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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

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enjoymentland and endless newness
bird poops on plum branch
Kellianne and Sopor returned to NYC yesterday. Yesterday was an all-time energy low for me (as the end of these trips usually result in), but after a full 8-hours of sleep and a couple restless dreams, I've bounced back to normal energy levels. Inspiration, even. I can tell there's all kinds of processing going on in my head due to the events of the last month... my dreams are packed with weird symbolism, and I can almost feel my moods, blood stream, muscles, energy levels, and ideas crunching away like tractors over a ripe field harvesting all of the stuff that has been developing in my life. And, as always, as the processing completes, a new bushel of creativity and inspiration presents itself on the doorstep of my frontal lobe, waiting for me to wash, peel, and serve the new creative fruit to the project of my desire.

The projects of my life are currently, in no particular order: McLeod Residence and the newfound sense of purpose brought on by our recent sinking and bounding activity, Kellianne and the ramifications of mad crazy bi-coastal love, the Robot Co-op and trying to launch a new site, interpersonal drama with exes and best friends that weaves throughout it all like tainted DNA, and the new book I want to write which I will be working on while in NYC in a couple weeks. As far as project platters go, I think this one is quite rich and will be great fun to build on top of.

The goal for Kellianne's visit, or one of them, was to experiment with the possibility of daily living with one another. We're on the fast track like I never have been on the fast track before, and this means experimenting with living together and choosing cities after 5 months of dating. It has been the most exciting, fulfilling relationship I've ever had, and the momentum we're building now only seems to be growing. The fast track means making the relationship as big as possible... taking in as many emotions, ideas, adventures, and sides of ourselves as possible. I'm all too aware of how the formative months of a relationship lock into place a lot of expectations, and without a few big expectations in place, could make turning it around in the future almost impossible. I want those expectations to be as gigantic as possible. In practical terms, this means having big adventures as well as long periods of low-activity mellowness. It means making every topic of conversation acceptable, every idea welcome, exploring fears, telling secrets, delving into the uncomfortable, holding nothing back. If I'm going to be in a relationship, I want it to be as big, small, tall, wide, skinny, short, light, dark, fast and slow as possible. I see the beginning stages of a relationship like moving to a new city. Every storefront is full of possibility. You'll go into any store, walk on any path, try any new restaurant. 10 years down the road the places you go and the excitement you have for the less traveled parts of the city will be determined by how adventurous you were in the beginning. Suggesting something new when you move to a city has much more excitement potential than it does 3 or 5 or 10 years later. I think this is part of why new relationships are so exciting. But can you make the discovery of newness and the engaging playfulness of exploring the unknown a permanent part of a long-lasting relationship? It's not like there's an end to a person's self where you'd run out of stuff to discover, especially someone you love. The reward of almost any kind of relationship is the fact that every part of the universe has a new dimension: what it feels like to share. There is endless newness available, and yet so many relationships get locked into a tiny section of that endless newness and sometimes you have to get out of a relationship just to get back to that endless newness. If you lock endless newness itself in, then you have the ability to share endless newness in endlessly more fulfilling ways. That's what I want. That's what Kellianne and I are trying to build. It's awesome. An empire of endless newness and what I am now thinking of as the Kingdom of Enjoymentland.

How to do this? I think it just has to be something both people want, and both people encourage in one another. It's a continuing conversation, a game, a movie plot line, a reason to cheers, celebrate, calibrate, collaborate, plot, plan, make lists, check things off lists, invent, brainstorm, make fun of, tear apart, start over, reinvent, etc.

Also, why talk about this on the internet? I have to admit that I want to contribute thoughts about good healthy relationships to help balance out all the ones that seem so difficult. Not self-righteously, but just because I think the reason people are down and endure such difficult relationships is because they want something good and healthy and just can't see how that will ever be possible. It's self-sabotaging though to believe that all relationships are unhealthy and all relationships are disappointing, and yet to be disappointed about that at the same time. Imagine something better, a best case scenario, something fulfilling and great, something that isn't doomed from the start. I know there are a lot of people who do this already, and even have this. I'm just saying I have it too and I love it.

More on flickr...

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celebrate celebrate celebrate!

it's always a party! always! ALWAYS!


You've definitely helped in this department! Thanks for making our summer so awesome. :)

enjoy your question!

thanks so much for sharing this with us. i always look forward to your posts.

however, i must say i am a zizekian and am thus extremely wary of the superego commandment to enjoy (representative quote below) so i am shying away from the possibility of an Enjoymentland. it sounds like too much stress and pressure. I would prefer an Experienceland or something I think. I am interested in the possibilities of formal constraints, rules, structure. Anyway, here's the quote:

Today's sexuality is under the sign of the superego command to enjoy - superego designates the point at which permitted pleasure turns into ordained enjoyment. Nowhere is this clearer than in the unfortunate case of Viagra, the potency-pill that promises to biochemically restore the capacity of male erection, by-passing all problems of psychological inhibitions. Now that Viagra manages the erection, there is no excuse, you should enjoy sex. If not, it is your fault! There are two main forms of this superego injunction. On the one hand, a totalitarian power goes even further than a traditional authoritarian power. It does not only tell you "Do your duty, whether you like it or not!", it tells you "Not only must you obey my orders and do your duty, you must do it with pleasure, you must enjoy doing it!" On the other hand, we have the obverse paradox of pleasure whose pursuit turns into duty. In a ‘permissive’ society, subjects experience the need to ‘have a good time’, to really enjoy themselves, as a kind of duty, and, consequently, feel guilty for failing to be happy. And the concept of superego designates precisely the interzone in which these two opposites overlap, i.e. in which the command to enjoy doing your duty overlaps with the duty to enjoy yourself.

Re: enjoy your question!

Oh, I like this. I keep on returning to the id, ego, and superego in my posts for some reason (even though I don't really like Freud as much more than a popular culture icon). I want to know more about what you shy away from regarding the commandment to enjoy. The quote makes it seem like it's simply too much to ask of someone. Which is fine, I sort of agree that our culture rewards people who not only accomplish, but seem to enjoy their accomplishments (making it difficult to admit that you're unhappy in your relationship/job/whatever except behind a friends list without losing some respect).

You're right, a commandment to enjoy would totally suck. It's something that we should strive for outside of the realm of social or peer pressure. If we want.

Enjoymentland does seem to have some hedonistic implications, but I'm okay with that. I like it actually. My thinking is that this will be an easy lens to interpret a lot of different philosophies (religious, philosophical, self-helpy, personal, etc)... because we all know that everyone is pretty much equipped to enjoy life. We can all do it, and we can all do it pretty much right now if we want to. On the other hand, not everyone can necessarily become rich, or powerful, or famous, or successful, or any of the other ways that true life fulfillment is sometimes phrased. Not only are these more standard achievements more difficult to attain, they're also not foolproof fulfillment makers. So true it's cliche. You can be rich and miserable, successful and miserable, powerful and miserable, etc. But can you be enjoying yourself and miserable at the same time? Enjoymentland is both more accessible and more likely to fulfill than almost anything else I can think of at the moment. And it's less vague than happiness... happiness just begs the next question, how to be happy?

Even experience... can you strive for all experience? I sort of think one of the pitfalls of our generation (and maybe all generations, but especially ours because we have the internet and its personal storytelling tools) is that we often do things just for the experience. That doesn't sound so bad. But doing things just so you can write about it in your livejournal is no recipe for fulfillment (we've all gone through this stage at one point or another). Evidence of this is the fact that the posts I like reading the most and that have the most comments and conversation are often the ones that are the most tortured. And the movies/books/news stories we like reading the most are the ones about big tragedy and disaster and heartbreak and loneliness. Experience is good for entertainment, but most of us wouldn't want to switch places with these people.

But this is still a developing idea for me... I'm not sure about any of this and would love to hear more about what you're thinking...

enjoyment as subterfuge

I shy away from the commandment to enjoy precisely because it is a commandment, a mandate, an order. It is a glaring symptom of late capitalist alienation. You must be instructed how to respond to your environment, your situations and that instruction is simple: enjoy. You must not just accept your alienation, but you must also put on a happy face and claim to like it.

I am not concerned about the hedonistic implications of Enjoymentland. I am all for hedonism. However I think Enjoymentland sounds too simple, too easy and (worst of all) utterly bourgeois. What is Enjoymentland? A location? A state of mind? A performance?

As someone who oftentimes does things just for the experience/ to write about it in Livejournal, I can say that it has been fulfilling. In fact it has been much more fulfilling than when I go out just for my own satisfaction. Voluntarily giving to the group/ community when and how I choose, while retaining my own identity and self-determination is one of the most gratifying aspects of my life.

I will also say, the impetus to DO THE THING does not necessarily define the thing. For example, I might walk across the street to the grocer's because I want an apple, but what happens from the moment I make this decision and onwards is not wholly defined by the decision. I am not interested in the "right reasons" to do something. I am interested in removing barriers from doing things, physical, mental, emotional barriers.

As for Experienceland, it would be not about "striving for all experience". It'd be more about letting go. Relaxing one's self, being meditative but slack. Moving forward without anxiety and expectation and nailbiting. Anticipation, action, acceptance, analysis. Most of the time, shit's gonna go down in ways you don't expect anyhow. It's all in how the ball comes at you, how you position yourself before the pitch, how you strike, but not being crushed if it comes at you too fast or catches you off guard or whatever. As for pleasure, get it when and where you can, but striving for it is exactly the wrong thing to do, striving for it is you under the jackboot, with Sgt. Superego growling ENJOY!

Re: enjoyment as subterfuge

You're right... sharing experience is very fulfilling. And I love your description of the Experienceland as basically flowing with experience. Letting things happen, responding, exploring, etc.

And I agree that a commandment to enjoy is a terrible thing. I think a commandment to enjoy is even worse when paired with a commandment to achieve.

All very interesting. I don't mean to be all bourgeois about it though... in fact, I was thinking that it was actually pretty proletariat since enjoyment is available to all classes, races, genders, nations, equally. It's not like enlightenment at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, or the economic ladder. In fact, it's almost lazy. Or, at least, a completely different game.

Re: enjoy your question!

PS. I think Viagra is more about Experienceland than Enjoymentland personally. It makes an experience available rather than heighten its enjoyment (at least for the boy). The Orgasmstron on the other hand...

so much good stuff here...
anyhow, i like the new website idea! my senior year of college we kept a 'comment box' in the living room, where we could vent aobut each other, write silly things, etc. we kept the contents and read the comments every time we get together once every few years. the comments never cease to make me laugh... i know yours will be different, but hey, just wanted to share that little story with you.

Definitely made me feel a bit better about the roller coaster that I am in.

Ms. KA has been extremely supportive of the fast track that I seem to be on in my own relationship, as new and fresh as it is. Her words have been comforting at the times when I needed that kind of comfort.

Reading your words and putting hers next to them... it just makes so much sense. I understand now why she is able to be free and excited and not at all worried. It's because you both seem to be in the same page.

I guess, all I'm saying is... Thank you. :) This post has made my September month. The month when I embark on my own version of Collossal Newness and Magnificent Expectations.

She's always on your right...

See you tonight at joshc's party?

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