Friday, July 8, 2011

The object's feelings

Some seven months have passed since I began negotiations with "Chicago object," a man who lives here in the Windy City. Our dialogue has inspired more than one essay, as frequent readers of my blog might recall. Recently the topic of feelings has come up. I'll begin with quotes from our email exchanges, though that only illustrates part of our conversation, since we also communicate by phone, text messages and an occasional face-to-face meeting.

Chicago object wrote: "I understand. I do need the clarity, and I appreciate your efforts to make things clear.

"I hope you understand where I am in this process. I feel like I am drawn to the edge of a precipice. There is nothing that excites or stimulates me in quite the same way…
Ok. I understand. What is your definition of "severe bondage"? How would you describe it?

Dark Lord wrote: "Relative immobility... but not so constrictive that your blood doesn't flow. Come over and I'll put you in it...."

Chicago object wrote: "I will come over and submit to this...and perhaps spend quite a bit of time in it...once I feel able to take the first steps."

Dark Lord wrote: "Remind me to discuss the place and role of feelings in one's life."

Chicago object wrote: "I guess as an object my feelings will not really matter: I may be bored or uncomfortable, but hopefully knowing that I am feeling those feelings because I am under control will allow me to accept and appreciate them."

Dark Lord wrote: "I certainly disagree with that idea. It [you] will have to learn to balance its feelings with its thoughts and beliefs. It really is an expansive topic."

Chicago object wrote: "I know, it is expansive. You disagree with my assessment about the importance of my feelings?"

I will be the last one to denigrate the place of feelings in the life of a human, even those humans who consider themselves "sub-human" or want to become "objects."

Let me start with my dictionary. Feelings are "an affective state, such as that resulting from emotions or desires; an awareness or impression; susceptibility to emotional response; opinion based more on emotion than on reason; sentiment; intuitive awareness or aptitude."

From there I'd remind my readers that I believe in the need for balance, to live a holistic life. Holism is "the theory that living matter or reality is made up of organic or unified wholes that are greater than the simple sum of their parts." It emphasizes "the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts." Therefore a holistic approach recognizes the value and contribution of the various human qualities, i.e., emotion, reason, physicality, social norms, etc. while maintaining a balance of each in its proper relationship to the "whole" person.

So, Chicago object, I'm not disagreeing with your "assessment about the importance of [your] feelings." I'm only reminding you that feelings must be balanced by all the other aspects of living. Just because, for instance, you don't feel like going to work, doesn't mean that you ignore the financial necessity of doing so.

Although we most often contrast decisions based on feelings with those based on reason, most human decisions have a strong component of feelings in arriving at an eventual outcome. In many cases feelings can easily take precedent over reason when the reason is rather inconsequential, such as in the choice of a restaurant or a movie.

In any case we need seek the center, the balanced state when it comes to feelings, so that (1) they are neither denied nor repressed and (2) that they don't hold inordinate sway in our decision-making.

One of the primary reasons to be wary of feeling-based decisions is the remarkably transitory nature of feelings. I know. My feelings change from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and month-to-month. I have gone through seemingly long periods of feeling good and then have plunged into depression.

Not only are feelings fleeting, we can make them flee. Too often we forget that fact and "feel" mired in a certain feeling, helpless to control it. Yet we can and often do.
Depression, to use myself as an example, brings many aspects of my life to a halt. I find myself nearly paralyzed in useless activity. Even then there are things I can do that will change my mood, such as gardening, napping, meditating, having sex, or walking the dog. Sometimes external circumstances change my mood, such as receiving a royalty check, hearing from my daughters, or enjoying a fine, Patrick-cooked meal.
At one point, Chicago object even admitted that such was the case when he said he was "going to run three miles to clear [his] head."

Feelings play an important part in Chicago object's journey to objectification. He wrote: "As you know, I have a great deal of ambivalence. There are times when I felt like the timing was right to embark on this (like when I came over that night in March).

"Last night I was almost tempted to start this, but of course other plans for the rest of the week got in the way. I know it is up to me. I know that once I have started I will have time to reflect, and perhaps I will have regrets.

"I guess as an object my feelings will not really matter: I may be bored or uncomfortable, but hopefully knowing that I am feeling those feelings because I am under control will allow me to accept and appreciate them."

What is ambivalent are his feelings and his inaction in pursuing objectification is based on the frequent changes in his feelings. When he writes "I guess as an object my feelings will not really matter," there is an indication of his failure to regard his feelings correctly. Even chained in my dungeon he will experience feelings. There is no way to not do so.

Feelings arise from one's unconsciousness, prompted by all sorts of factors that I'm not sure we can always account for. The most obvious of these is a burst of passion where we end up saying to ourselves "Where did that come from?"

For that reason, our unconscious is called the dark side or unknown, as opposed to our conscious mind of which we are very aware.

One of the fallacies in Chicago object's thought process is that he is waiting for his feelings to indicate when he should start a three day trial period in my dungeon. Time and again he makes plans for the future that fail to include time for the trial period, then uses these plans as a reason not to try it out.

His methodology lacks holism. He has no idea (since he has no experience in this matter) how he will feel once the shackles are in place and he finds himself a solitary "object" in my basement. Yes, he can guess about those feelings and hope that they will be satisfactory, but only experience, objective, non-emotional experience will give him enough information to make a balanced decision as to how to proceed. Only when he submits to it will he finally know how it "feels."

In this case, what I think is taking place is that he routinely gives sway to his current "feelings" about objectification while failing to allow some time for an experiential or reasoned approach.

At times, of course, his feelings about objectification are prominent. It is then that he texts me and we begin yet another round of questions and answers. What is most interesting (and encouraging to me) is that he consistently ends up by saying "Yes, Sir, you are right about that." He gets to that point where he is "almost tempted to start this, but of course other plans for the rest of the week [get] in the way."

Having discussed objectification with Chicago object rather thoroughly, I am convinced that he will find himself quite satisfied with his objectified state. That is to say, his feelings will confirm the rightness of his decision.

That, of course, is what I have written about repeatedly in my columns and books: try each of the fetishes with an open mind so that in due time you will have learned what you like and what you don't like. It is that technique that has served me well over these 30 years. It will serve all of us, including Chicago object, just as well.

He wrote: "I feel like I am drawn to the edge of a precipice. There is nothing that excites or stimulates me in quite the same way." Come and try it, Chicago object. Only then will you know the rightness of the feelings you currently have.

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