Monday, July 02, 2018


Physiologically in the human body, like all other animal bodies, one phenomenon leads to another and that "another" opens up the door to the next feature, so that what happens to someone as an infant is the foundation of growing babyhood into toddlerhood, and toddlers are the preparation for adrenarche.  Adrenarche is the timer that tells the adrenals when to begin adolescence.  People greatly underestimate adrenarche though the adrenal glands, for which the stage is named, are among the most potent and addictive of self-created "drugs."

We think about organs because they are parts one can see and hold, but we ignore the REAL systems which are molecules immersed in body fluid, blood, and mucus.  Instead of looking at the faces of people, we should maybe look at their blood-draw analysis panels.

Between the bonding that caregiver and newborn develop and the raw lust of adolescence is the foundation of identity and its ability to survive by resisting or adapting the context of the environment which is essentially an ecology that includes other people.  Culture is the creation of that ecology, the way everything fits together, and is how people know how to behave.  The total of their choices is society, but it is anything but uniform.

What is driven by love/sex can end in "intimacy" that is supported by both bodies and minds.  Both are emotional. Both are ways to stick together, both can be both positive and negative at the same time with results that are also both positive and negative in terms of the person's experience.  (These "pay-off" thoughts come from reflecting on biography.)  

Forget Freud except for his realization that our animal heritage is capable of intelligence often unconscious.  I like to call it the Under-Mind because it echoes undermine.  The consciousness must deal with both this massive internal set of forces and whatever is going on in daily life.  We talk a lot about "siloes" meaning "vertical" happenings that rise with close limitations side-to-side but rarely deal with laminations.  Both the conscious and under-conscious aspects of reality are laminated, in layers that can contradict what is above and below, even destroy each other.

Therefore at one level an enraged person attacks another, which is hostile, at the next level is ensuring close contact, at another level loves and wants to "own", at another level is acting out what parents did, and somewhere in there is pretending to be John Wayne slapping Maureen O'Hara in the movies.  Then there's remorse and the realization of damage.  No wonder it takes years and sometimes decades to figure it all out.  Some people never do.

Adolescence in some classes of our culture is thought to be about learning how to earn a living and this is so thoroughly entwined with sexual access and practice that we learn that to have sex we must buy certain products and look a certain way, which changes over the years.  We become commodities ourselves, and weigh sex in terms of "worth" -- was that session better or worse?  "Being fucked" ought to be a good thing, right?  But it is a phrase used to describe disaster.  "Being in love" ought to mean (we are taught) being lifted up and enlightened, but instead it means being blind to reality.

There are cultures in which "bonding" is only a childhood phenomenon and is withdrawn or merged into community belonging.  Even missing.  There is no practical culture that excludes sex because they all die out for lack of birth.  In the tension between survival as an individual and survival as a group, going too far in either direction is destructive.

Fiction and biography (which could be described as "silo fiction" because it must exclude some things and stick to a theme which changes the meaning of the facts) are a literature and theatre (including screen stories) attempting to explore human laminations and lamentations with enough truth to see ourselves.  "If you do this . . . the result will be this."  In one culture, love and sex can save people.  In another they will be hanged by the neck until dead.

Novels let us enter someone else's reality and learn from it.  Idealism can validate a dissolute life.  Or it can make destruction inevitable.  A story on this level can be transformative, but most of what we learn in school are stories that endorse the culture as it stands, not the alternatives but the necessity of what's happening.

Many of today's pop media stories separate sex from love and try to gender-assign them so that men want sex and women want love.  If they are from the same sex, then maybe they want the same thing, so the story has to work at presenting men who want love and women who want sex.

As a "teen" I was sent to two kinds of dance school in hopes that they would make me more lovable -- meaning attractive.  Let's say the two kinds of classes were ballet and ballroom.  In my family there was a looming but denied dilemma about sex.  It was romanticized as marriage and never quite acknowledged as the power society gave it.  That was the day when on-screen kisses were closed-mouth -- no penetration of any kind.

I keep a little list of sexual "tropes" in today's stories:

The head grabbing
The clothes stripping
The phone rings just short of climax
The throat arch with head back
ohh, ohh, ohh
The very English black man

It reads like a poem, one moment in the laminated narrative of a certain situation.  As constricted as a 1950's onscreen kiss.  This is ballet, rigorously controlled, each step given a name: Battement Développé, Battement Fondu, Battement jeté, grand.  Only the very exceptional become ballerinas; the rest remain in the corps de ballet, the body of the group.  It's Russian, kidnapped from the French.

I was hopeless, simply unable to bring my body into social conformity.  My stomach and butt stuck out, my spine had two curves in it, my shoulders drooped.  Mr. Oumanski said all the right things, but when I brought in my little dance skirt, supposed to look like a tutu except the skirt was sewn on upside down so it didn't stick out, he sighed.  I didn't know how to practice, which they called work.  So I didn't do it.

The social dancing was worse.  I could only follow one boy, who also sighed.  He gripped his partner firmly and tried not to touch, which was contradictory.  I was romantic -- I wanted to know the person, not what he was doing.  In the end the solution was to hide in the bathroom.

I never dated.  When I was 21 and far from home, I accepted a seduction so easily and quickly that my middle-aged partner was startled and that turned out to work.  For both of us.  The culture around us depended on being drunk, but not for us because of the kick of adrenaline.  It's how I learned to work. 

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