Beyond Speculative Fiction

 

Are you searching for a fulfilling perspective?

In fiction we can speculate and explore. But is it mere foraging or are we looking to define emergence and process? Having an adventure is fine but we seem to be arriving at choice points. At choice points we are also looking at turning points. Certainly they are more than entertainment and it is my contention that our world social scene is enduring significant choice points. Information technology is exploding and our world is shrinking. That is a dynamic scenario to which we need to attend. What fun? I think not. It is a challenge.

Utilizing Exploration

In fiction I’m not interested in idle exploration but think it is possible to edge into social commentary and define underlying realities and emerging themes. And wouldn’t it be nice if we had the guidance of a challenging but benevolent goddess. By putting the issues in a different light we may gain choices and recognitions. If we are edging into a postcapitalism world we need to pay attention. If deeply hidden themes are surfacing, we need to pay attention.

Essential Recognition

One theme which is clearly surfacing, but is not sufficiently recognized is the gathering import and impact of women. Women have been subjugated but what is happening is more than the liberation of them as they gain control of their fertility. Clearly men feel threatened by their liberation and try to hinder development.

But this is not about fertility. I would contend there is a fundamental threat and it is being expressed in misogyny as women gain power. I utterly fail to see that this is being recognized sufficiently and I expect this thought will not go unchallenged. 

The Power of Women

Let me lightly touch upon the power women hold. They enrapture men and at first men love it but she had best be careful because men don’t yield power easily. And so then there is sexual exploration. The man feels the rush of desire but with fulfillment comes a diminution of his power. And beyond that women are coming to explore themselves and what they wish for themselves. That means the man must yield some things to her. If they achieve true partnership, which takes some effort and negotiation, the outcome offers tremendous benefits—if it can be achieved. But for now we must attend, define and work to achieve a goal we can use for mutual benefit. It is in our interests.

Spirits and Beyond

We can also approach many other issues. Everywhere in human history are stories about spirits and a variety of life forms to be conjured and raised to awareness. Some of this, of course, reflects our need for an eternal life. But it also may just be touching on something that may be. Our senses are defined for specific purposes in our lives as they are. If our senses were different it is possible we would sight layers of life and amazing diversity.

Reaching Out

And the question “Are we alone” relates to this possibility. It also seems we have the yearning to find the other out there for contact and the wonder of diversity. Of course, there is also danger. But wonder does not always pay attention to danger.

And then, of course, there is the universe itself. Monumentally creative and destructive, it is a lure we reach for. We are stardust and have learned that we are. Again there is danger in the maelstrom of the universe but the creativity is worth the danger and we can only begin to see the kinds of encompassing life forms which may exist.

And to come full circle in this commentary I have to say adventure is intriguing but exploration can lead to the most wonderful discoveries. At the same time we must fight our way through our struggle and conflict. It helps to look out and examine our possibilities and what may be. We may strike a chord of guidance. 

Where does speculation lead you?

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

Sanity Versus Insanity

 

Do you know what insanity is?

No Clarity

As a clinical psychologist I have come to mistrust the definitions of sanity and insanity. And for that matter I also question the clarity of what is or is not reality. That is why this blog is called cuspofreality.

Most of us would like to believe we have a firm grip on reality but the “reality” is that we are deeply influenced by the context, our personality, our mood, culture and on and on. Reality changes from moment to moment as does the perception of what is or is not sanity.

What a Surprise!

Not long ago there was a great deal of excitement when someone showed the same dress as white and gold or blue and black. It was an internet sensation. How could the same dress be those different colors. It was, of course, explainable in terms of the type of light, how we looked at it, etc. But it shook people’s believe in what was reality. Could it really be both sets of colors? Sorry to say, yes it can be or at least can be perceived as such.

We do, indeed, spend most of our lives believing in that thing we call reality. And people who see things differently from us, whether it is visually or cognitively, are simply wrong. I know. I have the proper perspective.

Facing the Task, Not the Diagnosis

For those of us in the mental health field, when we have to help people who are struggling with their emotional and cognitive lives, we often have to spend time determining the role of insanity. After decades in the field all I can say is that I dislike having to make such a determination. I’m not sure the label is helpful. I prefer to think in terms of how well the person copes in the world and how effective they are in relating to other people, including their coworkers, and how good they are at life management.

If a person is harmless and happy with how they see the world, in many ways it is not important to define exactly how sane they are or are not. Labels may be rather pointless. Often we need not face the fact that most of us have varying forms of reality from which we relate to the world. There are, in fact, people who are quite insane in a fashion we can all agree on. Some people have a biochemical disorder which means their reality is fickle and they have terrible problems relating to other people.

Contextual Adjustment

What is the point you may ask? Sometimes we just have to adjust our belief as it relates to what is fair, correct, moral or just plain effective. And I am led back to the matter of the empowerment of women. We come from a history in which women’s rights were restricted. It is as if they were flawed and incapable of being truly independent. We are now rethinking this belief. And in doing so we are casting aside thoughts of sanity versus insanity or even incapacity. Perhaps we simply have to move to what is fair, correct and appropriate. We are already seeing the benefits. No matter how we view it, it is surely going to be a struggle.

How have you had to adjust your view of things in the past and in our current political crisis how do you assess reality?

 

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

Meshing Fantasy with Unfolding Crises

 

dreamstime_m_42140422

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?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Dreams Versus Reality

 

 

dreamstime_m_33128118

Your Dreams

Do you dream? Oh no, I’m not talking about those things that crop up at night. I’m talking about the dreams you have for your future, your desires, what might be. How much of a hard edge do they have? Do they involve mysticism? Do they lead you into a spirit world of your own? What do they say about you and your life?

Questioning Reality
I’m a clinical psychologist and have spent a lot of time talking with people about their lives. Often we talked about what we call reality but as the decades passed I came to question the meaning of the word. Do our hopes and dreams fall outside the realm of reality? Of course not.

Fiction Choices
And when you read, what are your choices? Do you gravitate toward apocalyptic fiction, dystopian fiction, romance or simply something which advances a “what if”? Are you engaged by ancient mysteries or are you looking for inspiration in how they may emerge in the here and now.

Relating to Reality
At once I have to say that the title of this blog reflects my core belief. I do not believe in a fixed reality. Reality is ephemeral and subject to our own interpretations. We live on a cusp and reality is often something which emerges and recedes into a mist. We take up a station of beliefs and surround ourselves with family and friends who reinforce something stable enough to be called reality.

Myth and Mysticism
And then there is what lies out there in the mist of the past. We enjoy myths and may recognize that they may offer prophesy and be visionary. Yet, we may fail to recognize that they can convey a stark and important reality of their own. And myths do not just speak to the past but also may relate to the future as it is emerging and how it may be.

Conclusions
Assuming we live on the cusp of a changing reality, then we have to wonder what we are to do with that reality. Naturally most of us take hold and fix a reality of sorts which works for us. But then there is the matter of the emerging world. That is where speculative fiction and such things as dystopian fiction, science fiction etc. come in. We can explore with them. And my considerations have led me to the writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. (The first book will be published in February.) It asks what ifs and comes out of my life experience. The trilogy relates to stewardship in a world in crisis. Women are central because it is apparent that they are emerging as a much greater force in the world. Certainly women have always been important but they are coming into power and partnership with men in new and important ways. And we have to wonder if there is a transformation of some form in our future.

A Dual Pathway
The possibilities are fascinating in a world which appears to have gone asymptotic in many ways. And so I’ve chosen to explore through this blog and through fiction in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. Stay tuned.

Surely, regardless of your age, you have dreams, if not for yourself, then for someone in your life. What are those dreams and who are they for?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Speculative Fiction

Establishing a Category

dreamstime_m_31016144

What is your favorite category of fiction?

I’m frustrated. My Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy has come to life. The characters have clarified and paraded before me richly displaying themselves. And I can perceive the forces of the universe which drive them and give life to the future of humankind.

But I have to place this work in what is called a real context. That means, in part, I have to say what type of fiction it is. I can tell you what it is not and run into a road block when I must say what it is. A concise description has been alluding me. I want to call it speculative fiction but Amazon has no such category.

Encompassing

It seems that speculative fiction is a broad category with elements, settings and characters which are derived from imagination and speculation. I created the blog cuspofreality.com because I don’t believe in a hard edged reality. Everything is far more nuanced. Evidently speculative fiction encompasses science fiction, horror, fantasy, science fantasy, magic realism and something called alternative history. I have to say that I believe those terms do not well describe Gaia’s Majesty.

My Personality

I know exactly what’s going on and why I’m having trouble with terminology. And it has to do with my personality. Other blog posts on cuspofreality,com will relate to the full array of personality types but I know mine and I know what’s happening. I’m what’s called an introverted intuitive thinking type. That means my perspective comes from deep inside of me (introversion) and my intuition means I’m intrigued by possibilities and forever ask “what if”. Then comes my auxiliary function which is thinking. That means after generating the possibility I turn to refining and organizing.

Possibilities and Our Future

In terms of the fiction there are specific consequences. I don’t write literature. I find the turn of the phrase is something I stumble over as if the area in which I’m working is strewn with boulders in my way. I want the image and the possibility.

Out there is a world of changing possibilities and they invite social commentary. Certainly there is a history and what composes the history. For me, under the guidance of Carl Jung, history has deep mythological roots. And then there are the images. One image which has always intrigued me is the image of that darling mermaid. She is not an isolated image but is found in almost every society which has significant water. Who is she and why does she exist?

Threat and Conflict
I believe she represents the mystery and threat of women. Yes, both of those things. Is love concrete? I think not. Is a man being enraptured by a woman something which can be taken lightly? I think not. The mermaids in myth are beguiling but also may bring a man to his death. We can see the conflict and the ambivalence. Those things are not fictional. They exist in our world as it is and are often not discussed or recognized.

And then there is the fact of human conflict and what much of the rule of men has brought us. Again there is a reality but behind it there is the myth and the varying truths. How could I not explore all this. There are deeply hidden elements in humankind which include deeply beguiling forces and fearful destructive forces. But look at the maelstrom in the universe and see the creativity that comes out of the clash simultaneously. Out of it comes new planets, suns, stardust, of which we are made, and all manner of creative life. How can we not explore these things.

An Emerging Future

And then there is the matter of blending history with emerging themes. The power of women is not seen in the image off a women with a sword. It is seen in so many other elements bewitching and beautiful but powerful in their own right as well. And now, in our world we have the movement to empower women. I must wonder at the possibility (that word again) and where it may lead us and what are the deeper meanings.

Realities Budding Before Us

These books are not just adventures. They ask us to look at the possibilities before us and what the stirrings in the world may indicate about our potential and our future.

And so I created a world of speculative fiction which is not full of multi headed creatures or strange science. It is not meant to horrify nor be pure fantasy because there is a reality there. I see human cultures as waves of change and we are in a fundamental one right now I’m convinced. And so, what if, our earth goddess set aside a movement of women to guard our future and they live safely in the sea and are seen from time to time as mermaids. And what if they are now coming to power and the empowerment of women is indicative. And as they come to power they come into true partnership with men. Surely there is a struggle ahead but quite possibly a glorious future.

What struggles and futures do you see?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Nicolai Redux

 

dreamstimefree_216400

I’ve posted previously about my friend from graduate school, Nicolai Khoklov.

To review – One day at Duke University I was introduced to a new graduate student by the name of Nicolai. His heavy Russian accent was intriguing. Later it came out. He had been the head of the KGB for Eastern Europe and finally, after much soul searching, he defected.
In some ways the story is dramatic. Our intelligence service was to get his family and take them out of the country when he went on Radio Free Europe to announce his defection. They didn’t do it and he lost them forever. Later, when he was in Germany, Russian intelligence tried to poison him with a radioactive substance. He survived. That’s the drama.

The Truth Is Spoken

Then there is the other part. One evening Nicolai talked at length about his experiences. The key words he uttered in conclusion were – “You think it is like James Bond. It is, in fact, like Get Smart.” (For the younger generation, Get Smart was a television show which satirized intelligence services.)

Nicolai’s words continue to resonate with me. Especially in this election year. We are looking at the people who are running to be the president of the United States. Without being grandiose, the position is rather important. But what we are showing the world is embarrassing.

How Are We To Assess This Specter

At the same time Nicolai’s statement relates. In this campaign season, we may dismiss the show as a form of comic opera or are we seeing life as it is? Many of us are shocked at the Trump phenomenon, but, is the truth that this was there all along and we have not seen or experienced it this openly?

Get Smart was meant to be funny but what we are seeing is anything but funny. Or is it that we should be honest with ourselves and that we are seeing fundamental truths about humanity? It is sobering to realize that these kind of beings were there all along and we need to attend to the fact of their existence. Maybe the recognition is uplifting and useful.

Remember, Nicolai’s job was to safeguard the underbelly of the Soviet Union in Europe. He was to gather intelligence, kill people if necessary and build an underlying defense force for his country. In the end he felt it was all a lie and his job violated his sense of humanity. And so he followed the guidance of his conscience. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more politicians with his integrity.

Another Form of a Reality Show

The lesson for us is that this is not comic opera. It is reality and it is often dysfunctional and displays the faults and frailties of humanity in its worst forms. We may laugh, but often should cry at what is revealed. Will we see a form of the Gunfight at the OK Coral in Cleveland at the Republican Convention? If we do, or if it is just an outrageous congestion of the soul almost doesn’t matter. We will see ourselves and what is lurking under the surface. That, in itself, is valuable.

Get Smart was for fun but as is often the case with comedy, it displays lessons to which we need to attend. Again we come back to our view of reality. We have to decide how we interpret the events of this season and what we do with it is another matter.

What have you concluded?

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

#cold war,#intelligence services,#reality show,#KGB,#James Bond,#Republican Convention

A World in Crisis

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery – An Unbearable Choice

Book 1 Los Res 10-1-2015.jpg

(Book 1 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

Available now at Amazon.com 

Personal Versus Collective Future

dreamstimefree_282229

What do you anticipate?

Is It Hope Or Is It Fear?

Call it interregnum. Call it denouement. Without question humankind is at a set of crisis crossroads. The Middle East is simply one indication. It looks very much like Europe at the dawn of World War I. And we know where that went for the following decades.

I doubt you need a catalogue of all of the crisis points, from China hanging on the edge of chaos, to our own political menagerie fumbling toward failure. It was not so long ago that there seemed so much more hope for consolidation and stability. So much of it dissolved and the process hints of monumental change in the years ahead. And change can be good or bad. But in my mind this kind of process puts me in the position where I don’t wish to simply be an observer.

Fascination With Possibilities

Throughout my life I’ve always been drawn to the “what if”. For me possibilities are the staff of life and before us I perceive a feast. Such evolution and revolution does not lend itself to a thoroughly logical analysis because the underlying forces are never clear. And so I chose to name this blog Cusp of Reality because I firmly believe that is where we all reside—like it or not.

That means this blog is partly a thought document and is meant to present thoughts for examination and to lead us to the “what if”. And always there are different vehicles which may be chosen for the what if.

Waves, Hope and Promise

There are currently discussions of waves in human events. What did the waves of the twentieth century lead to? We are now being overtaken by a wave of information technology and, in the field of economics there is speculation that we are entering the postcapitalism era. Human affairs in all their forms offer hope, promise and promote fear.

I’ve chosen to write speculative fiction where the possibilities can be made graphic. Each of us has a rich inner life and there is a larger context. In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I tell a story with a mythological context to lead us through possibilities as we see our future unfolding. Are we in a denouement of sorts and will it end in a transformation of some kind. If nothing else the discussion and examination in this time is fascinating.The question always remains, “What If”?

Which among the possibilities would you choose?

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

#hope and promise,#dreams,#myth or reality,#future hope,#personal fulillment

Reality – Who Needs It?

 

dreamstimefree_252227

Wonderment

Our birth is a cruel process. It was cozy in there. Nurturance in all forms was assured and it was nice and warm. No wonder we complain at birth. But, of course, we have to wonder what this place is that we suddenly landed in. There were these strange moving objects doing things to us and making what we came to know were noises which meant speech. It was time to adjust to a new reality although we didn’t know what to call it or even that it had a name.

Preparing for the World

What we know is that preparations are being made in the womb. We bounce our babies almost instinctively which probably duplicates something of the experience of riding in the womb. When my first daughter was born I was amazed that the dogs disturbed her not at all. She would be sleeping in our arms and one of the dogs would suddenly bark. It didn’t wake her. She had been hearing it for some time and was not at all surprised. We have to wonder what else the child was learning in the womb.

But there is a lot of learning to come. Adults understand that but tend to see it in concrete terms. There are many other levels of learning. Constantly there are new forms of reality to be addressed. The world has to be defined and understood and we have to define ourselves as well. Those may be static things but there is the matter of interactions with the rest of the world. The array of things to be learned and organized is staggering when we begin to catalogue them.

Defining the Self

Defining the self is crucial to relating to the other beings around us. And those beings are not just humans but the animals in the person’s life whether they be house dogs or the bird outside the window. In all this we build a personal framework which includes self definition so that we can respond to other humans and the world in general. Am I bold or restrained? And we do this on many dimensions.

Establishing a Platform

Overall, one way to look at it is, we establish a platform from which we respond. Another reality is that there are changing platforms for the self. It may change daily and certainly does over a lifetime. And it involves personal discovery.

Certainly, if you begin a catalogue for yourself you’ll find there is quite an amazing array of selves and platforms. And through it all we constantly work to define a reality of the self which is how we view ourselves. Over time that reality changes.

How do you define reality?

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