Thursday, 1 August 2013

On Sponsors, Trust, Mark Minter and Mentors

The Manaosphere is all a-flutter because a guy called Mark Minter is getting engaged to a fellow Manosphere poster Geisha Kate. He's 58 and divorced, she's 34 and a single mother. He was, up to about the 25th July 2013, widely admired for his heart-felt and fluent denunciation of all things marriage and American female. The reaction divides into three: "see, I told you he was a white knight all along", "he's a fraud and we have been deceived", "I wish them both the best of luck and hope the love of a good woman gets him over his anger". His ex-wife has posted long and bitter to the point where I wondered "And you had two kids with this man why?" Of course, it's the single guys who feel betrayed; the married guys who are glad he's getting over his issues; and the competition who are glad he's fallen from his perch.

Which set me thinking. Avoiding exactly this disappointment with individuals is exactly why "we take the advice, not the advisor". Which has long been my attitude to AA's idea of sponsorship. Being an ACoA, I'm not likely to work well with the idea that someone else is going to be a repository of wisdom and experience, whose advice were better taken than ignored. I believe that we are responsible for choosing the advice we take, and that choice should be based on content, not the reputation of the advisor. This means, for instance, that I get to decide whether the damn butchers are going to operate on me when in old age, as is inevitable, they find virulent cancer knocking around my organs. I don't get to decide the exact method, and which knife they use, but I get to make the Go / No Go decision, and if they can't or won't inform me to my satisfaction, the answer is NO. That's because I already know that cancer treatments delay death by about three to five years at most, years during which I would most likely have soul-sapping chemotherapy and other barbaric treatments. If the technology changes, so might my answer.

However, this is a lonely mode of being. It means I don't trust anyone - not because I think they are malicious, but because they may be ill-advised, taking the easy way, or blinded by their own beliefs - and while those are good reasons for not taking what someone says on faith, it still means I don't trust anyone (except on trivial shit like "which way is the airport?"). Not trusting people is tiring: I'm guessing that trusting and finding that trust rewarded is energising and simplifies the world you live in. You'll have to tell me, I wouldn't know. 

And it's worse. I don't trust the advice, of course. I cross-reference it, compare it to my experience, get second opinions, experiment if possible on stuff that doesn't matter or cost much if the advice is bad. If I don't test some stuff, it's because the cost of not testing and finding it fails is small enough to carry. Which is why you will never find me jumping out of an airplane wearing a parachute - not a civilian one anyway.

I'm not sure that's an effective way to live. I think we are supposed to have people in our lives we can trust, starting with our parents, to guide us. (Of course, if the world changes too damn fast, then the Oldies can't advise because they have old assumptions about a new world. Rapid change breeds low-level wariness.) I've seen AA's do well with the a sponsor that suited them, and equally others get royally messed-up by ones that didn't. People need to trust and be trusted like they need to love and be loved. Those of us who live without trust or love on a daily basis (which does not mean we live with betrayal and contempt on a daily basis, it just means No-Bad-Stuff, No-Good-Stuff) will tell you how tiring it is, and how limiting. When you have no-one you can turn to for guidance, or for an example, you do less, experiment less, and live in more of a rut. Kinda like not knowing where to find good tradesmen, your house stays unchanged because you can't find anyone you would trust to do the building, plumbing and electrical that you can't do yourself.

I never had a sponsor in AA. I tried a couple of times before I noticed a pattern. They never bothered to ask me the basic CV questions, but assumed they knew what was wrong with me. How can you even begin to work with someone until you know what they studied, what they read, or how they spend their time? I gave up after that, and just listened to what people said in the Meetings, and took the stuff that seemed interesting to use later. To test, not to trust. I believe in AA and the 12 Steps not because I have faith, but because it works for me and I have seen it work for others. Not everyone, but enough. Which means, of course, that I don't believe in it at all. If I have evidence, I don't need belief.

We're not supposed to live like that. It's too tiring. It's emotionally flattening, it's like being in cold, grey weather all the time. We are supposed to be able to trust, like we are supposed to have a little sunshine every day.

So then Mark Minter. He upset a lot of younger men wanting a role model and a guru. The ease with which he did a 360-degree turn made some of them wonder how strong their ideas really were. Those who looked forward to more of his insights and stories were disappointed that no more would be forthcoming. A chunk of the possibility of trust vanished from the world of some people, and they rightly howled at its loss. 

I will be freaking flabbergasted if it works out for him, but I promise not to say "we all told you so". And I am a 59-year-old man, so I know exactly what he's talking about, but then MGTOW is for those of us able to live day after day with only the illusion of personal relationships and contact. There is a rush of hormones that accompanies a hug or even a smile that promises imminent intimate contact: even the thought of that rush now terrifies me. I would probably faint, or have a heart attack, if a woman touched any part of me with intent to deliver. (I can hug and kiss-cheek with the best of them, but those promise nothing.) I sure as shit couldn't go about my outwardly modest and sensible, but inwardly bullshit, life afterwards. This is what he's talking about: the endless cold blue emotional skies of the late-middle-aged bachelor. I would not wish it on anyone, as it takes self-denial and emotional endurance to live it without falling into the bottle, or over-eating or other harmful solaces. That's what Mark Minter is talking about. He doesn't want to live under those skies, as many people do not and cannot.

There's always the possibility that it's one enormous troll, or a piece of performance art, but if it's real Mr Minter is a deluded idiot. Madness, as we say in AA, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But then, I never did get the whole marriage thing, kinda like you don't get he whole cohomology thing. Except getting cohomology is much, much less risky than getting married. 

No comments:

Post a Comment