What Do You Anticipate?

 

Is It Hope Or Is It Fear?

Call it interregnum. Call it denouement. Without question humankind is at a set of crisis crossroads. The Middle East is simply one indication. It looks very much like Europe at the dawn of World War I. And we know where that went for the following decades.

I doubt you need a catalogue of all of the crisis points, from China hanging on the edge of chaos, to our own political menagerie fumbling toward failure. It was not so long ago that there seemed so much more hope for consolidation and stability. So much of it dissolved and the process hints of monumental change in the years ahead. And change can be good or bad. But in my mind this kind of process puts me in the position where I don’t wish to simply be an observer. Assessment of what may bees essential.

Fascination With Possibilities

Throughout my life I’ve always been drawn to the “what if”. For me possibilities are the staff of life and before us I perceive a feast or conflagration. Such evolution and revolution does not lend itself to a thoroughly logical analysis because the underlying forces are never clear. And so I chose to name this blog Cusp of Reality because I firmly believe that is where we all reside—like it or not.

That means this blog is partly a thought document and is meant to present thoughts for examination and to lead us toward the “what if”. And always there are different vehicles which may be chosen for the what if.

Waves, Hope and Promise

There are currently discussions of waves in human events. What did the waves of the twentieth century lead to? We are now being overtaken by a wave of information technology and, in the field of economics there is speculation that we are entering the postcapitalism era. Human affairs in all their forms offer hope, promise and promote fear.

I’ve chosen to write speculative fiction where the possibilities can be made graphic. Each of us has a rich inner life and there is a larger context. In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I tell a story with a mythological context to lead us through possibilities as we see our future unfolding. Are we in a denouement of sorts and will it end in a transformation of some kind. If nothing else, the discussion and examination in this time is fascinating.The question always remains, “What If”?

Which among the possibilities would you choose?

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 Meaning and Substance of the Subjugation of Women

What do you believe are the driving forces and meaning of subjugation?

I have to divide this post into three parts. First is the benefit of subjugation of women to men, second is the ongoing deep effect on women and then there is the fact of culture. And again I have to point out that these posts are thought documents and certainly not research vehicles or repositories.

Benefits for Men

Looking at the discussions about patriarchy has been a depressing experience. In my life I have heard all the arguments men advance regarding the appropriate roles of women. I found every one of them distressing and invalid. Branded large on the surface of claimed benefits are the augmentation of power for men. I’ve searched that landscape for decades and found it wanting.

But they have held power and continue to hold power. Of course the exercise of that power goes well beyond the subjugation of women. Men held the power over slaves through history. And part of the discussion focuses on sexual rights including rape. The discussion in that area seems to focus more on men’s rights. I don’t hear much about celebration of rape.

As to the overall benefits men derive from patriarchy I have to confess I shake my head. Yes, there is power which some celebrate but the motivation to look away from the issue of loss of potential and broad benefits mystifies me. But then I don’t seem to relish power.

The Losses for Women and Society

It seems there are some benefits for men but at the society level the benefits are highly questionable. As to the benefits for women, they are hardly impressive and the negatives for society are rather important.

First of all, women are half of the population which means any negatives are substantial. At the most global level, the subjugation of women means there are limits of vision and effective planning. We see much potential is not developed.

In spite of all the publicity we continue to see women paid less than men for doing the same job. That means there is less potential and freedom in their lives. All of this contains innovation and productivity. Patriarchy contributes to racism, imperialism, capitalism (in its darker components) and supports environmental catastrophe. Of course there is much more to the last item on the preceding list.

It is difficult to note any benefits to society as a whole and, even for men, the results are less than ideal. It is ever so hard to see the justification. In the media we see a cross section of people presenting views and too often the arguments simply do not hold water. It is hard to tell if those who present phony or contrived arguments believe them or whether it holds some unadmitted benefits for them.

Then There is Culture

Often in discussing these kinds of issues we talk about specific benefits and losses which leads us to deal with the people who are benefiting or not from policies and attitudes. But at a larger level there is the matter of culture.

If we move beyond individual benefits and losses to the larger picture, then culture glares before us. One of the great strengths of humanity is that we possess culture. Now and again we trip over our differences but culture in general contributes stability and guidance.

Leslie White (one of my heroes) called it the extrasomatic stream. Culture does not reside within a given person but flows around us in society. We see it when two diverse groups come up with the same idea at the same time even though they do not talk to each other. The components come together independently because of this stream outside of individuals.

Its is a strength, but it is also a weakness because when something becomes established in culture it has tremendous staying power. And even if we overcome patriarchy there are systems which constrain women as a matter of culture. These have to be defined and examined. And we cannot believe for a moment that simply recognizing it will lead to sudden and widespread change and release from the negatives of subjugation.

We have our work cut out for 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

The Caribbean Tragedy

They’re Here At Las

Those of us who aren’t climate change deniers have been wondering when our number would come up for a major damaging hurricane. Well, it wasn’t one, it was three. The damage has been terrible and there is now years of hard work ahead. What has happened in the United States is tragic, but it is even worse in the Caribbean.

Breathtaking Reports

Looking at the damage in the Virgin Islands and neighboring islands is frightful but, for me, there is another dimension. It grows out of my experience in the Caribbean.

In 1990 we opened a home in St. Lucia, one of the windward islands. It stood on the top of a hill with a 250 elevation above the sea. Of course we got insurance but declined “overage from the sea” coverage. A storm surge to 250 feet was unlikely. Wind damage was another matter.

We looked deep into the history of hurricanes on the island. It turns out that St. Lucia was just below the hurricane belt. They had had a hurricane 100 years ago and only an occasional tropical disturbance since with no major damage.

Then Came a Hurricane

One time we were in the house and got word that a major hurricane was hurtling toward us and was coming past the island of Barbados. It seemed likely it would go between the southern part of St. Lucia and St. Vincent. That would have put us on the more damaging side of the hurricane. We prepared for the worst and hunkered down in a windowless concrete outbuilding and waited. The winds grew much more intense and then died off.

Later we learned the specifics. Some island friends of ours (travel agents) had been given a cruise and they were just off Barbados as the storm came in. The ship fled West and turned due north past Martinique. So did the hurricane and followed them up on the other side of Martinique. It’s not easy to go between all islands so the ship traveled north dogged by the hurricane. At last they could turn west near the Virgin islands and the storm plowed into those islands.

Then There Was Reality

Our friends were horrified by the complaints of the passengers who wanted to get off and go shopping. The news from St. Thomas was that there was no news. All communications and all power were gone. Later they learned that the island had been crushed by the storm.

And here is the meaning of this post. We think of the Caribbean as a paradise for vacations. There are villas for wealthy people and a glorious life style. But, when these kinds of storms hit, the true devastation is for the ordinary people of these islands. Foreign homeowners can take a pass on visiting that year or even next but the local people, who are anything but wealthy, have to rebuild their lives.

We Must Not Forget Them

In this time of tragedy we are looking at Florida and Texas with occasional mention of the devastated Caribbean Islands. It is not easy for these people to get supplies. There are no roads to the islands. And they had little if any wealth to help them recover. Some are lucky and have the United States or Britain to send aid. Others have no such resources.

In the months ahead we need to pay attention regarding word of their needs. We need to take advantage of possibilities to contribute as they try to rebuild their lives. The tourists are gone for the foreseeable future but the local people will struggle on and will need our help. We also have to be aware that governments will handle the near term needs but the recovery will go on long after. It is then that the contributions from the public at large will be essential.

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 Focus on Patriarchy- Pt 2

Why Are Women Subjugated?

There is an interesting historical perspectives about subjugation and it suggests that women were not always subjugated. Now granted, when we reach very far back in history we cannot always be sure about the validity of the information but it seems intriguing.

Were Cavemen Rapists or Nasty Mysogynists?

There is the recurrent image of the caveman dragging a woman off by her hair but it may be that for many of them life was quite different. One line of thought says that the men were often off hunting. Remember the hunter-gatherer? Well, yes, the men were hunters and the women gatherers. Since they didn’t have access to birth control pills they were often back at the cave with the kids and took them out to gather. The hunt might be unproductive or worse and what they gathered was generally believed to be central to sustaining the tribe. It may be there was a good partnership.

Women Warriors

Adrienne Mayor’s book The Amazons was truly an interesting encyclopedia. Once upon a time I thought Amazons were mythological women warriors. Not really. Amazons were the women of the nomadic and semi nomadic tribes of the area that includes the Steppes east of the ancient mediterranean societies. They were skilled horsewomen (women do better with horses) and fought alongside their men just like the Viking Women.

It seems when we go back in history and search cultures we find that the subjugation of women was far from universal. Of course, true equality may have also been illusive in many circumstances as it is among races and tribes.

The Agricultural Revolution

Then came the agricultural revolution in the Middle East. Evidently there was then the need for more workers and that meant more children were needed. Perhaps this was the beginning of the subjugation of women because of the needs. Naturally all of this can be taken with a grain of salt but the possibilities are interesting.

In fact, I remember sitting in class mesmerized listening to the anthropologist Leslie White when he pointed out that slavery began when people started to be able to produce more than they needed personally. If all you can do is sustain yourself then there is no point in having a slave.

Plenty Is Not Enough

It is truly intriguing that what happened to women and many peoples may have been a function of surpluses. Suddenly subjugation of all kinds became rewarding to those who managed to be in power. Then came kings, despots, dictators and oligarchs. For many of them what wealth and power they held was never enough. Moving beyond subsistence and survival can have wholly new effects.

Then culture gets stamped in. How it has been becomes how it will be. Now comes our capacity to examine and reconsider.

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

Seeking Clarity in the Fog

 

When you see “neo” attached to a word, what does that suggest to you?

Entwining the Political and the Economic

For a very long time we thought we knew what each political party stood for and families often passed down dedication to a particular party from generation to generation. Below is information on neoliberalism and neoconservatism. I think I got it wrong. Neo seems to simply mean that it is a new form of something and in this instance I have a hard time seeing them as either liberal or conservative. What it does indicate is something which supports the idea of an interregnum but the question is, if we are entering a very new era, where will it lead us? And in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I suggest a direction with a mythological context. We are all explorers whether individually or collectively. It is fascinating to think about where our explorations might lead us. Implicit in this mythological exploration is that it may well have a totally unexpected outcome.

Speculation can be a wonderful thing. It is not only engaging and interesting but can lead us down unsuspected paths with all kinds of wonderful things at the end.

Elements of Our National Interregnum

Neoliberalism (From Wikipedia)

Neoliberalism[1] is a term which has been used by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences[2] and critics[3] primarily in reference to the resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism beginning in the 1970s and 1980s.[4] Its advocates support extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] Neoliberalism is famously associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States.[6] The transition of consensus towards neoliberal policies and the acceptance of neoliberal economic theories in the 1970s are seen by some academics as the root of financialization, with the financial crisis of 2007–08 one of the ultimate results.

Neoconservatism (From Wikipedia)
Neoconservatism (commonly shortened to neocon) is a political movement born in the United States during the 1960s among Democrats who became disenchanted with the party’s domestic and especially foreign policy. Many of its adherents became politically famous during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Neoconservatives peaked in influence during the administrations of George W. Bush and George H W Bush, when they played a major role in promoting and planning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[1] Prominent neoconservatives in the Bush administration included Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Robert Kagan and Paul Bremer. Senior officials Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, while not identifying themselves as neoconservatives, listened closely to neoconservative advisers regarding foreign policy, especially the defense of Israel, the promotion of democracy in the Middle East, and the buildup of American military forces to achieve these goals. The neocons have influence in the Obama White House, and neoconservatism remains a staple in both parties’ arsenal.

Emergence is Another Useful Word at This Time

As you can see from the above descriptions “the times they are achanging”. The philosophical alignments are very different from what they used to be. Struggle is very much a part of human existence and the positions outlined above speak to struggle. We used to be clear about our realities but these differences and the changes over a relatively short period of time do support the idea of us being in an interregnum. Stay tuned!

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