Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Could Teach The World...

Think of the best present you ever got in your life. Something so nice it almost made you cry. Got a picture of that thing in your head? Good. Now...
What was it wrapped in?  
Don't care, do you? Don't even remember?
That's how I feel about bodies. 

I'll just pin that there so everyone can stare at it. Because that's what people do. I've been repeating that, in person and online, for twenty years or longer now, and the reactions (still) speak volumes, 
Strangers, particularly male strangers, think it's bullshit. In the manner of online strangers everywhere, they're not afraid to tell me so, using words that you'd never say to a stranger face-to-face. I've been told I "must be a turd-burglar" (funny how they can't just say I must be gay, they have to go for the insult). Last month I got "that is soooooo beta". And just last night I managed the highest number of "downvotes" I've ever received on a single Reddit post in six years of Redditing, just for putting that up there. Many people really seem to hate that concept. I have no idea why. I don't think I come off as holier than thou for saying it. I certainly don't mean to. 

A small class of charitable strangers says, "well, that's nice, but you don't really believe that". I suspect that reaction holds true for many of my acquaintances and friends as well.  I'm not sure how to  prove I do. I could maybe post pictures of all the people I love, from the morbidly obese to the willowy to the pixie to everything in between--but besides violating their privacy, I'd run out of space to post photos and run smack dab into the other huge misunderstanding about me, which has to do with the number of people I love...

If you're really close to me, you might tell me that I might believe I really feel that way. Hell, it isn't really all that long ago I finally stopped having this exchange with my beloved wife of fifteen years:

Me--"You know I love you, right?"
Eva-"I know you believe you love me..." if loving someone, let alone someone as loveable as her, is impossible and I've been deluded all these years.  (That's gone, at long last: Eva finally believes she's loveable, which happifies me in so many ways...)

And in all my life, smaller still is the class of person who reads those words, grasps their meaning and sincerity right off, and agrees with them. 

I asked my Facebook friends last night, in the middle of my Reddit downvote barrage, to tell me what's so controversial about thinking that maybe, just maybe, it'd be a good idea to love people from the inside out. A few people hastened to advise me not to listen to the madding crowd. Rest assured, neither derision nor downvotes will get me to change my mind on this. I know I've got a hell of a lot wrong, still, but on this point I'm convinced I've got it right.

One friend asked:

Could this possibly be related to people have a hard time with keeping their own company? Not bodies, but they don't like how, or where, their thoughts go when they are not entertained or distracted by something outside of themselves?

I had a flash of that makes a lot of sense and than promptly lost the strings of thought that connected the two ideas. Jason, permit me to flail about here.

It's certainly a true insight into people nowadays. I just read about a study in which people from various ages and backgrounds were asked to spend fifteen minutes alone with their thoughts. Their only external stimulation was a button that delivered a painful shock. Two thirds of the male participants showed they'd rather hurt themselves than quietly think to themselves. The women did better: only one quarter of them pressed the button. Still, I was amazed at those findings. I'd have thought only a few people would have trouble being in their own company for fifteen minutes.

(Fifteen minutes? Pshaw. I've meditated for an hour or two without noticing time passing, and I regularly zone out--in private--and retreat into myself to recharge.)

I find it telling that men, in particular, have so much more trouble without something to keep their eyes occupied. All my life I've heard people tell me how men are more dependant on visual stimulation...another one of the encyclopedia of things that made me question my manhood from an early age. If I've got to look at anything, I'd rather look at words than pictures. I can't even decipher pictures half the time if they're complicated, which leads to some very odd interpretations of movies, TV shows and commercials. (I considered whether this might have something to do with my (very) poor vision...but that vision has been corrected to at least a semi-acceptable standard for nearly 35 years.)
It's common knowledge that this is why men watch porn while women read erotic literature. (Like most common knowledge, this is wrong: at any given time, one in three porn consumers is female.) But it does seem as if men prefer visual stimulation.

Which brings us around to the context in which my philosophy was most recently mocked. The question was "does everyone else constantly assess members of the opposite sex to determine if you'd have sex with them?" Top voted reply was "this is the most normal thing I can think of".

Which makes me pretty abnormal.

I tried to explain that without knowing the person, I had insufficient data to make a proper assessment. You sure can't tell the answer to a question like that from looks alone, even if you're not me. Ever heard of 'don't judge a book by its cover?' Or how about 'don't stick your dick in crazy'? The craziest woman I've ever met is a stunning blonde that regularly trails a string of dejected, rejected men behind her like a contrail.
This was all brushed aside and further downvoted, and I couldn't think why. Surely people aren't that shallow? Do they not notice how many gorgeous men are complete and utter pricks? Or how many beautiful women are nasty as soon as you get to know them?

By all means, there are people of both genders who are all around beautiful, and there are ugly people who are ugly inside, too. I'm just saying that you can't tell much about the actual person from a quick survey of their outermost layer.

A parade of naked women could sashay past me and...well, yeah, I'd notice them...but not beyond the fact they're naked. It's just skin, we all have it--and that's yet another of my oft-repeated sayings that cause people to look at me askance. How does the saying go? If God had intended us to walk around naked, we would have been born that way"?

It seems to me that many people are very concerned with what they can see and touch, something "outside of themselves". I just don't care about that, myself.  I try as hard as I can to touch people inside. That's how and why I love the way I do; also why I don't believe love should, or even can, be restricted to one person alone. There are too many people with dark insides, waiting for someone to flick a switch and show them how loveable they are, and there's no reason I can see why I shouldn't be the one to at least try to flick that switch, when and where I can.  The third piece of Ken that seems perfectly natural to me, but which is an enigma to most people I know:

What I would do (and I could, too!)
is teach the world to love.
Because few know (there’s less who show)
abundancy thereof.

The planet teems with those (it seems)
who know not love but hate;
That can be healed, with love repealed,
I know it’s not too late.

That’s a good start. I should impart
There’s so much more to do.
For there is more to love, ‘tis sure
Than what we ever knew.

Love has no end. Kindred, foe, friend,
or stranger, I don’t care.
To love them all, that is the call
I feel compelled to share.

That means to me that love, you see
Can’t be contained or caught.
To love just one, all the rest shun
Is how to love for naught.

If I hold her (even bolder:
if you hold him too),
if three or four or five or more
I love you just as true.

“That isn’t right!” you say in fright,
“That’s not how love should feel!
For if I split love bit by bit 
And dole it out piecemeal--”

--you’ll find, and soon, that love’s immune
from being cut that way...
The more you take, the more you make,
is what I mean to say.

I love you truer, to be sure
When I don’t seek to cage
Your heart, your soul, your love, your whole
And keep in on one page.

So be the light, take your delight
In all that love can reach
I’ll do the same, and so exclaim
The lesson I must teach.

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