Self and the Transformation of Relationship in Schizophrenic Society

Meta Ose Ginting | CRCS | Wednesday Forum Report

Dian presented her materi in CRCS-ICRS Wednesday Forum
Dian presented her materi in CRCS-ICRS Wednesday Forum

In a world so full of complexity, how does intimacy work? To Dian Arymami, it is very significant and important to revisit the understanding of intimacy because she observes the transformation of intimacy is connected to the transformation of society.  The practice, the understanding of intimacy have been reconstructed from time to time. Usually people would think about intimacy as an act of loving, but up to now there are many cases show that intimacy could be something out of love, outside of committed relationship and, to be more precise, outside of marriage. Moreover personal needs and desires are also part of our religiosity. Religiosity and intimacy are not totally opposed to each other.

Dian Arymami’s ongoing research on new kinds of intimacy in the phenomenon of extradyadic or non-monogamous relationships that have quickly become widespread in urban areas of Indonesia is not advocacy on behalf of a group of people but she insists that she is studying the voices of the voiceless. Their emergence can be seen on a practical level as a rebellion against the structure and social fabric of Indonesian society but at the same time as part of an ongoing shift of ideological values and norms. Those who practice extradyadic relationships are a voice that could not be heard by the society because people would always claim that the problem is in person not society.  We must think about this kind of intimacy as a social phenomenon and not a personal disease or failing.

Therefore, Dian came up with the signs of embodied practice of intimacy in the schizophrenic society. It related to something that material not representation. It is social not familial and she continue by saying that it multiplicity not personal. Many things transform relationships. According to the cases that Dian come up with, the social media is one of the biggest influence in transforming relationship in society. The discourse about intimacy embodied in the way people perceive things like divorce, sexuality, dating style, poly-amor trend and many others to follow. To define schizophrenic society, she refers to the theory of Gilles Delueze and Felix Guattari about the process of schizophrenia.  Unlike Freud’s understanding about paranoia, the schizophrenic term in Delueze shows a condition of an experienced of being isolated, disconnected which fail to link up with a coherent sequence. She than continues that no one is born schizophrenic. Instead, schizophrenia is a process of being. In the schizophrenic society, everyone experiences diverse meanings in relation to other objects, and, in the other times or places, no meaning at all. In other words, meanings are based on the schizophrenic’s object experiences, but it is society itself that must be understood as schizophrenic.

By highlighting her respondents’ experiences, Dian shows that there are many consequences of the practice of intimacy or intimate relationships in (as) the schizophrenic society including “value crash,” double life, “time and place crash” and many others. In extradyadic relationship people become a substitution for something that they cannot fill.

In the question and answer session, there were many fascinating questions about this topic. Zoyer, a researcher concerned with on-line dating in Yogyakarta, offered the idea that the complexity of intimate relationships in urban areas in Indonesia is affected by the cultural expectation that young people marry by certain ages. That is why people are trying to free themselves by “jumping into the extraordinary.”  The other question brings us to a reflection about what are the practitioners of these extradyadic relationships are becoming in society. Dian answered by changing the question: instead of questioning a person’s behavior, we must question society. Dian closed her remarkable presentation by stating that the idea of love is not exclusive and absolute.

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