By Mark W. Gura, CW Brown, Rosi Guastella
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
― Carl Gustav Jung
A-hole Philosopher: Relationships are not what you think they are. It’s all about hierarchy. Someone has gotta drive the wagon, and the other one has to enjoy the ride. Or at least there must be some sort of healthy balance. But, let’s be honest, when two drivers get together one of them is always going to try to stick the whip up the other’s hemorrhoidal asshole, and there’s gonna be some sort of down-line flaming wreck with dead bodies strewn all over the highway. You know, carnage unrecognizable from its original form. Two amazing possibilities to reach the stars ends-up as scorched skeletons after careening down the hill into the Grand Canyon. Brains scattered all over the windshield and buzzards licking their chops as they feast on their rotisserie-rized corpse.
Person-in-love: It is not!!! It is all about equality. People who really love each other and wish to be partners in life need to share, share the responsibility. Is important to realize we are not always correct and people need to take turns having a chance at the wheel.
A-hole Philosopher: WRONG! People taking turns leads to confusion, to chaos. Just because it’s possible to get to where you’re going doesn’t mean you’re going to get there in the best way possible. Imagine an airliner without a flight plan, with two pilots fighting for the joystick, both being dominant because they want to go to two different destinations.
In the least, they must have an agreement about their direction, a hierarchy that breaks the tie, otherwise, they’ll break their skulls knocking heads, setting the jet into a death spiral before crashing their love boat into someone’s ass, causing disaster, forcing an emergency takeover by a medic with a straight jacket.
Person-in-love: Wha… what? I don’t even know what you’re talking about? I first lived with my parents, and they made all the decisions. Then my husband controlled my life for decades, and I finally went off to live alone. I’ve learned that giving someone else the reins of my life is a disaster.
A-hole Philosopher: Sounds like you need to create a hierarchy where you make all the major decisions, for a change.
Person-in-love: It takes guts to go off on your own and call the shots, but it’s not without its dangers. It’s scary. It’s self-actualizing. It forces you to analyze yourself, to strip yourself raw. It’s terrifying. You don’t really know what will happen, and no one can honestly guarantee that you will be ok.
A-hole Philosopher: So you left that bastard, right? And now you’re looking for someone who will follow you, right?
Person-in-love: He wasn’t a bastard! Wtf!!! When you talk about hierarchy, you kinda sound like this is some sort of army environment here. We’re talking about love.
I don’t think meaningful relationships need “hierarchies,” or any of that nonsense. It is all about balance, trust, and love, mutual respect, space. Hierarchies work just with cats, and royal cretins. If you feel the need to label and assign titles and positions, the relationship is bound to fail even before it starts. It will stump the growth and curse it with lack of freedom within the relationship. Clearly, these are signs of psychopathic tendencies and extreme control issues.
A-hole Philosopher: You’ve obviously been watching too much TV, designed by meathead intellectuals who romanticize human interactions and forget that genetically we are animals, just like cats. All is not peachy-keen in the world. Relationships require work and respect, and not everyone lives in Lala land, on tree-hug farms pollinated by magical unicorns. The real world makes for difficult decisions and realizations. Honey bees are dying and will disappear and we might disappear with them, without focused intervention. I don’t even know why we’re talking about love. Go raise some bees. But as far as love is concerned, keep dreaming. Go at it, do that as long as you like and call me in a few years. Tell me how this unlimited-freedom thing works out for you. There are pragmatism and idealism. Too many people have utopian ideas in their heads that will never work.
Person-in-love: Okay, we’re definitely not going to agree about this hierarchy thing, let’s move on to your next point. I do want to say. It wasn’t easy for me to leave. If you ever lived with another person, you and your partner likely have a routine, and that routine is likely to be a deeply ingrained habit. It’s so difficult to leave. It hurts so much. It hurts to see the other person hurt and it hurts to break habits and long-held love.
A-hole Philosopher: You should figure out if it’s love or routine (without love). If it’s just a routine, there is no growth in that.
Person-in-love: When you’re used to a person you convince yourself that this is all there is, and you’ll fail if you leave. This fear will make you feel alone. Along with the additional possibility that if you leave that person, your friends and family may criticize and judge you. Judge you because they think you split up with your “ideal and perfect” partner. They don’t know your partner as well as you do. They have only seen him or her outwardly. When you leave to go off on your own, It’s like jumping off a waterfall, falling into unknown waters. There may be rocks down there or cool waves, one never knows, but if the previous relationship is bad it’s worth leaving it for the chance of a new beginning.
You need to figure out what type of relationship you want. There are several to choose from. Maybe you changed and just grew out of what worked or perhaps you just needed something entirely different that you have never experienced before. The excitement is tantalizing exciting mixed with fearful exuberance.
Person-in-love: All I want is freedom within the relationship, love, humor and non-controlling people who leave me the fuck alone and let me do my thing and support me, so I can self-actualize my life without having my life scrutinized, without being accused of things that have never crossed my mind. I don’t want to feel I am inside a cafeteria glass box, under a heating lamp, being watched 24/7 like a damn ham croquette, or a chocolate pastry.
A-hole Philosopher: There are different types of relationships, and each one is difficult. If relationships were easy we would all be married to the same people all our lives. There would be no need for divorce.Trust, boundaries, and communication are the bedrocks of relationships. You do not get trust until you earn it unless you’re a manipulative psychopath who convinces everyone they should trust you. If your actions don’t match your talk, your new partner will doubt you, right until you can show him or her that you are trustworthy. Even then, trust can be difficult to cultivate yet easily lost. I’m not saying that if you make one mistake, it will immediately fuck up the relationship. Just make sure not to keep making mistakes, or that will erode trust.
Person-in-love: My father always trusted me, and he was a confident man. Anyone who does not trust me is a weak, skeptical, loser.
A-hole Philosopher: Your daddy was family, he loved you unconditionally because his brain chemicals told him to do it. As an adult, you have to earn trust.
There are harmful relationships. A relationship that causes discord without growth is harmful. Discord in-and-of-itself is not harmful. Sometimes discord necessary. A pleasant relationship which does not create growth is also harmful, cause you wind up wasting your life and not achieving self or inner-actualization.
Person-in-love: How do you define harm then?
A-hole Philosopher: Harm might be defined as anything that does not serve to achieve a person’s self-created destiny.
Person-in-love: Self-destiny? What if I just want peace. What if I just want to be happy?
A-hole Philosopher: Peace is also a self-destiny, make sure you are achieving your potential. A non-eventful life can be confused with peace because it contains no worthwhile challenges. If you want to take the blue pill that is up to you. Eat your slop and pretend it’s steak. You could do some heroin and off yourself, thereby attaining peace in like two hours flat. Whatever purpose and meaning you’ve set for yourself in life, go for it. It might be best to do that with someone you love at your side, or not. Oh, and “harm” does not mean “unpleasant sensations.” Some unpleasant things are fuel for growth.
Achieve inner peace regardless of the chaos around you, despite you having to go to work, raising children, dealing with illnesses and family issues. Self-actualization will utilize your talents and achieve your dreams, but it may not be fulfilling.
Person-in-love: So you’re saying relationships are whack?
A-hole Philosopher: There are also acquaintance relationships. These are casual relationships that do not have emotional intimacy, commitment, or responsibility to one another. They can have a sexual dynamic or not, can be monogamous or polyamorous. These are the easiest types of relationships to have because there are no deep commitments, no deep depths that work to transform people, virtually no issues. But they are also the most shallow.
Person-in-love: What’s wrong with that?
A-hole Philosopher: No growth, and some people get addicted to jumping from one relationship to another because when sex or romance is involved the brain chemicals turn on, and these are in and of themselves addictive. As long as everything is consensThatual, it’s all good though, if one is into shallower sorts of relationships.
Person-in-love: Sounds like the hump train of desire… LOL.
A-hole Philosopher: Then, there are those friendship relationships. They are defined by higher levels of emotional intimacy and by mutual needs being met.
Parties trust and care for one another, they have implicit or explicit rules that govern the relationship. The relationship continues as long as mutual interests are met. The relationship is motivated more by shared interests and needs or wants, not by love. Love is defined as “a strong emotional commitment.” Parties do not have to have continued regular contact to stay “friends.” These relationships may have a sexual dynamic. They may be monogamous or polyamorous.
Person-in-love: Sounds good, what’s wrong with this type of relationship?
A-hole Philosopher: Nothing, friendship, and love-relationships differ based on that chemistry, connection, and love being there. That connection cannot be concocted, it is either there on its own or not.
Love-relationships are relationships that are driven by healthy levels of emotional intimacy, trust and care, and that overwhelming connection, love. The dominant characteristics here is a strong emotional commitment to the relationship, rather than commitment based on mutual interest and benefit. Parties do not have to have continued regular contact to be in love.
Person-in-love: This sounds beautiful.
A-hole Philosopher: It’s not as good as a best friend relationships/soulmate/twin-flame relationships, though. First off, I don’t believe in “souls.” For that matter, I don’t believe in God or unicorns, either. I’m just using common words. This relationship type includes all the characteristics named above, but the dominant theme here is a need for continuous lifelong contact. Parties cannot imagine not having one another in each other’s lives and do whatever is needed to continue permanent contact. When the sexual dynamic is present this is the most wondrous relationship possible. It can lead to self-transformation.
Person-in-love: That sounds great. That is the best one and what I truly want.
A-hole Philosopher: Well, you know. Even when you find something great, it ain’t great. Relationshits suck!
The A-hole Philosopher is just that, an a-hole and a philosopher. He’s a devil’s advocate by trade who lives in Kathmandu, spends his days operating on butterflies, and does not mind kicking sweet old gramps in the gonads when grandpa gets out of line in his thinking (this is metaphorical of course, the A-hole Philosopher is not into violence. They are an activist, they write with piss, they are an author, a she-male-douche-tard who makes everyone angry. In the end, though, communication occurs, thoughts leak into crevices never before explored, and this is the point.
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