My last post pressed a hot button. I knew it would and I’m not through with it. I’m asking more questions again.
- Why do you think the way you do?
- Do you know?
- Do you care to know?
Although I’m not a father of a teenage girl or young woman, last week I took up their cause and advised parents to let their daughters express their sexuality. Some of my readers, maybe most, did not want to read that article.
Who does Podolsky think he is, telling me to let my kids hop in the sack and get known as Bed-Bunnies?
To be clear, I never advised any parent to encourage sex. I said that sexual expression and exploration was part of the maturing process and not at all shameful. Sex is part of who we are and I was defending those young people whose sensual nature was being suppressed by older adults. I cannot tolerate manipulation of any kind, whether it’s overbearing parental controls, spousal abuse, office harassment, forth grade bullying or the stifling of personal liberties by a ruling body.
That’s why I wrote the article. A father was reinforcing a principle of conquest: Sex is taken, not shared and men define a women’s value. So many times this is true, and it’s called dominance. Unfortunately, all over the world both genders still buy into this absurdity and males enforce it.
I can understand why men would want power over women. I can understand why any individual would want to control others. But the big question screams, why do so many people everywhere believe dominance is appropriate human behavior? And by dominance, I also mean the assumption that any one belief or lifestyle should be the model for all the rest – that UNIFORMITY is the best possible social system.
Well, not everyone believes that perfecting repetition is the only way to improve. Novelists do their best to be original, and when they’re not, they’re accused of plagiarism. So writers, artists and performers strive for the creation of New and Exciting.
Emma Coats advises us in her Writing Basic #18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
Testing what? Ideas, of course. Simply refining pre-existing thoughts does not grow new thoughts. Refining, without new ideas, only reinforces what IS. Refining without testing is a choice based on the assumption that previous selections of anything are superior to any future alternatives.
If you believe that maintaining what’s in place, say the Good Old Days, is safer than rocking the boat, WHY do you believe this? WHERE did you first get that idea? From your dad? Your church? TV?
As you know, lots of people take a different track. They welcome change, they make change. Scientists make change. Artists make change. And yes, people who aren’t content with the way things are make changes.
So we have the boat rockers (the change-makers) and the boat holders (the conservatives). These two management styles polarize populations to form opposing political parties, religions and book clubs. Consequently everyone faces a choice of joining one group or the other.
WHEN did you choose? WHY did you choose? Have you jumped ship and swum to the other boat? Lots of people do, you know, and it goes both ways: conservative to liberal and liberal to conservative. It happens in the best of families.
The latest neural studies suggest that our brains are “hard-wired” to adapt to stimuli in different ways and that empathy plays a big role in our perceptions. Not all brains are the same. Some people have more empathy than others. Some are more aggressive, some are competitive, some are shy and timid. Many articles on the web explain how varied predispositions are biologically based, which also sheds light on why some babies grow up to be Republicans and some mature into Democrats.
So if we’re predisposed to see the world as It’s-All-Just-US, or the opposite, It’s-Us-and-Them, we have to ask ourselves: Can we break out of our pre-wired mold if we want to? Or suppose we’re happy as-is but we’re cracked open anyway. What would influence that?
Let me tell you about a guy who got seriously influenced.
Irving Podolsky grew up in a middle-class Jewish family with all the traditional 50’s values. Nice Jewish boys treated nice Jewish girls with respect and never got them into “trouble”. Good boys and good girls didn’t drink or smoke, achieved good grades, made their parents proud and after college, married and made more nice Jewish babies. Children also observed the Jewish holidays, prayed in synagogue, got Bar Mitzvah’d, thanked their generous, loving parents and grew up to become doctors or lawyers.
Irving Podolsky did not fit into this perfect, pre-set world, and he knew it from the age of four. Still, he pretended to be a member of the tribe, doing all the good things the tribe did, except date nice Jewish girls, when he dated at all. He figured though, he’d probably marry one later. That was the rule.
In all other respects Irving was a good boy. He didn’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, and he kept his grades up. But there was that wonderful new stuff called pot…which he loved…which he soon stopped because Irv was honest enough to tell his parents and they said, “We didn’t send you to college to be stoned all the time.”
So Irv promised to stay away from weed in school, and he did…because a promise is a promise, and his parents were paying for his education. But they said nothing about LSD.
Lysergic acid diethylamide changed signal routing in Irv’s brain. Suddenly the world didn’t seem so “set” anymore. A thousand more colors sprung onto life’s pallet, with a thousand more choices.
Still Irv was Irv. That is, until graduation. Then everything changed. Every idea, every assumption, every concept about good and bad, right and wrong, it all changed.
Irv’s dad gave his son three months of rent and food money. After that, Irv had to be self-sustaining. At the end of three months, his cash had run out and so had the job possibilities. It was 1970 and Irv was a cinema major. That degree gave Irv a skill set for nothing else than making movies or bagging groceries. Like today, the film industry was shrinking and depressed. So was Irv, until he got an opportunity phone call…as in, directing pornographic adult films. He took the job. That changed everything.
Changing jobs to work at a mental hospital for mentally challenged sociopaths with a staff of bi-sexuals and gays, that changed everything too.
Hitting rock-bottom as a dishwasher at a Steak ‘n Brew, that changed everything too.
The nervous breakdown which exploded into a mystical awakening into All-There-Is, that changed everything too.
Falling in love with an older German woman, from Germany, and marrying her against his parent’s wishes, that changed everything too.
Starting over in New York City, struggling to survive as a twenty-something film editor with an unhappy wife who wanted to go back to Europe, that changed everything too.
Returning to LA to find a job in TV where all financial and emotional horrors instantly melted away, which rebooted his marriage, that changed everything too.
These are the influences that got me to realize that the world is a infinite lake of diversity and nothing is all good or all bad. Live-and-let-live isn’t really threatening. It’s actually more practical, since everything IS what it IS and we all have to deal with that.
So now I know why I think the way I do and where my current beliefs come from. They come from varied experiences and a questioning mind. Why do I have a questioning mind? Don’t know. I suppose I’m hard-wired that way.
What about you? Do you challenge the status quo? Have you ever, for one teeny-weeny moment, questioned your assumptions about how it all works? Or are you a true believer, signed, sealed and delivered – an unshakable YOU?
If this is the case, that you know who you are, what you want, what’s important, what’s right and wrong and you’re keeping all that in place; would you be terribly disappointed if your son or daughter turned out to be a Live-and-Let-Live, Let’s-Make-Love, Bed-Bunny?
Or would you decide to make a few allowances in your Book of Rules? Maybe even re-think some of them.
Originally published on Curiosityquills.com.