CEARA IS GOD

There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.”

What’s God Got to Do With It?

I try not to get angry with people. I might allow myself to show frustration at times. But not anger. Not anymore. Nowadays I try to just shake my head and get on with things. You see, I’m old and really don’t have time for the foolishness of judging other people. Or for trying to impose my unsolicited opinion on them. Or for bickering with them about politics or some other nonsense. I don’t do those things because there’s God to consider.

And so you’ve just re-read the last sentence and are asking, “What the hell does that mean? What’s God got to do with it?” Well, if you believe in love, then God’s got to do with everything. “Whoa! What kind of shit it that? I thought this is a blog about Ceara Lynch.” It is. And I’m going to get to there. Just bear with me a bit and I’ll explain.

Love is the Answer

One of the most influential books of my life is The Art of Loving by American psychologist Erich Fromm. Fromm starts with the assumption that man’s most basic need in life is to escape from the prison of aloneness; to find union or togetherness and avoid the anxiety and despair that separateness brings. As Fromm puts it, “The unity achieved in productive work is not interpersonal; the unity achieved in orgiastic fusion is transitory; the unity achieved by conformity is only pseudo-unity. Hence, they are only partial answers to the problem of existence. The full answer lies in the achievement of interpersonal union, of fusion with another person, in love. This desire for interpersonal fusion is the most powerful striving in man. It is the most fundamental passion, it is the force which keeps the human race together, the clan, the family, society. The failure to achieve it means insanity or destruction — self-destruction or destruction of others. Without love, humanity could not exist for a day.”

The Semantics of Love

Fromm goes on. “Yet, if we call the achievement of interpersonal union ‘love’, we find ourselves in a serious difficulty. Fusion can be achieved in different ways — and the differences are not less significant than what is common to the various forms of love. Should they all be called love? Or should we reserve the word “love” only for a specific kind of union, one which has been the ideal virtue in all great humanistic religions and philosophical systems of the last four thousand years of Western and Eastern history?”

“As with all semantic difficulties, the answer can only be arbitrary. What matters is that we know what kind of union we are talking about when we speak of love. Do we refer to love as the mature answer to the problem of existence, or do we speak of those immature forms of love which may be called symbiotic union? I shall call love only the former. I shall begin the discussion of love’ with the latter.”

Symbiotic union has its biological pattern in the relationship between the pregnant mother and the fetus. They are two, and yet one. They live “together” (symbiosis), they need each other. The fetus is a part of the mother, it receives everything it needs from her; mother is its world, as it were, she feeds it, she protects it, but also her own life is enhanced by it. In the psychic symbiotic union, the two bodies are independent, but the same kind of attachment exists psychologically.”

“The passive form of the symbiotic union is that of submission, or if we use a clinical term, of masochism.  The masochistic person escapes from the unbearable feeling of isolation and separateness by making himself part and parcel of another person who directs him, guides him, protects him; who is his life and his oxygen, as it were.  The power of the one to whom one submits is inflated, may she be a person or a god; she is everything, I am nothing, except inasmuch as I am part of her.  As a part, I am part of greatness, of power, of certainty.  The masochistic person does not have to make decisions, does not have to take any risks; he is never alone — but he is not independent; he has no integrity; he is not yet fully born.  In a religious context the object of worship is called an idol; in a secular context of a masochistic love relationship the essential mechanism, that of idolatry, is the same.  The masochistic relationship can be blended with physical, sexual desire; in this case it is not only a submission in which one’s mind participates, but also one’s whole body.  There can be masochistic submission to fate, to sickness, to rhythmic music, to the orgiastic state produced by drugs or under hypnotic trance — in all these instances the person renounces his integrity, makes himself the instrument of somebody or something outside of himself; he need not solve the problem of living by productive activity.”

“The active form of symbiotic fusion is domination or, to use the psychological term corresponding to masochism, sadism.  The sadistic person wants to escape from her aloneness and her sense of imprisonment by making another person part and parcel of herself.  She inflates and enhances herself by incorporating another person, who worships her.”

“The sadistic person is as dependent on the submissive person as the latter is on the former; neither can live without the other.  The difference is only that the sadistic person commands, exploits, hurts, humiliates, and that the masochistic person is commanded, exploited, hurt, humiliated.  This is a considerable difference in a realistic sense; in a deeper emotional sense, the difference is not so great as that which they both have in common: fusion without integrity.”

“In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one’s integrity, one’s individuality.  Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow-men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.”

“If we say love is an activity, we face a difficulty which lies in the ambiguous meaning of the word “activity”. By “activity”, in the modern usage of the word, is usually meant an action which brings about a change in an existing situation by means of an expenditure of energy.  Thus a man is considered active if he does business, studies medicine, works on an endless belt, builds a table, or is engaged in sports.  Common to all these activities is that they are directed toward an outside goal to be achieved. What is not taken into account is the motivation of activity.  Take for instance a man driven to incessant work by a sense of deep insecurity and loneliness; or another one driven by ambition, or greed for money.  In all these cases the person is the slave of a passion, and his activity is in reality a “passivity” because he is driven; he is the sufferer, not the “actor”.  On the other hand, a man sitting quiet and contemplating, with no purpose or aim except that of experiencing himself and his oneness with the world, is considered to be “passive”, because he is not “doing” anything. In reality, this attitude of concentrated meditation is the highest activity there is, an activity of the soul, which is possible only under the condition of inner freedom and independence.  One concept of activity, the modern one, refers to the use of energy for the achievement of external aims; the other concept of activity refers to the use of man’s inherent powers, regardless of whether any external change is brought about.” Here Fromm differentiates between “actions” and “passions.” “In the exercise of an active affect, man is free, he is the master of this affect; in the exercise of a passive affect, man is driven, the object of motivations of which he himself is not aware.  Thus envy, jealousy, ambition, any kind of greed are passions; love is an action, the practice of a human power, which can be practiced only in freedom and never as the result of a compulsion. Love is an activity, not a passive affect; it is a “standing in”, not a “falling for”.  In the most general way, the active character of love can be described by stating that love is primarily giving, not receiving.”

Love and Freedom

Fromm wrote, “Without love humanity could not exist for a day.” These are strong words, but if we think seriously about it, most of us will agree there’s truth within those words. We sometimes tend to dwell on those things with separate us such as war, hate, selfishness and greed, without realizing the underlying power of relationships. The very fact that humanity continues to exist on this planet, in spite of all the destructive forces which divide it, offers a semblance of proof for the unifying power of love.

But this is only theory. In order to determine why this is true and how it works, we must examine some of the practical aspects of love. The first of these is the fact that love demands something of us. As Fromm says when he speaks of the art of loving, loving is something which we must learn. It does not come naturally; it is not something which we do instinctively. Loving is a skill which must be learned and practiced in an active fashion. Many of us have grown up with the idea that it is our right to be loved. We therefore have a tendency to wait, passively, for someone to love us, and then we feel unjustly treated when nobody seems to care. However, in order for love to exist, someone must act; someone must do the loving. What Fromm tells us is that love demands much more than our passivity. This implies, therefore, that if we expect to receive love, we ourselves must be prepared to give love. Love is not a one-way street.

And that brings us to the second practical aspect of love which is that, since love is active rather than passive, it is also basically giving. This is a point which is often misunderstood. Many people interpret this as meaning that love is giving up,. that it means sacrificing, or being deprived of something. They also often feel that love destroys their freedom as an individual. Fromm says this is not true, for two reasons. First, love is not limited to giving in a material sense. The most important aspect of giving is that we give of ourselves, of that which is alive in us, of our joy and our sorrow, our interest and our knowledge, our understanding and our concern. Then, secondly, giving ourselves in love does not, as some people fear, mean sacrificing our freedom as an individual. This is expressed in the paradoxical Christian, and the Buddhist, concept that we must lose our self, in order to gain our self. What we must lose is our selfishness, our self-centeredness. We must lose the ego, in order gain the soul. And for those who are worried about freedom, Fromm emphasizes that to give ourselves in love proves that we are free to give. Loving is giving that enriches the giver because it heightens his sense of being a free and active individual who has something of value to give to another person. Love is active, love is giving, and love produces union which strengthens our true individuality. For myself, this is the guiding philosophy behind my play in financial domination. Giving enriches me. It strengthens me. It makes me free.

In addition to these basic aspects of love, Fromm also discusses other elements of love which are care, responsibility, respect and knowledge. Care is the active concern for the life and growth of the person we love. Responsibility is the effort to respond to the needs of another, a sense of openness to the person we love. Respect means that we respect the other person as an individual, that we accept him as he is and do not try to change him or turn him into an object for our own needs. Knowledge means that we must try to know the other person, both on a rational and on an intuitive or emotional level. To care, to respect, to respond responsibly, to know … these things enable faith

In order to give ourselves in love to another person, we must have faith in that person. To love means to open ourselves, and to be open means to be vulnerable. Some of us hesitate to do this because in the past we have been hurt or disappointed. But without this sense of openness, which is based on faith, there can be no love. Love is therefore an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.

Types of Love

Fromm differentiates between different types of love. Specifically, between brotherly love, motherly love, fatherly love, self-love and erotic love.

As he begins to discuss brotherly love, Fromm makes a rather startling statement. He says that unless we love everybody, we don’t really love anybody. Real love is based on an attitude, a way of thinking or feeling, which is directed toward the entire world and everything in it. If I have developed the capacity for love, then I can’t help loving my brother. If a person says that he loves just one other person, or one group of persons, and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow-men, this is not real love. On the contrary, it is a form of selfishness, or what Fromm calls egotism for two. In order for love to really be love, and not a form of selfishness, it must be this all-inclusive, unselfish love which Fromm calls brotherly love and which is the basic attitude underlying all other types of love. As an addendum to this point, I would like add that perfect brotherly love does not mean one must love everything another person may do. That person may perform an act which you feel is wrong, so that it is all too easy to condemn the person for this act. What love demands, however, is that we separate the person from the act. This may not be easy to do, of course, but no one can say that love is easy. It is much easier to hate or be indifferent, which requires no effort at all. But love always requires effort on our part

Unlike brotherly love, motherly love is unconditional. There are no strings attached. The mother loves the child regardless of what he does, simply because he is her child. On the other hand, fatherly love is conditional. That means that father’s love is not always there, that it depends on the conduct of the child, on whether the child obeys and fulfills the expectations of the father. Fromm is quick to point out, however, that just as we all have within us a mixture of so-called masculine and feminine characteristics, each person also has ability to express both motherly and fatherly love. In fact, mature love results from the ability to balance these two different types of love. When either type of love is exaggerated, there is a negative effect. Motherly love, if it is too strong, tends to become possessive and limits development by making the child too dependent on mother. Fatherly love, when it is exaggerated, tends to be harsh and authoritarian. Therefore, it is important that each person learn to achieve a balance between these two forms of love. As Fromm says, in this balance lies the only basis for mature love, not only for our children, but for all other people as well

Speaking of motherly and fatherly love from the point of view of the child, Fromm says that in the beginning the child loves primarily in response to being loved. He senses that he is the object of unconditional mother love. This need for the mother’s unconditional love is obviously something which nature has given the child to protect him in his early period of development. But although it is good for the child, this kind of self-centered attachment, which is based only on need, is not good for the adult. Unfortunately, some people never outgrow this form of childish, immature love which only expects to receive, and not to give. Fromm puts it very succinctly when he observes that the immature person says .I love you because I need you,. while the mature person says, .I need you because I love you.. The immature person always puts his need first, while for the mature person love is most important

Another important type of love is self-love. It may seem strange to talk about self-love, since it appears to contradict much of what has been said about love being open and all-inclusive. Fromm points out, however, that this is not the case. This is because first of all, we must distinguish between self-love, and selfishness. Selfishness is a form of egotism which has nothing to do with love. In fact, Fromm feels that the selfish person doesn’t even really love himself because his selfishness cuts him off from others and makes him suffer aloneness. On the other hand, a loving person who loves all people also loves himself. If it is a good thing to love my neighbor, then it must also be good to love myself. Love for one’s self cannot be separated from love for another person. One can even go so far as to say that unless I first love myself, I am incapable of loving another person. Unless I love myself, that is, unless I have confidence in myself as a person who is worthy of being loved, I will always feel insecure and dependent on my relation with another person. This results in an immature relationship which is based on need, and the need to find protection for my insecurity will inevitably destroy my ability to open myself in love.

Finally, erotic love, or physical love, is often greatly misunderstood. People often make the mistake of thinking that, because they are attracted to another person physically, they also feel love for that person. If the relation is only physical, however, it never satisfies the basic need for togetherness except in a brief, transitory sense. In fact, if the relation is only physical, it can make people feel even farther apart than before. It can actually make them dislike, or even hate each other since it emphasizes their basic aloneness. If, on the other hand, physical love is accompanied by a loving attitude, if it is also brotherly love, it can be a form of mature love. And in this way it can also be the means of achieving union in more than a transitory sense.

Love and God

The basis for our need to love lies in need to overcome the anxiety of separateness. The religious form of love, that which is called the love of God, is, psychologically speaking, not different.

Fromm provides a lengthy analysis of how the idea of God and, in particular, how love of God has evolved through motherly love, fatherly love and finally to love of oneself. (See Appendix A at the end of this post for that discussion.) It’s an insightful analysis that juxtapose Western religious systems with that of Eastern religion and mysticism. Relying on Aristotelian logic, Western religions love of God becomes essentially the same as the belief in God, in God’s existence, in God’s justice, in God’s love. Here, the love of God is essentially a thought experience. By contrast, Eastern religions and mysticism rely on paradoxical logic. The love of God is an intense feeling experience of oneness, inseparably linked with the expression of this love in every act of living. The East’s paradoxical logic led to tolerance and an effort toward self-transformation. The Western Aristotelian logic led to dogma and science, to the Catholic Church, and to the discovery of atomic energy.

For myself, I’ve adopted a more Eastern perspective of God, a perspective best expressed by the 13th Century theologian, Meister Eckhart: “If therefore I am changed into God and He makes me one with Himself, then, by the living God, there is no distinction between us. . . . Some people imagine that they are going to see God, that they are going to see God as if he were standing yonder, and they here, but it is not to be so. God and I: we are one. By knowing God I take him to myself. By loving God, I penetrate him.”

Ceara is God

If God and I are one, then God and Ceara Lynch are one as well.

And if love of God (as expressed by Eastern paradoxical logic) is an intense feeling experience of oneness, then to see God within others is to experience oneness with them. To see God in others is to love them; to love another person, is to see God within them. There is a communion of spirit, a oneness of souls, experienced in that sort of love. And to see the Godliness within her is to feel a profound experience of oneness expressed in act of living; an expression overlaid and compounded by feelings of erotic love and, for the submissive, motherly love.

Love and Present Day Western Society

Before I wrap things up, I’d like to mention a few points Fromm made regarding the importance of love in present-day society. Fromm felt that the position of love in our world today is not a favorable one. He felt that, in fact, the basic principles on which our society are based are often not compatible with the principle of love. In modern society, the so-called free enterprise system is based on the idea of competition, on the idea of getting ahead at the expense of someone else. Material values are all too often emphasized at the expense of spiritual ones. Fromm does not feel that it is impossible to love in today’s world, but he does feel that it is difficult, and that sooner or later some radical changes must be made in order for love to survive. Perhaps the first change is to recognize that love is an informed practice rather than an unmerited grace.

“The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering. What are the necessary steps in learning any art? The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice. If I want to learn the art of medicine, I must first know the facts about the human body, and about various diseases. When I have all this theoretical knowledge, I am by no means competent in the art of medicine. I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one — my intuition, the essence of the mastery of any art. But, aside from learning the theory and practice, there is a third factor necessary to becoming a master in any art — the mastery of the art must be a matter of ultimate concern; there must be nothing else in the world more important than the art. This holds true for music, for medicine, for carpentry — and for love. And, maybe, here lies the answer to the question of why people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures: in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.”


Appendix:   Religion and God (Excerpts from “The Art of Loving”)

In all theistic religions, whether they are polytheistic or monotheistic, God stands for the highest value, the most desirable good. Hence, the specific meaning of God depends on what is the most desirable good for a person. The understanding of the concept of God must, therefore, start with an analysis of the character structure of the person who worships God.

The development of the human race as far as we have any knowledge of it can be characterized as the emergence of man from nature, from mother, from the bonds of blood and soil. In the beginning of human history man, though thrown out of the original unity with nature, still clings to these primary bonds. He finds his security by going back, or holding on to these primary bonds. He still feels identified with the world of animals and trees, and tries to find unity by remaining one with the natural world. Many primitive religions bear witness to this stage of development. An animal is transformed into a totem; one wears animal masks in the most solemn religious acts, or in war; one worships an animal as God. At a later stage of development, when human skill has developed to the point of artisan and artistic skill, when man is not dependent any more exclusively on the gifts of nature—the fruit he finds and the animal he kills—man transforms the product of his own hand into a god. This is the stage of the worship of idols made of clay, silver or gold. Man projects his own powers and skills into the things he makes, and thus in an alienated fashion worships his prowess, his possessions. At a still later stage man gives his gods the form of human beings. It seems that this can happen only when he has become still more aware of himself, and when he has discovered man as the highest and most dignified “thing” in the world. In this phase of anthropomorphic god worship we find a development in two dimensions. The one refers to the female or male nature of the gods, the other to the degree of maturity which man has achieved, and which determines the nature of his gods and the nature of his love of them.

Let us first speak of the development from mother-centered to father-centered religions. According to the great and decisive discoveries of Bachofen and Morgan in the middle of the nineteenth century, and in spite of the rejection their findings have found in most academic circles, there can be little doubt that there was a matriarchal phase of religion preceding the patriarchal one, at least in many cultures. In the matriarchal phase, the highest being is the mother. She is the goddess, she is also the authority in family and society. In order to understand the essence of matriarchal religion, we have only to remember what has been said about the essence of motherly love. Mother’s love is unconditional, it is all-protective, all-enveloping; because it is unconditional it can also not be controlled or acquired. Its presence gives the loved person a sense of bliss; its absence produces a sense of lostness and utter despair. Since mother loves her children because they are her children, and not because they are “good,” obedient, or fulfill her wishes and commands, mother’s love is based on equality. All men are equal, because they all are children of a mother, because they all are children of Mother Earth.

The next stage of human evolution, the only one of which we have thorough knowledge and do not need to rely on inferences and reconstruction, is the patriarchal phase. In this phase the mother is dethroned from her supreme position, and the father becomes the Supreme Being, in religion as well as in society. The nature of fatherly love is that he makes demands, establishes principles and laws, and that his love for the son depends on the obedience of the latter to these demands. He likes best the son who is most like him, who is most obedient and who is best fitted to become his successor, as the inheritor of his possessions. (The development of patriarchal society goes together with the development of private property.) As a consequence, patriarchal society is hierarchical; the equality of the brothers gives way to competition and mutual strife. Whether we think of the Indian, Egyptian or Greek cultures, or of the Jewish-Christian, or Islamic religions, we are in the middle of a patriarchal world, with its male gods, over whom one chief god reigns, or where all gods have been eliminated with the exception of the One, the God. However, since the wish for mother’s love cannot be eradicated from the hearts of man, it is not surprising that the figure of the loving mother could never be fully driven out from the pantheon. In the Jewish religion, the mother aspects of God are reintroduced especially in the various currents of mysticism. In the Catholic religion, Mother is symbolized by the Church, and by the Virgin. Even in Protestantism, the figure of Mother has not been entirely eradicated, although she remains hidden. Luther established as his main principle that nothing that man does can procure God’s love. God’s love is Grace, the religious attitude is to have faith in this grace, and to make oneself small and helpless; no good works can influence God—or make God love us, as Catholic doctrines postulated. We can recognize here that the Catholic doctrine of good works is part of the patriarchal picture; I can procure father’s love by obedience and by fulfilling his demands. The Lutheran doctrine, on the other hand, in spite of its manifest patriarchal character carries within it a hidden matriarchal element. Mother’s love cannot be acquired; it is there, or it is not there; all I can do is to have faith (as the Psalmist says, “Thou hadst let me have faith into my mother’s breasts.” and to transform myself into the helpless, powerless child. But it is the peculiarity of Luther’s faith that the figure of the mother has been eliminated from the manifest picture, and replaced by that of the father; instead of the certainty of being loved by mother, intense doubt, hoping against hope for unconditional love by father, has become the paramount feature.

I had to discuss this difference between the matriarchal and the patriarchal elements in religion in order to show that the character of the love of God depends on the respective weight of the matriarchal and the patriarchal aspects of religion. The patriarchal aspect makes me love God like a father; I assume he is just and strict, that he punishes and rewards; and eventually that he will elect me as his favorite son; as God elected Abraham-Israel, as Isaac elected Jacob, as God elects his favorite nation. In the matriarchal aspect of religion, I love God as an all-embracing mother. I have faith in her love, that no matter whether I am poor and powerless, no matter whether I have sinned, she will love me, she will not prefer any other of her children to me; whatever happens to me, she will rescue me, will save me, will forgive me. Needless to say, my love for God and God’s love for me cannot be separated. If God is a father, he loves me like a son and I love him like a father. If God is mother, her and my love are determined by this fact.

This difference between the motherly and the fatherly aspects of the love of God is, however, only one factor in determining the nature of this love; the other factor is the degree of maturity reached by the individual, hence in his concept of God and in his love for God.

Since the evolution of the human race shifted from a mother-centered to a father-centered structure of society, as well as of religion, we can trace the development of a maturing love mainly in the development of patriarchal religion. In the beginning of this development we find a despotic, jealous God, who considers man, whom he created, as his property, and is entitled to do with him whatever he pleases. This is the phase of religion in which God drives man out of paradise, lest he eat from the tree of knowledge and thus could become God himself; this is the phase in which God decides to destroy the human race by the flood, because none of them pleases him, with the exception of the favorite son, Noah; this is the phase in which God demands from Abraham that he kill his only, his beloved son, Isaac, to prove his love for God by the act of ultimate obedience. But simultaneously a new phase begins; God makes a covenant with Noah, in which he promises never to destroy the human race again, a covenant by which he is bound himself. Not only is he bound by his promises, he is also bound by his own principle, that of justice, and on this basis God must yield to Abraham’s demand to spare Sodom if there are at least ten just men. But the development goes further than transforming God from the figure of a despotic tribal chief into a loving father, into a father who himself is bound by the principles which he has postulated; it goes in the direction of transforming God from the figure of a father into a symbol of his principles, those of justice, truth and love. God is truth, God is justice. In this development God ceases to be a person, a man, a father; he becomes the symbol of the principle of unity behind the manifoldness of phenomena, of the vision of the flower which will grow from the spiritual seed within man. God cannot have a name. A name always denotes a thing, or a person, something finite. How can God have a name, if he is not a person, not a thing?

The most striking incident of this change lies in the Biblical story of God’s revelation to Moses. When Moses tells him that the Hebrews will not believe that God has sent him, unless he can tell them God’s name (how could idol worshipers comprehend a nameless God, since the very essence of an idol is to have a name?), God makes a concession. He tells Moses that his name is “I am becoming that which I am becoming.” “I-am-becoming is my name.” The “I-am-becoming” means that God is not finite, not a person, not a “being.” The most adequate translation of the sentence would be : tell them that “my name is nameless.” The prohibition to make any image of God, to pronounce his name in vain, eventually to pronounce his name at all, aims at the same goal, that of freeing man from the idea that God is a father, that he is a person. In the subsequent theological development, the idea is carried further in the principle that one must not even give God any positive attribute. To say of God that he is wise, strong, good implies again that he is a person; the most I can do is to say what God is not, to state negative attributes, to postulate that he is not limited, not unkind, not unjust. The more I know what God is not, the more knowledge I have of God.

Following the maturing idea of monotheism in its further consequences can lead only to one conclusion: not to mention God’s name at all, not to speak about God. Then God becomes what he potentially is in monotheistic theology, the nameless One, an inexpressible stammer, referring to the unity underlying the phenomenal universe, the ground of all existence; God becomes truth, love, justice. God is I, in as much as I am human.

Quite evidently this evolution from the anthropomorphic to the pure monotheistic principle makes all the difference to the nature of the love of God. The God of Abraham can be loved, or feared, as a father, sometimes his forgiveness, sometimes his anger being the dominant aspect. Inasmuch as God is the father, I am the child. I have not emerged fully from the autistic wish for omniscience and omnipotence. I have not yet acquired the objectivity to realize my limitations as a human being, my ignorance, my helplessness. I still claim, like a child, that there must be a father who rescues me, who watches me, who punishes me, a father who likes me when I am obedient, who is flattered by my praise and angry because of my disobedience. Quite obviously, the majority of people have, in their personal development, not overcome this infantile stage, and hence the belief in God to most people is the belief in a helping father—a childish illusion. In spite of the fact that this concept of religion has been overcome by some of the great teachers of the human race, and by a minority of men, it is still the dominant form of religion.

Inasmuch as this is so, the criticism of the idea of God, as it was expressed by Freud, is quite correct. The error, however, was in the fact that he ignored the other aspect of monotheistic religion, and its true kernel, the logic of which leads exactly to the negation of this concept of God. The truly religious person, if he follows the essence of the monotheistic idea, does not pray for anything, does not expect anything from God; he does not love God as a child loves his father or his mother; he has acquired the humility of sensing his limitations, to the degree of knowing that he knows nothing about God. God becomes to him a symbol in which man, at an earlier stage of his evolution, has expressed the totality of that which man is striving for, the realm of the spiritual world, of love, truth and justice. He has faith in the principles which “God” represents; he thinks truth, lives love and justice, and considers all of his life only valuable inasmuch as it gives him the chance to arrive at an ever fuller unfolding of his human powers—as the only reality that matters, as the only object of “ultimate concern”; and, eventually, he does not speak about God—nor even mention his name, To love God, if he were going to use this word, would mean, then, to long for the attainment of the full capacity to love, for the realization of that which “God” stands for in oneself.

From this point of view, the logical consequence of monotheistic thought is the negation of all “theology,” of all “knowledge about God.” Yet, there remains a difference between such a radical non-theological view and a non-theistic system, as we find it, for instance in early Buddhism or in Taoism. In all theistic systems, even a non-theological, mystical one, there is the assumption of the reality of the spiritual realm, as one transcending man, giving meaning and validity to man’s spiritual powers and his striving for salvation and inner birth. In a non-theistic system, there exists no spiritual realm outside of man or transcending him. The realm of love, reason and justice exists as a reality only because, and inasmuch as, man has been able to develop these powers in himself throughout the process of his evolution. In this view there is no meaning to life, except the meaning man himself gives to it; man is utterly alone except inasmuch as he helps another.

Having spoken of the love of God, I want to make it clear that I myself do not think in terms of a theistic concept, and that to me the concept of God is only a historically conditioned one, in which man has expressed his experience of his higher powers, his longing for truth and for unity at a given historical period. But I believe also that the consequences of strict monotheism and a non-theistic ultimate concern with the spiritual reality are two views which, though different, need not fight each other.

At this point, however, another dimension of the problem of the love of God arises, which must be discussed in order to fathom the complexity of the problem. I refer to a fundamental difference in the religious attitude between the East (China and India) and the West; this difference can be expressed in terms of logical concepts. Since Aristotle, the Western world has followed the logical principles of Aristotelian philosophy. This logic is based on the law of identity which states that A is A, the law of contradiction (A is not non-A) and the law of the excluded middle (A cannot be A and non-A, neither A nor non-A). Aristotle explains his position very clearly in the following sentence: “It is impossible for the same thing at the same time to belong and not to belong to the same thing and in the same respect; and whatever other distinctions we might add to meet dialectical objections, let them be added. This, then, is the most certain of all principles. . . .” This axiom of Aristotelian logic has so deeply imbued our habits of thought that it is felt to be “natural” and self-evident, while on the other hand the statement that X is A and not A seems to be nonsensical. (Of course, the statement refers to the subject X at a given time, not to X now and X later, or one aspect of X as against another aspect.)

In opposition to Aristotelian logic is what one might call paradoxical logic, which assumes that A and non-A do not exclude each other as predicates of X. Paradoxical logic was predominant in Chinese and Indian thinking, in the philosophy of Heraclitus, and then again, under the name of dialectics, it became the philosophy of Hegel, and of Marx. The general principle of paradoxical logic has been clearly described by Lao-tse. “Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical.” And by Chuang-tzu: “That which is one is one. That which not-one, is also one.” These formulations of paradoxical logic are positive: it is and it is not. Another formulation is negative: it is neither this nor that. The former expression of thought we find in Taoistic thought, in Heraclitus and again in Hegelian dialectics; the latter formulation is frequent in Indian philosophy.

Although it would transcend the scope of this book to give a more detailed description of the difference between Aristotelian and paradoxical logic, I shall mention a few illustrations in order to make the principle more understandable. Paradoxical logic in Western thought has its earliest philosophical expression in Heraclitus’ philosophy. He assumes the conflict between opposites is the basis of all existence. “They do not understand,” he says, “that the all-One, conflicting in itself, is identical with itself : conflicting harmony as in the bow and in the lyre.” Or still more clearly: “We go into the same river, and yet not in the same; it is we and it is not we.” Or “One and the same manifests itself in things as living and dead, waking and sleeping, young and old.”

In Lao-tse’s philosophy the same idea is expressed in a more poetic form. A characteristic example of Taoist paradoxical thinking is the following statement : “Gravity is the root of lightness; stillness the ruler of movement.” Or “The Tao in its regular course does nothing and so there is nothing which he does not do.” Or “My words are very easy to know, and very easy to practice; but there is no one in the world who is able to know and able to practice them.” In Taoist thinking, just as in Indian and Socratic thinking, the highest step to which thought can lead is to know that we do not know. “To know and yet [think] we do not know is the highest [attainment] ; not to know [and yet think] we do know is a disease.” It is only a consequence of this philosophy that the highest God cannot be named. The ultimate reality, the ultimate One cannot be caught in words or in thoughts. As Lao-tse puts it, “The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.” Or, in a different formulation, “We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it the ‘Equable.’ We listen to it, and we do not hear it, and we name it the ‘Inaudible.’ We try to grasp it, and do not get hold of it, and we name it ‘the Subtle.’ With these three qualities, it can not be made the subject of description; and hence we blend them together and obtain The One.” And still another formulation of the same idea: “He who knows [the Tao] does not [care to] speak [about it] ; he who is [however ready to] speak about it does not know it.” Brahmanic philosophy was concerned with the relationship between manifoldness (of phenomena) and unity (Brahman). But paradoxical philosophy is neither in India nor in China to be confused with a dualistic standpoint. The harmony (unity) consists in the conflicting position from which it is made up. “Brahmanical thinking was centered from the beginning around the paradox of the simultaneous antagonisms—yet—identity of the manifest forces and forms of the phenomenal world. .. .” The ultimate power in the Universe as well as in man transcends both the conceptual and the sensual sphere. It is therefore “neither this nor thus.” But, as Zimmer remarks, “there is no antagonism between ‘real and unreal’ in this strictly non-dualistic realization.” In their search for unity behind manifoldness, the Brahman thinkers came to the conclusion that the perceived pair of opposites reflects the nature not of things but of the perceiving mind. The perceiving thought must transcend itself if it is to attain true reality. Opposition is a category of man’s mind, not in itself an element of reality. In the Rig-Veda the principle is expressed in this form: “I am the two, the life force and the life material, the two at once.” The ultimate consequence of the idea that thought can only perceive in contradictions has found an even more drastic sequence in Vedantic thinking, which postulates that thought —with all its fine distinction—was “only a more subtle horizon of ignorance, in fact the most subtle of all the deluding devices of maya.” Paradoxical logic has a significant bearing on the concept of God. Inasmuch as God represents the ultimate reality, and inasmuch as the human mind perceives reality in contradictions, no positive statement can be made of God. In the Vedantas the idea of an omniscient and omnipotent God is considered the ultimate form of ignorance.” We see here the connection with the namelessness of the Tao, the nameless name of the God who reveals himself to Moses, of the “absolute Nothing” of Meister Eckhart. Man can only know the negation, never the position of ultimate reality. “Meanwhile man can not know what God is, even though he be ever so well aware of what God is not. .. . Thus contented with nothing, the mind clamors for the highest good of all. For Meister Eckhart, “The Divine One is a negation of negations, and a denial of denials. . . . Every creature contains a negation: one denies that it is the other. It is only a further consequence that God becomes for Meister Eckhart “The absolute Nothing,” just as the ultimate reality is the “En Sof,” the Endless One, for the Kabalah.

I have discussed the difference between Aristotelian and paradoxical logic in order to prepare the ground for an important difference in the concept of the love of God. The teachers of paradoxical logic say that man can perceive reality only in contradictions, and can never perceive in thought the ultimate reality-unity, the One itself. This led to the consequence that one did not seek as the ultimate aim to find the answer in thought. Thought can only lead us to the knowledge that it cannot give us the ultimate answer. The world of thought remains caught in the paradox. The only way in which the world can be grasped ultimately lies, not in thought, but in the act, in the experience of oneness. Thus paradoxical logic leads to the conclusion that the love of God is neither the knowledge of God in thought, nor the thought of one’s love of God, but the act of experiencing the oneness with God.

This leads to the emphasis on the right way of living. All of life, every little and every important action, is devoted to the knowledge of God, but a knowledge not in right thought, but in right action. This can be clearly seen in Oriental religions. In Brahmanism as well as in Buddhism and Taoism, the ultimate aim of religion is not the right belief, but the right action. We find the same emphasis in the Jewish religion. There was hardly ever a schism over belief in the Jewish tradition (the one great exception, the difference between Pharisees and Sadducees, was essentially one of two opposite social classes). The emphasis of the Jewish religion was (especially from the beginning of our era on) on the right way of living, the Halacha (this word actually having the same meaning as the Tao.

In modern history, the same principle is expressed in the thought of Spinoza, Marx and Freud. In Spinoza’s philosophy the emphasis is shifted from the right belief to the right conduct of life. Marx stated the same principle when he said, “The philosophers have interpreted the world in different ways—the task is to transform it.” Freud’s paradoxical logic leads him to the process of psychoanalytic therapy, the ever-deepening experience of oneself. 

From the standpoint of paradoxical logic the emphasis is not on thought, but on the act. This attitude had several other consequences. First of all, it led to the tolerance which we find in Indian and Chinese religious development. If the right thought is not the ultimate truth, and not the way to salvation, there is no reason to fight others, whose thinking has arrived at different formulations. This tolerance is beautifully expressed in the story of several men who were asked to describe an elephant in the dark. One, touching his trunk, said “this animal is like a water pipe”; another, touching his ear, said “this animal is like a fan”; a third, touching his legs, described the animal as a pillar. Secondly, the paradoxical standpoint led to the emphasis on transforming man, rather than to the development of dogma on the one hand, and science on the other. From the Indian, Chinese and mystical standpoints, the religious task of man is not to think right, but to act right, and/or to become one with the One in the act of concentrated meditation.

The opposite is true for the main stream of Western thought. Since one expected to find the ultimate truth in the right thought, major emphasis was on thought, although right action was held to be important too. In religious development this led to the formulation of dogmas, endless arguments about dogmatic formulations, and intolerance of the “non-believer” or heretic. It furthermore led to the emphasis on “believing in God” as the main aim of a religious attitude. This, of course, did not mean that there was not also the concept that one ought to live right. But nevertheless, the person who believed in God—even if he did not live God—felt himself to be superior to the one who lived God, but did not “believe” in him. The emphasis on thought has also another and historically a very important consequence. The idea that one could find the truth in thought led not only to dogma, but also to science. In scientific thought, the correct thought is all that matters, both from the aspect of intellectual honesty, as well as from the aspect of the application of scientific thought to practice that is, to technique. In short, paradoxical thought led to tolerance and an effort toward self-transformation. The Aristotelian standpoint led to dogma and science, to the Catholic Church, and to the discovery of atomic energy.

The consequences of this difference between the two standpoints for the problem of the love of God have already been explained implicitly, and need only to be summarized briefly. In the dominant Western religious system, the love of God is essentially the same as the belief in God, in God’s existence, God’s justice, God’s love. The love of God is essentially a thought experience. In the Eastern religions and in mysticism, the love of God is an intense feeling experience of oneness, inseparably linked with the expression of this love in every act of living. The most radical formulation has been given to this goal by Meister Eckhart: “If therefore I am changed into God and He makes me one with Himself, then, by the living God, there is no distinction between us. . . . Some people imagine that they are going to see God, that they are going to see God as if he were standing yonder, and they here, but it is not to be so. God and I: we are one. By knowing God I take him to myself. By loving God, I penetrate him.”

We can return now to an important parallel between the love for one’s parents and the love for God. The child starts out by being attached to his mother as “the ground of all being.” He feels helpless and needs the all-enveloping love of mother. He then turns to father as the new center of his affections, father being a guiding principle for thought and action; in this stage he is motivated by the need to acquire father’s praise, and to avoid his displeasure. In the stage of full maturity he has freed himself from the person of mother and of father as protecting and commanding powers; he has established the motherly and fatherly principles in himself. He has become his own father and mother; he is father and mother. In the history of the human race we see—and can anticipate—the same development: from the beginning of the love for God as the helpless attachment to a mother Goddess, through the obedient attachment to a fatherly God, to a mature stage where God ceases to be an outside power, where man has incorporated the principles of love and justice into himself, where he has become one with God, and eventually, to a point where he speaks of God only in a poetic, symbolic sense.

From these considerations it follows that the love for God cannot be separated from the love for one’s parents. If a person does not emerge from incestuous attachment to mother, clan, nation, if he retains the childish dependence on a punishing and rewarding father, or any other authority, he cannot develop a more mature love for God; then his religion is that of the earlier phase of religion, in which God was experienced as an all-protective mother or a punishing-rewarding father.

In contemporary religion we find all the phases, from the earliest and most primitive development to the highest, still present. The word “God” denotes the tribal chief as well as the “absolute Nothing.” In the same way, each individual retains in himself, in his unconscious, as Freud has shown, all the stages from the helpless infant on. The question is to what point he has grown. One thing is certain : the nature of his love for God corresponds to the nature of his love for man, and furthermore, the real quality of his love for God and man often is unconscious—covered up and rationalized by a more mature thought of what his love is. Love for man, furthermore, while directly embedded in his relations to his family, is in the last analysis determined by the structure of the society in which he lives. If the social structure is one of submission to authority—overt authority or the anonymous authority of the market and public opinion, his concept of God must be infantile and far from the mature concept, the seeds of which are to be found in the history of monotheistic religion.

Ceara Lynch: Mindfuckery

I just read this fascinating blog (“Mindfucking and Rejection Roleplay”) by Mistress Darcy. I’m only familiar with Mistress Darcy through her website; which is to say, I’m really not familiar with her at all. Nevertheless, her story struck a chord. You see, of my few fetishes, the “Princess Brat Becomes Femme Fatale” is perhaps the most alluring. That fetish is a jumble of paradox and riddles for me. I’m mature, intelligent, I dress-up well, am financially comfortable and retired from a career position in which power and authority were the norm. A young woman, a ‘Princess Brat’, though filled with potential, seldom has the authority, power, maturing, wisdom, or financial means that a man of my stature does. And yet …

And yet there is a sexual charge in having all that control, authority, and self-discipline teased away from me. There is power in youth. There is power in youth’s unbounded confidence. If wisdom and experience are born from the lessons of mistakes, then the ‘Princess Brat’, being young and without benefit of years of mistakes to learn from, lacks the wisdom and experience that tempers the actions of a more mature person. There is an appealing freshness … a ‘mental virginity’ of sorts … that, when coupled with the Princess’s awakening awareness of both the inherent weakness in men and her new-found power to exploit it, creates a dynamic of immeasurable possibilities. For the young Princess, the play is new and exciting. She is entering new territory. To suddenly and unexpectedly have control over what previously has been the stereotypical person of authority controlling her is arousing to watch. And even more arousing to be part of. There’s a dynamic not often discussed and seldom acknowledged. A dynamic in which a young emerging Domme/Femme Fatale learns, and is even mentored, by a more experienced, giving, and trusted submissive … a submissive who encourages the Princess Brat not only to experiment with that power, but is both a partner and playmate who provides constructive feedback and guidance to that less experienced Domme. It’s not so much “topping from the bottom” as it’s a relationship in which knowledge and power are exchanged for mutual benefit. Just being a small part of the process in which a woman’s power is unleashed … being part of the transition from “Young Girl” to “Princess Brat” to “Femme Fatale” … is wondrously satisfying.

Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake — Femme Fatale’

 

And I suppose that’s why Mistress Darcy’s blog resonated. Not because she’s a ‘Princess Brat’, but rather that her story is one of a Woman who has transitioned far beyond to become a skilled, imaginative Femme Fatale. Mistress Darcy’s insight and imaginative exploitation of her client’s self-image and characteristic male hubris (i.e., his weakness) are learned. The work and acting skills Mistress Darcy adopt and use to enable a role play session satisfying both her and her client are deliberate, polished, and targeted. The client is not so much misled by Mistress Darcy as by his own mindset. What he sees as the scenario unfolds is not role play at all. Rather, to him it’s a familiar well-traveled path where he is the seducer, the hunter – and Mistress Darcy is the the prey. It isn’t until later, when Mistress Darcy springs her trap that the sudden and unexpected role reversal is recognized by the client. It’s pure, unadulterated mindfuckery. And it’s magnificent.

Mistress Darcy is a professional Dominatrix. Her sessions are real time so they’re a full-dimensional sensory experience. The interaction between professional Domme and submissive client is dynamic, non-linear, instantaneous, and may easily diverge from script or plan. It takes a skilled, imaginative, thoughtful and experienced Domme to manage the session so as to deliver an experience for the submissive that will leave him begging for more. For the discerning or more self-aware experienced submissive, finding a Domme of Mistress Darcy’s caliber locally is often impossible. And any experience less is at best disappointing and at worse meaningless and a waste of time.

Enter Ceara Lynch.

Ceara Lynch offers a different Femme Fatale experience. It’s virtual not real time; for a client it’s more easily accessible (and often anonymous.) Done mainly through custom made video clips , the communication is simplex, the dynamic is linear. She doesn’t see the softening or hardening of client’s cock to help her gauge whether the client is having the sort of experience he wants. And yet ….

And yet Ceara Lynch manages to overcome these shortcomings in the medium to deliver a level of mindfuckery unrivaled among her peers. As with Mistress Darcy, her performance is deliberate, polished, and targeted. Getting out her own way and drawing upon years of experience, she divines the mind of her client, assesses his weaknesses, and exploits them. Her voice is her anvil, her image her hammer. And the poor client’s ego is pounded, made malleable, and finally bent into the shape and condition desired by the client.

As with Mistress Darcy’s blog role play session, Ceara Lynch’s most successful mind numbing scenarios often develop over an extended period of time. Successive clips, or even a series of several clips, are designed and produced to culminate in a royal mind fuck. Whether it’s five consecutive days of Tease and Denial, eight weeks of No Erections, or multiple hypnosis/mesmorize sessions, there is a consistency in Ceara’s clips – she deliberately gets inside the client’s decision timeline in order to control both the tempo and intensity of the experience. It’s masterful, even artistic. And it’s done with little or no instantaneous feedback from the client. Yet the client’s find it sufficiently satisfying as to return … again and again … for more.

Over the years, I’ve watched Ceara Lynch transition from ‘Brat Princess’ to ‘Femme Fatale.’ Like Mistress Darcy, she has learned to recognize and exploit weaknesses in the male psyche in order to deliver an experience that leaves clients wanting more. It’s work, it’s experience, and it’s imagination. Though they use different means and methods, it’s clear that both Mistress Darcy and Ceara Lynch take ‘mindfucking and rejection’ to new and unparalleled places in the minds of man.

A Run Ashore

(Note:  This blog isn’t about Ceara Lynch.  Rather, it’s a story about my first visit to the city in which Ceara lives.  I think it’s an amusing story.  Maybe even sort of entertaining.  But it’s not about Ceara.  Just sayin’.)

We had just pulled up under the Burnside bridge. After 6 weeks of battling winter weather in the Gulf of Alaska, the old ship somehow made it safely up the Columbia River and was now berthed quay side in downtown Portland, Oregon. Two nights. No duty or watches to stand and downtown Portland literally within a hundred yards of the brow. It was 1980. I was 27 years old. It was my first time in Portland and I was ready for a good “run ashore.” The plan was simple. Get royally drunk and fucked up the first night. Sleep in the next day until lunch. Grab a bite to eat aboard the ship, go ashore, visit the bank to replenish my cash, and then just wander about Portland a bit until the second evening when I would meet an old friend at the Couch Street Fish House for dinner. After that … well … I’d just play it by ear.  With any luck, I’d find myself a quality hook up.

As I said, that was the plan.

So after dinner aboard, I crossed the brow with a shipmate and off we went. It was a different time back then and it didn’t take long to find our first drink. As I remember, it was a nice place.  Actually, it was a quality place. The sort of place that served Tullamore Dew in leaden-crystal whiskey glasses. A place where the evening clientele wore business attire, stopping (and staying awhile) after work for a quick social drink or two. In short, for that first night ashore, it was a place to get started … not to end up.

And so we left after an hour or so. It was summer, the late sun had just set, and out antennas were up. There was live music coming from somewhere nearby. There was a vibe, a feeling that appealed to a couple young sailors fresh from the ardors of sea. Here was a watering hole where we could relax and not have to worry about offending too many people with whatever antics or indiscretions might occur when young sailors and alcohol intermix. Here was a place that felt like fun. In short, here was the place where I was going to get so stinking drunk that I’d have a hard time walking back to the ship when the bar closed sometime during the wee morning hours of tomorrow.

Wait. Wait just a minute.

That’s right. Before walking through the door and committing myself to a night of alcohol-induced mind-numbing senselessness, better to take my bearings so that I would be able to wander back to the ship without any mishap. But that really wasn’t going to be hard, was it? I mean, I had barely walked ½ mile from the ship that night. There were no tall buildings along the river blocking my view and I was able to actually see the mast of the ship from where I stood. So that was it. Once the place closed down and kicked me out, all I had to do was scan the horizon until I spotted the mast. Finding my way back home couldn’t be any easier.

Five hours of hard drinking later and the place closed.  Myself and a couple bar-fly regulars were shown the door (my shipmate had long since left for parts unknown.)  I don’t remember what time it was … maybe 2 or 3 in the morning.  I was sleepy and I could hear my shipboard rack (bed) calling my name, beckoning me on.  And I remembered. The ship was within walking distance. All I had to do was to find the mast on the horizon and walk towards it.

So I scanned the skyline. And there it was. The mast of the ship. It looked close. Hardly a block or two away. Just beyond that building ahead.

I turned the corner of the the building. And there it was. The mast. The mast of the USS PORTLAND Memorial in Portland’s Riverfront Park.

And I laughed. Out loud. For a few minutes. Because sleeping on the grass beneath the memorial was my drinking buddy from the ship. Too funny!! It seems we’d both been fooled by the memorial. And were too incapacitated to go on. So I found a comfortable place in the grass nearby and slept until sunrise.

That was my first night in Portland. And though I don’t remember much of that visit, I’ll always remember that fuckin’ mast.

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What Does the Future Hold for Ceara Lynch?

Sometimes I wonder what Ceara Lynch will be doing in ten or fifteen years?

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No one can look into the future and say with certainty what will happen, but we can take a look at other successful porn stars to see how their lives played out after retiring from in front of the camera.

Lisa Ann

Lisa Ann

Lisa Ann starred in 522 adult films and directed another 53. She is probably most famous for her Sarah Palin impersonation.

Lisa Ann After

The 43-year-old Lisa Ann only just recently retired from porn. She has launched a porn star boot camp to help people who are trying to get into the adult film business and also hosts a weekly fantasy sports show on Sirius XM.

Asia Carrera

Asia Carrera Before

Asia Carrera was a Mensa International member who walked away from a full academic scholarship so she could appeared in 389 adult films.

Asia Carrera After

Now she’s a stay-at-home mom raising two kids in Utah.

Tera Patrick

Tera Patrick Before

Tera Patrick started her career in 1999 and appeared in 130 films.

Tera Patrick After

Tera now runs the production company, Teravision INC and is a millionaire.

Tiffany Million

Tiffany Million

Tiffany Million appeared in 129 titles during her career.

Tiffancy Million After

She now runs her own business as a licenses private investigator.

Mary Carey

Mary Cary Before

At one point Mary Carey was making $300,000 per month doing porn.

Mary Cary After

After retiring, she ran for governor of California twice promising to legalize gay marriage. Now she focuses on comedy and acting and has appeared in a few reality TV shows.

Houston

Houston Before

Houston was the first porn star to receive a $1 million paycheck and auctioned her labia trimmings for $50,000.

Houston After

After retiring she went to nursing school.

Raylene

Raylene Before

Raylene appeared in 456 films during her career.

Raylene After

She is now a real estate agent.

Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson Before

Jenna Jameson was once considered ‘The Queen of Porn’ and has won more than 35 adult video awards.

Jenna Jameson After

She started her company ClubJenna while she was still doing porn and is now worth $10 million.

Sasha Grey

Sasha Grey

Sasha Grey stared in 315 films and was the youngest person to win AVN’s Female Performer of the Year Award.

Sasha Grey After

After retiring she has become a mainstream actress, appearing in movies, TV shows and voice acting for video games.
Amber Lynn

Amber Lynn Before

Amber Lynn had a 17 year career in porn.

Amber Lynn After

She now runs a real estate practice and does sobriety counseling.

Ceara Lynch

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What will Ceara Lynch be doing fifteen years?  Will she be living a quiet life in some tropical beachside bungalow?  Running a multi-million dollar business empire?  Living a more traditional life, married with children?  Doing something more mainstream in the entertainment industry?  Focusing her energies on social issues?  Running for political office?

The future for Ceara Lynch is unknowable.  What I do hope is that whatever she’s doing, it will be fun, interesting, and balanced with a life that’s well worth living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ceara Lynch: Feminist

Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.” – George Carlin

Ceara Lynch once mentioned to me that she thought modern feminism had misguided priorities. At the time, I thought I knew what she meant. Turns out, I didn’t.

My Perception …

Funny thing about perception. A person’s perception is usually incomplete; many facets of reality go unobserved, discounted, or outright ignored. And so it was with my perception of feminism. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, I saw the Women’s Lib movement. Feminism was about female autonomy, equality of opportunity, and the right to self-actualize. By the late 1980’s, feminism had become more nuanced The emphasis shifted from equality of opportunity to equality of outcome. Feminism was a zero sum game is which women won and men lost. Then in the 2000’s, I saw feminism become less adversarial, less political, and more personalized. The emphasis shifted from women in the aggregate to the individual. The story of feminism was told in terms of individual endeavors and achievements. Feminism celebrated the success and contributions of specific women, and shined its social justice spotlight on crimes, such as sexual assault and sexual harassment, perpetrated against the individual person.

At least, that’s what I thought I saw. The fact is, what I thought I saw was not what I was seeing at all. I was missing the big picture.

The Arc of Feminism …

Some thinkers have sought to locate the roots of feminism in ancient Greece with Sappho, or the medieval world with Hildegard of Bingen or Christine de Pisan. Certainly Olympes de Gouge, Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen are predecessors to the modern women’s movement. All of these people advocated for the dignity, intelligence, and basic human potential of the female sex. However, it wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that the efforts for women’s equal rights coalesced into a clearly identifiable and self-conscious series of movements.

The first wave of feminism took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when three hundred men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. That Convention produced a Declaration that outlined the new movement’s ideology and political strategies.

In its early stages, feminism was interrelated with the temperance and abolitionist movements. Discussions about the vote and women’s participation in politics led to an examination of the differences between men and women with claims that women were morally superior to men and their presence in the civic sphere would improve public behavior and the political process.

The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90s. This wave unfolded in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups around the world. The New Left was on the rise, and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical. In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement’s energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

Because the second wave of feminism found voice amid so many other social movements, it was easily marginalized and viewed as less pressing than, for example, Black Power or efforts to end the war in Vietnam. Feminists reacted by forming women-only organizations and “consciousness raising” groups. Over time,. the second wave became increasingly theoretical, based on a fusion of neo-Marxism and psycho-analytical theory, and began to associate the subjugation of women with broader critiques of patriarchy, capitalism, normative heterosexuality, and the woman’s role as wife and mother.

Whereas the first wave of feminism was generally propelled by middle class western white women, the second phase drew in women of color and developing nations, seeking sisterhood and solidarity. Feminists spoke of women as a social class and coined phrases such as “the personal is political” and “identity politics” in an effort to demonstrate that race, class, and gender oppression are all related. They initiated a concentrated effort to rid society top-to-bottom of sexism, from children’s cartoons to the highest levels of government. One of the strains of this complex and diverse wave was the development of women-only spaces and the notion that women working together create a special dynamic that is not possible in mixed-groups, which would ultimately work for the betterment of the entire planet. Women, whether due to their long “subjugation” or to their biology, were thought by some to be more humane, collaborative, inclusive, peaceful, nurturing, democratic, and holistic in their approach to problem solving than men.

How successful was the second wave? Many goals of the second wave were met: more women in positions of leadership in higher education, business and politics; abortion rights; access to the pill that increased women’s control over their bodies; more expression and acceptance of female sexuality; general public awareness of the concept of and need for the “rights of women”; a solid academic field in feminism, gender and sexuality studies; greater access to education; organizations and legislation for the protection of battered women; women’s support groups and organizations; an industry in the publication of books by and about women/feminism; public forums for the discussion of women’s rights; and a societal discourse at the popular level about women’s suppression, efforts for reform, and a critique of patriarchy. With these successes, there was a a sense that many women’s needs have been met. The movement didn’t end, however. Rather, a third wave evolved.

The third wave of feminism began in the mid-90’s and focused less on laws and politics and more on individual identity and choices. Realizing there are many different backgrounds and many different ways to be a woman, it challenged the assumption there is a universal way to be a ‘good woman.’ The third wave allowed women to define feminism for themselves by incorporating their own identities into their belief system of what feminism is and what it could become. The third wave challenged stereotypes in the media, words used to describe gender, rape culture, gender expectations, body image issues, institutionalized patriarchy, etc. This wave also tried to avoid the “us-vs.-them mentalities” of the preceding waves; men weren’t the enemy, and women didn’t have some ‘better’ nature that set them apart from men. Rather, men and women were just people. Third wavers tended to think the genders had achieved parity or that society was well on its way to delivering it to them

The women of the third wave stepped onto the stage as strong and empowered, eschewing victimization and defining feminine beauty for themselves. They re-adopted the very lipstick, high heels, and low cut necklines that the first two phases of the movement identified with male oppression. Most third-wavers refused to identify as feminists and rejected the word that they find limiting and exclusionary. Third wavers tended to be global, multi-cultural, and shun simple answers or artificial categories of identity, gender, and sexuality; differences such as those of ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, etc. were celebrated and recognized as dynamic, situational, and provisional. For third wavers, struggles were more individual orientated rather than as a collective group with common grievances. Reality is conceived not so much in terms of fixed structures and power relations, but in terms of performance within contingencies. Third wave feminism broke down or did not recognize boundaries.

The fourth wave of feminism is still a captivating silhouette. Fourth-wave feminism is often associated with online feminism, especially using social media to discuss, uplift, and activate gender equality and social justice. According to the National Organization of Women, the internet has created a “call-out” culture in which sexism can be called out and challenged immediately with relative ease. Fourth wavers more readily presume a point of view that believes a persons’ social position influences their knowledge (called “standpoint theory”) and argue that the feminist movement should address global issues (such as rape, incest, and prostitution) and culturally specific issues (such as female genital mutilation in some parts of Africa and the Middle East, as well as glass ceiling practices that impede women’s advancement in developed economies) in order to understand how gender inequality interacts with racism, homophobia, and classism in a “matrix of domination.” The emerging fourth wavers are not just reincarnations of their second wave predecessors; they bring to the discussion important perspectives taught by third wave feminism. Among the third wave’s bequests is the importance of inclusion, an acceptance of the sexualized human body as non-threatening, and the role the internet can play in leveling hierarchies.

FEMDOM, Feminism, and Empowerment …

FEMDOM is a very nuanced activity.  To the novice or uninitiated, FEMDOM can easily be mistaken as a type of sexual extension for radical Second Wave feminism; i.e., it’s an incredible form of female empowerment whereby a woman asserts her will over a man. Interestingly, Ceara Lynch doesn’t see herself that way at all. She doesn’t think she is inherently better than a man just because she’s a woman. As she says, “It’s just a role I’m playing to cater to men’s fantasies. It’s sex work. I have pretty good self-esteem, but I try not to take this whole ‘princess’ or ‘goddess’ thing too seriously because that would be loony tunes. At the end of the day, I’m just helping guys jerk off, and that’s okay. It’s neither extraordinary nor degrading.”

Clearly Ceara Lynch doesn’t identify with Second Wave feminism. For that matter, she probably doesn’t even consider herself a feminist. Most Third Wavers don’t. And let’s face it, whether a woman calls herself a feminist or not is just an exercise in semiotics. The whole point of feminism is that women have the right to be whoever they want to be. That means they can decide how they dress, talk, act, and (yes) even who they have sex with. Ceara Lynch is a Third Waver. She isn’t threatened by sexuality, avoids the Second Waves “us-versus-them” mentality, and takes a more inclusive global Fourth Wave view towards what she thinks are higher priority female issues.

But as Oscar Wilde pointed out, defining Ceara Lynch is “to limit.” And Ceara Lynch doesn’t allow others to limit her. She personifies feminism not because she’s a dominatrix, but because she’s her own person. She’s an empowered woman.

You Don’t Have to be a White Whale. Be Charlie the Tuna and Be Good Enough.

How To …

A few days ago, Ceara Lynch posted a much praised blog entry about How to Make Money as a Financial Dominatrix. In a way, it’s a companion piece to her blog 10 Steps to Becoming a Humiliatrix. As advice goes, these two blogs comprise the most cogent I’ve seen for women aspiring to make a living in the online FEMDOM/FINDOM industry.

But Ceara’s blogs tell only half the story. Her success is really the result of two factors – the work she puts in executing her business model, and the quality of the products and services she provides. You can have the best business model, put in the hours and the sweat, and still not succeed. Because if you’ve got a flawed product no one will buy it repeatedly. And, as all businesses learn, loyal repeat customers are worth exponentially more than single-time buyers. Repeat customers are the key to success.

Previously in this blog, I’ve tried to examine those aspects of Ceara Lynch’s business that lead to repeat customers. I’ve discussed her business acumen (Ceara Lynch: A Head for Business) as well as some of those traits that make her so appealing (Ceara Lynch: The Psychological Aspects of Her Business, Ceara Lynch: Playing with Men, Ceara Lynch: Dignity and Humiliation.) When taken together, Ceara’s entries and mine offer insight into methods, techniques and perspective which may lead to a successful online FINDOM business.

But I digress.

What I want to write about is not aimed at the aspiring FINDOM. Rather, it’s meant as advice for those men aspiring to be “White Whales.”

Thar’ She Blows …

If you haven’t read Ceara’s How To Make Money as a Financial Dominatrix blog, you should. The blog centers around a graph of a FINDOM’S Effort/Time versus Money. Below is my version of Ceara’s graph.

Chart 1

The Fair Market line is the dark line running diagonally 45 degrees up and to the right from the graph’s origin. It’s the line in which the financial domme’s return on her time and effort is rewarded at a rate established by the fair market. Any transaction above and to the left of that line (the green zone) provides a greater return. Any transaction to the right and below the line provides a return less than fair market rates.

I’ve categorized customer type by where their transactions usually fall. Above the fair market value line are (1) “white whales” whose transactions provide astounding return for relatively little effort, (2) “preferred’ customers who provide excellent return for effort, and (3) “good” customers who provide better than average return for a financial dominatrix’s effort. Below the fair market line are (1) “poor” customer transactions in which the FINDOM loses money but which she may still accept in order to cultivate a fair market relationship, and (2) “time wasters” which neither are, nor offer potential for, fair market transactions.

Clearly if you’re a client or customer seeking to establish a more enduring client/provider relationship with FINDOM, the vast majority of you’re transactions must occur in the green zone of the graph. The more your transactions tend upward and to the left, the more favorable the financial domme will view the relationship. I mean, that’s obvious, right?

Which brings me to the pie chart below.

Graph 2 (2)

 

The above chart shows the relative distribution of customer types that FINDOMS deal with on a daily basis. Well over two-thirds of all transactions proffer less than fair market return for effort, about one half offer no return at all. About one in eight clients are “preferred” (e.g., financial slaves) offering excellent return for effort, and far less than one half percent of all transactions are of the “white whale” type.

What this means is that for a potential financial slave, or a submissive seeking a more enduring relationship with a FINDOM, it’s fairly easy to break out of the pack since, for the most part, the pack is made up of clients and customers the FINDOM doesn’t want.

Breaking Out of the Pack …

So how do you break out of the pack? It’s actually quite easy. Here’s just a couple ideas.

  1. As Miz Lindsay says, “Cash over compliments.” Words are cheap. Compliments are a dime a dozen. Cash, on the other hand, speaks volumes. If you want to move into the “good” client category, give the FINDOM more than her time and effort are worth on the free market. Don’t be stingy. And don’t send the tribute and expect something in return. Remember, what you’re getting with your tributes is separation from the pack. You’re getting noticed by the FINDOM. And that, after all, is what you probably want most.
  2. Credibility is valuable, so don’t lose it. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Even if you can’t do it right away, do it as soon as you can.
  3. Provide positive feedback. A FINDOM’s marketing lifeline is social media word- of-mouth. Don’t tell the FINDOM she’s awesome … TELL OTHER PEOPLE she’s awesome! Positive reviews and positive comments generate internet traffic and web page hits. And that’s what online marketing is all about.
  4. You don’t have to a “white whale. Sometimes being a “tuna” is good enough. Moderate to small tributes done often are sufficient to be noticed and perhaps move you into the “preferred’ category. Many a FINDOM has said they prefer the sub who sacrifices over the sub who doesn’t. I don’t believe that … not in a heartbeat. Sacrifice is nice, but a college kid living on noodles so that he can scrape together a few nickels for his FINDOM can hardly make the same impact as a well-heeled sub sending hundreds of dollars every time he plays. Just remember, this isn’t a competition among subs. What your trying to do is break out of the pack .. a pack mainly composed of “time-wasters” and “poor” customers. Frequent tributes, no matter how small, are sufficient to do that.
  5. Don’t make or take things personally. Remember your FINDOM is in the fantasy-fulfilling business. You should only be seeking what the FINDOM can provide … temporary moments of submissiveness; not a lifestyle devoted to it.
  6. Along those lines, don’t make the mistake of thinking being an “online slave” is the same as being a real BDSM slave. For the most part, the relationship between you and your FINDOM is pretty shallow. For her, you’re a client. For you, she’s mainly someone to masturbate to. Sacrificing is almost always optional.
  7. Respect her privacy. Don’t be a wanker and solicit interaction at odd hours of the day or outside of her regular business hours. Remember, the key is to make your interactions more valuable to her than what she could get on the free market. You want to be an asset to her business, not a burden.
  8. Tip. When ordering custom videos, provide a little bit extra than the going rate. It’ll go a long way towards moving up and to the left on the graph.

Reality Check …

Be honest with yourself and with the FINDOM. Financial domination is not for everybody. No credible FINDOM wants to ruin you, and you shouldn’t ruin yourself. It’s just play after all.

Finally, don’t delude yourself into thinking your online relationship with the FINDOM will evolve into something more real and fulfilling. It almost certainly won’t. The reality is that it’s rare for an online FINDOM and an online submissive to become real time friends. And even if that happens, it’s even more rare for their relationship moves beyond that.

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As always, thoughts, ideas and comments are appreciated.

Ceara Lynch: Kissing Done Right

The research is pretty clear.  Kissing counts.  Kissing, and not speaking or smiling, is the key to finding love.  Kiss well and you may find a partner for life (or at least for the evening).  Kiss poorly, and you won’t get a second chance.

One of my favorite, most detailed studies of kissing behavior was conducted in 2007 by Hughes, Harrison, and Gallup.  The group surveyed a total of 1,041 male and female experts (i.e., undergraduate students) on numerous aspects of kissing behavior.  Here’s what they found.

Kissing is Persuasive.  Both men and women use kissing to decide on a potential partner. Good kissers are more likely to get chosen.  Bad kissing, in contrast, can be a deal-breaker. Good kissing creates and maintains a feeling of bonding and attachment, which is important both early in a relationship and over time.  Good kissing can also lead to arousal and sex.  Passionate make-outs are effective (and often necessary) precursors to further intimacy.

Elements of a Good Kiss.  Attractive kissing partners were found to have good hygiene, including fresh breath and clean teeth.  Grooming had an effect overall as well.  Both men and women found assertiveness attractive in a kisser.  Partners who committed to a kiss, rather than making out half-heartedly, were viewed as better kissers.  Touching, caressing, and general physical contact while kissing was also key to a successful smooch. Finally, kissing with a new partner was evaluated as best when closed-mouth initially, with minimal saliva exchange (especially for women).  Soft, moist lips were preferable; a drooling, tongue-down approach was not.  Over time, kissing could work up to greater “passion” and “intimacy,” with increased open-mouth, tongue, and saliva exchange.

Gender Differences.  Overall, a good kiss appeared more important to women than to men.  The study indicated that women use kissing to judge a date or mate more than men. They are also more likely to use kissing as a way to bond—and to look for kisses throughout a relationship.  In addition, they are less likely to kiss when they feel a partner only wants sex and nothing more.  By contrast, men were found to be somewhat less picky with their kissing partners.  However, they were also found to be more passionate.  Men prefer open-mouthed, tongue-included, wet kissing more than women.  They also seemed to prefer that their partner makes pleasurable noises while kissing.

When and How to Kiss.  Given the research, there would appear to be three main times one should kiss a partner for persuasive effect.

To prove yourself and test a partner – that first kiss.   A first kiss can be anxiety-provoking, but that doesn’t mean one should put it off for too long.  Remember, assertiveness is attractive.  Commit to the kiss.  And don’t forget about hygiene … the smell and taste of your mouth are key to success.  Brush your teeth, avoid smelly food, or use breath mints. Soft lips are helpful, as well, so don’t skimp on the lip balm.

From there, it’s all about the mechanics.  Wet your lips slightly, as nicely lubricated lips are more welcome.  When you lean in to begin a (closed-mouth) kiss, be sure to touch as well.  Hold your partner’s cheek, brush their hair away from their face, and embrace or cuddle as you kiss.  Also, let your partner “lead” the kiss a bit. (You’re judging them and their “style” as much as they are yours.)

A first kiss isn’t the time for a heavy “make-out” session.  It may be heartfelt and passionate, perhaps with a bit of playful flirting.  Only kiss for a few moments (be sure to leave them wanting more) but, continue to touch, cuddle, and look in your partner’s eyes afterward, too.

To connect and bond.  Kissing can make a partner feel noticed, loved, and connected.  This is especially true in long-term relationships, in which kissing can often be forgotten.  When you want your partner to feel good and “like” you, remember to give them a smooch.  The mechanics of a “bonding” kiss are similar to that of the “testing” kiss (hygiene, soft lips, a loving caress, etc.).  Bonding kisses can be lengthy and include a cuddly make-out session, but they can be equally persuasive if they are very short, even just a peck or a caring kiss on the forehead.  In this case, it is literally the thought that counts, because this is about “bonding”—building a feeling of comfort and attachment here, and not necessarily sexual arousal.  These kisses are ideal during “spontaneous” moments, as part of a larger effort to build connection and rapport.  This type of bonding kissing is also important after sex to make sure a partner feels loved and attended to.

To arouse and seduce.  Kissing, of course, often leads to passionate feelings and sexual activity, especially more “intimate” open-mouth, tongue-involved kisses.  If you are “in the mood,” you’ll likely seek to persuade your partner’s libido with a kiss.  Passionate kissing is essentially a progression of the other two types.  All of the hygiene and touching rules apply.  The intensity gets turned up a bit with greater assertiveness.  Slowly, the touching and embracing gets a bit more intense, as open mouths and tongues get involved.  Arousal kissing also lasts longer; we escalate the intensity when we feel our partner reciprocate.  As they become more assertive, we may proceed to kissing other areas (like the neck) and to foreplay.  If they slow it down, we may go back to another type of kissing until they are on the same page.

Still Confused?  Not Sure?

Kissing is not complicated.  If you’re still confused and not sure as to how and when to kiss, then I suggest you buy and watch the below Ceara Lynch video clips.  Pay close attention to how the kiss progresses through the testing phase to the arousal and seduction phase.  As a general rule, pornography is NOT a good way to learn how to kiss and/or make love with a partner.  However, I think it’s safe to say that Ceara Lynch does kissing right … and her clips can be very instructive for men (and women) who lack confidence or technique in the common, but important, art of kissing.

“Get a Room” featuring Mistress T

mistresstkissing
Ceara and Mistress T

“Raunchy Rene” featuring Princess Rene

renekissing
Ceara and Rene

“Dreams Do Come True” featuring Alexandra Snow

snowkissing
Ceara and Alexandra Snow