Cusp of Reality Blog

Are We Kidding Ourselves Pt. 2

Note: There were no posts last week because my wife and I took the opportunity to visit friends in Florida. One day we went to tour Palm Beach and the Mar A Lago area. Eye opening is my nice way of putting it. We were not able to even glimpse Trump’s operation because the security operations had walled it off since he was in town.

What we saw was a display of extreme wealth including harbors filled with huge yachts. It was a display of how health has hugely aggregated to the very few. And if one was willing to look, close by, were clear indications of poverty. It was a marked educational opportunity which I don’t want to have to see again.

The Unconscious and Spirits

The Defined and the Undefined

Day to day we proceed through our lives and take comfort in the belief that we know where we are going—at least for now. Of course we have to accept options in our existence. But there are some that are clearly defined and some undefined. We don’t usually trouble ourselves with sifting the difference and whether each option presented us is defined and undefined. That would be maddening. Instead we decide to simply accept a working definition of such things as reality and mental illness. How much more reassuring.

Other Options

But I have a problem. While I can lay weighing options aside like most people, I still want, from time to time, to open options and considerations. Two of my favorites are the unconscious and the existence of spirits. The first option is probably of more interest to the psychologist but people can often be engaged in discussions about spirits. 

The Unconscious 

There isn’t a lot of substance that can be concluded about the unconscious partly because it has no substance. It seems that it exists because we have all had the experience of seeing something materialize in our thoughts and that we have no idea why it suddenly came to us. So we accept it and don’t debate its origins. That’s probably the best tactic.

Spirits

Suddenly we tap into something which seems to intrigue people a lot more. Partly it seems it is because it taps into our religious inclinations and almost everyone has had religious experiences and has been raised in one tradition or another.

Where it gets dicey is when we talk not about an inspiring diety but get into what may be lurking around us. My belief in that regard is that we are not designed to experience spirits and do not have the sensory mechanisms. 

At the same time I find spirits intriguing because there is the possibility that our lack of experience may simply relate to the construction of our senses.

Diversity of Experience and Belief

What these things all come back to is the degree to which we seek diversity and inspiration in our lives. Some of us are so inclined, some less so. But in the end we come back to the authors realm. Even in the most clearly defined writing endeavor there are matters of choice and the presentation may be challenging and open creativity. 

Are we kidding ourselves is the question that comes to mind again. But at base we are talking about enriching our personal and collective environment. And isn’t that what we want in our lives.

And then again, don’t we have the need to explore possibilities? Human history has taken some amazing turns short term and long term. Often we are blindsided but it is these types of explorations which permit us to respond to challenges.

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 Origins and Sources of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy – Pt. 1

Inspiration and the Author

Whatever Inspiration Means

As soon as I input the word inspiration, something inside of me asks, “what?” At once I understand. Inspiration is defined by Google as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”. Does that help? Not for me. Like so many things it raises more questions than answers and the stimulation is not just mental.

A familiar image is of the author sitting before a typewriter (now a computer) waiting for something to stir him or her or give them direction. First off we have to wonder why the author came to sit there if there was no clear inclination of direction or clarity of substance.

Inspiration does seem to have an independent life of its own. Partly because books of fiction have roots inside ourselves. Nonfiction may be simply our need to give clarity to a “real” world subject. But fiction is another matter.

A Process Without Clear Delineation 

At the same time it just may be that we are wasting our time trying to define inspiration because we are led into a cave with a myriad turning points and possibilities. Sometimes it just may be that we have to accept that we are being stirred by something we cannot immediately define. It may be that where we begin may be nowhere near where we end up.

As such it may be best to see what we can do to focus an idea no matter how vague and see if an outline of some sort may emerge. As a psychologist I often come back to the idea that things are often not what they seem. What we call reality has anything but a hard edge and certainly inspiration may be fuzzy. We may have to simply take inspiration off its leash or find a way to do that. 

A Road or An Adventure

In fiction we are certainly looking for a way down a road, an adventure of some sort. The beginning is to simply start down the road. And the road we choose may be very different depending upon the stage of our lives. We may be searching a purpose for ourselves, looking to reveal something to others or even doing an assessment of where we have been and its meaning.

Finding a Beginning Point

Looking back I have to wonder where the beginning of this trilogy really was. There were just two general thoughts. One was that in my life I search for possibilities and that I’m entranced by mythology. The simple explanation was that I found myself focused on the meaning of mermaids. In their own way they are so prominent. As a story began to develop it became clear that women were central.

From there I found an outline was becoming insistent and steadily clarified as it grew and grew and grew. Since I am hardly at the beginning of my life I had to realize I was doing an assessment and was turning pages to think further about what may lie in our collective future. Together we can see where it leads and search out the substance of meanings.

What is inspiration for 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

Are We Kidding Ourselves – Pt. 1

 

Gaining Perspective

I’ve been sharing my experience of writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy—that it started out as one book and now may actually be four books. One of the problems is that demanding characters keep showing up and so do intriguing twists to the plot.

That’s one set of issues, but there is another set which is related. It requires me taking my psychologist off the shelf. Being a clinical psychologist has been interesting and demanding, but after all these decades it seems I have no greater fixed clarity.

Essential Questions

I still have to ask, What is reality? And I also still have to ask, What is mental illness?

Okay. There, I said it. There is a fundamental problem. Well, two fundamental problems. First of all reality is maddeningly unclear. Second sanity and mental illness have no bounds.

The Matter of Reality

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. And reality is in the eye of the beholder as well. Is that bad? After decades of dealing with psychology my answer is clear. Reality is a matter of what is serviceable and functional—broadly defined. We don’t have to agree and our respective viewpoints may serve our respective purposes. If we have the same job and the same focus, that is another matter.

The Outcome

The end point is respect and accepting that these different views need not be considered a problem so long as they do not serve negative purposes. Currently we are seeing the down side of this issue about reality on the political stage and the uproar and potential devastation are terrible to consider. 

So again, we see it is a matter of functionality, but in some instances there are destructive orientations. Reality may not be at issue but intent may be the key issue.

The essence here is related to intent and outcome. The wonderful thing is that in writing fiction we can serve whatever purpose we choose and it is up to the reader to love the story or to throw the book in the trash.

Mental Illness

Quite awhile back there was a movement to move virtually everything related to human nature into the health field. Our mental status and related functioning was dragged in kicking and screaming. To this day there is a dispute about what is and is not mental illness. 

Our differences are substantial and, especially thanks to Carl Jung, we understand that there can be vast differences in personality. That means those differences are often great but not pathological. The issue again comes back to functionality. We often have to see what the outcome is or how harmful the person is. It remains complex and we have to respect the complexity.

What Is The Point? (It’s about time you may be saying!)

While the issues of reality and mental illness do have real world consequences, the basic point is applicable to the world of fiction writing. In fiction we can swing open the door for exploration and what we see is generally safe and can be intriguing. As I indicated above I found that characters could be insistent and plots could be intriguing in many forms. In the end, in fiction we see how nuanced our lives can be and that our different realities and functionality enrich our lives. And that enrichment is not just in our books but in our existences. There is much to be enjoyed and savored and, yes, managed.

What have you concluded?

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

Roger B. Burt’s Newsletter

 

A Marvelous Set of Possibilities

The day to day news has been increasingly alarming recently. But from time to time we get some wonderful and hopeful perspectives pointing toward a truly important and positive way forward.

Such is the case with the publication of The Great Pivot by Justine Burt

Available now on Amazon.

Our Potential

There is growing agreement that climate change offers not just challenge but peril. And along comes this book which presents us with ways forward. And it is not just what we might do but it details how we can respond in a very constructive way.

The Great Pivot is remarkably detailed and I recommend it. It is not a dreamy Saturday morning read but very rewarding as it offers us details about how to proceed toward Green solutions. The book is of special interest to policymakers and job creators but is also of interest to all of us.

The author is my daughter, but I’m focusing on it in this newsletter because of the import of the book. As part of my work as a psychologist I spent many years evaluating people for vocational rehabilitation. There is great good news. High tech green jobs can be done by the very people who are presently being displaced. I won’t go into all the details but, for example, as jobs in coal decline, the very people displaced can actually move on to new technology in the green economy.

A Brighter Future Than Many Believe

I’ll stop there. The book is fascinating and points to a bright future, not in an overheated planet but of technological wonder and promise of a productive future even for the people who are presently seeing their future darken. Take a look and let it brighten your day.

Roger B. Burt, author of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

Coming soon – Book 2: Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise

Writing – The Larger Discovery

 

Means of Expression

Too often we take for granted the availability of what I will call means of expression. It seems to have started long ago around our camp fires and quiet evenings in caves before there was writing. We have been discovering ourselves and our potential for a very long time. 

Religion surely began long before we could write and reflected our needs of many varying kinds. We sought guidance and understanding. In time, surely even before we had writing there were entertaining and often moving displays to each other. And then came language and writing.

It Hasn’t Stopped

Now we have the stage, visual media and all different forms of written inspiration. For many of us it is not a pastime or simply amusement. When we look we see the movement of us and our cultures.

Do any of us who write begin with a clear understanding of why we write or where it will lead us. Certainly some authors amuse us, aid us with our dreams and inspire us to seek involvement and changes for our future. It is hard to be definitive regarding the specific scope of all such expressive endeavors. Likewise it is hard to define the reactions of the people who view and read these productions or what it means to each one of them.

As The Writer

And, as I’ve said before, I didn’t begin writing with a clear goal or understanding of what I was doing. Doesn’t that sound stupid and clueless? But it probably is true of many of our endeavors. We do not definitively plan in many cases. Even in the creation of a family we do not plan it out although we may think we do. We probably did not specifically foresee that fabulous face and while we may think our children will be a little me, we are often not prepared for who comes to live at our house.

The Wonder of Discovery

And therein lies the wonder. Wouldn’t it be dull if we could specifically plan our course in life and who will join us in the voyage. In the same way I started writing thinking there was a story I might like to develop. It proved not to be entirely under my control. The insistence on inclusion and development of some characters was challenging. I had to take charge at least to some degree. 

And it was only later that I recognized why I chose the themes I chose. Myth is a powerful force and when we refer to myth we often make the error of taking it to mean that it lacks truth. In fact, what I see is that it often conveys deep truths, offers us futures to weigh and other endless possibilities.

Enjoying the Adventure

It may seem odd but for me it does not detract from the experience to study what is revealed. The story and its experience may explode and lead but it is also endlessly intriguing. It enhances the reader and the writer and may open unintended and unexpected pathways. This may not be new to you but when we each look at the implications, it is a matter of wonder.

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