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?

Dreams Versus Reality

Your Dreams

Do you dream? Oh no, I’m not talking about those things that crop up at night. I’m talking about the dreams you have for your future, your desires, what might be. How much of a hard edge do they have? Do they involve mysticism? Do they lead you into a spirit world of your own? What do they say about you and your life?

Questioning Reality

I’m a clinical psychologist and have spent a lot of time talking with people about their lives. Often we talked about what we call reality but as the decades passed I came to question the meaning of the word. Do our hopes and dreams fall outside the realm of reality? Of course not.

Fiction Choices

And when you read, what are your choices? Do you gravitate toward apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, romance or simply something which advances a “what if”? Are you engaged by ancient mysteries or are you looking for inspiration in how they may emerge in the here and now.

Relating to Reality

At once I have to say that the title of this blog, Cusp of Reality, reflects my core belief. I do not believe in a fixed reality. Reality is ephemeral and subject to our own interpretations. We live on a cusp and reality is often something which emerges and recedes into a mist. We take up a station of beliefs and surround ourselves with family and friends who reinforce something stable enough to be called reality.

Myth and Mysticism

And then there is what lies out there in the mist of the past. We enjoy myths and may recognize that they may offer prophesy and be visionary. Yet, we may fail to recognize that they can convey a stark and important reality of their own. And myths do not just speak to the past but also may relate to the future as it is emerging and how it may be.

Conclusions

Assuming we live on the cusp of a changing reality, then we have to wonder what we are to do with that reality. Naturally most of us take hold and fix a reality of sorts which works for us. But then there is the matter of the emerging world. That is where speculative fiction and such things as dystopian fiction, science fiction etc. come in. We can explore with them. And my considerations have led me to the writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. It asks what ifs and comes out of my life experience. The trilogy relates to stewardship in a world in crisis. Women are central because it is apparent that they are emerging as a much greater force in the world. Certainly women have always been important but they are coming into power and partnership with men in new and important ways. And we have to wonder if there is a transformation of some form in our future.

A Dual Pathway

The possibilities are fascinating in a world which appears to have gone asymptotic in many ways. And so I’ve chosen to explore through this blog and through fiction in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. Stay tuned.

Surely, regardless of your age, you have dreams, if not for yourself, then for someone in your life. What are those dreams and who are they for?

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

A Vision to Explore Our Future

 

 

Soon the second book of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy,  Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise will be published. In these books we will trace a story of what might be crises coming on our lovely planet. The mythological underpinnings are woven together with the theme of the rising of women to power and partnership. The women in this story are called Tethyans and they are central to the future of humankind and our beautiful blue planet.

Let me tell you a story. 

The universe is a wondrous place steeped in mystery, creation and destruction. Among its creations was a small solar system. There was little to stand out, but one of the planets was especially fertile. There came to be an abundance of life. It was ruled by a goddess called Gaia. One of the things which made the planet called Earth so special was that there was not just a ruling goddess but the goddess was the planet itself.

Under Gaia’s Care

Gaia tended her planet lovingly but it was clear that inherent in the creation and development of life forms struggle for survival and development was required. Long ago Gaia noted the development of a life form which was especially clever. She thought these beings held special promise but also recognized they might be a threat to themselves and her planet—herself.

Ensuring a Future

 
These beings were called humankind. Their promise was such that Gaia thought to ensure their future. But not in the sense that she definitively ruled their lives. They were to struggle like all the other animals, but in case of failure she designed a restart plan.

Since women had the richest genetic heritage and bore the children, she chose to reserve a population of mostly women, and, for their safety, designed protected cities in the sea where these people called Tethyans lived. If the land population failed, these women could return to the land.

The Day Defined

Gaia was, indeed wise. The day she foresaw has arrived and humankind is threatened by social and environmental cataclysms.

………………………

Devastation?

The story above contains mythological elements but the threat of social and environmental cataclysm is real. Not long ago hope flourished on Earth, but, as is so often the case, human affairs lead us back to worldwide conflict. There appears to be considerable potential for another era of devastating conflict such as occurred in the twentieth century.

Myth Bearing Truth

In myth there is often considerable truth, especially about the nature of humankind, our promise and our failures. Some elements are especially intriguing. In most cultures, where there is considerable water, there are myths about creatures referred to as mermaids. It is almost a universal phenomenon. The mermaids are women, of course, although mermen make rare appearances. These women may be engaging in a romantic and sexual way but they may also be frighteningly dangerous and destructive. It seems the myth relates to a deeply rooted, unconscious regard and fear for women by men—ambivalence which has led to conflict and subjugation.

Enter the Rise of Women

The myth stirs the imagination and just at the moment as the world moves closer and closer to devastating crises, we see the movement to empower women. The “myth” of the mermaid, combined with the movement to empower women led to the embrace of a story which was irresistible.

Exploration of Themes

In coming posts there will be thought documents on the themes in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy and discussion of the characters and the development of the story as well as the writing process. Through these kinds of stories we seek vision to aid us in approaching our future.

Given our recent history, how do you view our future?

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

 587 words

The Psychologist and the Unconscious

 

Long ago and far away when I was in college and graduate school three men led me onto very different roads.

Leslie White

First came Leslie White, the father of cultural anthropology. An old man walked out on a stage before a bunch of college students and utterly mesmerized us about the meaning of the extrasomatic cultural stream. This was my introduction to the human unconscious because he spoke of something outside of us that flowed and shaped our lives.

Sigmund Freud

Then came Sigmund Freud who spoke to us about our unconscious. Call it what you will, it is a force which also shapes us and our lives. We tend to think we are in charge of ourselves but when the unconscious is noted we find we often are not in charge and that we sift murky waters. His work was fascinating and important.

Carl Jung

But shortly I was introduced to Carl Jung who spoke about our personalities and the world of myth in ways which were stunning. The three men come together and point out to us that we are constantly trying to manage a world which is rich, constantly changing and, to put it mildly, is challenging. Truth is amplified and shouts uncertainty. It became clear to me how uncertain our inner world is and what magnificent promise it offers.

The World of Fiction

Certainly as we enter the world of fiction as writers we know that creativity is demanded and that we must make a contribution which goes beyond simple story construction and coherence. But often we aren’t prepared for what occurs.

Emergence

Having been fascinated by Jung and by the presence of images of mermaids across the world I thought to construct a book featuring these fascinating women. Little did I know what was lurking. A book became three books and more are threatening to appear. Not only did the story expand but there were characters who became demanding. They expanded their substance and may appear unbidden.

The Lesson

In the end I had to face an obvious lesson formed out of the work of the three men mentioned above. In our minds we are not stable entities and when we open work such as fiction we face the intrusion and wonder of what we harbor and what is rampant around us as stimuli and reality in all its forms, subtleties and substance. When we write we must be prepared for a torrent of inner richness from all kinds of sources. And therein lies substantial creativity and possibilities which can enrich us and our readers. What comes are not just stories but the richness of our lives. The writer discovers the range of influences within and the reader can explore possibilities which go beyond the form of what is contained in the book.

In the end I have had to listen to an important message. Get a grip psychologist! And attend to what these very concepts truly mean.

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

Change and Empowerment – Revelations in Fiction

What do you see as the major themes on our planet right now?

Why Write Fiction?

You’d think a clinical psychologist would know why people write fiction. It’s fiction! What’s to ask?  Probably a great deal.

The fact is I don’t know why people write fiction but I can speculate. I suppose there are some general reasons which may apply to most art forms. But I’ll save you the meanderings which you might find interesting or not at all interesting. Let me tell you why I think I write fiction.

At Duke they awarded me a doctoral degree after my studies and what I had done proved to them I had a grasp of the human mind and behavior. I’m trying not to laugh because my education continued far beyond my graduate school years. I now believe that all such endeavors are forever a work in progress. Psychology is the study of human and animal behavior—Period. That’’s a big door to walk through. Contrast it with psychiatry which is the study of mental illness, emotional disturbance and abnormal behavior.

Creating a Blog

Definitions can be endless. The longer I look at life, the more I struggle with the meaning of behavior and, I believe, concerning mental illness, we need a wholesale reexamination. and redefinition. This blog is entitled Cusp of Reality because I have found that reality is ephemeral. We desperately grasp at it to retain our stability. It requires ongoing examination and it is clear humankind is constantly confronted with all forms of instability and change.

Exploring a Changing World

As a function of my personality I am always fascinated by possibilities and work to contain the exploration of them and to maintain some order. It appears we are currently entering another dangerous period of world instability related to climate change, demographic dangers and what may be the end of capitalism. But to me one thing has stood out and that is that we don’t focus enough on the empowerment of women. It almost seems it is dismissed as simply a function of the contraceptive pill. As women gained control of their fertility their horizons expanded.

Maybe there’s more to it. Leslie White spoke of the extrasomatic stream which is culture. At this moment there is broad based cultural change underway related to the role of women. Recognition of this fact and my regard for the potential impact of the end to the subjugation of women led me to generate a “what if”. My personality type is known for searching possibilities and I love the process although it must be restrained.

Extraordinary Potential in Women

The bottom line is that I could not resist telling a story about women leading us not just to a stable and productive future but possibly to an unexpected transformation. Women are generative and hold so much potential in their hands. In their world there are untold benefits. Men certainly make their contributions but their nature requires restraint. 

Looking at earth and the challenges we face I wondered what might happen if there really was an earth goddess called Gaia who was working to safeguard our future. She found us intriguing and thought we held potential. So she decided to guard and even guide our future.

Beyond Fundamental Conflict

In history gods and goddesses were often reflections of facets of human behavior. They hurled thunderbolts, fought with one another and on and on. But what if there was a process with meaning beyond earth as we know it. There is a universe out there and it is reflected in the here and now but also may have much more meaning related to a future we might only imagine.

Birth of the Story

An idea led to characters being born. They appeared and the story of Gaia’s Majesty opened. Frequently it seemed ever so far beyond my grasp or my control. What started as a story and one book grew into a trilogy. I thought that ended it but now a fourth book is materializing.

Bottom line. Why do I write? I write because I explore and while I am in my later years the exploration does not end. I continue to mine parts of myself and to scan the world. Human existence comes in waves both personally and collectively. We seem to be at the end of a wave and the next phase relates much more to what women will bring to our future. I cannot resist telling a story reflective of these possibilities.

Where do you think women will lead us?

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

Freud Versus Jung

Two Forms of Reality

What do these names mean to you?

Once again we encounter the question of what is reality. These two names represent very different views and relationships to the larger elements of society and culture.

Anyone in the mental health field will inevitably come in contact with the writings of Sigmund Freud. Not necessarily Carl Jung. Freud was important in advancing the field of mental health and forming it into a system used to treat what were called mental disorders. He made us aware of the existence of the unconscious mind which we are only now being able to look at in brain imaging. Jung might have come from another planet.

Why Mental Illness?

Freud was very close to the development of western medicine. We had come to the point where there was the thought that people might not suffer infestation by evil spirits. Calling what was happening a mental illness meant they could be removed from not well informed intervention by the church. That was a step forward but as we will see in later posts it was not always to the point.

A Broader Perspective

I’ll be frank to say that Jung fascinated me much more so than Freud. Both men were Europeans but Freud was closer to western thought. Jung foraged the world and shed light on not just our mental systems, but culture and elements of deep meaning.

Both men brought us utility of different kinds. Freud made us realize that there was such a thing as an unconscious mind. It is only now as we probe the brain with new tools that we can see the operation of the unconscious forming up prior to conscious awareness. Each man dealt with reality in their own way.

Myth and Truth

In Jung’s search he related to mythology and he brought us fascinating commentaries and revelations. But he did something more. In searching the world he recognized that there is a personality system in humans. A systematic study of human personality turned out to have absolutely nothing to do with mental illness. The system Jung devised, or perhaps the better word is uncovered, is the basis for the Myers-Briggs Personality Typology which, if you would like to know about your personality you can find it on line. Simply ask our friend Google and you will be taken to it.

Both of these men dealt with reality in their own way. Freud seemed closer to the western scientist while Jung sought reality of other sorts. What I found particularly fascinating about Jung was the mythological components which take us to all manner of alternatives. We can see a great deal about our speculative foragings.

Jung had fascinating perspectives. He wrote an entire book about alchemy. His conclusion was that it was not a search for how to change lead into gold. He saw it as a bridge from the Dark Ages to the Enlightenment as people were exploring new ways.
In Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams and Reflections is found fascinating revelations about a man who broke the bounds of ordinary reality. It is both about him and philosophical.

Both Offer Meaning

Sometimes there is a debate about truth and these men. I see no such debate needed. Each offered something fascinating and brought us forward. I have to admit I feel much closer to the work of Jung because we are the same personality type. Freud did good work but his thinking did not enroll me in his world. Both men speak to us about important elements of the human experience and, in the end, they may have nothing to do with mental illness.

Have you encountered the work of these men? What was your reaction?

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

Eve and the Snake

 

It’s Not So Simple

Monday’s post this week was about whether Eve did us a favor when she supposedly got humankind kicked out of Paradise. Of course there was another creature involved—the snake. The story I was thinking of was from the Bible. From interpretations I had heard, I thought the snake was somewhere between evil incarnate and the Devil. I thought it told us that we had lost the wonder of Paradise because we fell for what the snake was offering. Well, turns out it is all more complicated than that. In my post I indicated I thought it was not really so bad to be kicked out of Paradise. But then I got an interesting query from my friend Nathaniel.

“And where do you suppose the snake came from?” was his question. Crafty man Nathaniel. So I went online to get clarification. I was surprised.

Alternatives Offered

Here’s one thing I found:

“Fertility and rebirth. Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.”

Richness of Interpretation

Nathaniel had offered a interesting interpretation about mermaids which evidently symbolize a melding of earth and the sea and in the melding they also represent orgasm. Such wonderful complexity and it demonstrates what is offered to us in mythology and even in the world of fiction.

What I found particularly interesting is that when we rove into the world of symbolism and mythology there are often not simple answers. Certainly in my writing on the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I have found multiple meanings that I had to weave into the story.

And There’s More

Then Nathaniel, with his rich knowledge of the Bible and symbolism, clarified further. “Yes, there are many symbolic meanings for the snake. We tend to forget that in the Biblical story God created the snake.  There is always a tension between bliss (the garden) and reality (post garden).  God also lives in that dialectic and, as creatures made in God’s image, so do we humans.”

Things to contemplate.

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

The Women of the Andromeda

 

What do you think is happening to women?

Numerous Roles for Women

From the beginning, in writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy, I was clear that the women had to be extraordinary. Related is the fact that I have always been captivated and intrigued by the movement to empower women. There is a battle and clearly there was untapped potential. And in that battle women are showing how tenacious they can be.

But I felt I could not begin from pure fantasy. Of course part of what intrigued me was my love of mythology and how it speaks to us. Mermaids keep appearing in myth and I chose them to join us for the adventure. But there were other elements in history that were intriguing. In Adrienne Major’s book The Amazons I learned about some of the real warrior women in history.

Presenting Themsleves

And so the women of the Andromeda came into being. Many Tethyan women were reserved in the sea against the day when the mission for the salvation of our beloved blue planet and humankind would be called. But especially on land there was presently to be a confrontation and warrior women were needed to help.

In the Beginning

But in opening the series it did not seem right to simply have the women rush into battle. Two realities collided. One was that major human conflicts often begin in a low key fashion. One thing with which I collided was myself. I wanted a “normal” beginning related to how people are. So I chose innocent Avery as the lead character who thought she had lost her family and felt abandoned. Little did she know she had an extraordinary family.

But her family wasn’t merely hiding in the sea. It had an organization and women had been chosen and chose themselves to be defenders in the movement to come. And there were certainly enough issues to be combatted in the real world as we understand it today.

Among the People

The Tethyan people fell generally into three groups. The people who lived in cities in the sea called the Primals, the women who came to the land to form families and the defense force of women called the Andromeda. The women in the sea cities searched history and precious documents for the meaning and substance related to their future. The families on land positioned themselves for future dedicated possibilities. And the Andromeda women took on real world missions. These women could be dangerous and violent if needed.

Dedicated Women

The roles women assume are often complicated and in what they feel they must do they often have to resist restraints imposed by the larger society. And such was the case for the Andromeda women. Certainly they could embed themselves in government and corporations, but they could also engage in other forms of intrusion which might be useful. And so some of them became consorts with the powerful, greedy men called the Overlords. From that position they gained valuable insights and information.

I’m sure there are those who will criticize me for putting these women in such positions which are often frowned upon and they may be unfairly criticized for what they dedicated themselves to do. But that was a component of the real world and it needed inclusion.

These women took terrible risks, gave valiant service and, in the writing, addressed a reality which exists now and will in the future. I took delight in them. Brigid was most prominent and strong. She came to her position through tragedy which, of course, is often what leads to dedication. And darling Luisa was irresistible. She was so engaging and clever and seemed innocent. Except she was not innocent but dedicated.

And so fantasy and reality meld and talk truths about our world as it is whether realized or not and the future as it may be. Such dedication often leads to transformation of many kinds.

And I think in the future I may just write detailed stories focused on these amazing women. In the near term there will be posts on each of them.

Do you admire such women?

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

Irrational Control

 

Why do you think women are controlled?

Breadth of Threat

To me the image I chose to go with this post is extraordinary! I chose it because it conveys power and threat. Both are at issue in the interactions of men and women and this image clearly has a mythological quality to it.

The Mysterium Tremendum alludes to something most often seen in the realm of the myth. As indicated, it is of interest in this context because I believe it relates to the apparent need to keep women “under control” but certainly with relatively less power. It seems that women pose extraordinary threat. The fair sex? How interesting!

Naturally it may be that the need to keep women controlled or contained may merely be a matter of men wanting to retain as much power as possible. Often the argument is made that the restriction of women’s rights and freedom relate to the issue of knowing the paternity of children. While there may be betrayals, it seems unlikely to be the complete reason. Again, it is hard to come up with a totally clear and complete reason because in so many ways it is irrational. It hints at some underlying force.

The Female Power

What might that force be? There is surely no one force but one of the number may be the extraordinary attraction to a woman felt by a man. We stress a woman’s appearance certainly more than that of a man. At celebratory gatherings the men are routinely dressed in dark suits or black formal attire. It is an entirely different matter for the women.

When we look back into mythology we see the men are often dynamic warriors but dangerous women take another form entirely. They do not classically attack as much as they use extraordinary powers. Certainly in the Odyssey there are examples of the dangers Odysseus faced. There was Scylla who was originally a sea nymph loved by the sea god Poseidon. His wife poisoned her bath water and created a creature with 12 feet and six heads on long snaky necks. Her loins were girded with the heads of baying dogs. Clearly a very dangerous woman. And there was Charybdis, also female, who was a dangerous whirlpool.

At a more generic level we see the contrast between witches and warlocks. Witches are generally more dangerous or are more often portrayed as so. We use the term bewitched to refer to the power of a woman over a man.

Real World Mythic Power

Again I have to come back to the point that it is unlikely we can rationally define the reason women are so controlled. We often make superficial analyses but my suspicion is that the root of the issue is the power of sex and sex is certainly powerful because it is related to reproduction and the continuity of our species. And this power takes on mythic proportions.

The reason for even discussing this issue is that we all suffer from this kind of discrimination and virtual imprisonment. It is clear that freeing women and empowering them is having remarkable benefits for everyone. If we detach ourselves from the prejudice and discrimination, then we can all benefit. Need I say it is also only fair but also need to stress the diversity and complexity of the issues.

What alternative explanations do you have?

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