Are We Kidding Ourselves – Pt. 4

The Cusp of Reality

The Arena of Truth

The world is considerably less stable than we generally wish it to be. Yet, it usually offers us a definition we grasp. In it we find a place of safety. I’ll call that place the arena of truth. What an odd thing to call it. The word arena brings up an image of conflict. Well, the fact is that we live in conflict. Its just that we often know how to dismiss it and confine it. And when we define truth we feel we have found safety.

Conventional Reality

Another term for this place is conventional reality. Others help reinforce its guidelines and we come to believe in its truth. If we are fortunate we find peace and tranquility although our inner self (with its own definition) may remain insistent. That is where we live if our society is stable.

The tranquil place helps us to manage problems and support tranquility. If we are truly fortunate there is equality among us. At the edges conflict always seems to be searching for an opening. From time to time there is instability but if the foundations are sound, it is brought under control.

Deluding Ourselves with the Help of Others

Around us are a system of beliefs and others beckon us to join them in a common celebration of them. The alternatives are not pretty. To be utterly alone is not what we seek. We generally seek and find comfort. But what we see over and over is how tenuous our circumstances may be. There are times when we see the process broken as when war comes to rage.

The Call to Change

Always in us there are two voices. One voice calls on us to maintain calm and stability while the other calls to seek change. The latter voice is more common in the young and fades with the decades unless there is something that remains unresolved. We all see people in later years who break free from how their life has been. Often the consequences are dire.

But, if we can manage it, the other call is one beckoning with a new dawn. Some people are able to master this call leading to a fruitful life in which peril is contained. What we do not wish to seek is to find a place of darkness over and over.

The Call to Writing Fiction and Reading Literature

Writing offers many of us a safe opportunity. A story and characters are created. Because of the devotion to the activity the author can enjoy life with the characters and if they prove troublesome dismiss them with the “stroke of a pen”. The same goes for the path of the story.

We can create a world which is safe as our characters frolic or solve their challenge with us safely along for the ride. Naturally the same thing goes for the reader of fiction. They can seize a story or end it with a hand movement. How glorious to have these opportunities.

The wonderful thing is that with proper management we often can construct a pleasing world and that form of kidding ourselves is productive and fulfilling.

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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Meshing Fantasy with Unfolding Crises

 

Do you find current world events disturbing or hopeful?

The World Trembles

Again I have to note the title of this blog is Cusp of Reality. 

The news recently is chilling. It was not so long ago that the world seemed so much more stable and suddenly it seems almost surreal. Did I somehow move to an alternative planet which bears a strong resemblance to this one, but with an entirely different character?  It feels that way and simultaneously I find myself reviewing history as I’m reading the book  Postcapitalism by Paul Mason (again).

Inseparable Reality and Fiction

Suddenly we are falling deeper into crisis and it seems they are just beginning. While we cannot know where it will lead, the possibilities are far more daunting than hopeful. And then I look at my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy and see an unfolding of a worldwide crisis. It is very difficult for me to separate the fiction from what may be the reality of what is unfolding in our world whether it is social conflict or dangerous climate change.

Oceans as Models

More and more I’m convinced of the significance of what is called wave theory in human affairs. Waves come in many forms. We can observe the succession of empires in the ancient world, the coming of feudalism moving to capitalism and now seemingly beyond. Each has a wave form and, like waves, there seems to be a culmination and an end. Another wave inevitably follows. Our mighty oceans are deeply significant as models. Likewise politically we see waves of astonishing proportions leading to cataclysmic wars and such things as dynamic economic developments. The march of human history is hardly peaceful, nor is it adequately described as a march.

Melding Truths

It is impossible for me not to respond to what is resonating around me. I have always looked off into the distance and weighed the significance of events and experiences. It would appear that my devotion to my fiction reflects a concern about world affairs. As I have said, I see great truth about humanity in mythology and in my writing I have meshed myth with the empowerment of women. 

What Women May Bring

The rise of women is not core to the developing world crises but I see it as a wave of a contrary sort in that it represents something which I believe is of profound significance. It gets little attention but, as in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy, the movement of women and the grace they bring to human affairs may well be a determining factor for the outcome of our development. 

Tools to Face Our Future

Reality is truly something open to interpretation and vastly different outcomes. It is essential to our stability but, taken as definitive, it may leave us vulnerable and without the tools to manage inevitable crises. Suspending our belief has utility and the search for alternatives of all kinds can help us survive. In the same way fantasy should not be dismissed because it helps us explore and seek alternatives. And that includes coping skills and utility in speculation. 

Will we face who we are and our vulnerability? Will we use our skills and our talents to guide us? In future posts I will be addressing themes related to the strengths and weaknesses of humankind as well as elements of vision. Dealing with what is to come requires us to blend reality with tools derived from fantasy and speculation. And my special interest in our world is seeing how the unfolding of the potential of women may serve us.

What is your hope and your fear?

             Books by Roger B. Burt

                Available at Amazon

                Book 1 of the:

Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy-Mission Called: Women in Power

Multiple Wards Winner

Coming Soon Book2 of the:

Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy-Challenge: The Chosen Rise

          

The Psychologist Looks at Characters

 

 

An Emerging Character

Internal Conflict

Something emerged as I was writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. It was a tug of war between a writer and a psychologist. One might think immediately that this conflict could be a real asset. The truth is much more complicated than that.

It seems likely that similar conflicts exist in other creative enterprises. My dissertation dealt with painters and how their personality might influence their work. In fact, using the personality typology of Carl Jung, it was clear it does influence their work. Is that information useful to the artist?

Might he or she step back and do a different kind of analysis of the painting taking shape? They might, but their art is not a cognitive enterprise. It seemed best for them to let their creative processes flow. I doubt the person considering their painting would really be interested in those kinds of contributions for something to hang on their wall.

A Different Kind of Challenge

The written word brings a different kind of challenge. Of course it is reflected in the particular form of that written word but a similar tug of war can take place. The very matter of plot and character interactions lends itself to construction and it is easy to slip into analysis which may affect content, direction and style. With characters we hope the reader will be attracted or repelled by them depending upon their role in the story.

As a psychologist there came a point where I had to deal with my own inclinations. In life I have to contain my analytical tendencies. In seeing friends or in social occasions doing dispassionate analyses of the people with whom you are interacting is not typically a good idea. In fact it gets in the way of life.

I have, from time to time, been told a person was disturbed by the feeling that I was analyzing them. Most of the time I was doing no such thing. That is, unless there were warning signals which indicated I needed to be on my guard for one reason or other. Sometimes you meet someone who seems intent on manipulating you and the situation. My inner psychologist kicks in at once.

Around the Edges

In developing characters there is an essential conflict. Spending too much time on the analysis can be stultifying for the story. Often there simply needs to be a flow. The character has to live within and emerge. At least that is what I’ve concluded. There may be other approaches.

A good example for me relates to my lead character in book 1 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. Avery is a bright, dedicated young woman but in the background is the fact that she had lost her parents in an early part of her adulthood. She wanted them back and had felt abandoned.

When she finds that she has another kind of family I wrote her as doing a lot of whining. Such a reaction under the specific circumstances of this story is completely understandable at least to me. But most people would contain it inside which is what I was relating to. When it became clear it wasn’t working I had to reconstruct her. It worked a lot better. Sometimes reality in storytelling simply does not work.

The Bottom Line

This example is what I, as a psychologist, had to view. I’m sure many writers have things they have to face in their writing—things that are coming from inside of them. It was not a matter of my personality but reflected my training. Each form of art has its own pitfalls and I suspect that many writers of fiction have to wrestle with components coming from within themselves. In some instances it may enhance the work or it may yield flaws which must be dealt with.

In what ways does the “inner you” affect your vocation or art?

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