Jun 12, 2015

Couples, Culture and Sex: Who is Esther Perel?

Posted by in categories: education, ethics, futurism, human trajectories, media & arts, philosophy

What do you hope to find in a relationship? Security or freedom? Adventure or Intimacy? Do you want the connections in your life to serve as aides on your personal journey or do you want to feel you belong to a larger endeavor?

The future is often discussed in regard to technology, but when we look towards our personal futures we tend to think not of gizmos but of relationships. We think of the connections we want to build and experience, and the things that we wish to give the world in return. We think about how the world could be a better place for ourselves as well as those around us. The change we envision is not technological; rather it reflects what we value. In this film, therapist and author Esther Perel argues that the patterns in which we connect, and the conventions that guide how we couple present a window into what our culture really values.

When Perel looks at the ways in which we connect in early the 21st century she sees contradictions. The rapid technological and social shifts of the previous centuries have created conflicts not only within our cultures but also in the hopes and desires of the individual. She finds us looking with one eye to the secure and charted path that the norms of the past seem to offer us. With the other eye we look to the opportunities and fluid freedoms that now seem open to us. Can we coherently (and satisfactorily) reconcile these desires?

What connections do you value?

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Comment — comments are now closed.

  1. Ted Howard says:

    Agree in most respects.

    We are extremely complex entities. We have needs in many dimensions (potentially infinite), and most of those dimensions are infinite.

    As we as individuals become aware of our individual abilities to explore such a huge and multidimensional possibility space, the diversity of experience and understanding starts to increase exponentially. This is in radical opposition to many classical cultural paradigms that use a variety of mechanisms to restrict questioning and exploration of alternatives to maintain social agreement and social cohesion.

    Our society is going “post cultural”, yet every individual requires a culture to begin with — no one can bootstrap such a complex system as post cultural awareness by themselves — it is a work of the explorations and experiences of many generations.

    So we enter a time of radical diversity, of a need for radical tolerance.

    We are approaching the end of the social utility of many concepts that have served our ancestors well, but are no longer useful. Many of these concepts are so fundamental to most cultural paradigms that most have never even begun to question them — they are simply accepted facts.

    Perhaps the two most import at this stage seem to be the concept of market value (money) which is a scarcity based measure of value and cannot deal meaningfully with the universal abundance that automated technology is now capable of delivering, and the concept of truth which is now giving way to understandings fundamentally grounded in probability at all levels.

    So yes — a time of profound change — at all levels, where we need to question everything — all of the motives and desires (at all levels) that are supplied by our evolved systems (genetic and cultural).

    It appears to be a time where we must go past simple binary concepts, and accept infinite spectra — and the vast diversity that must logically result.

    Choice in such an environment is a very profound enquiry.

    I value connections at every level, at every stage of my development.