Self Examination Is Not Enough

 

Beyond Dealing With Subjugation

If we are to end the subjugation of women in all its forms each of us (men) must engage in self examination. Such an examination may be informative but at a personal level it is unlikely that the richest forms of discovery will be made.

Certainly there can be worthy endeavors in discussion with women about their experiences. And reading on the topic is worthwhile. But, since there are surely cultural elements as part of the setting, a group examination by men would be worthwhile if not essential.

A Collective Endeavor

Examination is a worthwhile but the problem between men and women is a rich field of endeavor which requires in depth and diverse study. Women have raised an issue to our awareness and now feel enough power themselves that it will not be totally hidden again. But it is also up to men to speak up and together examine themselves personally and their interactions. We men must compare “notes” and experiences if we are to go into depth. The abuse process has been visited upon men themselves as they failed to support potential of all kinds. And there can be cruelty and victimization as the will of someone may be imposed on their fellows. And, regardless of stereotypes it is not at all clear how “real men” really are. Just as with the beginning of the women’s liberation movement when women sat together and examined what had been happening and their belief in a future, men need to begin by sitting together and reflecting. We may be shocked at what we uncover.

Beyond the Issue of Power

Much of the discussion at this time focuses on the issue of men exercising power. But it is essential that we look at the very real possibility that men have been victims as well. There is a distinct element of pressure for focus on specific activities and viewpoints. And certainly the male culture contributes heavily to sexual assault and abuse. And included must also be the concern about self esteem and belief in what constitutes the self. What will surely be found is that the components of this process of male domination and abuse is complex. We must ask what it is that men do to each other. How are they subjugated as well in their own way. Surely there will be surprises and this endeavor will be interesting and surprising.

And then later, or in separate groups, we can sit together, men and women, to evaluate and to share. When the sharing occurs there is the real opportunity for real change.

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

An Important Post For The Moment

Recently I said I’m trying to stay away from politics on this blog. Some things have happened recently which some would see as political. Instead I have to say I see them as events which relate substantively to who we are and the future of America in the world. Below is a post from the delconsuiltblog of my friend Helen Delaney. I had to share it.

Unfollow me, unfriend me.

by delconsult

 

Just three days ago, a friend asked me why I stopped writing my blog. One of the reasons, I told him, was that I just didn’t believe in talking unless I had something to say. I told him that I had run out of things to say, and that I just couldn’t bore my friends for the sake of maintaining a blog. Besides, I wanted to turn my energy toward my second book. That was three days ago. That was before my ancestors came into my consciousness and nudged me in their ever-so-gentle way. The way spirits do.

 

I have never expressed my personal political views on this blog or any public media outlet because I saw no value in it. My position was that people will believe what they want to believe, and that my political views, no matter what they were, would attract anonymous, angry people with nothing better to do than to sling mud from behind the safety of their darkened rooms and backlit computer screens.  I don’t enjoy conflict, online or off, and so I kept my views to myself. But now, I’m done. I’m done, because I am here, alive in my body, in this country, on this tortured night, representing my ancestors.

 

Let me introduce them: My maternal grandmother: Her name was Sarah. Her father was German, her mother African American. Her husband’s mother, my great grandmother: Her name was Elizabeth, and she came to this country from Syria. I’m sure that wasn’t her name when she stepped up to the immigration official to be registered. Then, there is my paternal grandfather. His name was Edward and he was all or part Native American. Cherokee. His wife, Helen, came from a family of Irish indentured slaves. My parents were the “mixed blood” children of those I have named. They lived in South Carolina before and at the turn of the last century. In this country, they were all either indentured whites (in our case dis-owned by their families), or Negroes. I’ve seen the census reports.

 

I cannot imagine the bravery, courage, or the depth and breadth of love it must have taken for them to raise families of seven, eight children. Or just to stay alive. I also represent their children, uncles who fought in both World Wars, my father, who wore a policeman’s badge in Philadelphia for 35 years, a man of color who could not rise in the ranks but who nevertheless served and protected all the citizens of that city, my mother, who broke ranks with her family to come North with my father so that I and my brothers could live a life that was free of harassment, degradation, fear, and sorrow. Or so they thought.

 

When a black man was elected President of the United States, my husband and I sat before the television set and watched Barack Obama and his family write a chapter in history unlike any before it, except, perhaps, the one written by Abraham Lincoln.  At last, I told my husband, the tears running down my face, our country has become what it said it would. It has marched steadily toward its own ideals. It has kept its promise. My husband, who was Irish American, nodded, tears blinding his own eyes. We were proud of our country. We were proud that the idea of freedom, that the experiment in equality, the stumbling, difficult climb into a true democracy, and the repudiation of all things indecent, had made us the most powerful, important nation on the planet. We were not to know, on that night, that it was only a moment in time.

 

We have taken a step backward to a place my ancestors would recognize. My tears tonight are ones of grief. I am not proud. I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I must accept sympathy from my friends around the world. I am ashamed that our doors are slamming shut against people like my ancestors, and that all sense of generosity, compassion, and conscience seem to be absent from the hearts of those who could make it different. I am ashamed that once again, my ancestors are the subjects of hate and derision. No wonder they won’t let me alone.

 

And now, I’m done. I can no longer be quiet. I speak for those who came before me, those who gave me life, and for my children and my grandchildren. Today and ever after, I disavow the indecent, hateful bigotry that is despoiling my country and the man who is the face and the voice of it.

 

And I say to you, whoever may be reading this blog – if, after what has happened in the past two days, indeed in the past year, you can still support the man in the White House, his ideas, his language, and behavior, you support everything I, as an American, as an African American, as an Irish American, as a German American, as the great granddaughter of a Syrian woman, and the granddaughter of a Native American man, abhor, and I ask you to unfollow me. If you are a “friend” on Facebook, I ask you to unfriend me now.

 

This is the time to take a stand. It is time to speak clearly. No more excuses, no more mealy-mouthed explanations.  No more burying heads in the sand. It’s over. The President of the United States is a racist. I repudiate that hateful concept, and I repudiate him.

 

Matthew said it: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Choose your camp.

 

 

 

 

Moving Forward Together – For Change

 

Complex Issues

Of course men and women do form partnerships. We marry and we do have each other as friends and colleagues. But what we are coming to see is that there have been severe limits imposed and we aren’t clear why they are imposed. We have a sense of how it might be and do participate in some evaluation of how we relate to each other from time to time. But there may be so much more.

The Patriarchy

One definition of patriarchy is “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.” Certainly there are exceptions, but, in general, we see that the participation of women has been limited. In the United States we are seeing greater participation of women in government and business but we are experiencing the resistance to their participation. It goes beyond even what we call “the glass ceiling”.

Last year began a new series specifically about patriarchy. It proved to be complex and it was only possible to touch on it lightly in this blog format. Surely there are detailed studies and formulations to be explored, but at least it needed to be introduced. Thinking about it led to the recognition of the need for the Masculinism movement.

Posts Already Published

These posts can be found on the blog http://www.cuspofreality.com.

A Focus on Patriarchy – Pt. 1 – Shifting the Focus Regarding Women. (7/31/17)
We are seeing what’s called radical feminism related to the call to end subjugation. There are a number of definitions, each worth thought and exploration. Then we have to ask what the justification is for subjugation. And then there are questions regarding supposed perceived benefits for the maintenance of the patriarchy.

A Focus on Patriarchy – Pt. 2 Why Are Women Subjugated? (9/11/17)
When the question “Were women always subjugated?” is asked, it opens a fascinating history. Cavemen dragging women away by their hair is one common image. But there are women warriors in history. One supposition is that subjugation began in earnest with the agricultural revolution when more and more children were needed as workers.

A Focus on Patriarchy – Pt. 3 The Meaning and Substance of the Subjugation of Women (10/2/17)
It takes some exploration, but it is fascinating to think in detail about why this happens. Certainly one usual assumption is that it has distinct benefits for men, but often that assumption is simplistic. Examination requires looking at losses for women and society. It is also apparent that it is carried in the extrasomatic stream of culture.

More to Come
In the series about patriarchy there is more to come. Clearly thinking about it led to the series related to a masculinist movement. As we enter this period where we are seriously reevaluating these issues and the demands for change are increasing, there will surely be many more posts. This is going to get really interesting.

AND your thoughts and sharing are invited. Please send to 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

Life Wins Almost Every Time

 

What sudden shifts have you experienced in your life?

Clarity Versus Reality

We may maintain contradictory beliefs at the same time. We often “know” about our future and what we want one moment at a time. But life has a way of having other “thoughts” for us. A trip to Washington, D.C. and the halls of Congress is instructive.

A Political Environment is Almost a Life Form in Itself.

There is a class of political beings clearly to be seen. Almost routinely they are clad in dark blue or black suits whether they are men or women. These are the aides and the employees of the members of Congress. Many of them fought hard to get their jobs. Sometimes it wasn’t a matter of simply applying. Often it involved service in successful political campaigns. In some cases they had to serve a number of times before their candidate won and they could join him or her in government. They could then come along for a glorious career.

Except there is a sobering note. There is an age group missing in DC. The dominant age group jumps from twentysomethings to middle age. Why is that?

Along Comes Destiny

The problem is that fabulous face. It is seen across a room at a party or a gathering of some kind. Two people enchant each other and then the most terrible thing happens. They desperately want to be together and that generally leads to a passionate involvement, marriage and children. Setting up the appropriate household and managing the insistent newcomers are all consuming. And so the careers are interrupted or end. The political passions are replaced by the personal passions and associated needs.

It often seems that this almost inevitable human event was not foreseen. The focus was on the moment and the excitement of the career. At some point we once again see the insistence of a reality we live on the edge of. Isn’t it amazing how we can evade the almost certain element of life which is just waiting out there? We do an extraordinary balancing act with these various facets of our lives. The adventure may only be for a time. Or at least that particular adventure. And often the fiction writer plays out the scenarios for us. Perhaps we should pay more attention to fiction.

What is your style in pursuing fiction? Do you consider it or experience it?

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

America – Addict Nation Pt 2

 

A Call for Help

Shortly after I left my job working in inner city poverty in Baltimore I got a call from a good friend who had been a community organizer in that program. He had become an administrator at what was referred to as a Methadone treatment program. The treatment providers were recovering addicts and social workers. They were under the supervision of psychiatrists. Those supervisory relationships were not working well. I was familiar with that problem because the administrators of the program in Baltimore had been psychiatrists and the rest of us in the treatment delivery teams had to fight them constantly so that we remained focused on the real needs of the community we were serving and how those needs were addressed. What my friend wanted was someone who could address the needs of the incoming clients to the staff in a way that meant something to them. Long term intensive psychotherapy did not. Since I had been on the street with him and other staff I could talk the language of his staff and relate to their perspective. The staff needed a down to earth approach.

A New World of Problems

So I came on board as a clinical consultant. New clients were routed to me for an evaluation. In spite of my time on the street I was surprised at who was coming for help. I had been relating more to community services and the drug world was a different place. I expected to see heroin addicts arriving to take methadone. The people who came had many different problems. Some weren’t even what I would call “physiological” addicts. One nineteen year old had been using hallucinogens for six years. He wasn’t physically addicted to anything but had missed his adolescence.

I won’t go into all the details except to say that it made me aware that drug issues rarely stop at the matter of physiology. There are developmental issues, marital issues, education issues, job issues and on and on. There was absolutely no way to address everyone in the same way. It became a matter of designing approaches and determining needed resources for a broad range of needs.

Treatment Chaos

If we think anything else, we are deluding ourselves. As we begin to look at our opioid crisis there evidently are burgeoning treatment programs but some of them are shady and shabby enterprises. Just recently we learned that Google raked in over $1 billion in ad revenue related to advertising for treatment services. It seems there is insufficient regulation or attention to what needs to be provided and what is provided. We are missing the needs point. There is shouting about the addiction problem, but I’m not hearing a whole lot about a comprehensive plan or even a plan for working on having a plan.

Many Other Needs

One issue alone is illuminating. It is clear that a lot of these opioid drugs have flowed into Appalachia. This is the area where people have labored in coal mines, been injured, and suffer from chronic pain. The coal industry is clearly dying and there is little attention to what needs to be done for the economies of such areas. This alone tells us that we have a lot to study and work to be done. And much of the work needs to start today.

The Bottom Line

In some ways this blog post is nothing other than a warning. We have been diverted by political and ideological infighting. It is time to go to work in a more focused and cooperative way.

I’m going to close this post out now because this subject deserves study, certainly a book, or maybe a library of books. And we are not doing enough that is effective. We have a national scandal at many levels. We need to search and study our world.

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

America – Addict Nation Pt 1

 

A Recent Discovery It Seems

The discovery that we have an opioid addiction problem in the United States is getting considerable news coverage. From the noise and amazement, it would seem it just started up.
Of course a problem of this magnitude didn’t just happen overnight. And, in fact, over 60,000 people died from it and related issues last year. That’s more than the 58,000 people we lost in all of the Vietnam War and more than the 37,461 deaths from car accidents in 2016.

Dealing with Scope and Reality

I couldn’t resist the headline because it is typical of the way major issues are suddenly hyped. Reality is often even more insidious. This is not to suggest that we should dismiss the issue. It is indeed serious, but it deserves a much broader form of coverage.

There Are More Than a Few Questions at Issue

I have a few questions and comments. First some questions.

As a member of the “helping professions” my lead question specifically is “What the H..L were the medical communities doing?” Is it conceivable they really did not see how many prescriptions they were handing out with little understanding of the needs of their patients and what was underlying the requests for medication? There needs to be a major discussion among those professions.

Next question relates to big pharma. What we know already is that there were massive shipments of addictive drugs and that many of those shipments were concentrated in areas such as Appalachia. Are we expected to believe that the pharmaceutical companies had no awareness? The bottom line is that this involves criminal behavior. They need to be held accountable. And that in turn should open the scandal of drug prices in this country and the patent need to regulate the pharmaceutic industry in a much more effective and comprehensive fashion.

Next question relates to Congress. Are the member of Congress living off planet? The silence on so many issues is outrageous. There is not nearly enough attention to this crisis in Congress. We should be overwhelmed by their outrage and efforts to look into it. Or, is this another indication off the corruption of big money in Congress?

What Should We do?

Right after we address the above questions we have to go to work. One of many things which distresses me is that I’m hearing little or no talk about what we actually need to do for the sufferers from these addictions. And yes, it is addictions—plural.

Some action is being taken and some of it is at the community level. We have a scandal of large magnitude on our hands and it is ours as a nation. In my next post on this issue I’m going to go into the matter of some of my history as it relates to this problem. We truly have our work cut out for us and it is not just a matter of addressing addiction. Along with those issues we must attend to the larger dysfunction of our nation. We all need to be distressed about what has happened to our country and make a commitment to do something about it.

To Be Continued.

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 Creation of Gaia’s Majesty – 2

Creation with Design

How do you approach a creative endeavor?

The books of Gaia’s Majesty were not entirely designed. It felt more like they unfolded. The concept began to “occur” and then I did do construction and outlining.

My wife, Mala, and her writing partner Laura write screenplays. Some might say its not the same thing as fiction writing but they have a lot in common. There’s only so much writing by pure inspiration which can be done. I learned about the story arc and used Dara Marks’ Transformational Arc for each of the books and for the trilogy as a whole. (see http://www.DaraMarks.com). I found a rigid application was not possible (it never is in a creative process) but it proved very helpful. There had to be departures since people are people and stories are stories in the creative process.

Life Takes Over

From there the characters took on life and the “what if” came to life as well. I found things coming from out of my past. There were universal forces which presented themselves. I brought in the Mysterium as a creative force of the universe. It is the force most beautifully displayed by women which fosters bonding and fulfillment. When I finally decided to go back and googled it I ran across details about a board game. Seriously? Then I dug deeper and found material about the Mysterium Tremendous which I covered in my post of January 18, 2016 with a further commentary on January 20th. It turns out I had filed the term in my brain fifty years ago when I was deep into the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell.

I also brought in the Maelstrom. The name is probably much more familiar. I saw it as the destructive force in the Universe but felt it had a creative side as well. Even as galaxies collide and suns are built and destroyed there is creation. And out of the explosions of suns come stardust from which humankind was built.

More Speculative Elements

From there came further speculation. As the myth of the story developed I found I could not look away from the possibility that there were other types of life forms. Our senses have a specific focus for our life and survival. We might be missing something. After all this room in which I sit is alive in its own way and I can’t feel what is transiting until I pick up my cell phone or use my computer. What else have we been missing?

And, of course, I had to ask the question, perhaps the universe is not just the universe but may it be a life form in itself? For the longest time we naively thought Earth contained the only life there was in the universe. We are seeing evidence which points far beyond our planet. And currently in our life on earth it is hard not to speculate about a coming denouement and the possibility of transformation. And within each event were waves. (More on all of these possibilities later.)

Experiencing the Speculation

A central issue, of course, was creation and whether it had coherence and direction. But, in the end, it is the exploration process which I find most interesting. And the wonder of it all is that we are getting to see how it all plays out with humankind. At least for now.

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