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 Chemistry of love.

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Chemistry of love.   Sat 29 Mar 2014, 22:21

sparked by the Bertrand Russell debate and the dialogue between Nordmann and me on 3 February 2014 about my hobby horse: "What is free will?" and occasionally reading yesterday that love is nearly pure chemistry I wanted to have the opinion of the honourable contributors of this forum.

I can only talk from my observations accumulated from a lifetime (now over the seventies), which are very scanty BTW...

One says sometimes they are predestinated for each other...
From my observation the encounters are rather coincidental...the school, the factory, the office, a celebration, a dancing, same branch of merchants, a journey, fill in whatever comes to your mind...an advertisement in the paper, on the computer coincidentally read by another that see the other as a match...
Then with the meeting starts the "nature" to work...(the chemical genetics?)
So the mating and the eventual marriage depends from a lot of at random encounters?

Another observation:
I agree that nature condition us with the female-male sexual attraction, but isn't there not that much more in a relation than the sexual attraction, the wit and the kindness...to be able to endure something from each other in exchange for the intimity and the security of the couple...the enduring of each other's snoring in the mutual bed...

And the influence of the society and the customs of that society on the kind of relationship that is "allowed" for a couple.
I remember a debate on the ex-BBC with our famous James Welsh about his sissies...
I have seen an evolution about the homosexual relationship, but still from my experience from my close circle of acquaintances, I have remarked a strong reticence to communicate about it or to start a relationship...all to do with the society's repudiation of that status...

That are my first thoughts on the subject this evening...

Kind regards, Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Chemistry of love.   Sun 30 Mar 2014, 08:36

In his book, The History of Sexuality, the French intellectual historian  Suspect  Michel Foucault considers what he calls "the repressive hypothesis" - the common idea that sex is something that earlier periods, particularly the nineteenth century, have repressed and that modern folk have fought to liberate. Actually, Foucault argues, it is not quite so simple as that. Far from being something simple and natural that was repressed, "sex" is a very complex idea - a construct if you like - produced by a range of social practices, investigations, talk and writing - "discourses" - that really took off in the nineteenth century. Foucault does not deny that of course there are acts of biological sex, or that humans have sexual organs, but that all the talk about "sex" - by doctors, clergy, novelists, psychologists, moralists, social workers, politicians - that ironically we link with the repression of sexuality - were in fact ways of bringing into being the thing we now call "sex".

I struggled with these ideas when I first came across them (still struggling), but surely Foucault had a point. His ideas have been enormously influential. The process he describes gave sexuality a new importance and a new role, making sexuality the secret of the individual's nature. Speaking of the importance of what we today call the "sexual urge" and our "sexual nature", Foucault notes that we have reached the point

"...where we expect our intelligibility to come from what for many centuries thought of as madness...our identity from what was perceived as a nameless urge. Hence the importance we ascribe to it, the reverential fear with which we surround it, the care to know it. Hence the fact that over the centuries it has become more important to us than our soul."

One illustration of the way sex was made the secret of the individual's being, was the creation in the nineteenth century of the homosexual as a type, almost a species  Shocked .  Earlier periods may have disapproved of sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, but now it became not a question of acts but of identity. "Sodomy was an act", Foucault writes, "but the homosexual was now a species."

Isn't all this, as usual, about power and manipulation? We like to think that in things to do with "sex" we are all now - in the Western world - "liberated". But is this actually so? Foucault's interest for me lies in the way that he suggests that the supposed opposition between natural sexuality and the social forces that repress it might be, rather, a relationship of complicity: social forces bring into being the thing, the construct or idea of ""sex", that they apparently work to control or repress. We think we are resisting this control when we seek to be liberated, but the ironic thing is that we are working entirely in the terms the controlling power has set.

Sex - that 19th/20th century invention - is now everywhere, and boy have fortunes been made.

But no doubt I am being simplistic here: indeed there is always the possibility that have I misunderstood it all. And perhaps this is not really anything to do with what Paul wants us to discuss.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Sexuality

http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/03/04/sexuality_as_social_construct_foucault_is_misunderstood_by_conservatives.html



Last edited by Temperance on Mon 31 Mar 2014, 10:26; edited 6 times in total
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Chemistry of love.   Sun 30 Mar 2014, 09:29

PS Could I just add that I am a great admirer of Mrs Patrick Campbell's wit and wisdom, especially her comments on love and things? Her bon mot about not frightening the horses surely applies to all of us, whatever our sexual preferences or orientation. The word "affectionate" - often missed out of the quotation - is very important too.


Does it really matter what these affectionate people do — so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses! (Reply to a young actress who asserted that an older actor in a production showed too much affection for the leading man (c. 1910); as reported by Alan Dent in Mrs. Patrick Campbell, p. 78 1961.)

I also like her comments about hurly-burly:

The deep, deep peace of the double-bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise-lounge. Quoted in Alexander Woollcott, “The First Mrs. Tanqueray,” While Rome Burns (1934)

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Chemistry of love.   Mon 31 Mar 2014, 22:14

Dear Temp,

I read already your message yesterday, preparing in mind some reply.
And thank you very much for your comments, which sparked a lot of new questions from me...
But this evening too tired to start, already that late in the evening (nearing midnight overhere), an elaborated message to word all my new thoughts...

Kind regards and with high esteem,

Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Chemistry of love.   Tue 01 Apr 2014, 07:51

Oh, Paul, how polite and considerate you are!

My message of Sunday was boring and tedious, and I was very much afraid I had suffocated an interesting thread at birth.

I have been thinking since the weekend how "the chemistry of love" - something Henry VIII in a rare moment of honesty called his "very great folly" - has influenced the course of history: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Edward II and Piers Gaveston, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson are obvious examples.

But is what we like to call love often just folly, actually a selfish and destructive thing? And were the examples given above - which all proved to be such unwise and dangerous affairs - not love at all, but simply infatuation?
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PostSubject: Re: Chemistry of love.   Sun 06 Apr 2014, 22:08

Temp,

in a hurry in response to your replies some at random quick thoughts...

My observations but it can be that my observations are coloured by my personality seeing things that are seen by others with another mentality as quite otherwise...

I have the impression that nowadays people stay mor "realistic" towards partnership and sexual "actions"? The sexual action is seen as nearly a kind of "physical exercise", some "dance"...it is quite different from the "mysterious" exclusiveness of the first half of the 20th century? Perhaps my Roman Catholic college past mentality is playing now...?
I give an example: Judo wrestling...I , accompagning the grandchildren to the training...mixed teams...girls wrestling with boys...14, 16 years old...I, imagining that I, in my time would have had quite other feelings when wrestling with a girl...but perhaps with the public and focusing on the game the younsters had to think on the performance and that dominates all the rest...? Or they can really separate the sexuality as an item apart from the rest of life?

I have also the impression that after a century of all kind of freedoms the partners stick again to the old fashioned frame of couples trying to make the best of it and where sexuality is not the only value to form a good couple. The disadvantage however is that with the nowadays freedom in search for a good relationship, some change many times for the better and so you have nowadays many "composite" households...

As said some at random thoughts and perhaps some rambling...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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