The Tragedy of Older White Men

 

Roger B. Burt

Facing the Future

Yes, that’s a picture of me at the top. I’m an older white man and I’ve been upset with my colleagues for over fifty years. And now the issues are coming to a head.

An Enduring Lesson

I hadn’t thought about men and power much until I took a job in the inner city of Baltimore in the 1960s. At the time the Women’s Liberation Movement was beginning and I found myself working with young, bright women among the men. Our mission in behalf of delivering mental health services to impoverished citizens brought it all to a head. 

Naturally the heads of the program were older white men and they had no dedication to our mission to serve the people of Baltimore. They wanted the grant money, preservation of their status and continuation of the type of program they had been offering. In fact, that program was not what our people needed. And so we fought back and the lessons I learned were carried forward with me.

See It For What It Is

And now the fight continues and this fall it seems there may be what is called “a blue wave” in the interim election. I object to the term because it politicizes an important change which is NOT political. Certainly there is politics involved but we are seeing a worldwide movement to empower women at last. 

To put it bluntly I want to see the power of older white mean eroded and for women to come to equality and power because it is my firm belief that they will bring much needed change and equality of all kinds in a country which is changing rapidly with growing numbers of minorities.

Waves of Change

This is truly a wave of change and I relish these waves we have seen over human history. We have an ongoing wave within the black community. Yes, I refer to them as black because I was part of the reform movement when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and that was the year black was declared to be beautiful. It has special meaning.

And now women are coming to the fore. I am stunned to see smart women showing up on television as commentators in the news and business arenas. And, yes, they may be pretty as well in ways of their choosing.

Time For Men to Face the Future

Now it is time for men to choose a revolution of their own. And  by that I do not mean choosing to fight to retain their hold on power. Instead I strongly recommend introspection, recognition of alternative benefits and devotion to study the male culture. Surely there are benefits but there have also been marked negatives.

These changes are coming at us and we would do well to tend the benefits and seek understanding. It will benefit us all in unforeseen ways. It is time for change guys. Turn away from the grasp of power to a more diverse and glorious future!

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

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

A Vision of women

Searching for Meaning

 

Do you have a clear vision of and for women?

There are events and then there are the meaning of the events. The difference is something we would do well to understand. Women are assuming different positions, importance and balance. In some ways the United States may be catching up to the curve. We did not get a woman president this time. But other nations such as India, Israel, Great Britain and Germany among many others have been led by women. 

Now we are offered an unparalleled opportunity for exploration of attitudes and potential. It is not just a matter of women coming to the fore in greater numbers. What does is mean about the potential and the future of humankind?

Exploration is Needed

One of the things we must do is to examine our beliefs, our cultures and our feelings. It is easy to say “the times they are changing” and leave it at that. It is not so simple and it would be unfortunate to be dismissive because the import is highly significant.

The battle to get women the vote took almost one hundred years although in a sense it has been thousands of years. Eventually we let them drive, permitted them to have credit cards of their own among other things and these things were quite recent. Why we changed is not clear.

Matters of Power

We are seeing some of the basis of the problem in the matter of power. At least in the United States it seems that women who seek power are not to be trusted. How interesting. Men are to be trusted but women not. It comes to us unexamined but was confirmed by a study at Yale University. I have yet to hear justification for why anyone would believe this. 

I hold a different position. I do not routinely trust men with power. In so many instances they have proven themselves incapable of effectively wielding it again and again. Are we to accept it just because they have always been doing it? Effective management is much more impressive and I have seen women to be ever so effective. They are showing up in greater numbers in politics and so many are impressive. The men who are in office in larger numbers are often less so. The absence of mission and perspective is too often stunning.

Who Are We?

Is it possible that we perceive women as weaker and less able to control themselves. In general women cry more easily than men and may cry tears of anger. The reality I learned in studies and in couples therapy is that men feel just as strongly but contain the feelings inside and so do not cry. Does that make them more capable of leadership. I think not.

Like it or not, we can already see the effects of the empowerment of women and it is broadly beneficial. The largest issue before us is that we have not sufficiently examined our attitudes and cultural perspectives. Why be suspicious of woman wanting to take the reins of power? I hear silence and dim prejudice. What is it that men are afraid of? And, for that matter, what is it that women are afraid of as women take the reins of power? We need to examine these matters. 

Understanding Would be Useful

We seem to be heading toward true partnership and need to clarify what it means and why we are so afraid of it. The benefits will surely be world changing and I am raising the issue that we should be examining this process in more detail and what is holding us back. I contend there are other issues than power and it would serve us well to search for what they are.

What alternatives do you see?

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

Women and Our Future Pt. 3

 

Memories and History

It’s curious how simply discussing the topic of women and their place in our society is stirring memories. And at the same time I mesh them with a review of history.

There are Demarkations

World War II was not just a monumental struggle but also opened doors by necessity. We had been mired in the Great Depression and the necessity of the war brought the depression to an end. But the effects were not just economic but also social. As the men were drawn into the conflict, women were drawn into another kind of service. We got to know Rosie the Riveter as women entered factories to work for defense on the home front. Naturally I was too young to make comparisons to before the war but I saw a pride and celebration.

At the end of the war the men came home not to return to the farms but to industry and to found families. Now the women returned home from the factories to bring children and tend the children as we moved into a new era of prosperity. But there was a clock ticking. It ticked off a new “breath of freedom”, yes in quotation marks, for women. It took some time to flower but it did.

A Country Sweeping Us Forward

We rose into prosperity and a new future. The culture forged ahead. I remember my parents commenting on changes such as whole towns suddenly being constructed. Levittown was amazing.

By the 1960s we were to look at a diverse form of revolution. The Vietnam War was prominent and it did not have the caché of the fight against the Nazis. The need for the war was questioned. Was there, indeed, a monumental communist conspiracy we needed to confront?

Suddenly effective birth control became available, we fought for civil rights of our people and women sought equality and liberation. This was a world and a set of issues many people simply didn’t understand. But it opened fronts of conflict and demanded attention to issues with which we still struggle.

One of the Most enduring Issues

As a young man I was intrigued by what I saw women insisting upon. It felt right. At the time a woman who had sex before marriage was considered despoiled. She was not worthy of respect. But improvements in birth control began to suggest, even force, a change. It was a curious change but it seemed that if a woman might not become pregnant she might somehow not be subject to such a negative assessment. Not all agreed but it was then a possibility. Men could have sex whenever they pleased but now women just might be able to have the same rights.

Accepting and Changing Viewpoints

I can’t answer why I was sympathetic or inclined to support a new viewpoint regarding wowen. My household had been traditional. My mother was the doctor’s wife and tended to home and their two sons. But she never spoke against the changes which were coming.

And, no, I did not see the new freedom for women as despoiling them if they chose to have a relationship before marriage. It was OK for men, why not women?

I will never understand why I rebelled at the degradation of respect for women but I did. I immediately resonated to the women’s liberation movement. Equality seemed attractive and I chose to support it.

The Battles Continue

But here we are decades later and we are still fighting the same battles even as women have made substantial gains. But it seems, for many men, women should not be independent and shape their own destinies. And why is that? The rationales forceful and empty. The assertion of power hollow of justification. And it seems at times there are no hints of the wonder of true partnership. There is something much deeper, yes, at root.

Focusing on these issues is having a curious effect on me. I find myself scanning history and there are sudden memories and recollections of events surfacing. Clearly I will be reporting more on these themes.

What are your reactions and recollections?

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

Finding Benefits in Our Lives

How would you assess your benefits?

So much of the time we deal with problems and fraught issues. I thought this time I would share something about my life which relates to the issue of women that has been a focus. My position on the empowerment of women is clear. I am delighted with what I see happening. When I turn on the news channels I see women of all ages taking on effective and essential positions. I won’t spend a lot of time discussing the obvious. At last more and more of the talent of women is being fostered and recognized.

Partnership

And another theme which I feel is essential is that we are not talking about men being replaced in seats of power. There is a much larger issue and that is of equality and partnership. We have so much to offer each other and so many talents to share. And I’ve had the great good fortune of marrying a smart, creative and tenacious woman. I have felt lucky through the entire time from when we were raising our four children, her era as a hippie jeweler and then when she joined me in my practice as a clinical social worker. And now in our later years she has further enhanced our lives with her efforts at our home.

When we arrived at our current home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore we saw a property with potential and that included its settling. The outside was a blank slate and my wife chose it as her canvas.

This is my wife and Shield Maiden

This was her blank canvas

The Oasis She Has Created

                        

 

And then there is the lovingly cared for vegetable garden.

Yes, we have choices but also good fortune plays a role. This post is dedicated to my wife and Shield Maiden who is my partner in dealing with life as it has been, is and becomes.

(In case you missed the series The Vikings, Shield Maiden refers to the women who fought alongside their men. My wife’s mother was Norwegian.)

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

Commentary on Women and Our Future

Comment from Seregon O’Dassey (Goodreads reviewer)

“I agree with everything you said. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Believe me, I’ve actually said everything you said, and in return I get “faminazi”, “found the feminist” – as if being feminist is a bad thing – , or “man hater”.

In addition, I’ll add that a HUGE part of the opposition isn’t men – it’s other women! Women put down women a significant amount of the time. A big part of this are the women that hate on other women who feel empowered by exposing skin. All too often models – especially those in Playboy or who dance for a living – are called “whores” and “asking for it”. Meanwhile, those same women love to drool over shirtless men with muscles on book covers. Why do men get to chose to be half naked, but women don’t? Nudity is the SAME as birth control/abortion: You’re right when you say it’s not about the birth control or the abortion – it’s about women making the choice for themselves. The same thing can be said about clothing/nudity. The common denominator is that men have choices women do not. Because society looks down upon women making their own clothing choices.”

Response to Seregon’s commentary
Seregon’s comment added value. Yes, the word “feminist” has been used as a pejorative. Isn’t it curious that the word feminazi would even be created. Women have been working for their justifiable rights for a long time. What a travesty to refer to it as fascist. I, for one, am very clear that feminism and empowering women is not about domination. I believe strongly that what we are seeking is equality and productive partnership. Otherwise what a waste. There is enough which should be demanding our attention which is truly threatening.

I’ll admit I hadn’t focused on the opposition to the movement on the part of some women. Certainly I had heard some complaints by women but I took them to be from extremist “nutcases” to put it nicely.

As to skin, it is all rather bizarre. Certainly there are issues of decorum depending upon the place and time. But choice should be ours in many regards. Men do indeed seem to have more choice without criticism. But I must admit I’m amused at the beach when I see women in bikinis and men going to swim in what I call floods. That means full length pants a boy had outgrown.

And then there was France. After World War II when we were in France my older brother was delighted to take pictures of women in bikinis on the beach. When the film was developed Kodak had placed big black marks over the women.

Cruising in France recently we passed beaches with signs saying “plage sans vêtements”, meaning beach without clothes. When we pulled up at another beach two young women were unloading summer clothes for sale. Then they removed their tops. No one batted an eyelash. The culture is different and they were not degrading themselves.

It is clearly a mixture of custom and choice. But the underlying troubling issue is about women’s rights and suppression. We are having a discussion at last and the dividends are already coming in. More on these issues to come in future posts.

Join us and enter for an opportunity to win a free autographed paperback copy of Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power
To enter, email rogerbburt@gmail.com . Drawing every two weeks. Each person entering will receive the first two chapters of the book by return email.

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

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?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Meaning of Uprising

dreamstime_m_17759471

Commitment to Partnership

The work of Carl Jung and the meaning of myth had a significant role in my creation of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. Book 1 Gaia’s Majesty: DiscoveryAn Unbearable Choice has now been published and is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. It is clear in these works how deeply I feel about the empowerment of women and that it leads to wonderful partnerships benefiting us all. The cloak of the book is woven in myth but the underlying reality speaks to the essence of our existence.

There are often layers of meaning concerning events which creep up on us. It is almost surely true about what is happening with women in the world.

The Dawn of a Final Essential Struggle

There is a new day dawning for women and it is involving considerable struggle because men are not yielding easily. The story is detailed in Sally Armstrong’s book Uprising: A New Age Is Dawning for Every Mother’s Daughter. There are cultural restraints, resistance of all kinds and so many men are clearly opposed to having women gain equality. Their opposition is often cloaked in expressions of concern and statements about the vulnerability of women and their supposed needs. The bottom line, however, is opposition which may simply be a matter of yielding power.

In the United States we saw women’s suffrage but the time of greatest demands came in the 1960s. There is a whole detailed history leading to women rising to the degree apparent now. And what is particularly interesting is that the changes are coming across the world.

Enhancing the Potential of Our Species

One contention is that it is not just a matter of events or possibilities but that there is an inherent demand in regard to women coming of age and power. Humankind has reached a point where major changes must occur. We have been wasting the full potential of half our people and we need women to join us at every level. And as they join us the birth rate declines. Gone are the days when we simply needed more people to claim more land. We need fewer people to build a sustainable life style and to protect our treasured home, Earth.

Are We Looking at Enhancement or Survival

In that form of thinking we have the possibility that from a survival standpoint of our species it is time and essential that women join men in equality and full partnership. Only in time will men appreciate the full benefits.

#cuspofreality,#womenrising,#empowermentofwomen,#gaia,#gaia’smajesty,
#gaia’smajestydiscovery,#anunbearablechoice,#gaia’smajestychallenge,
#thechosenrise,#gaia’smajestytransformation,#lifeforcesrevealed

Stewardship in All Regards

 

The Mountain Road bridge, straddling small waterfalls in the hills of the Brecon Beacons, National Park, Wales, United Kingdom.
Understanding Essential Obligations

In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy stewardship is an underlying theme. We are facing an issue of stewardship in regard to our fellow humans and our planet. There are so many levels of stewardship and the people in this story are facing central issues in defense of our future. Attention to the needs of stewardship often prove deeply inspirational.

After World War II we collectively took a deep breath. Not only were there whole countries that had to be rebuilt but there were many millions of people who had put their dreams and their futures on hold. We got to work. About twenty years later things began to change.

Beyond Normalcy to Change
For me high school ended and I entered college innocently. Suddenly sputnik was lofted by the Russians and there was a new mission. Almost simultaneously the civil rights movement opened and we began to focus on preserving the planet on which we live. Amidst it all the women’s liberation movement was born. The dawning of this movement seems to have been related to the availability of effective birth control but it meant a whole new potential and form for our relationships.

While I was in graduate school mental health took on a new dimension with the advent of community mental health. It was not just a matter of mental health. We began to look at interacting with whole communities. I wrote about it in my book Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health. We weren’t just treating mental illness. We were responding to the needs of communities.
Recognizing Stewardship
For me there was one word which characterized all of these events. Stewardship. And to this day it continues to hold our attention but is most often heard in regard to stewardship of our home planet.

But for me it holds a broader connotation. We are stewards in all regards. Whether it is in the civil rights movement, in the relationship between men and women or the planet itself, it is all a matter of stewardship. Anything can be lost or impaired if we do not become thoughtful managers. It was this underlying recognition which fed a great deal of what I was to come to write in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. I actually had no idea what it was fomenting deep inside of me. We have broad responsibilities to tend to each other and our home. And it just might be that we are seeing something even more fundamental. We seem to be taking ourselves to a new dimension.