Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Friday, September 3, 2021

Free Love

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted. Reading via monitor/tablet is recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Intended for H. sapiens that are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant and polymath, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter [and cooler] than the av-er-age bear." 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"We don't need a piece of paper from the city hall, keeping us tried and true."
                                                                                                   -Joni Mitchell

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

You know how some memory (accurate or otherwise) from your distant past of no real importance gets stuck in your head for some reason? 

I remember a conversation I had when I was a 16-year-old virgin male with a 16-year-old virgin female wherein I confidently stated that I was a firm believer in free love way back in... well, it was a long time ago.

Hint: The meme Make love, not war was popping up here, there, and I'm told, even over there.      

The young woman in question... 

By the by and for the record, I have it on good authority that she currently self-identifies as cisgender, her pronouns are she/her, thinks her sexual orientation is none of your damn business, that your sexual orientation is none of hers, and that modesty and discretion are virtues worth cultivating. 

The young woman in question's reply was, essentially, "Well, of course, you're a guy." 

While I can't recall her exact words, I do recall her tone. It clearly communicated that she didn't regard me at fault in any way, I couldn't help it, I was just a normal "guy." Guys are extremely creative about rationalizing the fact that most of us are primates in heat — 24x7x365.

In the course of a single lifetime I've witnessed the cultural pendulum swing (pun intended and embraced) from one extreme to the other, at least in the culture I live in (some others not so much). 

Women, long oppressed and suppressed have been set free. They now are free, often encouraged in fact, to release their previously shackled sexuality. Having been blessed by an encounter or two with women who did — in fact, was married to one for 21 years (my late wife) — I couldn't agree more.

However, going from one extreme to the other, rapidly, has its downsides. 

{You need to squeeze a few more cliches into this column.}     

Thanks, Dana. I don't know what I'd do without you. 

In light of the conversation that began this missive, but primarily because of my (Warning: fresh cliche ahead) "lived experience" since, I've arrived at two conclusions that are not currently popular in some circles. 

First, free love ain't free. 

Despite what you may have heard, men and women are in some fundamental physical, mental, emotional, etceterical ways (fortunately) quite different from each other. 

And one person's casual one-night stand is another person's emotional crisis. 

{You've got a keen eye for the obvious, sir!}

Depends on who ya ask. A sexy senior citizen with a modicum of wisdom and an eye for common sense would likely agree with me. A given Wokie would stamp Pasty Patriarch, cancel immediately on my file and forward it to the Intersectional Inquisition.   

Second, consider the ongoing epidemic of illegitimate parents. Ask all the kids of all ages being raised/having been raised without a mom or dad — or both — in the picture what the price of free love is. 

{Wait-wait-wait. Free love merely refers to enjoying sex without guilt or having to submit to stale cultural conventions.}  
I don't have a problem with that per se, however, if the law of unintended consequences swoops in things can get ugly, and fast. For example, an STD is your problem, well, you and your partners, and they and their partners, and...

{Enough already!}

Unwanted progeny however is more the fruit of your loins problem than yours or your partners. 

He/she/they weren't planned for, didn't ask to be here, and are unlikely to be fully mature till they're at least 25 or so. Kids with a mom and a dad in the picture have the best chance of surviving and thriving. "Follow the science," we are told, to which I would add, and follow the common sense.  

{Fruit of your loins? Seriously dude? Anyway, what should we do? Here's another cliche, you can't turn back the clock.} 

I'm not suggesting/hoping for a return to the conventional American morality of the 1950s. I merely wish to point out that our (cliche alert) actions have consequences, sometimes unpleasant ones. 

And that given what's being called a mental health crisis, and no shortage of STDs and unwanted pregnancies despite cheap and easily available condoms and other birth control methods, that we've tossed out the tot with the Jacuzzi water and...

{You've turned that phrase into a cliche over the years.} 

Good. We should all give a bit of thought to dreary old virtues like prudence, modesty, and delayed gratification. The culture (and life) you save may be your own.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Love and/or Charity (Heavenly Graces, Pt.2)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

[Bloggaramians: Blogarama renders the links in my columns useless. Please click on View original (above) to solve the problem/access lotsa columns.]

Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My sublime, drop-dead gorgeous muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher 
Iggy -- Designated Sticky
Dana -- Designated gentlereader (left shoulder)

"Love all, trust a few, do harm to none." -Shakespeare 

Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-Grandstickies,

"...Love, to take care of one's own, yes. But it is to care for employees and partners and colleagues and customers and fellow citizens, to wish all of humankind well...finding human and transcendent connection in the marketplace... ."

This is the first result of my semi-humble attempt, as I threatened last week, at secularizing the Theological Virtues, also called the Heavenly Graces. They're also referred to as the Christian contribution to the Seven Virtues by the woman quoted above, Dr. Deirdre McCloskey.

By secularizing I simply mean that I (and no shortage of myriad H. sapiens who are obviously smarter than I) think all three of the so-called Theological Virtues can be interpreted in a secular manner and should be integrated and practiced with the four Cardinal Virtues. This is true regardless of your religious beliefs, or the lack thereof.

This works the other way as well. No less a personage than St. Thoma Aquinas spoke of the wisdom and utility of combining them into the form I was taught several thousand days ago in the Black & White ages, THE Seven Virtues. This in spite of the fact the Cardinal Virtues were promulgated by some very famous pagans.

Warning: Early Onset Digression
Speaking of Charity... Did you know that Americans donate more money to charity than any other country on the planet? Any way you measure it, we're number one. Nice, right? We're nicer than many say we are. Not that it necessarily does us much good.

I link lightly as a matter of policy. There are many reasons for this but I'll spare you and mention just one. Even when everyone agrees on something, many-ones will respond with a yeah-but.

When I googled the phrase Americans donate the most to charity (I thought I already knew this but wanted to make sure it hadn't changed) the first link that appeared was: Americans are the world's most charitable, top 1% provide 1/3 of all.... So far, so good.


Link three: Americans Are Less Charitable -- The Atlantic. Link six: Why Most Americans Give Little or Nothing to Charity | HuffPost.

Gentlereaders, I insincerely apologize for the digression. My dear Stickies, please note confirmation bias in action (we're wired that way) and the politicization of everdamnthing (we seem to be trying to wire ourselves that way).

And now, back to our show. Let's begin by tossing out the first things most of us think of when we hear the word Charity (as referenced above) and  (INSERT SOUND OF HARP BEING STRUMMED, HERE) the word Love.

While both are of supreme importance, we're talkin' big picture conceptualization here people. Oh, and to avoid confusion (and so that I don't have to keep typing the phrase Love and/or Charity over and over again) we're going with Charity.

Think of Charity as love in action, applied love. If Love is the ideal/answer/all ya' need -- whatever -- Charity is what you do about it. To me, Charity and Justice are the two virtues of the Magnificent Seven whose job is to make it possible for the kids to peacefully share the playground.

Justice is the acknowledgment of the need for rules/morality and the willingness to follow them/it. Applied Charity is refraining from clobbering (verbally/physically/emotionally/etceteraly) the many hoopleheads that inevitably cross our path.

[Wait,wait,wait, refraining from clobbering, this is your idea of love in action?]

Dana's in the house! (or in my head at least). Marie-Louise is scratchin' and smilin,' she knows where I'm headed. Being a hard-headed, practical woman she approves. Iggy's at school.]

Yes, Dana. I'll leave the spiritual/romantic/esoteric/etceteric applications to those more qualified than I (as well as composers of high-calorie pop songs). I prefer to focus...


Wow, cool voice! Very Billy Grahmish. ...Do I know you?

[I'm a literary straw man supplied by Marie-Louise to move the narrative along.]

Well, my thanks to you both. Anyways... well, let me put it this way. I get it, universal love is, um, all you need because love (love, love) is the answer. Fine, but we're not commanded to all like one another. We don't, and we can't.

Yet another BIG BUT

We can't consciously choose to love someone(s).

We can consciously choose to be rational, civilized grups. We can consciously choose to treat others as we'd like to be treated (you may have heard something like that before...). We can acknowledge that the playground's not much fun if the other kids go home (well, usually).

It's easy to love the people we love. Well, mostly. Or at least regularly. Or hopefully, at least occasionally. It's complicated; what isn't?

However, I don't care how many virtual friends you have on Facebook, the planet Earth is home to approximately 7,500,000,000 actual people. You don't even know most of them, much less love them. But unless you embrace the way of the Bully, as more than a few do, you have to try and find a way to get along.

[Gentlereaders, on a related note, China's current emperor, Xi Jinping (Xi Dada), says hello. If you click on the link, which will take you to an awesome video, and if you watch said video, make sure to watch the whole thing. The background singers rock.]

"...Love, to take care of one's own, yes. But it is to care for employees and partners and colleagues and customers and fellow citizens, to wish all of humankind well ...finding  human and transcendent connection in the marketplace... ."

Love in the marketplace? The dog eats dog, kill or be killed marketplace? Yup. Jeff Bezos, the gajillionaire mogul who founded and runs Amazon, and who is regularly accused of trying to be to retail what Xi Dada is to China gets it. He doesn't call it love or Charity, he calls it the Amazon Doctrine.

"Above all else, align with customers. Win when they win. Win only when they win."

"Above all else, align with H. sapiens. Win when they win. Play the game fairly and no matter who wins everyone wins." -me

I could write a whole other letter about the previous sentence; maybe another time. Suffice it to say it doesn't apply to (literally speaking) war. A fairly fought war in the marketplace, that dog eats dog shtuff, results in the customers winning and the loser lives to fight another day. As to sports, or any game, if you, or your team, won all the time, no one would bother playing (think about that, it's important). Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

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©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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