A Vision for Appalachia

Where should we apply our resources?

In this political season there is vision coming from some quarters and none from other quarters. One of the saddest things I am seeing is the complete lack of vision in regard to the future of the people of Appalachia and the victims of the coal industry.

Beauty at Our Doorstep

Appalachia is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever visited and its people have been treated terribly. We now have politicians claiming they are going to save the coal industry and the reality is that it cannot be saved. The corporations have found ways to decrease the labor needed and the coal is running out even while it is clear that we have to turn to renewable energy sources.

The Meaning of Help

So what of the people of Appalachia? Are we to do nothing for them, for their future. They have a very high opiate addiction rate partly because of the injuries so many have sustained in the coal mines. Addiction is not a simple matter. One thing that must be done for addicts, as we attempt to help them with the addiction, is to move them toward hope and purpose. We are not doing that.

We hear that their future is dim, that other forms of energy must be used but we hear nothing of how they and their communities may have a new and brighter future.

Other Models

Recently I spoke with someone who also attended Duke University and he had made a visit to the Research Triangle (Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham area). He said everywhere he turned he saw thriving startup companies. It made me think of Appalachia.

The mountains and the valleys are lovely, graced with streams and glorious seasons. Each of these little areas can be homes to the right businesses. Of course, there is snow which has a beauty of its own and then there is spring and a brilliant fall. The summers, because of the mountains, are more muted. 

New Possibilities Being Born

We have entered the technological future and are seeing the possibility of something called post capitalism. We no longer are inclined to build huge industrial complexes. Instead we have pocket industries of a wide variety of sorts. Where California is lacking in water, Appalachia has abundant water.

Taking the Challenge 

Because of history, the eastern mountains have many problems and change will not come overnight. But with vision we have an area which has tremendous potential. The beauty of it can help build a future but it will have to be a very different kind. It will take considerable resources, including health resources, patience and offering something to younger generations among many other things. At present I hear nothing of vision for them and their area. 

We have been mired down in obstruction and lack of vision. Maybe I can raise the hope that we can begin to focus on constructive action and many shades of vision. In that we just might be able to develop the potential of Appalachia and to give the people hope and purpose. I can dream can’t I?

What visions are found in your dreams?

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 New Jobs Portrait

We can Study the Future for Jobs

Furutistic Future Plan Urban Structure Concept

It’s really strange to listen to the non discussion about the future of jobs. We seem to be thinking that the jobs we have now are the only jobs there will be. It reminds me of the head of the copyright office who said in the early twentieth century that we might as well close up the department because everything that can be invented had been invented. It is as if we forget that the industrial revolution was indeed a revolution and we are acting as if the Information Technology revolution isn’t happening. Where is the foresight and the researchers.

Lessons We Can Learn

Making a reference to politics is jarring presently but I have to note that pathetic politicians are telling the people of Appalachia that they will bring back coal jobs and its as if they believe what they are told. I don’t even need to go into why they are not coming back. What is preferable is to look at Appalachia. Have you ever been there? It’s beautiful. Granted the towns need work and investment but those valleys are exquisite and while they aren’t suitable for sprawling industrial complexes or large agricultural operations, they are suitable for many kinds of companies, especially small technologically based companies.

There Is a Paucity of Discussion

Maybe I’m not hearing the discussion or they are done in whispers. A lot of technologically based startup companies can be small or linked because of improved communications systems. I don’t think its up to me to build a copious list but there should be a crowd of researchers at work. Perhaps Appalachia can’t spring to life over night and older residents might not benefit from new types of work but a future could be built for the younger generations. What I know from testing people for vocational opportunities is that you can’t know what there can be as resources until you look. It may take training but above all it has to begin with vision and a willingness to employ it.

Looking Around the World

Germany is legendary in the way it created apprenticeship programs. For some reason they thought that not everyone could or might want an advanced education as in universities. So they set up apprenticeships programs for existing industries. We can do such things for the industries and systems which are coming of age just now. Many tech industries are hungering for new workers and we need to research what the needs are and then go looking for the suitable skill patterns.

Opening Our Minds

I’ve noted this before when I mentioned what I saw as I tested the intelligence of people in preparation for retraining. Intelligence tests as they are constructed are not the be all and end all of ways to assess abilities. The ones we’ve used for a long time such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale were divided into Verbal and Performance. The Verbal was thought of as being most closely related to educational needs and the Performance section related to skills used by what we call blue collar people. Well, guess what. I saw that the Performance skills also related to information technology. Many people with lower Verbal skills were thought of as learning disabled. In fact they had higher Performance skills which was their area of talent.

It Comes Down To This

Can we do some research please and open our minds? We need to assess the jobs which will be needed and look at our pool of talent. New training or retraining may be needed but if we look I  believe we can open our future.

What do you see ahead?

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 Origins and Sources of the Majesty Trilogy – Pt. 4

The Human Potential

Emerging Themes

In writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I found, even though I had a chart of its arc, that components of it were emergent. Just as the characters emerged as well. To me it was not a story of whatever form. It had to have a future reflective of us and possibilities. 

In the scope of things it may be that we are merely a life form that emerged on this beautiful and unusual planet. And in time we may well vanish into the history of the universe leaving no trace whatsoever.

But what I saw was that there is the matter of potential that may lead to our transformation or even possibly some forms beyond who we are just now.

Exploring Us and Our history

In mythology we see themes in human existence as well as our development. In gods and goddesses we view ourselves but our future as well. It seems we take the hopes of our youth into thoughts about what might be to come. We are restless and often not willing to accept how it is right now for ourselves personally or collectively. In our recent past we see the acquisition of culture and language and now so many more things.  I say “recent past” because it is apparent that we have been developing for millions of years, but it is in the last thousands of years we see a sudden “maturation” and acquisitions of new skills. And now technology is thrusting us forward in a whole new way.

We regard history, but also regard our future. Parts of who we are seem little changed. But other parts are intriguing.

Carrying Forward and Progressing

When we look at human history we see some things which change little although on the surface there is difference. For much of our history we had ruling families and still do. We had kings and now we have people we are calling oligarchs. They simply direct and rule our lives in different ways. But developmentally there has been a change at the same time as we have struggled to acquire and maintain democracies where the mass of people actually have a say in government. It is a struggle to maintain it nonetheless. 

Without warning come new themes such as the liberation of women. I know I say this over and over but I’m intrigued about what this movement may mean. Suddenly we have women participating in a way which goes beyond what has gone before.

Our lives are woven together. There is chaos and cruel brutality even as there is caring for those amongst us. While some may care not at all about the welfare of others, there are some who set up beneficial foundations.

The Call of a Future

One purpose fiction can serve is to stir us to examine not just ourselves personally but as creatures on this earth. We see some marked changes over time and emergent themes born of dreams and hopes. But what is intriguing is the possibility not just for fundamental change but what may mean transformation. It may come upon us or we may grasp and trigger it. It is up to use individually and collectively. The two themes of Mysterium and Malestrom in this trilogy relate to interplay of fundamental force. We may give them names as we search and explore. It all grows out of asking “What if?” as a means to draw us forward to an intriguing future.

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 Image of Woman

 

If you were to construct one essential image of a woman, what would you choose?

Broadening Our views

This is such an interesting time in human history. There are so many possibilities. I’ll try to focus. 

Our image of ourselves is changing and diverging. When I was a kid, Leave It To Beaver was on television and a show called Father Knows Best. These were All-American families with a central male character and the woman was the housewife. What else was there? We were to find out.

Gradually our view broadened. We learned we had single parent families and divorce became more and more prominent possibly because women had more options. Steadily diversity was recognized.

Fast Forward

I won’t try to follow all the twists and turns. Now we come to a new century and there was a stunning development. I remember the two “maiden ladies” down the street and the sad specter of the lifelong bachelor. We now have new thoughts about who they might have been. And then suddenly we had the recognition of LGBT and actually (over strenuous opposition) allowed gay marriage.

At the personal level the catalogue of options is steadily expanding. As a kid I loved science and liked to tinker with our television. If I had been a little older at the time I would have been a member of a rocket building club. Wernher von Braun was my hero. If I were a child today I would be one incredible geek. My computer would be my home. Some of these choices are easy and others are more difficult.

Back to Women

Women’s roles are diverging. We are pounding on the glass ceiling and maybe some day soon we will openly deal with income inequality and the right of women to make their own decisions. No doubt you have your own catalogue of complaints about that issue. 

What I am finding fascinating are the efforts to build a pantheon of roles which a woman can maintain at her discretion. Yes, for some reason I want to call it a pantheon because there are glorious elevated choices. When we view a large celebration we see an interesting collection of people. Mostly the men look rather similar in dark suits of various kinds. Women are far more diverse and it hints at a more fundamental diversity.

It seems now a woman can display an allure in one setting and take on an image of power and competence of a different kind in another setting. And, again, I have to wonder if that isn’t part of the problem men are having with the empowerment of women.

Stepping Back

Posts in a blog are supposed to be relatively short and this subject doesn’t lend itself well to a blog post because the more you think about it, the more complex the issues become. Leadership by women can be explicit or implicit which is also true for men but in a different way. How do we define these differences and what do they mean and where will it lead us?

Women can be magnificent beauty objects in one setting and a powerful leader in another. Women are adept at accessing and utilizing vastly different roles. And is that part of the problem? This diversity in image and setting seems troubling to us. We were more comfortable with Father Knows Best. 

What do you think is going on and what are your thoughts?

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 Time For Men and Women to Move Forward Together

 

Women May Lead the Way Into Our Future

Through history at least fifty percent of our population (women) have been subjugated. The Amazon women and Viking Shield Maidens are examples of exceptions.

In the 1960s, when the Women’s Liberation movement flowered, I was intrigued and, at a conference, saw the opportunity to attend a women’s group. I went to the gathering but was turned away because, in that dawning era, the women sought to discuss the issues among themselves only. At first I felt a sense of disappointment, but finally saw it was best for them to probe the issues and set a course on their own.

A Cultural Surge

And now every day women are calling out regarding the need for their empowerment and expressing their outrage at things such as sexual harassment and the glass ceiling. Among other things they point to specific men, incidents and misogyny. We can’t turn back now. Women generally feared coming out and pointing at the men who abused and harassed them. But now the door of confinement has been broken open and it cannot be closed again.

Coming Together to Shape Our Collective Future

Now it’s time for men to come together, not in opposition, but to permit men to reveal who they are personally, how they have been and the processes and alliances which direct their development. The reformulation of our societies is not to be done by women alone, as they call for an end to subjugation and an evaluation of misogyny, its origins and how to control it. This is an opening to a special once in a lifetime opportunity that will surely expand and evolve. Now that we begin the process of empowering women we release a new rich fund of creativity and intellectual prowess to benefit all of us.

As women are empowered, we advance the opportunity for them to fulfill their full potential. And now men need to face themselves and find a way to fulfill their own full potential. Yes, the male culture and the attitude of men are often holding them back and all of us as well. And now we may seize that most fruitful partnership with women and the bounty it can yield. It’s important to be clear that the end to subjugation of both men and women, in all its forms, holds unforeseen possibilities leading us collectively into an enhanced future.

Please let me hear from you. roger.burt@earthlink.net

 

 

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 New Year of Peril and Promise

 

Coming this spring, Gaia’s Majesty:Challenge – The Chosen Rise.

Book 2 in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

 

 

           

A New Year of Peril and Promise

Intriguing Possibilities

Now comes a new year. It is both a year fraught with peril for America but one which also holds extraordinary promise. By and large I’m going to leave the political analyses to others although it is very hard to separate politics from policy and process, including the content in fiction writing.

This year in my blog I’m going to cover a variety of topics.In the spring the second book of my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy will be published. (See cover at top of page.) Among issues I will be covering related to the trilogy will be the origins of the story in the series, expanded commentary about key Andromeda women warriors in Majesty, and commentary on some issues facing authors. I’m also going to make a few comments related to the adventures my wife and I had in the Caribbean as the world expanded for us. But the major focus near term will be the issue of the empowerment of women and a call for men to examine themselves and their culture. What is happening with women offers huge potential. It is an opportunity we must seize.

Call for a Movement

A Collective Search

We have a feminist movement and it’s time for a masculinist movement. If you think that means a movement in opposition to feminism, that is the opposite of what is needed. We need a movement in which men together evaluate themselves, male culture and what has been holding them back. We can only dimly see where that may lead us.

With this new year and all its import, I’m going to begin a new series which I’m calling the Masculinism Movement. (Hear the echoes of the words “Feminism Movement”.) The Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1960s opened with women coming together in groups to evaluate their positions and their way forward. Now that we are entering a period where we look toward full empowerment of women, it’s time for men to come together in groups to assess the male culture and to own how they have been and what has been done to them. The recent cresting of sexual harassment allegations are instructive but are only one facet of problems in the male culture.

As noted, the proposed Masculinism Movement is not a movement purely to empower men. It is a movement in which men assess themselves and assess what has been holding them back in general and especially in regard to women. It is an opportunity to examine the male culture and the roots of their need to dominate and keep women subjugated. Men even inhibit the reproductive health care of their wives, mothers, children and grandchildren. It is a wholly irrational process. This is not how men are but a cultural issue.

A Personal Opportunity

Rarely have I seen men come together to deal with their culture and how their lives have been shaped by what is often tyranny and control by their fellows. Rarely is it even mentioned, but it is often assumed that men simply feed upon power and domination. There is surely a lot more to it that many men have not examined and that includes the influence of all forms of male culture in their lives. These influences extend to their relationships with women and how they function in our society. If men are to change and we are to truly open the full potential for our future, men must examine themselves. That is the force of the movement and it can help us reshape our societies. And some of the issues for men surely may relate to insecurity or distorted self concepts often reflecting what has happened to them personally or as a function of the larger male cultures.

Please let me hear your thoughts.

roger.burt@earthlink.net

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

Origins and Sources for The Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy- Part 1

Inspiration and the Author

Whatever That Means

As soon as I input the word inspiration, something inside of me asks, “what?” At once I understand. Inspiration is defined by Google as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”. Does that help? Not for me. Like so many things, it raises more questions than answers and the stimulation is not just mental.

A familiar image is of the author sitting before a typewriter (now a computer) waiting for something to stir him or her or give them direction. First off we have to wonder why the author came to sit there if there was no clear inclination of direction or clarity of substance.

Inspiration does seem to have an independent life of its own. Partly because books of fiction have roots inside ourselves. Nonfiction may be simply our need to give clarity to a real world subject. But fiction is another matter.

A Process Without Clear Delineation

At the same time it just may be that we are wasting our time trying to define inspiration because we are led into a cave with a myriad turning points and possibilities. Sometimes it just may be that we have to accept that we are being stirred by something we cannot immediately define. It may be that where we begin may be nowhere near where we end up.

As such it may be best to see what we can do to focus an idea no matter how vague and see if an outline of some sort may emerge. As a psychologist I often come back to the idea that things are often not what they seem. What we call reality has anything but a hard edge and certainly inspiration may be fuzzy. We may have to simply take inspiration off its leash or find a way to do that.

A Road or An Adventure

In fiction we are certainly looking for a way down a road, an adventure of some sort. The beginning is to simply start down the road. And the road we choose may be very different depending upon the stage of our lives. We may be searching a purpose for ourselves, looking to reveal something to others or even doing an assessment of where we have been and its meaning.

Finding a Beginning Point

Looking back I have to wonder where the beginning of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy really was. There were just two general thoughts. One was that in my life I search for possibilities and that I’m entranced by mythology. The simple explanation was that I found myself focused on the meaning of mermaids. In their own way they are so prominent. As a story began to develop it became clear that women were central and that another root was the matter of the empowerment of women.

From there I found an outline was becoming insistent and steadily clarified as it grew and grew and grew. Since I am hardly at the beginning of my life I had to realize I was doing an assessment and was turning pages to think further about what may lie in our collective future. Together we can see where it leads and search out the substance of meanings.

What is inspiration for you?

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