The Serpent's Egg

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Sun Aug 17 20:08:07 MDT 2003

Well guys, I just wrote to Les I have to cool it on the mails... but just
briefly -

Chris asks:

Could you consider homosexuality?

No, not really, although I usually have had gay friends socially, and still
do. I've have been through most permutations there are, partly out of
rebellion, desperation, curiosity or need for a more objective,
experientially based view, but in the end I still love women, and I still
fantasise about a gentle, smart, soulful, broad-thinking female partner as a
matter of fact, someone you can rely on for love and good criticism where
needed, develop a genuine, honest and tender intimacy with. Love and life
are the most important things there are. Well, to realise a good
relationship of course you have to do what it takes, a woman does expect
something, as you know, you have to be real about that. But I was never much
good at selling myself anyhow, and I have felt so put down at times, that I
could not be bothered to go through the moves anymore. Often I just get
impatient with the whole sexual "spiel". Sex may actually not mean very
much, and often the feeling I get is, that the more sex people have, the
more alienated and dissatisfied they get. Some sociologist may one of these
days come up with a theory of sexual greed.

I've lived with 5 feminist women in the 1970s and 1980s, heaps of casuals
and a few more LATs, but after the "bombardment" and grievous experiences I
had, I got shocked out of the normal, natural ways I used to have for
meeting people, sort of out of sync with myself, often depressed, socially
withdrawn. There was no genuine personal liberation for me, I felt, just a
bunch of *****. I am very confident about my ideas and vision, and about
modifying them as necessary. I  developed them through thinking things
through for myself thoroughly, not being satisfied with easy answers, and
working with various competent, level-headed people, and I often know how to
pick them, but emotionally I have had enormous whacks, which I have to
resolve and put behind me, and to an extent I have although some traumatic
things can still throw me occasionally. But I don't think I want to go into
that stuff. We all have our little drama's, don't we. I don't want to
emphasise the political relevance of my own life, I have never really liked
this whole political discourse around the validation of your experience, and
I never angled for fame. I am interested in working out ideas, not in being
Mr Fantastic.

I went to four high schools and graduated MA in Education with honours, with
minors in philosophy and social sciences. I studied for Phd in political
economy and education, and worked as tutor and at times as parttime
lecturer, but didn't finish my Phd. I have seen both the theory and the
reality of education and human development, in its best and worst aspects,
and thought about it a lot (I'm 44 now). I normally like to tackle and
confront things in a personal way where I can, of course you cannot
experience everything personally, and some things you are best off to stay
away from, you can have too much of a good thing and so on, some things are
just bad for you. But there's something new every day, if you are open to
it.  It was through a critique of education and through philosophy, as well
as personal experience, that I arrived at Marx, and the idea that the
answers to the so-called "social question" (in the classical terminology)
are in politics. I co-founded four socialist groups in New Zealand and been
part of two here in Amsterdam, but am currently not very active, just trying
to get back into sync with myself. A good holiday might help that along.

I posted that article not because I agreed with it, but rather that it was
so remarkable in a slightly absurd way, and it has unleashed some good pithy
discussion (I can often get a good discussion started, I often noticed that
in political meetings in the 1980s). The misogynous bit is just a mood
really, wouldn't make to much of it. It's just that when you are forced to
delve into the subject of sexuality more deeply, and you gain a lot more
experience with it, also the social significance of it, you become less
naive, and you realise that women can be just as bad as men are, that they
aren't all "sugar and spice and all things nice". It becomes much clearer
which women you love, and which ones you hate, and why that is, just as some
will love you, and some hate you. It is a process of sorting out your own
feelings, knowing where you stand, regardless of what anybody else tries to
talk you into as being the "correct" stance.

Leftists might talk about women, but often I wonder what they really now
about it, a lot of it often seems to be based on moral debate, rather than
effective, practical strategies for emancipation. Feminists don't score any
points with me, just because they are feminists or women, I am just
persuaded in that context, by good clear political or cultural argument,
based on solid evidence, not simply by the assertion of values. I don't
think a man can be a feminist, but I'm quite happy if women choose for that,
permanently or as a stage in their lives. I can see the political importance
of it, because men can be bastards. It's just that as a socialist I believe
in social equality, while recognising differences in gender and sexual
orientation, so for me nothing necessarily follows from a particular sexual
identity by itself. The stance that people personally choose is fine and
good, I am basically a sexual libertarian, although I have my personal moral
code, but what are the political, cultural and organisational implications
of that, what are the interests behind it ? This is what you have to look
at, always.


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