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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Intimacy Rules


The words of a song were going through my head during the recent holiday (שמיני עצרת/שמחת תורה) -- not the entire song, just the following words: "... I found what this world is searching for/ Here, right here, my dear/ I don't have to look no more..."  http://www.lyricsondemand.com/b/barrywhitelyrics/nevernevergonnagiveyouuplyrics.html

I thought a lot about those words and I realized that in that short phrase, in those few words, in that expression of love, Barry White put his finger on just what is wrong with the world. In my opinion, there are too many people who are searching, but they don't know what they are searching for. Because they don't know what they are looking for, they are looking in the wrong place. 

We all crave intimacy. But you can't get intimate with a harem. You can't get intimate when your measure of a relationship is how good the sex was. You can't get intimate without giving part of yourself. 

I think this is why the Muslim world is in the shape it is. They feel entitled and don't want to work for themselves. They rule over the women with an iron hand because they are afraid that if they allow the women to be their best selves they will give up a little bit of power.

The problem with that way of looking at things is that they don't have the support that is part of a good marriage. Happily married/ well-matched couples support each other. They present a united front and become stronger than the sum of their parts. These couples multiply their joy and reduce their suffering by sharing both. They strengthen their circle of friends by having the love and fortitude to support their friends when they're down. When one's society is composed of mostly committed, loving/caring, supportive, intimate couples, the society gains, the society flourishes.

Conversely, when the society is built on fear, it cannot support itself. Fear becomes the driving force of most behavior, including contributions to society. The society darkens and people avoid each other. Intimacy is virtually non-existant. Children cannot depend on their parents for love and support. Husbands treat their wives as chattle or slaves, afraid of an uprising (particularly if there is more than one wife in the mix). Everyone looks for the upper hand, reluctant to give even a millimeter for fear of losing ground and falling to the bottom of the heap. No one helps anyone who has fallen; rather, they trample them underfoot. 

In a society where support is there, those who have received support are happy to give support. This helps those who have fallen to find the help to rise again and contribute to society. In a society where maneuvering is the norm, those who have fallen stay down and few contribute anything worthwhile to society.

It behooves those of us who live in the more supportive, more cooperative societies to see to it that the downtrodden and suppressed people of the non-supportive societies are helped and taught to be helpers and nurterers. If we can teach that, and nurture the people who are finding "...what this world is searching for...", we may be able to turn this world around to a more loving and cooperative world, free of war and good for all.