The Human Personality

 

Of course you have a personality. How would you describe it?

What It Is

Character is defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. As such it is hardly pinpoint. And there is no system which clearly defines what makes up character.  But being open ended is part of its utility. Sometimes, though, it’s useful to have clear definitions about stable components of a person. When we turn to personality we find such a system is available. 

The American Psychological Association defines personality as “referring to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving”. Are you now perfectly clear? Probably not, because human beings are layers of characteristics, orientations, effects of history, biochemical interactions and on and on. But it is useful personally and in many environments to have an understanding of what is stable in how we are in our interactions and our approach to the world.

Multiple Realities But No Illness

It is important to understand that the description of a person’s personality has no connotation of mental illness at all. It may condition our behavior and reactions but primarily variations are normal and merely different. And, in describing a given person, their personality may have characteristics of certain groups and elements which are wholly idiosyncratic. It need not refer to intelligence because, more than anything, intelligence refers to management and processing of information, knowledge and abilities.

Distinct From Intelligence

We have been in a debate about intelligence for a very long time. Measurement initially was oriented toward having information about aptitude for school. But a man by the name of Wechsler divided it into Performance skills which are needed for hands on work and Verbal skills which are more closely related to education. I’ll leave it at that except to say that intelligence can relate only to being able to retain and regurgitate information but at other levels the person can be hopelessly “stupid”.

An Enduring Framework

Personality is another matter. Yes, it is enduring and it seems that we are born with the fundamentals of it. Decades ago when I was first studying psychology it was assumed that for both intelligence and personality a stable level was achieved with adulthood. A few people, among them Carl Jung disagreed. We now view ourselves as moving through stages of adult development and that major crises can reshape us.

A Lifelong Process

Part of Jung’s contribution was to see humans as continuing to develop through life and he put it in visual specifics. Later I will go into the details of his glorious personality typology but for now I will bring in the wheel. What he calls the four functions are paired in opposition and the pairs fall at right angles to each other. Picture a wheel with just two spokes across the diameter at right angle. Now place that wheel on edge in water and to begin with it floats halfway submerged. The part above the waterline is in consciousness and the balance in the unconscious. That means we have a full conscious command of some of it but the other parts play a role but not under our full understanding or control. 

Over our lifetime this wheel is said to rise and we gain more and more command of all facets of our personality. Our abilities broaden and we have a broader perception and experience of the world. It is a glorious process.

Coming to This Blog

In blogs that will follow I will present you with the information on the two attitudes and four functions that make up the parts of our personality as Jung defined it. The wonder of it is that Jung did not just sit in Switzerland doing an intellectual exercise leading to an organized system. He went far out into the world. Freud was focused on Western medicine and Jung on mythology and the substance of a rich and powerful world. He brought back the recognition of the existence of his typology which is found across the world and in all people.

As we proceed you will see yourself, your neighbors, people you utterly dislike and people who are dear to you. When we see our personality, we understand how people different from ourselves can be rewarding, how we can bond with people like or unlike ourselves and so on. 

I’m sure you will enjoy this journey.

How would you describe your personality?

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

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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 Personality of the Artist (Painter)

 

Our Own Personal Style

While I did well in school it often did not hold my attention. Some things were fascinating and some things trivial. So frequently I “went out the window” which meant dreaming and exploring while the teacher went on his or her way. This process continued into graduate school. Some part of the subject matter was really interesting, other parts not so much.

As the time came closer for me to choose a doctoral dissertation topic I was working with a professor who held my interest. We were very different personality types but he engaged me and would challenge me in very useful ways. I liked that. He made me think.

Creativity Versus Intelligence

At the time he was studying creativity as it related to intelligence. Of course to some people that was a verboten area to explore. Creativity is simply supposed to be creative and that’s that. He didn’t view it that way. And his study came up with an interesting conclusion. Creativity and intelligence are orthogonal. Wow! Really?

Orthogonal is a rarely used word which means unrelated. The conclusion was that you could be really smart and not at all creative or really creative and not so smart in the ordinary sense. I liked that idea. It was what I would call unbinding. For one thing, we don’t have to put the creative types into scholarly straightjackets.

His studies led me to take a look at the literature about creativity in the psychological/psychiatric realm. What a hopeless morass. I did my major thesis (predoctoral) on the subject. I didn’t like what I found and neither did the professors who reviewed it. But it was what it was.

Eternal Gratitude to My Professor 

But It led me to discuss doing my dissertation on the personality of the artist (painter in this instance). My professor thought it worth doing. At the same time such a dissertation is risky. In psychology you are to demonstrate your grasp of the scientific method and it is usually safest to pick up on a line of study, tweak it and do a dissertation study. I decided to take the risk.

At the time the department was deep into the work of Carl Jung and that meant in part we were looking at his personality typology which had been translated into an actual test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Business people loved it, because once you know a person’s personality, it tells you a great deal about what jobs they will be best at.

Off To Hang Out With the Artists

The long and short of it was I set out for an art school in Richmond, Virginia. The faculty thought the study might be interesting so I went in and took photos of the paintings and paid the students the princely sum of $2 each to take the test. I had long and interesting discussions with the students and hanging out with them was great fun.

I took the data back to Duke and had the paintings rated on a variety of dimensions which then were compared statistically with the personality types. Most of the literature was floundering around in psychoanalytical thought. This time we had real evidence. And it worked.

Surprises and Validation

I’ll cut to the chase. Not surprisingly the majority of the students were primary intuitive types which fits because they were exploring visually and conceptually. There was a smaller subcategory of other types whose work was really, really different. If you ever see a dark painting of a bleak woods against an evening sky, the chances are you are looking at the work of a primary thinking type.

A couple of other things stood out. Contrary to expectations, the artists with thinking as an auxiliary had rich and deep color choices while the ones with feeling as an auxiliary had muted color choices. Some findings were consistent with hypotheses, some counterintuitive.

Validating Jung

And then my professor asked me to do a different analysis. He wanted to know if the primary determinant of the effect was the type or whether there was an influence from the degree of that type. The analysis validated Jung’s contention. Within type there was the matter of degree but there was little variation. It was the type far and away that determined the characteristics of the art. My dissertation was easily defended and accepted.

What did we learn other than what was stated above? We learned about the power of what Jung had put together. I validated my perception that the psychoanalytic floundering was trash. And again, we learned the power of personality among other things I won’t bore you with. The paper was actually picked up by a major psychological journal. I had many other thoughts about such research but have never found the time. It’s interesting what’s out there if you go exploring and again it validated by love of the “What if”.

I’m considering writing specific columns about the women in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. I think you would find them fascinating.

Are you surprised by any of these findings?

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

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Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Freud Versus Jung

Two Forms of Reality

What do these names mean to you?

Once again we encounter the question of what is reality. These two names represent very different views and relationships to the larger elements of society and culture.

Anyone in the mental health field will inevitably come in contact with the writings of Sigmund Freud. Not necessarily Carl Jung. Freud was important in advancing the field of mental health and forming it into a system used to treat what were called mental disorders. He made us aware of the existence of the unconscious mind which we are only now being able to look at in brain imaging. Jung might have come from another planet.

Why Mental Illness?

Freud was very close to the development of western medicine. We had come to the point where there was the thought that people might not suffer infestation by evil spirits. Calling what was happening a mental illness meant they could be removed from not well informed intervention by the church. That was a step forward but as we will see in later posts it was not always to the point.

A Broader Perspective

I’ll be frank to say that Jung fascinated me much more so than Freud. Both men were Europeans but Freud was closer to western thought. Jung foraged the world and shed light on not just our mental systems, but culture and elements of deep meaning.

Both men brought us utility of different kinds. Freud made us realize that there was such a thing as an unconscious mind. It is only now as we probe the brain with new tools that we can see the operation of the unconscious forming up prior to conscious awareness. Each man dealt with reality in their own way.

Myth and Truth

In Jung’s search he related to mythology and he brought us fascinating commentaries and revelations. But he did something more. In searching the world he recognized that there is a personality system in humans. A systematic study of human personality turned out to have absolutely nothing to do with mental illness. The system Jung devised, or perhaps the better word is uncovered, is the basis for the Myers-Briggs Personality Typology which, if you would like to know about your personality you can find it on line. Simply ask our friend Google and you will be taken to it.

Both of these men dealt with reality in their own way. Freud seemed closer to the western scientist while Jung sought reality of other sorts. What I found particularly fascinating about Jung was the mythological components which take us to all manner of alternatives. We can see a great deal about our speculative foragings.

Jung had fascinating perspectives. He wrote an entire book about alchemy. His conclusion was that it was not a search for how to change lead into gold. He saw it as a bridge from the Dark Ages to the Enlightenment as people were exploring new ways.
In Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams and Reflections is found fascinating revelations about a man who broke the bounds of ordinary reality. It is both about him and philosophical.

Both Offer Meaning

Sometimes there is a debate about truth and these men. I see no such debate needed. Each offered something fascinating and brought us forward. I have to admit I feel much closer to the work of Jung because we are the same personality type. Freud did good work but his thinking did not enroll me in his world. Both men speak to us about important elements of the human experience and, in the end, they may have nothing to do with mental illness.

Have you encountered the work of these men? What was your reaction?

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

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Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Who We Are, Versus Who We Think We Are

 

A Challenge for Each of Us

Our personal identity is a constant challenge for each of us at all levels. We have to assume an identity in order to function but, in fact, we may have a very different identity from that assumed by other people. On a day by day basis we can’t trouble ourselves with these matters. Why would we? So we make an assumption and forge ahead.

The fact is that most of the time we probably think not at all about issues of identity unless we are challenged or face a problem. Sooner or later there will come an event when someone will ask “Who the hell do you think you are?” The question may mean the person is offended by a position we have taken or it may be a more fundamental challenge. If it is the latter then we truly are challenged.

Our Personal Identity

And sometimes we are perfectly clear about who we are but are in hiding. Others may think they know us but do not. There may be a fundamental mixture of comfort and pain.

Now, with these questions, if you are confused or feel lost then you thoroughly understand why we do not dwell on such questions most of the time. It is only at crisis point that we must attend.

And Then One Day…

And writers of fiction often come to the point where they wonder who their characters really are or where they came from. One of the reasons to have an outline and a firm understanding of the story is that it keeps us focused rather than letting us get lost in a fantasy related to a character’s identity or our own identity. Or is that the point of writing fiction? Can we expand our world and our identity? Are we often asking questions we want to explore.

Different Kinds of Meaning

The fact is that we who write fiction are almost surely not simply engaging in an interesting exercise or a labor of love. It seems likely that our engagement goes much deeper. As a psychologist I know that what we are doing is often a reflection of our personality. Those of us who engage in speculation and fantasy are different creatures from the people who focus on the glory of the turn of the phrase. In my dissertation I sought to answer the question “does the painter’s work reflect his personality?” The literature was full of unfounded psychoanalytic speculation.

But Carl Jung gave us a magnificent personality typology free of bias and authority. I found the personality of the painter was clearly displayed in his work. In discussing my dissertation results with artists I could see their focus and how their personality identity shaped their work. A study with writers would probably uncover some interesting differences. As I step back and look at the characters in my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I see a melange of parts of me, people I would like to know and layers of identity issues.

What do you see when you take this viewpoint into the act of creation?

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 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

The Creation of Gaia’s Majesty – I

Fiction and Empowerment

Do you find purpose in your reading or writing?

Finding Answers

At some point I began to wonder why I was writing the story of Gaia’s Majesty. The answers did not present themselves, at least in a unitary or ordered fashion. Of course, it really isn’t necessary to question why we write fiction or, for that matter, why we read fiction. It’s fiction and we enjoy it.

But in time the reasons began to become clear. My fascination with the work of Carl Jung led me in a variety of directions. The first of which was to consider the meaning and effect of myth. I love mythology. There are magnificent stories, and with simple reflection, we can see that they are fundamental stories of us. Not just a given person but about the nature and meaning of all of us.

A Central Viewpoint

In turn I had to look at my chosen direction within the project, and I could clearly see that the “what if” was central. And from Jung’s personality typology I knew that intuitive personality types are most prone to ask “what if”. We always search for meaning and what might be because possibilities are the fruit of our lives. I recall my mother returning from a conference with my third grade teacher and telling me that the teacher had said, “Roger has contributions to make when he’s here.”

What the teacher meant was that I was often dreaming out the window. I was clear. When the teacher said something of interest, I took it and stormed out the window to explore it. And so I have gone out to explore our world through Gaia’s Majesty.

Possibilities for Outcome

But why this story. Because women are being empowered and we cannot look away from the significance of it. And so women become the movers and shakers in the story. Another facet is that I am thoroughly convinced that this is an interregnum or denouement for all humankind. And things are moving swiftly. So this story is built on current conflict and seeks to build possibilities for the outcome, at least in symbolic form.

And there is so so much to explore. Our societies are in upheaval, we are seeing a sifting of the possibilities for each group, each nation and, of course, for humankind altogether. It would be easy to be dismissive and simply see it as a time of disorder. There are certainly times of substantial disorder in human history. Of course, it is impossible for me to thoroughly support my belief. The outcome will be revealed in time. But it would seem that in many ways humankind is maturing and old ways are giving way to new ways. That is not to say that prejudice, hatred, fascism, ignorance, greed and the seeking of power have disappeared. But alternatives can be fostered more widely and richly with our communications system. Information technology is changing everything.

Clarifying What’s on the Horizon

I think, in the end, I see Gaia’s Majesty as fundamentally a philosophy and a hope and that those things are supported by elements in the world as it is evolving. It seems probable that the interregnum will be fraught with peril but, as it has so often been in the past, there will be a consolidation, or is transformation not out of the range of possibility? And this may be a time of testing of a new order. What fun!

Which new order would you prefer?

 

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 Intuition Function

 

And so we come to look at the last of Carl Jung’s functions.

Multiple Definitions

In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I gave the Tethyan people generous use of intuition. But what Jung was showing us has a different connotation. The Tethyans used intuition as a means of communication. As a personality attribute it may be an ability used to explore possibilities.

This is my favorite function especially since it is my primary function. Intuitive type people are defined as being irrational in the sense that they defy logic. They are the prophets and seers who seek possibilities. To them reality is secondary and novelty is sought. The fact that it is my dominant function adds understanding about my choice of the title of this blog—cuspofreality.

Another Form of Diversity

Jung’s pairing of functions is interesting. It is not difficult to grasp the Thinking and Feeling types but the irrational types of sensation and intuition prove more difficult.

We saw in the sensation type that they may be very different people. Intuitive types pose a different problem. Searching possibilities can open floodgates and being a seer can pose problems for the people around them. In all instances this type of person may come up with interesting ideas and possibilities but there may also be flight from one idea to another. For many of the intuitive types it is necessary to recognize the downside of this function. They must find ways to get things done and cannot spend their entire lives in flights of fancy or searches of the horizon.

Salvation at Hand

For me salvation comes with my auxiliary function which is thinking. Just up there across the line from the unconscious in consciousness is the function which believes in facts and clearly demonstrated processes. So my intuition has an ally which keeps the flights in check and dictates the need to create a focus with an outcome.

I think you can glimpse here the intricate interplay among the functions and attitudes and the need for us to understand who we are and how we have to adapt to who we are. Again we come to the matter of reality and accepting our position on the cusp. All need not be lost. Insight is valuable and once we have the insight, we can look for allies within ourselves and the people around us. And the same can be said for our characters in fiction. Our characters can pit themselves against other people or form alliances. Which is why I wrote the book Creating Characters and Plots.

Then We Add the Attitudes

And when we add in the attitudes there is another story. Jung points out that when extraversion is added for this type, the person may prove to be unstable. They may be artists, politicians or entrepreneurs but may be undisciplined as they chase through an unstable world. Again they must form alliances and use insight to observe their strengths and foibles. Understanding personality types has considerable value.

When introversion is added, the attention may be on background processes distinct from the outside attention of the extravert. The inner attention may be on primordial archetypes and the loss may be in the chase from image to image. It is so easy to get lost in the swirl of the inner world of mythology.

Having given this description, it is palpable why I am drawn to speculative fiction and why my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is focused so strongly on the adventures sown by mythology which itself falls on the cusp of reality.

Do you now understand your personality type?

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Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

My Choice of Mysterium

 

What did you conclude after reading about Mysterium Tremendum? (Post of 3/10/17)

The Library of the Unconscious

Up front I have to tell you about my curious brain. I have what I call files in there that were chosen for retention because I found the item interesting or important in some fashion. All too often the item may not be attached to the data which suggested to me I should be storing it. Such is the case for the term Mysterium.

When I set out to write the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy there was much of it which was ill-formed. In fact, I did not set out to write a trilogy. It just became a torrent which I knew related to my regard for the empowerment of women, what it represented and where it might lead humankind. Early on it was apparent that at least some of these women were extraordinarily engaging to the men they met. Beck, the lead male protagonist, was utterly enchanted by Avery with whom he fell deeply in love. Out came the term Mysterium to describe her ability to passionately engage and “bewitch” him. But it was not just bewitching which can be pejorative. It was to form a deep, extraordinary, passionate experience which enhanced their lives together. I happen to be an ardent fan of the Mysterium and chose to make it an important part of the story.

Enriching Fiction

Recently I thought it best to describe the meaning of Mysterium in more specific terms and I went googling. What I found were pages of references to a board game. Not what I had in mind. And then I happened across the material in the preceding post.

It seems I had filed the term decades ago as I was foraging in the world of Carl Jung and James Campbell. And there it was as something which well described what I was seeing in the relationship forming between my lead protagonists.

As it developed in a world of empowered women who were tended by our Earth Mother, Gaia, it became clear to me that it explained something. I believed it related to a process, a perception, and experience deep down in the human psyche. Intuitively I felt it explained the opposition by men to the empowerment and equality of women.

A Universal Phenomenon

We see the desire to contain the influence and power of women everywhere, in every culture and it has always mystified me. And now I’m going to tread into territory where I think many of my male compatriots may take extreme exception. But, I’m going to say it anyway. The impact of a woman’s mysterium strikes deep into men. I believe the power it exerts threatens their sense of their own power.

Lets face it, from the beginning, men’s power has been a significant force. It was essential to our survival and defense in our most primitive days. It is so fundamental that it is not easily contained.

Then comes a woman who is attractive and draws the man in. We use words like bewitch which is often how men experience the attraction. And then in lovemaking an extraordinary climax is reached and as it ebbs the need for it subsides and with it much of the man’s feeling of power. Then a man experiences alternatives. He can be disturbed by her power and what has happened to him and the two of them or he can rejoice in her, hold her close and revel in the experience of the endorphins they share.

Plumbing the Depths and Overcoming

Yes, I hear you. It may be that it is much more complicated than that. Yes, it certainly may be multilayered, and when we reach deep into the human psyche and extraordinary experiences, we cannot crisply define what we find. But, I believe this is our nature and it is a major contributor to the irrational fight to contain and restrain women in all regards. And it is my belief that in the empowerment of women we are seeing a process that will help us accept it and all its many benefits. And then, in the end we will have true partnership and discover its true meaning and glory.

Much more to come over time.

Do you find these thoughts intriguing or do you hate the very idea of it?

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Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Seeking Guides

 

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What body of knowledge has been most revealing to you?

Anthropology as Guide

In college someone told me I might find it interesting to take a course from an anthropology professor by the name of Leslie White. Why not? I thought it might be interesting to find out about people across the world and how they were researched. Since it might relate to primitive cultures I thought I could get into mythology, spirit worlds, the paranormal and things primitive and spiritual in many ways. It proved to be a life changing experience.

He was the father of cultural anthropology. Before us stood an elderly man who was dedicated to teaching in addition to organizing his field. Few august professors of his age and distinction took the trouble to try to engage students so young. But his passion was comprehensive and his thinking cutting edge.

His tests were a revelation. They were all true or false questions. At first they seemed trivial. And then the storm struck. You could only answer them if you clearly understood what had been covered. When they were passed back to us we went over them. It was astounding. His logic and relationship to the subject was flawless.

Finding Something Fundamental

From then on considerations of the impact of culture was central to my thinking. He referred to it as the extrasomatic stream because it had a life of its own outside of the individual. The more we examined the concept, the more powerful it became.

Carl Jung had grasped at something similar when he posed the existence of the collective unconscious. It was never accepted, but when Leslie White posed it as extrasomatic, it took on inescapable meaning.

It becomes a little clearer if we think of it in terms of what we are seeing in information technology. We are experiencing the movement of massive easily available data which is shaping our thinking individually and collectively. In the huts of Africa people are charging their cell phones which they use to communicate and do their banking.

This flow of information and communication is affecting regimes and overall we are seeing how it can limit authoritarianism. We each carry within us our culture of origin and how it is being shaped. There is nothing which is not affected by culture. Jung observed that he saw alchemy as indicting that changes were occurring which led to the Enlightenment. The argument is complex, but fundamentally it speaks to the extrasomatic cultural stream.

Then There is the Implication of the Rise of Women

And today we have a new enlightenment in the rise of women. A number of forces are gathering together to create one of the most important shifts in human history. We are seeing a deep and broad reshaping of the meaning and place of women. It is of such depth that it is sweeping through the cultures of the world which probably suggests the impact of information technology. Leslie White shaped my thinking and opened the view to make sense of the swirl of forces in our cultures and it gives us an eye into our personal future and the future of humankind. How could I not bring the rise of women into the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

If you haven’t delved into anthropology there is an illuminating and in depth article available on Wikipedia. It covers its many facets. American anthropology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Who are your guides and where do you find them?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon page

Creating Characters and Plots

Creating Characters and Plots – Secrets if a Jungian Toolbox to Guide Inspiration
by Roger B. Burt, Ph.D.

rogers-cover

People Who Write Fiction
Who are the people who write fiction anyway? And why do we do something which is so demanding?

Can you answer those questions about yourself if you are a writer? And now I’m laughing. Do you care to answer the questions? But I assume you care about what you produce and finding tools to help you.

We Do Need Tools and Skills

There are tools we need to write. Certainly we also need inspiration and motivation which may be called skills. But they are not enough because the story has to be given viable and engaging form.

My interest in these questions came from a number of sources. I’m not sure I can rank them but I can enumerate them. I think.

Seeking Illumination

First there is my personality type. I’m an introverted intuitive type first of all. Introverted means my energy and inspiration tends to come from deep within me. And the intuition means I explore and ask “what if”. My auxiliary conscious function is thinking which means I have the capacity to organize what I find and want to do. Otherwise an intuitive type might flounder endlessly. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I entered graduate school at Duke I found the department was very interested in the work of Carl Jung. And part of that work was his stunning development of a personality typology. It is his system I referred to in saying what my personality type is like. I’ve been running and am presently running a series about this typology. If you wish to go deeper into the typology simply Google Carl Jung’s Personality Typology and it will open before you.

Studying Artists

My interest was enduring and led me to a dissertation probing the personality types of artists (meaning painters). The literature in psychology and psychiatry about artists of all kinds tended to focus on psychopathology. I do not believe artists are inherently pathological. I wanted to know who they really were and found out. The majority were intuitive types who sought novelty and exploration. And the degree of the type was less important than the type itself. My research demonstrated that their personality had a significant impact on their work, how it was structured and how it developed.

Interactions

That in turn led me to consider inspiration and, since I was studying psychology, I wanted to know about such things as where the characters came from, how they interacted, motivation and conflict. I also began to look at the operation of inspiration in the unconscious.

My personality type led me to begin to try out writing fiction as a way to portray some of the things I was seeing in people and the unconscious.

Tools for the Writer

In the end I was inspired to write Creating Characters and Plots (available as an ebook from amazon.com.) because I came to understand that the typology offered a useful structure. In fact, it seems I intuitively know the personality of my characters and in writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I found I could clearly state the type of each character and how that led to the interaction they had with other characters. I could see there were useful tools as part of the writing process.

To be real, it is probably inspiration which comes first as something stirs within us, but we do need to have tools of all kinds. I found Dara Marks’ Transformational Arc very useful because it fostered an engaging process for the reader. It can be found at her website www.DaraMarks.com. It is clearly worth some study. You will immediately recognize that it is fundamental in most movies you see.

But I also realized that Carl Jung’s personality typology offered useful skills and procedures to aid the writer in organizing and building fascinating interactions among characters.

In all I find the writing process fascinating as we weave inspiration, what emerges from our own unconscious and life experiences together in our chosen story. There are so many sources and it is hard to characterize origins and, in many ways, it is not necessary to know where it came from. But we do have to put it together and tools are very, very useful.

What composes your inspiration and toolbox?

Creating Characters and Plots on Amazon

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon Home Page