A Melodrama of Love
I seem to be experiencing a melodrama, and fantasy, about a woman. I am standing in front of another man’s wife and saying, “Okay, I want you sexually.” In the fantasy it is almost as if I am displaying my sexual organs, being completely open. But the woman is saying something like, “Oh no. No, that is horrible! Get away from me.” But then in the darkness of night, out of sight of her husband or of society, she comes to me and wants that relationship. This all seems to take place in a past period where women wore long billowing dresses.
What that has to do with me, is that in the darkness of night, out of sight of society and others I am ready for that form of relationship. I remember that as a teenager I often used to have a fantasy of a sexual relationship with a woman underneath her hooped flared dress. In the fantasy she would be sitting or standing with an externally composed posture and face, while under her dress I would have removed her knickers and would be kissing or touching her vagina.
This fantasy or melodrama leads on to a sense of ripping apart clothes or conventions, a sort of pain that leads to transcendence. It is a felt pain that leads on to transcendence. This is represented by the horse taking flight. It is Pegasus, the winged horse. It takes flight from the foot of the hill instead of going left or right. It seems that it takes flight from the most blatant sexual love and passion. In fact out of that passion, out of that connection and the pain of it, it takes flight.
At this point in my life – at this point in the fantasy – in this particular fantasy, this fantasy of transcendence, if it is a fantasy, it is at this point in my psyche the tragedy occurs. It is at this point that I killed my horse. This is the tragedy that the poem of The Horse That Loved Me is about. The poem about The Strange Bird also has a similar theme of the transcendent flight being brought down or killed. This is a tragedy because it means that no possible transcendence can occur. The means of that wonderful flight has been killed or maimed.
In my case I refuse the transcendence of love. I realise at this point that when a man and woman have great flowing love and passion for each other it can lift up their consciousness into a new level of experience. Women seem more ready for this than men. They want to be transported by love and thereby achieve a new level of being or maturity. But usually in our society this love in some way becomes materialized or commercialized, maybe even trivialised or sexualized to the point where any transcendence is killed or broken.
But why did I kill my horse? I sense that in some way this is the tragedy of relationships. The woman actually senses that the man can arouse in her and in himself this horse, this creature or power that can carry both of them into a new form of life and love. It would be the means to transform, to take the next stage of development.
What has happened?
At this point in the story, the hero, realising what has happened, runs from house-to-house in his village looking for some link with the wonderful power of transcendence. But in each house he finds drunkenness, adultery, the kneeling before a powerless image, anything and everything except expression of the real life. So what does that mean in my life, or in the development of my psyche?
The fantasy seems to be a part of my internal mythology. I am saying that it is almost as if Western society has created an almost Mickey Mouse, Goofy psyche. Our psyche seems to have little to do with the real underlying powers of life, the real forces in the cosmos, the real processes of life and death. We seem to have little real vision of being a complete human being, procreating and living within society. Instead, it is as if it takes the greatest reality to be economic needs, job searching, becoming rich with money. We fail to live within the ecology of nature and the wider dimensions of the universe.
The thing is, what is the real world, what is real? What is opportunity? What are we capable of now? Personally I feel as if I am trying not to relate to the world through clichés.
The mythology of our psyche
The mythology of our psyche is important. It is the basic non-rational roots of our personality. Our psyche has its roots in such mythology, and the mythology gives some form to what lies beyond the rational mind and beyond form – perhaps beyond time and space. It is tempting to attempt reliving that mythology. We may even be trapped by it.
The trap is that patterns of behaviour pervade us as individuals, and pervade human society. These patterns are not necessarily leading toward our fulfillment. They exist as behavioural patterns that have existed for a long period of time. They are patterns that developed during our evolutionary shifts. They are not there as a guide to fulfillment. Consciousness, our personal consciousness, does not exist outside of this huge web of social and family patterns. For us to attain any semblance of real personal identity we need to become aware of these patterns in some degree. Such developing awareness is often painful. It is difficult because becoming aware is like a personal earthquake. It probes, it causes upheavals in perspective and values. It changes who we are and how we respond.
Human society is not a rational structure, despite the fact that we like to believe we are in control and rational. Looking at the level of international strife we can see that this is not the case. Irrational patterns of behaviour still play an enormous part in the way individuals and nations respond to each other. Social and personal behavioural patterns have developed out of ancient hierarchical ways of dealing with groups and leadership. Social structure is still linked very directly with the most ancient forms of interaction between primitive groups.
Relationship that I have with my lover
What I am trying to do is to gradually become aware of what is going on, what is involved in the sort of relationship that I have with my lover, with Jay. Having been a father, to some extent my parenthood is an important factor. Once personal drives towards survival, towards achievement, towards getting things for oneself alone, are transformed by having to give yourself to your children, they are to some extent transcended. Even the sexual drive is to some extent moved beyond – transcended or transformed by being a parent. Although the sexual drive is at the very root of parenthood, even so it has to be sublimated in order to care for one’s own children and individuals within the group. It is out of this basis of transformation of the primitive sexual orientation and to some level of caring and protection in modern society, that there is any hope for the real development of the human species.
It is not an economic thing, although of course economics are a part of it. We seem to have everything the wrong way around. It should not be sex and parenthood at the mercy of economics, causing us to bow at the feet of economics; it should be economics in service of the sacred human process. It should be economics at the service of the dignity of the human species and life on earth. This has nothing to do with religion in a sense, but religion does try to uphold that.
What I see that is happening between my lover and myself is that I am torn between a parental caring role, and a personal role. What is to be done?
I can see from all this that what I need to report, is that I cannot help as an ageing male, as a parent, as an elder in my tribe, having a very different perspective to what my lover has. I cannot help but be more caring toward her than I would be if I wasn’t the man that I am.
So that is one aspect of it. Nevertheless I do see that my lover has forged a link with me that is very real, and I am not diminishing that. What I am wrestling with is something new in my experience; and wrestling with it because I appear to be trying to move towards a different relationship with this than I had in the past. I am talking about the fact that I love a woman, but I also love Jay and Tina. In fact Jay and Tina have forged links with me over a lot longer period of time. We have shared more experiences together. Nevertheless that does not in any way diminish what exists between my lover and myself. However, I emerged from a social background in which it was imperative that one was seen to love only one woman or one-man. Also, living so closely with Nadia, who experienced enormous pain and horror if I showed any affection for somebody else, I learned to try to live out that old pattern although it was not a natural part of my being. I learned to hide or lie about my real feelings. The recent experience of telling Jay that I was with another lover really confronted me with this awfulness of lying about, or hiding, what I really felt and who I want to be. Also, what I felt as my lover desire for a committed one-to-one relationship, also confronted me with whether to continue living a sort of lie again, or whether to do something that would perhaps threaten the relationship and end it. I was trying to live the dream again as I did with Nadia and it wasn’t working. So I decided to tell my lover that I could not continue in the relationship as it was even if this meant the end of it.
I do not love any one single person to the exclusion of anyone else
So what I am trying to learn, what I am perhaps learning, is to acknowledge that I do not love any one single person to the exclusion of anyone else.
In one sense this is easy. In a certain way I see that life is what we make it or what we wish to make it. I see that social morals are largely historical things that came about through certain circumstances in the past. Nevertheless, it is also obvious that those morals were based on very hard lessons. Sexual disease is still prevalent. I do not wish to be party to carrying an infection from one woman to another. I would sooner refrain from sexual intercourse.
So what I am not sitting easy with is our own tribal laws that still basically say we must relate only to one woman and one-man. To me, love is not like that. It hasn’t got those narrow boundaries.
As I examine these feelings I don’t see it to have any relevance to the ideas of male dominance. I feel it is equally true for women. It is not the case of, look, I am your man, and therefore I have sexual rights to you. It has got nothing to do with that. In fact that is out of date. The relationship should be nothing like that. The relationship that I sense arises out of a feeling for and caring for each other and being mutually supportive. It arises out of recognising each other’s actual human needs for warmth, for sex, for being affirmed. If we want to call that love, well and good. Except that love is sometimes often associated with possessiveness, domination, and childlike dependence on one’s partner. To me, this new sort of love – or maybe it’s an old sort of love – is a type of organic Christianity. It is a type of love and care that takes account of one’s real needs as a person and as a member of society. But of course that love exists for we can love our children, all of them.
In connection with the legend mentioned above of the horse, the horse needed to be sacrificed. It needed to be killed, because only out of that pain and loss can real human love emerge. The hero, having seen the degradation of human society with its worship of idols, sex disconnected from caring and mutual support, with its escape into alcohol and medical drugs such as pain suppressors, loses all hope of transcendence. Then slowly, if we see the pain his fellows are suffering, the ignorance they are trapped in, he experiences compassion and reaches out to them. That is his transcendence.
It is a fundamental need in us to be near other humans
It is a fundamental need in us to be near other human beings. Unfortunately in our society we associate this completely with genital sex. This is so strongly a part of what individuals feel that many males are convinced they have two fuck to gain or to give any level of satisfaction to their partner. Also we see a sort of awful extreme of it in some aspects of homosexuality which is almost entirely about genital anal sex. Of course, genital sex is a wonderful part of that closeness between a man and the woman. But essentially a relationship satisfies us much more deeply than that. It also means to be a part of and connected to not only one’s chosen partner or partners, but also to be a, or to have a, meaningful part in the society in which we exist. If we can become a part of world society then that is even more satisfying.
Also it is not enough to just have social recognition or riches – it isn’t enough to have those things. We need an actual dwelling together at times. We need to be able to hold each other, to drop the social corsets and masks that we usually have to wear. Somewhere we need that connection with other people, and unfortunately it is very difficult to find in today’s world or in a type of relationship that many people have. Therefore people seek it in all sorts of ways, as in prostitution, which is an outcrop of this need and that searching. In fact prostitution is a commercialisation of that human need. The need to be held, to be loved and affirmed, should have no price on it. It should never be a means to manipulate each other but should be recognised as a mutual need. To have the most profound urges in myself be treated like a commodity is to demean all of human life. And to have it thrust at one day after day in the form of pornography, is a terrible tragedy in connection with something that is so holy and is at the root of our existence. To demean that is to demean oneself.
At the moment I feel almost as if I should have a coming out party. At least I need to acknowledge who I am. I need to stand up and say who and what I am. This is a statement of my life. Only by making such a statement can I express my love and affirmation for my own being.
I, Tony, am proud to be a male
I, Tony, am proud to be a male. I am proud to love and acknowledge as important in my life, the women and men who have long stood beside me and loved me despite or perhaps because of the idiosyncrasies that make me who I am.
Feeling these things I admire the strength and courage of those homosexuals who feeling that their homosexuality was a real expression of who they are, were able to stand up publicly and acknowledge themselves as being gay. I would like to have that same sort of courage. I am trying to find that courage now.
It seems to me at the moment that the reasons I could not easily speak at public gatherings before – such as my daughter’s wedding for instance – was because I often felt that the whole thing was a farce. I felt that so often in such gatherings we are hiding the real truth. People are not standing up and saying who they really are. Instead they are standing up and hiding and lying.
Of course those feelings were largely unconscious in me. But I sense a spirit burning in me – not just my spirit, but the spirit emerging from the long line of my family. In the midst of religious, social and economic persecutions they kept their own counsel and lived their own truth. We’ve tried to live our lives in the midst of all that and keep our heads up. We tried to live with some sort of pride. It was difficult and it is difficult; this because family love does not have boundaries.
It is difficult for me to say that because I have never been an expression of social niceties, social norms. In some ways I have felt ashamed of that because I never seemed to live a “normal” life. But in other ways I am proud to have had the strength to live such a life, and love people in the way that I have loved them, or to despise people where I have despised them. And that, I think, is a trait that is blessed in the males in my father’s family. We don’t mind spitting where somebody deserves to be spat on.
As the eldest male in my family group, I want to say to my children, in my own peculiar way I love you very much. I am very proud of you. I want the wives of my sons to know that I treasure you. I am only sorry that in some cases I could not welcome you more formally into the family. Part of this difficulty I am sure is the fact that I have not been a father who maintained the family home and the family unit in the socially acceptable way.
I felt that to admit our love nakedly means that we also have to admit our own weaknesses and folly. Nakedness means nakedness. It is easy to be caring in someone else’s eyes. It is much harder to show one’s weaknesses. So in feeling my love I have to admit to being a stupid person with all the human foibles.
What is it St Paul says, something about tinkling symbols – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And unless life flows through us we are nothing. Without that flow of real love and feeling we are an empty unplayed music box. No music arises from our life. We have no connection with what is real – and I am not talking about what people call the reality of material objects. I am talking about the reality that underlies the universe and our personal lives. I have sat for many days in company with men and women all asking themselves the question, “Who am I?” Almost none of them got to the root of who they actually are, and were stuck in a morass of words, words which in themselves are only symbols, ready made sounds for the real things.
One of the things I am seeing at that the moment about symbols and dreams is how beautifully they hold tremendous amounts of information and meaning. I am thinking at the moment about the soil, the garden – they are so rich in meaning. Whatever our forebears did, whether they were deceitful and lying or courageous and strong, whether they had honour or were cowards, whatever they did, and perhaps over time they did everything, their lives were the drama that brought us into being.
Their lives have given us the substance of our body and our personality. We are the heirs of that drama. What we grew from is what they left us. It was the heritage from the past. In dreams this is often represented as a piece of land, a garden. It was the piece of land – is the piece of land – that you inherited. Whatever that land might be, whatever its condition, that is what you have. Whether it is beautifully rich with orchards growing on it, or whether it is covered in rocks and brambles, that is your heritage. Bemoaning the condition or being proud of the condition doesn’t change it. The thing is to take up your tools and develop that land. Let us fertilise it. Let us honour it. We can make it rich. We can enrich it because it is the real stuff and has in it all the potentials of life. Because of that, as rocky or as thorny as it might be, we have all that we need. On that land we can let the tree of life grow.