Without self-knowledge and self-confrontation philosophy is a farcical exercise in context-dropping and categorization error.
The further on I go, oh the less I know,
I can find only us breathing,
Only us sleeping,
Only us dreaming,
The further on I go, oh the less I know
Friend or foe, there's only us
— Peter Gabriel, "Only Us"
Why can I not have certain honest conversations with the most honest woman I know? Why can I not have certain honest conversations with the woman I know I love? Do I know that I love her? Is my love corrupt? There are things I perceive her as not wanting to know. Does this mean that we should not be attempting to have a romantic partnership kind of relationship? Heh. That would fit the facts as they stood on July 4 and for about two weeks after that. Here I am: another 40 days in the desert. Will it be six weeks this time as well? Will it be longer? Will it be forever, this time? I don't know, for sure. Oh, I can deal. One way or another I will get through whatever I have to get through. It's very difficult and painful though. I'll freely admit that I DO get validation from Laurel, just as she gets it from me, and it feels good! I want it. I admit it. I know I can live with deprivation though, but it has been hard. I miss her. I know I can work on my self-confrontation. Schnarch is getting really interesting. I'm in the guts of chapter eight and he's really making hard sense. I can do this. I can be alone with myself. That's not an issue, although it does hurt to have the connection crimped or whatever one would call this situation. I just wish I could talk to her about this stuff. It's really intense, and it makes me think, productively so.
I'm still curious about what she's doing, how she's feeling, if she is doing all right. These bouts of conflict tend to have weird and alarming health effects on her. They make me alarmed and worried. I am ashamed to participate in such a dynamic but I have been slow to pick up what I can do to reverse it. The thought that her health suffers is horrifying. There is nothing to be done about it, if she is having a stress reaction right now. I think if she could contact me, she would, if for no other reason than "to be friends." I suspect that she can't. Is she wrestling with fear? That might be a really hard thing for her to admit, consciously. I think that she's admitted it to me unconsciously, when she's not directly confronting it and is aware at some level of the ramifications of what she's saying. I don't know, for sure. If she tells me though, that she doesn't want to discuss our philosophies of sex because she fears that I will attack her, is she not admitting that she is too afraid of confronting the possibility that I will not validate her on this issue, that she can't deal with the idea that we have differing beliefs on the nature of sex?
Damn. I really needed Schnarch earlier on in my life. Laurel was right. He has a lot to say that is very relevant and he would seem to be in a minority saying it. Chapter 4 really proved to be an eye-opener. Holy shit. He makes so much sense it hurts...and it makes me laugh! How much am I addicted to other-validated intimacy as a means to an end instead of as an end in itself? Fuck. I see it. I do it way too much. I wouldn't even necessarily have identified it if I hadn't read this. I knew that I wanted something, and I have been trying my entire life to identify it. I have always been feeling like I'm getting closer and closer. I've thought I've had it, before. It's like Neo from The Matrix, trying to identify what is wrong with his picture or understanding of reality. I wanted to know what I wasn't getting for myself, what I have been missing, what I have been wanting. Reading Schnarch puts it in plain language and identifies its nature clearly. The guy is one smart cookie. I hope he's making a fortune on his books. If people would check these ideas out it would change so much in their lives. I think what he's talking about is what fairy tales and fantasy stories refer to as "true love," which obviously sounds much more romantic than Schnarch's "wall socket sex," but I think the distinction is one of name only. The kind of communion to which Schnarch appears to be offering a path does seem to be as rare in the world as "true love," and his discussions of what one does to achieve this kind of communion would seem to be as truly heroic as what our fantastic literature offers us. I would think it would be even more so, given that what Schnarch describes is available in the real world, to everyone and anyone, provided they but have the courage. There is no need to be born of royalty or be blessed by gods. What it is is no more, and no less, than honest, deep, genuine connection.
Holy shit! I know where Schnarch and Gerlach conflict and contradict and I just figured out why! Heh! I've resolved the paradox! Fuck, I want to share so badly right now, and I can't! The only other person I know who understands this stuff is not talking to me. Ugh. I hope that she's OK and is getting through what she needs to get through. I think Gerlach is operating in a paradigm characterized by the idea that other-validated intimacy is the only kind that there is and that this is a means to producing a better relationship. It is possible that I am not being entirely fair to Gerlach, having not read most of the other six lessons in his program yet, but this understanding feels right by what I have been reading on his site so far, and it fits in that this is something to which Schnarch says that other thinkers in self-actualization and relationship improvement typically fall prey.
The root of the contradiction between Schnarch and Gerlach is this: Schnarch says I need to learn self-validated intimacy first, as a means to an end. The end, the goal, is a relationship where other-validated intimacy can flower on its own, naturally, as an end in itself, not as a means to an end. Schnarch is claiming that self-validated intimacy is the means by which people grow and differentiate, and end up in the kind of relationship where each partner can, and does, offer the other all sorts of validation. Other-validated intimacy is an end, not a means; self-validated intimacy is the proper means to the end of growing differentiation and establishing a healthy working connection with someone. Schnarch points out that most other therapists and counselors are still operating under the presumption that one uses other-validated intimacy as a means of achieving connection and it doesn't work that way. He claims that most people, even people in the psychological field, do not understand the distinction or even that there are two types of validated intimacy. I believe him. What he writes makes sense to me.
Gah! I keep finding myself laughing like a hyena while reading Schnarch. Part of me says that it is amazement at the brilliance and joy at the sense what I am reading makes. It feels good! It offers me hope! Parts of me are worried that it is dissociation. Am I disturbed by what I am reading? I don't think so. In any event, it doesn't stop me from reading more. I feel yearning. Reading this makes me hungry to read more. Reading this book feels like finding a ring of keys to doors I've not been able to open before. It makes me want Laurel. I want to practice The Hug with her. I want to find out things now that I understand how to look for them! Reading Schnarch is harder, knowing that I am not able to talk to her right now. It stirs up these ferocious feelings of longing in me. I am also afflicted by a feeling of "wrongness" while reading this. Parts of me seem to feel quite strongly that this kind of stuff is supposed to be shared. Parts of me almost feel as if I am "cheating" by reading it while I am not talking to Laurel. It feels like sneaking and watching a movie after promising each other that we would watch it together. That's how it feels, only this is far worse than the movie scenario. This stuff I am reading...it has direct impact on connection, intimacy, how I feel and think. It's almost maddening not to be able to share. I feel deprived, and it makes me feel lonely. It gets hard to read it, in that sense. I feel pulled in opposite directions. It's lonely to read it by myself and not have her around to talk about it with her, but on the other hand, I'm finding so many interesting clues.