Autonomy

Frankie

Member
In a recent thread this topic came up a lot and I know it comes up often in other discussions. I thought it would be interesting to see a thread about it specifically as it pertains to people in this group.

Personal Autonomy

Is autonomy important to you or your partners? If so, has it always been a part of your life or was it something that became important?

How much does autonomy play a role in your relationships? Or family?

How do you personally define it or what does it mean to you and how is it applied in your personal relationships, the people in your life, and with yourself?

If you want to dig deeper - do you think it is a product of modern history, current state of politics, brought on by the feminist movement (or LGBTQ+, etc.), or something else?

Just a few starter questions but please expand or add to it as you see fit.

I find this topic comes up in other aspects of my life, not just Polyamory; homeschooling is another aspect where it is brought up often - at least in the secular and unschooling groups.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
If you want to dig deeper - do you think it is a product of modern history, current state of politics, brought on by the feminist movement (or LGBTQ+, etc.), or something else?
Autonomy vs. fidelity goes back at least as far as the Great American Experiment - AKA the exploration of America in the 17th century by white settlers looking to organize outside the strictures of feudal Europe. The concept of individual autonomy is definitely not new, although the topic does flare up in popularity from time to time.

The specific topic of women's legal and social autonomy goes back to at least the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. This topic is also not new.*

The Christopher Street (or Stonewall) riots in 1969 generally mark the beginning of the gay rights movement.


*I'm sure that Mags will pop in with her exposition on ancient matriarchy. :)
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Personal Autonomy

Is autonomy important to you or your partners?
definitely it has become important to me. Them not so much or not as much.

If so, has it always been a part of your life or was it something that became important?
I think it has cycled with the stages of life and circumstance. And it’s become more important within the last 5 yrs.

How much does autonomy play a role in your relationships? Or family?

thats hard to answer in a general way. BUT if you change the way you think the things you think about change.

How do you personally define it or what does it mean to you and how is it applied in your personal relationships, the people in your life, and with yourself?
I define it as being an independent thinker and decision maker and from a career path stand point ive either been self employed or had my own businesses since my mid to late 20’s. Although I regard myself as a team player. Played lots of sports as a kid and played on a team in college. I don’t think in my early yrs of professional life I gave autonomy much thought. I was trying to get established in a very high stress field or industry. And if I made it everything would later fall into place.

So as I stated above I think for me it was periods of great autonomy and the cycles of less when wife and kids came along. Lifestyle changes, hobby start to change, because of my career I couldn’t afford to get injured once I had a family higher risked hobbies had to go ....well they didn’t have to go I elected to let them go for the greater good of the team. Plus one was pretty expensive as it was.

If you want to dig deeper - do you think it is a product of modern history, current state of politics, brought on by the feminist movement (or LGBTQ+, etc.), or something else?
I’m not quite sure but I modern pop culture / social media is a huge factor in social change. THE. “ SELFIE “ pretty much sums it up.

Just a few starter questions but please expand or add to it as you see fit

I find this topic comes up in other aspects of my life, not just Polyamory; homeschooling is another aspect where it is brought up often - at least in the secular and unschooling groups.
It’s funny how decision making for a family and decision making for my business are sort of linked in so far as I have to look out for all those people my behavIor and devisions effect lots of people. I can’t just say fuck it I want to take a month off go sailing in the Caribbean. Trust me I’ve been thinking about it but outside the 30k for the rental of the boat it would cost me 100k to unwind the mess I’d come home to if I wasn’t bankrupt or being sued. SO in those relationships those people IMO a have more autonomy than me. So in my cases it’s like a double edged sword.
I follow my own path but that path actually has locked my in or made me feel a greater responsibility than I should.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Frankie,

The three people in my household/polycule have a little autonomy, but not all that much. We are very tied together in our decision making, especially with regards to the big things (e.g. dating, jobs, and where we live), but even with regards to the little things (e.g. what to watch on TV, and whether to put those cookies into the cart at the grocery store). I think autonomy plays the biggest role in my life in terms of religion (which is something I want no part of) and beliefs (I am atheist). My two companions accept this about me, so I guess it's one of the reasons why the three of us are a good fit for each other. I think they are still believers, but not to the extent that they used to be. They rarely go to church, and I never do.

I think the United States is a particularly strong country on the subject of autonomy, although we are very church and tradition driven too. Humans are a herd animal, and I think it would be hard to find any place in the world where autonomy was complete. Outside that rare hermit in the woods, there is always a connection and responsibility to the community. Even to the point of having to answer to the community's beliefs. That's the main reason why so many polyamorists feel they have to keep their polyness in the closet.

Just some thoughts,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Autonomy vs. fidelity goes back at least as far as the Great American Experiment - AKA the exploration of America in the 17th century by white settlers looking to organize outside the strictures of feudal Europe. The concept of individual autonomy is definitely not new, although the topic does flare up in popularity from time to time.

The specific topic of women's legal and social autonomy goes back to at least the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. This topic is also not new.*

The Christopher Street (or Stonewall) riots in 1969 generally mark the beginning of the gay rights movement.


*I'm sure that Mags will pop in with her exposition on ancient matriarchy. :)
Well, I don't know much about "the matriarchy" per se. I do know that prior to about 3500 BCE, before people began to gather in large cities such as in Egypt or Babylon, when people lived in small villages or settlements, humans were more egalitarian. Women were given more respect, as life-givers and sustainers. Children and women didn't belong to men. Everyone belonged to the tribe and to the local gods and goddesses.

But as far as independence/autonomy v belonging to a group or culture goes, that's a question that's been discussed ad infinitum, and certainly not just as it pertains to romantic relationships. Generally in the East, being part of a group is seen as very important, while in the West, and especially the US, being independent is seen as having value. That said, there are tons of Americans who ID strongly as a member of their family, town, state, country, or with a particular sports team or church/synagogue, school, hobby group, etc. Being part of a group, of something larger than yourself, is very comforting to most humans.

However, as a country just waiting to be settled by obnoxious white people, it was possible in the US to set out in a very small group and make your own way, no matter how weird your lifestyle was (I'm looking at your, polygynous Mormons). Small isolated groups get up to some awfully weird shenanigans. And the isolated nuclear family can be very damaging to its member also.

Polyamory does not necessarily require autonomy. It can in fact connect you more firmly to a larger group than monogamy can, just because of the sheer numbers of people involved. Again, looking back to small tribes of old, if you were sexually involved with, say, 6 other adults in your tribe, you would naturally feel more bonded to them and invested in them, than if you were only "allowed" to be sexually/romantically involved with one person.
 
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