Tag Archives: relationships

beings that have – or havers that are had

(The excellent documentary that got my brain going down this – excellent or not so excellent – train of thought is ‘Consumed: Inside the Belly of the Beast‘)1

Erich Fromm is known in large part for his contrast between the ‘being’ and ‘having’ modes of existence, as expressed in his 1976 book (partial preview here), To Have or To Be?  The basic idea is that humans, having estranged ourselves from our environment or the other(s), try to restore this relationship either by way of some kind of dominating possession (‘having’) of the other, or by way of relating to or existing (‘being’) with the other.

The speculative thought I wanted to explore via blogging (one of blogging’s best uses) is thus: Only ‘beings’ can actually ‘have’; and ‘havers’ are actually ‘had’ by the things they think they ‘have’.

The haver is defined by the act of possession of the other, and is thus enslaved to his desire to have this other.  The being, however, is defined by, not possession, but relationship to other (and self), and is thus free of needing to have the other.

It is worth pausing and considering the many things we can desire to possess – the many things which can thus begin to possess us.  Status.  Wealth.  Comfort.  Knowledge.  Satisfaction.  Power.  Relationships.  Affection.  I reckon all of these things are good things which are nonetheless distorted when we seek to found our being upon having them.  i.e. “I am one who has knowledge, friends, wealth, etc.”

I believe the ultimate Being is the Creator, whose ontological (Gk. ontos = being/existence) status is wholly distinct from, and transcendent of, our world.  The Creator did not need to have a creation2, but rather simply is a creative Being, and thus a) relates to creation as being the Creator, and b) therefore truly has it.

Thus, we most reflect this ultimate Being when our being is grounded by relationship to the other, rather than established by possession of the other.

  1. And no, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t notice the parallel language to John the Seer in chapters 17-18 of his Apocalypse! []
  2. which would make the Creator contingent upon the creation!! []

boredom

the hotter the vacation spot, the more boring more familiar spaces seem

the higher the celebrity culture, the less interested we are in each other

the beautiful risk

Just saw a review of a book about relational counselling called ‘The Beautiful Risk: A New Psychology of Loving and Being Loved.”  Some snippets from the review:

The author (James Olthuis) says, “Uncertainties, confusion and paradox are appropriate descriptions for our world at the dawn of our new millennium.  Despite unparalleled growth in almost every area of human endeavor, there has not been parallel growth in our ability to know ourselves and get along with each other.”

One of the chapters is entitled ‘the Central Relational Paradox’, describing the way we disconnect and connect with others in ways that attempt to minimise personal risk.  This book offers a challenge to take the beautiful risk, to be open to vulnerability and growth, and to a deepening of connections at all levels of being.

modesty and attraction

Modesty isn’t (on one hand) wearing body-hiding, beauty-suppressing clothing to prevent even the possibility of someone having any kind of attraction.  Nor, of course, is modesty (on the other hand) wearing body-flaunting, beauty-distorting clothing to ensure every possibility of every kind of attraction.

Modesty and being attractive are not at all at odds with each other.  Proper attraction between two people happens through attractiveness of various kinds – i.e. an attractive personality and attractive attire.  Being attractive in the truest sense is to act, speak, behave and dress in a way that fosters healthy mutuality and relationship with an other.

Prudism is unattractive in the passive/negative sense, because it witholds the whole person from an other.  Exhibitionism (used here to refer to the opposite of prudism) is also unattractive in the active/positive sense, because it forces too much of the person onto an other.

Therefore, the problem with immodesty (whether the immodesty of prudism, or the immodesty of exhibitionism) is not that it is too attractive, but that it is not attractive enough.

on publishing words

technology has changed the way we use words…

if we restrict a quick analysis to the major modes of communication used now (we could include ancient writing, but will not at the moment), we could make some brief observations about the different kinds…

  • journals, encyclopedias and textbooks – characterised by their scholarship, which (lest we forget) is basically interaction with the thought of others.
  • published book (with proper publisher) – a sustained statement (or argument or story), which was likely researched, drafted, revised etc.
  • magazine article (decently respected mag) – a shortened version of a larger argument or conversation – again, research and refinement, etc.
  • newspaper article – an even more condensed piece, yet still some research and refinement needed.
  • website or professional blog – considered statements for whatever purpose – the more refinement the better, etc.
  • personal blog – more off-the-cuff thoughts – “research” = (often) googling
  • Facebook status update – 99.3% of the time, time-wasting, boredom-prolonging nonsense (i.e. i had “this” for dinner, etc.)
  • twitter updates – humanity has gone too far :)  nobody needs to know what you are up to that often

teleology & ethics

The word ‘teleology’ (from Greek τελος ‘telos’ – meaning ‘goal’, ‘end’, ‘purpose’ or ‘that toward which things tend’) is not a street-level term.  However, the concept of a purpose, goal, function or ‘end’ to things most certainly is.  It’s a common as anything.  Teleology is blindingly relevant.

Continue reading

the power and fragility of the imagination

The effects and pervasiveness advertising is a good example of both the power and fragility of the imagination.

We are (almost always subconciously!) actually affected by some hyper-loud voice telling us something in the ad-breaks of whatever TV show we’re watching or by some image we see on a billboard, in a magazine, etc., etc. ad infinitum…  That is how fragile our imaginations are.

And we act, behave, decide, spend-time/money, choose, etc. ‘out of’ our imagination.  We buy ‘this’ or ‘that’ product based (often) on nothing but our imaginitive affection for it…  That is how powerful our imaginations are.

This is a double edged sword.  Great strides in medicine, architecture, physics, art, education, etc., etc. have been made because someone ‘imagined’ a different way.  Also great pain has been caused in marriages, families, communities and nations because one or more people ‘imagined’ that that woman, experience, possession, ideology or whatever would be desirable, fun, cool or powerful.

Take an affair for example.  They don’t just ‘happen’.  A man/woman must first enjoy the company of someone other than their spouse.  Imaginitive step after imaginitive step are taken.  And boom – there you have it – an affair.

This appreciation of (and respect for) the power and fragility of the imagination is what should drive all concerns about things like pornography, boobs-on-bikes parades and modesty, etc., etc.  Sooooo often, they are often driven by what seems like an assumption that if we could just get the laws sorted out to how we think they should be, people will behave like we think they ought…

…leaving the power and fragility of the imagination (the heart of the issue) untouched, un-dealt-with, un-appreciated… and not solving any problems whatsoever.

how nice…

…of “all of [them] on the Facebook Team” to wish me a happy (30th) birthday (on the ’30th’ of January). Continue reading

wisdom for a divisive issue

Obama’s recent statements on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, remind us all (like it or not) of the immensely divisive issue of abortion.  The article says… Continue reading

pre-marital what?

It has been said before that “______”s (insert whatever Christian denomination you wish to pick on) are against pre-marital sex because it might lead to dancing… :)

But on a more serious note, the topic of ‘pre-marital sex’ (a.k.a. ‘sex before marriage’) is an interesting one.  Many Christians can assume that there is a specific verse in the Bible forbidding it…

There is no such verse.

But really, there is no such thing (as we shall see) as pre-marital sex, either… Continue reading