Dreams Versus Reality

 

Your Dreams

Do you dream? Oh no, I’m not talking about those things that crop up at night. I’m talking about the dreams you have for your future, your desires, what might be. How much of a hard edge do they have? Do they involve mysticism? Do they lead you into a spirit world of your own? What do they say about you and your life?

Questioning Reality

I’m a clinical psychologist and have spent a lot of time talking with people about their lives. Often we talked about what we call reality but as the decades passed I came to question the meaning of the word. Do our hopes and dreams fall outside the realm of reality? Of course not.

Fiction Choices

And when you read, what are your choices? Do you gravitate toward apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, romance or simply something which advances a “what if”? Are you engaged by ancient mysteries or are you looking for inspiration in how they may emerge in the here and now.

Relating to Reality

At once I have to say that the title of this blog, Cusp of Reality, reflects my core belief. I do not believe in a fixed reality. Reality is ephemeral and subject to our own interpretations. We live on a cusp and reality is often something which emerges and recedes into a mist. We take up a station of beliefs and surround ourselves with family and friends who reinforce something stable enough to be called reality.

Myth and Mysticism

And then there is what lies out there in the mist of the past. We enjoy myths and may recognize that they may offer prophesy and be visionary. Yet, we may fail to recognize that they can convey a stark and important reality of their own. And myths do not just speak to the past but also may relate to the future as it is emerging and how it may be.

Conclusions

Assuming we live on the cusp of a changing reality, then we have to wonder what we are to do with that reality. Naturally most of us take hold and fix a reality of sorts which works for us. But then there is the matter of the emerging world. That is where speculative fiction and such things as dystopian fiction, science fiction etc. come in. We can explore with them. And my considerations have led me to the writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. It asks what ifs and comes out of my life experience. The trilogy relates to stewardship in a world in crisis. Women are central because it is apparent that they are emerging as a much greater force in the world. Certainly women have always been important but they are coming into power and partnership with men in new and important ways. And we have to wonder if there is a transformation of some form in our future.

A Dual Pathway

The possibilities are fascinating in a world which appears to have gone asymptotic in many ways. And so I’ve chosen to explore through this blog and through fiction in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. Stay tuned.

Surely, regardless of your age, you have dreams, if not for yourself, then for someone in your life. What are those dreams and who are they for?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

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A Vision to Explore Our Future

 

Soon the second book of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy,  Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise will be published. In these books we will trace a story of what might be crises coming on our lovely planet. The mythological underpinnings are woven together with the theme of the rising of women to power and partnership. The women in this story are called Tethyans and they are central to the future of humankind and our beautiful blue planet.

Let me tell you a story. 

The universe is a wondrous place steeped in mystery, creation and destruction. Among its creations was a small solar system. There was little to stand out, but one of the planets was especially fertile. There came to be an abundance of life. It was ruled by a goddess called Gaia. One of the things which made the planet called Earth so special was that there was not just a ruling goddess but the goddess was the planet itself.

Under Gaia’s Care

Gaia tended her planet lovingly but it was clear that inherent in the creation and development of life forms struggle for survival and development was required. Long ago Gaia noted the development of a life form which was especially clever. She thought these beings held special promise but also recognized they might be a threat to themselves and her planet—herself.

Ensuring a Future

 
These beings were called humankind. Their promise was such that Gaia thought to ensure their future. But not in the sense that she definitively ruled their lives. They were to struggle like all the other animals, but in case of failure she designed a restart plan.

Since women had the richest genetic heritage and bore the children, she chose to reserve a population of mostly women, and, for their safety, designed protected cities in the sea where these people called Tethyans lived. If the land population failed, these women could return to the land.

The Day Defined

Gaia was, indeed wise. The day she foresaw has arrived and humankind is threatened by social and environmental cataclysms.

………………………

Devastation?

The story above contains mythological elements but the threat of social and environmental cataclysm is real. Not long ago hope flourished on Earth, but, as is so often the case, human affairs lead us back to worldwide conflict. There appears to be considerable potential for another era of devastating conflict such as occurred in the twentieth century.

Myth Bearing Truth

In myth there is often considerable truth, especially about the nature of humankind, our promise and our failures. Some elements are especially intriguing. In most cultures, where there is considerable water, there are myths about creatures referred to as mermaids. It is almost a universal phenomenon. The mermaids are women, of course, although mermen make rare appearances. These women may be engaging in a romantic and sexual way but they may also be frighteningly dangerous and destructive. It seems the myth relates to a deeply rooted, unconscious regard and fear for women by men—ambivalence which has led to conflict and subjugation.

Enter the Rise of Women

The myth stirs the imagination and just at the moment as the world moves closer and closer to devastating crises, we see the movement to empower women. The “myth” of the mermaid, combined with the movement to empower women led to the embrace of a story which was irresistible.

Exploration of Themes

In coming posts there will be thought documents on the themes in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy and discussion of the characters and the development of the story as well as the writing process. Through these kinds of stories we seek vision to aid us in approaching our future.

Given our recent history, how do you view our future?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

 587 words

The Psychologist and the Unconscious

 

Long ago and far away when I was in college and graduate school three men led me onto very different roads.

Leslie White

First came Leslie White, the father of cultural anthropology. An old man walked out on a stage before a bunch of college students and utterly mesmerized us about the meaning of the extrasomatic cultural stream. This was my introduction to the human unconscious because he spoke of something outside of us that flowed and shaped our lives.

Sigmund Freud

Then came Sigmund Freud who spoke to us about our unconscious. Call it what you will, it is a force which also shapes us and our lives. We tend to think we are in charge of ourselves but when the unconscious is noted we find we often are not in charge and that we sift murky waters. His work was fascinating and important.

Carl Jung

But shortly I was introduced to Carl Jung who spoke about our personalities and the world of myth in ways which were stunning. The three men come together and point out to us that we are constantly trying to manage a world which is rich, constantly changing and, to put it mildly, is challenging. Truth is amplified and shouts uncertainty. It became clear to me how uncertain our inner world is and what magnificent promise it offers.

The World of Fiction

Certainly as we enter the world of fiction as writers we know that creativity is demanded and that we must make a contribution which goes beyond simple story construction and coherence. But often we aren’t prepared for what occurs.

Emergence

Having been fascinated by Jung and by the presence of images of mermaids across the world I thought to construct a book featuring these fascinating women. Little did I know what was lurking. A book became three books and more are threatening to appear. Not only did the story expand but there were characters who became demanding. They expanded their substance and may appear unbidden.

The Lesson

In the end I had to face an obvious lesson formed out of the work of the three men mentioned above. In our minds we are not stable entities and when we open work such as fiction we face the intrusion and wonder of what we harbor and what is rampant around us as stimuli and reality in all its forms, subtleties and substance. When we write we must be prepared for a torrent of inner richness from all kinds of sources. And therein lies substantial creativity and possibilities which can enrich us and our readers. What comes are not just stories but the richness of our lives. The writer discovers the range of influences within and the reader can explore possibilities which go beyond the form of what is contained in the book.

In the end I have had to listen to an important message. Get a grip psychologist! And attend to what these very concepts truly mean.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Beyond Speculative Fiction

 

Are you searching for a fulfilling perspective?

In fiction we can speculate and explore. But is it mere foraging or are we looking to define emergence and process? Having an adventure is fine but we seem to be arriving at choice points. At choice points we are also looking at turning points. Certainly they are more than entertainment and it is my contention that our world social scene is enduring significant choice points. Information technology is exploding and our world is shrinking. That is a dynamic scenario to which we need to attend. What fun? I think not. It is a challenge.

Utilizing Exploration

In fiction I’m not interested in idle exploration but think it is possible to edge into social commentary and define underlying realities and emerging themes. And wouldn’t it be nice if we had the guidance of a challenging but benevolent goddess. By putting the issues in a different light we may gain choices and recognitions. If we are edging into a postcapitalism world we need to pay attention. If deeply hidden themes are surfacing, we need to pay attention.

Essential Recognition

One theme which is clearly surfacing, but is not sufficiently recognized is the gathering import and impact of women. Women have been subjugated but what is happening is more than the liberation of them as they gain control of their fertility. Clearly men feel threatened by their liberation and try to hinder development.

But this is not about fertility. I would contend there is a fundamental threat and it is being expressed in misogyny as women gain power. I utterly fail to see that this is being recognized sufficiently and I expect this thought will not go unchallenged. 

The Power of Women

Let me lightly touch upon the power women hold. They enrapture men and at first men love it but she had best be careful because men don’t yield power easily. And so then there is sexual exploration. The man feels the rush of desire but with fulfillment comes a diminution of his power. And beyond that women are coming to explore themselves and what they wish for themselves. That means the man must yield some things to her. If they achieve true partnership, which takes some effort and negotiation, the outcome offers tremendous benefits—if it can be achieved. But for now we must attend, define and work to achieve a goal we can use for mutual benefit. It is in our interests.

Spirits and Beyond

We can also approach many other issues. Everywhere in human history are stories about spirits and a variety of life forms to be conjured and raised to awareness. Some of this, of course, reflects our need for an eternal life. But it also may just be touching on something that may be. Our senses are defined for specific purposes in our lives as they are. If our senses were different it is possible we would sight layers of life and amazing diversity.

Reaching Out

And the question “Are we alone” relates to this possibility. It also seems we have the yearning to find the other out there for contact and the wonder of diversity. Of course, there is also danger. But wonder does not always pay attention to danger.

And then, of course, there is the universe itself. Monumentally creative and destructive, it is a lure we reach for. We are stardust and have learned that we are. Again there is danger in the maelstrom of the universe but the creativity is worth the danger and we can only begin to see the kinds of encompassing life forms which may exist.

And to come full circle in this commentary I have to say adventure is intriguing but exploration can lead to the most wonderful discoveries. At the same time we must fight our way through our struggle and conflict. It helps to look out and examine our possibilities and what may be. We may strike a chord of guidance. 

Where does speculation lead you?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Threat Imposed By Women

 

Yes I used this picture recently and I’ve put it up again because I find it evocative. See what it evokes in you as we consider our changing world especially as it relates to women and our future.

From a Base of Suppression

Perhaps only now are we realizing that women have been deliberately suppressed. Often it seemed they simply stayed home because that is where women belong and, of course, they had to tend the children. Doesn’t that sound absurd now because we can see what the reality has been in many regards.

So, now we search for other explanations and one place to look is in the world of men. It is plausible that one reason women were suppressed was a matter of power and in the cultural context it was easy to use power at least against women. But now the power is being exposed.

Another Explanation

But there is something else which is a suitable theme and that is the matter of threat. Seriously? Have they been brandishing knives or something? No, it’s something less concrete.

I recall a song from long ago in which part of it was, “Run when church bells ring”, and “It could happen to you.” That’s right. Women are attractive and can “confine” men in marriage. And then they bring an additional confinement—children.

This circumstance is not a matter of power but of confinement and reduced autonomy. But, let’s face it, it is essential in many ways.

Competition

And then there is the job market. When women join the company they compete for positions. In the past though they came with fewer credentials and less education. That’s all changing. In fact their talents are manifest and competitive. It used to be it was only other men that men had to worry about as they climbed the corporate ladder. Now women are present.

Politics

 And now it seems everything is being reduced to politics. In this instance I firmly believe we are simply looking at a change in the social landscape, not just of the United States, but in the world. There are books outlining the changes which led to this wave of change. I won’t try to go into them but it is clear the change is major.

What We Gain

Yes, women are challenging us if only because they add breadth to the talent available in all walks of life. Now, suddenly, the other half of the world brings their array of talents. We have tried to silence them just as Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced in Congress recently. But increasingly men are joining them and supporting their efforts and talent. 

I’m stunned by what I see on television. They have joined in the commentary and are prominent in ways seemingly impossible a short time ago. They are not shrill or strident but plausible and talented. This is true in business, the medical profession, news media and on and on.

The woman’s place is in the home if she chooses but it is not required. When I was first driving women were assumed to be bad drivers—no longer. We have also discovered how talented they are and how they enhance all parts of our lives. And perhaps another wonderful part is that men are discovering they don’t have to run when church bells ring but can if they choose.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt