Polyamory (split from probability)

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Belial
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Postby Belial » Mon Oct 23, 2006 1:37 pm UTC

Moreover, any problem or misunderstanding would be multiplied within a threesome. Suppose you have two lovers and have a fallout with one of them (A). Can you run to the other (B) for comfort? Can you tell B everything that transpired with A? But you're not talking to a friend, you're talking to a lover! Would A like your shared personal experience revealed in that context? Is B in a position to give you advice? Are you in a position to take it? The existence of a second lover makes matters worse when it comes to communication and evaluation of your feelings.

So in general, polyamory is not practical. It's far more stressful than both monogamy and complete lack of relationships, so it may not provide a stable enough environment to raise children in.


Accepted. My argument was never that polyamory was as *practical* as monoamory, or anywhere near as statistically successful. Quite the opposite, from my limited anecdotal experience, polyamory quite often goes horribly, cataclysmically wrong. I simply argued that it was possible to engage in it and still be emotionally sincere. The outcome is irrelevant to that.

The wolves example I can accept, but lions can do really nasty things to ensure fatherhood (like, kill cubs fathered by another male). So for them, polyamory comes with a heavy price.


Accepted, but one could argue that the cub-killing and such are a separate phenomenon from the polygamy.

What about humans? We are jealous and possessive creatures, so I think our nature steers us toward one-to-one relationships.


Accepted.....somewhat. It's questionable how much of that is nature, and how much nurture. It's extremely difficult to separate biological/instinctual hard-wiring from cultural programming. In any case, however, the wonderful thing about sapience and intelligence is that we are capable of overcoming our own nature within certain parameters, and even capable of overcoming our cultural programming if we set our minds to it.

OK, now we're delving into psychiatry, but here's how I think about it: You fall in love because you have certain emotional and biological needs. If your needs are already satisfied in a relationship, why would your brain push you to venture into another relationship, which could possibly destabilize the original one?


For the same reason that, upon making a friend, you don't necessarily start turning away other people who are interesting and friendly, just because you already have a friend.

If you thought your first friend might be jealous, you might curtail such behaviour, but that wouldn't be your inability to care about making more friends, so much as a conscious decision for the emotional wellbeing of your friend.

Replace "Friend" with "lover" above, and you pretty much have the situation.

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Postby Marlayna » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:17 pm UTC

I thought we take for granted that the large majority of humans is possessive when it comes to romantic relationships. If so, polyamoury would result in ugly situations in most cases, so natural selection would wipe out any such instincts. A new crush while already in a steady relationship would be too risky.
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Postby fjafjan » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:48 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Accepted. My argument was never that polyamory was as *practical* as monoamory, or anywhere near as statistically successful. Quite the opposite, from my limited anecdotal experience, polyamory quite often goes horribly, cataclysmically wrong. I simply argued that it was possible to engage in it and still be emotionally sincere. The outcome is irrelevant to that.


Well part of your argument just are itself there, your earlier argument for Polyamori was that other animals/societies do it, while clearly here you admit that it is not very feasible for humans, which SHOULD mean biologically it would be highly unlikely to work.
Yet one would have to point to all the polygamy still taking place, which certainly should mean there is a DESIRE for working polygamy, but so do we strive for 'happyness', which is not attainable either.

Accepted, but one could argue that the cub-killing and such are a separate phenomenon from the polygamy.


Somewhat true, yet generally Lions cannot be well compared with Humans, we are quite different animals, most lower standing animals are polygamous (no offense), while higher standing not so. That is not an argument in itself, but neither is whatever lions do.


For the same reason that, upon making a friend, you don't necessarily start turning away other people who are interesting and friendly, just because you already have a friend.

If you thought your first friend might be jealous, you might curtail such behaviour, but that wouldn't be your inability to care about making more friends, so much as a conscious decision for the emotional wellbeing of your friend.

Replace "Friend" with "lover" above, and you pretty much have the situation.


But is friend interchangable with lover?

Hmm, maybe, im doubtful though.

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Postby Belial » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:27 pm UTC

Marlayna wrote:I thought we take for granted that the large majority of humans is possessive when it comes to romantic relationships. If so, polyamoury would result in ugly situations in most cases, so natural selection would wipe out any such instincts. A new crush while already in a steady relationship would be too risky.


I think at this point you run into the question of how much of our social behaviour is learned versus genetic. You appear to think the answer is a lot more on the side of genetic than I do.

Remember, that the reason human infancy lasts for so long compared to other animals is because we have so little instinct, and we need to be *taught* so much. Most of that sort of hard-wiring is left out, in order to make room for processing power, and also so that our brains will be small enough for our heads to make it out of the birth canal.

Where I'm going with this, is unless there's an extremely strong instinct for or against something, then it's more in the realm of social programming than genetic predeterminism.

Well part of your argument just are itself there, your earlier argument for Polyamori was that other animals/societies do it, while clearly here you admit that it is not very feasible for humans, which SHOULD mean biologically it would be highly unlikely to work.


Or just that the current culture tends to be slanted against it, making it more difficult. Likewise, several flavors of logistical issue, most of them having to do with the mores of our culture more than anything else.

Somewhat true, yet generally Lions cannot be well compared with Humans, we are quite different animals, most lower standing animals are polygamous (no offense), while higher standing not so. That is not an argument in itself, but neither is whatever lions do.


It shows that polygamy, even within a tight social group, is not always evolutionarily disadvantageous.

One could also still point to the bonobos chimps, despite that line from the wikipedia article. Chimpanzees travel in little tribal-ish groups. Even if they don't form bonds with "individual" other chimps, chances are that still just amounts to each female having seven or eight other mates. So an extended polygamous relationship within a tight social group, and one that is closely related to us.

But is friend interchangable with lover?

Hmm, maybe, im doubtful though.


As I've stated several times, I believe so. I don't see a lot of difference between being an extremely close friend, and being a lover except that a) the latter have sex, and b) we're told that you're only supposed to have one of the latter.

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Postby Detritus » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:03 am UTC

I assume that nobody's denying that someone can love many different people over the course of his or her life. So if we're accepting that two different people can fill the "requirements," indefinable as they may be, for a lover, then the question is whether or not a person can love those two people at the same time.

If one could be genetically inclined toward polyamory, such an inclination would not be evolutionarily disadvantageous, even in a pre-human society. Polyamory does not hinder survival or reproduction in a monogamous society. Society simply surpresses the inclination.

So if you want to say polyamory is impossible, you have to say that a human being, by nature, lacks the emotional capacity to love more than one person at the same time. I simply see no reason for this to be the case, and I have seen examples where the opposite seemed to be true. While you humans do tend to get distracted, I don't think that distraction or anything else constitutes a categorical limit on emotion.

Maybe you really do have a comprehensive understanding of human nature. But then, of course, you already know that people will find your claims borderline offensive, pretentious, and silly!
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Postby hermaj » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:46 am UTC

Detritus wrote:I assume that nobody's denying that someone can love many different people over the course of his or her life. So if we're accepting that two different people can fill the "requirements," indefinable as they may be, for a lover, then the question is whether or not a person can love those two people at the same time.


That's something similar to what I was going to say. If someone can have different lovers over the course of their lives, and genuinely be in love with them, surely it's not impossible for someone to be genuinely in love with two people at the same time. I'm not sure if this is a feasible logical step, but my gut feeling is that if you can love more than one person in a romantic sense during your lifetime, you have the capability to love more than one person simultaneously. And I'm not sure if this is a really valid example, but hypothetically, if a marriage was terminated by death and the surviving partner eventually remarried, it's not impossible, unheard of or even unusual for them to still harbour feelings of love towards their deceased companion, as well as genuinely feeling love for their new partner.

I just think that love isn't really a tangible emotion in terms of being able to sit down and put a limit on it, if you will. I don't think it's something you can say "oh, you can only romantically love one person and that's it, everything else must be a different form of emotion". But that's it. It's an emotion. To me, that's something you can't set a quantity on.

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Postby rachel » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:05 am UTC

Teaspoon wrote:Hoo, boy. This little revelation should make for a fun discussion when people start to notice it. Can't wait to see how it unfolds. :D


You guys totally already came out of the closet about this in a completely different thread. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, and it is perfectly possible to love more than one person at one time. Not the most socially acceptable thing to act on both loves, though, which I think is why most people believe it is wrong what you guys are doing. As long as you are all for it and everyone is happy then really it is no one's business but the people involved. It just takes people who are very comfortable with sharing (for lack of a better word) and that are comfortable enough with themselves and their relationships with whomever they happen to be having a relationship with for it to work out. Most people are jealous and possessive when it comes to relationships, which is why most people couldn't love and act on that love of two (or more) people at once. And anyone who is backwards enough to be offended by your situation and others like it should maybe just turn and look the other way. It really isn't any of their business anyhow.

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Postby Teaspoon » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:14 am UTC

Yeah, we started this discussion in the Probability thread, but one of our overachieving moderators created this new thread for it and moved the appropriate posts here.

I don't really have a lot to say in this thread anymore. I haven't had the chance to check it often enough, and by the time I do read something that I want to comment on, someone else (I'm looking at you, Belial!) has already made a reply quite similar to what mine would have been.

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Postby ulnevets » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:41 am UTC

but love takes energy and time

and one can assume that everyone, male or female, has similar amounts of energy and time

a one-to-two means that the one will probably not have time or energy to "love" both







but it's really none of my business what you do. if it works out, fantastic. i'm just saying why i could never do it.

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Postby Jesse » Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:40 am UTC

But two people can share that energy or time with one person. So they only need to put half the energy into that relaitonship because someone else is providing the other half.

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Postby Belial » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:18 am UTC

and by the time I do read something that I want to comment on, someone else (I'm looking at you, Belial!) has already made a reply quite similar to what mine would have been.


Eh, what can I say, I took a mental health day off work, which had a neat side effect of being able to watch this thread....you can have it back...with all due respect, this isn't the sort of discussion I want showing up on my internet records at ye olde job.

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Postby thomasjmaccoll » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:57 pm UTC

i think most of everything i could say has already been said by belial/rachel/the people in the relationship, but i would just like to say one thing about the issue of children being raised not by a conventional set of 2 parents:

one of my best friends lives with her little sister, her mum, her uncle and her grandmother, and even for this set up they are a very unconventional family. my friend is, i think, far more well adjusted than a lot of people, and i think a lot of it is to do with this situation; being exposed to the needs and opinions of a lot of very different people and having more situations to deal with and more ideas to consider. i think that being raised in a more community style arrangement would greatly benefit most children, even if there is a special bond with the birth parents.
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Postby dragonfrog » Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:44 am UTC

Something I didn't notice anyone mentioning - there are many cultures in which polygamy is the norm. Wikipedia's article on polyandry says, with remarkable understatement:

the mythical wise crowd wrote:Polyandry is a controversial subject among anthropologists. For instance, Pennsylvania anthropologist Stephen Beckerman points out that at least 20 tribal societies accept that a child could, and ideally should, have more than one father, referring to it as "partible paternity". On the other hand, in Tibet, which is the most well-documented cultural domain within which polyandry is practiced, the testimony of certain polyandrists themselves is that the marriage form is difficult to sustain. However, certain monogamists say the same thing about monogamous marriage


I wonder - would someone who grew up in a culture where they see polygamous marriages all around them have an easier time in a polyamorous relationship? After all, we learn social techniques from the adults around us, as we grow up. I certainly got a lot of my relationship 'habits' from my parents - both the good ones and the bad ones...

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Postby wisnij » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:27 am UTC

I kind of like Heinlein's concept of the line marriage from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It would be interesting to see whether that would work in the long run.

For what it's worth, until they moved away recently a friend of mine and his wife were involved, concurrently, with a girl I once dated. (Try modelling that as a movie-seating graph...) I made a deliberate effort not to get too many details, but I can tell that she certainly loved them, and missed them dearly after they'd left.
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Postby VannA » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:43 am UTC

Heinlein's works are what cemented the concept of polygamy in my mind, really.

Starting with "Stranger in a Strange Land" and then "Time enough for Love".

Heinlein is probably the biggest single influence on my life. :P

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Postby Kalten » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:40 am UTC

Sorry for being the newbie, and jumping straight into an already quite well discussed debate with a large post, but for reasons of my own this topic really interested me. (No, I’m not going to go into them :p). From what I can tell, this discussion can be seen not from 2, but from 4 different perspectives. So whilst people can place themselves in the pro or against camp, I also feel it is important to understand if people are coming from a moral absolutist or a moral relativist perspective. I imagine you are wondering why?

A lot of the arguments presented here (particular against) seem to be based upon moral absolutism, rather than relativism. For example, people seem to be trying to say that being in love with 2 people is wrong because it isn’t natural, or even that it just isn’t possible. People seem to want to say that just because they can’t find examples of it working, or themselves can’t imagine how it would work, that it therefore doesn’t work. However that’s a huge jump in logic. The problem here is that the argument seems to stem from a belief that there is some kind of natural law, be it moral, or physical that governs our emotions and we have to stick to that. If there isn’t this natural law, you have to allow for each person to have an individual set of emotions, and hence such things reduce to a (form of) moral relativism. The question I therefore put to you, is why would such a law exists? The only way you can justify it, is surely by some belief in a higher porpoise (hehe), God or similar…and as I don’t want to get into that old chestnut, fair enough if that’s your belief. However, if that isn’t you, then surely you are a moral relativist?

So, provided you are a moral relativist then things get a lot more complicated. The real issue here is to understand that different people have a different basis for choosing what is “rightâ€
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Postby Rianna » Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:25 am UTC

Kalten:


Thank you for summing up in such a thorough and well balanced way :) If only more people viewed the world the way you, and other open-minded people in this thread do, then our world would be such a nicer place.


...and thanks for the kind words. I hope our relationship continues to work out, too :)



-R

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Postby VannA » Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:27 am UTC

<edit>
Er, crap. This is Teaspoon posting, not VannA. I posted this from VannA's computer and forgot I was logged in as him.
</edit>

Kalten has entered the arena!
Don't worry about starting by jumping into a big discussion with a major post; it's better than missing your chance to say something good, and you've certainly earned RespectBucks® from me for the comprehensive and well-thought-out contribution.

The claim that society's based on greed, fear and jealousy is an interesting one. I'm afraid you're probably right about it overall. They're not big things in me, though. I've lived a nice, comfortable life where I haven't had anything to really fear. I've also had what I needed/wanted consistently enough that jealousy's never become a habit. Greed's sort of a product of fear and jealousy anyway, so I don't think I need to explain why it's never come into the mix.

Without fear and jealousy driving me to demand exclusivity, sharing comes naturally and the shared responsibilities make my life easier. It's also quite fun, because we can conspire against her in all sorts of amusing ways.

I wonder how the other two avoided being feary-jealousy types. I'm sure we'll see posts from them shortly.
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Postby Kalten » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:19 pm UTC

Cheers for the welcome. If there are lots of these sorts of discussions on here, you will soon realise that I put most of the problems of the world (certainly in Anglo-American cultures) down to a theory that the principles of modern society have all been reduced to a common base approach of just pasting over our fears whilst trying to fulfil our own selfish motives (this is especially true for the fears and motives of those in charge).

You'll also realise that I am very much an idealist, in believing that if that could be changed, the world would be a much better place.

Of course, I know it won't and cant happen. Society has already been built to protect itself from the fear of change. But that doesn't stop me trying to argue why people should try.

Acceptance of different peoples approaches to emotions, and also respect for people tackling such things in the way they feel best rather than because they fear trying doing things differently, is just a part of that. Of course, it helps when you have your own experiences to relate to and help the empathy, but also, who knows, one day i might find myself in your shoes and until then I certainly can't judge your relationship. (Though to be honest one relationship would be nice!)
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:35 pm UTC

Greetings fellow Noob Kalten, however personally i don't think anyone was arguing that polyamori or whatnot was WRONG, but either not truly love, or not feasable(might work for a while, but not for long), myself the latter.

It shows that polygamy, even within a tight social group, is not always evolutionarily disadvantageous.

One could also still point to the bonobos chimps, despite that line from the wikipedia article. Chimpanzees travel in little tribal-ish groups. Even if they don't form bonds with "individual" other chimps, chances are that still just amounts to each female having seven or eight other mates. So an extended polygamous relationship within a tight social group, and one that is closely related to us.


Certainly not always, but Tigers were not really a good example, since they are so very different from humans.
Bonobos however is more interesting, I'll give you that. Yet those, like humans should be, are nomadic, but being settled make humans behave quite strange (wars, oppressing females, materialistism-->capitalism, etc), and since i know of no settled society where polyamory (not just a man having a harem of ladies etc) is accepted, and while there might be some obscure somewhere, the vast majority of western society it is not the case, which most likely indicated it is not very successful.

As for babies being raised not by just parents i definatly agree that so would might be preferrable, but I would argue that the increased risk of problem arrising in a "larger partnership"(or whatever it would be called :P) is alot larger, and detrimental effects of parental unit splitting up would be worse.

As I've stated several times, I believe so. I don't see a lot of difference between being an extremely close friend, and being a lover except that a) the latter have sex, and b) we're told that you're only supposed to have one of the latter


But arleast you would have a history of "infatuation" ("in loveness") with someone. I guess it doens't really matter in the long run, yet it is yet too strange for me :P I'll be back in five years and see if I have more than thoughts and words :roll:[/code]
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Postby Jesse » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:43 pm UTC

This is somethign that not many people have an experience of, which is why harsh reactions can occur. I didn't even know it existed until I read about a group in NewScientist, and I really have no problem with it. Many people are not happy in monogamous relationships, so it's to be expected that problems will arise in polygamous ones as well. This isn't to say that either is wrong (morally or socially) but it is the way of societies to react against something that differs from the norm.

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Postby WhiteRabbit » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:59 pm UTC

Well... I have found that polyamory can be quite practical, although it does take quite a bit of work in the beginning.

A bit of background:
I've been married for five years, our relationship has been open for four of them and the last two we have been in a solid, live-in 'V' relationship with my wife's boyfriend. We have all dated outside the V now and then, and currently I have a serious not live-in girlfriend and a 'it's not serious, we swear' girlfriend.
While there was the occasional hiccup in the first few months, we were able to deal with them with plenty of communication and empathy. The hardest part has been recognizing that we must communicate how we feel and not let anything build up. Of course, I would say the same for any relationship.

Long term polyamory is practical, it just takes some work. Ask Warren Buffett.

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Postby dragonfrog » Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:31 am UTC

Some folks have commented that polyamory is unlikely to be successful.

It might be useful to question what you mean by "successful". If you mean, the lovers will never break up until death do them part, then most monogamous relationships are unsuccessful too - most Westerners date and break up with a number of people before finding their spouse, and even then then the marriages often end in divorce.

But, if you mean, they will be happy while they are together, and remain happy if and when they do break up (not becoming bitter or angry at each other), that's another matter.

I've seen plenty of people break up, even though they both love each other, just because they're no damn good at monogamy. One, or even both of the couple, will fall in love with someone else. Then there may be an affair (with attendant lies, guilt, and general mental poison), or even no affair but just so much stress and angst about the whole thing that they screw up the relationship. And almost invariably, they break up on bad terms, are miserable for weeks or months afterward, and at least one partner forever thinks of the other as "that lying, cheating, scumbag".

So, here are loving couples torn apart, at least in part, by monogamy. This, even though they both still love each other. They're just too hung up on this meaningless set of rules, saying you have to be monogamous to be loving.

On the other hand, I've only known one polyamorous couple that broke up. Not a statistically significant sample and all, but they are on good terms.

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Postby WhiteRabbit » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:57 am UTC

That is a very good point dragonfrog.

I'm plugged into the local, unofficial network of poly people, so I've seen many relationships form and break up. The only ones that have ended very badly have been when either one partner is not open and honest about their other relationships or when someone who claims they are ok with the idea, but are actualy trying to convince their partner to become monogamous. In both cases one partner is breaking the fundamental rule of being in a poly relationship, and really any relationship: You must be open and honest about you feelings and relationships with all of your partners. Always.

There is an ~50% divorce rate in the US, and from what I recall from my college "Psycho-Biology of Sex" course, there is sexual infidelity in ~70% of marriages, so what, exactly is the definition of a sucsessful relationship?

And, in actuality, the are several 'practical' type benefits to a poly relationship, some emotional, some financial, and some 'bread labor'.

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Postby VannA » Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:32 am UTC

Kalten wrote:Cheers for the welcome. If there are lots of these sorts of discussions on here, you will soon realise that I put most of the problems of the world (certainly in Anglo-American cultures) down to a theory that the principles of modern society have all been reduced to a common base approach of just pasting over our fears whilst trying to fulfil our own selfish motives (this is especially true for the fears and motives of those in charge).

You'll also realise that I am very much an idealist, in believing that if that could be changed, the world would be a much better place.

Of course, I know it won't and cant happen. Society has already been built to protect itself from the fear of change. But that doesn't stop me trying to argue why people should try.



A snippet of a conversation I had yesterday.

Nut says:
Worthwhile things are natural, and natural things should just happen naturally... or not at all
VannA says:
... Ok.. I disagree wholeheartedly. Most natural things are based on instinctive responses that are not valid.

Infatuation, for instance.

Nut says:
Pffft. Instinctive responses are what it is all about
VannA says:
... No, it's not. Instinctive response is exactly why the world is in it's current state.
Nut says:
Some decisions require thought but most answers to lifes questions are known within the first few seconds of hearing the question.
of course i'm not talking about complicated things
VannA says:
... Everything is complicated.
Nothing can be afforded to take on face value, because instinct response gives no credit to anything but instant gratification.
You accept, analyse, THEN act on instinct response.

And once you do so long enough, your instincts will change.
Greed, Jealousy, Apathy, lust.. these are all instinctive responses. Fear. Anger.
Basic animalistic urges dressed in semi-polite behaviours.
Much fun comes out of them. Short term good. Long term gain is highly questionable.

Once humanity starts to teach itself how to accept and overcome those issues, we might actually make some real progress.



Kalten - Thank you for your post, and I'm very happy to see more people like you, that have come to the same basic conclusions as I have, regarding human behaviour, and the source of many of the western worlds issues.

I, howver, do believe they can change, and be changed.. and the key is education. Not education of the existing generations, but education of the future generations.

wonder how the other two avoided being feary-jealousy types. I'm sure we'll see posts from them shortly


I don't know.

I detest fear, as an emotion. It's crippling, counter-productive, and aggravating. I do my best to ignore it, and generally succeed.
Some things, however, I can be a coward on, especially when the fear is centred in hurting somebody I love.

I came to the conclusion, only recently, that sometimes the only workable long term option will include causing hurt.

I've never suffered from Fear of a physical nature. I get mad, instead of afraid, generally.
The Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear also helped me out a lot, as a teenager.

With regards to Jealousy?

Jealousy, as an emotion, is specifically rooted in the concept of ownership. I can get jealous, when somebody is using something I own, without my knowledge or aquisence.

However, I have never once thought of a relationship as extending an umbrella of 'ownership' over another person. For this reason; I rarely get jealous of people's interactions with other people. I assume that people spend time with others because they want to, and the same for me.

If somebody chooses to spend less time with me, then that is a reflection of their desires. So be it. They are responsbile for how they feel, and I am responsible for how it affects me. I hope this is making sense.

What I do get, is envious. They are distinctly different things.

Envy is; He has an apple, I want an apple.
Jealousy is: Hey, he is eating my apple!

As for Rianna, she can answer for herself.

A few things WhiteRabbit has said make a lot of sense, if Rianna chooses to share the story.

I'm the villian, for this piece :?
Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.

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Postby Kalten » Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:01 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Greetings fellow Noob Kalten, however personally i don't think anyone was arguing that polyamori or whatnot was WRONG, but either not truly love, or not feasable(might work for a while, but not for long), myself the latter.


Fair point...but, my own opinion on how to decide what is right and wrong showed through my post, as I believe that there is no difference between something being wrong and whatever the opposite of being beneficial is. Surely if you believe its not feasible then it can't be a beneficial way to live, and hence you must believe it is wrong. Unless you believe in absolute moral values anyway.

As for it not being truly love... who can say except those who are in that sort of situation. Love is a complex emotive response and motive towards a particular person, and you can only know how it works for you. Can you describe to me what being in love actually feels like? Before you attempt to answer, you can't. It would be like you trying to tell me what the colour red actually looks like. Its completely personal, and no one can ever know how it actually looks like to you, except you. Oh, you can describe it in relation to other similar things...red is kind of like a darker orange etc... but you can't describe the actual experience of seeing red, or to be more technical, the qualia associated with it.

Love is the same. Nobody can say whether or not someone else can fall in love with just one person, more than one person, or even extending that, anything (someone of the same sex, a 90 year old, a 12 year old, an animal, a computer, a raptor...really, I do mean anything), all they can do is express their own personal opinion of it (and i imagine it would be disgust with many of those examples). Oh, you could get into the idea of describing it all in brain wave patterns and hormonal responses etc...but that still only explains what it is, and not what it feels like, and hence doesn't place any limits upon it.

You might argue I am being too strict in my application of what we can and can't talk about, however it is important to realise this fact, as it means this discussion at this point degenerates simply into a case of "I believe this, so this is obviously true" vs "I believe something else, so it obviously isnt true" and there can be no winner. Just argument.

Unless of course people are willing to accept and understand other people can have a different experience of the world that they have, and hence that things can work in different ways than what it currently does. In other words, rather than debating whether love in such a situation is really love, or feasible, can't we trust people to know their own emotions and take their example as proof it works. At least for them, anyway. After all, I'm sure for some of you, the concept is alien enough that it wouldn't work for you.

Or at least, especially given the figures posted by some people above, that it works about as well as monogamy does. Possibly even more so. After all, the stress, jealousy and personal issues about having emotions for more than one person, that lead to many affairs and ultimately divorces that plague modern relations, can be accepted and also understood without the "fear, anger, hate" emotional path, but more "love, understanding, trust and respect".

That's my thoughts anyway. (Of course this all falls down if you believe in absolute morals, but I don't and that would be a completely new huge discussion with no productive outcome)

Oh, and VannA, I found that conversation very interesting. It basically agrees with everything I think...except I'm less optimistic about us overcoming them. The majority of the world doesn't think enough to try and overcome those animal instincts, and doesn't care enough to want more than selfish desires fulfilled. It leaves the few thinkers and, for want of a better word, nice people left on their own and unable to do anything as they drown in a humanity spawned sea of fear, selfish greed and jealousy.
--------

Kalten



"If you are in a minority of one, the truth is still the truth" Gandhi

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Postby WhiteRabbit » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm UTC

Jealousy, as an emotion, is specifically rooted in the concept of ownership.


Very, very true. If you look at all ancient and most modern laws regarding sexuality and marriage, they are rooted in the concept of one spouse owning the other, typically the man owning the woman. Once you truly get past the idea of owning your partner, even if you are not interested in a poly relationship, jealousy is replaced with trust.


It leaves the few thinkers and, for want of a better word, nice people left on their own and unable to do anything as they drown in a humanity spawned sea of fear, selfish greed and jealousy.


But we have the power to find each other, and come together to do what we can for each other and for our communities. We may not change the world in a big way, in one fell swoop, but by working together and respecting differences we can start to makes things better in small ways, which grow in to large ones.

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Postby Marlayna » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:12 pm UTC

It's been long since I last visited the forums. I don't think there's anything more to be said in this discussion, I'd just like to point out a few things:

VannA: Your definitions of envy and jealousy seem made up. Nowhere have I encountered such use of these words.

Kalten: For the last time, I never ever said polyamory is wrong! Sheesh :roll:

I don't know if it's possible to be in love with two people at the same time. The notion is completely alien to me. I would really really like to put people who claim it to the test; not because it bothers me, but rather because it would be fascinating to discover that something like this is possible.

Then I would ask them how they do it. When you're in love, you believe the person you're in love with to be somehow superior to the rest; how do you compromise this feeling between two people, I wonder? Every time I was in love, I couldn't possibly imagine myself with anyone else, nobody else interested me; wanting to be with your loved one all the time is a vital part of being in love, you'll agree; is it really possible to make an exception for a certain person? When you're with A, do you long for B and vice versa? Wouldn't that be like, constant pain? Things like that...
There are 10 kinds of people.

Those who can read binary numbers and those who can't.

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Postby Verysillyman » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:12 pm UTC

I am amused that people who will happily accept loving someone then not loving them later and loving someone else later then not loving them any more etc more readily than loving several people at once.

Perosnally I think one can love as many people as they like at once, BUT if it's not forever then it's not love.

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Postby Marlayna » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:35 pm UTC

Love is a feeling, so how do you differentiate between two otherwise identical feelings based on their duration? Or wouldn't it feel the same to start with? :? Oh well... noone defines love that way anyway; what you're describing is pretty rare, whatever we choose to call it.
There are 10 kinds of people.

Those who can read binary numbers and those who can't.

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Postby Verysillyman » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:36 pm UTC

love is not a feeling. it's an action. and a promise. maybe it's a feeling too :P but most of the time when people say they love someone/something they don't mean it at all.

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Postby Hawknc » Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:32 pm UTC

Why is the concept that love is different for each person a difficult concept?

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Postby Belial » Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:53 pm UTC

wanting to be with your loved one all the time is a vital part of being in love, you'll agree;


Are you kidding me? Being around *anyone* *all* the time is freaking maddening...at first, during the infatuation stage of things, one wants that. Afterwards, you just want to be around that person...more than most...

I love my girlfriend a lot, don't get me wrong for a second, but I do enjoy time to myself on occasion, or time with other friends.

Wanting to be around them *all* the time, for a sustained period, to the point of being in emotional pain if you don't see them for a few hours or days, is probably a sign of codependence...

When you're with A, do you long for B and vice versa?


Well, ideally, you're with both pretty regularly, or even at the same time. If one is constantly far away, yeah, that would suck, but speaking from experience, that sucks in a 2-person relationship as well.

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Postby Marlayna » Sun Oct 29, 2006 2:17 pm UTC

You do realise you didn't answer the question :wink:
Hawknc wrote:Why is the concept that love is different for each person a difficult concept?
Love isn't different for each person. Each person has different feelings, but once we decide on a name to call a certain feeling, the definition applies to everyone just the same.
There are 10 kinds of people.

Those who can read binary numbers and those who can't.

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Postby thomasjmaccoll » Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:28 pm UTC

Marlayna wrote:You do realise you didn't answer the question :wink:
Hawknc wrote:Why is the concept that love is different for each person a difficult concept?
Love isn't different for each person. Each person has different feelings, but once we decide on a name to call a certain feeling, the definition applies to everyone just the same.


well i think the problem is that it's too complicated a feeling to be labelled, and hence when we try to have a debate based on the term people fall out left right and centre. i mean love is a useful term in general but no-one is going to win this argument by producing the 'right' definition of love because in reality what we are calling love IS different for everyone.
slow down, you move too fast

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Postby Hawknc » Sun Oct 29, 2006 5:44 pm UTC

Marlayna wrote:You do realise you didn't answer the question :wink:
Hawknc wrote:Why is the concept that love is different for each person a difficult concept?
Love isn't different for each person. Each person has different feelings, but once we decide on a name to call a certain feeling, the definition applies to everyone just the same.

Well considering I don't agree with most of how you define love, I'd be willing to say that it's different between you and me at the very least.

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Postby Rianna » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:40 am UTC

Marlayna wrote:
I don't know if it's possible to be in love with two people at the same time. The notion is completely alien to me. I would really really like to put people who claim it to the test; not because it bothers me, but rather because it would be fascinating to discover that something like this is possible.

Then I would ask them how they do it. When you're in love, you believe the person you're in love with to be somehow superior to the rest; how do you compromise this feeling between two people, I wonder?



If you're REALLY in love with two people, not just looking for a fuck-friend, then its not a case of compromising your feelings between two people. VannA and I have been together for almost 10 years. He was my 'high-school sweetheart,' We have been married for going on 2 years now, and it has NOT been a easy road. There has been pleanty of emotion, upheaval, hurt and distress. But there has also been love, companionship, fun, discovery and the building of a life together. Teaspoon and I have been friends for a few years. Our relationship began in February, and my life has felt complete ever since. Our relationship is still new, and doesnt have the history or experience that VannA and I have, but it is strong, and we understand each other and think very similarly about alot of issues. WE work together, and not in the 'going to a job' sense. We just click. I love both the boys, both in different ways, but at the core, in the same way. I love spending time with them both. I love sex with them both (but not at the same time, of course). I love lying on the couch with them, watching really bad tv/movies, or going to a pub, or grocery shopping, or walking our dog. With them both with me, my life feels complete. WE spend time together, we spend time as individuals, we spend time as couples. Sometimes the boys bugger off and do the geek-boy-thing without me. It works, and it works well.

Marlayna wrote: Every time I was in love, I couldn't possibly imagine myself with anyone else, nobody else interested me; wanting to be with your loved one all the time is a vital part of being in love, you'll agree; is it really possible to make an exception for a certain person? When you're with A, do you long for B and vice versa? Wouldn't that be like, constant pain? Things like that...



I don't long for one when I'm with the other. I am always aware that they're not here, but I know that if I want to, I can see them both at the same time, or will be seeing the other shortly. We eat together, we relax together. It's like a family. But we ALL appreciate a little 'me' time sometimes, and we are all individuals.


Marlayna, you seem to be trying to be objective here, and I appreciate that. I don't expect to 'convert' people, because I think it takes a very special type and combination of people to make this kind of relationship work, and who knows if ours will in the long run. Noone ever really expects a marraige to fail, but oh so often they do.

What irks me a little, is SO many people have pointed out to you that the feelings you describe as 'love' are in reality more like infatuation, and you seem to be ignoring the point. Love may begin with those feelings, but in the long run its good company, trust, affection and compatibility that makes real love. Your lover is your true best friend. Not a fiery flame that burns untill you can't function without someone. In my experience, those relationships tend to burn themselves out.
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Postby Peshmerga » Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:05 am UTC

Now, I've been torn by decision from many lustful choices. I still find it as unfathomable as death to truly love two different people at the same time. I'd always have to make the choice to find some sanity in my own mind. I could never be content with two... I don't know why. It seems like a whole lot it probably isn't; including selfish, and the fact that one love wouldn't get your sole attentions and affection. You guys must be way ahead of the rest of us on the evolutionary timetable; I know I'd be crazy paranoid about the other.

Maybe I'm just a slave to convention or I don't have the right "stuff" for all dis lovin. I still don't believe it possible.

It may be that I'm a sucker for thematics; multiple love is, by classical definition in literature, unheard of. So it could just be that I refuse to believe in something so absurdly rare and... frankly, uninteresting. It certainly wouldn't make for a good plot device.

"Oh no... which one do I choose. Oddly, I find myself loving them both! O golly what am I to do... Oh gee, I'll take them both for myself! Yes indeed! I sure do hope they don't mind this small arrangement!"
i hurd u liek mudkips???

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Postby Gelsamel » Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:24 am UTC

This argument is counter-productive as 'love' is not properly defined in this context - most arguments being thrown around are anecdotal, and the 'evidence' is petitio principi.

What's really happening is multiple people thinking they're arguing against each other yet they're arguing different things. And those who aren't fall into the anecdotal and circular logic category.

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Postby VannA » Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:30 am UTC

I'd recommend this reading to anybody interested in the "How can it work" segment of this thread.

http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC10/Anapol.htm

I'd also follow it up with "The ethical Slut" which is a magnificent guide for not beating yourself up about your inherent choice of relationships, as well as some generally good and healthy advice.
Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.


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