Meshing Fantasy with Unfolding Crises

 

Do you find current world events disturbing or hopeful?

The World Trembles

Again I have to note the title of this blog is Cusp of Reality. 

The news recently is chilling. It was not so long ago that the world seemed so much more stable and suddenly it seems almost surreal. Did I somehow move to an alternative planet which bears a strong resemblance to this one, but with an entirely different character?  It feels that way and simultaneously I find myself reviewing history as I’m reading the book  Postcapitalism by Paul Mason (again).

Inseparable Reality and Fiction

Suddenly we are falling deeper into crisis and it seems they are just beginning. While we cannot know where it will lead, the possibilities are far more daunting than hopeful. And then I look at my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy and see an unfolding of a worldwide crisis. It is very difficult for me to separate the fiction from what may be the reality of what is unfolding in our world whether it is social conflict or dangerous climate change.

Oceans as Models

More and more I’m convinced of the significance of what is called wave theory in human affairs. Waves come in many forms. We can observe the succession of empires in the ancient world, the coming of feudalism moving to capitalism and now seemingly beyond. Each has a wave form and, like waves, there seems to be a culmination and an end. Another wave inevitably follows. Our mighty oceans are deeply significant as models. Likewise politically we see waves of astonishing proportions leading to cataclysmic wars and such things as dynamic economic developments. The march of human history is hardly peaceful, nor is it adequately described as a march.

Melding Truths

It is impossible for me not to respond to what is resonating around me. I have always looked off into the distance and weighed the significance of events and experiences. It would appear that my devotion to my fiction reflects a concern about world affairs. As I have said, I see great truth about humanity in mythology and in my writing I have meshed myth with the empowerment of women. 

What Women May Bring

The rise of women is not core to the developing world crises but I see it as a wave of a contrary sort in that it represents something which I believe is of profound significance. It gets little attention but, as in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy, the movement of women and the grace they bring to human affairs may well be a determining factor for the outcome of our development. 

Tools to Face Our Future

Reality is truly something open to interpretation and vastly different outcomes. It is essential to our stability but, taken as definitive, it may leave us vulnerable and without the tools to manage inevitable crises. Suspending our belief has utility and the search for alternatives of all kinds can help us survive. In the same way fantasy should not be dismissed because it helps us explore and seek alternatives. And that includes coping skills and utility in speculation. 

Will we face who we are and our vulnerability? Will we use our skills and our talents to guide us? In future posts I will be addressing themes related to the strengths and weaknesses of humankind as well as elements of vision. Dealing with what is to come requires us to blend reality with tools derived from fantasy and speculation. And my special interest in our world is seeing how the unfolding of the potential of women may serve us.

What is your hope and your fear?

The Psychologist Looks at Characters

 

An Emerging Character

Internal Conflict

Something emerged as I was writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. It was a tug of war between a writer and a psychologist. One might think immediately that this conflict could be a real asset. The truth is much more complicated than that.

It seems likely that similar conflicts exist in other creative enterprises. My dissertation dealt with painters and how their personality might influence their work. In fact, using the personality typology of Carl Jung, it was clear it does influence their work. Is that information useful to the artist?

Might he or she step back and do a different kind of analysis of the painting taking shape? They might, but their art is not a cognitive enterprise. It seemed best for them to let their creative processes flow. I doubt the person considering their painting would really be interested in those kinds of contributions for something to hang on their wall.

A Different Kind of Challenge

The written word brings a different kind of challenge. Of course it is reflected in the particular form of that written word but a similar tug of war can take place. The very matter of plot and character interactions lends itself to construction and it is easy to slip into analysis which may affect content, direction and style. With characters we hope the reader will be attracted or repelled by them depending upon their role in the story.

As a psychologist there came a point where I had to deal with my own inclinations. In life I have to contain my analytical tendencies. In seeing friends or in social occasions doing dispassionate analyses of the people with whom you are interacting is not typically a good idea. In fact it gets in the way of life.

I have, from time to time, been told a person was disturbed by the feeling that I was analyzing them. Most of the time I was doing no such thing. That is, unless there were warning signals which indicated I needed to be on my guard for one reason or other. Sometimes you meet someone who seems intent on manipulating you and the situation. My inner psychologist kicks in at once.

Around the Edges

In developing characters there is an essential conflict. Spending too much time on the analysis can be stultifying for the story. Often there simply needs to be a flow. The character has to live within and emerge. At least that is what I’ve concluded. There may be other approaches.

A good example for me relates to my lead character in book 1 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. Avery is a bright, dedicated young woman but in the background is the fact that she had lost her parents in an early part of her adulthood. She wanted them back and had felt abandoned.

When she finds that she has another kind of family I wrote her as doing a lot of whining. Such a reaction under the specific circumstances of this story is completely understandable at least to me. But most people would contain it inside which is what I was relating to. When it became clear it wasn’t working I had to reconstruct her. It worked a lot better. Sometimes reality in storytelling simply does not work.

The Bottom Line

This example is what I, as a psychologist, had to view. I’m sure many writers have things they have to face in their writing—things that are coming from inside of them. It was not a matter of my personality but reflected my training. Each form of art has its own pitfalls and I suspect that many writers of fiction have to wrestle with components coming from within themselves. In some instances it may enhance the work or it may yield flaws which must be dealt with.

In what ways does the “inner you” affect your vocation or art?

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

Not The Election You Think

What Primitive Forces Are Shaping This Election?

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There is evidence that the political landscape is being distorted by forces which are going almost unnoticed and getting no coverage. The race for the presidency appears close but there is evidence to suggest what we think are fundamental issues are not what are driving the public. History and analysis suggest the real driving forces may be social, psychological and deeply underlying.

Revealing History

Long ago there was another two party system. There were Democrats and Whigs. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was a Whig until that party self destructed in the 1850s just as the Republican Party seems to be doing now. At the time the Know Nothing movement arose and it was fueled by nativism and fundamental prejudice against Catholics. Does the process sound familiar? It may not be happenstance that this occurred just before the Civil War. Fundamental forces and conflicts were being unleashed.

What Are the Present Conflicts in Our nation?

The real nature of conflicts is not always clear. In fact, there may be many answers.

Recently I heard a researcher talking about processes such as we are experiencing. What he had to say was fascinating.

Significant changes in leadership of a country can loose underlying forces. For example, when Australia elected its first woman as prime minister there was a sudden upwelling of misogyny—contempt of or ingrained prejudice against women.

Are We Unleashing Unrecognized Forces?

Not long ago America did something I did not expect to see in my lifetime. We elected a black man president. Obvious and underlying racism was unleashed. Our government was immobilized by a Congress which opposed virtually all initiatives. The conspiracy mill went into overdrive and ugly features in our national life were unleashed.

And now we are facing another significant change as we are presented with the possibility of a woman as our president. It calls to mind the experience of Australia. And the researcher indicated that these processes are far more common than we normally assume.

This political climate is something none of us alive have ever seen. Daily we are shaking our heads. There are calls for violence and we see such figures as David Duke (of the Ku Klux Klan) supporting one of the candidates. There are endless, fruitless investigations in Congress and charges of questionable validity are discussed in the media.

The Basis of Mistrust

This is not a normal election year. Is it possible that the mistrust of Hilary Clinton is founded in deeply rooted misogyny? We have been warned from history that irrational forces arise with major governmental changes. And we are seeing back to back significant changes at the very top of our government. It comes at a time when there are many people who are “left behind” and economic change in what may be a postcapitalism era is shaking our foundations.

The possibility of the basis for this conflict deserves our attention. The researcher brought to our attention forces we should be examining. And there is historical precedent to suggest validity. Deep self examination, personally, socially and nationally, is indicated.

What are you concluding?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Revelations

 

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Do you search for revelations or do they just come?

World in Crisis

An important election is hurtling at us. The contenders are unusual and, to put it mildly, a lot is at stake. Being absorbed in this political conflict may obscure our view of the true extent of conflict in the world. We face the effects of what may become a hundred years war in the Middle East. There are countries in Africa with frightening genocidal potentials. Precious efforts at political maturity in Europe are being endangered. Migration of stressed populations may bring renewal or terrible conflict. America may restore a process for our potential or may fall deeper into obstruction. One of the questions to ask is whether this is merely a crisis period or something more fundamental.

Among the major themes the world must face are climate change brought by human activity, demographic crises related to aging of populations in “advanced” countries and
poorly understood economic processes indicating we may be reaching the end of capitalism as we have known it. It is tempting to simply see these themes as events in the march of history. They deserve deeper exploration. Have a nice day!

Gaining a Focus

It would be presumptuous of me to think I can bring wisdom to clarify that horrifying list so I will attenuate my focus on this blog. Some of it will address interesting “realities”, some thoughts to be weighed and some will address my devotion to the potential in the movement to empower women. The latter will, in part, be seen in posts related to the meaning and origins of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

Categories

There are categories which will address a number of themes. One is vision. Recently I addressed two visions in the Cusp of Reality blogs. Appalachia was 7/25/16 and the elderly was 8/1/16. We should not just be observers of the world. Opening visions will lead us to fascinating challenges.

Another category is human personality. Carl Jung brought us a rich personality typology. It is both intriguing and useful. I will address the components of this system. In the discussion you will sooner or later see yourself. I was so intrigued I used it in my doctoral dissertation at Duke. I confirmed that the personality of the artist (painter in that instance) is revealed in his or her work. Too much time had been spent on speculating about psychopathology as if creativity was a display of mental illness. We also learned that the personality type is a major determinant in the work of art, more so than the degree of difference within a type.

Yet another is the origin of Gaia’s Majesty. It is not merely a story. Its origins are found in mythology (inspiration from Carl Jung again) and the worldwide movement to empower women. This is a rich category which relates to the origins and development of the concept and process. We will discuss the meaning of specific characters in the books and the writing process itself.

Of course the world is hardly a boring place these days. Events and issues will present themselves and commentary expression and examination will be inviting.

Opening a Forum

Speaking of inviting…I do not perceive a blog as being a confined activity. Each and every one of you who read it will find something personal and have your own perceptions. I hope you will share them and I will be pleased to share what you have chosen to present.

Please let US hear from you.

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page