This is a space for the discussion of polyamory, a movement that is attracting attention, especially in America, that raises fundamental questions about conventional relationships and the norms and taboos that surround them. Some of us have been following the Polyamory Diary which, apart from what it says about poly, gives a fascinating insight into man-woman dynamics.

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  • Discussion of polyamory has now even reached the BBC site

  • Beautiful. Sometimes it seems to me that Shakesphere had the wisdom of a Buddha.

    Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;
    So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
    Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
    Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
    For Brutus is an honourable man;
    So are they all, all honourable men–
    Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
    He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
    But Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And Brutus is an honourable man.
    He hath brought many captives home to Rome
    Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
    Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
    When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
    Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
    Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And Brutus is an honourable man.
    You all did see that on the Lupercal
    I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
    Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
    Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And, sure, he is an honourable man.
    I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
    But here I am to speak what I do know.
    You all did love him once, not without cause:
    What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
    O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

    And I must pause till it come back to me.

  • I gather you did not much like that article that Annette posted. The article did seem rather mean spirited. It seems to be double-edge sword doing an exigesis on actual humans rather than scholarly texts. One could likely come up with pros and cons to all historical figures and their personal lives. I have even seen Mother Theresa condemned for how she did things. Seems that anyone in the public eye in any way becomes a magnet for speculation, criticism and often, controversy. In the modern world we are overwhelmed with unfiltered information; sometimes it feels to me like an endless battle to even work out what to pay attention to.

    Should we pay attention to the stories or to the creativity of the work that S & B wrote? Should we dismiss Heidegger's subtle thought because he was believed to have favoured the Nazi Party for a period of time? Should we ignore Trungpa's depth and insight because he had many lovers and some of them were unhappy about how things turned out?
  • Being the partner of Jean Paul sartre or of Simone de Beauvoir would be no ordinary thing. That they found each other is something special and it led to much creativity. We have all benefitted. People with an axe to grind one way or the other may use their relationship as a supposed example of this or that, but it was what it was and what it was was a great deal more than most people get anywhere near to.

  • Quite.

  • Dharmavidya's discussion of the spouse in therapy who critisizes and then defends, reminds me a great deal of my relationship with my mother. To this day I have what are often characterized as mixed emotions when I think of her. At some point I realized that there was no right answer, at least none that was clear cut. Similarly it is probably fair to say that the Beauvoir-Satre relationship was a success in some ways and not in others. If you could bring them back to life and ask them questions, I would venture to guess that (if they were willing to answer honestly) the answer would be mixed as well. If you asked those who had come into their sphere you would likely get different answers as well. Each of us chooses, in each moment, what we generally perceive to be the best choice available to us. But that choice is greatly limited by the reality of the situation. I might want the things one could buy with lots of money but not have the money. I might want to stay home and sleep when I need to get up and go to work because I need a job. So I choose going to work, as Beauvoir chose Sartre. She likely saw him as fulfilling some aspect of her own self-image. In other words he seemed the best of the options available. Did this make her happy? Was it enough. Likely yes and no.
  • Well, all this is to do with how one judges somebody else's relationship. when i used to do couple counselling, I came across quite a number of couples that were essentially held together by their conflicts. When they stopped battling they lost interest. From the outside one might judge such a relationship harshly, but one could be wrong. A common pitfall for therapists is that a person comes to therapy and complains about their spouse. the therapist becomes sympathetic and slips into a negative attitude toward the spouse. The client then rounds on the therapist in defense of the spouse and a thoroughly awkward situation ensues with the therapist thinking, "But you just said.... *?!*?...." and the client feels misunderstood and aggrieved.

    Again, relationships tend to be judged on longevity and on that criteria alone, Beauvoir-sartre was a success. That it did not conform to modern or post-modern ideas about feminism or whatever tells us nothing because those ideas are anachronisitc in this context. It was what it was in its own time.

  • Another case demonstrating that there are often a number of different and contradictory narratives associated with people in the public eye. Maybe one might argue that the polyamorous or fluid nature of their style of relationship was one of the more functional aspects of their life together? 

  • Is there any relationship that a skilled journalist could not tear to pieces by selective reading?

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