The couple who invented love

Hello friends!

I’m still generally staying as far away from politics as possible, because basically I think that civilization is over and I wish it would just hurry up and collapse already, and you don’t want to hear me whine about that. However I have been doing something really fun, which is writing fiction! This involves some historical research, and sometimes I come across something really cool while browsing through a book.

Today’s cool find is a paragraph on love from The Companion to Medieval Society by Franco Cardini, translated by Corrado Federici. I was innocently reading along hoping to find information about foods eaten at the time, and I came across this startling declaration:

“Love was invented in the twelfth century, according to Denis de Rougemont, a scholar who devoted a great deal of research to the subject.” (p177)

Holy-fucken-moly! What a claim to make! Love was invented in the twelfth century!

The paragraph goes on to describe a relationship between a philosophy teacher and one of his students, who were married in 1120, and who were then separated, and who wrote each other passionate letters during their separation.

“Abelard is undoubtedly one of the fundamental figures not only of the twelfth century but of western culture as a whole. His love for Héloïse was not merely a historical event; we can say that the two “invented” love as it would come to be understood in modern times—as passion and complete devotion on the part of two human beings for each other.” (p179)

Wow! Imagine being the couple who invented love!

Now, I’m not a historian, and I’ve never researched the history or philosophy of love, so the information you see here is the sum total of everything I know about the subject. But this raises some fascinating questions, such as:

  • Is love a social construct, and can we actually pinpoint when it was constructed?
  • If love is a social construct, have different cultures and time periods constructed it to suit their purposes? (Probably yes).
  • Does the concept of love taught by our culture influence the way we behave and interpret our feelings? (Maybe).
  • Were primitive humans unable to feel love as we understand it today, and if not, was there a point in human evolution where love became possible?
  • If we did evolve a capacity to feel love, and if capitalism doesn’t kill us all in the near future, will we eventually evolve to a point where we are capable of some even greater thing than love? What will it be like?
  • Are homophobic people working from some Medieval idea of relationships, where passionate love is either nonexistent or morally wrong, and unions between men and women should be only for practical purposes? (I think the answer here is yes. Some of them actually state this out loud, don’t they? Honestly, homophobic people are several hundred years behind in human development.)

This is such a beautiful topic for a writer to come across. Imagine writing from a prompt such as “Write the story of the couple who invented love” or “Write a futuristic piece imagining what the next evolutionary stage of love will be?” How enchanting!

I shall not be writing on these topics, because there are only so many hours in a day, but dear readers, if you have any answers, please share!

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Just hiding in my blanket fort

Hello friends,

I seem to have found myself on blog vacation again. Sometimes I get in a mood where I cannot stand politics at all, and just want to hide from any mention of the news.

I hate the rise of the crazy, racist right wing, and I find it absolutely frightening that we haven’t been able to get rid of the mentality that white people are better than others, when that is so obviously wrong, and that instead of getting rid of that mentality, we have allowed it to flourish out in the open. I can’t figure out why people are so hateful and I don’t know what to do about it. To me, telling people they’re racist should be enough to shame them and make them realize they’ve done something wrong, but there are tons and tons of people who literally think that racism is acceptable and don’t feel ashamed of it. When Trump was elected I felt like the world was pretty much over, and I’ve felt that way ever since. I’ve started hoping that he blows us all up and I just hope it happens quickly.

I’ve known for a while now that feminists have been kicked out of the left, and that is something that continues to hurt on an ongoing basis. I have joined several Marxist groups on Facebook to try and learn more about Marxist theory, and every time I’ve joined such a group, I’ve either left voluntarily due to the rampant misogyny I’m seeing or I’ve been kicked out of the group for the crime of pointing out misogyny. There are groups of antifa that I could join locally but they subscribe fully to trans politics which means I know they’ll be willing to bully and silence women. I’d like to join the leftist groups who are trying to oppose the disgusting hatred coming from the right, but it’s hard to do that when leftist groups are promoting disgusting hatred toward women.

I have taken steps to be more “out” with my real-life acquaintances about my gender critical views this summer. I have been very calm and reasonable and emphasized that I understand that transwomen are subject to violence and discrimination and that this is wrong. I do not wish violence against anyone and I fully support everyone’s civil rights. However, I refuse to believe in nonsense, which means that I will not believe that human beings with male biology are literally female, and I do not believe that “anyone who identifies as a woman” is a coherent definition of what a woman is. Despite me being very clearly not hateful toward anyone, and just concerned about the human rights of people born female, I was told I am violent and oppressive and outdated and I lost a friend over it. I am sad to lose a friend and flabbergasted that otherwise intelligent people can believe in incoherent nonsense. Witnessing this behavior really makes me lose my faith in human beings.

I hate the right wing, but what am I to do when the left has lost its mind and I can’t find a home among them either?

The recent no-platforming of detransitioned people from a trans health conference had me rolling my eyes too. I’m sure all my readers have heard of this but if not, here are some links about it. Third Way Trans talks about it on his blog here, Carey Callahan talks about it on her YouTube channel here and Crash talks about it on her YouTube channel here.

The no-platforming of Third Way Trans and Carey Callahan is ridiculous partly because both of these people are very balanced, reasonable people who don’t subscribe to any ideology and don’t oppose anyone’s rights, and yet they were banned for allegedly being “anti-trans.” Neither of them are against medical transition so there are no grounds on which to accuse them of being anti-trans. The people who complained and caused the no-platforming are loony tunes who think that the mere existence of some people who found out that medical transition isn’t helpful for them is inherently harmful to people who feel that medical transition is helpful to them. It’s unbelievable that conference organizers even give a shit what unreasonable and uninformed crazy lunatics on Reddit are saying.

Carey made an excellent point in the video I linked to above, that when you promote alternative ways to deal with dysphoria this helps even people who medically transition. Even people who feel they benefit from medical transition usually can’t transition immediately, they may have to wait for things like a surgeon to become available or health benefits to kick in, etc. In the meantime, alternative ways to deal with dysphoria would be helpful. Insane trans activists who don’t want anyone to know that there are other ways to deal with dysphoria other than buying medical products from a for-profit medical system are in fact hurting all trans people by hiding that information. I think we need to start telling these people they’re transphobic and LITERALLY KILLING trans people.

Crash also made an excellent point that detransitioned people have very similar health care needs to transitioned people, since they have a medically modified body and need health care that takes into account the effects of cross-sex hormones. Even detransitioned people benefit from trans health care conferences, but they are treated like threats to trans health care.

So many people are just fucking insane I can’t stand it. I feel guilty that I haven’t done much work in real life to change things for the better, but there is hardly anyone I’d be able to work with on any project because people are unfathomably stupid and disappointing.

So what have I been doing lately instead of blogging? Well, I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls, shopping, eating ice cream, hanging out, and reading. Yep, I’m basically just hiding in my blanket fort. And I’m going to stay there for the foreseeable future. I’ve been writing fiction lately and I’m probably going to focus on that for a while instead of writing this blog.

I’ve had an excellent book to read, BTW. Remember when I reviewed a fantastic lesbian novel called Bishop’s Run? Well, the author sent me a free copy in the mail (THANKS!) and I’ve been having a great time reading that again. If you are also hiding in your blanket fort, check out this book! It’s excellent blanket fort material.

Please let me know how you’re handling life during the Apocalypse. I could use any tips you’ve got.

Socialized Trans-the video

crashchaoscats

I recorded a video of myself reading one of my older essays about pressure to transition. You can read the essay Socialized “Trans” here. I mistakenly said in the video that I wrote it three years ago. Actually it was four years ago. Can’t believe I’ve had this blog for so long!

I decided to make this video because there needs to be more discussion about social dynamics that encourage transition and I thought I could reach more people this way. It also helps to have a face to go along with the experiences being talked about. I want people to know that pressure to transition is a real problem that happens to real people. It’s easier to dismiss it as a myth when it’s an abstract possibility instead of a story someone’s telling about their life.

I hope more trans people can learn to listen to stories like…

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Woman beaten by two men after one used the women’s washroom

From ABC 7 News:

“Exclusive: Woman describes terrifying attack by two men outside Harlem bar

In an Eyewitness News exclusive, a woman is describing a terrifying incident in which she was attacked by two men outside a Harlem bar. The 52-year-old woman was beaten with a bat and slashed after what started as a minor disagreement escalated.

“This man’s trying to kill me,” said the woman named Carolyn. She may have been right. On a sidewalk in Harlem, a man was attacking her with a baseball bat.

“He hit me over several times with that bat and all I could think about was my head getting busted so I kept holding this arm up to protect my head,” she said.

That may have saved her life. The huge defensive bruises can still be seen on her arms. And there is a scar on her face, the result of a second man slashing her on the sidewalk.

“A guy came on the side and I just felt somebody take something and go straight down my face. Sharp,” she said.

Carolyn says it started inside Lorraine’s Bar on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem. A man was using the ladies restroom when she went in to use it.

“He said I’ll use any (expletive) restroom I wanna use. I said whatever man.” she said.

The man warned her not to come outside, but she thought it was over. It wasn’t.

“All I could think of was my daughter, that’s all. I’m like, I can’t let them take me out,” said Carolyn.

Police have clear video of the beating and Carolyn says they know the identities of the men involved.

Another one of those incidents that trans activists claim “never happens.”

A little writing prompt post

Hello readers!

I have been pretty quiet lately compared to usual, but no announcement of blog vacation. I’ve been dealing with anxiety again and I’ve got politics fatigue. Every time I try to write a post about something political I just decide it’s too dreadful and can’t do it. Politics, UGH. Maybe I’ve reached “peak politics.”

However, I did finish reading my introduction to Marx book and I was pleased to find out that I already knew lots about Marxist theory, I just didn’t know I knew it because I’ve never studied it officially, I’ve only picked up bits and pieces here and there. I’d say most of what I know about Marxist theory I’ve learned from feminist writing and Facebook memes. Although it seems obvious that one shouldn’t learn a political theory from memes, I have to say the memes I have been reading have actually done a pretty decent job. Thank you, leftist friends! (Don’t worry, I will still read print books, in case the memes get it wrong.)

Ah, the anxiety. After staying up all night having an anxiety attack last week, I thought the best thing to do would be to go for a nature walk. I did, and you know what, it was great. I walked slowly, and tried to breathe in rhythm with the swaying of the leaves. Several adorable woodland animals came to greet me. I watched a chipmunk filling its cheeks, and I saw a baby bunny that came out of a bush and chewed on some leaves. I saw a bird taking a bath in a puddle. The really good thing about taking the time to look at nature is that you learn to slow down. I always think I have to be busy doing something—either working at my day job, doing household chores, reading political theory, writing, etc. And I always think I have to be fast, efficient, and perfect at everything. It’s hard for me to slow down or do nothing. But I need time to slow down, or else I keep spinning right into an anxiety attack.

What I finally decided to write about today was a Pride writing prompt that someone posted on Facebook. The prompt is this: When did you first become aware of the existence of lesbians?

I think the first time I came across the word lesbian was when my parents gave me a puberty book, and there was one chapter on romantic feelings which had one paragraph on homosexuality. Luckily, it dealt with the subject in a neutral tone, just saying that some people are like this and not making any judgments. I would have been either 10 or 11 at the time.

The first time I came across any mention of homosexuality outside of a book was in the schoolyard at recess. Before I had any idea what the word meant, I heard kids call other kids “faggot.” I just knew this was a terrible thing to call somebody, probably the worst thing you could call somebody, and it seemed to be the equivalent of saying “fuck you.” When someone said this, they meant business. (It was usually boys who said it.) I think I was around 10 when I started hearing the word faggot, and then around 13 I started hearing the word dyke, which seemed to be an insult for a girl you didn’t like. I don’t remember when I found out that “faggot” was actually a pejorative word for a gay man nor when I found out that “dyke” was a pejorative word for lesbian. I was probably in my teens when I found this out.

I definitely met gay men before I met any lesbians. I had a distant relative who is a gay man and I heard my family members talk about him—they felt a little awkward but didn’t reject him. In high school I knew two guys who were dating. They were the first gay people to come out at my high school during the time when I was there. I remember going to a party and they were there, sitting together on the couch, one of them had his arm around the other. Everyone was pretty chill about it. I remember feeling a little bit of shock, just because I had never seen a man put his arm around his boyfriend before. (I say man, but I think we were all 15.) After I got over being surprised I was pretty chill.

The first time I met a lesbian I was in high school and I didn’t know she was a lesbian, but everyone called her crazy. I knew her as “Crazy Kim.” Years later I found out she was a lesbian. I also met a bisexual woman in high school. I remember being at her house once, hoping she would hit on me, but I didn’t have the courage to let her know I was interested. Sadly, she didn’t try anything. 😉

One time when I was a teenager I was at a restaurant with some of my extended family members and when we left the restaurant someone said “Did you see that table full of lesbians?” I really wanted to turn around to look, but it was too late, I couldn’t see any of the restaurant customers from outside. I wished I had seen them, I was curious about what lesbians looked like. I didn’t know how my aunt could tell they were lesbians.

The first time I actually sat and talked with someone who identified as a lesbian while actually knowing she was a lesbian was when I went to a lesbian/bi meetup in university. I was probably 20 or 21, and I was pretty nervous. But it didn’t take very long before “nervous” turned into “interested.”

Feel free to answer the same writing prompt! When did you first learn of the existence of lesbians?