On Aphrodite’s birthday, the beggarly god Poverty took advantage of Plenty in his inebriated state, as he lay in Zeus’s garden, to make a baby with him. The baby conceived was Eros, whom Socrates characterizes as “naturally a lover of the beautiful” and “no seeker after wisdom, for he is wise already”.
Over time the notion of beauty has shrunk in meaning from its earlier robustness. In Classic days beauty meant more about perfection and harmony than physical features of this or that. For my quest, I’m reclaiming some of the earlier meanings of such words to describe the path and justifications for my behavior and ambitions: the last great love of my life.
As a start, why am I writing this or any such strategic orientation? Socrates says the Eros is an acquisitive and possessive sort of love, not meaning to diminish it, but to clarify its nature. For me this demands that I state what is worth acquiring and possessing. Not only what, but who is the “I” that is accomplishing this taking and owning. Above that, the process requires continual inquiry and experimentation with diverse others, with the shared end of realizing forms of beauty – aesthetic, professional, humanistic, spiritual – all this to advance us collectively along the path toward true arête.
Not simply an abstract word game, but for me this path will bringing beauty into every aspect of my life such that I can be sure to make a worthy contribution to the lover I secure and she me. Not every encounter along the way will see their contribution as I.
Some will breakaway on first contact – not wishing to take the process nor me with such seriousness or depth of thought. Others will simply not be equipped mentally or emotionally for such thinking and experimentation. Still others, with the capacity, will get turned off by my attempts to expose their contributions or lack thereof. My hope is to secure one such lady that holds their love and future in such reverence that no less effort would be an insult.
If all works as planned, we will collaborate and conspire to produce a manual of sorts that we will use throughout our time as lovers. In its own way it will teach us how better to perceive and love what is beautiful in both the particular and the abstract.
One of the primary exercises I request, early in a coaching relationship, is for each member of management staff to write a short essay answering – what does he or she want to be known for. It matters only slightly between corporate clients to a prospective lover; I suggest that a process be established that produces for – a character statement – or in the case of lovers it would also establish a describtion of an environment of trust based on the same basic elements.
The question has two distant parts – Who is this ‘I’ in the world; and, ‘what are the acts the “we” in that world should be noticed’? In the case of lovers they would each prepare statements that befit their own personalities and aspirations. Once their individual statements where completed they would collaborate on the environmental statement as to the world they as a couple would be known.
It is obvious that my existentialist is showing.
In this thought stream ‘I’ holds a spot of importance not because it holds answers but because it posses rich questions to those who would attempt to answer them. For instance Martin Buber approaches the question of individuality by asking: what does it mean when someone uses the word ‘I’, or its equivalent? After all, to be an individual person involves being able to speak for yourself in the first person: every language offers that possibility, in its own grammar. Even in the world of avatars and profiles there is the assumption that behind all the masks someone stands speaking to the world.
So for those who dare request such tolerances, the first person is a home that is a core stand we each must take. But Buber, the mystic, asks us to look again at that first person, that ‘I’. He suggests that ‘I’ has two fundamentally different ways of being used: there are two distinct first persons. By this, he does not mean there are two grammatical rules or dictionary meanings. He means that people are doing one of two things when they take up their temporary home in the first person and say ‘I’ to the world, to the others – in community or not.
The question – am I using either the word ‘I-Thou’ or the word ‘I-It’ or in the case of lovers something else?
According to Buber, ‘I-Thou’ and ‘I-It’ are the primary words’ in our lives. If your ‘I’ is an ‘I-Thou’, you are being yourself in the face of an equivalent person or presence – in community. If, on the other hand, your ‘I’ is an ‘I-It’, you are being yourself in a world which has no equivalent presence to your own, a world of objects not persons – others – not in community. So ‘I-Thou’ expects a reply, it is the ‘I’ of dialogue and responsiveness.
You can give your view in a disagreement by saying ‘I think you are wrong’ in such a way as to recognize that the other will have his own response. You don’t mean to imply doubt, but you do mean to allow the other to be present, to participate. In the virtual world this is like permitting visitor comments. Or, you can say ‘I think he is wrong’, and make the other into a mere object of your commentary, an object which, if it speaks again, will merely be observed and judged like other objects – noise – spam – or disallowed comment.
In either case the only way to judge which ‘I’ is the current stand is in the context of the engagement.
• So the first element for which I will be known is to stand for tactics of transparency from which ‘I’ is speaking: authenticity – direct and clearly demanding authenticity in response.
This raises two issues, the first relates to the general context of the reality assumed for this ‘I’ to exist as internal voice from within and the second is what is meant to be engaged with this ‘I’.
• The bare description of the world for this ‘I’ is that it conspires with other ‘I’s, and not ‘I’s to accept a preformed reality: a maker of reality not an object being placed or fixed in someone else’s reality. We will make our own history!
Simply, we in community confront and engage objects in our meaning making efforts to organize and describe our lives. In this age, we have come to recognize that everything is made up of buzzing atoms or as patterns of energy or as chemical formulae that have no consciousness of human feeling or intent. But to us, these added facts do not undermine the status of the ‘I’ we see: we make ourselves, not alone – we do not find ourselves wandering lost. The ‘I’ in this case is an expression more about the continuing exercise of overlapping limited choices we make. Recognizing the fact that our world is mostly mystery, not knowing whether we are in the midst of a reality that knows our name and celebrates us as gods or one that is ambivalent to our existence – blind and dumb in either case to our needs and cries.
The status of ‘I’ is bounded in social status: reputation. The communal experience of ‘I’ is through recognizing that experience of not ‘I’ in the negative: somewhere between here and there the ‘me’ has ended and other realities come into play – related to me but not necessarily true to form and me I know as I see me. This is where the context and engagement of community enter the picture. You are known by what others say you are!
In community – the co-joining of realities into a language game of pre-established and continually changing rules opens up. It is not so much that there are formal hand books of required language for each community. As it turns out – even when there are such books they are of varied or limited usefulness. What actually performs the heavy lifting is the cultural affiliations self selected by each ‘I’. You learn texting not by reading the books on it, but in the usage with friends that respond to your utterances or not. In this sense you know the game in the playing.
Not only do you learn the game in the playing – you learn the status of the players in the playing. The notion that reputation defines a hierarchy of influence that the community spreads in or against the reality of the ‘I’s ability to be heard in playing is a key that I as a lover focus all my skills, knowledge and abilities.
• My skills, knowledge and abilities are focused on providing strategic and tactical acts to increase the reputation of my loved one.
Thus far what I have explained has specifically defined my role as lover both from the individual and organizational framework. What I have provided is a definition of my views and my ontological positioning of the world I suggest each lover one arrives with in seeking arête.
In summary I believe that lovers want to speak from the stand point of an authentic ‘I’ to be heard by use of an authentic voice both within a specific community and non communities for the purpose of co-creating a reality to their liking. They may began in these day by the use of social media tools that engage in language games that they wish to master by engaging selected communities – dating sites.
As a lover that wants to collaborate to create a space of trust I have to be available to open up my efforts to engage the artifacts of the culture as my lover feels necessary so that her efforts to engage are honored. The culture makes itself known by what it recognizes, how it uses those insights in narratives and rituals celebrating desired behavior, and penalizing betrayals when necessary. Therefore the metrics of my effectiveness of engagement would be noticed in:
the rites of cultural performance
Rites of enhancement spread good news about my lover’s interest either on an individual basis or organizational, provide public recognition as she achieves, and motivate others to perform.
Rites of loyalty shower gifts and tokens to signify the benefits of belonging.
Rites of disloyalty relinquish ones material belongings in order to signify separation.
Rites of condemnation indict the character of despicable, idolatrous, or stupid.
Whatever the outcome, I want to be known as my lover’s ultimate ally. Simply put I want to be known for strengthening my lover’s life. My works to assist lover made real by empowering her to achieve her dreams and aspirations by unlocking their authentic voice within selected communities. My ontological positioning directs my lover to the broader and deeper elements of their reputation to help them see beyond today to what they are creating in the now not waiting to find themselves tomorrow. I help ordinary is focused on her doing extraordinary things.
As my lover’s ultimate ally my singular focus is on establishing more authentic and purposeful goals for them by enlisting tools that empower, motivate, inspire, and steer them towards success.
My method of seeking arête helps my lover bridge the gap between where they are searching now and where they can create a space to be. I look forward to hearing from that lady that wishes learning about what voice she wants to create in the world.