Tuesday, October 08, 2013

What Will The Mainstream Make of Polyamory


Keeping with our recent topic of sex and sexuality... 

Perhaps thanks in part to the Showtime series "Polyamory: Married and Dating," it seems yet another subaltern is coming out of the closet (or bedroom) and into the mainstream.
This season takes viewers on an intense emotional journey as we follow two families as they navigate the ins and outs of polyamory.
It is predictable enough that it would be presented on SHO in a way that is easiest to digest for the American mainstream -- although I am now I suppose a part of this 'common poly' myself, being white, married, and still available to other relationships, I would prefer the actual gamut of possibilities be presented. So, what are White American suburbanites (or urbanites) to make of this new "fad"?

One of the challenges presented by this desire, (as was discussed in an earlier tongue-in-cheek article, "Postmodernogamy"): at its core polyamory presents not an alternate model to monogamy so much as a revolution against all formal and static cultural mores which say "this way and no other."

Now that gay marriage seems to be approaching normalcy, new labels are needed to keep the relationship news cycle churning, all the while missing the only radical point presented by what is otherwise nothing more than the simple result of modernization on outdated cultural edifices: There is no model of "typical" polyamory, as it is and should be specific to every unique individual and their unique interactions.

The central goal is the basis of all koans: that there is no goal. But then how to proceed? We are challenged to let every thing be exactly what it is and nothing else, to eschew labels altogether.

For this reason, the term "polyamory" itself presents a problem. Perhaps it would be best if the label could cannibalize itself, providing only introductory training wheels for people to look again at one another as unique instances, universes with a population of 1, to which no map or guide will provide an altogether satisfactory definition or safe trajectory for discourse (let alone intercourse.)

This is a surprising and terrifying challenge for us, especially for a culture that demands a label so as to make things safe -- after all, "the gays" were made "safe" only when a narrative was provided that contextualized how the mainstream could perceive them (more or less as ideal choices for interior decorators and hair stylists.) This is what is potentially radical about polyamory. Otherwise, it is simply a revision to the old dating guidebook, for those that are at least progressive enough to recognize that serial monogamy is no solution, and that it is perverse -- but in all the wrong ways -- for Atheists to build their morals atop Christian bedrock.

In practice, the primary problem with polyamory, you will quickly discover if you explore it, is precisely the same problem that presents itself in monogamy, just in a different form: people. Other people will forever remain a problem when it comes to them doing what we want them to, or being who we want them to be, and only when we let go of all those expectations, and do our best to simply love them as they are...

But I imagine that is asking altogether too much.

Some past Modern Mythology articles on the topic that you may find interesting, useful, or absolutely annoying, depending on our outlook:


[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

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