When we last left our heroes, (ok..stop laughing, I know that’s way beyond exaggeration) there was a lot of processing, and not a lot of action, which was fine for a while. This episode won’t be much different as I figured I’d take a moment to touch on the other things that I was doing to get better acquainted with the poly world. People I met, books I bought (though not always read), and places I’d go to find answers, or get a heads up on the questions that I’d have to answer. There’s no real chronology to these, as many of the events overlapped or coincided with others, or happened in previous or later chapters of the journey.
Yeah, I picked up the Ethical Slut, and actually read it. I bought Opening Up at the same time…didn’t read that one yet. It’s one of the possibly hundreds of books I’ve bought with every intention of reading…but the problem with me and books is the same as so many other things I’d like to do but can’t…no time.
I’m not sure there was anything that was a groundbreaking revelation in these books…but that’s also probably because I was already heavy into research mode before I even got to the pulp resources, so many of the points I would have already found online or in discussion. The advantage that pulp has over online though, is that books are generally more focused toward a particular topic, and take considerable time to explain their arguments in some detail, and also (again generally) have some research or viable proof backing them up in the editorial/publishing process…at least if it’s going to be taken in any way seriously in the non-fiction sections. This is of course relative mainly to the online world where any idiot can publish whatever crap they want and call it a blog. (Like this one for example.
I did find it very useful though to gain some common terminology and analogies both for discussing ideas with other poly’s, and also to be able to explain it to those outside the poly realm.
I think it reinforced that what would otherwise be deemed as deviant sexual behaviours could in fact be very much normalized…just that it would require an adjustment in thinking by the people around us…if not the larger society, then perhaps at least the people we choose to keep around us as company. It may also be partially attributable to my having hung around a very libertarian crowd at certain times of my life, where the ideas of moral absolutes based on ideological dogma and societal tradition had already fallen by the wayside. Maybe Ethical Slut just put the permission in black and white print, that it was ok. It was ok to leave those by the wayside; it was ok to find one’s own way. It was ok, to want something we’d been programmed not to.
Most importantly I think, it moved the ethical question away from realm of the act or desires themselves, and instead placed it in the context of our relationships with others. It’s a powerful distinction that I think too few people in the main stream actually realize. This little bit will take some more reflection…and I’ll have to come back to this in a later post.
For something completely different, I’d suggest This is your Brain on Music
by Daniel Levitin
. It has absolutely nothing in it about poly, but a lot about how the brain works…and I actually found that
lent me a much better understanding about how people work. Drawing on parallels between how we think about music, I have found that it helped me understand both myself and others. It tends to really strike a chord with me anytime discussions like labels comes up.
Most of the material I found online for research would be familiar to most others who’ve been around here a while. Poly Manner, the Misanthrope, Xeromag, I think were all on the early hitlist. Of course they’re all forms of personal commentary, so I don’t treat any of them as gospel, but run them through my own bs filters (mandatory for anything I find online), give them a dose of common sense. I strip out what makes sense, what might be worth trying out, or looking out for, and what can be discarded as nonsense, or at least not applicable to my situation.
I do this for a lot of things...and particularly when sorting though so many different sources, to sort out something as variable as human relations. It’s not entirely dislike putting together house rules for gaming, There’s a lot of good stuff out there, and a lot of crap that won’t work in the game being played, or the group that’s being played with. It requires careful customization, and sometimes experimentation to find what works and what doesn’t.