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Semiformalishmaybe

What is Primal about Relationships

What is instinct, and what is done about romantic/sexual relations:(mental sourcecode):

  • Attraction as strong desire, the triggers and depth of which are not easily analysed by higher parts of intellect, even if some of the basics are understandable
  • Desire for exclusive posession, not reflexive (that is, one does not necessarily primally desire to be exclusively posessed)
  • When others have a relationship with someone one wants:
    • If they are in category:awesome, or seem to be a perfect match for that person, vague disappointment and sadness about one's own ends being frustrated, vague and nuanced support for that relationship
    • Otherwise: anger, instinctual hatred, "persona non-grata", primal urges for violence (sublimated by general respect for life), desire to destroy that couplehood and banish the "interloper", if frustrated, this eventually leads to a moderate dislike of the person one was attracted to.
    • Between: Very strange cutoff curves of inclination
  • Notion of "attracted-but-not-suitable" - leads to potentially confused behaviour as primal needs conflict with higher realisations. Likewise with opposite, although less troublesome.
  • Naturally flirty people - Potentially very troublesome
  • One's own flirting - vulnerability, when not met with potential progress, easily becomes a dislike or anger, but if dislike doesn't destroy attraction, leads to internal messiness. Much worse for shy people. Admission of attraction and flirting as an "opening of a door" in a friendship/acquaintenceship - once done, the Rubicon is crossed and it cannot be undone (even if it was suspected before). Opens possibility of anger if feelings/interest are not returned.
  • When others flirt with someone one is interested in: instinct for violence, again subdued by general value for human life and dignity
  • When others begin to date someone one is interested in: Much anger and pain, surprisingly centred more around the idea of their having sex and cohabitation rather than feelings.
  • Infidelity of a partner: Instinct to kill, most likely the third party. Might not always be subdued by general values.
General duty: keep all this mess under the surface when possible, and as a friend try not to be disruptive of relationships of one's friends or people one cares about. If one cannot legitimately do this, limit or break contact with those friends.

These are what I think people have as basic material to work with - specific cultures, philosophies, upbringing can attempt to layer new traditions or remove/rework the instincts we have. (nuance: these are gained through my observation and having talked with others (while trying to figure out where they may have been not entirely honest with themselves or reshaped themselves and forgotten what they were), but bound together most tightly by my own introspection - if it is not fully general, it is likely shaped by my being:

  1. Male
  2. Bisexual but relationship-oriented towards a pairing with a female
  3. Liberal
  4. Inclined towards few, very strong attachments to friends (which I have been lacking for quite some time in actuality for years) and a preference for a very strong/intense relationship style
  5. Generally respectful of Freud's depiction of the broad shapes of what it means to be human
One always hopes to be general, but it's hard to be sure when enough introspection is involved)

Implications for life philosophy: Varied, particularly where gender relations intersect with liberalism. We recognise that these urges are accomodated in some ways by traditional societies where liberal societies ignore them, telling people that dealing with them is a general responsibility of people. For some of the more emotionally charged circumstances involved, we can understand why people would act in certain ways that we nontheless legally prohibit - an ideal system may in fact have a public value system that is necessarily at odds with the legal enshrinement of that system (e.g. you are inspired to do illegal thing X in order to be a fully realised person by general mores of society, and you are then obligated to face the legal consequences).

I do not think it is "being a better person" to try to go too far beyond the limits of this - to step too far beyond what we must makes us less human and twists who we are. Jealousy over people we're interested in is natural, even if its expression is something we reject or constrain tightly. We thus reject both the "try to handle these things so lightly that we don't feel it" as diminishing matters of the heart, and the "actually beat people up or seek them out for confrontation" as being inappropriate for adults and undersocialised. We can be "accepting that X is in a relationship" or "disapproving/rejecting X's relationship but in an appropriate way" according to the particulars.

I have been moderately obsessed with the traditional Russian song, Катюша. At home, because my apartment has numerous flaws in terms of keeping the cold air from outside from entering, I have also been dependent on the warmth of cats to keep my legs warm. (blah blah band name 「Dependent on the Warmth of Cats」 blah blah - it is interesting how the -ent version describes the state and the -ant version describes one in that state, while they are pronounced practically the same in all but the most careful levels of enunciation).

Finally: For those of us who (sigh) follow PZ Meyers, I think he's almost completely wrong on his opinionating over the Sunsara Taylor/Ethical Humanist Society mess.In brief:

  • I think it's generally rude to withdraw a speaking invitation in most circumstances, however,
  • When a speaker is invited to speak on topic A, but they imbue enough of topic B into their actual talk plan, and show little interest in being kept on-topic, it is acceptable to withdraw an invitation. Even if someone is known for talking about B, if they're invited for A, it is acceptable to insist they not stray too far from it.
  • It is very provocative to the level of "really-really-should-not-do-it-and-are-asking-for-trouble" for a speaker in those circumstances to show up anyhow and try to speak
I have no comment on the police action - I would need to have been there or have had footage to know if it was inappropriate.

Comments

My take on the police action: The humanists certainly did not ask the police to brutalize Taylor. The humanists very likely made the same mistake that so many people do, which is not understanding (as it appears PZ does not) the fact best expressed by Chris Rock: "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an ass-kicking with them." Likely the police were their usual bad-tempered selves and beat up Taylor because that's how they operate. If the humanists, realizing what they had unleashed, had tried to intervene on her behalf, they probably would have gotten themselves arrested for interfering with police. :-P
Not all police are the same. I've known some police, and seen a lot of variance between individual officers (and police departments) in how they behave.