The Universality of Mythology

Life Dramas

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In college I was utterly captivated by mythology. Suddenly I could see that it was manifested everywhere. The themes presented themselves in my history of art classes, they crept out to engage me even in my psychology courses. There was Carl Jung who brought back themes from across the world. Never before had I contacted celtic spirituality, mysticism in all its forms or the intentions of prophesy in human drama. The inspirations were boundless.

At first it is easy to see mythology as little more than fantasy. But gradually it is revealed that it is drama and art in all their forms. And then it dawns on us that it is visionary and metaphysical and ultimately it brings us vibrant reality.

Life Instructions

We can tell stories in a straightforward fashion in our fiction or we can choose different vehicles. All forms have their own allure. But we can come to understand that reality may take shape in dreams. And those dreams may be rich and instruct us about our endeavors and our future.

Over time I could not get away from it. Mythology revealed itself when I was engaging in therapy with my clients and in my studies it gave me instructions. When I looked at Freud I saw a man clearly embedded in western thought and the specificity of the field of medicine. Yet, he was drawn away as he spoke to us about the meaning of our dreams and especially the unconscious mind. Some of his colleagues scoffed. But recently, with our ability to scan the brain we have evidence of the unconscious process.

My Personal Favorite

And then there was Carl Jung. He foraged for myth across the world and, like Marco Polo, even brought us things from Asia. The mythology he gathered from his world wide searches brought us illumination of all kinds. His study of the world organized reality in his personality typology. He found, in his comprehensive studies, that who we are spoke of clear diversity of definable personality types. And they could be seen in myths.

In my doctoral dissertation I chose to study if the personality of the artist (painters in that instance) was manifested in his or her paintings. There had been endless speculation about the inner life of the artist in psychiatric literature, but nothing systematic or definitive. I found their personality was manifested in their paintings and also found that the personality type was the definitive component and not the degree of that type.

A Love Affair With Mythology

And it was my fascination with myth that led me to resolve to bring myth into my writings. And as I used myth to develop the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I found more and more myths revealed themselves to me.

The human imagination is so rich and from it we weave all forms of dreams and realities as well. And, of course, as I’ve noted, myths are not just born of our imagination, but also of real world events so revealing of who we are.

In the first book of the trilogy, Gaia’s Majesty: Mission Called – Women in Power, we see a process where myth and the movement to empower women are being woven in our world.

How does myth manifest itself in your life and, if you write, how does it reveal itself?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon Home Page

The Enigma of the Movement to Empower Women

 

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What do you think is the significance of the movement to empower women?

The Centrality of Struggle

Time and again we see the centrality of struggle in the existence of all living beings. And humankind is definitely not excluded from the process. Recently our hopes were dashed as we descended deeper and deeper into conflict across the globe. Whether it is the broad distress of the Arab world or the appalling malaise of our national politics, we are challenged beyond what we had recently hoped.

One Central Struggle

When I step back, I again and again pinpoint one central struggle which I have come to believe is fundamental. And that is the struggle for the empowerment of women. I know of no research which defines for us the need for its immediacy or how it will lead to an essential outcome. But everywhere we are seeing signs of its importance and steadily perceiving the benefits.

In America we have a war on women. And we have to ask why it is so essential that women be confined and that so many men are willing to work against the independence of women and their opposition includes the availability of reproductive health care which is so central to health care for women. Not once have I heard a definitive explanation nor have I seen illuminating research. In so many cases I am seeing evidence of deep underlying, even unconscious, processes which seem to be at work.

Beyond Power

It is easy to dismiss this entire process as a matter of power. But, nowhere do the possible outcomes suggest that it is purely a matter of men yielding power. Certainly there is a component of power but the explanations are insufficient. There may be duplicity in male opposition and they may defend their own women better than women at large. But the process is all encompassing. It goes beyond reproductive rights including showing up everywhere in the workplace. I’ve never heard an adequate explanation for income inequality.

Struggling for Solidarity

And then recently I found an overlooked copy of Bloomberg Business week from early February. In it was a long article entitled “The Female Solidarity, Have-It-All, Feel-Good Machine”. And in the article they ask, “Feminism is being branded and sold like never before. Who is it really helping?” Throughout the article there are pictures of women attending conferences where men are utterly missing. They describe a struggle to work for empowerment. And it is apparent that the struggle is not strictly against men. Yes, the all male panel speaking to the women is gone but the tone of the article is distressing.

Difficulty Within the Ranks

Maybe I’m missing something. It seems women are not unified which is hardly surprising. Utter unity is missing in all kinds of movements. The Bloomberg article points to a great deal of conflict and uncertainty. Yet, the thing that disturbs me the most is the seeming absence of any effective joint efforts between women and men to work together to define and move the effort forward. Or, at least it is not prominent.

Partnership to Build Partnership

Can it be that men are that unaccepting of the movement that they must be shut out of the efforts? Or can it be that women are sufficiently divided that they must close the discussion or be divided hopelessly? I cannot find any significant explanations or example. This movement is essential but it seems we are groping in the dark. Or is it that we do not know what we are groping for or fear what we might find? It clearly deserves a great deal more discussion.

I realize that this post is a ramble because I cannot find clarity of definition for what is happening. I’m not sure any of us know what the empowerment movement means, where it might lead or why we might fear it so. And by that last statement I mean both men and women.

I would love to see some in depth exploration of the process behind this issue. But beyond all the uncertainty I believe the bottom line is that the empowerment of women is a game changer and crucial to the future of humankind.

What do you think is missing in this movement? Why is the struggle so difficult?

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Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

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#struggle for women’s rights,#war on women,#powerful men,#partnership with women

The Creation of Gaia’s Majesty – 2

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery – An Unbearable Choice

Book 1 Los Res 10-1-2015

(Book 1 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

Available now at Amazon.com

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Creation with Design

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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 http://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.

What do you expect will happen?

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Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

#fiction writing,#personal inspiration,#universal forces,#Carl Jung

Opening Our View of Our Future

 

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Being Humble and Hopeful

What do you think your future holds?

Most animals forage for food and the human animal seems to forage for dreams. It is probably more than a little pompous for us to say we have our dreams because of our higher intelligence.

For the longest time we declared that we were the only animals to use tools. Then we found out differently. And there are night dreams and there are dreams we harbor. Have you ever watched your dog dreaming as he sleeps. We have to wonder what forms the dreams of other animals take.

Broadening Our View

What’s the point? It seems we humans get so caught up in how special we are that we tend to define ourselves in ways which separate us from other animals. And then there is the matter of life.For the longest time we believed we were the only intelligent animals and life existed only on this planet. Now we find that there is water in asteroids and within the water is salt and amino acids. It now seems life exists throughout the universe and that raises the possibility that the universe itself may be a living thing.

These thoughts may seem to have no point in themselves but such thoughts are the bedrock of our opening the possibility for what may be to come for humankind. Our darkest visions say nothing good but out of each dark age has come an enlightenment.

Clues to Our Future or Futures

Certainly we have our dark side and too commonly we kill others and inflict pain. But there is art, there is love, there are waves of hope. I wrote the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy to have a story of exploration of future possibilities. Just as we have made foolish mistakes such as assuming we alone possess tools and this planet alone has life, we also may be overlooking the clues which exist and point to future possibilities.

We find those clues in our myths, in our struggle, turning to stewardship, in the meaning of the empowerment of women and in every unexplored parts of our existence. Is there a spirit world? Our senses have specific purposes. We can’t know for sure. What comes after capitalism? There are some intriguing speculations with some hard data behind them.

Making the Choice

As difficult as the world is now, we have the option of exploring alternatives and dreams and giving ourselves the option of transformation or at least a beneficial and unexpected future. We have come a long way and the potential in front of us is truly exciting. Among us are people who would have us turn inwards and back on ourselves. The future points in another direction. The choice is ours.

How would you describe what you have chosen for yourself?

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Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

#discovery,#universal life,#life forms,#earth energy,#speculative fiction

Nicolai’s Truth

 

Sunset and fellow photographer at the beach

Revelations

Have you had sudden truth revelations? Or should I ask how many have you had?

Being in graduate school at Duke University working on my Ph.D. was fascinating in so many ways. The South was having a civil rights war, I found myself deep in Duke University Medical Center and I was meeting all manner of fascinating people. Not the least of whom was Nicolai.

One day a new student arrived. He was older than most of us and had a heavy Russian accent. How curious? In time I learned he had been the head of KGB operations for Eastern Europe. One night we fed him ample vodka and he told us about how his life had been as a high level intelligence operative. Like so many people, he considered himself to have been a patriot. But being a patriot of the kind he had been required to be turned out to be a proposition he could not, in the end, suffer. He decided to defect.

Betrayed!

Of course American intelligence was interested and he agreed on condition that when he went on Radio Free America to announce his defection that his wife and children would be picked up by our people and taken out of Russia. We didn’t do it and he lost his family.

Nonetheless he was true to his word partly because he could not accept the moral problems associated with the kind of murderous activities in which he had to be involved. He survived a poisoning with a radioactive substance and came to the United States to study clinical psychology. Interesting choice.

Honor and Truth

He was a touching individual and I never would have guessed his past. He was such a gentle and respectful person with a deep sense of honor. The stories he told us that night were immensely troubling. But his concluding statement about his past in intelligence was one I will never forget. “You think intelligence work is like James Bond. It is in fact like Get Smart.”

It was clear he meant the statement and the details of his life bore out his conclusion. What he conveyed was that we often have a view of things which we hold as truth. But truth is illusory and Nicolai’s story was yet another confirmation that we do, indeed, live on the cusp of reality.

What do you think of Nicolai’s conclusion?

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#gaia’smajestydiscovery,#anunbearablechoice,#gaia’smajestychallenge,
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Publication Is Coming Soon

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Now that I have the final edit from my editor Carolyn Haley it is a matter of days until Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery – An Unbearable Choice, the first book in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is published.

Starting tomorrow I will begin a daily post of six parts of the underlying myth of the series and each will include a thumbnail of a major character. There will be no post this Sunday.

At publication I will put up a page containing the first chapter of the book which can be read on the website. And I will also post a page where a FREE first novella from the book can be requested. All you need do is send me an email requesting the file for the novella.

I also look forward to us beginning a discussion.

Roger

Life Inseparable

 

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Do you “have a life” or did you “get a life”?

What Are We Trying to Say?
When we refer to life what are we talking about? Are we talking about the body, mind, spirit collectively? Or are we talking about something which is a form of earth energy. We use the word “life” carelessly. At times it is hard to imagine what we are meaning when we use the word. We use it to refer to the form and elements of our existence as well as referring to the underlying process itself.

Rarely do we question what we mean by life. It’s not just a matter of the kind of life we lead. We joke with each other when we tell someone to “get a life”. Clearly they already have one but it is the form of it which is at question. And then there is the matter of the quality of that life. It can be highly variable but we will inevitably cling to it regardless.

Groping For Meaning
At the end of the day we do not really know what we mean by life. We can refer to inanimate things as having life or a life span. Such as a light bulb. It may be there is more truth in referring to life in such a context than we ordinarily realize. Certainly a clump of grass has a life as does that insect on the wall. But in other regards we can raise questions.

Does our planet have a life or do we simply refer to it as having a life span? We understand that our sun has a life span and there will come a day when it ceases to have its present form. But we also understand that it has a rhythm to its activity as seen in its more active and quiescent periods. Are those cycles indicative of a life form.

A SearchFor Meaning
Does humanity as a whole have a life span? Do we die out as a life form if we are unwise about our choices? Certainly we can cause death but do we create our death as an organism?

There is much more to the term life than we can believe at one simple level. Our definitions can diminish it or enhance it just as our behavior can diminish or enhance it.

Life Deserves More Attention Than It Gets
Are you still there or did I lose you? What I’m getting at is that the word “life” has a multitude of layers of meanings. But one of the things I came to in writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is that we seem to suspect we are not alone. Of course most religions have such a belief but there is another level. It may be a matter of imagination, projection of feeling, or a recognition that there are so many different kinds of life forms. But, as I wrote, I kept coming back to the feeling that in this kind of story lay the perception that there are a multitude of other life forms which may be quite sentient and intelligent. But it may be a matter that we simply cannot ordinarily perceive them much less communicate with them. One of the wonderful things about telling a story is that it is possible for the author to rectify that problem.

What are your beliefs about life?

Dreams Versus Reality

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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 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. 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, Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery, will be published in October.) It asks the 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 they 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 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?