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

Magical Tour

 

Where have you been that enchanted you?

Making a Beginning

In St. Lucia we had found a glorious lot with stunning views and a builder. Now it was time to focus on what to do. We thought to build a modest vacation cottage and found a Canadian builder by the name of Wayne who had come to the island and ended up marrying a St. Lucian woman. He stayed and built a business. For us it was like having an American colleague to plan with. After all Canadians were just like us except they said ”aboot” and “eh”. (No offense Canadian friends.) Wayne suggested we go on a tour to look at various types of homes and to get to know the island. It sounded good to us.

Beyond Belief

When you come to a tropical island like St. Lucia, very often you station yourself in a large resort, maybe take one tour and there is no in depth exposure. Since we had been looking at land we were already beyond simple tourism.

Wayne had just imported a Mercedes sedan from Martinique and we set off. Since St. Lucia had been a British colony, they drove on the wrong side of the road. Wayne was then on the wrong side of the car as he drove. But then a little disorientation helps break people loose from tired perspectives.First we toured houses on the more developed north of the island. He barged in and we looked around. There were many different types of houses.

Into Another World

Then he took us south. The north is lovely, with wonderful beaches, a myriad of restaurants and all manner of resorts. It is much more developed and the capital, Castries, is nearby. But when we went south we went into the lush interior which includes the rain forest and toured the area of the Pitons, They are the two towering mountain remnants of the volcano that once ruled the island.

We passed through banana plantations and the lush quiet of the rain forest. From time to time we passed a man carrying a machete. We had to get used to it because that is their primary tool in agricultural work. They nodded and usually gave us a shy smile. If we were walking, a man might gently come forward and softly ask “May I speak with you, Sir.” At first we thought they probably wanted money, but, in fact, they just wanted to meet these venturesome strangers.

I was utterly enthralled by one lush mountain valley. There were huge boulders on the plain clearly indicating the monumental volcanic explosion millennia ago. At the end was one small house. Wayne took us in to see it for our thinking. There was a woman inside tending a fire. He talked to her briefly. She seemed to accept our presence without comment. On we went through plantations and one mysterious valley after another. The quiet was notable and it never felt threatening which was surprising given that it was a strange new world.

A Brief Stay

Later Wayne took us to Stonefield Estate which was his plantation. The pool had a stunning view of the pitons and it came complete with a parrot. Mac was the plantation manager and when we asked the parrot where he was the bird would crane his neck and scan the area. There were so many endearing features and we were being drawn in deeper.

Upon Return

When we returned to the north of the island we settled down with Wayne to talk construction. We told him we only wanted a starter cottage we might expand later. He nodded and then suggested we might want something a little bigger because we might want to rent it out when we weren’t there. That was intriguing. He suggested three bedrooms, each with their own bath. And then of course to rent it we would need a pool. And how about putting a cottage with a pool in the plans. Just in case—for the future.

Gulp! He said we didn’t have to do it all at once. He could begin and as we found funds he could continue. We were hooked on the island and the developing adventure. We purchased the land, went home and began to send money. This was just the beginning.

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 World in Crisis

 

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. Overall, our world 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.

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. 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 to 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 element 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 that 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

Opening Our View of The Future

Being Humble and Hopeful

What do you think your future holds?

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

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

Broadening Our View

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

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

Clues to Our Future or Futures

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

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

Making the Choice

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

How would you describe what you have chosen for yourself?

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

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

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

Adventure in the Caribbean – Pt 1

 

That Life Plan

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

A Terrible Twist of Fate

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

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

Life Returns

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

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

How Interesting

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

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

Just to Take a Look

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

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

Much more to come.

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

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt