How the definition of love should shape our perceptions towards LGBTQ+
Several powerful minds have tried to understand the philosophy of love. Whether it was Empedocles’s Eros, Plato’s Symposium, Freud’s Theory of the Repetition Compulsion, or Aristotle’s emphasis on Philia (friendship and affection) in the Western World to the views on love and sex by religions in the Eastern World, the philosophy of love was ever present and ever discussed. With love, the topics of sex, gender, marriage, and eroticism were always present. Whether we have ever understood love or not is an important question. But in modern times, we have surely failed to understand the connection between love and these other topics, like sex and marriage, with the advent of gender and sexual preferences that are considered unconventional and untraditional. And yes, I am talking about the LGBTQ+ community.
This is 2019. We are in a world where we have achieved unimaginable marvels; we went into space and are on the verge of making hyper loops a common thing. We have detected gravitational waves and are ready to inhabit other planets. We have made Artificial Intelligence more intelligent than humans, and we have succeeded at gene editing. But importantly and unfortunately, probably the biggest marvel of the modern world is that we have successfully managed to retain the prejudiced and hostile feeling towards the LGBTQ+ people even today.
Does it matter if it is not a man and a woman together in a relationship? Is it worse than living in a relationship void of love? More importantly, is it anyone’s concern who a person chooses to fall in love with? To answer these questions, it helps us to look at where love comes from actually and the effect this knowledge should have on how we understand and look at the LGBTQ+ community.
Where does love come from?
Where does love come from? What is love, after all? What are the roots of this feeling — this emotion — that we all talk, care, and argue about? Almost every philosopher who looked into love pondered about these questions. Love is just a chemical reaction in our bodies that makes us think we are attracted to someone. While we all know that already, we often ignore this definition and succumb to the emotional and psychological aspects of love. There are four components that blur this gap between the rational chemical reaction-perspective and the irrational emotional-perspective of love.
Lust — the sexual drive that is common in the entire animal world is one of the most important things that dictate our very existence. The need to feel sexually gratified. The need to feel the pleasure so strong. And the need to fulfill our sexual fantasies. In no way are lust and love synonyms or one should be present for the other to exist. However, lust is a component that makes up love though love can surely exist without the presence of lust like the love between friends or siblings.
The fear of being alone — with life so complicated already, being alone is probably the one thing that is mostly feared about in every culture. We simply cannot be alone. It’s scary. It’s dangerous. It does not make sense because, by being alone, one is at a disadvantage in every leg of life. Stemming from the early periods of time, when man was a cave animal, when man needed to defend himself against the terrors of the forest and the night, when man was weak to survive alone, this fear has dictated his lifestyle.
The need to rely on someone — from the fear of being alone rose the need to rely on someone for protection, support, help, and love. Two people have a better chance of survival against the terrors of the night than each has on his own. This realisation brought people together and encouraged them to form friendships, relationships, and communities.
The desire to be desired by someone — it is quite natural for us, for the above reasons, to desire someone. But when that other person desires us too, we feel a psychological satisfaction — that we are someone that is desired, someone that others want to be with, someone that others value, someone that others love. This desire to satisfy one’s own self-worth, this desire to be desired by others, drives humankind towards pursuing relationships and mating. While much of the animal kingdom pursue sexual acts for merely reproductive reasons, for us humans, it is way more than that. It is about satisfying one’s own desire to be valued by someone else. It is about egos. It is about being needed by someone.
The need for sexual gratification, the fear of being alone, the need to rely on someone, and the desire to be desired by someone together form love. Whether one agrees with this view of love or not, one cannot deny the fact that love has been a reason for many a quarrel since the dawn of the humankind. The most basic and raw definitions of love tell us nothing about the sex of the person. If we go with the four components we have defined above; it becomes clearer.
The most basic and raw definitions of love tell us nothing about the sex of the person. If we go with the four components we have defined above, it really becomes clearer.
Lust is only associated with the sexual gratification irrespective of the gender of the person who provides it. The fear of being alone and the need to rely on someone has nothing to do with gender or even sexual act to that matter. They are more a matter of psychological and emotional support, friendship, and dependence. The final dimension of love, the desire to be desired by someone, also has no gender component to it. This is probably the most easiest thing to understand. We all want to be desired by many people in our life. We truly want to be desired by those we love, above all, but we also want to be desired on different levels by our friends and family, colleagues and boss at work, our pets, our role models, and even the people we casually date. The type and intensity of desire, of course, is different but present nonetheless. Being deserved is what gives meaning and value to life, and a major part of our actions and behaviors are aimed at achieving this.
If we observe the various dimensions of love discussed above, and even if we think of a myriad of other dimensions, most, if not all, of them will have nothing to do with gender. Gender only comes into the picture because of the our biases and interpretation of love. Moreover, we do not know for sure if the heterosexual partnership was the only accepted partnership since the beginning of the human race. Do we know if the cave men only mated with cave woman? Historical records are nothing but biased reports written by individuals according to their beliefs, interpretations, and perceptions. It might be totally true that non-hetero partnerships existed since the age of cavemen but just like today, they were not accepted, and the history chose to erase them from the records. As a result, we know only about a few such stories or personalities. This is the reason we are surprised when historians find evidence of someone famous or renown was in fact gay.
Historical records are nothing but biased reports written by individuals according to their beliefs, interpretations, and perceptions. It might be totally true that non-hetero partnerships existed since the age of cavemen but just like today, they were not accepted and the history chose to erase them from the records.
Why should anyone give a care?
And why do we need to care about the sexual and mating preferences of other people? I mean, if we see a man and woman kissing each other on the street and let’s say, the man is younger than woman or he is not handsome, we don’t go and interrupt them, and say that we don’t accept their relationship for these reasons. Then why do we feel compelled to interrupt and hurt them if it is two men or two women having a relationship? It is their choice, their life, and their preference. Just like eating whatever one craves or buying whatever model of a car one likes, choosing with whom to have a relationship is one’s own choice, and the rest of the world has no say in it. It is quite simple to understand, isn’t it?
As a society, we all already agree on an individual’s freedom regarding how he or she lives his or her life. Yet these boundaries of individual freedom, unfortunately, do not extend to one’s sexual preferences. People jump to complain, criticise and look down on the people that do not fit into their mental models that have been historically developed in a very narrow manner.
Just like eating whatever one craves or buying whatever model of a car one likes, choosing with whom to have relationship is one’s own personal choice and the rest of the world has no say in it.
What is the future then?
Times have changed a lot now and we have definitely come a long way from treating non-hetero people as outcasts to accepting their choices. Even governments are starting to recognise same sex marriages as legal. But we still have a long way to go where we no longer even use terms like non-hetero and LGBTQ+ because they don’t mean a thing. They should not mean a thing. We should not feel a need to categorise these people using specific terms because, well, the word people encompass them already. The very existence of this distinction does not — and should not — make sense.
Well, to come to think of it, the distinctions of race, sex, religion, and nationality are also not needed. If I see a person, I should just see a person — a person with a name, a character, his or her beliefs, and his or her nature. I don’t have to judge that person based on if he or she is in a relationship with a man or woman, what his or her religion is, what his or her nationality is, or what his or her sexual preferences are. We should judge a person based on whether he or she is good or not, in heart, and his or her actions, but not the choices of his or her life.
We should not feel a need to categorise these people using specific terms because, well, the word people encompass them already.
We will move there, eventually. We always did. The evolution of human race has been dependent on changes and even though challenges lie ahead — and it might take a long while before everyone accepts that no sexual preference whatsoever should exist — we will reach there. Despite the way we define it, or what dimensions it has, or whether it is only a biological reaction or something else, the only thing that matters, is love. As for me, if I love someone, I would love him or her irrespective of whether he or she dates a man or a woman.
Hopefully, the need for Pride months and rallies go away soon because the LGBTQ+ people do not need to fight for their rights or acceptance. Hopefully, we don’t see any more coming-out stories by celebrities or anyone for inspiration because they become the norm where people find it quite normal for someone to be non-hetero. Hopefully, people see love as being of various colours and types. Hopefully, people make no discrimination based on them.
Originally published on P. S. I Love You on Medium.
and all of them have something or the other to do with Social Media and would surely lead to the wrong usage of the online’s powerful tools
What happened in Paris on 13th of this month is something that will stay with all of us forever. It is heart-wrenching. It is inhumane. In this context, how people had reacted on the Social Media is also something that we should look at. Social Media had played a very important role this time, both in a good and in a bad way, and these are the three main trends I have observed that are completely unnecessary, dangerous to the world in general and hence, should be avoided.
Everyone is talking about those other attacks. It’s just that you are not seeing
There have been, and still are, several people posting on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter that the media, and in fact the whole world, is being unfair that they are worried, concerned and sympathised at the Paris attacks but no one is even mentioning the bomb blasts that have happened in Beirut two days before, on the 11th. But a search on Google shows that all the major outlets have covered the news.
BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34805466 with even pictures.
Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/multiple-explosions-reported-southern-beirut-151112162331001.html and http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/isil-claims-suicide-bombings-southern-beirut-151112193802793.html where they even take the experiences of the poeple.
Daily Mail UK http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3316018/At-37-people-killed-double-suicide-bombing-Beirut-Isis-claims-responsibility-attack-wounded-181.html with videos.
The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/12/beirut-bombings-kill-at-least-20-lebanon and http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/13/lebanon-families-mourn-victims-beirut-bombings.
The Telegraph UKhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/lebanon/11992262/Isil-suspected-in-deadliest-attack-in-Beirut-since-end-of-civil-war-kills-dozens.htmlwith videos.
PRI http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-11-13/fathers-split-second-decision-during-bombings-beirut-saved-countless-lives which has focussed on the courageous sacrifice of a man who tackled the bomber and exploded together saving many poeple.
Note that all these are the media coverages that have happened on 11th and 12th, so before Paris attacks took place and hence were not affected by the pressure of the world to show these events. All of these feature pictures, videos and experiences of the victims, not just mere mentions.
If you are posting on social media that no one is mentioning them, and that no media outlet has covered these attacks, then it shows that you did not even try to find if any media outlet has covered it. If you wanted people to talk about these attacks, did YOU talk about this on YOUR social media pages when these happened?
Do not spread rumours that encourage misconceptions
Claire Wardle of First Draft has written an awesome article on how rumours spread during the events like this should be controlled in real time.
Many of the pictures shared on Facebook and Twitter were misleading:
This picture was rumoured to be taken on the day of Paris attacks but it was in fact taken from January’s attack on Charlie Hebdo.
The same is true with the rumours that the Eiffel Tower had gone dark in lieu of the attacks but in fact, it goes dark every night at 1am.
There have been several instances like this, not only on the 13th but also before that, where people seeking recognition and ‘Likes and Comments’have resorted to actions like these. Posting such pictures on the 13th might not have had serious repurcusions in this context but this may be dangerous to some poeple in a different context. Imagine if a picture of sensitive nature related to refugees surfaces in a completely different context where its meaning is interpreted in a completely different sense, it may spark hatred in certain parts of the society against the refugees. The problems the world has already are enough; dont spark new ones.
This articles was first published in The Coffeelicious publication on Medium. You can read the rest of it here.
…and how a steady pace should still be maintained
Companies today are going through a very volatile business environment where new technologies are changing the industries, customers’ preferences are constantly changing and companies need to adapt to the changes rapidly. But managing such a rapid yet cautious change is a challenge for any company today. I have previously written about how to manage change and suggested a framework (you can read about it here); here I discuss about one of the criteria for managing a successful change or transformation strategy: Pacing.
Definition of Pace in Change: not constant
Pace is, in english, defined as the rate of movement, or the speed. In change strategies, pace could be defined as the speed at which the company tries to change certain aspects of its business, such as business units, the technology used or the culture, and the speed at which the change strategy is really implemented. This pace is never constant when you are changing or transforming your business; the pace of change is always volatile because uncertainities exist in the business world.
For instance, if a company predicts that it would take around 3 months to adapt a new technology or a manufacturing practice, the top management may realise that the employees are not open to the new manufacturing practice or they are finding it not so easy to adapt to the new automated work environment. The company could have anticipated it to be easy and useful for its employees but they might not have taken into consideration that mental models that govern the employees’ actions. So now, the company needs to educate its employees and change their mindset first and this would include changing the culture of the employees. Now, the change strategy might take 6 months to be actually implemented.
But how can such uncertainities and even the entire change strategy and its pace can be managed? I suggest, pacing of a change strategy should constitute of two elements: radical or high-paced change and incremental or slow-paced change.
The company should set different milestones along the duration when the company predicts change would happen. Then these milestones should be used to set goals that need to be met. For instance, a company might predict that a change strategy would take 3 years and it could divide this period into 6 milestones of 6 months each (or each milestone could be of different duration). At the milestones, all the radical changes need to be planned such as adapting a new technology or entering a new market horizontally or vertically or even launching new revolutionary products. In between these milestones, the company should focus on the incremental changes such as educating its employees, changing the culture and evaluating the change tactics carried out at the previous milestones.
Advantages of pacing
By evaluating the change tactics carried out at the previous milestones, the company can understand what models are working and what models are not working, and adjust the change strategy at the next milestone.
These slow-momentum periods, between the milestones, also help the company educate and get ready the key players who do not like the status quo to change. Because of these carefully planned slow-momentum periods, these key players will understand that the top management is focussed on change.
Pacing also helps the companies to estimate the resources and efforts it needs to invest to achieve the intermediate goals at the milestones.
It is known that dividing a large task into small manageable tasks makes it easier to achieve the goals.
What we see in the Silicon Valley is what any company can achieve
Whenever we think about innovation, the first thing that comes to our mind is the Silicon Valley. Google, Apple, Facebook, Intel, Tesla, IBM, Fujutsu, Chevron, Gap and many more. What makes them so innovative? What do they do differently than other companies? Can any company replicate this?
These companies might be doing several things but one of them is learning and developing new knowledge. Continuous learning and innovating is the rule of thumb to succeed in today’s competitive environment. But companies need also to keep innovating on small incremental levels in their existing products and services. Google did not just become the best search engine because they have innovated in search; they are the best because they keep on making their products better and better, on small scale, in tiny areas of their code, in the areas which we do not notice. Tesla has to keep innovating in its organizational practices, culture and business on a daily basis so that it is ready for radical innovations in its field.
But how can companies balance these two kinds of innovation: radical revolutionary innovation and slow organizational innovation? I call this the Innovation Ambidexterity.
But it is not an easy task to balance this innovation ambidexterity in reality. Each kind requires different and often conflicting skills, knowledge and cultures. Some companies have different units or businesses to work on industry-changing innovations and others to work on incremental innovations. Other companies have a culture that imbues the entire organization and encourages everyone in gaining new knowledge and achieving innovation on both levels.
The Silicon Valley companies are good at this. Google, Facebook and IBM, among others, focuses a lot on their company culture and even conduct events and focussed programmes to infuse their culture into all of their employees. Gaining new knowledge and skills and constantly innovating lies at the cornerstone of their strategy. Other companies, that aim to achieve such success, should learn from these companies on how to balance this innovation ambidexterity.
Some forms the Silicon Valley companies achieve new knowledge, both intellectual and cultural, are hiring (new employees with a differing set of skills and mindsets), collaborations (with external organizations, people, consultants and even competition where the culture, knowledge, know-how and skills are shared and learned) and observations-analysis (observing what is happening around, in the competition space and the competitors, in the industries that complement or alternate your own industry, and in the world of institutional and governmental policies). Any company that needs to achieve new levels of know-how and intellectual integrity has to understand that the knowledge cannot be found within its organizational structures alone. You should also look outside your own walls if you want to succeed.
Another important thing in gathering new knowledge is to let go of the old knowledge that has become redundant or unnecessary.
Unlearning old habits, forgoing redundant software tools and giving up unnecessary policies is an important step to incremental innovation. organizations and key players in the organization have their own mental models about how the markets work, how their policies are better and what their customers want; and these can severely limit the future innovativeness of the company. If the key players are not even open to knowing what are their customers’ real desires and needs are, how can they encourage any form of innovativeness?
It is also important to empower every employee in the company and encourage them to come up with new and unique ideas to both create breakthrough products and also to make incremental changes to the existing products. This is what the Google’s 80/20 rule is famous for. They encourage everyone to pursue their own ideas, present it to the founders and the top management and implement their ideas as real and commercial products.
Even for this, for encouraging individual contributions, for giving up old models, and for getting new knowledge, skills and know-how, companies need to open their doors to learning from all the resources available to them. If the company learns only from within their boundaries and interfunctional business units, this will limit their possibilities to stumble across unique ideas and innovative breakthroughs. What they will be really good at is just incremental innovation. But the companies that collaborate and share with other companies and resources succeed in rapidly adapting new technologies, encouraging a culture to share and radically innovating.
What we see in the Silicon Valley is not something that cannot be replicated by other companies. It is just what they do better than other companies. Any company can succeed in achieving innovation by having an open culture, a zeal to gather new know-how and a strategy to innovate.
PhD candidate at LUISS Guido Carli, Rome in Business and Management. Writes about Doing PhD, Innovation, Change Management, Organizational Behaviour, Organizational Learning, Strategy Management and more.