Mermaids and Mermen

Who do you think mermaids are?

Fundamental Myth

Some stories or concepts we call myths are more widespread than others. I’ve always been fascinated by the widespread stories about the sighting of mermaids. In one form or another they show up in an amazing array of cultures. Which led me to ask why? If mermaids are real, why do they exist? And if they are pure myth, what is the true meaning of the myth? Since I’m inclined to speculation I would speculate.

I should also note that mermen are nowhere nearly as prevalent. And I can’t recall being especially intrigued when they do appear. It seems that this myth has something special to say about women. For one thing they are pretty routinely not evil although they may be powerful or at least lovely and endearing. They tend to enrapture men. And naturally these women appear in water. Water bears on the meaning of the myth.

Mermaid Meaning and Power

I don’t know of a really good way to research the true meaning of a myth so I’m going to throw out some thoughts. These women of the waters are generally benign or very positive. They may be love objects with endearing powers. And often they are innocent. I think of the status of the mermaid sitting on the rock in Copenhagen harbor.

But they do not just come to us lovingly. Power seems implicit. And to me the water theme suggests generative powers and birth. After all it would seem that life came from the waters. I think we are seeing a powerful theme which touches upon an inherent positive view of women and it suggests considerable power of various kinds.

Being Endearing

The nature of the mermaids in the myths begs for involvement. On occasions these women may be threatening but generally they are not threatening. There is surely a deep feeling, a conveyance of what might be. In the water they do not often challenge men and in these myths we see caring and loving possibilities along with all the special creative and endearing parts of women.

It Could Happen to You

There is a song in which the singer tells us, “It could happen to you.” The listener (most likely a man) is instructed to run when church bells ring and the meaning is that the woman will surely draw him into marriage. But why should a man run? Is it so bad to have it happen to you? But the involvement indicates change and there is an inherent power which the woman has. And men don’t like to give up power.

Going Deeper

It was these perceptions which led me to see women of the sea as being not just powerful but possibly representing a route to a fulfillment of a transformation of humankind. Women are rising across the world and holding out to us the possibility of deep and fulfilling partnership on a broader level. The prospects are truly intriguing and exciting. I could not resist building a mythologically based trilogy to portray wonderful stories of women rising for this transformation for humankind and in true partnership with men at last.

What of this have you experienced?

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

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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

Opening Our View of The Future

Being Humble and Hopeful

What do you think your future holds?

Most animals forage for food and the human animal seems to forage for dreams. It is probably more than a little pompous for us to say we have our dreams because of our higher intelligence.

For the longest time we declared that we were the only animals to use tools. Then we found out differently. And there are night dreams and there are dreams we harbor. Have you ever watched your dog dreaming as he sleeps. We have to wonder what forms the dreams of other animals take.

Broadening Our View

What’s the point? It seems we humans get so caught up in how special we are that we tend to define ourselves in ways which separate us from other animals. And then there is the matter of life. For the longest time we believed we were the only intelligent animals and life existed only on this planet. Now we find that there is water in asteroids and within the water is salt and amino acids. It now seems life exists throughout the universe and that raises the possibility that the universe itself may be a living thing.

These thoughts may seem to have no point in themselves but such thoughts are the bedrock of our opening the possibility for what may be to come for humankind. Our darkest visions say nothing good but out of each dark age has come an enlightenment.

Clues to Our Future or Futures

Certainly we have our dark side and too commonly we kill others and inflict pain. But there is art, there is love, there are waves of hope. I created the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy to have a story of exploration of future possibilities. Just as we have made foolish mistakes such as assuming we alone possess tools and this planet alone has life, we also may be overlooking the clues which exist and point to future possibilities.

We find those clues in our myths, in our struggle, turning to stewardship, in the meaning of the empowerment of women and in every unexplored parts of our existence. Is there a spirit world? Our senses have specific purposes. We can’t know for sure. What comes after capitalism? There are some intriguing speculations with some hard data behind them.

Making the Choice

As difficult as the world is now, we have the option of exploring alternatives and dreams and giving ourselves the option of transformation or at least a beneficial and unexpected future. We have come a long way and the potential in front of us is truly exciting. Among us are people who would have us turn inwards and back on ourselves. The future points in another direction. The choice is ours.

How would you describe what you have chosen for yourself?

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

Inner Life and Dreams

 

Where does fiction lead you?

Life Transitions

Generally we don’t question our relationship to reality. So long as things are going well, we are best engaged in other pursuits. Of course, when we find ourselves in a life transition, we may decide what we saw as reality is open to interpretation. We tend to explore ourselves at times such as when we embark on adulthood, experience a love relationship or enter middle age. We seem to have no trouble with exploration when we are deep in fiction precisely because we call it fiction and it need not be personal. But, in fact, fiction is often a reflection of facets of our personal reality. The fiction which attracts us surely has something to do with our inner lives.

Avenues for Exploration

Inner lives serve purposes. These lives may be numerous and tumultuous but generally are kept in bounds until there is a crisis whether it is something like a job change or a marital failure.

These lives may include quite a number of alter egos with which we flirt.
Perhaps we experience them as moods. They may be defined by our enduring personality. That is not to say they are real and active personalities but we do have a life within in which we cavort and seek alternatives. Certainly they are testing grounds for who we think we might be or who we might want to become. They are probably more publicly visible in childhood but as adults they may become private and secret. Sometimes though, in our later years, we feel the need to assess what we have done and how we leave our life.

Enhancement of Existence

Most of us have some valuable inner lives which enhance our overall existence. Wouldn’t it be unfortunate, even stultifying, if we did not have such richness which we harbor.

And then there is the matter of our dreams. We nurture them through our years and often share them with friends but, it is to be hoped, they are shared and enhanced in our love relationships. It is my suspicion that dreams are much more prevalent in younger people but I suspect that there may be people who maintain rich and active dreams well into late life.

Dreaming of Eternity

We tend to think that people resign themselves to the end of their lives but I doubt it is universal. Who might not dream of an extension of some form? Part of the reason I believe this is that there is almost a universal belief in an afterlife. Isn’t that a dream which is widely harbored? Why would we ever want to give up the precious dreams of what we might become or with whom we might bond some day in a far off future of some sort? We may want to reunite with a current loved one because it is a precious relationship. Or we might know someone we would want a relationship with some day in the future.

Individual to Universal

The point of this exposition is that as individuals we are not static and that at many levels our lives are complex. Each life has a wave pattern in which we experience some form of an upwelling with attendant changes. That period may be followed by a consolidation as a wave subsides. Then comes preparation for the next period. We can see these processes in human development. But we are beginning to see that such processes occur socially, in the life of a nation and even for humankind in general. What fascinates me is that the examination of these waves is becoming more intense and more public. More on this shortly.

Can we truly separate personal development from the development of humankind in general?

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

Adventure in the Caribbean – Pt 1

 

That Life Plan

Most of us would like to believe that we have a life plan. As I look at my own life and the lives of the people who came to me for counseling, I have to say it seems we have a plan but very often it does not play out. Life gets in the way and stuff happens. That is not to say that this is a bad process because the twists and turns can be rewarding each in their own way.

A Terrible Twist of Fate

I call it “ultimate determinism”. There are many people who believe that whatever happens to us is of our own making. In short, we determine everything that happens to us. My contact with my clients and life in general leads me to declare—rubbish! What matters is what we do with life events.

I was coming home from the office one August night. We had dreadful problems with the elevators in our building and we often waited a long time for an elevator. On this night it came at once. By that happenstance I was a bystander at a head on collision. A speeding SUV hit the pickup truck in front of me, bounded off and swerved back directly in my driver’s door at high speed. And so I was thrown into what I called “The Pits of Hell” with six years in and out of surgery at Baltimore’s Shock Trauma.

Life Returns

At last I was mobile and my wife and I went to a professional meeting in California. We decided having gone that far to continue to Hawaii. I’m a sun person, my wife not, but she loved it and said if we could find us such a place she would gladly go. On the flight back I drew circles on the map of the world. The six hour travel time in the air we were enduring could take us to places like Teheran or Buenos Aires. Not to my liking.

We shared the experience with some friends who told us they were going to a small tropical country in the Caribbean called St. Lucia. They were devoted sailers and wanted a home where they could sail year round. We took their invitation to go with them to look at land.

How Interesting

The island was luscious and the people welcoming. We toured, we looked and they found nothing suitable. But we were very interested.

Back at home we began a research. At the time there was a small publication which monthly discussed each Caribbean island in turn. We studied them and at last I called and asked to talk to one of their staff. Her assessment was detailed and interesting. She told me not to go to Guadeloupe because the “natives were restless at the time” but we might like French Martinique although it meant investing in the Euro. But number one on her list was beautiful St. Lucia.

Just to Take a Look

We decided to go back and look again on our own. This time we studied the costs on the island in more detail and took different twists and turns. Land was affordable by comparison to such places as Barbados—by a very great deal. It also had the advantage of being English speaking.

A real estate agent introduced us to a builder from Canada who had married a Lucian and settled in. He was reassuring and it was like dealing with an American who said “Eh” and “Aboot”. And then one day we came to a hilltop with stunning views. The lot was affordable, we were hooked and we bought it. And so began a fifteen year adventure we had never expected.

Much more to come.

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 Promise of Interregnum

Into the Future

Can you see the way forward?

Some of the next few posts are a departure but are related to the essence of the blog Cusp of Reality but also the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. This is not a time of clear stability, to put it mildly, and one of the underpinnings of the Trilogy is that we are shortly to embark upon a very new era. This perception has led me to do broader explorations. And what I found is fascinating.

It would be simple to sit back and observe recent events and shake our heads at the seeming futility and foolishness. We are beset by a political cycle in which the key elements are pandering and manipulation. We may view it as futile or may see in it a transition. There is talk about politics but it is reasonable to take a larger view and that we are seeing a new wave developing regarding not just the United States but the world.

Below you will see a quote from Jonathan Taplin in which he indicates that his view relates to the last gasp of the “establishment” and that we are in what he calls an interregnum. I believe in the essential validity of his perceptions.

And in the next post I include commentary on two items drawn from Wikipedia which relate to defining and describing neoliberalism and neoconservatism. The evidence is right before us. We see in these descriptions a great deal which gives us clarity about recent events. And later I will present material from Paul Mason’s book Postcapitalism. The case he builds for what is coming is supported by much of what we have already seen.

As difficult as these times are, this material presents the idea that this is a transition of great importance. Gradually all its components will be revealed including the role of women in the future.

Interregnum article:
View story at Medium.com

The Establishment’s Last Gasp By Jonathan Taplin
“The Italian philosopher, Gramsci defined the concept well:”The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum many morbid symptoms arise.” This sense of being trapped between a dying establishment and a new order that is not quite formed, plays itself out in four areas. In our domestic politics we see a populist dead end battle as an older, whiter America invests its hopes in Donald Trump and such people as Ted Cruz to stave off the multicultural state filled with immigrants and young people in which they are no longer the majority of citizens. In the world of business we see the giants of the carbon economy (Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Peabody Coal) fighting to preserve their businesses in a world that must transition to a clean energy economy. In fact that economy is well on its way. Similarly, the giants of Wall Street and Silicon Valley are fighting against real regulation of their businesses and serious taxation of their billions in capital gains. And finally in the world of international affairs we see the forces of the military industrial congressional complex battling to keep an $800 billion military budget in order to preserve America’s status as the sole hegemon, even as they realize that the future is a multipolar world.”

Do you feel trapped, hope or something else?

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

 

Regarding the Cusp of Reality

 

What do you explore in your life?

The Blog

Humankind does not simply exist on earth. We may in time cease to exist as a species or we may continue to evolve as we have in the past. Our time on Earth is a voyage of exploration and it seems valid to believe that we may face not just future crises but also substantive remarkable changes.

This blog is a thought document given to guide our exploration of where we individually and humankind may be going. It comes in the form of a “what if” and the name of the blog indicates that truth is often ephemeral, personal and social just like the fact that our currency is backed by nothing other than trust. Thought informs us and so do stories such as in myth or romance. And so we seek direction and substance as we can find it.

One of the vehicles for this exploration is the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. The books compose more than a story but also contain a philosophy and hope including hope for true partnership. The themes chosen grow from my experiences over the decades. Their exploration may help inform our perceptions of future efforts.

The two most important themes relate to the empowerment of women and the probability that we are on the verge of unprecedented change.

The Promise of Humankind

This is a deeply troubling time. Not long ago we were heartened by events in the world. They included the Arab Spring, emerging nations, rapprochement with Russia, the rise of Africa, China opening to the world, among others. But it is as if the edifice we were building has crumbled. Much of the promise internationally has proven to be ephemeral. And domestically we are mired in a seemingly insurmountable political confrontation built on obstruction with no goal holding clear promise.

In the coming posts I will continue to explore components of confrontation and failures along with the elements of future possibilities. There are a number of ways to do it and I chose two paths. One is information which is definitional in part and includes thought documents born of my belief in asking the what if. So, it will be approached from the real world but I also believe in exploration through mythology in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy where there is often illumination and fundamental truth.

Also statements will be included regarding what I call the wave format in human development and history. Human development has hardly been glacial with slow steady movement into our future. Rather, it is fitful and I view it as coming in waves which may be destructive but also can move us forward easily or dramatically. And, just as we see at the seashore, there are moments of peace and consolidation.

Interregnum or Denouement

Thus, we embark on an exploration in the real world and the world of myth. I hope you will find it interesting and it includes the gift of hope and promise. You will now see definition and related thoughts regarding our present circumstances. I believe the next wave is on the horizon and a key part of its promise is that it bears the fruits of the empowerment of women.

It appears valid to call this time an interregnum and in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I term it a denouement. In Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called we begin the exploration. The two pillars are demonstrable as we inspect real world events and inspiration using a mythological cloak where women are central.

Do you believe we are on the verge of substantive change?

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