The question of close and intimate relationships in the “sex-centered” culture of late West Telluria is one that concerns us not so much from a theoretical and critical perspective but from a practical one.
The whole thinking of the past few Tellurian generations has been molded by the “sex-centered” perspective: and this has not been a matter of theoretical understanding alone, but has shaped – and often devastated – the lives of millions, regardless of whether they are thinking people or are among the uncounted masses who have imbibed the practical implications of the theory as “the only way one can live”.
As Herthelani we have two important critical perspectives on the late West-Tellurian sex-model for “relationships”. The first is our own Herthelan culture in which procreation plays a much lesser role than in Telluria and the things associated with it are much less central to life.
This, it may be objected on practical grounds, may not be applicable to those inhabiting biologically Tellurian bodies.
What we need to understand, however, is that the sex-centered view of life and relationships is a cultural innovation even in Telluria and that it has re-shaped the culture in ways that have rendered it in many respects dysfunctional. It is vitally important that we do not import this dysfunctional model into Chelouranya.
However, we are also faced with the difficulty that those born and raised in Telluria are deeply indoctrinated with this model – not primarily by theoretical training but by a culture that assumes it at every turn in a manner that affects everyone in the society from the most sophisticated to the illiterate.
The question must arise as to how far theory can be used to eradicate this conditioning. People are likely to assume the sex-centered model to be “reality” and to have integrated it with their own feelings about people and the world.
However, a theory did create this model in the first place. As late as the early 1920s, the term “sex”, in its current popular meaning, did not exist and neither did the concept. It was first used in print by a very active propagandist for what has become the current outlook on the matter.
This outlook is sometimes termed “Freudian” although Freud was only one prominent spokesman and theorist for it. The outlook is essentially Darwinist rather than specifically Freudian, and flows naturally and inevitably from the Animal Thesis. If people are merely “evolved animals”, then it necessarily follows that their highest emotions must be ultimately reducible to an instinct that they share with cats and dogs.
This thesis, once in place, like a parasite at the root of a culture, begins to infect its understanding of many things. Non-sexual love is downgraded to something relatively unimportant. The great same-sex amities of history, for example, are commonly assumed to indicate a homosexual nature. Both the “gay” and the “anti-gay” movements of modern West Tellurian society are predicated on the same anti-traditional root-thesis.
Another corollary of this theory is the belief that “sex” is a form of “necessity”. This follows from the fact that since we have strong amative feelings, and since, according to the Animal Thesis, these instincts can only have their roots in the procreative instinct, only the procreative act, or a simulation thereof, can properly satisfy those feelings. (It will be noted that one effect of the 20th-century term “sex” is to equate absolutely the procreative act with any simulation of it).
Effects on Practical Life
This outlook, combined with the general atomization of society, gives rise to a pattern in which something termed a “relationship” (meaning a friendship involving sexual activity) has become central to most people’s emotional existence. Whether one is “in or out of” a “relationship” defines one’s fundamental status of emotional connexion.
How does this differ from the traditional concept of marriage (bearing in mind that it sometimes is marriage)? In two ways. In the first place by displacing the network of (often same-sex) relationships in which marriage took its place before the atomization of the society, and secondly – and more importantly, though relatedly – by its essential instability.
Sociologists describe the condition of most modern Western people as “serial monogamy”. Such a condition is by definition dysfunctional. The aim is still monogamy, but the monogamy keeps breaking down and having to be replaced.
One reason for this is that in late West Telluria, marriage is often the only close relationship and is called upon to fulfill a whole variety of emotional and other needs that would normally be fulfilled through other relationships. All too often it simply breaks under the excess load or because of unrealistic expectations.
Implications of the Usage of the word “Sex”
What is not immediately obvious to those who have grown up with the word “sex” is that it has introduced an area of thought and an assimilation of different ideas under the same term that had simply had not existed before. This is partly a result of the fact that the term, by its very nature and intention, divorces the connubial/procreative act from its socio-biological context.
In the 1960s a question was very frequently posed which may seem quaint to those raised in post-60s Western culture: “Should there be sex before marriage?” The question is so dated because it is clearly transitional and belongs neither to the period before or after the few decades to which it belongs. This is a period in which
a) the term “sex” has been coined and its implications fully assimilated, with the necessary adjustments that this must make to thought on the subject, but
b) There is still a connection of the question to its original socio-biological context, which is in the process of being “worked loose”.
In the same period, we begin to hear the term “gay sex”, which clearly assimilates any simulation of the connubial/procreative act to the act itself by taking its essential quality as being simply that of satisfying an urge.
The Herthelan Perspective
The Herthelan perspective in Telluria is entirely inapplicable to any other Tellurian situation, since it is founded on the concept that committed and adopted Chelouranyi are honorary (or exiled) Intemorphs, thus many hold that within marriage, what would otherwise be a simulation of consummation may be spiritually assimilated to Intemorphic consummation.
It should also be borne in mind that Herthelani own allegiance to a mother-culture in which the word “sex” in the modern Tellurian sense, with all its associated conceptual shifts, does not exist. The term “gay sex”, if it could be successfully explained to a Herthelan, would be seen (whether in terms of schizomorphic or intemorphic sexes) as a pure oxymoron: a contradiction in terms.
However, Amity and deep bonding of various kinds, between members of the same or of complementary sexes, and in some cases passionate and exclusive, is not even remotely problematic. The Animal-Thesis-derived idea that this would have anything to do with a thing called “sex” would, however, be simply meaningless.
The Herthelan Alternative
As always, our aim is not to criticize Telluria for the purpose of proposing Tellurian solutions to Tellurian problems. If Telluria’s problems are indeed soluble, Telluria must solve them.
However, for those becoming a part of Chelouranya, there is a viable alternative to the dysfunctional “relationship” pattern. This involves a much more complex and supportive network of relationships and the recognition of both great-amity and marriage.
Marriage in Herthelan society is the vocation of a minority. On the other hand, non-sexual amative relationships are of fundamental importance and are recognized as such by everyone.
These relationships are not “sealed” by carnal activity as the Tellurian “relationship” is – sometimes from genuinely strong desire but often just as much as a desperate need for some bonding-ritual that will provide security and belonging. As a bonding-ritual, carnal activity is singularly ineffective, as the phenomenon of “serial monogamy” clearly testifies.
Amity may be relatively informal or it may be sealed by genuine bonding rituals of various kinds. It may be long-lasting or temporary, but it will take its place as part of a network of relationships many of which are deeply emotional and help to provide stability and security.
Amity may be deeply passionate and is certainly not guaranteed against vicissitude and heartbreak, but it is, on the whole a good deal more stable and less destructive than the sex-centered model.
Amities are less exclusive, although a Great Amity may be, and be recognized as, exclusive in itself. That is, while not exclusive of other Amities, clearly and ritually the primary one which must take clear precedence over all others.
Marriage is a vocation. Its precise place in Chelouranya is not fully defined, but it is generally accepted that, as honorary intemorphs, a marriage between a Tellurian blonde and a brunette may be honorarily an intemorphic union.
At this stage I think we need say no more than that this, while a respected model, is by no means the only, or even the primary one. It should not be undertaken lightly and should be indissoluble.
How far this is possible in the case of pettes reared in the serial-monogamic culture is not yet clear.
What is clear is that the depth of romantic passion and – ultimately – fundamental bonding that may be achieved by the cultivation of true Amity is likely to build a firmer, stronger and more secure basis for emotional life than an early aspiration toward marriage. We would indeed venture to suggest that a Chelouranyan who has not cultivated true Amity is not ready for marriage.
None of this, of course, is an iron-bound rule; but it is very seriously worth considering and contemplating. Breaking free of the sex-centered “Freudian” model that has proved so destructive to late West Tellurian society is going to be vital to the creation of a non-atomized Chelouranya.
It is also going to be, for most Chelouranyi, the path to a rich, stable and secure, passionate and loving, deeply-bonded emotional life.
Falling in Love
What, then, is the status of the thing called “falling in love” in Herthelan society? Does it happen? How far is it related to marriage?
It certainly happens very frequently, from early schooldays when many girls range from being “a little bit in love” to having a deep crush on other (often older) girls to the passionate Amities of later life.
These Amities may well end in ritual bonding and exclusive, publicly recognized relations between two (and sometimes more than two) girls who may be of the same or of different sexes.
Such Amity may well include physical demonstrations of affection. Amity is certainly, in many cases a “falling in love” and to assume that it is less passionate than marriage (or its various Tellurian substitutes) or that it is in any way secondary to it is to fall into the West Tellurian way of thinking about it.
Love, in the sense of being “in love” is a fundamental part of Herthelan life, sometimes briefly, sometimes permanently: and only in a minority (though an important minority) of cases has it anything to do with marriage.
Adjusting our attitudes on this matter may be a difficult task, given the vast and potent indoctrination that has shaped the lives and emotions of recent Tellurian generations. But if we wish to be fully Herthelan, to break out of the dysfunctional model of late West Telluria and found a healthy, secure, and emotionally fulfilling Herthelan way of life, we are going to have to consider how it can be done.