Affinity and Kinship
Affinity's ambivalence : elective kinshipChoice is the qualifying factor: it transforms kinship into affinity. It also, however, betrays affinity's ambition: its intention to be like kinship, as uncondiontial, irrevocable and unbreakable as kinship is (eventually, affinity will weave into the lineage and become indistinguishable from the rest of the kinship network; the affinity of one generation will turn into the kinship of the next.)
Choice is the original sin of affinityThe memory of choice, its original sin, is bound to cast al long shadow and darken even the brightest togherness called 'affinity': choice, unlike the fate of kinship, is a two-way street. One can alwayas turn back, and the knowledge of such a possibility makes the task of keeping direction all the more daunting.
Thus, to keep affinity aliveUnless the choice is restated daily and ever new actions are taken to confirm it, affinity will wilt, fade and decay until it falls or crawls apart.Establishing a bond of affinity proclaims the intention of makeing the bond like that of kinship - but also the readiness to pay the price of the avatar in the hard currency of day-in, day-out drudgery.
Living together : falling our of fashion and out of practice of orthodox affinityOver 'living together', future kinship, whether desired or feared, does not cast its dark shadow. 'Living together' is because of, not in order to. All options stay open, past deeds are not allowed to cut them back.Its intentions are modest, oaths are not taken and declarations, if made, are not solemn, no strings are attached and no hands tied.
Living together : a bridge with the other shore wrapped in a mist that never dissolves, a mist no one wishes to dissolve and no one tries to blow away and disperseLiving together may mean shareing the boat, the mess-table and the sleeping bearths. It may mean sailing together and sharing the joys and hardships of the voyage. But it is not about passing from one shore to another, and so its purpose is not to deputize for the (absent) solid bridges. A log of past adventures may be kept, but there is only a perfunctory mention in it of the itinerary and of the port of destination.
Relationship between affinity, kinship and living togetherAffinity is a bridge leading to the safe haven of kinship. Living together is niether such a bridge nor a labour of bridge-building Tthe toghtherness of 'living together' and the togehterness of kinship are two diffferent universes with separate time-spaces, each complete with laws and logics of their own. No passage from one to the other is mapped in advance - though one may, by chance, run up against ot bounce upon one. There is no knowing, at least not in advance, whether living together will turn out to be a thorough-fare or cul-de-sac. The point is to walk through the days as if that difference did not matter, and so in a fashion that makes the issue off 'what is what' irrelevant.
Living together rebounds on the plight of kinship, but makes them all the more preciousLacking stable bridges for inflowing traffic, kinship networks feel frail and threatned.So here we are, vacillating and uneasily manoeuvring between the two worlds notoriously distanced from and at odds with each other, yet both desirable and desired - with no clearly plotted passages, let alone beaten tracks between them