Love and Scarcity Economics (Or Why Monogamy and the Nuclear Family may not be our best Option)

Hello Friends,

Today’s post touches on a subject that holds strong significance in my personal life. I encourage you to read this week’s post with an open heart, and if you have an intelligent opinion that differs from what I write here, I encourage you to share it, and open a conversation that we can both learn from :).

The inspiration for this post came out of a book I am currently reading called “Expect Resistance”, which contains a variety of fictional anecdotes based on the demise of industrial society. As you might imagine, much of the content of this book deals with subverting the dominant paradigm and breaking away from the status quo. This post will draw heavily from an excerpt of the book that questions the logic behind the modern practices of monogamy and the nuclear family.

The last few generations of Americans have been raised in an environment dominated by a capitalist economy, which has taught us certain psychological lessons that are difficult to unlearn:

Anything of value is only available in limited supplies. Stake your claim now before you are left with nothing. 

Unable to imagine that love and pleasure could be multiplied when shared, we now find ourselves measuring commitment and affection by how much others sacrifice for us. This idea of mutual sacrifice convinces us that the relationship we are joining in is more valuable than the desires and freedoms we are forgoing. But this isn’t always true, and in my opinion, should not be the case in the first place.

We all know that positive relationships take work. Think about that. Wage labor, relationship labor–is there ever a time when we aren’t on the clock? When you have to work at monogamy, you are back in the exchange system: just like the capitalist economy, your intimacy is governed by scarcity, implicit threats, and prohibitions, and it is all protected by the belief that there are no viable alternatives. When relationships are based solely on workwhen desire is organized contractually around balanced accounts (tit for tat), when marriage functions as a domestic factory designed to keep wives and husbands chained to the machinery of responsible reproduction, then it should come as no surprise that people find themselves unhappy and listless, looking for a way out.

The fact is, at this point, people get desperate. They take rash action, which often leads to the emotional destruction of their relationship. That is why anything less than complete prostration to the “normal order” is often considered bad ethics. Recognizing and engaging your own desires is often too dangerous for everyone else. But wait just one second: what kind of life do you really want to live? How much freedom and fulfillment do you deserve to feel? How is it that others are hurt by your desire to express and fulfill your own needs?

What would it look like to have relationships in which there was no need for monogamy?

First, it would necessitate that communication be prized above obedience to social norms. The conditions that foster honesty–trust, openness/transperancy, self-awareness–would be safeguarded by extensive support structures. Communities would be interlinked by networks of close relationships in which everyone could count on assistance from and intimacy with others, even if the context of one specific relationship changed. There would be no social or legal rewards for any particular relationship format, and no punishments for any format either. We would have to grapple with our own insecurities and overcome them, rather than attempting to limit another’s autonomy in an attempt to help us feel “safe”. In short, it would demand a strong sense of maturity, and an unbiased sense of responsibility to those people in our inner circle.

It serves the interests of those in power to have everyone separated into couples and nuclear families, with all unions suitably licensed and policed. A divided people is a conquerable people; the fewer ties connecting individuals, and the narrower the range of permissible associations, the better. When you are attached to and responsible for only a handful of people, serving your own self-interest might make sense. On the other hand, when you feel passionately connected with and accountable to an entire community, you are more likely to conceive your interests in collective terms, and better situated to fight for them too.

Like it or not friends, we all have to live on this planet together, and bear the consequences of each other’s actions: isn’t it high time we start thinking and acting accordingly? Imagine being close and comfortable with everyone around you, engaging emotionally, sexually, and intellectually, working hard to fulfill your own desires, and working just as hard to fulfill the desires of the people you love and care for. I think it sounds like a great way to go about changing the world :).  What do you think…? Until next time…


The Bonds of Convention

Hello Friends,

Another incredible competition experience this week, and I am inspired by you, the people I am honored to call my Friends. Not only are new connections and relationships being created and nurtured, but we are actually getting into some noteworthy conversations about what is happening in the world around us. It is amazing to sit back and watch the creative, intelligent people around me, as they unpack their beliefs, and share themselves with each other. Not that our post-competition gathering was some kind of intellectual orgy or anything, but I am excited by how we interact as a community.We bring together a variety of perspectives, and we mash ourselves all together, and people are challenged by it, and people are inspired by it, and people are educated by it, and it is a positive, fulfilling experience. Isn’t that incredible?

Which brings me to today’s post. In many respects, I think we’ve finally reached some kind of a plateau. I’m thinking today about avoiding the habit of doing pretty much the same routine every week. I’m thinking about doing my best to avoid ending up in some kind of a rut. I’m thinking about consciously willing ourselves to evolve on a daily basis, emotionally, physically and cognitively. I’m thinking about taking advantage of each opportunity to make ourselves better, and to inspire each other to achieve more than we have ever imagined.

Every week we are presented with the potential to change the world. In the simplest terms, our coming together IS changing the world. In the sharing of a meal, and the sharing of a time and space, we break out of the mold of everyday life. By coming together as a community, we enrich ourselves with positive human interaction, the interaction that meets our innate need for relationship with one another. We exchange information and we share our stories. We share our dreams and failures, our fears and triumphs. Every time we are together, we challenge the dominant paradigm and break the bonds of convention.

Is that exciting or what? Doesn’t that inspire you to sit down right now, enthusiastically evaluate your life and your dreams, your goals, aspirations and fears, and begin working toward a different way of life? The ideas we have for our future are possible, and we are only bound by the limits of our own creativity, so what are we waiting for? Let’s give people something other than the status quo, and see if “normal” is still the best way to be. Let’s change the world.

What we need to do now is begin articulating our answers to some very important questions. What do we want to see changed? Why do we want these specific changes made, and how are we going to begin working toward our ideal state of being? What sacrifices are we willing to make to see our vision realized? Why aren’t we happy with how life is right now? When we act, who are our decisions going to affect?

Let’s start as small as we need to, and build this thing up as we go. Want to grow our own food? Come work with me this summer in our backyard garden. Want to homeschool your kids? Let’s go to the library, check out some books and start a parent-taught reading program. Want to quit smoking? We’ll exercise and meditate together, using a group dynamic to keep us all encouraged to strive for personal wellness.  The Living Revolution is so simple when you get down to it, so let’s start doing it. Send me some of your ideas and we will start putting it all together. I can’t wait!!

Until next time…


This Body Holding Me….

Happy Wednesday Friends,

This post might end up being a bit of a rant. I will have good intentions in my heart as I write it, but you must know that I am actually quite frustrated. Please bear with me though, because you may learn something, or I may write something you find provocative, and then you can drop me a comment and we can start a conversation. As the title of this post suggests, the topic today will be our bodies.

I recently read a news story from November 2009 that says more than one third of Americans age 17-24 are unfit fors military service because of physical and medical fitness related issues. My favorite quote from the article comes from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who says, “Young American’s lack of overall fitness for military duty is a national security threat”.  Isn’t that incredible? Isn’t that disgusting? In a different paragraph, a Pentagon official derides these potential recruits for not being able to do pushups, pullups, or possessing the ability to run. Essentially, this means that if the United States were to be physically invaded by  members of some rogue, terrorist nation,  a significant portion of the general population would not be able to defend themselves. Scary, right?

(When this goes down, it is not going to be pretty.)

In a time when an incredible  amount of technology is employed everyday to make our lives “easier”, the vast majority of Americans can’t even find the will or desire within themselves to take care of the only “thing” they really ever have in this world; a physical body. If they can’t even understand how their body works, if they  don’t know how to maintain a healthy, functioning, balanced self, what difference does anything else make? At this point, I don’t want to hear anything about people not knowing how to take care of themselves; ignorance will no longer be considered a good excuse. There are libraries in every city and the Internet is widely available. We have unprecedented access to all different kinds of nutritional information, and advertisers and marketing agents  have gone so far as to actually put warning labels on the crap that can kill you. Yet, an overwhelmingly large portion of people still choose to make unhealthy, deadly decisions.

But I digress. These are general, blanket statements, and they don’t apply to everyone. I know a few people (hello, Crossfit Woodstock!) who make a conscious effort to live well and be healthy and fit. I know a few people who make an effort every day to test the physical limits of their bodies, to increase their level of fitness, and experience a more fulfilling lifestyle because of their effort. I even know a few people who make a conscious effort to push their bodies beyond conventional limits, to achieve superhuman and fantastic feats, just because they believe they can. These people train safe, play hard, eat well and THRIVE!  But, these type are a small minority, and that fact frustrates me.

Think about this: our bodies are the only faculty we possess for registering experience. How we react to, and interact with, the world around us is directly determined by the quality of our experience, and the quality of our experience is directly related to our levels of health and fitness.  If you feel like crap, you will probably behave like crap, and your general level of fulfillment will be crappy!

This is where I see the Living Revolution evolving. I want to be part of changing how people view their bodies, how people use their bodies, and how people think about health and fitness. I want to give people the tools and knowledge to improve their overall quality of life, one rep at a time. I want to teach people how to eat well, train safely, and play hard. I want to teach people to love their bodies, to care for their bodies, and to use their bodies in the most optimal way possible. Want to come with me?

What kind of “body” are you? How do you incorporate physical fitness into your everyday life? What is your favorite way to test the physical capacity of your body? There are so many conversations that could come out of this topic!! Drop me a comment and let me know. Until next time…