Are We Kidding Ourselves Pt. 2

Note: There were no posts last week because my wife and I took the opportunity to visit friends in Florida. One day we went to tour Palm Beach and the Mar A Lago area. Eye opening is my nice way of putting it. We were not able to even glimpse Trump’s operation because the security operations had walled it off since he was in town.

What we saw was a display of extreme wealth including harbors filled with huge yachts. It was a display of how health has hugely aggregated to the very few. And if one was willing to look, close by, were clear indications of poverty. It was a marked educational opportunity which I don’t want to have to see again.

The Unconscious and Spirits

The Defined and the Undefined

Day to day we proceed through our lives and take comfort in the belief that we know where we are going—at least for now. Of course we have to accept options in our existence. But there are some that are clearly defined and some undefined. We don’t usually trouble ourselves with sifting the difference and whether each option presented us is defined and undefined. That would be maddening. Instead we decide to simply accept a working definition of such things as reality and mental illness. How much more reassuring.

Other Options

But I have a problem. While I can lay weighing options aside like most people, I still want, from time to time, to open options and considerations. Two of my favorites are the unconscious and the existence of spirits. The first option is probably of more interest to the psychologist but people can often be engaged in discussions about spirits. 

The Unconscious 

There isn’t a lot of substance that can be concluded about the unconscious partly because it has no substance. It seems that it exists because we have all had the experience of seeing something materialize in our thoughts and that we have no idea why it suddenly came to us. So we accept it and don’t debate its origins. That’s probably the best tactic.

Spirits

Suddenly we tap into something which seems to intrigue people a lot more. Partly it seems it is because it taps into our religious inclinations and almost everyone has had religious experiences and has been raised in one tradition or another.

Where it gets dicey is when we talk not about an inspiring diety but get into what may be lurking around us. My belief in that regard is that we are not designed to experience spirits and do not have the sensory mechanisms. 

At the same time I find spirits intriguing because there is the possibility that our lack of experience may simply relate to the construction of our senses.

Diversity of Experience and Belief

What these things all come back to is the degree to which we seek diversity and inspiration in our lives. Some of us are so inclined, some less so. But in the end we come back to the authors realm. Even in the most clearly defined writing endeavor there are matters of choice and the presentation may be challenging and open creativity. 

Are we kidding ourselves is the question that comes to mind again. But at base we are talking about enriching our personal and collective environment. And isn’t that what we want in our lives.

And then again, don’t we have the need to explore possibilities? Human history has taken some amazing turns short term and long term. Often we are blindsided but it is these types of explorations which permit us to respond to challenges.

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 Author as Host – AH!

 

The Attraction  of Writing Fiction

What a fascinating idea writing fiction is. You have this great idea in your head and what fun it will be to bring it to life.

And Then There’s Reality

I’ve found, in some ways that the actual writing skill may be the least of it. That’s not arrogance or being dismissive. I found a lot of unforeseen issues. Let me be upfront that I’m a clinical psychologist which turned out to be a plus and a minus. I found some things I hadn’t expected such as characters beating on my door and some I had to fire. I had no idea that would happen.

Characters as Living Beings

Maybe that’s a problem because of what I did for a living. Doing psychotherapy sounded really interesting and it was but it is also challenging. My clients were sometimes stubborn—like a character.  Sometimes they had unexpected things going on inside of their brains—like characters. With a character you can try to ease them into something coherent. Real people are often not so obliging. And actually characters can be annoying and stubborn as well.

And Then There is the Author

We would like to think that the story and its construction are firmly under our control. Well, that’s what we might like to believe. What I’ve seen is that we often harbor beings in ourselves that we are not clear about. Naively we might think the character we chose is brilliant but it may be something hiding in us. Oh dear! 

And then there is our own personality. Maybe you haven’t considered that but as a psychologist I found I had to. I know my Jungian personality type and understand that part of my personality is in my unconscious. Interesting construct—and then comes the writing. My primary personality component is intuition. How cool! My basic direction is toward what might be, and I ask “What If” a lot. As a writer my saving grace is that my backup function is thinking which means part of me then moves forward to give some structure and focus rather than always racing off toward the horizon. And, of course, there are other attributes further down. Those things in the unconscious constitute traps in themselves.

The Coming Together

When we go to work we have a brilliant idea and then are bombarded by the demands of characters and various parts of ourselves. Sometimes I think it is a blessing to know this because of my profession and sometimes all it tells me is how unexpected and difficult the writing process can be whether we are forewarned or not.

Tools

I’ve found that the construction of Dara Marks’ transformational arc helped keep me under control. It also helped to know that we all have hidden beings in ourselves. They may drive a character forward or make him or her be insistent. Our personality my help us or hinder us but it is helpful to know that our personality may contribute. So much for the neat idea of writing which simply needed actualizing. We are beings who live with a host of selves and beings. That’s both a blessing and a curse but it helps to not have it all be unexpected.

Maybe in the End…

Of course,  what I’ve been talking about is the unexpected but it need not be a curse. If we know we live with our multiple inner sources we can form alliances and allegiances that help us. Over time we can form them into resources and aides. It may be that the process may be less or more challenging but at least we can know to expect challenge of kinds we might not have expected.

AH! Or should it be YIKES!

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 Psychologist and the Unconscious

 

Long ago and far away when I was in college and graduate school three men led me onto very different roads.

Leslie White

First came Leslie White, the father of cultural anthropology. An old man walked out on a stage before a bunch of college students and utterly mesmerized us about the meaning of the extrasomatic cultural stream. This was my introduction to the human unconscious because he spoke of something outside of us that flowed and shaped our lives.

Sigmund Freud

Then came Sigmund Freud who spoke to us about our unconscious. Call it what you will, it is a force which also shapes us and our lives. We tend to think we are in charge of ourselves but when the unconscious is noted we find we often are not in charge and that we sift murky waters. His work was fascinating and important.

Carl Jung

But shortly I was introduced to Carl Jung who spoke about our personalities and the world of myth in ways which were stunning. The three men come together and point out to us that we are constantly trying to manage a world which is rich, constantly changing and, to put it mildly, is challenging. Truth is amplified and shouts uncertainty. It became clear to me how uncertain our inner world is and what magnificent promise it offers.

The World of Fiction

Certainly as we enter the world of fiction as writers we know that creativity is demanded and that we must make a contribution which goes beyond simple story construction and coherence. But often we aren’t prepared for what occurs.

Emergence

Having been fascinated by Jung and by the presence of images of mermaids across the world I thought to construct a book featuring these fascinating women. Little did I know what was lurking. A book became three books and more are threatening to appear. Not only did the story expand but there were characters who became demanding. They expanded their substance and may appear unbidden.

The Lesson

In the end I had to face an obvious lesson formed out of the work of the three men mentioned above. In our minds we are not stable entities and when we open work such as fiction we face the intrusion and wonder of what we harbor and what is rampant around us as stimuli and reality in all its forms, subtleties and substance. When we write we must be prepared for a torrent of inner richness from all kinds of sources. And therein lies substantial creativity and possibilities which can enrich us and our readers. What comes are not just stories but the richness of our lives. The writer discovers the range of influences within and the reader can explore possibilities which go beyond the form of what is contained in the book.

In the end I have had to listen to an important message. Get a grip psychologist! And attend to what these very concepts truly mean.

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