This is our truth, tell us yours
Of the many infuriating things about 50 shades of grey is that the title is in fact a decent metaphor for how the world should look once you grow past the certainties of teenage years. It’s probably the only decent thing James wrote, although quite unintentionally.
As each week passes I find myself more drawn to those who inhabit the borderlands, those for whom nuance, and doubt, and shades of meaning are the natural habitat. When people assert with such certainty that they know what gender, or faith, or which ever windmill they chose tilt at, is, I draw back. Their very certainty, like that of all zealots, seems to be their excuse for whatever pain they cause. Around gender it leads to articles like this one, where political ideology is more important than simple acceptance, than saying, people who are different to me exist.
Certainty is the enemy of difference, opposed to nuance, fighting against the idea that there may be many ways to be right. Not that I have totally given up my platonic view of the world. I do not believe truth to be subjective, morality to be some ever changing variable.Good, and evil, do exist, as concrete facts, even if we struggle sometimes to separate them from the shadows projected by our own fears and prejudices. There are however many ways to access that area marked good, and many ways we can approach living our lives in the hope of inhabiting the space marked good, or non harmful, or loving, or whichever destination you prefer.
For those of us in the borderlands inhabiting that space is perhaps more tricky, because there is no simple route map to follow .That said, ease is often the reason people end up in Evil, or harmful or unloving. To look at the reductionist feminist view of gender again, exemplified by the linked to piece, its easy to say gender is the only oppression a group faces, and the concept of gender is immutable. The harm done by the erasure of race, disability, sexuality, class, income, and transness (is that word, perhaps it should be) has been discussed by far finer minds than mine. The easy answer is rarely the loving answer. It is however the answer of the middle ground, as far away from the borders, of nuance, as it is possible to be.
To move from the theoretical to the concrete, before I disappear in contemplation of my own naval. The relationship I have with my fellow blogger here is one which began in that easy country. I wanted to be dominated, he wanted someone who would chose to submit.He Master, me sub. Its a simple world inhabited, cheerfully by many. We ended up leaving it however, for a space where a drive can lead to a well equipped dungeon, or tea shop, leaving easy behind as we entered the borderlands. Perhaps there is always something about those borderlands which draws those who have been excluded. Or maybe we know no matter how hard we try to fit into easy, it does not work once you have stood on the sidelines, filled with forbidden knowledge.
I am aware there needs to be a further step, to fully reconcile the belief in absolutes like good and evil, with the idea that easy is the enemy of good, or that it so often leads to the harm which is not-good. Perhaps the missing step is self reflection. If we are willing to look at ourselves, our actions, and our position on the map of human relations, we instantly leave easy behind. Considering, truly, whether we are moving towards or away from those absolutes of good and evil means we cannot wrap ourselves up in the easy, binary, middle ground.We may of course conclude that the borderlands are not for us, there are many good decent people who fit neatly into the preassigned, preordained patterns which society lays out. If however they are good, and decent, it is because they are willing to reflect, to consider that they may be capable of harm