Other than his ex-wife and despite appearances with a series of cultivated blondes, Edward de Bono has never publicly aligned himself with a woman. 'I’m looking for a fat, cross-eyed hunchback,' he explains, stifling a giggle. 'A prosthetic hump would do.' His delight evaporates when asked about his three grandchildren. 'Am I a doting grandfather?' He pauses. 'I’m a … something grandfather, yes.' The fact that De Bono remains unperturbed by this lack betrays an emotionally austere childhood, and his passions for play, toys, and bad jokes tell of the same deprivation.
The self-esteem of western women is founded on physical being (body mass index, youth, beauty). This creates a tricky emphasis on image, but the internalized locus of self-worth saves lives. Western men are very different. In externalizing the source of their self-esteem, they surrender all emotional independence. (Conquest requires two parties, after all.) A man cannot feel like a man without a partner, corporation, team. Manhood is a game played on the terrain of opposites. It thus follows that male sense of self disintegrates when the Other is absent.
It is only through my daughter that I have come to realise that a life without femininity – devoid of mystery, emotion, gentleness and the unerring power of a woman’s love – is no life at all.
Suicide rates have not slumped under the onslaught of antidepressants, mood-stabilizers, anxiolytic and anti-psychotic drugs; the jump in suicide rates suggests that the opposite is true. In some cases, suicide risk skyrockets once treatment begins (the patient may feel not only penalized for a justifiable reaction, but permanently stigmatized as malfunctioning). Studies show that self-loathing sharply decreases only in the course of cognitive-behavioral treatment.
What's required of me in the field is to feel,' Stirton says with emphasis. 'And trying to take that feeling and put it in a form that communicates a particular set of emotions or circumstances - whether that involves depicting masculine pride, or a particular kind of suffering, or love, or closeness - my primary job is to feel and to try to put that feeling into some kind of visual form. My goal is to get to the heart of each story, you know? I’m trying to evolve in my work.
This human need for mysticism – surrender to an unknown truth, union – stands at the helm of all romantic feeling. It is, in essence, the same intimacy known in a mother’s arms; in those who are deprived of the experience, the need freezes and, distorted, it can rent a life. All addiction has as its foundation skewed yearning for the same transcendence. For me, the spell of the material was broken by my brother’s death; after his suicide, all I wanted was the renewal of my connection to the intangible.
What does a woman feel when she is hit? My mother slapped me when I was a child - on two occasions, to the point of pure hysteria; I never liked it. Those who are humiliated in such a way learn to disintegrate – that is, they become once removed from pain. This is the most direct route to psychic ruin.
Sometimes I hear the world discussed as the realm of men. This is not my experience. I have watched men fall to the ground like leaves. They were swept up as memories, and burned. History owns them. These men were petrified in both senses of the word: paralyzed and turned to stone. Their refusal to express feeling killed them. Anachronistic men. Those poor, poor boys.
Strauss admits to being obsessed by his mother's rejection, and with the resultant rents in self-esteem. The Game echoes with disturbingly abusive comments leveled at his adolescent self, a self he feels was unacceptable. With bravado, he expresses regret that he didn't rack up more sexual conquests in his teens; in person, he expresses a truer regret that he was intimidated by life itself.
Delirious as it can be, sex is only one kind of intimacy, and yet has become the cultural catchment area for all kinds of needs because our understanding of intimacy is so poor. Brutal work schedules, related geographic isolation, and the concomitant fracturing of families has meant that there is little time for intimacy, and even less to teach the necessary skills. But intimacy, the axis of romance, is slow, based on the sharing of a life rather than show. In terms of intimacy, folding laundry together or sharing the feeding of a child can have more impact than the... Read more »
My generation was, in effect, the product of a social experiment. If we did not understand marital intimacy, it was because we had not seen it modelled. We lurched from relationship to relationship, dazzled by the newness of meaninglessness, relentless in our search for something even the most perceptive of us could not identify.