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José Víctor Orón Semper, researcher of the 'group Mente-cerebro ' del Institute for Culture and Society

Terms and mentalities. Intimacy

Sun, 07 Jan 2018 13:04:00 +0000 Posted in Education PRESS

Intimacy is addictive. This is evidenced by the success of soap operas, reality shows, certain contests and celebrity magazines. It is not a capricious addiction, but is based on the natural and often unfulfilled desire for a true experience of intimacy. Love songs, movies where the protagonists end up safe and together are a good commercial plan. On the other hand, there are bad experiences of intimacy: sexual abuse, violence in relationships, prostitution?

Also, we find that many young people agree to have experiences of intimacy in sexual relations without being prepared, which is discovered by the bad experience of it; but sadly that is usually discovered when there is already much damage done.

All these approaches to intimacy have a certain idea: intimacy is a matter of two. Although this is not an absolute truth, since intimacy, before being a matter of two, is a matter of one, because the capacity to have intimate relations depends on how the topic identity staff has been resolved.

Erikson pointed out that the intimacy stage follows the identity stage. If the identity stage is not well resolved, it is likely that the intimacy stage will be poorly lived. In fact, Erikson said that if identity is satisfactorily achieved, the person is constituted with the capacity to live the devotion and fidelity that are two necessary conditions for a good experience of shared intimacy. If the experience of intimacy is not lived in a healthy way, one falls into isolation; on the contrary, if the experience of intimacy is healthy, one acquires a constitution of union with the other and of love, which will be the best basis for the next stage of the generation where children are usually one of the central elements.

At the philosophical level, intimacy is also a thing of one, not only a thing of two, because the human being is intimacy and therefore enters into relationships of intimacy. In truth, to want to specify exhaustively what is a thing of one or of two is an artificiality, because everything is relational by nature and the human being is the most relational being in the universe, so that being a thing of two, or being a thing of one, does not cease to be the same reality seen from two different points of view.

In the human, there is no temporal ordering in being a thing of two or a thing of one, because all human existence and growth is given by the experience of shared intimacy as a mother has with her child. Intimacy at the level of staff is constitutive because we cannot be non-intimacy. There is no way of being non-intimate in the human being, that is why when superficial proposals are made about the human being, remaining in merely behavioral, affective or technical levels, the heart of the human being, the interiority, the singularity: its intimacy, is not discovered.

To say that the human being is intimacy is to say that the human being engages in a relationship subject different from the relationships that other living beings engage in. Intimacy makes reference letter to something absolutely singular of each one of us that is not repeated and identifies us. We do not have intimacy, but we are intimacy. We do not have it like someone who can hold something in his hand and then let it go, but we are it: we are singularity and therefore everything we know about a person: his biology, his history, his contacts,... do not exhaust the person who is always something "more", he is intimacy.

And because it is intimacy, it relates in a singular way: from intimacy to intimacy. Two chairs that look alike on the outside I can interchange them without any problem, because they are only their appearance, they are not intimacy. But I cannot exchange two twin persons, because, although they look like two drops of water, they have intimacy and that makes them singular. That is why the human being has different relationships from the rest of beings: we have relationships from intimacy to intimacy.

Human beings cannot live without intimate relationships, hence their addictive character is not capricious. When intimate relationships in the form of sexual relations are entered into, if the young person does not have a formed identity, he or she is likely to be so absorbed that he or she loses sight of his or her true identity status. If a young person does not have a formed identity, what does he or she rely on to answer the question of identity?

For example, it is known that a young person with a fragile identity is more easily manipulated, and people with an unformed identity are those who are more fanatical about belonging to a group. The identity they do not find in themselves is borrowed from group because, if one is nothing: I am not because of what I am, but because of what I have. A young person without identity is easily manipulated.

The topic of intimacy has a time of preparation in the time of friendship; that is why many young people who immediately have a boyfriend/girlfriend and bridge the time of friendship are less able to deal with the complexity of interpersonal relationships. Friendships where one gets angry and unhurried are all a preparation for intimacy.

I was once asked when one is ready to have friends? My answer was immediate: 'when you don't need them'. Friendship cannot be at the service of meeting needs, but for the enjoyment of the shared meeting . When someone 'needs' to have friends (something that is hardly recognized) he ends up asking friends for what he does not find in himself and what happens is that he 'dries up' his friends, like someone who dries up a source of the amount of water he needs to drink: he asks them for attention, recognition, approval... On the other hand, one is prepared to have friends when he does not need them, since in such a case one does not board with the other so that the other satisfies him, but for the enjoyment of meeting. In this way one enjoys friendship and when one has it, one lives it as a gift. Learning to have a non-possessive friendship is a very good preparation for the time of intimacy.

On the other hand, sadly, many young couples experience over-control or possession, which ends up being a foretaste of partner violence. Today, society is highly sensitized to this subject violence and attacks it in its consequences, but without wanting to know what is the real origin of it. In a university I saw a panel with many posters all in the same style. For example: "drunk, drugged, dancing or with my panties down No is No" "No is no even with my panties down, I can change my mind at any time". With such posters they intend to raise awareness among young university students to avoid sexual abuse within the couple. The phrases give a lot to comment and that style I personally do not share.

In the best of cases these phrases follow the usual style of today of wanting to solve problems without facing the real causes. Of course the causes of violence in the couple can be many, but one of them has to do with a poorly formed or unformed identity. Those who do not know who they are because of what they are, think that their being is given by what they have: they are what they are because of what they have. This has been shown by many people, for example Erik From. If one is for what he has, he will tend to secure what he has and will seek to control it, since his identity is at stake. Thus, he or she will try to control things and control people. He will want to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Behind this desire to control may arise violence over one's 'property'. Sadly I have seen young people who stay with the girl or boy they don't want to be with to avoid the fear of loneliness, because sadly they believe that they are only what they have.

It is essential that the young person experiences intimacy with family and friends and experiences of solitude before moving on to experiences of intimacy with a partner. Intimacy is lived differently in each environment (family, friends, couple, marriage), but in all of them we learn to share our inner self.

It is necessary to live the process of maturity without bridging stages and to take each stage seriously, which is not usually done. For example, in the case of friendship, parents worry and try to avoid bad company, but that is not taking care of friendship. In addition, not just any subject of friends will do. It is known that those who have friends because they do not want to be at home or because they seek social recognition or those who are closed to a group of friends, in these, friendship does not generate the necessary maturity process. It is convenient that the reason to have friends is the enjoyment of the interpersonal meeting and that the more varied and open the group is, the better.

If in addition the group is dedicated to service activities, it is then when friendship brings the greatest advantages in maturity staff and generates resilience to future problems. It is urgent to take seriously the experience of friendship as an intimate essay .

Parents and schools often miss opportunities to educate on the meeting of intimacies. I think everyone would agree with agreement that it is ridiculous to ask an adult to ride a bicycle without falling, if he has not been taught how to ride a bicycle during childhood and adolescence. Why ask for what has not been taught? On the other hand, when the young child comes crying because his brother has hit him and they do not know how to play together, we tell him: "now, nobody plays, each one to his room". By doing so, the adult avoids the problem of having to put aside his plans to dedicate himself to educate his children in the interpersonal meeting of intimacies. But then, we demand that they know how to have that meeting of intimacies when they are adults. Why? That demand is a despotic, ridiculous and unrealistic demand. Learning to have intimate encounters is the hardest and most important thing we have to do in our lives.

Surely when you finish reading this article and you meet someone in the hallway at home or at work you will see in each other's eyes the possibility of an intimate relationship.