Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Adaryn

The Living Force
I have been thinking about the culture in these novels, those 'values and rules' you mentioned. In comparison to the world I grew up in, its highly regulated. The examples are legion. Unwed girls may not walk with a man alone. There is a specific Season of balls and garden parties which is in part designed to 'bring out' eligible young men and women for the purpose of finding mates. And of course, there are rules of esteem and honour that many times force a marriage to prevent some sort of scandal. And on and on.

There is a social standard that everyone in these books has to contend with - whether they like it or not. And whether they're a man or woman, old or young, these customs give their lives sense and meaning, something to push against or been drawn towards, to navigate, to discuss, ponder - something to live for. Although incredibly heartbreaking and difficult, as the authors in this thread display, it is these customs that form a sort of ground that the characters walk on in their lives.

I agree. Better to have moral standards by which one's own behaviour is measured, than nothing at all (what we have today), even if people lied and pretended and hypocrisy reigned supreme. At least when they 'deviated' from those standards, they knew it was wrong.
The other side of the coin is that individuals and personal aspirations were crushed within such a system where preserving appearances at all costs (which implied hypocrisy, lies and intolerance towards those who "rebelled") is what mattered, and too bad if lives were destroyed in the process. As pointed out by Laura, the heroes/heroines of those novels are rebels who don't quite follow the rules of the time, where marrying was just about forging alliances between great families, for the sake of breeding heirs and keeping the class system intact. True love had no place within such a system.
I'm reminded of an article I read about Scorsese's excellent movie The Age of Innocence (based on Edit Wharton's novel), which is the antithetis of the romance novels we're reading (and is more realistic), and where the male protagonist (the real innocent of the story, along with the female protagonist), instead of finding it in him to follow his true self's desire, eventually gives in to the "mob rule" - the diktats of high society - and ends up destroying or at least damaging his soul. Though the movie doesn't have any overt violence, Scorsese describes it as one the most brutal movie he's ever made:

The Age of Innocence is a gang story as brutal as Goodfellas

"Some were surprised when Martin Scorsese filmed Edith Wharton’s novel, but its milieu is governed by codes of tribal loyalty as lethal as in any mob.
Even in 1993, it seemed surprising that Martin Scorsese should direct an adaptation of The Age of Innocence. Why was the director of bloody and furious classics such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull taking on this story of decorum and reserve in New York high society? When the film came out, critic Roger Ebert wrote that the pairing had “struck many people as astonishing – as surprising, say, as if Abel Ferrara had announced a film by Henry James”.
But Edith Wharton’s great novel has more in common with Scorsese’s work, especially Mean Streets and Goodfellas, than might be supposed. Most obviously, it’s about gangs: their unspoken rules, their codes of honour, and their structures of power. Wharton’s society, with the formidable Van der Luydens “above all of them”, is as tough as they come. Transgressors against its strict honour code are punished without mercy. Scorsese told Ebert:

What has always stuck in my head is the brutality under the manners. People hide what they mean under the surface of language in the subculture I was around when I grew up in Little Italy, when somebody was killed, there was a finality to it. It was usually done by the hands of a friend. And in a funny way, it was almost like ritualistic slaughter, a sacrifice. But New York society in the 1870s didn’t have that. It was so cold-blooded. I don’t know which is preferable.
Wharton is explicit about this in the novel. When the Countess Ellen Olenska is made to endure the final cruelty of a “farewell tribute” dinner held ostensibly in her honour before she is cast out of New York society, the sorrowful protagonist Newland Archer reflects: “It was the old New York way of taking life ‘without effusion of blood’: the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than ‘scenes’, except the behaviour of those who gave rise to them.

At the same point in the film, Joanna Woodward’s spoken narration, which borrows heavily from Wharton’s original text, states that Archer “guessed himself to have been, for months, the centre of countless silently observing eyes and patiently listening ears. He understood that, somehow, the separation between himself and the partner of his guilt had been achieved. And he knew that now the whole tribe had rallied around his wife. He was a prisoner in the centre of an armed camp.”
Such moments made Scorsese describe the film as one of “the most violent”he’s ever made. Even if, as he has also explained, the violence is expressed “through very elaborate etiquette and ritual”.
It’s fascinating to watch – not least because Scorsese has such an eye for the details of these tribal customs. The camera lingers long over signifiers of power and correct “form”. Scorsese commissioned copies of more than 200 paintings to ensure authenticity in the houses of the film’s power brokers. The costumes are elaborately beautiful. There are fantastic scenes in which knives and forks are displayed and examined, like guns in gangster movies.
But there’s more to the film than just frock consciousness. The use of narrative voiceover can sometimes seem hokey, but at least here it’s still Edith Wharton, with beautiful lines such as: “The past had come again into the present, as in those newly discovered caverns in Tuscany where children had lit bunches of straw and seen old images staring from the wall.”
Lines from the book also provide devastating dialogue, especially when delivered by actors as good as Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer:
All this blind obeying of tradition, somebody else’s tradition, is thoroughly needless. It seems stupid to have discovered America only to make it a copy of another country.”
“Does no one here want to know the truth, Mr Archer? The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who ask you only to pretend.”
And then there’s the “spirit” of the book, what Scorsese described to Ebert as “exquisite romantic pain. The idea that the mere touching of a woman’s hand would suffice. The idea that seeing her across the room would keep him alive for another year.”
The Age of Innocence may be about reserve and decorum, but it’s still intensely erotically charged and full of hard choices. Ebert says: “Immediately under the surface … beats the red pulse of passion. And it is the very same passion that has inspired Scorsese in almost all of his films: The passion of a man forced to choose between what he wants, and what he knows [add: or rather, believes] is right.” Put like that, it seems inevitable that Scorsese should have made the film. And it’s no surprise at all that it was such an artistic success."
 

Lan8r

Jedi Master
I'm not hugely enamored with the Regency morality as I've read about so far and have a pretty cynical view of it. While some of it seemed like it was initially instituted to dissuade women from being taken advantage of by "rakes" and give men cause to consider the gravitas of their choice, I view a lot of it as a fleshmarket for fathers to ensure their daughters are only sold to the highest possible bidder. The more interesting stories bend the rules quite a bit, but those that focus on the ballroom circuit leave me with the impression of walking into a posh car dealership with a quarter million dollars burning a hole in my pocket to buy a fancy car, except in this case I'm here to purchase a woman. The people running the dealership, the parents of the young nobles, know that all young single guys are lonely, horny, and desperate at least to some degree, and so if you want one of the more exquisite models you better have the cash to back it up. The woman's concerns are largely secondary, she is only a transactional item to be negotiated over. I imagined myself as one of the "lower tier nobles" that some of these stories seem to be about, whom while titled, is not particularly wealthy or prestigious, and came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't even bother with this foolishness. If I married at all, it would likely be someone far below my station, as her father would be thrilled to death that his prized possession received a greater bid than he ever imagined. Of course, I would probably have to listen to my family and members of Society gossip about my distasteful and unfortunate parochial esthetic but...to hell with them. Certainly this is a central plot conflict that many stories parlay into the notion that "love conquers all," or they found each other despite having to contend with the strictures of this regimented system. I don't really believe there is a place for love in such a contrived, constricted, and pretentious system, and even in a lot of the stories love only comes to the fore by breaking the rules a bit. I suppose that if I did fall in love I might endure all of the BS to marry a high-class lady, but as I see it now it isn't/wouldn't be worth participating in.

Then there's the scandals. Oh my, God forbid our couple breaks with the official courtship procedure and they make out in some semi-private place. God forbid the transactional value of the woman is lessened when the other men find out she is doing the same thing with Mr. So and So as they do with their mistresses. God forbid the woman tries to marry someone she actually likes, oh no. Please. That whole aspect reminds me of how the media had a freakout episode over Trump's "locker room talk." While he was a bit crass about it, he was explaining what is a simple fact of life for many people. The culture of outrage has been around for a long time and there is really nothing new under the sun. What has a veneer of high ideals and family values is really just a cloak for hypocrites practicing something altogether different. Thus, in terms of "the system," I don't see what existed then to be any better or worse than what exists now, just different. Back in those days, I can see where the PTB may have supported a system that maintained some semblance of familial cohesion. They needed lots of warm bodies to fight their wars and work in the sweatshops so that the empire would continue to run. The PTB of today can just build robots and manufacture humans in test tubes, so families are kind of irrelevant. The main journey the couples seem to make in the stories is that they embody the noble ideals that the dating system supposedly represents, while shedding the ponerized and caricatured version that is commonly practiced by the elite.

I guess that is the main difference between the Regency system and the current system. In the old system a lot of lip service was paid and pretense was given to upholding family values and treating a lady right. In the new system it is made obvious to all but the hopelessly romantic that you're just a piece of meat and you better get whatever you can get today, because tomorrow the NWO may determine you are unnecessary and your existence will be terminated. The new system has ultimate freedom of choice, but has rendered most of those choices meaningless. Generally speaking, it isn't worth participating in either.
Neil,

Let go your Head! Let these stories touch your heart and soul. Even though the social engineering looks different in our times, don't think it's not quite the same. Even today we still have 'titles' ... 'VP of Marketing, Administrator of ... , etc., etc.

Parents still wish for their daughters (and Sons) to wed the best possible man/woman. A man capable of providing for them, even if she is capable herself monetarily speaking, but there is so much more a man provides than $. Or a woman capable of encouraging a strength of will, courage, intestinal fortitude in their sons. It might not look like a 'Season in London' because times have changed. But, the more they change, the more they stay the same, sort of.

Okay, the 'New System' might be pushing the "you're just a piece of meat and you better get whatever you can get today, because tomorrow the NWO may determine you are unnecessary and your existence will be terminated." But the NWO isn't the be all end all. It seems maybe, Humanity is. Maybe it's 'let go your head' and let go your heart to find what Humanity truly is.

Reading these 'Romantic Novels' is allowing me to see that it's not the 'system' (the system will always be the system regardless of the times), it is what is 'In Us' as humans, Humanity, That is what will live on. That is what we truly are.

So, please read on and Let go your Head, please.
 

Yas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I agree. Better to have moral standards by which one's own behaviour is measured, than nothing at all (what we have today), even if people lied and pretended and hypocrisy reigned supreme. At least when they 'deviated' from those standards, they knew it was wrong.

I also agree. And it makes me think a bit about what is described in the book Paul's Necessary Sin about faith and law. Law, such as the rules of the society in the novels we read, had its benefits and also its higher purpose. People could interpret it in their own way as in thinking that what matters most is 'breeding', fortune and the social value of a particular marriage, and there was that, for sure. But in the novels, we see characters that end up being capable of putting that part of the equation aside and, yet, live by the best parts of that 'law' which was prevalent in those times. They manifest, I think, what would be analogous to faith, where they actually come to believe in the principles that make up the rules, and are able to manifest them in their lives with their loved ones.

So, trying to make an analogy, it's a bit like the Catholic Church. The Christian values and principles that are behind the rules and rituals of the Catholic Church are good, beneficial and they try to protect society and individuals from doing regrettable things, in my opinion. Yet, when taken too much as law and without real understanding of the principles, some people may suffer unnecessarily and actually act in the wrong way because they're following such law without regard to the particular context and situation. There's also hypocrisy in the church, we know of that, and there's also evil there, for sure. Yet, the values and principles held by the church still help lots of people find the necessary guidance for their lives, and many people who grow up with those values and principles want to carry a good, decent live in accordance. Then there is the understanding of those principles and values, even if you aren't the type of person who goes to church and all that, which guides you to also want to live a decent live because you have faith in that it is the right thing to do.


I don't really believe there is a place for love in such a contrived, constricted, and pretentious system, and even in a lot of the stories love only comes to the fore by breaking the rules a bit.

And do you think there's a lot of place for love in our current society? Do you see it around a lot?

I think that our current society has some implicit laws too, which, unfortunately, are detrimental and don't protect people from making bad choices. And there is love in some cases, just like how there may have been before. And one thing that is wonderful about the novels is how the characters learn to love each other even under those circumstances you described. Some marry for convenience, for the fortune even, and yet, they learn to love in the process.

I think this quote below summarizes it:

Reading these 'Romantic Novels' is allowing me to see that it's not the 'system' (the system will always be the system regardless of the times), it is what is 'In Us' as humans, Humanity, That is what will live on. That is what we truly are.

Exactly. Regardless of what 'system' of explicit and implicit rules we have, it is ultimately the people within it who choose to live by the best aspects of those rules and to kind of 'separate the wheat from the chaff' to know what is right for each situation and context. Some of those 'systems' seem to be better than others in promoting good behavior though, yet, there will always be bad people or unconscious people within those systems, and people who follow the rules to an extreme which can even be detrimental. And there will be people, like us, who are learning and still make mistakes, but that is one of the fundamental parts of our existence here, isn't it? I mean, learning.
 

iamthatis

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I agree. Better to have moral standards by which one's own behaviour is measured, than nothing at all (what we have today), even if people lied and pretended and hypocrisy reigned supreme. At least when they 'deviated' from those standards, they knew it was wrong.
The other side of the coin is that individuals and personal aspirations were crushed within such a system where preserving appearances at all costs (which implied hypocrisy, lies and intolerance towards those who "rebelled") is what mattered, and too bad if lives were destroyed in the process. As pointed out by Laura, the heroes/heroines of those novels are rebels who don't quite follow the rules of the time, where marrying was just about forging alliances between great families, for the sake of breeding heirs and keeping the class system intact. True love had no place within such a system.
I'm reminded of an article I read about Scorsese's excellent movie The Age of Innocence (based on Edit Wharton's novel), which is the antithetis of the romance novels we're reading (and is more realistic), and where the male protagonist (the real innocent of the story, along with the female protagonist), instead of finding it in him to follow his true self's desire, eventually gives in to the "mob rule" - the diktats of high society - and ends up destroying or at least damaging his soul. Though the movie doesn't have any overt violence, Scorsese describes it as one the most brutal movie he's ever made:

The Age of Innocence is a gang story as brutal as Goodfellas

"Some were surprised when Martin Scorsese filmed Edith Wharton’s novel, but its milieu is governed by codes of tribal loyalty as lethal as in any mob.
Even in 1993, it seemed surprising that Martin Scorsese should direct an adaptation of The Age of Innocence. Why was the director of bloody and furious classics such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull taking on this story of decorum and reserve in New York high society? When the film came out, critic Roger Ebert wrote that the pairing had “struck many people as astonishing – as surprising, say, as if Abel Ferrara had announced a film by Henry James”.
But Edith Wharton’s great novel has more in common with Scorsese’s work, especially Mean Streets and Goodfellas, than might be supposed. Most obviously, it’s about gangs: their unspoken rules, their codes of honour, and their structures of power. Wharton’s society, with the formidable Van der Luydens “above all of them”, is as tough as they come. Transgressors against its strict honour code are punished without mercy. Scorsese told Ebert:


Wharton is explicit about this in the novel. When the Countess Ellen Olenska is made to endure the final cruelty of a “farewell tribute” dinner held ostensibly in her honour before she is cast out of New York society, the sorrowful protagonist Newland Archer reflects: “It was the old New York way of taking life ‘without effusion of blood’: the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than ‘scenes’, except the behaviour of those who gave rise to them.

At the same point in the film, Joanna Woodward’s spoken narration, which borrows heavily from Wharton’s original text, states that Archer “guessed himself to have been, for months, the centre of countless silently observing eyes and patiently listening ears. He understood that, somehow, the separation between himself and the partner of his guilt had been achieved. And he knew that now the whole tribe had rallied around his wife. He was a prisoner in the centre of an armed camp.”
Such moments made Scorsese describe the film as one of “the most violent”he’s ever made. Even if, as he has also explained, the violence is expressed “through very elaborate etiquette and ritual”.
It’s fascinating to watch – not least because Scorsese has such an eye for the details of these tribal customs. The camera lingers long over signifiers of power and correct “form”. Scorsese commissioned copies of more than 200 paintings to ensure authenticity in the houses of the film’s power brokers. The costumes are elaborately beautiful. There are fantastic scenes in which knives and forks are displayed and examined, like guns in gangster movies.
But there’s more to the film than just frock consciousness. The use of narrative voiceover can sometimes seem hokey, but at least here it’s still Edith Wharton, with beautiful lines such as: “The past had come again into the present, as in those newly discovered caverns in Tuscany where children had lit bunches of straw and seen old images staring from the wall.”
Lines from the book also provide devastating dialogue, especially when delivered by actors as good as Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer:

And then there’s the “spirit” of the book, what Scorsese described to Ebert as “exquisite romantic pain. The idea that the mere touching of a woman’s hand would suffice. The idea that seeing her across the room would keep him alive for another year.”
The Age of Innocence may be about reserve and decorum, but it’s still intensely erotically charged and full of hard choices. Ebert says: “Immediately under the surface … beats the red pulse of passion. And it is the very same passion that has inspired Scorsese in almost all of his films: The passion of a man forced to choose between what he wants, and what he knows [add: or rather, believes] is right.” Put like that, it seems inevitable that Scorsese should have made the film. And it’s no surprise at all that it was such an artistic success."

Excellent post, Adaryn - thank you and to @Neil for this discussion.

You've both done a great job at identifying the negative aspects of the cultural context of these books. This is the necessarily restrictive social background against which we can see our rebellious protagonists stumbling their way to love. Without the negative, no positive, no electric potential. This 3D world is at it is, a hard-knocks school of life, and without these challenges, our lives, like the lives of the characters, would be quite devoid of meaning.

Love's one of those big words, and can be stretched to mean almost anything. I found the following quote from Mouravieff in Chapter 28 of The Wave. Reading this put the positive, Soul-growing aspect of this reading exercise into full view for me, as a sort of legend to the map of the territory we are exploring:

Liberated from servitude to procreation, this romance of tomorrow is called on to cement the indissoluble union between two strictly polar beings, a union which will assure their integration in the bosom of the Absolute. As St. Paul says: “Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor man without the woman in the Lord.”

The vision of such a romance has haunted the highest minds for thousands of years. We find it in platonic love, the basis of the singular romance in the myths of Androgyne man; of Orpheus and Eurydice; of Pygmalion and Galatea … This is the aspiration of the human heart, which cries in secrecy because of its great loneliness. This romance forms the essential aim of esoteric work. Here is that love which will unite man to that being who is unique for him, the Sister-wife, the glory of man, as he will be the glory of God. Having entered into the light of Tabor, no longer two, but one drinking at the fount of true Love, the transfigurer: the conqueror of Death.

Love is the Alpha and Omega of life. All else has only secondary significance.

Man is born with the Alpha. It is the intention of the present work to show the path which leads towards the Omega. (Mouravieff 2002, xxv—xxvi)

In some books I've read so far, there is some explicit reference to God. But very few of them have overtly religious themes. Instead, I've noticed that the principle of love is mostly written implicitly, as a kind of merciful mutual giving (even if it takes a while to get there), and an invisible and mostly bewildering force that unifies and heals. Often against all odds.

From where I sit currently, a life of the Work is looking lonely and alienated. Seems like lot of people in general are feeling this these days, as those sad emotions and the cravings they produce are ramped up as a consequence of the lockdowns and enforced distancing. So it's a good time to remind myself that it would be wise to resist automatically throwing myself to the whim of hormones and scripts and feelings - especially in a world replete with OPs and psychopaths and also good ol' humans caught in the throes of programming.

Options for finding love have sort of come to a screeching halt for me. But that's not exactly a bad thing when I might have been headed full speed for (yet another) steep cliff.

Of course, all there is is lessons - so whether one wants to 'opt out' entirely from seeking love and partnership on 3D earth, or whether one takes the crazy risk of love, there's still the very practical matter that choices will be made (consciously or not), and the attendant consequences will follow.

What I appreciate about this quote from Mouravieff is that the beautiful potential of finding love is rescued from this mess we live in. In our seemingly rigid, closed, linear system that's headed straight down the tubes, novelty can arrive, or be 'called in' with devotion, paying attention left and right, and the faith of Jesus. It could be said, then, that True Love, as an expression of pure potential, is not exhausted, and never can be, no matter how bad things get - unless we choose to see it that way.
 

Anthony

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
On judging past periods of history, I found this quote from Milan Kundera recently:

“Man proceeds in the fog. But when he looks back to judge people of the past, he sees no fog on their path. From his present, which was their faraway future, their path looks perfectly clear to him, good visibility all the way. Looking back, he sees the path, he sees the people proceeding, he sees their mistakes, but not the fog.”

That brings to mind Collingwood and his take on history, since he shows how we can avoid system 1 thinking and come to a more objective view of the past:

Collingwood held that history could not be studied in the same way as natural science because the internal thought processes of historical persons could not be perceived with the physical senses, and past historical events could not be directly observed. He suggested that a historian must "reconstruct" history by using "historical imagination" to "re-enact" the thought processes of historical persons based on information and evidence from historical sources.
 

Redrock12

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you Adaryn, Neil, Iamthatis, et al, for your insightful posts. So much food for thought.
I'm about halfway through Balogh's A Promise of Spring. Imho, her novels variously speak to me of love as a melding of two souls into one indivisible whole through reconciliation, empathy, forgiveness, commitment to one another, as well as a broader more inclusive intimacy: touching, kissing, holding hands, sharing living space, strengthing one another in meeting everyday challenges.l
The sex act, unlike the post-modern version, is not just for physical gratification, although it is that as well, but has an even deeper spiritual dynamic, which has the potential of bringing another human being into existence.thus broadening the relationship into a family unit, with both parents giving their lives to the new addition.
For any of the above to be possible there has to be supportive social norms and standards, which is what Balogh, through her use of the historical meme with all of its rituals, customs and rules, is trying to convey.
Geez this post is long. I hope it makes sense.:umm::cool2::cool:
Well, it sure felt that way anyway.
Whatever.:hug::rockon::rockon:
 
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NewEngland Seeker

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Generally speaking, it isn't worth participating in either.
Cynical? Much?

In some ways you have touched on the reality that there is very little reason to continue in the 3D pleasure game. I too, while reading these romance novels, do not yearn for another go at true love. As you perceive how all of the players have selfish ulterior motives, I think instead, you are yearning for the 4D unconditional love lessons.

The love stories have an underpinning of conquest. Often, how the man has maneuvered, pardon the pun, the women into bed and she entices him to the alter. However, they fix their brokenness after they finally admit their passionate love for each other. What kind of story-line would a 4D love be like without the sex-intrigue.

That said, I think what this project helps me to uncover anything that would chain me to this 3D pleasure game. This project has help me see my imperfections in my relationships and help me to be more honest with my motives.
 

NewEngland Seeker

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
In Catholic grade school, I remember being taught that the American tax code was designed on the principles that the American society is built upon need to support the 4 pillars of society: of family, religion, education, and charity. The sexual standard were such that girls fear the wrath of their fathers that they avoiding going "too far" with boyfriends. Boys knew that they would have to responsibility if they went "too far."

The free love movement and the "pill" of the 60's were that leftist agenda of destroying the family as an important pillar of society. Look back I can see the steady cancer of destruction of all 4 pillars and the society that I remember has crumbled into a chaotic pc driven society.

To repair this, our society has to re-establish the importance of responsibly of choices and that there are long term consequences for breaching sexual boundaries. Men and women have to know what their responsibilities are and be honorable in fulfilling them. Currently, no one is accepting responsibilities but are quick to blame.
 

Redrock12

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A poignant quote.
Which is why I enjoy mystery writer Michael Connelly so much. With uncanny accuracy, he uses the detective genre through his protagonist detective Harry Bosch to describe the inner workings of the LAPD bureaucracy and LA city politics, corruption and all, as well as describing detailed investigations and the mundane everyday gruntwork of uniformed cops and detectives alike. Connelly's first introduction to police work was as a ridealong police reporter for the LA Times, which was his impetus and motivating force for his writing career.
His Lincoln Lawyer series also gives detailed and accurate descriptions of the LA legal system and its inner workings.
He also has a podcast at michaelconnelly.com with actual investigations leading to convictions, one of a serial killer of women that it took fifty years to finally arrest and convict, by ironically, a team of female detectives.
FWIW
 

Jones

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
The loneliness that many are feeling has it's function. In one way it's kind of like an acknowledgement that there is a better way of relating and at the same time that we probably haven't achieved the state of being to have the kind of relationship that we're reading about - if we did, we'd probably already have it. So loneliness can be a part of instinctive drive to utilise to examine ourselves in the platonic relationships or connections that we already have and to use those to practice the kinds of things we're learning in this reading. One of the things that's helpful is that if we want something and we're not getting it and or suffering for not having it, then we're right place to learn.

There's also a dichotomy with law or moral codes. There is both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. One can be totally compliant with the letter of the law, but be in breach of the spirit of the law and at the same time following the spirit of the law can place one in breach of the letter of the law. The difficulty being that it's not so easy to always convey the spirit of the law without encoding into the letter of the law. Add to that that there are those who create laws who will likely never agree with or be able to grok the foundational spirit of the law. Also in many cases, or so it seems, that one has to have a good exposure to the letter of the law for the spirit of the law to reveal itself and then there's the choice of whether to give the spirit of the law supremacy or not.

It's kind of like the difference between Luke and Anakin Skywalker and how each interacts with the Jedi Code. Luke is much more impulsive and breaches in the letter of the code - where he acts against orders - don't weigh so heavily on his conscience - perhaps because he is in alignment with the spirit of the code and his breaches are not hidden. Where as Anakin is secretly breaching the code and it weighs more heavily on him, probably out of pride, and leads to a very traumatic experience. One thing I read about trauma is that the fundamental choice being made in dealing with it is between love and power. Anakin chose power and became the exact opposite of what he set out to be in the beginning. He could have chosen love and there was always the option of fessing up and/or leaving the Jedi.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Balogh has quite a repertoire. Each set/series has a theme and an atmosphere of its own. One book of hers that was just shocking and horribly grim in the events described was "The Secret Pearl." I don't think it's part of a series, but it sure laid out the tragic aspects of life in a bald way and I was a bit surprised by that.
I read this book some time ago, it was very painful, I put the book aside a few times, I didn't want to read it any more, but I got over it and finished. Emotional rollercoster, fear and anxiety and relief at the end, I couldn't wait for the end and a happy ending.
It was a book that at times influenced the capability of vision in such a way that the letters of the text appeared unclear and blurred though quickly reappearing in all their distinctiveness a few seconds later.

It is not in the Survivor series, still one finds this passage:
you are a strong person, a survivor. I hope that one day you will find a happiness you have never even dreamed possible."
As the story unfolds, the possibility of finding a happiness beyond dreams develops; events that seem to work against its fulfilment eventually make its realization possible, as an outcome of the inner strength and resourcefulness of the protagonists, the help of friends and a benevolent providence.

Apart from the relationship between the two protagonists, one could also reflect on the relationship between some of the secondary characters amongst themselves and the relationships between some of the secondary characters and the protagonists. One of the dramatic effects of the book, it seems, is the variation and contrast between these different relationships.
 
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