"East Europe 2005-06" story # 1

Xania, Greece           September 14, 2005

"You leave everyone you're close to?!"
     A beautiful Greek woman was rejecting me.
     She was a block-headed woman. Parabolic arcs sculpted her cheeks and eye-balls into exotic, dancing waves under the Mediterranean moon. Swirling black hair belly-danced down her thin back, on the bright-jet-blue blouse that contrasted with skin oranged brown by the Crete sun. She was called, "Despoina."
     We'd exchanged smiles, laughs, and "thh"'s and "dth"'s and "ks"'s and "ps"'s in the language of the ancient poets and philosophers. Eventually, so much of each other was touching one another while we talked that my body couldn't help but tremble slightly from excitement. I offered to show her some pictures.
     She looked at pictures of: my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my brother, and my cousins in Michigan; a Venezuelan guy I'd call "brother"; my Brazilian "mom" and "sister"; a Czech girl who's like a sister to me; my Minnesotan brother and other Michigander friends who might-as-well be family; an Argentinian girl who writes me beautiful, romantic poetry; and an American girl for whom I'd do almost anything to see happy.
     Despoina looked at these pictures, and - because my Greek-understanding abilities had started to fail us after the first thirty minutes - she made the quote I've already told you about. I kind of wish she would've said it in Albanian.
     Unfortunately, I understood her. And my little Greek blockhead goddess slowly began to withdraw.
     We exchanged final cheek-kisses good-bye which were very nearly more than just cheek-kisses. - ... but, they weren't. I left dejected, with the realization that the world of women has little use for a guy who dreams of going 'round the world.

Poor Despoina.
     Poor Modern Oddyseus.
     -- Warning!!!: the Modern Oddyseus starts to get crazy philosophical ideas when he's down. Read on with extreme caution. (Keep in mind this is just experimental utopian theory.) --
     There's a problem here. Society is letting us down. We should be free to kiss all who we please! Love should flow between the people as freely as friendship would flow in a really friendly place. Romance must come without suffering.
     Girls, especially, don't want to be romantically involved with somebody they like who is inevitably going to leave them (or break up with them). Why? Because they don't want to suffer. And, why is a beautiful thing such as love associated with suffering? Because people don't like to be without love once they've had it. When a person loses a boyfriend/girlfriend, he suddenly has no one to get love from.
     Most societies encourage us to have monogamous relationships and give and receive love from only one person. Perhaps this is the problem. Some of the best times of my life have come while I was in very wonderful monogamous relationships, but ...
     does the system of exclusive relationships really provide as many rewards as an alternative solution might? Can a person get dumped by the one person he gets love from and not be hurt? When in a monogamous relationship, can one stay free as an individual? And can a person refuse to be bound by an exclusive relationship and still get the love she needs in order to be a happy, confident person? Is it even natural to want only one person?
     If you look from a distance, monogamous relationships severely restrict the exchange of love between us:
     1. When in such a relationship, you limit who you can receive love from to one person and are thus chained to him.
     2. Your partner is not free to kiss another guy she may like.
     3. Somebody outside the relationship cannot go to someone inside it to receive love.
     Exclusive relationships also rob us of other individual freedoms and challenge the fulfillment of our wildest dreams. We are tied to the will and movement of the one who gives us love, and individual compromise is frequent.
     The Greek word for marriage is "gamos." The Greek word for family is "oikoyeneia." If you're talking about a family of pigs, however, you say, "oinkoyeneia." Sorry, folks, it's time for an ...
     -- Important Interjection: for those of you who didn't already know, the Modern Oddyseus is a celibate. When I write that the exchange of "love" is a beautiful thing, I mean romance without sex. Kissing and embracing and caressing are things that bring us closer together as people who care about each other.
     -- Sex, on the other hand, is a selfish act done by unhappy, insecure, or carried-away people. Sex is done by people who want a thrill; it's done to escape reality; it's done so afterwards it can be said that it's been done; it's done to achieve a feeling of acceptance or love which the sex act actually has nothing to do with; and it's done out of routine. It desensitizes us toward others while making us lonelier. The amazing relationships I've had were with girls who only wanted to kiss, embrace, etc. One romantic Brazilian ex-girlfriend once kissed me for nearly twelve hours on a single day. --

Part II: Eliminate the family.
     While I was home in America this summer, I read a book called "Sex and Marriage in Utopian Communities." It told about social experiments; communities of people who chose to live apart from society. The book focused on 19th century social experiments in America. These communities followed the leadership of European or American philosophers or religious leaders who believed society didn't provide people with the atmosphere for promoting happiness.
     The book told mostly about those communities that had alternative solutions regarding sex and marriage. Some restricted all romance between the sexes, some allowed monogamy and family life to continue, some allowed for a free exchange of sex, many communities separated the children from their parents. The main thing I observed from the book was this: monogamous family life is inherently selfish and destroys communal interests. The communist communities in the book quickly fell apart if they allowed monogamous marriage.
     I'd always been a fan of marriage, but I now began to see it differently. It's easy to see how a single person could be easily motivated to work for the community, the people he loves. Once he marries, however, he then must love one person more than he loves the others. To continue to work for the community while maintaining a special love for his family would be a conflict of interests. A competative, inefficient capitalist system would appeal to the selfish interests of the family, which would rather see its labor go to directly benefiting itself.
     Another downfall of family life is its challenge to individual morals and ideals. Our dependence on the family - sometimes our only source of love in this often-cruel world - may cause us to compromise our beliefs in order to keep a family member happy. While trying to win over girls whose love I needed, I've said that I'd give up things that were very important to me. Also, family members are often pressuring me to do things I don't think I should do. Society would be a stronger and more ethical one if its individuals weren't tied to small families.
     Family life also allows us to "possess" people in a way. "This is MY mom; this is MY girlfriend; this is MY son." If we're capable of selfishly owning even humans, how can our society be expected to share less important things like world resources?
     And all the pigs will shout, "Eliminate the oinkoyeneia!"
     The best thing in my life, by far, has been my family. They are my favorite people in the world. My fondest memories are of games of Breen family baseball, or of driving up to my mom's parents' house to play cards. I'm lucky that my family gave me a lot of love, and they always will.
     But, what about those people whose families didn't give them a lot of love? Who could they go to? Will they know to give their children and wives the love they need, or will the trend just continue? In the U.S.A., there is a large percentage of people who suffer from a lack of love. They're socially and psychologically dysfunctional. They may be lower-class, middle-class, upper-class, and from any race. They don't know how to listen; they don't know how to give love; they're self-absorbed because their needs aren't being met; most of them are worthless to the community. I meet them while hitchhiking in the U.S.A., but I rarely meet such sad cases in other less-competative countries.
     Family love is a great thing. But, why do we limit who we give it to to such a small number of people? Exclusive family relationships benefit no one. We should eliminate exclusive romantic relationships and allow a waterfall flow of kissing and embracing with all the people we desire. Separate the kids from their parents, and - as the saying goes - "Let the village raise the child."
     Let the world be our family. We can all be each other's brothers, sisters, moms, dads, boyfriends, and girlfriends. We can grow strong as individuals, free to roam and follow our dreams and love and love and not be tied down.
     When we need a father to teach us how to tie our shoe, we'll ask the nearest man. When we need a mother to bandage our cuts, there'll be one. We'll have an endless supply of grandma's teaching us how to sew, enough brothers to play a soccer game, enough sisters to dance with all night, and aunts and uncles to pick us up when we're hitchhiking and cook us warm meals. And when we want to kiss, we'll have a dozen friends and boyfriends and girlfriends.
     When we age and die, we won't die knowing that one person has loved us all our lives. The whole village will have loved us!
     Soon, the society will be full of happy, healthy, beautiful people. Capitalism will fade away, and we will work cooperatively. Those business practices which are unethical or unnecessary will cease. We will stop ruining the environment, and we will stop exploiting the less fortunate. The world will care for us, and we for the world.
     ... More on all this, and more on Greece to come ...

- peace, Modern Oddyseus

Much thanks to friend Costas for the place to sleep in Athens!

go to the previous story                                                                                   go to the next story

J. Breen's modern-o.com