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Ys
ysabel
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May 2011
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Ys [userpic]

(If you don't have the context for any of this, then trust me, you're better off. Just treat it as general philosophical musings.)

Transcendence is one of those things that is amazing and wonderful and nearly impossible to communicate to anyone else effectively. Religions are all about someone having had a moment of transcendence and trying to communicate to other people how they could experience the same thing, and they are mostly about failing to manage to do so.

To make it worse, when you've just had a transcendent moment, you're likely to be on a "high" from it and really wanting to share that high with other people.

Unfortunately, managing to effectively communicate even a trivially simple transcendence is incredibly difficult. If what you experienced was a momentary transcendence of a giant cultural minefield, filled with centuries of baggage and vast depths of justifiable anger, then not only is it likely to be impossible to communicate, but it's an even more wonderful experience in the moment and you're so unlikely to be in a headspace that's good for effective navigation of treacherous waters that you're doomed before you even start thinking about talking about it.

And I cannot express how sad that makes me. Except that it's enough that I can't even summon my usual misanthropy to distance myself.

(And yes, it makes it worse for me personally that the transcendence in question was about touch, and I am a profoundly kinesthetic person in a very touch-hostile world.)

Current Mood: crushedcrushed
Comments

100% with you on this.
*HUG*

I sympathise with the experience of the uncommunicable leap of transcendent insight, which does not mean I don't keep beating my head off trying to communicate it anyway, and also with the difficulties of finding good ways to be touch-positive.

I think I know the context of which you speak, and yeah... seriously. What the fuck. The idea was genius. The execution? Not so much.

There are always idiots and morons who will ruin any sort of social leap, and drag a whole metric ton of baggage along with their skeezy selves.

You can't let 'em get you down though. You can't let others drag your enlightenment though the mud. People get the most jealous regarding their emotional baggage and expect that everyone else should be lugging the same trunk full of non-sense along with them. Fuck that.

Drop whatever baggage you want. Do your thing. Nuts to everyone else.

Also, can I?

You can definitely ask in person. I'll most likely say yes.

Love the icon :D

Anyway, yeah, that was mostly to see if I was way off in left field, or if we were talking about the same thing.

I'm glad to find other people who think its a good idea and aren't riding off on their high horses, shouting "MALE PRIVILEGE!" and "ALMOST RAPE!" at the top of their lungs.

Plus, I think we need to sit down and swap old mainframe war stories at some point.

"There I was, flat on my back, working on a VAX, when..."

;)

The icon is usually one I use for 'ZOMG GAYS' conversations, but it seemed relevant here.

I once booted a PDP-11 using the switches on the front to toggle in the binary boot code, to get it up far enough that it could read the boot tape...

Fuck, that's sexy.

The only thing I've ever done on a PDP-11 was assist in resetting the timing chain so advent wouldn't core dump every time you typed in go n.

As to this icon. That's good advice, however, any android girl who is dangerous to fist wouldn't be the model for me. I'd have to make sure that she conformed to ISO 99038.4 specs.

You realize that now I want to continue responding to you simply so that I may use various icons, since you keep commenting on them.

Of course, it'll get more and more complicated to come up with something to say that still allows the chosen icon to be relevant to the comment.

Ahhhh, that's the pure essence of cat girls right there. Drape-shredding, giant-ball of yarn playing with, head-giving awesome.

At least, that's how cat girls used to be. Now they are all cutesy and wearing frilly clothes and something about giant robots.

Call me a purist, but I want my giant robots chunky, my villains wearing cool masks, and my cat girls naughty.

Hello,

Thank you very much for the compliment. I spent a good portion of my time yesterday trying to tame the groupthink and take the keen edge off the mouth-frothing stupidity that seemed to surround any post made about the project. I don't think I changed any minds, but I did get a lot of typing done.

A big thumbs up to you for getting it. Whether you choose to participate or not, it makes me happy to know that there are people out there who can accept the decisions of others.

Oh... wow. This is sort of like finding out you've been chatting with someone famous, only, it is very very internet specific.

You're quite welcome, I was happy to defend the concept. I still think it is a wonderful idea and it fills me with a deep, head-shaking, heavy-sighing sadness that so much sin was committed over something so simple. (using sin in the original context here, an ancient jewish archery term meaning "To miss one's target" and used in ancient Hebrew as an idiom for misunderstanding a situation or failing to grasp a concept")

If you don't mind telling me, what the heck happened? Why did this turn from a tongue-in-cheek, pro-body, pro-self esteem, nerd-centric double-plus good in to the mouth-breathing bruhaha of fail?

Ahhh, and light is shead!

From all the context I can find, including the Ferrett's post that I could actually read, it sounded like groups of guys were roaming some Linux convention like zombies, moaning "BOOOOOOBS" and fondling every young woman who happened to cross their path.

At least, that's what some would have you believe.

Sifting through all the non-sense, I found what I think is the correct procedure for the whole thing, and I'm just baffled as to how it can be misconstrued. It seems like you hit on the ultimate form of consent communication.

So, here's the rub. Feminists et. al. tend to be very vocal about being the masters of their own bodies. Yet, they are foaming over you being the master of your own body? I've asked them if they are familiar with the old robot phrase "DOES NOT COMPUTE!" Did you know my humor doesn't play well to angry people?

Alas.

*hugs hugs back*

If nothing else, I still think what you did was great.

And again, love, I am so sorry. And I wish I'd understood that the edit didn't address your concerns, because I would have taken it down and rewritten it from scratch.

I'm sorry I fucked it up so bad, and fucked you over in the process.

You're very welcome. I realized that when I replied to you elsewhere with the kernel that became this, that I wanted to say the whole thing.

Heh heh.. you said "misantrhopy". Love it. I too bathe in misanthropy on occasion. People get annoyed and worried when I'm not so bouncy, er, "kinesthetic" as well. Sometimes I feel people leech off of me because of my energy. Sometimes I don't mind. Sometimes I get weary of it. Good luck with that.

See, I've been struggling with my "No Touchee" demons for some time now. I have a bubble 'round me many, many times where it feels like I can't allow touch. I haven't figured out yet if it's some kind of subconscious thing telling me there's something wrong with that person, or if it's completely all my past programming attempting sabotage. Eye contact is sometimes just about the most anxiety-ridden thing too, but sometimes it's just a natural thing... It's a bit of a convoluted mind-mess really, and will likely take some time to sort through.

While I'm sorting all that GIGO stuff out, I've decided to only allow the new people near me that I'm completely comfortable being touchy with and that don't leave me feeling naked and vulnerable when I meet eyes. You and Company are welcome to share my space, anytime. *grin* I can always use a little more of The Spice in my life.

I appreciate that!

And for the record, if I ever meet you, I will hug you tight.

I'd like that.

How differently different people can see things. I was already puzzled that you could have a transcendent experience through touch . . . and that you could be all the more reticent about telling people about it . . . but now I see from the comments that this arises from the Open Source Boob Project?

Wow. From letting people grope your breasts?

Each to her own. But wow. New idea.

. . . theferrett's post has put paid to my ever going to a convention. Now that I know there may well be people there who think attendance at a convention means "Ask me if you can fondle me" rather than "I trust you not to fondle me, and accordingly I wore something nicer than usual to give you a nice view." Being asked does not make it ok, in my view--it's pestering. Because that's not what one paysto attend a con for . . . unless it says "Swingers" right there in the con info. If it says SF, or Linux, or geeks . . . why on earth would I want to be subjected to being asked if I want my boobs handled? Let alone asked to wear a green badge ("Yeah! Bring it on!") or a red one ("Ask me ask me ask me! I need persuading!") Where's the "I demand a refund" button or the "I thought we were friends, I trusted you" button?

I thought theferrett was a nice guy. I thought you--of all people--understood the difference between "I want to be able to follow my bliss" and "Everyone should want to follow the same bliss as me" . . . or even "Everyone with breasts should want to follow the same bliss as me."

I don't want kids either, but some people desperately do. Does that mean I have to want them? or even to be asked repeatedly, "Don't you want kids?" My religion doesn't seek transcendence. Do you want to tell me I have to want transcendence?

I think you know I am not anti-sex. But I'm very anti-bait-and-switch. And I have friends who've been trying to get me to make the time--and spend the money--to go to a con. Sadly, this puts the nail in that coffin. And . . . damnit . . . I thought you people understood about observing boundaries so that we can all blossom without fear, in our own way. There are women out there who have been raped. There are women out there who have just been drawn out of their fear of sexuality by loving, caring partners. There are women out there who have just got up the courage to display their bodies. Let people decide what venue they want to go to, and let touch express genuine caring. This is such a disappointing step backwards into an era when showing your tits meant you were "easy" and going somewhere without a bodyguard meant you were "asking for it." Those who love boob touches--touch each others' boobs. Don't hijack a Linux convention!

I am just appalled that there is this gap of understanding. I would much, much rather have heard you maunder on about the insights of your transcendent experience than learned that you meant "I enjoyed being touched, aww damnit, some spoilsports didn't." One has nothing to do with the other, and being made to conform to someone else's idea of happiness is no freedom at all.

I'll be over here in the sex shop.

M

a) I wasn't involved. I haven't been to a con in years.

b) Now that I know there may well be people there who think attendance at a convention means "Ask me if you can fondle me" rather than "I trust you not to fondle me, and accordingly I wore something nicer than usual to give you a nice view."

If you didn't already know that there are people like that out there, not just at cons but pretty much everywhere, then you live a far more sheltered life than I do. The existance of that, and far worse forms of both blatant and insidious sexism are a big part of the cultural mess I was talking about transcending.

Luckily, the folks who did what theferrett was trying to describe are nothing like that, and did nothing like what you describe. The fact that you take something that's nothing like what actually happened and use it as a reason to avoid what could be a positive experience is...well, just sad.

c) I thought you--of all people--understood the difference between "I want to be able to follow my bliss" and "Everyone should want to follow the same bliss as me"

I've not suggested that anyone should follow the same bliss as me. In fact, nowhere in any of this did I even talk about what my bliss is. I firmly believe that each person must follow their own path.

d) Do you want to tell me I have to want transcendence?

No. I'm saying it's sad that someone's transcendence has been taken so badly out of context and turned into a huge pile of accusation and speculation and anger over things that didn't happen.

Please read what I wrote rather than ranting at me about things I didn't say. The trivialization and complete discarding of my point to get "I enjoyed being touched, aww damnit, some spoilsports didn't," is incredibly insulting.

I read theferrett's post, and you didn't correct your friends when they made the connection between this post and the Open Source Boobs Project.

I'm sorry if you can't see the lack of an opt-out in what theferrett outlined.

I'm used to there being skeevy guys everywhere I go--but I'd somehow thought that cons were protected space where folks who wanted to grope each other did so to each other, in rooms, not bringing it up to women stepping off elevators and trying to get women to wear badges. In other words, more like a college dorm than the orgies that take place in specific rooms within college dorms.

As I say, what you reported took me aback, and thanks for that. But I'm disappointed to find people approving of his experiment, and it's decisive, for me. Not going to play those games. Those who want to should practice more honest advertising. It's sad, because at least one friend has been trying to get me to go to at least one con. But I'm sadder still for the women who aren't as hard-bitten as me. I have practice in enforcing the distinction between looking and touching at work--not everyone does. I've, thankfully, been able to beat off attackers. Not everyone has.

I came to this country completely un-touchy, and was told I'd have to get used to giving and getting hugs. I have, to the point where I've occasionally been rebuked for touching someone. But unwelcome attention to sexual body parts is quite different from hugging.

M

There were no unwelcome advances.

The entire thing was opt-in, not "lack of an opt-out". The only way to get a badge was to seek out the woman who had them and ask for one, and convince her that you ought to be involved. Asking someone without a badge was a no-no.

theferrett described it very badly. That was kind of the whole point to my post, as you might notice if you read some of the other commentary. I wasn't there and I could tell just from reading theferrett's post that he was failing to describe what really happened. I later confirmed that by talking to (among others) the woman who actually started the whole thing.

Because he's male, theferrett was the wrong person to try to describe it in the first place, because even if he'd managed to get it perfectly right, the cultural overtones would've prevented a lot of people from "getting it". To make it worse, he was psyched about his experience, and so tried to describe it in a "hey this was cool" way, without understanding the many, many ways it could be taken badly, and so without the requisite care.

Again, this was pretty much the entire point of my post. Which you have twice now missed entirely. That when you have an experience that transcends social boundaries that it's nearly impossible to communicate that effectively to anyone else. theferrett's post is a study in miscommunication in a culturally-sensitive area, and the explosions that result.

There were not and are not bands of roving grope-happy congoers. The fears you are expressing are based on a misinterpretation of a badly-communicated event, not on anything like reality. Yes, there are skeevy people at cons, just like there are skeevy people everywhere.

Clearly even I, not being involved in it, can't manage to communicate the message "the inability to communicate transcendence is sad" through all the cultural assumptions and misinterpretations, because you say this:

But I'm disappointed to find people approving of his experiment, and it's decisive, for me.

I am guessing from this statement that you think I approve of his experiment. I'd like to know why you think that? I've never said that.

In fact, I approve of sheryl67's experiment. Which is what really happened. I think that what theferrett actually ended up describing would be a Really Bad Idea for a lot of reasons.

But I think I'm repeating myself over and over, in the hopes you'll hear what I'm saying. And my own point is that that's probably not possible. So I'll shut up now.

If you're actually interested in a more realistic picture of what really happened, you might take a peek at this thread (which is earlier in this same post).

Yes, I'd read that and the rest of the comments. The bitterness against "feminists" and trivialization of "emotional baggage" didn't help.

Where I really went astray was in your paragraph about transcendence and religions--after seeing that I made an assumption about the nature of the experience and didn't see that it was contradicted by the later paragraph about a "trivially simple" transcendence--I believe the essence of a transcendent experience is that it all seems vastly simple--and the "cultural minefield." I didn't realize you were talking about transcending social boundaries. As I said, until I read the comments I had no idea you were alluding to the Open Source Boob Project.

I hadn't realized that con attendees had to seek someone out to get a badge; theferrett's post gave me the opposite impression about the badges.

But I am afraid we are still proceeding from different assumptions. It isn't that I didn't read the post, or the comments. For me, the fact that theferrett posted about it in the way he did overrides any noble intentions. You say the experiment as he described it would have been a really bad idea? Well, I take it he described it as he had perceived it. He was there; he was in on it from the start. In an earlier comment you called me sheltered for not being aware that cons are full of gropings and more. I think where we truly differ is that you see pushing against social boundaries as liberating and therefore worth incidental skeeviness; I see someone writing about it in an exultantly skeevy fashion--a gifted writer, married, experienced in social interactions, and I presume at least as empathic as the average non-writer--as proof that the effort is dangerous. I see avoiding unnecessary touching as a vital social safeguard. I don't want any revolution in this area; I want people to feel free to make their own choices about when and whom they touch. Where I think we may agree is that those who do want to touch each other should not be made to feel bad. But I don't assume that men writing about something will not "get" a woman's POV, or will miscommunicate. I expect people of both sexes to "get" violation. I don't think there was much miscommunication. I think he wrote it as he felt it. And I expect better.

This reminds me of a conflict in local Bay Area pagan circles that was largely over by the time I moved here, but still reverberates. Some folks were bent on progress, as they saw it, in the area of ritual. They wanted to remove inhibitions against possession and, not incidentally, against group sexuality. They were so convinced this was a good goal in and of itself that they did not make sure all participants were aware that open rituals would end in possession sessions and sometimes in possessed embraces. Not everyone shares those goals, or considers the ways in which they can go wrong to be worth it. Forced progress is less freedom, even if it is progress.

So that's where I was coming from with my POV about breach of trust, and why I see this as misguided no matter how highminded, and even if theferrett was the only skeevy person involved.

I'm sure it doesn't matter very much in the scheme of things if I never go to a con; costs and schedules have already kept me away so far. But this affair has also turned off people who are less willing than I am to comment in the LJ of someone who sees it the other way. Cons are a part of something quite important--people meeting up in this age of alienation and loneliness, sharing interests that in many cases are minority ones, making something that is bigger than the participants. Friendship, in and of itself, is very important. But trust is basic, and more important the more one opens up. I appreciated your post and the trust in it; you are hurt that I misread it or rushed through but I'm afraid all I seem to misunderstood was that you were using "transcendent experience" in a more limited way than the religious reference suggested. I'm actually a little hurt that you think I didn't read. I'm afraid it is a genuine disagreement about the nature of freedom and "progress."

Sad in many ways, yes.

M

For what it's worth, I never thought you didn't read, however I am certain that you still don't get what I was trying to say. Though you seem much, much closer than you were.

That is not criticism of you; it is frustration with the difficulty of communicating certain concepts across cultural gulfs.

A few points, not that I really feel that the gulf between us is bridgeable, but because I really don't like having someone believing things that are patently untrue about me.

In an earlier comment you called me sheltered for not being aware that cons are full of gropings and more.

I said nothing of the sort. To my knowledge, cons are not full of gropings and more, thus saying any such thing would've been pretty stupid on my part.

What I said was that if you were unaware of the existance of ill-behaved sexists/skeevy people/etc in any environment (and cons qualify as "an environment", as does work, school and walking down the street) then you were more sheltered than I. This is a very, very different statement.

I want people to feel free to make their own choices about when and whom they touch.

Me too. But to me that would be revolutionary, because currently it's not possible to make one's own choices about when and whom one touches. There are some pretty serious social taboos about touch, at least in the culture in which I live. Being a touch-dominant person makes this very clear.

But I don't assume that men writing about something will not "get" a woman's POV, or will miscommunicate. I expect people of both sexes to "get" violation.

I don't assume that either; that's not what I was talking about. I also expect people of both sexes to "get" violation.

I don't think there was much miscommunication.

I know for a fact there was. theferrett communicated a lot of fundamentally incorrect facts, for starters.

I think where we truly differ is that you see pushing against social boundaries as liberating and therefore worth incidental skeeviness...

I don't believe it's worth incidental skeeviness. I do find most social boundaries painfully constraining, but I have no trouble arranging to avoid such constraints without any skeeviness.

But this affair has also turned off people who are less willing than I am to comment in the LJ of someone who sees it the other way.

Believe me, I know. That's a lot of why my reaction to the whole thing has been sadness. Not that I am a congoer myself, particularly, but that a lot of people are likely to avoid something they might've found positive, and that they'll avoid it not because of any real risk but because of something that didn't actually happen anywhere but on the Internet.

Also...I was not intending to use "transcendenant experience" in a more limited way than the religious reference suggested. I was, in fact, intending to invoke the religious context by using those words.

This is why the world needs technical writers!