A Vision of women

Searching for Meaning

 

Do you have a clear vision of and for women?

There are events and then there are the meaning of the events. The difference is something we would do well to understand. Women are assuming different positions, importance and balance. In some ways the United States may be catching up to the curve. We did not get a woman president this time. But other nations such as India, Israel, Great Britain and Germany among many others have been led by women. 

Now we are offered an unparalleled opportunity for exploration of attitudes and potential. It is not just a matter of women coming to the fore in greater numbers. What does is mean about the potential and the future of humankind?

Exploration is Needed

One of the things we must do is to examine our beliefs, our cultures and our feelings. It is easy to say “the times they are changing” and leave it at that. It is not so simple and it would be unfortunate to be dismissive because the import is highly significant.

The battle to get women the vote took almost one hundred years although in a sense it has been thousands of years. Eventually we let them drive, permitted them to have credit cards of their own among other things and these things were quite recent. Why we changed is not clear.

Matters of Power

We are seeing some of the basis of the problem in the matter of power. At least in the United States it seems that women who seek power are not to be trusted. How interesting. Men are to be trusted but women not. It comes to us unexamined but was confirmed by a study at Yale University. I have yet to hear justification for why anyone would believe this. 

I hold a different position. I do not routinely trust men with power. In so many instances they have proven themselves incapable of effectively wielding it again and again. Are we to accept it just because they have always been doing it? Effective management is much more impressive and I have seen women to be ever so effective. They are showing up in greater numbers in politics and so many are impressive. The men who are in office in larger numbers are often less so. The absence of mission and perspective is too often stunning.

Who Are We?

Is it possible that we perceive women as weaker and less able to control themselves. In general women cry more easily than men and may cry tears of anger. The reality I learned in studies and in couples therapy is that men feel just as strongly but contain the feelings inside and so do not cry. Does that make them more capable of leadership. I think not.

Like it or not, we can already see the effects of the empowerment of women and it is broadly beneficial. The largest issue before us is that we have not sufficiently examined our attitudes and cultural perspectives. Why be suspicious of woman wanting to take the reins of power? I hear silence and dim prejudice. What is it that men are afraid of? And, for that matter, what is it that women are afraid of as women take the reins of power? We need to examine these matters. 

Understanding Would be Useful

We seem to be heading toward true partnership and need to clarify what it means and why we are so afraid of it. The benefits will surely be world changing and I am raising the issue that we should be examining this process in more detail and what is holding us back. I contend there are other issues than power and it would serve us well to search for what they are.

What alternatives do you see?

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

Coming to the Cusp of Reality This Fall

 

 

The summer holidays are over and we are now in what can only be described as a momentous fall. Coming this fall and into the winter will be posts devoted to several categories of issues. 

Monthly Newsletter for the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. On the second Monday of the month I will publish the Roger B Burt – Myth and Transformation newsletter.

Feminism– It has been coming for some time but seems to be cresting presently. It deserves ongoing exploration because the potential is essential for our future and shows us that the potential of half our people is being released at last.

Author Issues – I can’t resist digging into some of the issues writers of fiction face. Obviously they are affecting me and sharing is useful. Included will be revelations about the Origins of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

Health and Mental Health – If we manage to achieve a stable, productive government we have a long overdue set of issues to affect. Mental health must be redefined and health in general needs significant attention.

Vision – There are issues that deserve our clarification and there are many issues not being spotlighted presently which require deep consideration.

Emergent Topics – Surely we cannot foresee what may demand our attention.

Let’s Begin with America in Crisis

Today we start with a topic I have generally stayed away from, the momentous crisis America finds itself in and the meaning of politics.

Beyond Politics to the Soul of Our Country

First there is an issue which is fundamental to seeking clarity. Here is a definition of politics—

“the activities, action, and policies that are used to gain and hold power in a government or to influence a government.”

This is where the cusp of reality comes in. Listening to the discussion and rants we find almost everything being said to be political. And therein lies a huge mistake. There is so much more going on and it is inappropriate to reduce it to partisan politics.

The soul of our country, in all its complexity, is being displayed at last. We refer to America as the “Shining City on the Hill”. It seems not presently and what we have to face is that what is happening to us is not purely a function of an unstable, severely pathological, narcissistic sociopath. We have to own what is happening to our country and what we are displaying about ourselves. Who we are deep down and our failings are not a matter of politics although it may feed into politics.

Waves In the World

But there is another process to which we must attend. World affairs are often conditioned by waves of change or, perhaps a better description is, eruptions of change. It was not so long ago that we saw a hopeful world and now we see manifestations of authoritarianism to be very common across the globe and very much here at home.

At home there was the dreadful “error” (or was it just ideological) by the Supreme Court with Citizens United. Now we are exposed to the revelations indicating deep money corruption affecting our government. That’s not politics, it is pure corruption which has eaten away at a major party.

Essential Vision

And now comes another favorite theme of mine—vision. We are so caught up in the eruption of authoritarianism we are utterly failing to attend to some of the things I have been touching on in this blog such as the rise of feminism, attention to jobs of the future and health issues among others.

We can only hope that this fall may be a turning point for us domestically. Even if we achieve that turning we still must face what we have learned about our citizens. What facing it means is a design for problem solving issues that deeply affect those citizens. Confrontation will at times be necessary but it will not turn the tide of their future. 

And above all we must remain hopeful and dedicated to vision so we may solve our problems in constructive ways.

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

A Long Ago Warning for the Era of Trump

 

From the New Yorker 10 June 2018

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered in Barcelona at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona on June 6, 2018, in honor of Orwell Day.

Some essays are letters into the future. “The Prevention of Literature” is one such essay, and today I’d like to respond to it from 2018.

Orwell argues that totalitarianism makes literature impossible. By literature, he means all kinds of writing in prose, from imaginative fiction to political journalism; he suggests that verse might slip through the cracks. He writes, too, that there is such a thing as “groups of people who have adopted a totalitarian outlook”—single-truth communities of sorts, not just totalitarian regimes or entire countries. These are deadly to literature as well.

Orwell was writing in 1946, five or seven years before scholarly works by Hannah Arendt, on the one hand, and Karl Friedrich, on the other, provided the definitions of totalitarianism that are still in use today. Orwell’s own “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” which provides the visceral understanding of totalitarianism that we still conjure up today, was a couple of years away. Orwell was in the process of imagining totalitarianism—he had, of course, never lived in a totalitarian society.

He imagined two major traits of totalitarian societies: one is lying, and the other is what he called schizophrenia. He wrote, “The organized lying practiced by totalitarian states is not, as it is sometimes claimed, a temporary expedient of the same nature as military deception. It is something integral to totalitarianism, something that would still continue even if concentration camps and secret police forces had ceased to be necessary.” The lying entailed constantly rewriting the past to accommodate the present. “This kind of thing happens everywhere,” he wrote, “but is clearly likelier to lead to outright falsification in societies where only one opinion is permissible at any given moment. Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.”

He goes on to imagine that “a totalitarian society which succeeded in perpetuating itself would probably set up a schizophrenic system of thought, in which the laws of common sense held good in everyday life and in certain exact sciences, but could be disregarded by the politician, the historian, and the sociologist.”

Orwell was right. The totalitarian regime rests on lies because they are lies. The subject of the totalitarian regime must accept them not as truth—must not, in fact, believe them—but accept them both as lies and as the only available reality. She must believe nothing. Just as Orwell predicted, over time the totalitarian regime destroys the very concept, the very possibility of truth. Hannah Arendt identified this as one of the effects of totalitarian propaganda: it makes everything conceivable because “nothing is true.”

. . . .

But perhaps Orwell’s most valuable observation in this essay concerns instability. “What is new in totalitarianism,” he wrote, “is that its doctrines are not only unchallengeable but also unstable. They have to be accepted on the pain of damnation, but on the other hand, they are always liable to be altered on a moment’s notice.” Orwell had observed the disfavor and disappearance of prominent Bolsheviks and the resulting adjustments to the official narratives of the Revolution—the endlessly changing and vanishing commissars. Arendt argued that the instability was, in fact, the point and purpose of the purges: the power of the regime depended not so much on eliminating particular men at particular moments but on the ability to eliminate any man at any moment. Survival depended on one’s sensitivity to the ever-changing stories and one’s ability to mold oneself to them.

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 Monthly Newsletter

 

 

 Welcome To My Newsletter – Myth and Transformation 

Roger B Burt: Author of Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: 

Women in Power

(The newsletter posts the second Monday of the month)

Come Join Us In An Adventure 

Our world is an intriguing place and its drama has increased considerably lately. In my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I touch on major themes and possibilities related to our world. Book 2 , Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise is to be published soon. There is adventure in the books on which I will comment but I will also be sharing my perceptions of our real world adventures. Let me begin with a quote from Joseph Campbell – Author and scholar. I read Campbell’s statement decades ago and it has stayed with me as a living, fundamental truth. Its reality has fueled my writing.

Joseph Campbell

“It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.”

I Should Have Known Better

As a clinical psychologist writing a novel with mythic content sounded interesting. And as an intuitive personality writing offered possibilities—and possibilities are the fundamental passion of my personality type. I learned there were demanding characters lurking in my head. Also there were emerging crises in our world that would align themselves in the plot and do much to drive it.

Life Beyond the Mundane

Myth is inspiring and we can see it unfold in our lives. And now, in our world we see dramatic events dominating our lives. We may be on the edge of another great conflict but we may also be on the verge of a transformation. Let’s begin by exploring. We will see won’t we?

Let me invite you to join us at my blog  cuspofreality.com

Available Now: Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power (Book 1 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Gaias-Majesty-Mission-Called-Women/dp/1935994255/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535136372&sr=1-1&keywords=Gaia%27s+Majesty

Opportunities Not to Be Missed

 

Accelerating Change

The title of this blog is Cusp of Reality. Equally it might have been The Challenge of Vision.

This is a distressing time in that it seems events are moving faster and faster. We are talking about the PostCapitalism society and world conflicts are accelerating after a hopeful period.

Frustration With Research

When I decided upon psychology as my career I was intrigued by the human mind and what I ran into at once was the fact of needing to do research to foster development. Too often though the reality I found was that psychologists looked to an area of study and then would tweak the research to be able to publish a paper. it generally was not groundbreaking.

Sorry if my colleagues find that offensive but my personality type gets in my way all the time. I want to forge into possibilities. And that means taking risks and fostering speculation as a way to open new possibilities. 

The bottom line is that I find much of what is going on out there in this rapidly changing world is narrow-minded. The world is racing forward and, too often, it seems we are being left behind. Let me offer some examples.

The Depth and Meaning of the Women’s Movement

Maybe I’m not looking in the right places but I find the commentary about women too often stifling. There are some outstanding books written by women about the coming days of women. Yes, I said days of women. In this country we are seeing a marked change. I won’t even attempt to catalogue what is happening but the subjugation of women is not just being challenged, but it is clearly coming to an end—and the changes are worldwide. One indication is that we suddenly are seeing markedly smart, perceptive and capable women appearing as commentators on television. Can we have some broad based search of this movement? Why now? Where might it lead? And to my male colleagues—Will men please wake up! Especially older white men.

Jobs and the Future in a Rapidly Changing World

I realize the call for coal jobs to come back was a political ploy but in so many areas the expectation for the future is narrow. Artificial intelligence among other tech areas is racing forward and I hear next to nothing groundbreaking in terms of looking at how people need to be prepared. We need research first of all looking at what might be the jobs needed in the future and then we need to look at how people can be prepared. And there is something even more fundamental. We are seeing whole categories of our citizens who are dismissed as future hires because we have not looked at their abilities in an enlightened fashion. I know from my career and my evaluation of intelligence that there is unexpected potential. And when I bring it up, it is dismissed out of hand. A stunning lack of willingness to even attempt vision crucial for our future. Not to say these studies will be easy. No, they will be extraordinarily 

challenging and the time to begin is now.

Then There’s Transformation

Transformation is another one of my favorites. The situation we have now has great potential and that means we may be looking at transformation in the near future. Of course the other possibility may be devastation which strongly suggests we need to be paying attention and work hard in our own behalf to transform our future in a positive fashion. Currently our country is in the throes of a major political and ideological crisis. We can only hope that we will gain control of it and put ourselves on a more positive track. 

Responding to the World As It Is

We can’t afford to continue as we are now. We talk about a rapidly changing world but chatting about it is not a good way to approach the future. We need comprehensive and groundbreaking research. Often that is considered more than challenging but risky as well because the undertaking requires trying things which may not work. It would require constant revision and refinement. Yes, we have a choice. We can be passive or we can vigorously start challenging the meaning and possibilities of our future. There I go again. Always the initiative type personality.

What possibilities have you run across that requires research and exploration?

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

Personal Writing Impediments and Enhancements

Chantia – Our Lead Woman Character

Each of Us As a Writer Has Our Struggles

Writing fiction seems enticing and then we learn the reality of it from issues about the story, how characters develop and the need for promotion and many other things. In this post I’m going to focus on a character in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. But the add on is my own personal contribution and that means what being a psychologist meant for me as a writer. There were definitely pluses and minuses. But it seems they made their own contributions in that some characters showed up demanding a place. Or at least that is how I experienced it.

I’ll Focus on a Woman Named Chantia

She is the central progenitor and had a complex history which was difficult in itself. But there were other problems.

In the story Chantia was the child of a couple devoted to giving health care in the third world. Often that is a difficult environment in which to raise a child. Chantia did not see it that way but was a little mystified when she was sent away to boarding school. Then she went on to college in New York. I constructed that for her because I could imagine her parents would have wanted her to have a broader educational base so she could truly be a person of the world.

But these were not her biological parents. Her biological parents were also devoted to activity in the third world but their true work was intelligence and that meant danger. Long story short, they had to flee under truly dangerous circumstances and left their infant with another couple who Chantia later believed were her true parents. When they died she felt abandoned which was her specific reaction.

My interpretation as a psychologist was that, for personal reasons, she had taken being sent away to school as a rejection and the loss of her parents intensified that feeling.

I think you are beginning to see why my being a psychologist was a complicating factor.

My Interpretations and the Complexity

So then Chantia is shortly thrown into a world where she finds that her biological parents are still alive and they are activists, even the kind who kill people. She wanted her family back but this was definitely not the family she had in mind.

Now the author was running into problems. As a psychologist I could see an intense conflict in Chantia would be almost inevitable. I wanted drama and conflict in the story but this could easily get out of hand.

But it got worse when the opponents of her found family tried to kill her and the man who had become the love of her life. Wait a friggin’ minute. She wanted a family but this was intense. I found that she was becoming a whiner which was not working well in the story at least beyond a certain point. But, at the same time, I simply could not ignore the fact that this was a difficult life. And whining would be a common reaction if not inevitable. In many ways I wanted her situation complicated because the reality is that these kinds of missions can be dangerous and involve all kinds of peril. But whining, in spite of its likelihood was not fitting in well.

My Central Conflict

It wasn’t just the character who had a conflict. I did. I thought her story, as I constructed it In Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power, was interesting and intriguing but just as some characters who showed up demanding inclusion, they also often came with their own internal histories and conflicts which I knew had to be there because of my intuitive personality type and my profession.

And then I started watching the television series Madam Secretary. And there I could see my conflict as a writer. She had a very trying job and they portrayed her as deeply stressed which came very close to whining. And then she had to pull herself together and be the commanding Secretary of State. They did a good job of melding the two themes and her display of her conflict was done artfully even though it came close to whining.

I think most of us who write fiction don’t fully understand what we may be getting ourselves into. And there are conventional wisdoms in the world of writing which may clash with who we are constitutionally and experience wise.

I’ll stop here for now but will come back to these issues with other characters.

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 Ephemeral Curse of Lyme Disease

Coming to Terms With Reality

Many of us are naive enough to believe that an infection is something which yields an illness of a specific duration. Colds and flus pass through our lives with a fairly specific duration. We understand there are things which are chronic but generally we expect them to come to an end. Such was the case when I receive a visit from Lyme Disease and the spirochetes which cause it.

An Erratic Course of Diverse Symptoms

Diverse symptoms confused the picture. I thought I was getting old. Well, I was but that was not the primary issue. Finally my wife told me I had most of the symptoms suffered by her friends who had Lyme Disease. The blood test I took was negative. Later I learned the blood test is completely unreliable but practitioners were too often relying on it anyway. I never had the bullseye rash and evidently most people don’t. We were told we got it from ticks and now they have decided mosquitos also convey it. Finally I tried a course of antibiotics anyway and suddenly was getting my life back. It was clear I had Lyme Disease and got better. My course was a year without major symptoms and then a year of barely perceptible steady decline.

What I didn’t expect was that I would then suffer a seemingly free year and then a decline again. That pattern repeated again and my denial was finally broken when the fourth episode made it clear to me that I had a chronic disease.

Unfortunate Revelations

I was very disappointed. Over ten years I learned that not only did we have an unreliable blood test but that there was no vaccine for humans. There was a vaccine for dogs but pharmaceutical companies didn’t think it was profitable enough for humans. And while the epidemic infection raged on there was denial in the medical profession.

Endless List off Symptoms

No, there are not consistent symptoms. The spirochetes can attack anywhere in the body with unpredictable durations. My toes curled up and the damage was serious enough to require multiple surgeries. And now that I’m having it fought with a wide range of medications I suffer changing symptoms each day. Yes, there is fatigue, sudden joint swelling, aches and pains, brain fog and on and on. And I’ve learned that the little beasts can adapt so they are resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics. In one course the antibiotic suddenly stopped working. These creatures can put up a shell which protects them. But there is a way to pierce the shell if the physician is knowledgeable about it.

Go online and Google Lyme Disease. It is an eye opening experience.

An Uncertain Future

Quite frankly i feel had and can’t project my outcome. But this should not have happened and the epidemic should have  been contained early on. It is clearly time to improve our health care system and deal with a pharmaceutical industry which needs firm regulation. People are being victimized by out of control costs and poor attention to realistic needs.

It Feels Like An Infestation (Which It Is)

What is distinct about this disease process is that I can feel the reaction and resistance of the spirochetes. It feels like they are fighting back but with a variable arsenal of resistance. We tend to see an invading organism as being somewhat passive and that it can be overwhelmed. But in this instance they are not passive and have a variety of tactics. It is almost like there is an intelligence with an arsenal. And we, as humans, are far behind them. It is like living in a science fiction story.

Recommendations

My recommendations include not assuming the blood test is reliable, if you don’t see the bullseye rash don’t assume you haven’t been infected. Understand that medication may suddenly stop working. Know that symptoms may change very slowly and a return of Lyme may take months before you understand it is back. Understand that there are no typical symptoms and any sudden changes may reflect the disease. Above all, don’t be passive. If you have any hints of infection, study it on line and be vigilant. It is not immediately lethal but can cloak your life in fatigue and serious ongoing consequences. May the force of resistance be with you. And let’s hope our understanding and response improves.

What to do? Seek treatment at once. Study the latest information on line. Be vigilant. Stay with treatment beyond the basic period. Response is still developing so stay on it and continue to seek information.

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