Dreams Versus Reality


Let’s branch out a little from this world of fraught political realities.

The Caribbean is a land of dreams. Beautiful islands, lush waters, jungles and happy, welcoming people. That is what we see. Reality is always different. Not that it isn’t lovely but the experience of life is complex. We had been seduced and were building a home on a beautiful island with which we had fallen in love.

Complex History

As a tourist what you see is a bewitching landscape and the lush experience of the moment. In fact the Caribbean is complex with a fascinating history. The islands had tribes that came from South America followed by colonizers from a variety of countries including Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands. They fought each other and made islands their colonies. Which often meant slavery.

St. Lucia went back and forth between Britain and France fourteen times. The locals speak a French based patois along with English. When we came to St. Lucia the patois did not have a written form but, by the time we left, it was written and, if you spoke some French, you could read it. The accent was the problem. Many of the island people had been enslaved and slaves were imported.

What We Expected

We expected we would make friends with the locals and we did to a limited extent. But mostly expats or arriving foreigners related to each other. The indigenous people had strong family connections.

We also expected that life would be easy and it was not, as we learned our way around a country with far more problems than we had assumed. Electricity worked well enough except when the utility by mistake sent 440 volts into our 220 volt house. A large dam had been built to supply water and when they turned it on they blew the mains in the capital. We had a terrible struggle getting a reliable supply. But finally an Irish friend of ours gave me the map of the island water system and I was able to secretly go out and open and close valves so we got water most of the time. At least we did after I had to threaten suit in an island where people never sue. At first we had no water. We got mains installed after I threatened suit but as our Chinese attorney said, “You may have mains water but there will be no water in the mains.”

We lived in an open environment which was lovely except for the bugs, rats, crabs (200 feet above sea level!) among other critters. But we also had darling birds who ate lunch with us.

Other Realities

The island was a democracy with a small legislative body and a prime minister. In fact it was ruled by a few very wealthy families. Each of them owned a significant slice of the island. Electricity was produced by a utility which burned oil from Venezuela. In the distance from our house we could see the peaks of mountain where there was an endless supply of wind from the Atlantic Ocean. They could have generated electricity by wind power but the ruling family did not want that.

In short, it was much more complex than we had expected and the learning curve was steep. It was essential that we learn the ins and out and be tenacious. We had thought to retire on the island some day but learned some harsh lessons. The health care system was not good and if there was a serous health emergency the solution was to hire a plane and be flown to Miami or Martinique. When we left fifteen years later, after having had a wonderful adventure, we had survived. Our Chinese attorney said, “You lasted longer than most.”

What he meant was that people who did what we did, coming to the island and buying or building a home, found the island challenging at many levels. Most fled within a year or two.

In Conclusion

These are some of the highlights and realities. I’m glad we did it, and we proved ourselves to be adaptive survivors. These are just a few of the many issues we faced but there were also numerous rewards. These islands are beautiful and each of them are different. I’ll go into descriptions of other islands in a later post. The climate is beautiful and the summers can be cooler than the continental United States. Winters can be ever so cozy and with adaptability the social scene can be rewarding. In all though, it is essential to be flexible and ready to face numerous challenges. We are glad we had the adventure.

Would such an adventure interest you?

If you want greater detailing of the experience there are numerous posts on my https://caribbeandreamblog.com .

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

Did Eve Do Us a Favor?


Challenge and Opportunity

Writing fiction is a challenging task. It is generally said to be a creative pursuit. Easy statement but not so simple in practice. How many of us have looked at the image of the writer sitting at his/her desk wondering how to begin. Of course the first question is probably not what to write but why write. Somehow we feel a challenge or a push but at base writing fiction is fundamental to human existence.

Oh please! (I don’t mean that.) Not everyone feels the urge to write but they often enough choose to read. It’s not just a matter of us having the capacity to do either. There is something fundamental because of our tendency to seize the moment of creation of all kinds.

Who We Are

I’ll try not to go too deeply into philosophical meanderings. One of the categories I chose for my WordPress blog is “struggle”. When I chose it, I thought it would fit some specific items but found I selected it over and over again because I came to realize that life on this planet has a fundamental element of struggle. Once that is stated I don’t think I need to exemplify it. Surely many forms of it leap into your awareness. And its not just a matter of survival. Its incredibly fundamental and the challenge is essential.

One Example

You may have been wondering when I would get to the title of this post. Did Eve Do Us a Favor? Actually that came to my mind clearly one day. It’s possible to take that biblical episode as an indication of how women have fouled our future. It can also be seen as how evil can trip happily into our lives as in the form of the snake. But certainly it has been taken in a variety of ways as indicative e of how women are naive and fail us.

A Very Different Take

I have another view and think we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Eve. Without her we would be sitting in Paradise desperate for something interesting to do. The view presented to us of paradise is shallow and wanting of challenge. Perhaps Eve saw that the snake was offering us a rich future of struggle and with it opportunity. But it required being cast our of Paradise and its inevitable boredom.

Not Stopping There

When we move beyond Paradise we immediately recognize a universe of opportunity. And I use the word universe pointedly. When we step back and look at our four plus billion year world we see amazing diversity and creation. We may be a moment time and have to wonder how we will evolve from here. Of course, each of us may well not see much of what is to come but the contemplation of possibilities is stunning.

Thanking Women – Again

And so I come back to the matter of struggle and seizing the opportunity. Our human past has been rich in struggle but also creation and opportunity. Women as the source of children and our future require recognition. So, again…Thank You Eve!-for your marvelous gift of opportunity.

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

Feelings of Inadequacy and Powerlessness


Personal Management

To fulfill our potential requires not just commitment and dedication for success. It also requires us to deal with our perceptions of ourselves and our belief or understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. Perspective is needed to balance such things as our talents or lack of interest. Our weaknesses need not drive down our self esteem. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It’s also a matter of orchestrating our motivation with self esteem. And it is often not so easy to understand our strengths and how they may benefit us. The bottom line is that management of the self involves management of an orchestra.

We cannot all be talented in the same way. Where we do not have talent we may have lack of interest or commitment or we may view something as inessential. Men have sports heroes and we are instructed to admire and follow in their footsteps. But some of us are not interested and where formerly this may be seen as an inadequacy or a weakness it can be transformed into a view of lack of interest because there are other talents which offer potential for growth and satisfaction. The confinement may be in what men do to each other. Part of the question relates to recognizing the extent and diversity of effects on each other. All too often there is an
enforced lack of introspection especially if the issue is not to be discussed.

And Then There is the Sexual Arena

Now before us we are seeing considerable evidence of the issue of male sexual abuse. Boys may ask each other, “Did you get any?” This is a depersonalization of women and helps lay groundwork for abusers. This question comes from the outside and, if the young man has values which indicate to him that he wants to not treat women as objects, self esteem may come to be at question.

Establishing a Useful Focus

As the sexual abuse scandals have become highlighted we see a central focus on males exercising power. We need to not overlook the other possibilities and it would need to be central to male group discussions. For many men it is not primarily a matter of power but one of THEIR self esteem. And when women step forward and talk about how they were abused they are too often punished and shouted down which makes matters worse.

We need to recognize that men may push and harass women sexually not because they are exercising power but because they feel powerless and inadequate. In short, it may be compensatory.They hope they may prevail and feel more powerful or worthwhile. Just as when Trump strikes out because his narcissism isn’t being fed. These behaviors can be more indicative of insecurity, fears, powerlessness and personal flaws rather than an exercise of power. They reveal weakness. These men may avoid despair by attempting to reassure themselves and their worth. Otherwise they can collide with a personal negativity.

Self As Trash

If a man believes he is trash then the subjugation of others may enhance, for the moment, their feeling of their own worth. But these kinds of self disregard can be assuaged only temporarily. Self concept and what we believe in ourselves is a virtual statue of self image we carry with us. And if it is dubious or negative then it must be supported and dealt with over and over because there is no event in day to day life which will thoroughly mitigate it unless there is a thoroughgoing search of the meaning and substance of ones self regard and belief. And men, when they are willing to search and admit can help each other with this problem. And so we return again to the meaning and need for men to self examine together. We share these flaws in self and in male culture. One of the leading indicators of this problem being underlying is seen in the man who must always receive praise and adulation. Enjoying recognition and celebration is one thing but the insistence and extent of need indicates a personal flaw.

The Bottom Line

If all the above seems complicated, it is because it is complicated. We need to examine these various themes and lay them out before us. If we focus only on power, we lose track of the variety of things which feed the dysfunction. We have our work cut out for us.

How often have you been able to perceive this process in men?

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

New Focus on Patriarchy – Pt 8


Exploring Our Future possibilities

It does not appear to be an exaggeration to say that we have reached a turning point in human history and may well be looking at an extraordinary future. We seem to have expanded options.

When we reach periods of crisis and resistance it is not always apparent what the underlying issues are. There are those who claim we know why women have been subjugated. I’m not at all sure. One conclusion is about the knowledge regarding paternity of children. While it can always be at question, it seems doubtful it is anything approaching a significant explanation. And there are no ready answers but opens our eyes to what is possible is important.

The New Woman

Do we have any idea what we are seeing. Is there a new woman at hand or has she been here all along. Our culture is changing.

I remember in the 1960s as women sought new roles some donned suits like men wore and had similar ties. That was abandoned shortly. Now again we are trying new roles and seem to be accepting that women can be both pretty and smart. I’m loving the women showing up on the news shows. They are not just window dressing except on one “news” channel. And they hold their own in all regards. It is both fascinating and delightful. And the fight for their empowerment continues.

Rescuing Our Future

Men have been largely in charge for a very long time and its time for a change. It is assumed that men are naturally competitive and aggressive. Well, if we go back to when we hunted and gathered there may have been a certain utility but it is not necessary anymore. Too often men can be hollow, shallow and lacking in actual power they assumed they had.

It is hardly uplifting or lofty for men to be in control who seem inclined to abuse the poor and take advantage only for their own profit. Sociopathy is not a necessary male attribute and we have seen much too much of it in the political arena recently.

Rulers Through History

In some ways we believe that we have a new kind of ruler in the “modern” world. I’m not convinced. There were men of power in the ancient world who engaged in stunning violations of human rights and dignity. Later royal families took charge but in Europe what it amounted to was closely linked families who warred among themselves and the true suffering were the people of their nations. Wars of conquest continued.

Now we have new ways to build and collect wealth but we still have a hard core of extremely wealthy rulers. The people of the world get meager shares of wealth but a few countries have more wealth to share. Still today we are looking at an effective rule by the few truly wealthy who hold the balance of control. We now refer to the oligarchs.

Struggle and Transformation in Cultural Transformation

There is a suspicion that a significant change in culture is upon us as we enter the information age and if we will employ vision it may be that we may have a new type of mature society. It will take work.

Struggle is always central among the animals of this planet. And that need not mean bloody struggle. Certainly we gain something from struggle and it simply needs to be combined with a vision of a future and possibilities. We have seen transformation in the past and a notable time was the Reformation which thrust us out of the dark ages. Are we near another such change. But It is my suspicion that fundamental to this transformation will be the empowerment of 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

The Issues For and From Men


Again I come back to asking men to examine themselves and their culture. The change there must be on the horizon is not up to women alone. While there were men who were wise and made crucial contributions in the past, there are also many men in history who had devastating effects.

Exercising Power to Dominate Others

One of the issues most often noted when we discuss abuses by men is the issue of power. We see efforts to dominate and control others. Certainly women see this especially in the way women are subjugated. When men introspect many often see this issue as a force in their own lives. It begins early and may be displayed in peer groups and in the form of “leadership” they exercise in such groups. And later certainly it comes up in business and military settings of all kinds. Bullies portray it and it comes out in sports. Less often it is at issue in school performance which has an objective measure.

Widespread Manifestation

Over a lifetime these themes are manifested in ever so many settings and is something that men suffer as well as women. But women have suffered more and it is still at issue. It may be domination in meetings, harassment by other workers in various forms. Thus, it comes out in competition of all kinds, even in adult life. It is rarely brought up but it is something that we all must contend with. Now is the time when it should begin to be highlighted.

Power as a display of sexual supremacy

But the primary issue placed before us now is the issue of sexual domination and harassment. The matter begins early. “Did you get any?” one boy may ask another. Real men are supposed to be preeminently successful in not just winning favor but in taking it. Certainly when this topic is brought up it is frequently greeted with insistent denial. But, no matter how we try to push it away, there is an implicit theme especially among men at a younger age. Of course, it then carries over to later in life. It may be a matter of competition and personal belief that a man should take sexual domination because power of all kinds is the province of men—supposedly. Too often it is not examined as a principle which is right or a valid pursuit.

Failure to Examine Supports Abuse

Of course, especially to the degree that it is not examined, it may support abuse of all kinds—even molestation and rape. It may feed issues of self esteem and perceptions of strength among male peer groups.

It cannot be overestimated how much there are underlying issues in male culture. Any attempt to raise them usually leads to denial, even anger at its mention. Certainly men don’t want to discuss it with and before women especially as we enter the era of empowering women. But they do not relish opening the issues with each other either. It is a touchy and difficult subject.

It Must Be Dealt With

But again I come back to the necessity for men to air it among themselves at last. Among each other is where it should begin in an honest environment. If there is resistance, then we must ask, in a forthright fashion, why and for what reasons.

These core issues lay the groundwork for our future. The power of men is eroding whether they like it or not and realignment for the future requires the retirement of denial.

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 Importance of Women Marching Is Being Overlooked


We are so proud of you!

Time to Pay Attention

We have just had a second large and important women’s march. The coverage and analysis has not done it justice. The import needs to be writ large. It is time to look in depth on the public stage.

There’s Something Fundamental – Attention!

Much focus of news is on Trump and dreadful political dysfunction in Washington but something much more fundamental is happening. We can begin to see special importance when we ask, Why are women marching? There are some notes about equality and health care rights but there is clearly insufficient attention to the depth and meaning of this movement. The coverage is dreadfully superficial.

Time to Probe

I have to be insistent. Stop and ask why women are marching. Surely it is more than one focused issue or restlessness. I hear very little in terms of in depth questions. is it the young (millenials) or is there more to it? There has been a groundswell of a wave coming for decades now. Superficial attachment to one issue is common but surely there is depth and complexity. We may be surprised at what we find.

What Do Men Think?

And then there is the matter of men. What do men think about what women are doing now that they are on the streets? There are some men visible among the women but I hear no coverage or only a minuscule amount off coverage of what men think. Do they support women? Or what part of women’s demands? Why or why not?

Write Our Questions Large

I can’t emphasize enough the import of what is happening with women and it is not just in the United States. Honestly I’m not even sure if all the women know why they are in the streets. It doesn’t seem political. And I suspect it goes beyond ending subjugation. We may focus on visible issues but surely there are many others lurking.

Or if it is called political, why are we letting people get away with that because fundamentally that means the true meaning of the movement is being dismissed. We are throwing everything in the trash hopper of politics these days.

And What of Men

And with what is coming out we have a lot of questions of men. Who are these sexual abusers? Who are these power hungry men? We have to step back and ask in depth why they are doing these things. It is often dismissed as a matter of power. Yes for some. But that is insufficient. And does abusing women really satisfy a sexual need. The psychologist here is jumping up and down because he doesn’t believe those simplicities tell us what is happening or why it is happening. There is often a matter of compensatory functioning for felt inadequacies. People who have deep feelings of inadequacy or view the self as trash will often drive for power and abuse others. I can’t begin to open the depth of issues in this format but there are questions which must be asked. Things are often not what they seem.

And, of course, there is the matter of what the male culture has often done to men. Those set of issues need exploration.

Potential and More

Beyond issues of rectifying abuses there is the matter of potential. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it over and over…we are missing the potential of half of our population and men are missing out on the full potential of women, of part of their own potential and the intriguing benefits of in depth partnership with women.

I’ve been following the women’s movement since the 1960s and we are seeing a deeply rooted cultural change. Women and men alike are struggling with it. And part of the reason is that we aren’t truly probing these changes. Some of it seems to be related to effective birth control coming under the control of women. And there are men who are working hard to snatch control back from them.

Benefits For Men and All of Us

In earlier posts I’ve said there is a lot about the male culture that I find offensive and ineffective if not stultifying. And so now women are offering us alternatives and new blending. This is an exciting opportunity to be seized. Can we take off our blinders and fight back against our denial? This is a fight to benefit every single one of us even those who would crush the women’s movement. Right now we need to probe what is happening and giving it true in depth coverage.

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

A Stronger Focus on Men


The Times They are Achanging

We can sit back and simply observe some of the changes occurring before us or.…

Most of our attention seems caught by political dysfunction and our struggle to take charge of the future of our country again. But we must not lose sight of what is happening in terms of women. Over the reach of history it is my belief that these changes will have truly profound effects and what is happening bears discussion and serious attention. The only problem is we can’t be sure all the data is clearly in front of us. And so we have to explore.

Feminism and the Patriarchy

We understand perfectly well that men dominate government and business and so many other parts of our lives. But there is a long wave of change directed by women who are demanding not just change but an end to subjugation. Many men of the patriarchy are resisting, often in the most curious ways which serve none of us. Some other men are paying attention and it is time for us to truly examine this process in more detail. And it is going to take some time and I’m convinced it will take probing. But one thing is clear. We cannot separate the development of feminism from the insistence of the patriarchy.

A Different Landscape

The world for men and women is clearly stirring. If we look carefully, we see a recognition in regard to women warriors as they have been in history. Their presence is more than a footnote to history and they are appearing in our stories. We are looking at why we are the way we are and, over considerable opposition, demanding change. Some of this seems to go back to birth control. We now have a broader landscape of control of fertility. And that control is not the imposition of control on women. They are taking charge.

And across the world there seems to be a fundamental change in attitude about having children. They don’t just come because they come. When the agricultural revolution blossomed we needed more laborers. But now the question is how many children we need. It is causing a crisis as aging populations stress resources and the role of immigrants requires serious examination.

For the Moment

On the stage in America there is something that has come center stage—with vengeance. We have been hearing about it but now comes Harvey Weinstein. And he is in focus after the abuses of women by men such as Roger Ailes and Donald Trump. Rich and powerful men have been able to silence women with their threats but that appears to be changing. We have another dimension which is forcing our attention.

Adding Yet Another

But there is something else which is needed. Men are increasingly joining in the fight for the end to the subjugation of women and supporting a growing powerful place in our country and across the world for women. At the same time there is something else that is seriously needed and it will benefit all of us. It is time for men to seriously question, at another level, who and why they are. We need to be questioning how we are and who we are. It’s easy to simply say we need to change how it has been. We also need to know what it is and how it is for men. Clearly there is a male culture but as a psychologist I believe the issues go much deeper and one way to find out is for men to begin to look at themselves more closely in discussion with each other.

And so in I’m going to broaden the exploration in future posts.

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