Monday, May 31, 2010

A note to the readers

Hello estranged readers,

It's been a while since we really sat down and talked. I think I'm gonna take a few minutes to open up, even if this blog is rarely visited at the moment.

I stopped blogging for a while for a few reasons. First, I didn't really have enough questions to answer. I was answering one question a day and wasn't doing any advertisement since I find it kind of desperate and imposing on others. The site kinda died, and I let it die. Sometimes it's nice to let things go that way. I also became a bit estranged from my own voice. I started to feel a little boxed in by the expectation to be funny or entertaining. Don't get me wrong, I love that. I just don't love it when it's demanded of me.

All the time off was good for me. It helped me do some soul-searching and reconnect with my values and priorities. I've been thinking about things a lot lately, about peace, about inner violence, about meaning, about community, and about purpose. I haven't figured it all out yet, but I believe I'm making progress.

So here I am, armed with new ideas and ready to help. We can talk, you can ask questions, or we can just sit here together.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't call me Hooker!


i m 28. Can i go to prostitue only for kissing and smootching. bacause i want enjoy a lot in this world. what i should do. my marry would be after one year.

[name withheld]

Dear Madam (semi-pun semi-intended),

I'm not 100% clear about your question, but I'll do the best I can. You are 28 and would like to know if kissing a guy before you're married makes you a prostitute. You will be married to him in a year, or would like to get married to someone within a year. Is that right? If it is, then you need to know 2 things.

There are two ways people use the word prostitute. First, we use it in a legal sense. In most of the United States, prostitution is illegal. In order to be considered a prostitute, you need to have sex for money. Love and feelings are typically not exchanged. I don't know how your country defines prostitution, but in the US, this is not prostitution because you are not getting money out of it and (generally) have feelings for the person.

The other way people use the word prostitute is not legal but casual. Guys and girls will call a girl a prostitute or "hooker" or "slut" when they feel she has done more things sexually than what the "normal" person would do. What is normal changes from culture to culture, and therefore, different cultures have different definitions of what it means to be a prostitute in the casual sense. Again, I can't speak for your culture, but in the US, kissing, touching, and even having sex are a very normal part of a relationship. You would not be considered a prostitute even if you were not planning to marry the guy after you had sex.

In my own opinion, I think people should be able to do what they want as long as they're not hurting anyone else. But if you live in a culture that is very strict, you need to be aware of how your culture will react. I'm not saying you have to only do what they'll approve, but you have to act smart. You need to consider the way other people might react, and the way your boyfriend might react and try and make the best decision you can, a decision that feels right and is practical.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What is Maturity?

Don't ask why I've decided to open this blog back up, I just did. Roll with it.

Today I was thinking about maturity. What does it really mean to be mature? What's going on in the mind? How does one go from immaturity to maturity?

I think maturity is a function of self-image. Those people who we classify as mature are those who identity themselves as having "mature" attributes and being a part of the "mature" social stratum. What's classified as "mature" changes by society, by age, and by domain, but I think there are some common features we would find across all conditions: an acceptance of certain truths and corresponding responsibilities. The acceptance of these responsibilities also requires that the person surrender a part of his hedonism, and the part of his identity that is invested in that hedonism.

For example, when it comes to working in the US, we tend to think of mature as accepting that life requires that we work and that we have to compromise our leisure time to accomplish this work. A person who thinks of himself, i.e., identifies himself, as a person who accepts these truths and fulfills these responsibilities is a person who has achieved maturity in that area. He must surrender a part of his hedonistic lifestyle that urges him to do whatever he feels like.

We can use the same paradigm to understand maturity in relationships, in spirituality, and even in education: the lover accepts that he wants to have a family, needs in invest in a single person, and give up his philandering. The spiritualist must accept that he is part of a greater system, accept his duty to help others, and surrender his selfish drives. The student needs to accept that grades are important, to begin studying, and to surrender trying to be cool at the expense of his education.

Thus, maturity is really a process of acceptance, surrender, and the formation of a new identity. Ceremonies like marriage, bar mitzvah, accepting vows, etc. are so important because they help cement that new identity. They give the initiate an opportunity to swap identities and create a "historical bookmark" to remind the initiate who he is now. All very interesting stuff.