Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Limerence and I (Part 2 of...I'd better spare you, 2)

Thanks to those who endured Part 1 of this post, which I've backlinked for anyone picking up from here.

In part 1, this bunny touched upon the impact that an episode might have in the life of a serial limerent by drawing on my own experiences. It should be said that there is no designer template that covers the range of thoughts and emotions that an active limerent might go through, but I hope they served as a useful rough guide. It made me ponder exactly what Limerence had done to shape my view of the world, socially, philosophically and politically.

Before I wrote this duplex, you might have got a very different response to the question "Daz, why are you a Libertarian or Instinctive Liberal?". This bunny would probably have answered along the lines of small state, lower taxes and nanny keeping her nose out of other people's lifestyle choices as well as their bedrooms. All of this remains correct, but does not explain fully why my Liberalism is as consistent and instinctive as it is.

Ever heard the long-running rumour that Hitler became rampantly anti-semitic because he contracted syphilis off a Jewish prostitute named Hannah? Or seen the episode of 'Monkey Dust' where it turns out that Omar, 'the mad Mullah of West Bromwich' developed his hatred for all of humanity and the West in particular because he was unhappy with the marking of an exam paper?

The Baggies-supporting Jihad cell is immensely funny, anything to do with Adolf less so, but the point is a serious one - sincerely held belief of any type tends to have two levels to it, the obvious and logical level consisting of the sorts of answers that you might give to a question along the lines of "why do you believe what you believe?", and the more subtle level based on personal experience and your personal interpretation of it.

I don't doubt that people who reach socialist or racist conclusions work in exactly the same way - the difference is likely to come in the way in which they have interpreted that 'intimate' level of the belief. Let us suppose for a minute that the 'Jewish Hooker' story is kosher (no pun intended). Could you, at a massive stretch and taking into account that Hitler was also a psychopath, understand why he reached the conclusion he did? Just about. Was his conclusion the right one? In the view of 99.9% of the civilised world, of course not.

So from where this bunny is stood, the logical conclusion (paradox in itself) is that the 'illogical' part of a belief system probably drives the 'logical' one. Malpoet kindly praised my self-awareness in the comments section of part 1, and it's an immensely valuable commodity to have, Self-awareness is an ability to understand the hitherto unknown reasons why you might do something, or look at life and its situations in the way that you do.

Once acquired, it goes a long way towards explaining why real experiences shape and change beliefs far more than the reading of a book ever could. Lock, Mill, Hayek and Friedman are all names with which I am familiar, but then I've read bits of 'on Liberty' and small contributions from the others on the subjects of freedom and State intervention. I don't own any books that deal specifically with the issues - my Instinctive Liberalism is overwhelmingly the result of personal experience, and what I see as an accurate interpretation of it.

So where does Limerence tie in with Instinctively Liberal thinking? Again we're back to that seemingly infinite font of knowledge, Malpoet esq. In his response to Part 1, he talked about 'the freedom to work out how you relate to other people'. Now this is little more than common sense on the surface, but on a deeper level that is what Limerence takes away from the individual - that freedom to choose what Morrissey would refer to as "all the things that you love, and the things you loathe".

You've seen these mathematical equations before:-

Freedom - Responsibility = Anarchy
Responsibility - Freedom = Slavery
Freedom & Responsibility = Liberty (ok the plus sign on my keyboard doesn't work).

This is why Limerence is such a damaging and dangerous state to be in, because it deprives the individual of their freedom to choose and temporarily enslaves him or her for a length of time that is unknown to them. Personal liberty is something that an individual tends to place a much higher value on once they understand when they have both had and lost it and Limerence takes a huge slice of that freedom from you in a swift and brutal way.

So many people enter adulthood with preconceived notions of 'what they should want from life' that by the time they actually discover whether or not it was what they wanted, the ball has rolled too far down the road and their situation is irreversible. I'm not necessarily equating the marriage/two kids/dog/lawnmower combo with slavery, but when it is the result of pressure from some mystical hand of society, or mum and dad tapping them on the shoulder, as opposed to an expression of their own free will, then yes it is a form of slavery - there's no point sugar-coating it.

Some people genuinely want all these things, and good luck to them.

Others don't, and good luck to them too - this bunny genuinely hopes that they follow the path that brings them the most fulfilment.

Outside of respect for the life, liberty and property of others, there is no such thing as 'the greater good' or 'the right thing'.

Anyone or anything that deprives the individual of that freedom to choose their own path is a cancer in their lives and needs to be regarded as such - this might come in the form of parental pressure, organised religion, manipulative forces either socially or at work, or even a total curveball like Limerence. One of the most rewarding elements of writing this piece, as well as hopefully providing some guidance for others, has been that ability to get closer to the 'illogical' element of this bunny's belief system, then concur with everything that he previously held to be self-evident.

So - sincere thanks to Tim, Richard, John and Malpoet - it's much appreciated.

I'm off for a glass of wine and a lie down - take care and I'll catch you soon.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Talking of Limerence...

I thought this song was terribly appropriate...

Nobody does unrequited love quite like Mozzer -  take care and I'll catch you soon...

Friday, 27 July 2012

Elites and governing elites

The reason that efforts to promote liberal democracy and western style government in the Middle East have failed is simply because they have been thwarted by interest groups, elites, within and part of western society and for whom liberal democracy is not, actually, on their agenda.

Totalised control, that operates free of any need for accountability to the controlled, is their ultimate aim and so in fact the medieval totalist philosophies and political systems that currently rule in most of the mid east are actually more in line with what they are seeking to achieve.

There are those in the governing elite of the West who genuinely do desire to promote and establish freedom. However it seems they have been outwitted and strategically bested by those working within the liberal social structures who seek to achieve coercion and control by an elite as the norm.
The governing structures of the European Union are  examples of systems tending in that direction.
Whether such coercion and control is through nazism, socialism, fascism, islamisim, corporatism, communism, ba'athism, atheism or witchcraft is not important to them. What is important is the principle that the elite directs and everyone else obeys.

In fact if one presumes this is the basis for many of the seemingly strange things that go on, such as David Cameron's incomprehensible attitude and actions regarding the EU, they begin to make sense.

This requirement for the principle of dictators and dictatees is the reason that such unlikely bedfellows as communists and islamists find common cause.
The need to control what is done and what is not done is the critical requirement; the principle to be established.
An interesting line from a Mises letter expressed the spirit of this attitude as evidenced by the US internal revenue 'service':  "Everything not forbidden is compulsory."

Individual freedom and individual responsibility is anathema to such people. It is positively dangerous.
But without that freedom and responsibility there is no hope for the human race.
We will stagnate and start slipping backwards, as, in many ways, we have and are.

Which spirit will prevail?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Limerence and I (Part 1 of...I really don't know)...

This bunny should start by stating openly that this is either the bravest or most stupid thing he has ever written. Guys and girls, we're about to go into quite a dark place, the type that would leave a Statist no option but to instruct you to "strap yourselves in".

For better or worse, I took to posting song lyrics on this site until the small amount of my back catalogue that was worth the time of day had been exhausted. One of the songs that I'm most proud of and holds most sentimental value to this bunny is a track called 'Rabbit in the Headlights' - yes, that's where the name of this site and the playful self-reference to 'this bunny' comes from.

'Rabbit in the Headlights' concerned what at the time was a current limerent episode. This bunny's public performance of the song at numerous venues was something that I'm convinced helped me out of the other side and if not to a healthy place, then certainly one that was 'less worse' than had previously been the case.

What is limerence? That's a valid question, since some of you might never have heard the word spoken before, or know necessarily what it refers to. It was first coined by a psychologist, Dorothy Tennov, who referred to Limerence as "an involuntary cognitive and emotional state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person".

This is the key aspect of limerence that distinguishes it from simply 'fancying' someone, having 'a bit of a thing for them' or genuine love. Limerence is 100% irrational and you have absolutely no choice whatsoever regarding the identity of your limerent object - neither does he or she, it should be said. Limerence is something that chooses all involved, without their prior knowledge or the opportunity to make an informed decision.

The involuntary and yet massively intense nature of Limerence means that the outcome is often a very clear cut one between reciprocation or prolonged torture, depending on how things pan out. This is the case until such time as the toxic and terminally damaging flame stops burning - some of us have the means, discipline and skill to avoid our Limerent Object (LO) like the plague for long enough to expunge the painful memories from our minds.

Others live too close to them, attend the same school or college, mix in a wide and inescapable circle that includes them, or work with them (yes, that's happened in two of my three limerent episodes). In those circumstances, Limerence is a living nightmare, punctuated by the occasional high when he or she smiles and acknowledges your existence, takes an interest in your sad and pathetic life, does or says something nice of which you are the recipient.

The means to think rationally are the first things that disappear, although you are not to know at the time. Your LO is immediately elevated to the status of god or goddess, deemed to be perfect in every way and absent of any flaws, even the ones you knew them to already have if you had been acquainted for a while beforehand. A creative mind will turn even the most glaringly obvious example of something you could not like in another individual into a positive. They occupy your mind, popping in and out at random intervals and totally without warning.

Lateral thinking goes straight out of the window, as a sort of deluded hypnosis takes over.

The symptoms of Limerence should have served as an indicator that what I was 'feeling' was somehow not right. I've listened to bucketloads of love songs on MTV, VH1, the radio, Top of the Pops or whatever (and happened to detest most of them). Having taken in many a tune that plays the role of someone expressing their warmth towards another, I can honestly say that nausea, vomiting, chest pains, loss of sleep (unless aided by heavy drinking) and situational depression were not subjects or themes that I remember making a regular appearance.

"Wild thing, you make my chest hurt, fucking hell I think I'm gonna puke" - now there's a song for you...

What I'm describing sounds not like an organic and healthy feeling of affection that you might have for another, but a psychological and emotional sickness. It took me far too long to realise this, but that is exactly what Limerence is, either a mental illness in itself or at least a clear-cut symptom of another one.

Like everyone else, this bunny has had periods of relative strength and weakness, times when there was little to worry about and all that mattered was the opportunities that lay ahead, and other spells punctuated by gloom, despondency, hopelessness and an overall view of the world that life is just so incredibly difficult. I've had three limerent episodes in what has been a relatively short existence, and all came in what could only be described as dark and unhappy times.

Your soulmate shouldn't make you turn to jelly, be overcome by an unhealthy and unnatural degree of reticence in their presence, nor should you be faced with the awful paradox of wanting to run into them on the one hand, but feeling like death on a stick every time that he or she is within 18 yards of you (hence the reference in the song).

The 'reciprocation or bust' nature of Limerence, and the fact that by definition it makes you a victim of a situation over which you have no control, means that there will always be an unpleasant, destructive and narcissistic element to it.

Nothing that puts you in such a terrible place can ever be positive, and how on earth could anything constructive come as a result? Of course this bunny can see all of that now, or, in the words of Morrissey, observe that "I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible". It should be stressed again that a limerent loses this capcity to think laterally, rationally and come to informed conclusions.

This is what marks it out from genuine love, affection, or even the phenomenon of the 'teenage crush' that an isolated negative experience can still snap someone out of.

On reflection, I would have to admit that Limerence has caused me enormous problems, hit my quality of life extremely hard for prolonged periods and defined the perception I have on the whole 'love angle' - that is why I would categorically refuse to offer advice on the subject to anyone (to paraphrase another song, this time by 'Potheads will Perish' - "you ask me for advice, but I know nothing about love").

I won't go into specific detail on my limerent episodes, since there was another human being involved who had no influence over the situation either. An extensive post-mortem of what was a pretty grim experience for all concerned would not be fair on anyone and I'd like to think (or delude myself) that there are lots of people out there reading this. All I will say is that when I walked down that corridor at school, aged 14, and felt 20 million volts race through me, delivering a sickening pain to my insides, it changed my life and take on it for the next 15 years.

The problem I had was that, having previously been interested in nothing more exciting than sport and books, I had absolutely no mode of comparison, nothing against which I could measure whether what I was feeling was abnormal, unhealthy or a cause for concern. Nor was there a sensitive enough adult in my life who I could perhaps have talked to - maybe we would have got to the bottom of it and maybe not.

That isn't a cue to get the violin out, merely a statement of fact - what I'm getting at is, not knowing what Limerence was, let alone that this was the force that had taken over my body and mind, I genuinely believed that this was what 'fancying someone' entailed. That might be stupid on reflection, but as stated previously, I had no prior experience to compare it with and nobody to explain that what I 'felt' for this girl who I had not chosen (nor had she chosen to be my LO, that is worth repeating again) was not love, affection or even that most base of instincts, 'lust', but Limerence.

I remember looking at other people, who were in relationships and concluding that they had either overcome such terror to get where they were, or gone down the 'safe' route of getting involved with one of their friends and 'ducking' what I saw as 'the real thing'. For those who had conquered the demons that had rendered me a fucked up mess, I felt ten parts admiration and ten parts jealousy. Those who had 'copped out' and slept with their mates were regarded with utter contempt.

Never a nice place to be in, it must be said...

I also remember women I got on famously with, could talk with for hours and stuck me as exactly the type I wanted to be around all of the time. However, since none of them rendered me a shaking, spluttering emotional car crash, prone to ill health and bouts of self-destruction as a coping mechanism, then I rationalised that I didn't 'fancy' any of them.  Tragic, but I'll forgive anyone who finds it amusing since to someone who has no idea what I'm talking about, this must strike you as bizarre in the extreme.

In short, I have never 'fancied', let alone loved a member of the opposite sex since I had no idea how to. I merely became situationally depressed and mentally unwell a few times - that, after all, is what Limerence is, a form of mental illness. Part of my uncertainty over whether or not to post on this topic stemmed from that very real problem, the crass insensitivity that large swathes of the population still have towards issues of mental health.

Maybe someone is reading this while experiencing a limerent episode of their own - it is said to impact some 5% of the population after all. I can offer no advice as such as all of my own encounters of this kind ended negatively. All I would suggest is that if you have a friend who you would trust with your life and you think that what you are experiencing is unusual or unhealthy, then talk to them about it. A friend who turns their back on you when you most need them is not really your friend.

If you can avoid your LO without making a life-altering decision, then go for it and stay strong.

Other than that, this bunny just hopes you can come through it and land safely on the other side, Anyone brave enough to share their stories here will be treated in a sensitive way by someone who has been there, that's a promise.

This bunny is much stronger now and has escaped from the headlights - worry not...

Apologies if this was heavy going for any of you - take care and I'll catch you soon.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

French Football and Sexy Sarah Cracknell...

Saint Etienne had not only one of the coolest band names of all time, taken as it was from the team that gave us Michel Platini amongst others. Their Indie/Club fusion in the 1990s was unique, innovative and, well, fucking brilliant.

Here's a live performance of my favourite Saint Etienne tune, 'You're in a Bad Way' on that immensely 'hip and with it' television programme, the Word in 1993.

Am I alone in wishing she 'had some plans' for me? Take care and I'll catch you soon...

Friday, 20 July 2012

North West Libertarians Meetup 28 July

Libertarian Meetup (North West)

The Dee Hotel, 44 Grange Road, West Kirby, Merseyside, CH48 4EF
 Saturday, 28 July 2012 - 13:00 - 16:00

Libertarians in the North West are meeting to discuss the Independent Libertarian Network and other issues of current interest to libertarians.

For more information or advice on car parking, contact Malcolm Saunders on malpoet@hotmail.co.uk.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Independent Libertarian Network

Gavin Webb's efforts over the last few months have started to come to fruition and he has a new Libertarian political party formally registered with the Electoral Commission. The emphasis is very much on supporting local activism. It's early days yet, but I think it has potential. Visit the website, have a look at the constitution and see if it's the kind of setup you might be interested in getting involved with:


Monday, 16 July 2012

Bill Hicks Mocks the War on Drugs...

I can take Bill's digs at Christianity with good humour - RIP and God bless him.

Here he is drilling hole after hole in the phoney 'war on drugs' in his uniquely incisive way.

Take care and I'll catch you soon...

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Some Things Never Seem To Change

So there I was at an antiques fair in Stockport, looking for potential stock for my fledgling business when this bit of ephemera caught my eye and I just had to have it for my own interest. I admit that I collect some odd things, and I've been in the habit of accumulating political literature since my days as an activist with the former Libertarian Party – this may be the oldest example of an election leaflet that I've ever seen though:

It seems even in the 1880s local politicians were screwing the citizenry into the ground with excessive taxes!