Waves in Human Existence

A Living Planet

 

The image of an ocean beach is always engaging. The movement and the sense of a living planet is essential and stirring. But, as we sense the attitudes of our life we can see that the waves exist everywhere and are compelling. 

Sometimes there is talk of the march of history but a march does not describe the essence of the experience of life on our planet. Certainly there is nothing steady and, for that, I am grateful. It is the overlapping waves at so many levels which makes life interesting. Demarkations, twists and turns are essential as well as the swelling to a crescendo. In fact, I wish to publicly thank Eve and the snake for freeing us from the prison that was Paradise. It would have been terribly boring. Challenge is better.

Dynamic Explorations

Life need not be a passive experience or at least I would never wish it to be so. Life is to be an exploration of meaning and possibilities. And within all those things are waves. Our social groups experience waves, our cities, cultures, countries and, now, I believe humankind is confronting a wave of the largest magnitude of our history.

For most of my life I have been something of cynic and not prone to accept the common wisdom. And I have always been suspicious of claims of an impending fulfillment religious or otherwise. Perhaps it is the word fulfillment of which I am suspicious. But presently I am perceiving, rightly or wrongly, that we seem on the verge of a consolidation of our future. As grim as things seem in so many parts of human existence currently, there appears to be a process which holds promise. And such promise is most often born of challenge and conflict. 

It is the theme of a wave of change or denouement which was central in driving my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. The first book, Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery: Mission Called – Women in Power sets the scene and develops the characters to travel with us as humankind faces a denouement with profound implications.

Of the Personal and the Species

Looking back I see repeated waves appearing in my life.  I see them of various duration and in everything from the personal to the societal and now in the existence in humankind as a whole. Personally I saw it in the wonder of growing up in vibrant New York. Then in the 1970s the city teetered on the edge of bankruptcy and we saw a very different city for a time. In our economies we see it over hundreds of years as we move through feudalism, capitalism and now it seems, toward postcapitalism. 

Repeatedly I turned to mythology and the meaning it coveys even as we experience the numinous or spiritual dimension. In our personal lives the mysterium, which is the mystery of woman, ensnares us bringing wonder and fulfillment. It may invoke fear among men but also fulfillment. And in turn it leads to the meaning of the empowerment of women and all facets of its meaning. And it is not a momentary phenomenon but is better characterized as a wave swelling and then breaking – toward what end?

Exploration and Enriched Reality 

In the coming posts I’ll share some thoughts about the waves we experience as humans, about what may happen to countries and our country in particular and I will be paying special attention to the human climate. This is an unimaginably fascinating time. I chose the cuspofreality for the name of the blog because I think we need to be exploring not just ourselves but our world so we may move toward an understanding of what is happening. Nothing is fixed and everything open to interpretation—like reality.

Waves enrich us in all aspects of human existence and I could not resist sharing a mythologically cloaked adventure about the wave which I believe may be dominating our lives right now and leading us into 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

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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

Did Eve Do Us a Favor?

 

Challenge and Opportunity

Writing fiction is a challenging task. It is generally said to be a creative pursuit. Easy statement but not so simple in practice. How many of us have looked at the image of the writer sitting at his/her desk wondering how to begin. Of course the first question is probably not what to write but why write. Somehow we feel a challenge or a push but at base writing fiction is fundamental to human existence.

Oh please! (I don’t mean that.) Not everyone feels the urge to write but they often enough choose to read. It’s not just a matter of us having the capacity to do either. There is something fundamental because of our tendency to seize the moment of creation of all kinds.

Who We Are

I’ll try not to go too deeply into philosophical meanderings. One of the categories I chose for my WordPress blog is “struggle”. When I chose it, I thought it would fit some specific items but found I selected it over and over again because I came to realize that life on this planet has a fundamental element of struggle. Once that is stated I don’t think I need to exemplify it. Surely many forms of it leap into your awareness. And its not just a matter of survival. Its incredibly fundamental and the challenge is essential.

One Example

You may have been wondering when I would get to the title of this post. Did Eve Do Us a Favor? Actually that came to my mind clearly one day. It’s possible to take that biblical episode as an indication of how women have fouled our future. It can also be seen as how evil can trip happily into our lives as in the form of the snake. But certainly it has been taken in a variety of ways as indicative e of how women are naive and fail us.

A Very Different Take

I have another view and think we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Eve. Without her we would be sitting in Paradise desperate for something interesting to do. The view presented to us of paradise is shallow and wanting of challenge. Perhaps Eve saw that the snake was offering us a rich future of struggle and with it opportunity. But it required being cast our of Paradise and its inevitable boredom.

Not Stopping There

When we move beyond Paradise we immediately recognize a universe of opportunity. And I use the word universe pointedly. When we step back and look at our four plus billion year world we see amazing diversity and creation. We may be a moment time and have to wonder how we will evolve from here. Of course, each of us may well not see much of what is to come but the contemplation of possibilities is stunning.

Thanking Women – Again

And so I come back to the matter of struggle and seizing the opportunity. Our human past has been rich in struggle but also creation and opportunity. Women as the source of children and our future require recognition. So, again…Thank You Eve!-for your marvelous gift of opportunity.

 

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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

Who We Are, Versus Who We Think We Are

 

A Challenge for Each of Us

Our personal identity is a constant challenge for each of us at all levels. We have to assume an identity in order to function but, in fact, we may have a very different identity from that assumed by other people. On a day by day basis we can’t trouble ourselves with these matters. Why would we? So we make an assumption and forge ahead.

The fact is that most of the time we probably think not at all about issues of identity unless we are challenged or face a problem. Sooner or later there will come an event when someone will ask “Who the hell do you think you are?” The question may mean the person is offended by a position we have taken or it may be a more fundamental challenge. If it is the latter then we truly are challenged.

Our Personal Identity

And sometimes we are perfectly clear about who we are but are in hiding. Others may think they know us but do not. There may be a fundamental mixture of comfort and pain.

Now, with these questions, if you are confused or feel lost then you thoroughly understand why we do not dwell on such questions most of the time. It is only at crisis point that we must attend.

And Then One Day…

And writers of fiction often come to the point where they wonder who their characters really are or where they came from. One of the reasons to have an outline and a firm understanding of the story is that it keeps us focused rather than letting us get lost in a fantasy related to a character’s identity or our own identity. Or is that the point of writing fiction? Can we expand our world and our identity? Are we often asking questions we want to explore.

Different Kinds of Meaning

The fact is that we who write fiction are almost surely not simply engaging in an interesting exercise or a labor of love. It seems likely that our engagement goes much deeper. As a psychologist I know that what we are doing is often a reflection of our personality. Those of us who engage in speculation and fantasy are different creatures from the people who focus on the glory of the turn of the phrase. In my dissertation I sought to answer the question “does the painter’s work reflect his personality?” The literature was full of unfounded psychoanalytic speculation.

But Carl Jung gave us a magnificent personality typology free of bias and authority. I found the personality of the painter was clearly displayed in his work. In discussing my dissertation results with artists I could see their focus and how their personality identity shaped their work. A study with writers would probably uncover some interesting differences. As I step back and look at the characters in my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I see a melange of parts of me, people I would like to know and layers of identity issues.

What do you see when you take this viewpoint into the act of creation?

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

Women in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy – Pt 1

 

Avery the Whiner

This post kind of comes down to the psychologist still learning about being a psychologist.

Avery is the lead character in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. She is a central focus throughout. Characters should come alive to the author if they are to be authentic. Avery certainly did that. But I had to learn a lesson and she had to get a grip.

Getting What You Wish For

It is hardly news that sometimes we have to tell someone they should be careful what they wish for. Avery had to learn that lesson and since I was the author it really was me who had to learn the lesson and get it across to her.

Avery had a pretty good life. She had been raised to do “good works” because her parents worked in third world health delivery systems. It was a challenging life and had its perils. They died in a car accident in the Middle East and Avery felt abandoned. Maybe that wasn’t quite fair of her because they had no intention of leaving her.

Then She Got a New Family

And later the family she got was not one she had known existed but suddenly they were very much in her life. Their arrival came with a large load of complications and threat. Here is where my problem began. In the first draft of the first book of the Gaia’s majesty Trilogy I finally had to face that Avery was whining a lot. Sure she got a grip at last but until then she could be really tiresome.

What I learned

At first I thought her reaction was perfectly understandable. Well, it was to me because, as a psychologist, I could feel her agony and her devastation and discomfort. You want a family but it didn’t have to be so complicated and even frightening. And you didn’t want to have people trying to kill you.

What I was doing was displaying my view of what was almost surely going on deep inside her. But what happens deep inside is often not what we display to the outside world. But consistently I got to see that side of people in my office and there were times when I had to encourage them to display their agonies. When someone comes for help it may be necessary for them to bring out all the nasty things they feel so we can together sort them out and help them come to terms with their burden.

In Avery’s case she hadn’t known she had a burden or perhaps it is better to say she didn’t have a burden until this strange, alien family showed up. What was she supposed to do with that? The more she learned, the more her agony increased.

What To Do

Avery could flee and take what was left of her former life with her or she could tough it out. Toughing it out was what she really had to do and in the life changes she had found a neat guy. Fleeing would have probably meant giving him up. So she hung in there and displayed her agony and feelings—whined.

My Turn

At last it was the turn of the author to get a grip. I had a picture of her agony and knew how she would almost surely feel inside. Fine! Nice for me to know but the reader did not have to endure her agony in that particular way. I had to serious revise what I had written and give her more strength, determination and composure. And her guy could help her.

Sometimes, in particular settings, it is not desirable to have truth and reality be writ too large.

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