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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

All Good Things Must Come to an End

I started this blog exactly three years ago on August 2, 2003 with Everything Must Have a Beginning. So let’s bring it full circle:

When I started this blog I was recently finished with living part time in one house with two 20 year old women. Now I am about to live full time in two houses with one 30 year old woman. Hmm… is that progress?

But I’m still Asian. And I’m still a geek.

I am no longer renting a girlfriend, nor showing her off to high school friends (thereby classifying her as a vanity luxury item.) Or maybe I’m fooling myself and I’m still renting, but the currency has changed quite dramatically from pecuniary to emotional.

I am still a successful entrepreneur, still a liberal of convenience, and still an economic conservative.

I am no longer morally alone, although I still feel morally pretty unique.

But I can now say what the wildest thing I have ever done is… it’s living through these adventures in sex and relationships. Sure, I did not blog all of my adventures, and perhaps not even some of the wildest — I have to protect the guilty, you know. And some of the people that have stakes in this game are now readers. But the experiences have pushed my boundaries in new ways and has changed me in some others. But who is to say? Perhaps even wilder still is falling in love and making The Commitment to the long term relationship!

Interestingly, I no longer work nearly as hard at business — it seems too easy. Now I’m trying to work hard at a relationship, which seems more challenging. Let’s see if I can enjoy a similar advantage of experience or economy of scale there also. Let’s also see if I can make as much emotional return at it as I have made financial return elsewhere.

Yeah, that’s it. I guess I’m the same as two years ago, except I’ve switched currencies. I’m investing, working hard, and looking for returns on emotional currency. And perhaps if I’m a winner in that emotional lottery, I’ll be able to give away 80-90% of that emotional currency to others, just like I’ve done with the financial currency in the past.

Share the love, baby.

Or maybe I will fail big time and go back to what I know I can do. That is one of the dangers at being very good at something — that it is easy to give up on new things and go back to what you think you know. Success somewhere weakens the resolve elsewhere. Maybe that’s the real reason I keep switching careers. Maybe it isn’t attention deficit or risk taking behavior... it’s long term attention and risk avoidance!

In 2003 I wrote that the odds were stacked against me for success in relationships. Well, they still are, but I have come to realize that is the point to relationships. They aren’t natural or predestined like Disney would like you to think, no, they are chaotic and difficult, and dammit! yes the odds are stacked against success. And the point is to sometimes beat down those odds and spit on them — the Western approach — and sometimes to accept them and weave those odds into the fabric of yourself and your world — the Eastern approach.

Almost exactly two years ago I wrote:

My belief is the relationships driven by social expectations are least stable because there is so much social evolution and diversity. Relationships that are strictly specified (e.g. contractually) are stable, but short term. Relationships that are highly adaptable can have longevity.

So let’s say that we are looking for stable and long lived relationships. What then? I say that both specification (to achieve stability) and adaptability (to achieve longevity) in the context of a changing socioeconomic environment require abstraction. [Relationships, Back to the Future]

Although I have established abstractions I believe will work, they are not really in service of stability in the conventional sense. I have found that my view of security is not to be competent nor stable. Reviewing what I have written, I believe in an unconventional view that long-term security and stability are unrelated, and in fact are negatively correlated. In business I keep moving to ensure long-term security: moving away from competency and stability. And likewise in my attempts to secure a long-term relationship, I base it on fundamentally chaotic change, embrace destabilizing events and conflicts, and put my efforts into constructing a framework that can best weather changes in an unstable foundation by focusing on expectation setting and honesty. Perhaps due to my upbringing, or perhaps it is insight, but I do not trust so-called stable foundations. I evolved myself for change and adaptation, evolved ways to build organizations that way, and now am working on ways to build my relationships in the same manner. My only power tool? My brain, powered by my resolve and arrogance which, I am told, seem like infinite reserves of energy.

The risk is that a necessary part of this change and adaptation also includes switching partners. The challenge of fidelity — to my partner and to the partnership — this is a true risk. I see the pattern in myself and must be mindful to keep myself motivated toward an unnatural goal.

To that end, my point above about attention and risk avoidance is important here as well: I switched from renting girlfriends to marriage because of risk avoidance. I was wrong back in 2003 when I claimed “renting” was less risky than “owning” — only by having one person and one commitment on the other side of the relationship can you build the stable three party framework that adapts to change and the embrace of conflict. If you have a changing set of partners, you have the chaos and the change, but no framework except self, no stable second party to give you context, and no third party to keep you two together. It is a way of becoming a lost soul. I have met such souls and seen their lives. There is a short-term and perverse desire to be them, but an objective assessment that it doesn’t work in the long run. Can I remain objective, patient, and favoring long term outcomes over short term rewards? This is merely one of many worries.

I also now believe that the mistress system fails to provide the stable framework I need, at least not as a standalone option for a relationship. I believe the mistress system can work as the third party that substitutes for the one that should be in a marriage... so oddly it requires a marriage to work. The downside is that it provides that third party benefit to the man and not his spouse; so it also requires his spouse to find an independent third party, a relationship of her own, her children, or something that anchors indirectly to the marriage. It is less direct than the three party system I advocate, and more fragile as these indirect anchors also weigh down and ultimately may tear apart the thing they anchor because they are independent. In other words, the third party is not shared between husband and wife. Perhaps as a second-best solution it is the right solution, but at the moment I’m not shopping for second best.

Particularly with the resources at my disposal in the resource-worshipping world today, with only self to manage expectations and honesty, I have seen where the path leads: to the decadent God-path I witnessed in Asia, Russia and the Bahamas, which I reject as a human member of this Planet Earth. So the only option appears to be a long-term relationship.

There’s the ironic conclusion to my hedonistic adventures in sex and relationships — it comes back to what, at the surface, appears to be the absolutely most default option! Think of the time and money I could have saved if I merely took the conventional path to the conventional destination!

But I still like to think my unconventional journey has given me better tools to cope with this conventional-appearing, but actually unconventional-in-fact, destination. Yes, when I read my post on marriage contracts, I realize how unconventional! And, by the way, I have raised quite a bit of money in the marriage fund.

You know, probability theory is misunderstood by 99% of the population, and even a majority of scientists (for an example of this, see the classic Monty Hall problem or the coincidental birthday puzzle) Generally the trick is to understand that probabilities are about discounting what is likely to NOT happen, rather than accumulating information about what is likely to happen. In that sense, I arrive at the conventional solution in the probabilistic rational manner — by removing what is likely not to work. Or more artistically, I embraced the Da Vinci view of sculpting — “the art of removing” — and all that removing of possibilities I’ve tried through my adventures in sex and relationships has left me with this relationship with Jenny. And as armless and broken or strange as it may appear to others, it is beautiful to me.

And dear readers, thank you for coming on this journey with me. I have seen a lot, experienced a lot, and thought a lot in my quest for meaning in relationships. I have by no means exhausted all the options, but I have perhaps thought of the parameters of most of those relevant to me. I am not confident enough to say there is any advice or wisdom in these experiences, but it has shaped me as surely as dating and life and love experiences have shaped most others.

As to the future of this blog, maybe there will be a new blog which will have some notes on my traveling and occasional notes on how the Petri dish is looking (and I may perform some corrections on the posts I hurried to post at the last moment), but I’m not sure. But I do know this:

This blog is done.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finis coronat opus!

Hopefully we get some more SF from another perspective. Let us know if you need the occasional idea or suggestion.



~A~

8/02/2006 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Btw Sigmund, you may be able to answer this question now:

Will happiness bring love? Or will love bring happiness?


~A~

8/02/2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Sigmund said...

I'm always looking for suggestions.

RE: the question: I believe in both, but I also believe they are deceptive as aphorisms. Yes, happiness can cause love, AND love can cause happiness. But don't count on it. Love and happiness are necessary but insufficient conditions, and perhaps only correlated rather than causal. More to the point:

Effort can bring happiness.

Effort can bring love.

;-)

8/03/2006 1:57 AM  
Anonymous lurker said...

Sigmund, your writing has affected me deeply. This site was pointed out to me by a friend just a few days ago, and I have already read through all of it. Strange that I should finish it tonight, not long after you authored your final post. For some reason, that coincidence motivated me to start my own blog. A blog ends, a blog begins...

May you and Jenny have a wonderful life together.

8/03/2006 6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Effort can bring happiness. Effort can bring love.
Very insightful. I agree.


I might throw a couple of ideas out when I have a little more time.


"There’s the ironic conclusion to my hedonistic adventures in sex and relationships — it comes back to what, at the surface, appears to be the absolutely most default option! Think of the time and money I could have saved if I merely took the conventional path to the conventional destination!"

Yes, but it's always nice to speak from experience. ;)

Back on May 30th (your topic "Would You Invest in a Marriage Fund?"), I had posted that I tried a slightly different approach with a "protege", and I think this tends to work better at this point where I'm concerned. Long term, it works out better for both.



~A~

8/03/2006 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sig:

Thanks for the blog ... 'tis been enjoyable to read to say the least, about your life and pathways ...

We may know each other in real life but I appreciate the candor and the reality.

Best of luck with life wherever it may bring you.

8/03/2006 7:57 PM  
Blogger averagedrinker said...

just like me, i've wandered almost naked in the city because of so much intensity inside me. that was part of my wild side back then. i thought i would become wilder and out of control when i started in webdate_dot_com but the opposite happened. suddenly i was the tamed girl my friends were not used at. it was funny for them but i think it was because of the sanity i got back.LOL!

8/05/2006 3:47 AM  
Anonymous Sascha Sanders said...

"And perhaps if I’m a winner in that emotional lottery, I’ll be able to give away 80-90% of that emotional currency to others, just like I’ve done with the financial currency in the past.

Share the love, baby. "

This struck such a chord with me. When I began escorting, as a married woman, I felt very much like I was a winner in that emotional lottery. It made me feel very good that I could share that with the men I saw. To be cherished, loved, liked, and respected. It is a rare thing to be with someone when both of you are able to give in that way. It's what everyone desperately wants - even more than financial success (but that ain't bad either, heh.)

Best wishes, Sigmund.

8/05/2006 11:43 AM  
Blogger Viviane said...

All the best, Sigmund. I've enjoyed your work.

8/07/2006 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

How ironic that I now stumble across your blog after it is kaput. For reference, I came across yours from a link on another blog linked on another blog, and so on.

Anyway, I've taken a brief perusing of your written journey, and I have to say that your ideas on relationships, economics, and the intermix of the two are quite unconventional but definitely intriguing.

I wish you the best, wherever you have disappeared off to. Au revoir, Monsieur Fuller...

8/22/2006 3:46 PM  

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