The importance of a strong community

Gaborzol
By Gaborzol on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 - 5:46pm

My name is Gabor originally from Hungary, now living in Western MA, USA, and this post is about the importance of community, what I’ve learned in my efforts to build and add to my community, and seeks to open a dialog about what we really mean by “community” and what we might actually want from one.

In the long line of changes, which, for me, started before 2007 with learning about the three "E"-s, losing trust in the government, and starting to prepare for a very different future, I realized more and more how a strong community around me is pivotally important.

I already knew that on a visceral level from having lived in communist Hungary where everyone knew the government wasn't on our side and we needed each other to keep safe. Living without a position embedded in the middle of a community, without enjoying the protection of that community, might mean visitors in the night, and being disappeared. Like a predator chooses its prey from the stragglers, the leaders knew how to propagate obedience through fear by seizing the weakest link, thus causing the least amount of disturbance while sending a strong message.

For a long time I didn't think the situation was nearly as bad here in the US, but news about ever-increasing economic inequality, the war on terror, and, lately, all the police brutality were all pointers to a past I recognized. I started the make-over of my lifestyle, so it would fit better to all the changes speeding-up in our lives.

Soon in this preparation process I became aware how a strong community needed to be the center point of my life. One reason was that I didn't find the motivation for (or chance in) trying to survive either alone or with only a core family. Another was that what held me happy throughout my life weren't possessions or being entertained, but rather being embedded into a close-knit system of relationships with other people, for extended periods of time: community.

But how exactly does one build community? I live close to downtown in a town of about 30k people, in one of the strongest neighborhoods of town, where we have potluck brunch get-togethers every month for over 20 years now, and have been participating in the transition movement since 2010. In spite of all this, I still feel there is a long ways to go in strengthening my community to have it hold up through the increasing amount of ecological and economic crises. Buying local, saying hello to everyone on the streets of my neighborhood, and being helpful with people around me only goes so far: we all still are practically economically independent, living in single family housing, separate from each other.

Why is that? Thinking about this for a while I came to the following conclusion; how money functions and how monogamy is institutionalized are the two major creators of this lifestyle. Money is a really useful exchange tool, but it is set up to function so there never seems to be enough of it. Monogamy renders us to be legally connected with at most one other adult, and maybe dependents, and the resulting atmosphere works best with single-family houses in relative independence. Both are based on a model of scarcity. You might have what you need in your wallet or house, but life is set up so you likely don’t.

I wanted to see if I could escape these two predicaments, so for the last few years I have been doing my best to disconnect myself from Corporate America, where money is the lord, and from monogamy (where exclusivity is the lord).

It turns out, that feeding myself without monetary investment is not so hard as long as the community around me knows me, I am not shy to put in the effort, and my requirements are simple. I have chickens, whom I feed with bagels from the dumpster behind the bagel shop, and with free discard greens from a nearby grocery store. They provide more eggs than I can eat, and the extra is good for gifting, trading and even selling. I have an extensive garden of fruit trees and vegetables, again good for gifting and exchanging, but also for canning, fermenting and dehydrating for the winter. Through a microloan project of Transition Amherst I loaned money for a farmer for zero interest rate and he was so grateful that he offered me a CSA share. I didn’t accept it, but I do pick up leftovers from the CSA at the end of the pickup slots, and do special projects with the picked up vegetables, sometimes offering preservation workshops to nearby interested people.

Disconnecting from corporations other than food is somewhat harder. Not owning a car certainly limits my mobility, but boy, does it make life more enjoyable, not to mention healthier. Bicycling everywhere may be cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but it keeps me in good shape and helps me to meet other people I judge interesting. No cell phone and no participation in social media disconnects me from people who are not here, but does give me time and attention for face-to-face connections. Having no TV lowers my bills and connects me with my creative side. Renting rooms in my house exposes me to people in a different way than living with only neighbors, and having only a wood stove to heat the whole house brings us together in one room more often.

My latest project, challenging the monogamous lifestyle that so taken over the United States, can be challenging, or not at all, depending how much attention I pay to what others think about me (and what part of the US I live in…). Full honesty and learning a lot about how to build well-functioning relationships help a lot. Quite a few of my reading materials contain information about how to make ethical polyamory work in a society where almost everybody assumes I am monogamous (they tend to think I am with a single partner, or alone). Just to be clear, polyamory is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. It has been described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy" (definition from Wikipedia).

Currently I have three partners who all know each other, or have known about each other before their first meeting (from about the time of our first date or before). One partner has more experience with multiple relationships than I do, for which I am grateful. One haven’t so far had a polyamorous partner before our relationship, but has been very open and now has another partner. And one is more concerned about the whole thing so would like to take it slow. I just had dinner with one of my partners and all her other partners (‘metamore’ is the term), and being connected this more intimate way definitely results in more interest and good will.

I know this idea of polyamory is going to be edgy for a lot of people, and I am not here to promote that it is right for you or for anybody else. My intent in bringing it up here is that by having to consciously work on my relationships (and boy do I ever have to do this!) I have come to really appreciate the powerful bindings that emotional and physical intimacy offer. This is something I recall from my time in Hungary where such arrangements were more common and where intimacy was almost an act of rebellion – the one thing that the government couldn’t control or take away.

The extra amount of communication that becomes necessary with multiple relationships does require a lot more time. But multiple relationships also can save on chores like tending for the chickens or doing gardening work or food preservation projects (these are good activities for a date with the right people!) and help using the community for simplifying my life (for example exchanges allow for having to do fewer things thus being able to do them better, having more locally made things and keeping up connections with others regularly).

Doing all these with people who are more present and committed because of the added intimacy is an aspect we only currently experience with our significant other, or core family, but can be extended to all our partners and possibly their partners.

For me, disconnecting from money and opening myself up to a wider range of intimate relationships (some sexual, some not) have both been an exploration in shifting from living in a transactional culture (based on the exchange of things) to one based far more on being relational (defined by the relationships in between its people).

This has been a worthy, challenging and fulfilling path for me, and one that I will likely remain on for the rest of my life. And, of course, polyamory is not the only way to go in this regard: I’m interested in your experiences with the ways you have gotten to know people such that you’d trust them with your life, or in a pinch. Who is your inner circle of trusted people and how did they get that way?

What I am exploring here is edgy and many would see it as risky, but if we are going to really move the direction of our culture away from one that is not working for us towards something that does, then we’re going to have to take risks. Perhaps my prior cultural experiences help me in this regard, but there is a large and growing group of people stepping outside of the cultural ‘norms’ as they too seek a life that works for them.

So I invite you to ponder about these aspects I brought up here, and share your thoughts. Maybe others in the group will benefit from the resulting dialog – one thing that we are still way short of here, are functional role models in sharing (rather than exchanging).

60 Comments

Bytesmiths's picture
Bytesmiths
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Don't share your views on monogamy

I don't have any problem with people who practice polyamory, but I think you're unduly harsh on monogamy.

I agree that it could be used as a control mechanism, or that one could choose to see it as "scare city" thinking.

I very much prefer one solid, central relationship, mutually pledged to remain so. It gives me an anchor from which I can better deal with the inevitable transient relationships that modern life has brought us.

And yet, I haven't been too successful at the "remain so" part. I guess I'm a "serial monogamist." I'll stick with it as long as I possibly can. But it takes two to get into a relationship, but only one to get out of it.

The nature of diploid genes means scarcity of monogamous relationships can only happen if one sex has a lower survival rate, or if someone hogs more than their share. So I would submit that, by having multiple partners, you are contributing to the "scarcity" of monogamous relationships!

(Just kidding. I realize that if all partners in a polyamorous relationship are available to others, "partner hoarding" doesn't happen.)

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Maintenance

Thank you for the comment, Bytesmiths. I like how you put this: "It takes two to get into, but only one to get out of, a relationship". My wording is: "Whoever wants to have less of a connection, has the upper hand". That's a pretty strong challenge for a community to be built upon, right there. 

Polyamory doesn't exclude the possibility of one solid relationship, that is mutually pledged to remain so, but gives the possibility to have several of those. And more importantly, it also gives me the chance to avoid terminating my relationship with one person before starting to date another, or to put all my requirements onto one single person, full time. But the downside is, that it takes so much more time and energy to maintain multiple relationships. I am lucky to have the energy and interest for it!

Would you let me know where I was harsh on monogamy? I really tried to avoid that, as my goal was to talk about what direction I am choosing for community building, instead of talking monogamy down, or polyamory up. 

The main weakness of monogamy I found in my case (I was in a long-term monogamous relationship for 15 years) is that it allowed me to be lazy. Once in a relationship I am out of circulation, so to say. I felt I can just sit on my laurels, I don't have to learn about how to improve, or maintain, my psyche and the relationship. Maybe that's what makes it hard in many cases to "remain so", as you say. 

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Avoiding resentment

The main weakness of monogamy I found in my case... is that it allowed me to be lazy. Once in a relationship I am out of circulation, so to say. I felt I can just sit on my laurels, I don't have to learn about how to improve, or maintain, my psyche and the relationship.

I guess I'm "lucky" in that I have a very demanding partner — in the nicest possible manner. She actually wants to spend time with me — imagine that!

The "lucky" part is that she is also very giving. So I find myself wanting to live up to her standards, not content to "sit on my laurels" and feel like a freeloader. I've had partners who were demanding and not particularly giving, and I did tend to become complacent in those situations.

Resentment is the acid of relationships. If one party feels they are always the one who compromises, or puts all the energy in, eventually resentment will develop. So I try to work hard at avoiding the build-up of resentment, whether in my personal relationships, or in friends and acquaintances.

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What Binds Us As A 'Tribe'

Gaborzol -

I had an experience this weekend that I think is relevant to your quest for a community that fulfills you.

On Saturday night, my wife and I went to our local bookstore to hear Sebastian Junger talk about his new book Tribe. Most folks know Sebastian from his book The Perfect Storm (later a movie with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg) or his writings based on his experience during a 15-month tour with a US platoon in an Afghanistan hot zone.

Sebastian's new book explores the intense bonds that form in small communities of humans, where the survival/prosperity of the individual is dependent on the survival/prosperity of the group. This is found in the military during combat, in the Peace Corps, in areas recovering from natural disaster or war -- and is the same dynamic our ancestors lived with in the tight-knit tribes and small villages they existed within.

Interestingly, Sebastian has observed that many military vets miss combat. It's not the hell of war they miss, it's the cohesion of the unit: how everyone had each other's back, no matter what. How every member had a role and a purpose. He also notes how in colonial times, there were numerous examples of settlers "going native" and adopting the ways of the native Americans, but almost no examples of the reverse. 

His new book explores: What is our modern 'civilized' life missing, that people crave giving it up? The answers he finds are rooted in these tribal ties.

I'm currently in talks with Sebastian's publishing agent to land him as a guest on our podcast series, where if we do, we'll have an in-depth investigation of what specific elements of tribal living (community "best practices", if you will) we should strive to integrate into our lives. Cross your fingers he's able to join us.

In the meantime, here's a Ted talk Sebastian has given on the topic:

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Cool!

Great! I'm interested, although it's hard to find time to stare at a computer screen...

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Sebastian Junger

Very articualate....he took me into the mind set of our service men and women and I have a new appreciation for veterans.

I am very extroverted and always looking for "tribe" and community....hence PP and my church and my music group.  And I remember the 2 weeks I was unjustly jailed in Guatemala,  where I found friendship  amongst fellow prisoners and even my captors. When they released me I felt strangely sad to go.

The big fat cop who took me the day of my release was very rough in front of his cronies but when we got on a city bus he became nicer. They never told me where I was going to be deported, and when we exited the bus and started walking down a long dirt street toward a cemetery, I had this sinking feeling that I was being deported from the earth. He had a gun..I had a backpack and guitar and no way to run. We kept walking toward the huge black iron entrance to the cemetery and then at the very last minute took a right turn down some steps into an alley and .....it turned out that we were going to his house for lunch. His wife told him that he could take off his gun cause I was just a kid and no threat to him. We ate lunch and then hitch-hiked to the Mexican border. He shoved me across to the check point for Mexico and that was that.

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Polyamory? I think its called the extended family

I think there are better ways to spend your time than challenging the monogamous life style. I feel that the primal motivators in life are sex and fear; maximizing one and minimizing the other. In most subsistence/agricultural economies, providing for the basic needs builds cohesion and a shared work ethic. It also requires a moral framework in which community is held in a higher place than individual needs: i.e. Polyface Farms, Amish communities, Hutterian colonies, etc. These communities become successful until individual needs/motivations become more important than the shared vision. Then groups break away to set up their own unique style of living.

My observation to your suggestion on the usefulness of polyamory is that it is the result of an individualist society that wants their cake and eats it. If their is plenty, everyone gets some. It is when not everyone gets some that issues arise. Then a strong moral framework is required to pull folks through the mire. Sebastian Junger's military analogy is a good example of how this comes about. Polyamory presents some problems IMHO. Relationships are the key component in any group and the social framework that supports it.

In general, a son's a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter's a daughter for the rest of her life. Having four son's an one daughter this has played this out pretty much on cue. My boy's have left and have set up little "pods" and are growing food in their community garden plots, backyard orchards and acreage enclaves. My daughter and husband having indicated that they would welcome our reduced labor capacity with them on their property. Hope it works out for us.

 

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Because our culture fails us

UncleTommy,

From my perspective, our culture fails us and is failing us in so many ways it's hard for me to even know where to begin.

Rediscovering and deciding for ourselves what 'community' means and how it might and could function for us is one way to fight back and reclaim a better life for ourselves.

In that construct, what should we question and which things are completely off the table?  For me the answer is, everything needs to be open for question including all of our institutions, sacred or not.

My views on monagamy were seriously altered by reading the book Sex at Dawn.  From the back cover:

In this controversial, thought-provoking, and brilliant book, renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá debunk almost everything we “know” about sex, weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality to show how far from human nature monogamy really is. In Sex at Dawn, the authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity.

As a scientist, the data and facts in this book rather conclusively suggest that my cultural beliefs about the nature of relationships were (and continue to be) at odds with the evidence.  

As I see it, Gabor has put his own experience out there not to challenge you and your beliefs, but as a (rather brave) conversation starter.   As always, take what you will and leave the rest.  If something is not your cup of tea, that's fine.  If it is, great.

I would encourage anyone with curiosity about the human condition to read Sex at Dawn.  I consider it one of the key books that altered my thinking in 2015 (when I read it). 

A couple of reviews:

"Sex at Dawn challenges conventional wisdom about sex in a big way. By examining the prehistoric origins of human sexual behavior the authors are able to expose the fallacies and weaknesses of standard theories proposed by most experts. This is a provocative, entertaining, and pioneering book. I learned a lot from it and recommend it highly.” — Andrew Weil, M.D. 

A controversial, idea-driven book that challenges everything you (think you) know about sex, monogamy, marriage, and family. In the words of Steve Taylor (The Fall, Waking From Sleep), Sex at Dawn is “a wonderfully provocative and well-written book which completely re-evaluates human sexual behavior and gets to the root of many of our social and psychological ills.”

If we were aliens sent down to diagnose our culture and then decide what to keep, what to discard and what new things to introduce, how much of our current culture would we keep?

For me it's an increasingly smaller and smaller proportion.

If the goal of life is to be more fully connected and alive, then Sebastian Junger has made a damning observation that the small-unit cohesion felt by warriors is so nourishing that they prefer to risk imminent death than go home to their isolated (and probably monogamous) lifestyles.  

Think about it, death over 'normal life.'  

I can't really think of anything that more loudly says "Try something new, forchristssake!" 

So that's the essence of the community thread here that Gabor has started...what are those new things we might try?  Isn't it time to be bold?  Should we not take risks and be vulnerable?  If so, how?  

Here's one thing I recommend:

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en

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we still need

a "miller" and a tanner/leather/harness maker in our community.

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No, Chris Martensen is right.

Studying less developed cultures throughout history, the normal structure is for a political unit to obtain a leader. Then the leader successively takes more and younger females, until a huge number of the males have no mate.

Then the political structure fractures in murder, mayhem, and civil strife, sometimes killing the leader and his children and replacing him (for a quick recycling of power and mayhem), or sometimes splitting off a whole new unit, which then wars with the first one.

Obviously, this structure is far more natural to mankind than monagamy.

However, since we will have missed the boat with Jonesville and the kool-aid, and with the Heavens Gate cult and their spaceship, and even the mormon leadership is now in prison for such behavior, I think the next best "most natural" option might be Islam and ISIS, or "Boko (book) Haram (forbidden)" if you lean more that way.

For myself, I am thankful for monagamy. I'll bet my (monagamous) wife is, too.

When I consider the alternative, I find it to be practically a gift from God, and very stabilizing to the social structure of society as well. Not that I always like society.

Bytesmiths's picture
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Unfounded Assumptions!
Michael_Rudmin wrote:

Studying less developed cultures throughout history, the normal structure is for a political unit to obtain a leader. Then the leader successively takes more and younger females, until a huge number of the males have no mate.

And your anthropology degree is from where?

And what, exactly, does "less developed" mean? A number of so-called "primitive" social structures could be considered more developed than our own, although they had fewer fewer iPhones.

We must read different books.

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Why our culture fails us.

Gabor, Chris, Adam, et al: I appreciate the references, Chris, and found Brene Brown's TED talk instructional. I think she, essentially, identifies the struggles most of "OUR" culture experiences in trying to relate to life's emotional and spiritual challenges. These are the same quandaries that have been a part of the human condition for millennia While I haven't read Sex at Dawn, the fact that Steve Taylor gave it a good review bias my opinion. Using "pop science" to make a case for open relationships is disingenuous and an increasingly irritating style of journalism. Facts are an observation made in time. The skilled and creative author can cobble together a string of facts and ply them to a logical premise and still miss the point.

Relationships are built on accountability Family units, military units, religious units, what have you, require this whether it is implicit or explicit.  It is a basic quest for control in a world that thwarts our every attempt to obtain it. Yes, as a species, we have had great success in forging a more predictable and safer environment through rationalism and the enlightenment. However, it appears to me that we end up, ultimately, with the same vexing problem of unintended consequences hampering our "best laid plans".

If I was to recommend any reading material it would be Roland Bainton's, Here I Stand, a biography of Martin Luther's struggle to find meaning in his conflicted life and resulting revolution in thought, he propelled the then existing society into. PP has always done a great job in identifying the key elements in societal collapse and Bainton's book does an admirable job in elucidating this particular stage of human development.

Heisenberg's observations through the Uncertainty Principle, still apply. We may know how fast our civilization is traveling, but we're never sure how soon or where we may end the trip. So, you might as well enjoy the ride.

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I have an engineering degree, not an anthropology degree

And an engineering degree does not qualiy me to speak intelligently on any subject.

However, I also have avocations as well as my vocation. And yes, apparently I DO read different books.

Enough of speaking to your ad hominem.

Shall we start with the waudani of Ecuador? Or would you like to apologise?

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Then you haven'ty really studied anything...
Michael_Rudmin wrote:

Studying less developed cultures throughout history, the normal structure is for a political unit to obtain a leader. Then the leader successively takes more and younger females, until a huge number of the males have no mate.

Look, I understand your personal belief system is probably challenged here, and that's fine, but your sweeping and unfounded statements here, again, are really neither additive to the conversation nor helpful.

Throughout history? "Normal structure"?

It's clear you've not done anything close to a thorough study of human history, but have possibly cherry picked your way to a set of data that support your beliefs.

To round out your views, you may want to study the US plains Native Americans who had a very elaborate definition of 14 different types of relationships that were nuanced and detailed.  Nothing even remotely similar to the horror you speak of as "truth" can be found anywhere in their history.

Or the pre-Columbus Hispaniola tribes, perhaps you might look up what the priest de la Casas wrote of how well treated the Arawak Indian women were (one snippet:  "Marriage laws are non-existent men and women alike choose their mates and leave them as they please, without offense, jealousy or anger.")  These peaceful people were happy and joyous and unwarlike by all accounts and this was their downfall as the cruel and irrepressibly violent Columbus crew wiped out 3 million of them in just 50 years.  But that's a different story.

I could go on and on traversing the globe, but you hopefully get the point. Your statement about "normal structure" was so far off the mark and inconsistent with reams of anthropological data that I'm pretty sure you've not really studied the subject at all.  My guess is you've gathered some data here and there that supports your preconceived views.

 

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Very few have done a thorough study, Chris

Chris, to do a thorough study of all human history... that would be both deep and wide. PhD research is deep; Masters research is wide; neither is both deep and wide. Pop authors are wide but not deep, and are most guilty of fitting cherry-picked data to their preconceived thesis. Can you name anyone who HAS done a thorough study both deep and wide?

(Arthur, if you want to find your H. Capensis, look at anyone Chris names).

You mention the plains indians. Do you forget the wars between the plains indians? Does your story there contradict mine? You mention the Hispanola indians (I assume you mean those that went quickly extinct). Is a detailed study of their society even possible? Was it possible even back then? Surely it wasn't more than five years before Columbus' men had so thoroughly disrupted and destroyed the society, that nothing was seen of the reality.

I said STart with the Waudani. Shall we start somewhere else? I did not contradict your thesis -- I supported it, while noting that it may not be so desirable as you imagine. Are you sure that the data you picked will contradict mine? Let's find out.

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this thread is a hoot

Kelsey is having her nails done for the last time till post parturition. She is getting testy.

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interesting subject

Having read exactly nothing about the subject, I find myself with just one question: who takes care of the kids?  And if there is a separation, with whom do they go?  Of course the question comes from my own experience: child of divorced parents.

Property issues might also be at least somewhat problematic.  Everyone gets to sign the prenup.  :-)  Its tough enough to have agreement between two people.  Now everything is done by committee.

At the same time, I'll also agree that monogamy or polygamy is just a societal/cultural agreement, rather than some sort of ultimate truth.  Lots of people I know get their expectations for "meeting a wife and being happy together for the rest of life" from movies and stories and the like.  That seriously cripples people when things don't work out - or when their own desires don't match up with what the cultural stories (and societal expectations) are saying.  There are a rather large number of cultural agreements (expectations) that we have that more or less set us up for failure.  And being your partner's "everything" is a pretty hard role.

I think this subject is fascinating to read about, and my hat's off to those who are willing to experiment.  Thanks to the original poster for starting the thread.

Last point: I'm never swayed by arguments of the sort: "so where is your degree in XXX."  That's an appeal to authority - in this case the school granting said degree allegedly conveying expertise.  After all, Chris doesn't have a degree in Peak Resources, and lots of people at the Fed have PhDs in economics (and yet still don't have a clue that banks, debt, and money matter in how the economy functions).  To me, degrees mean next to nothing.  If you have to be propped up by your degree (or you knock someone else for not having one), it just reveals that you lack the confidence to stand on the merits of your argument.

 

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Yes I agree amusing

Yes I agree amusing subject.

First, I do NOT have a degree and one of the best things about me is I am not very impressed when someone struts around and fluffs out their feathers and declares I have a degree in such and such.

Love Davefairtex comment:

Last point: I'm never swayed by arguments of the sort: "so where is your degree in XXX."  That's an appeal to authority - in this case the school granting said degree allegedly conveying expertise.  After all, Chris doesn't have a degree in Peak Resources, and lots of people at the Fed have PhDs in economics (and yet still don't have a clue that banks, debt, and money matter in how the economy functions).  To me, degrees mean next to nothing.  If you have to be propped up by your degree (or you knock someone else for not having one), it just reveals that you lack the confidence to stand on the merits of your argument.

I agree degrees mean next to nothing.  Here is a phrase I do like though.  " Before you tell me how much you know show me how much you care"!

As far as monogamy versus polyamory goes, geez it sounds like the 1960's wash, rinse repeat.  Being in the service industry I hear people's stories on a daily basis and people, from my years of observation, people are immature, selfish, short sighted and have major difficulty making a civilized relationship work with ONE person yet alone multiple partners.  Being a really great partner is a major undertaking, hard work and polyamory smacks of "what's in it for me".

Actually the most important point Gaborzol made was - our society is based on scarcity.  There never seems to be enough money, connection with others, time etc.  it's designed that way.  For instance can you buy a large plot of land build 6 houses and have an extended family live together in close proximity?  Not unless the zoning allows it.  Most likely some entity will want to tax each and every house so we are right back to it takes a job to pay for taxes and insurance and a second one to live on.  

Yesterday I had a client who described to me that when kids in school get a lunch they each receive a small milk.  Most don't drink it and after it sits out for an hour or so it has to be thrown away.  This teacher goes around and collects the milk about 20 or so for her class and immediately puts it in the refrigerator.  She then takes the milk to the homeless shelter.  Just think if we were a society that cared about each other we wouldn't have hunger or poverty and having multiple sex partners within meaningful relationships might be the norm but we area hell if a long way from living in that society.

No advanced degrees to support my opinion, just years of experience and I paid for my membership just like you did so please let's not limit people's contributions by suggesting they have to have advanced degrees or their opinions are not welcome.  That's a little arrogant don't you think?

AKGrannywGrit

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Death in Life

Many long term relationships become pdb, pretty damned boring. Constant exposure to just one 'intimate' partner can cause desensitization. This is particularly true where women are concerned as their urge to merge isn't as strong. 

So, currently what we have in Western culture, particularly the U.S. is a nation of 'partners' who are actually room mates. If one of the partners decides to stay in their marriage for the sake of security and loyalty, but step outside of the facade, the entire social structure is lined up to pillory him or her and scream, "cheater, slut" or what have you.  

People want to feel like they are alive, vibrant. Nobody has a right to imprison another under the false rubric of the 'sanctity of marriage,' after their children are of age.  It becomes more of a power struggle than anything else. 

When couples are young and have kids, every effort should be made to keep the kids and both partners in a state of financial and domestic security, through a loose system of monogamy. If parents don't get along, they should do like Europeans do and have discreet affairs.  This works in relationships that may be difficult but where there isn't an imbalance of power.  It beats long messy drawn out divorces. 

 

 

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AKGrannyWGrit wrote: Yes I
AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

Yes I agree amusing subject.

First, I do NOT have a degree and one of the best things about me is I am not very impressed when someone struts around and fluffs out their feathers and declares I have a degree in such and such.

Love Davefairtex comment:

Last point: I'm never swayed by arguments of the sort: "so where is your degree in XXX."  That's an appeal to authority - in this case the school granting said degree allegedly conveying expertise.  After all, Chris doesn't have a degree in Peak Resources, and lots of people at the Fed have PhDs in economics (and yet still don't have a clue that banks, debt, and money matter in how the economy functions).  To me, degrees mean next to nothing.  If you have to be propped up by your degree (or you knock someone else for not having one), it just reveals that you lack the confidence to stand on the merits of your argument.

I agree degrees mean next to nothing.  Here is a phrase I do like though.  " Before you tell me how much you know show me how much you care"!

As far as monogamy versus polyamory goes, geez it sounds like the 1960's wash, rinse repeat.  Being in the service industry I hear people's stories on a daily basis and people, from my years of observation, people are immature, selfish, short sighted and have major difficulty making a civilized relationship work with ONE person yet alone multiple partners.  Being a really great partner is a major undertaking, hard work and polyamory smacks of "what's in it for me".

Actually the most important point Gaborzol made was - our society is based on scarcity.  There never seems to be enough money, connection with others, time etc.  it's designed that way.  For instance can you buy a large plot of land build 6 houses and have an extended family live together in close proximity?  Not unless the zoning allows it.  Most likely some entity will want to tax each and every house so we are right back to it takes a job to pay for taxes and insurance and a second one to live on.  

Yesterday I had a client who described to me that when kids in school get a lunch they each receive a small milk.  Most don't drink it and after it sits out for an hour or so it has to be thrown away.  This teacher goes around and collects the milk about 20 or so for her class and immediately puts it in the refrigerator.  She then takes the milk to the homeless shelter.  Just think if we were a society that cared about each other we wouldn't have hunger or poverty and having multiple sex partners within meaningful relationships might be the norm but we area hell if a long way from living in that society.

No advanced degrees to support my opinion, just years of experience and I paid for my membership just like you did so please let's not limit people's contributions by suggesting they have to have advanced degrees or their opinions are not welcome.  That's a little arrogant don't you think?

AKGrannywGrit

 

Granny,  This is written with a bit of a ,"what's all the fuss about?"  attitude. And I totally get it.  You are likely, like me, an older woman who no longer depends on physical intimacy to feel alive.

Men are a little different, fundamentally, I think. Ever watched an older white man try to loosen up and dance?  What is easy for us, is difficult for them.

 Put a man back in touch with his spirit and his emotions through the physical and we may have fewer cardboard cutouts, awkwardly moving through life, jazzed at the prospect of going off to battle.

If discreet forms of polyamory could make some inroads into the cult of repression that rules the U.S. men like Dick Cheney, for example, wouldn't have to bomb entire countries in order to achieve...you know. 

But as far as the sixties and the casual misuse of others, reframed by the selfish as an expression of how 'loving' they were, I am with you.  Yuk. 

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We do read different books
Quote:

Enough of speaking to your ad hominem.

Woa, touchy, aren't we?

I wasn't making an "ad hominem;" I was questioning your credentials and your authority on the topic.

I can appreciate that you've done some independent study. But formal academic training does expose you to things you might not choose to read, which tend to be things that already reflect your mindset.

Quote:

Shall we start with the waudani of Ecuador?

I'd rather start with the Haenyeo of Chejudo. Or perhaps the four million Minangkabau of West Sumatra. Or the Hopis of the Southwest US.

Yours is a testosterone-poisoned point-of-view. It is not the only point-of-view.


Quote:

I DO read different books.

I recommend The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler, as a good starting point for widening your perspective on history.

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"sweeping and unfounded statements" — yea!
cmartenson wrote:

... your sweeping and unfounded statements here, again, are really neither additive to the conversation nor helpful. Throughout history? "Normal structure"? It's clear you've not done anything close to a thorough study of human history, but have possibly cherry picked your way to a set of data that support your beliefs.

Thanks for putting it better than I did!

And I apologize to those who questioned my interest in Rudmin's "anthropology degree."

As an autodidact, I'm generally the last one to put much stock in schoolbook learning. It's just that Rudmin spoke with such authority that I wanted to learn how he could possibly justify sweeping statements like those that you quoted. Even an autodidact owes it to one's self to be conversant with opposing views.

And that is one thing that a good university education should give you. Someone with an anthropology degree would have at least been exposed to the many social forms outside Rudmin's narrow perspective — many of which were the majority social structure of their day, and some of which live on to this day.

This has strayed far from polyamory, which I have no problem with — it just doesn't suit me, personally. But I'm not about to condemn it as not "normal" just because it doesn't suit me.

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Thoughts and musings

It is my perception that the vast majority of non-monogamous "set-ups" are led my men. Could be wrong on that but I cannot recall ever reading about a women leader being hauled into court or otherwise being in the media for being the leader of a polygamous or other type of set up. If someone knows an example please share.

This ties in to some of what agitating prop seemed to be saying about the needs of men. I surmise it is those needs that lead some men to venture into these kind of arrangements. Of course it takes willing partners to join them, but by and large it is the men who are expressing the desire to have this kind of set up.  And I totally agree with AKGranny and DaveF - one relationship is tough enough, and what about kids and property issues? Lawyers would have a field day in that kind of break up scenario!

Perhaps this ties in to many of the other issues that, while not new, are now being talked about more, largely because of the internet - the transgender issues, gay marriage issues and so on.  I hypothesize that the human condition is far less "black and white" as common social norms would have us believe, but rather 50 shades of grey (pun intended). Perhaps there really is no one true gender?!? Perhaps we all have elements of each gender in us in varying degrees and which manifest with varying strength, meaning we are all a distinct, unique shade somewhere between black and white. I just look at it from the (un-educated) view that genetics is all a numbers game and it is impossible for everyone to come out perfect, um-blemished, defect free and purely in one gender or another. Perhaps some of us are half-way between on the gender scale - hence things like transgenderism? It would explain a lot, I think. Perhaps in this context our article author, Gaborzol, is somewhere on that grey continuum that indicates a propensity to polygamy? Who knows? Does it matter? All that matters to me is that he is a good a decent person and member of society. The rest-be it him or anyone else, is irrelevant...

All I know is that we can and should be questioning everything as we move along on this life journey. There is no true black and white. Which shade anyone is does not make them any less human or mean they have any less rights. All people should be able to live life free of discrimination and persecution. An impossible Utopia I know, but that should be the foundational rule.

Jan

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Attempting to tie threads together...
Michael_Rudmin wrote:

... to do a thorough study of all human history... that would be both deep and wide... Can you name anyone who HAS done a thorough study both deep and wide?

Y'mean like The Story of Civilization, by (appropriately) monogamous couple Will and Arial Durant? It took me four years to read the eleven volumes!

They worked together on this for forty years! It is hard for me to imagine such a collaboration in a polyamorous situation, but perhaps I simply lack imagination. They died within weeks of each other, as many really tight couples do.

I find myself craving such close association with another. You hear about introverts, who prefer to spend time alone, and extroverts, who prefer to spend time with many others. I think there's a third personality type, which for lack of a better term, I call bonders, who prefer to spend time with one other person in a very close relationship.

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Okay, let's look at those two.

Those two you mentioned, though, are not less developed societies.  That is, they do not indicate the type of society that ancient man lived through, a society that is natural to our genes, for example.

 The Haenyeo of Chejudo date their matriarchal social structure back to 1900s.  I have no idea of whether they are monagamous or polygamous or polyamorous.  Maybe we could start the discussion there, but their situation is a modern situation.

The Minangkabau are Islamic; as such, I suspect they are polygamous (men with up to 4 wives); however, I again don't know.  Please enlighten me -- but again, this particular society seems to depend heavily on the men leaving for other countries.  That's one way of avoiding the quandry of the leaders taking too many women and triggering social strife, I'll admit.  As such, if you can maintain that situation (though not all countries can be net exporters of everything) it should calm the violence significantly.  But again, this doesn't disprove my thesis that <i>early mankind social structures often had polyamory, and often had splits based on deprived males revolting</i>. 

These are modern structures.

Maybe we should try the Hopi instead.  Again, please educate me.  This social structure is more like a primitive culture than the others.  It is definitely matrilineal, matriarchal.  Is it polyamorous?  Indeed, they do not seem to be immune to violence and war and murder, but their wars seem to have been with their own people following other leadership:  the Pueblos, the Spanish, the Americans, even the Jesuits.  How does this all relate to my thesis?  How does it demonstrate its falsehood?

You accuse me of having a testosterone ("daddy hormone") poisoned view.  You lost me on that. 

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Sheesh. Another Google-Jockey
Michael_Rudmin wrote:

The Haenyeo of Chejudo date their matriarchal social structure back to 1900s.

Nice try, google-jockey. I lived there. Hangook mal chokum hay-yo? If not, step back from the keyboard and go talk to some real people.

I'll leave you to your self-serving beliefs. Anyone can back up any belief if they google hard enough.

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Is it like the 1960's?
 AKGrannywGrit writes:
As far as monogamy versus polyamory goes, geez it sounds like the 1960's wash, rinse repeat.
I have been thinking quite a bit about what happened in the 60's and 70's to put an end to quite a social movement. Although I didn't get to a conclusive result, I do think people 40-50 years ago didn't have role models available to them. One big difference in today's society is, that when I am considering changing my relationship style, I type into Google what I want to know about, and there are like half a million links to follow. And when I want to build up my communication skills, not only I locate a wide range of online information on Nonviolent Communication, but also find practice groups everywhere. The Internet makes information from the sidelines as available as mainstream. That also means better researched books, and much more ways to connect.
 
As for never having enough money, it can impoverish people as well as connect them by necessity. The millennials I know, for example seem to be more interconnected (as well as better informed) than older generations, and having access to fewer resources they may decide to live with many friends in a large house and share the resources they do have. This brings them even closer. The truth is that many in all age-groups are just a paycheck or mortgage/credit card payment away from a drastically lower-resource situation, and like you say, small acts of loving kindness generate a different world.
 
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Community, sex and Trust

Having been part of an intentional community for more than ten years my practical experience leaves me with some observations.  There was more than enough stress coming to agreement on the roles of money, authority, how to raise children, how to relate to non-members, where to locate, to share or not share living quarters, how often to dust the furniture, clean the toilet, take out the trash and deciding what spices go into an "authentic" tomato sauce.

I can envision the pressure added by abandoning monogamy in search of different relationship patterns in such a community. It does not present a pleasant or peaceful picture.  In may be exciting and seem liberating initially.  As time went on the re-arranging of sexual partners within a group would eventually present a host of issues.  For many of us our deepest fears, hopes, insecurities, jealousies, illusions, self-esteem and cultural programing are tied up with our sexuality. I cannot envision where the rearranging of partners could be done over a period of time on a purely rational and non-emotional basis. Our sexual life, mental and physical, is one of those points of vulnerability that Brene Brown spoke of in her TED talk.  For many I think it is a point of extreme vulnerability.  I agree with David and West Coast Jan.  It is a challenge to maintain true sexual and emotional intimacy, as equals, between two people.  The greater number of people involved, the greater amount of social and psychological capital that would be required in defining and maintaining relationships and in insuring that each individual's inherent vulnerabilities and emotional needs were being honestly addressed in a caring, supportive and life sustaining way.

There are people who I trust with my life.  They attained that position by first sharing my goals, pursuits and beliefs. Then shared experiences over time create a bond that allowed trust to develop.  To have this type of relationship I must also be willing, and through words and actions communicate my willingness, to give my life for the other. This type of trust does exist.  I share it with a few friends and relatives.  I have yet to find any short cut to its development.

As Adam's post pointedd out, military members, police, fire, rescue workers probably attain such trust among themselves more quickly than others due to the intense, life and death situations they repeatedly encounter as shared experiences.  They also have the opportunity of acting out their commitment to their co-workers on a regular basis.

Difficult, but important stuff.

JT

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Polygamy

Oh for sure, West Coast,

Polygamy is all about men, powerful ones.  Rich men end up with all the women.  Poor men are deprived.  Women become chattel.  Many of those practising polygamy, world wide also have a Jones for cousin marriage which eventually turns their family trees into a big inverted family carrot.  

And yes, I agree with you that even those in modern culture are set up by men, or encouraged by men, quite often. Sometimes it is highly manipulative maneuver used to exert control over a mate by encouraging feelings of inadequacy and competition and jealousy. But these men are basically 'players' who are simply working abusive patterns through modern means. They have always been with us and have always caused tremendous amounts of damage. 

On the other hand, a relationship I am very familiar with, the husband asked his wife for freedom and she granted it, because she could see that their lives together were inadequate to his needs to express himself fully and grow emotionally. He was not a player at all just suffering from a lifetime of inhibition. She didn't want to jail a creature trying to emerge from his own cage. She loved him deeply. 

As far as Gabor goes, I would want to know whether he is actually cognizant of the emotional dynamite he is playing with, particularly where women are concerned, and how he ameliorates, and or prevents these situations.  To describe the potential for deep pain and suffering inherent in some of these relationships, as merely something to be managed, seems callous. And is he just another 'player'?  

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I did not claim to be familiar with your data set

Bytesmiths, I did not claim to be familiar with your points. And it isn't google...it's wikipedia.

I am not likely, having read different books and articles than you, and lived in different non-American cultures than you (Ar tu kalbes lietuviskai?) to be familiar with YOUR cases. So of course, to have any rational conversation, I must begin by familiariznng myself with the basic evidence you select.

But I specifically opened myself to discussion, first by examining whether your examples COULD likely prove or support your point -- in the first two cases probably not, in the third possibly so... and then said "educate me".

Aside from that, I repeatedly attempted to bring the topic back to the original topic, an examination of polyamorous society.

Your respense is another ad-hominem, and then a declaration that you will "leave me to my self serving beliefs"

Is this educated? is this polite discourse? is this a seeking of truth?

I feel bludgeoned.

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Nomadic versus agrarian based?
cmartenson wrote:
Michael_Rudmin wrote:

Studying less developed cultures throughout history, the normal structure is for a political unit to obtain a leader. Then the leader successively takes more and younger females, until a huge number of the males have no mate.

Look, I understand your personal belief system is probably challenged here, and that's fine, but your sweeping and unfounded statements here, again, are really neither additive to the conversation nor helpful.

Throughout history? "Normal structure"?

It's clear you've not done anything close to a thorough study of human history, but have possibly cherry picked your way to a set of data that support your beliefs.

To round out your views, you may want to study the US plains Native Americans who had a very elaborate definition of 14 different types of relationships that were nuanced and detailed.  Nothing even remotely similar to the horror you speak of as "truth" can be found anywhere in their history.

Or the pre-Columbus Hispaniola tribes, perhaps you might look up what the priest de la Casas wrote of how well treated the Arawak Indian women were (one snippet:  "Marriage laws are non-existent men and women alike choose their mates and leave them as they please, without offense, jealousy or anger.")  These peaceful people were happy and joyous and unwarlike by all accounts and this was their downfall as the cruel and irrepressibly violent Columbus crew wiped out 3 million of them in just 50 years.  But that's a different story.

I could go on and on traversing the globe, but you hopefully get the point. Your statement about "normal structure" was so far off the mark and inconsistent with reams of anthropological data that I'm pretty sure you've not really studied the subject at all.  My guess is you've gathered some data here and there that supports your preconceived views.

 

 

Chris,

Is it possible that gender egalitarianism was more a feature of nomadic people?  When more Northern people started to plant and plan and store for the winter, would this not have encouraged conservation of wealth which would lead to hierarchical structures?  Being stationary, rather than on the move, defined Northerners ---  at least in the last several hundred years?  

 

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Thank you

Thanks for taking the time to define the issue, as you see it, from having lived in close emotional and physical proximity with others. It's very helpful. 

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Ability to Store Food Created Paternalistic Hierarchies
agitating prop wrote:

Is it possible that gender egalitarianism was more a feature of nomadic people?  When more Northern people started to plant and plan and store for the winter, would this not have encouraged conservation of wealth which would lead to hierarchical structures?

Jared Diamond thinks so. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond postulates that the ability to store food is what allowed Europeans to conquer the world — and to spread the paternalistic hierarchy that was largely absent from the conquered lands at that time.

Conversely, equitorial people subsisted on current solar income, if you will, with staples like casava that had to be eaten relatively quickly before it spoiled. This resulted in a more egalitarian society, as people were more inclined to share an excess of a food that would be worthless in a few short weeks.

Contrast this to a grain-based society, where one can amass enough to feed an army for a year, and withhold it or grant it, in order to wield influence.

Henry Kissinger wrote:

If we can control fuel we can control the masses; if we can control food we can control individuals.

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Gaborzol
Gaborzol wrote:
 AKGrannywGrit writes:
As far as monogamy versus polyamory goes, geez it sounds like the 1960's wash, rinse repeat.
I have been thinking quite a bit about what happened in the 60's and 70's to put an end to quite a social movement. Although I didn't get to a conclusive result, I do think people 40-50 years ago didn't have role models available to them. One big difference in today's society is, that when I am considering changing my relationship style, I type into Google what I want to know about, and there are like half a million links to follow. And when I want to build up my communication skills, not only I locate a wide range of online information on Nonviolent Communication, but also find practice groups everywhere. The Internet makes information from the sidelines as available as mainstream. That also means better researched books, and much more ways to connect.
 
As for never having enough money, it can impoverish people as well as connect them by necessity. The millennials I know, for example seem to be more interconnected (as well as better informed) than older generations, and having access to fewer resources they may decide to live with many friends in a large house and share the resources they do have. This brings them even closer. The truth is that many in all age-groups are just a paycheck or mortgage/credit card payment away from a drastically lower-resource situation, and like you say, small acts of loving kindness generate a different world.
 

The social movement of the 60's and 70's probably burnt itself out when people defaulted to more traditional ways of life. It's too bad, in a way.  A lot was lost. Creative thinkers were crushed. Corporations were gaining ground.  Music started to sound canned and formulaic.  People quit dropping acid --  and that may have grounded them more in the mundane -- a necessity when you have to work and feed yourself, but...kind of too bad.  

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Gaborzol
Gaborzol wrote:
 AKGrannywGrit writes:
As far as monogamy versus polyamory goes, geez it sounds like the 1960's wash, rinse repeat.
I have been thinking quite a bit about what happened in the 60's and 70's to put an end to quite a social movement. Although I didn't get to a conclusive result, I do think people 40-50 years ago didn't have role models available to them. One big difference in today's society is, that when I am considering changing my relationship style, I type into Google what I want to know about, and there are like half a million links to follow. And when I want to build up my communication skills, not only I locate a wide range of online information on Nonviolent Communication, but also find practice groups everywhere. The Internet makes information from the sidelines as available as mainstream. That also means better researched books, and much more ways to connect.
 
As for never having enough money, it can impoverish people as well as connect them by necessity. The millennials I know, for example seem to be more interconnected (as well as better informed) than older generations, and having access to fewer resources they may decide to live with many friends in a large house and share the resources they do have. This brings them even closer. The truth is that many in all age-groups are just a paycheck or mortgage/credit card payment away from a drastically lower-resource situation, and like you say, small acts of loving kindness generate a different world.
 
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Bytesmiths wrote: agitating
Bytesmiths wrote:
agitating prop wrote:

Is it possible that gender egalitarianism was more a feature of nomadic people?  When more Northern people started to plant and plan and store for the winter, would this not have encouraged conservation of wealth which would lead to hierarchical structures?

Jared Diamond thinks so. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond postulates that the ability to store food is what allowed Europeans to conquer the world — and to spread the paternalistic hierarchy that was largely absent from the conquered lands at that time.

Conversely, equitorial people subsisted on current solar income, if you will, with staples like casava that had to be eaten relatively quickly before it spoiled. This resulted in a more egalitarian society, as people were more inclined to share an excess of a food that would be worthless in a few short weeks.

Contrast this to a grain-based society, where one can amass enough to feed an army for a year, and withhold it or grant it, in order to wield influence.

Henry Kissinger wrote:

If we can control fuel we can control the masses; if we can control food we can control individuals.

 

Bytesmith, thanks for your response.  Is this something that Rudmin might be alluding to?  I admit I haven't scrutinized these posts super carefully, but from a cursory glance, think this might be what he is describing? So perhaps an anthropological, historical apples and oranges 'thang' might be happening here?  

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Gaborzol
Gaborzol wrote:
 AKGrannywGrit writes:
As far as monogamy versus polyamory goes, geez it sounds like the 1960's wash, rinse repeat.
I have been thinking quite a bit about what happened in the 60's and 70's to put an end to quite a social movement. Although I didn't get to a conclusive result, I do think people 40-50 years ago didn't have role models available to them. One big difference in today's society is, that when I am considering changing my relationship style, I type into Google what I want to know about, and there are like half a million links to follow. And when I want to build up my communication skills, not only I locate a wide range of online information on Nonviolent Communication, but also find practice groups everywhere. The Internet makes information from the sidelines as available as mainstream. That also means better researched books, and much more ways to connect.
 
As for never having enough money, it can impoverish people as well as connect them by necessity. The millennials I know, for example seem to be more interconnected (as well as better informed) than older generations, and having access to fewer resources they may decide to live with many friends in a large house and share the resources they do have. This brings them even closer. The truth is that many in all age-groups are just a paycheck or mortgage/credit card payment away from a drastically lower-resource situation, and like you say, small acts of loving kindness generate a different world.
 

Millenials have so much to deal with.  I listen to boomer types giving them the, "when I was your age ... yadayadayada" crap and I just shake my head.  They don't have a freaking clue. How is it my generation has gone so full retard? (Apologies to the truly mentally challenged --  and not by choice)

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I got no time for absolutists
agitating prop wrote:

Is this something that Rudmin might be alluding to?

With a bunch of absolutist words, like "always" and "never," perhaps.

But he pretty much seemed to say that no other way was possible, or ever existed. Which simply isn't true.

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further thoughts and musings...

Gaborzol: I have re-read your article and wish to pose a thought to you with regard to this part:

Why is that? Thinking about this for a while I came to the following conclusion; how money functions and how monogamy is institutionalized are the two major creators of this lifestyle. Money is a really useful exchange tool, but it is set up to function so there never seems to be enough of it. Monogamy renders us to be legally connected with at most one other adult, and maybe dependents, and the resulting atmosphere works best with single-family houses in relative independence. Both are based on a model of scarcity. You might have what you need in your wallet or house, but life is set up so you likely don’t.

I wanted to see if I could escape these two predicaments, so for the last few years I have been doing my best to disconnect myself from Corporate America, where money is the lord, and from monogamy (where exclusivity is the lord).

I dearly hope that in your desire to escape these two predicaments that you are either unable to father children, or have had a vasectomy so that you cannot.  I say this because in choosing to abandon an established economic system in the manner you are describing, if you were to end up fathering many children through multiple relationships, how do you propose to support these children? While it is fine and dandy for you to trade eggs and whatnot for yourself at this stage of the game, what about for a (potentially large) family? Several partners and multiple children are going to need a lot more than bartering some eggs to get you by. I do not have enough info about you or your situation and I am certainly not passing judgement on you. It is an interesting conversation and I invite you to share more of your thinking.

On a certain level I admire you. But in this day and age, I also feel that having a bunch of kids with multiple partners is irresponsible, on many levels. We have already mentioned the potential ramifications for breakups and the resulting legal nightmares. And society is already overburdened with too many un-supported and un-wanted children. Lots of sex is great and I am sure most people would concur, but as with all actions in life, there are consequences to the action. Would you feel the same about pursuing multiple partners if you were the one who had to bear the resulting children?

But what about the physical, mental and emotional welfare of any offspring you may have? How will they fare? How would you plan to support them given the choices you are making or wanting to make? Could you realistically support a large brood of kids and all of their needs in the close community that you are trying to build? Have you thought about that aspect of the plan with the requisite degree of seriousness?

In addition to the children issue, there is the belief that many of us here on this site hold: that over-population is the core problem that has caused all of the other problems related to the 3E's. How do you feel about that perspective? 

I do hope more people will comment. This is a worthy discussion on community building: shapes it might take, options we might have, what may work, or not, and why. Each perspective brings new insights which have the potential to shift thinking. Let's hear it folks - especially from the often silent female cohort on this site. How do you feel about this issue?

Jan

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AKGrannyWGrit
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Agitating prop I have enjoyed

Agitating prop I have enjoyed your comments. in reference to #20.

Men are a little different, fundamentally, I think. Ever watched an older white man try to loosen up and dance?  What is easy for us, is difficult for them.

Can't  really relate to this one as my daughters will go out dancing and drag me along. There are some great older gents doing the Two-Step at the C&W bar (country/western).  They are NEVER wanting for partners I might add.  (Dancing Parners) Guess you mean the guys that don't show up.

Put a man back in touch with his spirit and his emotions through the physical and we may have fewer cardboard cutouts, awkwardly moving through life, jazzed at the prospect of going off to battle.

If discreet forms of polyamory could make some inroads into the cult of repression that rules the U.S. men like Dick Cheney, for example, wouldn't have to bomb entire countries in order to achieve...you know. 

Well my first thought at these two sentences is - if your suggesting that the guys in charge are sexually frustrated so they are blowing up the world  - well let's just put a woman in charge.  Wait, gasp (OMG - that COULD happen, we would get Hillary.) Alternate thought, "Be careful what you wish for"! Going back to Resilient Life side and read more about parsnips.

AKGrannyWGrit

 

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sensitive issue just a few random thoughts

Many of us here were present for the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's in the US. I can only offer anecdotes. I remember friends who got involved openly in group encounters of various sorts while married.  Different from polyamory more superficial. I had heard that some groups would devolve into various dyads and eventual marriage for some (couplings of 2 people exclusively and shutting out others) so it seemed some were prone to one on one commitments even when the environment was very permissive. Of course the commitments were to new spouses lol. I personally don't know many women who are comfortable sharing their men but I know many who will put up with it for various reasons even though they are deeply hurt.  No doubt there are men in that situation too.  Still for the record I really don't see a problem with discrete, honest, open relationships involving adults if there is transparency and protection against diseases. 

However child rearing is a very knotty problem. Perhaps if everyone has the same set of values regarding "sharing resources" it is less problematic but that is a culture shift that takes generations to achieve doesn't it? 

For the record not all warriors cheat on their wives.Just sayin'. 

 

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Thanks

VeganD:

Thanks for your post.  Especially the last line.  I want to put my vote in here too. Not all warriors cheat on their partners.  Some of us considerate it honorable and a worthy goal to put their well being and happiness above all else.  It is difficult at times but it can be deeply fulfilling.

JT

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cmartenson
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Three levels of relationships

In my studies and discussions, I have come to the conclusion that there is no "one best way" for relating.

Let's consider the point of it all; to live life fully and to be connected and alive.

If someone is simply cramming themselves into the expected social form of relating and that leaves them unconnected, unalive, and prone to numbing out the pain (via drinking, TV, or other distractions) then that's not a good model for them.

I agree with everyone above who thinks we should be open minded about it all, understand that there are as many different ways of relating as their are differently wired people, and that there's no "one best way."

There might be a way that works better for a larger number of people, but how we relate is not up for a vote like it's a party candidate.

Our culture very, very strongly says we have to marry one person and that person will be our one and only emotional and sexual partner for life.  They will be our everything.  If not, then blow that up and start over.  Serial monagamy is what our culture vigorously supports (as does the legal profession for obvious reasons) even though that path is hideously expensive financially and emotionally for all concerned.

And my culture applauds when two people manage to crank out many decades together, taking that as proof that life-long monogamy works.  Well maybe it does and that long-lasting relationship was truly fulfilling and growthful.  Or maybe those two life-partners simply tacitly agreed to never ask each other to look into themselves, evolve or change and it was many decades of stultifying boredom.

So what I now see as the three stages of depth in relating are:

  1. Unconscious monogamy
  2. Polyamory
  3. Conscious mongamy

Unconscious monogamy is simply two people getting together and never working on or through anything difficult. When difficulties arise, and they always do, they are ignored, plastered over, politely ignored or agonizingly suffered through, and when they have accumulated to the breaking point finally lead to divorce or separation.  The split parties are then free to make the exact same mistakes with their next partner(s).  This is a very common, if not the dominant model.

Polyamory (not to be confused with polygamy) requires lots and lots of conscious processing.  So on that front it is bucket loads 'harder' than unconscious monogamy and requires pesonal introspection and evolution.  But to the extent that polyamory allows one to skip off to another partner(s) if/when things get too intimate, too intense or too scary, then it too can allow one to avoid developing past a certain point.

Conscious monogamy is the most intense and growthful relationship of which I am aware.  In this configuration radical honesty is practiced coupled to a commitment to process and deeply look into every trigger that arises and every emotional land mine that is detonated. This requires an unusual and very rare degree of bravery and courage.  Such conscious relating exposes one's deepest inner wounds to the air, and it means often being in a raw, exposed state that many describe as "being in the tunnel" which is not an easy place to be.  But it's the most authentic and rapid path to becoming a conscious, alive and connected human being that exists.  

So when it comes to being in community and wanting to be in a place of deep and deepening trust with one's neighbors and/or cohabitants, I vastly prefer to be around people who are consciously relating to each other.  

This has nothing to do with what form of relating they are involved in - be they single, polyamorous, married or what have you.  It has everything to do with their commitment to learning and developing as individuals and our most intimate relationships are one of the best ways to have a mirror held up so that we can see ourselves and our shadows more clearly, or perhaps for the first time.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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transcend human relationships?

to husband a piece of land, livestock or a partner for a lifetime engenders a depth of relationship that transcends the members. these are ideas of Wendell Berry not mine.

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westcoastjan
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warriors = integrity in my book

VeganD and JT - I agree with you re warriors and not cheating. In my mind a true warrior would be a person with characteristics such as what Chris describes in Conscious Monogamy.

It is interesting that my Oxford dictionary does not have the word polyamory in it... I now see the distinction between that and polygamy. 

The way I see it the single biggest thing to preventing personal growth is an unwillingness to engage in any out of the box thinking, preferring instead to stick to the safe and commonly ingrained cultural norms. As we move along things evolve and change constantly and what worked previously, be it last year, 10 years ago or a generation ago may no longer work in current circumstances for some people. The cultural norms are not evolving at a pace sufficient to keep up with us. People and institutions alike stubbornly cling to the old ways, regardless of how much pain and suffering those old ways cause.

It is the people who are willing to acknowledge, face and embrace change who learn and grow. Conversely, the people who refuse to examine their beliefs and adjust accordingly are doing themselves, and all too often their family and loved ones, as well as society a great disservice. Look at the price paid by people who stay in miserable marriages because their religious faith does not allow for divorce. While they certainly have the right to that faith, that does not happen in vacuum. The rest of the family, children and society are all affected in varying ways - primarily negative, by that decision to stay together. My own parents did that. Took one for the church and stayed together way too for all the wrong reasons.

These are things we must learn from so that we can evolve. That is why I think this is such a good topic for discussion. It ties in with emotional resilience and how we are all going to cope in a world that is going downhill fast. I too do not care what form relationships take. What matters is the commitment, transparency, honesty and integrity of the participants. If you have all of that, you will be truly rich.

Jan

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newsbuoy
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Serial Monogamist

That's what my X called me.

Isn't the nature of relationships a cultural artifact of the three E's?

From "King of the castle" or part of a distributed system, per se.

Assuming modern medical technology allows control over procreation and some management of STD contamination.

Got poly-children?

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Michael_Rudmin
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Chris... something you said

Chris said:  "So when it comes to being in community and wanting to be in a place of deep and deepening trust with one's neighbors and/or cohabitants, I vastly prefer to be around people who are consciously relating to each other.  "

WHY do you vastly prefer to be around people who are consciously relating to each other?  [Socratic method here...  because I think we actually can come to terms of agreement if we explore this one out.]

I won't insist on it, but you might include your answer's relation to the beliefs of the peak prosperity theme(which beliefs I typically share).

 

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jtwalsh
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Consciously Relating

Michael:  I will jump in here. I do not want to put words in Chris's mouth so I will answer for myself. On my part if things collapse, I would want to be surrounded by people who understood what is happening, realize they cannot survive alone and who have the maturity and courage to work together with others to get through the most difficult patches. I think the worst place to be would be is in many of the middle to upper middle class sub-urban areas and inner cities where people can live for years without ever meeting, speaking to or acknowledging their neighbors and where many are clueless about the events that are overtaking them.  In a brake down scenario it will be important to have an idea of how the people around you are going to react.  My sense is that only people with a conscious awareness themselves, of their surroundings and of other people are going to have any chance to come through to the other side.

JT  

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newsbuoy
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Slippery slopes

But who gets to decide when one is in possession of "conscious awareness".

It is always operative, 24/7.

Am I aware of what I want from spending so much time in relationship to this thread?

 

* * *

"Hold on buster, don't you blind me that that cosmic debris"-- Frank Zappa, "Cosmic Debris"

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Posts: 1191
Ignorance in full is

To believe a people can with haste create a sustainable/resilient community. Required at least is conscious monogamy to the  "membership", a description by Berry that includes a community in place. Serial monogamy or the poly,,,,Amy will have insufficient relational depth to the community in place...

we still need a Miller and a tanner/harness maker.

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