Truetalk has been writing since he was a teen, and only in the last five or so years has he taken himself seriously as a writer. He lives in the Vancouver area of BC, Canada, where he has lived for most of his life. He finished his degree in psychology at Simon Fraser University in 95 when he started his counseling practice for individuals and couples. He recently completed his PhD in psychology and philosophy at University of Life in Black Rock City. His counseling practice though broad in a practical sense, is specialized in alternative relationships, including the various forms of polyamoury, polyfidelity, or what ever other poly-like relationship you may be working on. He has studied the human psyche for almost his entire life, and has a thorough understanding of consciousness, human psychology, and our current social structure and how we as individuals or groups function and dysfunction within our culture and general social milieu. He would love to hear any feedback from the readers of this community, answer questions or even take requests or topics to write about.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Manifestations of anarchy

I have been thinking recently how there is a strong connection between polyamory and anarchy. Or, said in a different way, that polyamory is actually a specific form and manifestation of anarchy. I will spend a few moments here trying to explain this idea. First I will need to familiarize the reader to anarchy, thus I will explain anarchy briefly. Then I will try to demonstrate how and why I am interpreting the poly-relationship in this way, namely the spirit of poly is a specific and unique display of anarchy.

"Anarchy: 1) A state of society without government or law. 2) Political or social disorder due to the absence of governmental control." I found these two definitions of anarchy online. The first is a possible picture of some simple form of anarchy, while the second is what is feared in anarchy. Now I will give my own definition, which will need to be longer to give a complete picture or at least capture more of what anarchy is to me.

If that first definition is partially true, what is missing is what makes it more complete. So the first thing to expand upon is this idea of "state of society". This image is okay for anarchy, because the word 'state' connotes something temporary. It represents a society that is temporary, in flux, motivated and manifest with purpose and internal or intrinsic meaning and cohesion. Also there is a sense of autonomy in this image of society, and autonomy somehow implies something within or beside something else. Which brings us to 'society', and it seems to be small, like a community or organization. Thus, anarchy tends to be small, not like the society we have today which is really very huge, in fact bigger than any society we as a species have ever created, and is in this sense farther away than ever from any kind of anarchist society. Ironically, it is in this atmosphere that we are starting to see the first appearances of some primal or tentative forms of anarchy.

"Without government", is the next piece of the definition to expand upon. What I think this means specifically is formal government, because there is always some form of control in any social event, and anarchy is a social event. Without this I think we have or are talking about chaos, as opposed to anarchy, but in anarchy the governing factors are not big business and bureaucracy nor political powers and media driven. Rather, the government of anarchy is natural, transient to the needs of the society. This government truly is temporary to the survival of the society, which, because it has a purpose, will dissolve when that purpose is fulfilled. This definition is brief, and it does not, nor is it intended to answer all the questions people tend to have about how anarchy will work in the absence of long-term governmental bodies. I only want to define anarchy, not discuss how it will or will not work in actuality.

Then finally, "without law", and this provokes the fear in most of what anarchy represents, and as usual the fears are illusions. In anarchy there is no need for law because consciousness exists as love. Laws are dissolved in the temporary nature of the government. (That was said poorly; lets talk about law in anarchy). As I contemplate these concepts, trust is one of the first archetypal ideas to present itself, surrounding this are love, external/inner controls. Then again, I would say that it is love that acts as the nucleus, while the others are surrounding the central power or energy, which are trust, letting go of the external law, allowing the inner life to control behaviour. In this way there is not need for external laws. There we have anarchy in a nutshell, a truly gross simplification of living in a community of networking human endeavours within an anarchist philosophy. Accepting the beautiful and clear expression in the activities, thoughts and feelings of our being, with love as the source of energy or foundation of the collective and individual in the collective. Anarchy is a philosophy and a form of life, which rests in a consciousness that exists in the "psychic" (Wilber etal.1989) realm, dimension/level of consciousness. It gets hard to envision this society as the mind goes further along the evolution of consciousness in which that form of life exists. I believe that anarchy is the first form of society presented to us as we continue to grow in awareness and consciousness. We are just now starting to have enough individuals living at the psychic consciousness to create small pockets of people or communities with the capacity and ability to actualize primitive forms of anarchy.

Pause for a moment now and allow this society to form in your own mind, envision its dynamics, what institutions live within its collective. It is hard to do this of course, thus I present to you polyamory. Note first that polyamory exists already within our governed and law ridden current society of capitalism, commercialism, caught in some obsession with materialism, and dependence upon religion and politics. Within this influence, people have continued to grow and evolve consciously to the point that they are now ready and willing to attempt to live some basic forms of anarchy as identified in polyamory.

Now I will try to explain with verbal imagery how poly-relationships fit under the umbrella of an anarchist philosophy. First note that this psychic level of consciousness is a new and unfamiliar concept, so I stumble when I come upon it mentally. Also I am presenting or talking about three different levels of the same thing. There is the first or deepest level called the psychic consciousness, then anarchy, which exists as a society only when enough people have grown consciously to the level of psychic or higher. Then, finally I am talking about polyamory, which I am calling an institution within the anarchist society. Since this is not a story about anarchy nor consciousness, but is about poly-relationships, I will end here with another description of polyamory in front of the context of consciousness and society or community -namely, the psychic and anarchist. I have heard so many people recently saying that there are no rules per say in polyamory as a collective. This does not mean that the couples in poly-relationships are not living with the awareness of rules and obligations. The understandings between people are individual, and created in the face of need in an intimate coupling, which is personal. This is the first thing that is parented from anarchy, which is the absence of external laws; in poly it is the absence of a system of laws, which translates into no rules externally felt, but created from within the relationship by those involved.

Next I will talk about what governs the polyamorous relationship because it is not the church nor the existing political bodies that exist within our society. It is the higher consciousness which is governing the polyamorist, but lets not forget love. This is where we find the power that governs the poly-relationship. Note that in society today we are mostly governed through external forces, such as the government, education and church . While in polyamory the locus of control is internal -the love that is in the heart of the people in the relationship. My main point is that the control or governing energy comes from within. Whether you call it love or consciousness, I think depends more upon the angle that you come at the topic. Finally, it is worth noting that within poly relationships there is the awareness that all things have a temporal nature to them. That is even in the world of love and connections there is an awareness and acceptance that things are temporary. This is probably the hardest thing to move towards in intimate relationships, because of how we have been taught over the past 1000 years or so that marriage is permanent and love is forever. The idea that love is forever has truth in it, but that marriage is permanent is not so true, that is a cultural truth that can change with time, people and space. Love has a permanence to it, but our growing understanding of love has evolved. In my own words, I would say that love is forever, but the relationships that manifests or demonstrates this love does change. There is also the growing understanding that love is not a solitary phenomenon, that one person can indeed and does love many things and people.

A philosophical caveat needed here is the different words being used to identify the duration or longevity of love. In their order of appearance there was temporal or temporary, then I used permanent and forever, finally there is the eternal. Temporal has to do with anything involving our existence in time. We are aware of time, we have time, lose time, use time, save time, spend time, create time, find time and give time. Permanent is a funny concept. It involves the existence of time yet it claims qualities of things eternal, which is hard to do since eternity is a temporal concept that transcends time. Lets look at that next then, what is eternal? Eternal is outside of time, it does not involve time in any real way, except that it transcends time, thus we see it as a measure of duration but it is not, that is an illusion of our deep and intimate involvement in time (and our narcissistic and egotistic tendency to interpret and understand things from our own and personal perspective). Infinite is another concept which transcends the time/space dimensions that we live in, though it does it mathematically, and thus could represent not a transcendence of time, but of space. Back to the concept permanent and forever. Both of these concepts take a temporal event and with wishful thinking try to make them everlasting and eternal, which is not possible. These are psychological concepts in that it is a mind trick to say that something is permanent or forever, and can logically only be used with concepts that do indeed have an eternal nature, such as love. Relationships on the other hand can not be forever or permanent, even if you wanted them to be, because they will end, if not through death of one or more people in the connection, then some other way. There is a heaviness to the idea of permanence. Just say the word a few times in your head, or out loud of you can... permanent, permanent, .... There is a burden to its meaning, even as you can imagine a wonderful thing as permanent. It feels good, but the reality of wonderful and terrible and the meaning of permanent creates a dissidence of kinds, because it does seem like a hard task to do. Which is were this is going, in that to have permanence seems to mean to make it so, there is will, in the sense that you might want something to last forever. Also you may never want that to happen again, in either case this is a self-created permanence, because it is what you want. I think I will leave that concept there at that, though there may be more to it, I am not going to go search for it.

Thus, coming back to love now -in poly, I see that all aspects of time are acknowledged. It is hard to say this next image, not only is it complex, it is also unfamiliar to me. Sadly I am still single, and all of my ideations, cognitions about poly are just that, they as of yet or now, can not move past the thoughts because of course I am not in any real long-term relationship. Then as I write it there on the paper, and I see the relationships I do have, I believe that the only thing I am missing is the physical connection. Thus, I interpret my relationships as my experience in poly -even though I am not having sex with any one person on any regular basis. Many would say this means I am not in a poly-relationship, as though it is sex that allows one into that way of life. (Note that a "way of life" is more than the way you have sex, it is how you live all the areas and roles of your personal, individual and connected, collective life.) Well I am here to disagree. I live all of my relationships poly, not just the sexual ones. In a way I digress from my depiction of poly representing an institution of anarchy, and broaden the idea to my relationship in my anarchist society. I don't want to go there though, so I will keep on topic.

I think that polyamory has been described within the parameters of anarchy already, so I will conclude now with a summation of what has been explored here. We have seen that anarchy is internally governed, and the laws found there in are unique and purpose driven. An anarchist society has a temporal nature too. In comparison, polyamory is also internally governed, or in this situation controlled. The rules found in polyamory are individual and personal, and here too there is an understanding of the temporal nature of the connections. It is okay to want to make the relationship forever, but in poly there is a deeper awareness of the personal will being flexed to make it permanent.

In both cases it is love that represents the eternal nature of the experience. The relationships may and often does change, the people too may come and go, but always there is the constant presence of love. It is our individual (polyamory) and collective (anarchy) awareness of love's presence and the perceptions we have of love, how it makes us feel that changes with time. We do have some control of how we see love, but the same love is always already with you. Love is like light in that it is constant and has fundamental qualities and characteristics, we have come to understand light as a powerful and foundational energy. Love too is constant and it represents deep foundational qualities and characteristics of our psychic existence, and energy that is pervasive and powerful, and that we are aware of through our non-physical perceptions. Light can be seen as the infinite expression of the physical, while love is the infinite expression of the psyche. We, as beings, are aware of light with various feelers we have built into our physical bodies; we are also aware of love through the various psychic feelers that we have in our emotional/psychic bodies. Our awareness of love is more limited than our understanding and ability to perceive and use light. Our emotional bodies are not as developed as our physical bodies, and I feel it is now time to start growing in our awareness and understanding of the workings and mechanisms of perception of the psychic/emotional bodies we all do have. This will effect our emotional bodies, in a sense exercising the feelers we do already have in our emotional bodies, and expanding them, building them up. This will, I believe, lead to a better understanding of love, relationships and the feelings we have in and around the realm of the psyche.

Truetalk is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. He can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Truetalk ; May 02, 2007

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