“In every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity.”
– Napoleon Hill
I had my ego handed to me on a skewer recently and soon politely stitched back together by some wonderful ladies. Though it was sometimes grimacing to read, hear, and own, getting rightly challenged is always a good life-lesson. Two worthy friendly intuitives were Victoria of Victoria NeuroNotes, and Ruth of Out From Under the Umbrella. Please take a few minutes to hop over and browse their excellent and provactive blogs.
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The discussion and padded verbal wrestling was over a critical, rampant social problem that must be addressed and improved. What is the social problem you ask? Blatant and subtle sexism in our cultures.
A number of people shy away from controversial issues; disagreeing can be exhausting, no doubt. Many times we allow our natural emotional defenses to bow-up because let’s face it, being shaken or jolted from your comfort zone is not often thrilling. Yet, in contrast, would permanent stagnation be the best disposition in a world constantly morphing and changing with people morphing and changing to adapt, survive, and succeed? Not to me. For me stagnation is smelly-risky, and intellectually and spiritually monotonous. Luckily, utilizing weighted physical, mental, and emotional workouts makes us stronger and wiser. Unfortunately, in zero-gravity the human mind, body, and heart weakens and becomes feeble!
There is a term and practice in one of my alternative lifestyles called sensory deprivation. It is sometimes called perceptual isolation. Though in my mind there are correlations between pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or hide-n-seek, with sensory deprivation used in S.S.C. BDSM, this post is not about the lifestyle; so bear with me a minute while I elaborate.
Basically, sensory deprivation is the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds or hoods and earmuffs can cut-off sight and hearing respectively, while more complex devices can also cut-off the sense of smell, touch, taste, thermoception (heat-sense), and ‘gravity’. Sensory deprivation has been used in various alternative medicines, as well as in psychological experiments (e.g., Google isolation tank).
Like it or not, sensory deprivation has tremendous human benefits! A big one has nothing to do with my alternative lifestyle and yet it is actually promoted, albeit indirectly, in several therapeutic fields and practices. Most knowledgeable people already recognize that when one of the five human senses is non-functioning, the other four and the brain try to compensate. The compensation by the vigorous working senses are typically proportional in counterbalancing the lost sense or senses. Occasionally that compensation goes beyond normal expectations and so offers an otherwise new unknown level of stimulus. The human body’s adaptability from crisis is an astonishing kinetic work of art or horror when it has (or doesn’t have) the proper time to adjust, create, or regenerate! Here is a question to consider…
Is sensory compensation much different in common daily social interaction, private or public?
Into the Wrestling Rink!
When I took my bumps and bruises from Ruth’s two blog-posts and comments, and Victoria’s triggered exception about my inappropriate (private and public) sexist comment to her, I got a sand-paper lesson in flirting etiquette! And no matter how much I attempted to prove my intended fictitious jesting and poking, I couldn’t change what had been written under the influence of… animated egomania. My emergency iodine applications turned out to be (ugh!) industrial-grade salt in her eyes and opened wound. What I needed was deflation. I NEEDED AND DESERVED MY REPRIMAND.
Listen men, more specifically heterosexual men, there is a clear and undeniable line, verbally and non-verbally, that you/we are NOT supposed to cross or violate. Period. But wait, there’s more! Even if she initially hints or invites the crossing of a cloudy grey-line, you are still completely responsible for everything you say or do in response as long as you both are alive, or Stage 3 Alzheimer’s sets in. 😉 Humor aside, do we grasp the full breath of what that means!? We cannot go back in time and change words and actions — human time-travel may NEVER be discovered — so it should go without saying! But hello, it needs repeating and it needs reinforced teaching until stuck and sticks permanently…
Consider and choose your words and actions very precisely.
In fact, become a Master and Gentleman of Impeccable Etiquette — start now! Sorry, we will never have the perpetual Get Out of Jail Free card.
In hindsight, I broke one of my/our cardinal rules in the lifestyle and didn’t even realize it until Victoria then Ruth called me on it. My nature, personality, and lifestyle-mantra of 25+ years has been/is to be acutely aware and in-tune with my woman’s present and future condition. To a different extent that is also true to female friends, and I effed it up.
To be a principled advocate and model of my lifestyles publicly, the last people I need to harm are polite innocent outsiders or guests. Like it or not, first impressions are important, perhaps massive. Plain and simple, first, second, third, and later impressions show your intended guest how much you respect and value them. In my emergency attempts to spit-n-polish my foyer, I became the bumbling ice-skater who fell flat on his face! Tah-dah!
Back to Voluntary Blindness!
Two of my most memorable, successful, soul-mate-bonding long-term romances started without sight of each other. In fact, for the first three months of romance #1 we did not lay eyes on each other. It helped that we lived over 300-miles apart and both VERY busy single parents. The second romance was 20-days without physically meeting. Sight deprivation caused our early relationship to under compensate the often human eye-of-distortion or optical illusions that can (and often) prematurely grip us too tight, while allowing the more enduring (more reliable?) remaining senses to over compensate, or heighten. We willingly forced ourselves to learn each other through listening and speaking only. Certain deprivations for an extended length of time pays huge dividends! I recommend it for all new romances; better yet, it might be ideal to start without any optical illusions, literally
and then metaphorically.
Here is my little suggestion to shrink (pun intended) social sexism by men, particularly men who are
totally typically visual-dependent…or should I say blinded? 😛
One clever way to redirect is by having a blind date, literally! Did you know that there are restaurants who serve a four-five course dinner for two in total darkness? Yep, you can’t even see your own hands! Opaque – Dinner in the Dark is one such experience. Think how many preconceived fears, expectations, and optical facades get eliminated. In the circus of modern romance that’s three major minefields, GONE! And imagine the quirky fun making a mess of things together. HAH! You two get ahead of the love-game! But don’t limit this novel idea to romantic couples only! The experience can be enjoyed by all type relations and dynamics!
In every small or big challenge lies the seed of equal or greater opportunity!
To wet your appetites and spark your courage, this movie clip is from About Time, the 2013 film which ranks in my all-time Top 5 (maybe top 3) best films ever! Aside from its cinematic value and profound storyline, this scene demonstrates in a normal public setting the fun and impact that optical deprivation can bring to a friendship or romance. Watch…
So…in the context of sexism, how well can sensory deprivation help you in blindly discovering and enhancing parts about someone outside of their physical appearance, or beyond optical illusions? Could the discoveries be positive? Negative? Both? Neither? What are some other positive deprivations? When might deprivations become negative?
**For more darkside restaurants go here: Dining In The Dark: Top 10 Pitch Black Restaurants
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
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When might deprivations become negative? When they’re used to cover a lie; hide something. Sounds like I missed the iodine party.
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It wasn’t a party Vix; more like an uncomfortable doctor’s visit. 😛 In the end, everyone came out much closer and healthier which must be attributed to Victoria’s resilience and belief in me.
Your mentioned deprivation (the hidden lie) deserves lots of exploration! The covered-lie I have found to be risky and slippery is that of lying/deception by omission or silence, i.e. “white lie”. People’s reasons to use them — MY OWN reasons in the past included — are often noble in their minds (or their friends too), or in my mind, yet are hurtful, dispicable from the eyes of the victim. And I’ve been on both sides! Here’s an example of what I mean…
My Mom is now 76-years old, her logic and memory struggling more, verbal speed and thinking slowing, and a portion of those ailments were caused by my sister’s 34 years of addiction — legal and criminal records, jail/prison time, recovery, relapse, recovery, relapse, recovery, relapse, seemingly ad infinitum — and I’ve watched my mother age 10-years faster than she should’ve aged! She has a HUGE heart & always feels first, thinks later. Her decades of anguish from my sister’s choices and behavior embitters me sometimes toward my sister. It also causes me (forces me?) to avoid (necessarily? unnecessarily?) exaccerbating Mom’s ailments by NOT telling her my struggles or stressful conflicts, etc, for the sake of her well-being, betterment. Here’s the risky/slippery part… when Mom finds out I’ve been holding out on her (by silence, omission), she gets REALLY upset with me! “Why are you not being honest and open with me!?” she yells! 😛 LOL Can I blame her? That’s the POV of the “knowing” silent leveraged person. However…
I’ve had many a girlfriend and wife hoard relevant, serious secrets from me for the same reasons I held out on Mom: “they were protecting my feelings, or health, or dignity” as they would later explain or confess. Of course, many want to avoid the shame of their choices too by silence/omission; I’m not naive. But for me, being put into that unleveraged, disadvantaged position unknowingly, usually irritated me to no end. Why? Because I wasn’t given the full chance (or dignity?) to decide myself how to address or manage the “silent lie” paralyzing her/them as a close team-member, friend, boyfriend, or husband! Sometimes that blind position enraged me for a plethora of reasons.
Therefore, are there ethical-moral exceptions to certain types of omissions, silence, or deprivations termed “white” deception, or “acceptable” deception? Or… by making exceptions to your noted “deprivation” Vix, do we diminish (damage?) the dignity of others and those we love or deeply care for?
For me, because of past experiences, I now have a much more proactive open policy of divulging, volunteering feelings and thoughts! Yes, like kids in a sandbox it can get messy in the beginning, even painful sometimes, BUT…and I cannot emphasize this enough, 95% of the time (based on our character & learned resilience) the initial awkwardness, rawness, vulnerability, fears, flaws, STRENGTHS, are usually temporary and all eventually make us (as a couple/family/group) the most horrible Secret Agents possible, but progressively bonding and understanding to significant extraordinary levels! To me, that’s what “living well, loving much, laughing often, and learning always”…IS ALL ABOUT! 😀
Dahling, I answered a question that you posed, “when might (sensory) deprivations become negative?” The only way I could think of it in a negative way, would be to USE it in a negative way. I was in no way suggesting to use it for deception….You really did get spun-up, there, didn’t ya?
I understand where you’re coming from tho’, I have a kid with similar issues as your sister, doing well now, thankfully. But she aged me 15 years. And my mother was the one who would try to protect me from the truth of what was going on. I was living out of state at the time. It supremely pissed me off that I was not being told the truth, for my own protection? THAT caused me more stress than knowing the truth. Yes, dignity, and not being allowed the opportunity to respond in my own way. I’m not a fragile. Yes, I’ve been through some serious life shit storms, but they’ve only made me stronger and more resilient. The family knows better, now, not to “protect” me.
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I did spin-off from your simple answer, eh? hehe 😈 But it just SPUN so well, so hypnotically and beautifully!!! 😛
Great point: don’t protect me! Let ME protect me, and let me tell all of you how to best help, right? LOL
The thin purple and magenta line 😉
LOL…indeed John! Now is that photon-induced line thru 3-D glasses or Infrared glasses? 😛
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“Victoria’s triggered exception about my inappropriate (private) sexist comment to her, I got a sand-paper lesson in flirting etiquette!”
Just for clarification, once again, the inappropriate comment(s) weren’t just “private”, but also on a public blog. But comments have also been made to me by other guys (one in particular) who thinks its a compliment to tell me that he wants to see me naked. This coming from a guy who says he respects me. It came out of no where — in the middle of a very serious blog post about Christian abuse. But that’s not the first time he’s done that.
Professor, I applaud you for this post, and as I told you on Ruth’s blog and on the phone, I’ve gained the utmost respect for you. Why? Because you listened, you heard, you acknowledged my voice and others, and let me tell you — that is rare when discussing a topic like this. I personally don’t think the line is thin, but rather that we’ve become desensitized to sexist behavior.
Again, thank you! 🙂
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Grrrr, you’re right Victoria. I changed that error to include “public“. Apologies! 😳
One-sided, self-perceived “compliments,” while intended to be uplifting from the giver’s world, could be a completely E.T. language to the receiver and consequently received as confusing, inappropriate, even offensive. In the more oblivious severe cases like we’ve discussed and your mentioning here Victoria, there may be times when “drastic times require drastic measures,” huh?
However, in the more minor (misdemeanor?) cases, sometimes it truly is a simple case of different dialects being communicated and received; like radio-signals, all parties must be on EXACTLY the same wavelength! In other words, I’ve learned that there are probably 20 different love-languages & words that people understand, act out, and verbalize, 20 different friendship-languages & words that people understand, act out, and verbalize, and 20 different professional/occupational languages & words — just to name 3 contexts! I’m sure there’s more. My point? What says or means adoring, smitten, fond, or their level of intensities, MAY NOT mean the same to another. But no doubt, there is still a safe well-defined, appropriate commonly known etiquette that must be taught, learned, corrected, relearned, and recorrected… all of which should come with a degree of understood individual backgrounds & context. Is that possible or am I asking speaking the impossible of people…some/most people?
I personally don’t think the line is thin, but rather that we’ve become desensitized to [the extreme?] sexist behavior.
I have to agree with you there Victoria. In general, when to be passive and when not to be passive is the question. Around sexism and/or misogyny, or other bigotry, hate-culture, rape-culture, etc., 98% of the time passiveness is the WRONG position/reaction.
So…can we courageously & tactfully better standardize appropriate and inappropriate behavior with & between genders? That is sort of the last question(s) I asked Ruth in her post-comments “Missing the Point” and that I believe she’s going to tackle in a later new post. Should be excellent & gripping! And Victoria, you and I can offer our unique perspective to that discussion, could we not? 😀 😉
And of course, there’s no need for you to keep telling me thank you. It is I who should keep thanking you! I’m very fortunate that you understand & forgive my animated egomania & are now completely equipped to deal with it as needed should I ever faulter again! 😛 😉
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” Should be excellent & gripping! And Victoria, you and I can offer our unique perspective to that discussion, could we not?
“However, in the more minor (misdemeanor?) cases, sometimes it truly is a simple case of different dialects being communicated and received; like radio-signals, all parties must be on EXACTLY the same wavelength!”
Yes, I agree, but that can be tricky. This excerpt is from Scientific American about the differences between the way men and women tend to perceive opposite sex friends (at least in our culture, that is).
So I think that a woman may feel you’ve crossed boundaries when you are persistently flirting — it may come across as sexist, and/or disrespectful when she has made it clear that she is not interested in the guy sexually and/or romantically.
” My point? What says or means adoring, smitten, fond, or their level of intensities, MAY NOT mean the same to another.
I agree, but sometimes guys may think they are sending a message that they mean adoring, smitten, fond, etc, when it’s actually coming across to a woman that you want to [bang] her — because the guys are expressing it in a sexual context. Someone telling me that they want to get me something in my goblet to “relax me” so they can have their “way” with me, or a guy telling me that he wants to see me naked, while in the middle of unrelated discourse, is not the most effective way of telling me he is fond of me. 😉
” I’m very fortunate that you understand & forgive my animated egomania & are now completely equipped to deal with it as needed should I ever faulter again!”
Professor, I don’t foresee any rain clouds in our future ((wink)), and as I told you previously, I think this little hiccup actually opened a communication line between us we didn’t have before. I also think it strengthened our friendship. 🙂
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Read that Scientific American article with some reservation, but then one would assume that author Adrian Ward of Harvard University might know what he’s talking about. LOL 😉 The last paragraph reads:
So, can men and women be “just friends?” If we all thought like women, almost certainly. But if we all thought like men, we’d probably be facing a serious overpopulation crisis.
HAH! But perhaps neurologically from loads of dopamine and endorphins from all active participants, the world would be a MUCH HAPPIER more RELAXED place! 😛 😉 *ducks from any Victoria missles honed-in to me!*
In all seriousness, when genders are eagerly respectful to one another, I feel most of the pitfalls and mistakes can be avoided by clear & consistent verbalized boundaries right upfront or as QUICKLY as possible. Agree? 🙂 In fact, I wonder if free or inexpensive info on sexism is as readily available to people as it is (sexual harassment policies) with most all employers for their employees… when they sign receipt of or finish new-hire training? Hmmm. As a minor sidenote, it does bother me that most of the discussion of sexism or harassment revolves around men.
I think this little hiccup actually opened a communication line between us we didn’t have before. I also think it strengthened our friendship.
I completely agree! 🙂
HAH! But perhaps neurologically from loads of dopamine and endorphins from all active participants, the world would a MUCH HAPPIER more RELAXED place! 😛 😉 *ducks from any Victoria missles honed-in to me!*
LMAO — OK Professor — you set yourself up but good. 😈
“In all seriousness, when genders are eagerly respectful to one another, I feel most of the pitfalls and mistakes can be avoided by clear & consistent verbalized boundaries right upfront or as QUICKLY as possible. Agree?”
But — sometimes “clear & consistent verbalized boundaries right upfront or as QUICKLY as possible” are not always perceived as clear & consistent verbalized boundaries. 😛
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I knew full well I was…just for you. 😉 As expected, you came thru with flying colors Ma’am. *nods humbly in approval*
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This lack of perception may be due to too much dopamine disrupting normal cognition and emotion, leading to gross errors of judgment. 😀
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Bwahahaha! Ya THINK!? 😛
If I may paint hetero men in a more archaic light inline with your compelling statement there…isn’t that also why “they” say men’s blood flows in ONLY one direction? We can’t have the best of both organs? 😉 😛 LOL
It’s funny. In this age of social media and communication without being face to face, finding somebody who listens and admits their mistake, or sees your point of view (actually sees not just accepts it as a way to avoid an argument) is rare. And definitely the sign of a quality person. I hope I am that type of person too, but I’m never wrong thankfully. 🙂 And there is the problem with the internet, we can put emoticons in, but it’s not the same as the tone of voice we something in, because I of course was joking. lol
As an aside: I like romance and flirting and I don’t know why it had to get all caught up in sex. Because romance has value in it’s own way that doesn’t need to always lead to sex. Sex, biologically is a separate drive in humans, and love doesn’t really need to be associated with it, even though it’s certainly nice to have it all together. I feel that as a result I’ve been able to appreciate those I am fond of more and be more sensitive to what makes them feel beautiful, happy, and wonderful. But boy it sure is a journey. I know I’ve made women feel uncomfortable in the past, and I’ve felt terrible, but if you are compassionate you will always make changes for the better. At least in my opinion.
One of my active interests is learning how to engage people I disagree with better so that even if I can’t get them to see my point of view, maybe I’ll at least leave a seed in them to make them think, or at least have them thinking “boy he was way out to lunch but seemed like a nice enough fellow”. For that I have work to do to. When someone get’s snarky with me I can unleash a fury of wit on them that’s not very nice. And more importantly it’s not very productive. The one time I was able to start from a place of complete disagreement to state of someone saying “Hey you’re right and have given me a lot to think about” is something I look back on with pride, but mostly bewilderment and surprise. 🙂 It’s hard in this cyber world. Ultimately maybe that’s why I am much preferring blogging over Facebook. Because it’s hard to have a meaningful conversation through short snippets. If you’re writing you have to write with all the thoughtfulness that goes into saying something that is well…well thought out. But I have seen people who have excellent styles when it comes to engaging people in way that doesn’t trigger their “defcon 1 status” and I admire it and strive to get better at not letting my buttons get pushed too easily. We do tend to take a tone in our discussion that mirror the other person, and so when engaging someone you disagree with, it seems that how you start matters a whole lot. I also found that asking more questions in a response to someone is a good way to make the other person think, but also respects them because they feel like you want to know what they think. Other than that, it’s all still a work in progress. The internet age is awesome and I feel like it a tool that could be used positively to engage people of different points of view, but too often it just turns negative so fast. I loved the Professor’s post as it was humble but also positive because he saw it as a teaching moment. May we all experience many more, and remember that egos heal. 🙂
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Very well said, Swarn. 🙂
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In this age of social media and communication without being face to face, finding somebody who listens and admits their mistake, or sees your point of view (actually sees not just accepts it as a way to avoid an argument) is rare.
And Swarn, I’m concerned that as our American culture becomes increasingly MORE dependent on social-media, speed, technology and convenience, making our world smaller on one-hand yet more distant from each other face-2-face on the other hand, my children then grandchildren, and so on, risk diminishing the true needed ART of impactful, significant communication & conversation! I hope I’m wrong!
Regarding your 2nd paragraph, I try as best I can to show favoritism to all aspects of a relationship, and no favoritism to any one aspect… the four typical aspects of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. I never quite seem to grasp or be convinced that in the prime years of our lives, why cheat yourself or anyone else from ANY of the four aspects? At the same time, as your latest post points out, we must be careful with our “ideals” too. 😉
And your last mega-paragraph 😉 is spot on! You said, “I also found that asking more questions in a response to someone is a good way to make the other person think, but also respects them because they feel like you want to know what they think.” I like to ask people open-ended questions, allowing THEM the freedom to speak their heart and mind. I might interject a bit, ask more open-ended questions, then sometimes…I hope…they’ll ask ME questions to make it a two-way conversation rather than a one-way lecture. If they never ask any questions nor allow you to answer (fully), then in a short period of time, it gets to be a waste of time — nobody knows everything, right? LOL
And thank you kindly Swarn for those words at the end. *holds his wine glass up* Here’s to more stimulating two-way conversations and lots of learning!
I have to admit you have been very gracious about all of this. Like Victoria, I applaud your effort to understand the problem, to listen, and to engage respectfully about the topic.
I know it seemed like I was picking on you. But the material you were providing was just too good to pass up on! 😛
I respect the fact that you’re trying to wrap your head around all this. You know, it’s really hard when all your life you’ve been trapped in a man’s body and viewing the world from patriarchal vantage point. I don’t mean that as an insult. Many, many men fight for the rights of women BUT because they’ve never been one it would be difficult for men to understand the world from a woman’s perspective.
Thank you Ruth for those words & comment. Though kind as they are, I care more about being a part of the discussion, change & improvement in the bigger picture of social sexism and misogyny. If my part is from either the offender side — which I REALLY don’t want it to be — or the defender side, then so be it. I am usually gung-ho nonetheless. SURPRISE, being a spectator is not usually in my DNA. lol 😛
But the material you were providing was just too good to pass up on!
HAH! There’s a quote that I often refer to that sums up my personality; you may be familiar with it… “When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried.” — Mae West And don’t even THINK about saying it or insinuating it Ruth! I know she’s a woman. Ralph Waldo Emerson has a similar quote, but Mae West just makes it sound SO FUN! 😉
…it’s really hard when all your life you’ve been trapped in a man’s body and viewing the world from patriarchal vantage point.
No insult taken at all! That’s an interesting assessment of the hetero male condition and one that I won’t argue against because it’s mostly true. LOL You may or may not find this odd, but over the last several years after extensive research into sexual orientations and gender ambiguity, I have come to deeply appreciate the POV and role that transexuals & transgenders have of and with people and the world! Does that make sense? What a remarkable advantageous position in society they hold!
Many thanks Ruth for your words & comment, and YOUR part in this important discussion here and on your blog!
I’m un password privileged on your blog so this post will have to do and is vaguely relevant. I enjoyed reading your comments on Ruth’s. I had two views, 1) you were missing the point, and maybe still are but 2) you were honest about expressing your point of view, which was equally valid. And you put a lot of time and effort into the discussions.
I think your sensory deprivation analogy is fascinating. The difference, I think, is that SSC BDSM sensual deprivation is a world apart from ignorance. One is knowing, one is unknowingly deprived. One willingly accepts a blindfold (or whatever), the other doesn’t even accept it is there, let alone wish to remove it.
Anyway, thanks for the chance to respond on an interesting subject.
Hi roughseas. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I do appreciate any feedback, including any that challenge me and helps me change for the better or refine qualities that are rough around the edges. Thank you! 🙂
I am more than happy to give you any passwords you request. There are several of my blog-posts that require one, so let me know which posts exactly you’d like a password in an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or in the comment sections of that particular post. Either method works.
Regarding your two views, yes, I’m usually prepared to admit I can miss the point given my subjective point-of-reference and background. And to your 2nd view, in grappling with the “point(s)” and my foot going in and out of mouth, it can certainly be less-than graceful.
You’re absolutely correct about the differences between ignorance and SSC BDSM. For those innocently ignorant, I felt the Dining in the Dark occassion was a very nice, soft, FUN avenue of introduction to PERHAPS more forms of deprivation. 😈 It also addressed on one level our discussion/issue over on Ruth’s blog about sexism but as one great alternative to avoid visually stimulated sexist-traps and maybe redirect into other traits & characteristics. Again, as one alternative. 🙂