not tiny kidney beans tucked up inside your abdomen, either. Humans fall in the middle ground between gorillas and bonobos on the testicular volume/body-mass scale. Those who argue that our species has been sexually monogamous for millions of years point out that human testicles are smaller than those of chimps and bonobos. Those who challenge this narrative (like us, for example) note that human testicular ratios are far beyond those of the polygynous gorilla or the monogamous gibbon.

So, is the scrotum half-empty or half-full?

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

 

 

The Contorted, Twisted, and Bastardized Form of “Love”, We have All been Taught to Believe is Ideal (Love vs Sex 237)

Written by Percy Sledge and first recorded in 1966, “When a Man Loves a Woman” hit a cultural nerve. The song shot to the top of both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Another version, recorded twenty-five years later by Michael Bolton, also went straight to the top of the charts, and the song now sits at number 54 on Rolling Stone’s list of the five hundred greatest songs of all time. Nothing is more prominent than love and sex in Western media, and “When a Man Loves a Woman” is an example of the message whispered in romantic ears throughout the world.

What does Mr. Sledge have to say about a man’s love for a woman? What are the signs of true masculine love? Copyright restrictions won’t allow us to quote the song’s lyric in full, but most readers know the words by heart anyway. To review, when a man loves a woman:

  • He becomes obsessed and can’t think of anything else.
  • He’ll exchange anything, even the world, for her company.
  • He’s blind to any fault she may have, and will abandon even his closest friend if that friend tries to warn him about her.
  • He’ll spend all his money trying to hold her attention.
  • And last but not least, he’ll sleep in the rain if she tells him to.

We’d like to suggest an alternative title for this song: “When a Man Becomes Pathologically Obsessed and Sacrifices All Self-Respect and Dignity by Making a Complete Ass of Himself (and Losing the Woman Anyway Because Really, Who Wants a Boyfriend Who Sleeps Out in the Rain Because Someone Told Him Too?).”

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010