This is funny because we all live in a real world that surrounds us completely, but then again we don't. We don't because we're always going to great lengths and to a great deal of trouble to deny reality of one sort or another. Even the laziest of human beings will go to a great deal of trouble and effort to deny reality and to build up some fantastic alternate version of reality to cling to rather than do the simple thing and just embrace reality.
One of my college professors once told me that having a degree, even an advanced degree was not at all proof of ones intellect. Instead, it was simply proof one had the discipline to commit to a goal and carry out the steps necessary to meet that goal. I think he was right. Some of the dumbest people I've ever encountered have been people with PhDs. On the other hand, some of the smartest people I've ever known have been people with very little formal education at all, including my Dad.
In the last few weeks, the world has seen the passing of a great man, an unusually successful man who is also an example of the principle that intelligence and success in life does not necessarily spring from higher education. Steve Jobs was a college dropout, but also one of the men most instrumental if affecting change in the lives of people around the world in our time.
Reading about Steve Jobs in the articles that were written about him after his death, one thing was pointed out over and over. It was not that Steve Jobs didn't fail. He failed often. But what made him different and what made him so overwhelmingly successful was he was a realist. He was quick to recognize his failures, kick them to the curb and start over.
That sounds simple, but its not; and most people simply cannot do it. Most people cling to their failures. They cling to their false hopes and desires. They cling to the way they have been told things should be and refuse to deal with things as they are. They get hung up on the seeming unfairness of the lawlessness and anarchy that are frequently a part of reality. They may even get sidetracked altogether and start devoting themselves to leveling the playing field to make things more fair for more people. Personally, I think this very thing is part of the problem in our country today. We're spending too much time trying to make things fair and level and not enough time preparing people for the realities of life and its inherent unfairness.
The reality is, what skills many of the unemployed in the country have are no longer needed and will never be needed within the economic engine again. Instead of facing that reality, people are sitting back collecting unemployment benefits rather than trying to acquire skills that will make them employable again. The fact is, the unemployment rate among college educated people who have a higher level of skills is less than half the overall employment rate. These people will eventually be called back into work. Those on the lower rungs can never expect to make a living wage again unless they accept reality and learn new skills.
To complicate the matter further, thousands of high school kids are dropping out of school every year and swelling the ranks of the unskilled and unemployable. These young kids simply refuse to recognize reality, something of value must be traded for a living wage, and in our society the accepted medium of exchange is a skill valued by the economic engine that powers the country.
Looking back over my life and my bisexuality, I have come to something of a realization. To the extent that I had a problem with my bisexuality, it was due to my inability to accept the reality of it. I was sexually active with guys from the age of six and continued to be sexually active with them.
I began to have a sexual interest in girls right on schedule at about age twelve. The truth is my sexual interests in guys did nothing to lessen or inhibit my sexual interest in girls. And my sexual interest in girls did nothing to lessen or inhibit my sexual interests in guys. In reality, it was as simple as the fact that I liked both beef and chicken for dinner. My appreciation of one did not preclude my appreciation of the other.
All through high school I functioned just fine as a bisexual guy. There were no real problems at all. Even though, at that time, I didn't know my sexuality by its name, bisexuality, I was dealing with it quite well.
The problems began when I married and tried to live monogamously. I didn't have any trouble staying away from other women. Staying away from guys was a big problem, even though I had a fantastic and fulfilling sex life with my wife. The sex I had with her simply did not satisfy my need for male/male sexual bonds.
There is so much one has to understand to live a successful bisexual life. Looking back what amazes me is that I pretty much instinctually knew what I needed to do to live a happy and successful life. The problems didn't come from me living life as a bisexual man. The problems came from trying to fit my living life as a bisexual man within the false notions society has about male sexuality and all the implications of male sexuality.
The fact is sex for men is kind of a wild thing. I think at some level society recognizes the wildness but makes it its business to tame male sexuality and make it suitable for heterosexual monogamy and it is at that point the problems begin.
Admittedly, male/male sexuality can get to a point that even I consider it to be out of bounds. There are things that go on in male/male sexuality that are simply not healthy and rather sadistic and depraved. But I think the real question is what came first, the sadistic and depraved behavior or society failing to recognize the realities of male sexuality. I think it was the latter. In failing to recognize male sexuality and male/male sexuality for what it should be, society has helped to contribute to making it something it shouldn't be in many cases. The little fetishes we all have and the big sadistic and depraved fetishes that some of us have result from our having to deal in some way with what is denied us and even what is denied about us by society.
For men in particular sex has several functions. It has the procreational function which is the only function religion really recognizes as legitimate. It also has the recreational function which society condones within the bounds of heterosexual matrimony. But it also has the male/male bonding function which society does not recognize at all and does not admit exists much less condone.
Yet, if one talks to men who have sex with men, he will hear over and over about the need for bonding. Society simply refuses to recognize the reality of the need.
Personally, I believe society's wrestling with this issue is just beginning. The fact is male/male sexuality has been repressed for some time. But just as the internet and interpersonal communications via the internet have played a part in revolutions around the world in the last several months, I believe the internet is helping to arm a revolution in male/male sexuality. A subject that has been repressed and taboo is now open for discussion in tens of thousands of blogs and groups and one to one male encounters on the internet. Men are quickly coming to see that the urges and desires they have had all their lives are not unique to them. They exist in many if not in most men at one time or the other. Knowledge of such a thing cannot be contained. It will spread like wild fire and it already is.
Once we would have written such a thing off simply by saying the reality was clear, the guy was never straight in the first place. I'm beginning not to be so sure of that. It is a phenomenon that is going to need a great deal of study, but I'm becoming more and more convinced that there are such things as straight men who can and do act sexually from time to time with other men in a frot type of sexual exchange and yet retain all that essentially makes them heterosexual. The sex is secondary to the bond and the bond is all male.
This bond is not new. It has existed only on societies before. It has simply been repressed now for several centuries. I believe that repression is coming to an end.
Reality is a complex issue. To understand reality, we must be willing to contemplate that which transcends current concepts of reality.