Legend says that once Alexander the Great conquered the mighty Persian Empire and dethroned “the King of kings” he wept dearly, for in his mind there were no more worlds left to conquer. It had been his life’s sole purpose to defeat his enemies and one day there were none. Eventually this led him to ever more insane undertakings and his own loyal men rebelled against him. It wasn’t defeat which led him to ruin, but victory itself.
I believe there is an Alexander in all of us, for we all crave in conquering the unconquerable be it love, fame, riches or life itself, but I don’t think we actually understand what that entails. Our very physiology doesn’t help us either, as from an evolutionary perspective, we never quite evolved to live in a world of plenty. In essence we were given unquenchable thirsts for certain stimuli because our biological systems knew they had to assign a high importance to them given their relative scarcity, with the caveat being that we were never meant to succeed at satisfying them.
Hence we enjoy sugar to the point of becoming diabetic, hence we enjoy rest and relaxation to the point of lethargy and decline, hence we enjoy sex to the detriment of other aspects in our lives and so on and so on. These were not vices we were ever meant to fully satiate.
The thunderous roar of the cannon signalled the start of the battle. Napoleon had once more decided to take the Belgian countryside by storm, and only Wellington was there to stop him. The British audience cheered as Wellington smugly rode on the field, but the French booed loudly. An audience of fifty thousand people had descended upon Waterloo to mark the 200th anniversary of the famous battle, and see five thousand soldiers in full martial gala take to arms.
It’s well among the oddest of things I’ve done in my life. The whole experience had such a surreal undertone.In normal life, you can rarely even mention the name of Napoleon without hearing something along the lines of “wasn’t he like a really short dictator, or something?” but here we had fifty thousand nerds that could quote you napoleonic minutia at the drop of a bicorn hat. I’ve been to football games before – dragged there more like. Yet, for the first time ever, I understood that feeling that football fans have when being with fellow fans.
Last summer, I saw a man get shot in the gut with a shotgun at point blank range in broad daylight. It makes for a marked improvement since the last time I was in close proximity to a gun, as this time around I wasn’t on the receiving end. Nevertheless the whole experience got me thinking…
Much has been written in the last few years on the benefits of travel, and how it positively influences the mind by broadening horizons. You get to see a wider pallet of the picture that is life. Having said this, there are few who even mention that there could even be a bad side to travel and meeting people abroad. There’s even less who wouldn’t be surprised to hear such an idea. Nevertheless, there is a very real danger.
The main problem is that most other people on Earth do not travel. As such, whenever you leave a place, you also leave people behind. These people could’ve meant the world to you, and so to leave that place behind feels like there’s unfinished business to attend to. These unfinished stories, in aggregate, do take their toll. You might even at times look at a map, and think of all the friends, love affairs, moments and connections that you left behind. You’ve tried to maintain contact online, but it is an ill substitute for seeing them face to face.
I hear the low whirring of an engine, and as I write this there’s a small vibration below my feet, reminding me of the fact that I’m on a ferry crossing the English Channel from Dover to Calais. For many centuries this stretch of sea was the undeniable advantage that offered the British Isles impunity from any threat on the continent. Over time, there were many conquerors that tried to conquer Europe, but they simply couldn’t get past the sea and the so called “wooden wall”, which consisted of top of the line British ships that zealously guarded the waters. Tried as they might, this was the stretch of territory that they simply couldn’t cross.
Among the most famous of these conquerors is by far Napoleon – a man who emerged from the chaos of the French Revolution, and crowned himself Emperor, having been born in little more than poverty. This was a man who broke conventions in everything, he couldn’t even speak French properly as his first language was Italian. This was a man who, according to legend, in one of his first battles in Italy when his troops were about to retreat, grabbed the French banner, ran across a bridge where people were being mowed down left right and centre, and gave the soldiers courage to rush into battle and break the enemy’s morale in the process. At one point or another he ceased to be a man, and became a force of nature – terrorising kings, and charming countesses into his bed.
These sorts of stories build up a legend, but in the process we forget there ever was a person, like you and me. He’s become a myth, much in the same way as King Arthur and his Knights. The Napoleon you don’t much hear about is the shy, awkward Napoleon who was bullied at school, got rebuffed again and again by women, then got cheated on, and who’d considered committing suicide as his life wasn’t leading anywhere. In time, he learned how to solve these issues, and become one of the most extraordinary people that have ever existed.
Can we as a society please accept that girls love sex too? All too often I hear that women who enjoy sex, are somehow sluts, whereas the chaste, and meek ones are angels to be revered. I’m sick of this mentality, because it leads to having a society obsessed with sex, but that frowns on people actually having sex with each other. This leads to women hiding who they are, because they think that by showing what they think, and what they feel, they’ll be viewed as sluts.
I’ll say it again, and even in capital letters WOMEN LOVE SEX. I’m hardly the only person who’s said this over the ages. The Greeks even had it built into their very foundational mythology. Long ago, in a city near Athens, which was called Thebes, there lived a man called Tiresias. Often he had this habit of walking alone in the woods, and he once found a pair of copulating snakes. Slightly curious, he pulled out a stick, and smacked them. The goddess Hera, was displeased by this wanton act of violence and in punishment he was turned into a woman.
Filled with dismay, he learned to accept his position as a woman, and lived life like any of them. He married, and had children. Seven years later, he took a trip down the woods, and saw the exact same scene that had changed his life. Now, having learned the value of prudence and kindness, as a woman, he let the snakes be. In return, Hera transformed him back into a man (I imagine his husband wasn’t very pleased with this).
A little while later, Hera and Zeus were having an argument. Who enjoyed sex the most, men or women? Zeus argued that it had to be women, for who could deny the truth of this when you saw a woman drenched in sweat, her eyes rolled to the back of her head, whilst every muscle in her body spasmed uncontrollably and you heard her moan? Hera said that men, as they just seem to be obsessed with sex.
Nevertheless, to settle this argument, who else was better than someone that had been both sexes in their life? So they summoned Tiresias, and they asked him this question. He looked at them humbly, and answered “A man enjoys only a tenth of what a woman feels.” Hera was furious at this impetuous response and made him blind, Zeus couldn’t revert the punishment but in return he gave him the gift of foresight and youth for seven lifetimes.
Hera was angry at poor Tiresias, because she couldn’t play the role of purity anymore. The game was up, he couldn’t be told that he was wrong, as he’d lived it himself. Obviously this story didn’t happen, but it shows exactly the play that is being played in society. Ancient holy books, like the Bible, are especially bad at this – as they say that the dowry of a woman is worth more if she’s a virgin, if a woman loses her virginity to man, he must pay the father, as if he’d accidentally broken a window, priceless art, or something of the sort:
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins. “ – Exodus 22:16-17
I do not know whether this doublethink is something inherent in our biology, or something that is socially conditioned. Nevertheless, we should try to do something about it. A woman is not a slut if she has more partners than you. Hell, if you look at it in raw terms, an attractive woman will say more times no to sex than you will ever have a chance of saying yes to in your life. To quote Chris Rock “Every time a guy is nice to you, all he’s doing is offering dick.” Do not put words in my mouth and assume that because I say this that I don’t believe in kindness. What I’m saying is that yes there’s kindness, but there’s also horniness and that usually overrides the former.
As such, a woman says more times no to sex than what a man can only dream of. The man’s job is to persist, whilst a woman’s is to resist. That is the essence of the gender dynamic. If at times, the girl happens to “fail” in her duties, should we really hold it against her? She’s succeeded in 99.99% of all other cases. If to the general populace the word “slut” means a girl who loves having and has sex, then we can apply this to most girls, and it becomes meaningless. It’s like naming a colour and saying that the whole rainbow is that colour.
Words matter.I’m not advocating to eliminate it entirely though, as a word it has its use. Nevertheless, I’d tweak its definition a tad. A “slut” should only be someone who engages in sex irresponsibly, and without minding the consequences. I’m not gonna even touch the third wave feminist rant in regards to the word, it’s a whole different can of worms, that I have little to no interest in.
In either case, because of all this, men have often disregarded and offhandedly dismissed women’s sexual drives. All too often you see married women who are bored out of their minds, because their husbands think that she’s not that into sex. I’ve often heard that in relationships, the promise of sex can be used by women as a bargaining tool. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Men, we have to get our act together. Women are sexual beings as well. They’re not doing you a favour in having sex with you, if you do it right. Actually listen to them, actually hear what they have to say on the matter. Women have wild fantasies, which men don’t even come close to. Why do you think Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular? What would happen if I told you, for example, that the most common erotic fantasies women have is getting raped (with studies showing that on average over 47% of women have them)? It would probably blow your mind, and you’d refuse to believe it, as that girl you love couldn’t possibly have such “vile” thoughts.
Now, again, as this is a VERY thorny issue, I will stress that sex always has to be consensual. Nevertheless, there’s so much more out there than the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation, for thirty seconds, as some people seem to believe. We, as a society, seem to forget that women have a sex drive too. I just dislike the idea that women might consider it an honour to bestow on guys, for them to give the privilege to allow them to get fucked. No, no, no, we’re supposed to be equals in the relationship, and forgetting about someone’s basic needs, should not happen.
If you get anything out of this article, it should be this: Sex is a beautiful act, where people share a very deep connection with each other, and it should be treated as such. Do not think that a woman’s pleasure is unimportant, or think it’s fine to never take her feelings in mind, when it involves sex. The world would be a much better place, if we learned to accept what makes us human beings and sex is a very important aspect of this.
Long ago, there was once a king named Tantalus. He had been so graced by the gods that he was often invited to Mt Olympus to dine with them. However, he let his greed get the better of him, and spat in the god’s face. He stole from them, and disrespected them. Zeus, and his ilk, were surprisingly forgiving and did not do anything to harm him, and in an ill conceived attempt to make it up to them he killed his son, and offered him as a sacrifice to them. The deities of Mt Olympus could not allow such a terrible crime to happen, so they sent him to the depths of Tartarus as punishment
There, he rotted and he was forced to go hungry and thirsty for all of eternity. To add insult to injury, they made him stand on a lake that had a depth about the height of his knee. Every time he tried to take a drink, the water would evaporate. In the same vein, there were branches with the juiciest fruit, when he tried reaching for them, the branches would move just out of reach
I believe that Tantalus represents us in more ways than one. We are born into a universe of infinite possibilities, and what do we do with those unbelievable gifts? We squander them, and do the exact same thing everyone else does and never quite use our possibilities to their full potential. Later in life, we try to make up for how empty our existences are with some sort of grand gesture: and we buy expensive cars because we think they bring happiness; or we celebrate valentines because we’ve not appreciated our significant other for the rest of the 364 days of the year; or we starve ourselves because we realize we’ve been horrible at caring for our health, and the list goes on…
In other words, instead of finding a happy medium, we’re constantly wanting what we do not have, or need. This results in most people living wretched existences where they never actually achieve a stable state of happiness. I think it is high time to change this, which is why I will do my utmost to try to break through the barriers that get in the way of our happiness. If you enjoy the odd tale, the random musing or just want to share the journey, I welcome you.