Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Secret Ingredient

Flirting has been defined by Wordnet as 'playful behavior intended to arouse sexual interest'. The problem with these dictionary terms is that its very preciseness and exactitude necessarily results in a loss of flavour. Flirting is basically mutual teasing where both parties make allusions to each other's sexuality, drop implied illusory invitations to sexual affections that could be easily dispelled with a phrase, and throughout the interaction each party seemingly believe sthose invitations and act as if they are about to accept them but always escaping in the end, turning it down, or accepting it in the end.

But what is it that makes this kind of flirting so exciting and engaging for its participants? I posit that it is the presence 'tension of possibilities'. Before either participant to the flirtation yields, there is actually a large array of fairly possible alternatives or options available that in a hypothetical sort of way could be exercised or selected. Some of these alternatives are usually the subject matter discussed in very daring detail during a flirtation. These possibilities creates a tension not only as between the possibilities but also between you and those possibilities. This is because they are available to you all at once. However, upon picking one you eradicate all the other options. And whilst one may have varying levels of attraction, difficulty comes from the choosing of one over the other because some are so equally pleasing. When you don't choose and and maintain the potential of all those possibilities that creates interest.

But keeping all possibilities open also implies that there is a sense of uncertainty or an unknown to all these options. Just because we imagine these options doesn't mean if we pick them they will play out exactly as we had hoped. So there is a slight sense of fear that lines all these possibilities. It is not an overwhelming fear that paralyzes but just enough to provoke curiosity and therefore create a sense of excitement.

There is another aspect to this tension of possibilities - empowerment. The more options and therefore range of motions and potential of action that one accumulates or has available to one's self at any one time, the more control you have over a particular situation. One way of looking at poverty is that it is merely an almost complete lack of meaningful options that are available to them to enable them to construct something meaningful or worthwhile for themselves. Control over yourself is empowerment but control over others is powerful. The example of flirtation is also deliberate to flesh out just how it applies at the micro level as between humans interacting at play and on the macro level as at the international level as within and between countries where the citizens of the country, every one of them is that sliver of potential.

I also believe that the presence of the tension of possibilities in a situation is also important because it allows for the birth of one of mankind's most valuable possessions. Hope.

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