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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents
"Singles Bars and Honor"
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Jacqueline Lichtenberg, POB 290, Monsey, N.Y. 10952
As readers of this column know, I don't pitch books at you in the December column to avoid contributing to the merchant-driven buying frenzy that I see as a source of Holiday Depression.
So I'm going to discuss the second episode of the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel. Why? Because quite by "accident" that episode addresses the theme of Honor and last month's issue of finding the limit on how much to give just because you're Talented.
And it's all connected to the issue of the use and abuse of Magical Power.
In the second episode of Angel our intrepid Vampire Private Eye is assigned by his half-human friend to find someone who needs rescuing in a singles bar. The script for this show is as well written as the best of the Buffy scripts in terms of the psychological study of loneliness. It introduces a new (formula) character, the Private Eye's police contact. But other than that, it does not progress the story-arc (if there is to be a story arc.)
I thought the show was failing because the plot had gone static in the second episode, and then I heard out of the corner of my ear, a few lines of throwaway dialog among the singles bar customers, and WHAM, this entire year's study of the problem of Honor crystallized.
As many of you know, I have been attending Star Trek conventions since the early 1970's. After the phenomenon of the Star Trek convention hit critical mass, For Profit Event Promoters moved in and began imitating what they thought the draw of the conventions had to be, the Stars on the stage before an audience
Recently, I heard a comment by a fan who had gone to such a "convention" expecting a real convention and come home disappointed and resentful of the entry fee. There were no room parties at night calling together groups of internet friends to meet each other. There was only a stage show during the day where TV stars spoke before packed audiences of cheering fans. It was a lonely experience, staying in that crowded hotel. Just like a singles bar.
The dialog in the singles bar emphasized how lonely an experience it was to frequent a singles bar. Then a couple lines of dialog between people trying to strike up a conversation defined what was wrong with the singles bar concept as a Magical Exercise in karmic-mate hunting.
And it all goes back to that Kaballistic concept of Giving and Receiving that I discussed in this column several years ago. (to find columns I refer to, you may use the domain search engine at www.simegen.com and search on the key words (i.e. Receiving). ) And in fact, that column on Kaballah has a direct bearing on the problem posed by the books reviewed last month.
If it's true that our civilization values Giving above Receiving, then we all have a "developmental deficit" (see Noel Tyl's books on Astrology (www.noeltyl.com )) in Receiving. Perhaps the origin of that deficit in Receiving skills lies in a deficit in Giving skills. (Moon's nodes)
In other words, "making a connection" (i.e. developing many acquaintances some of whom become friends, among whom one may find a lover who might become a spouse), is a function of Giving And Receiving -- Left Pillar of the Tree of Life connected to Right Pillar.
In our socially sanctioned paradigm, those who Give have Power, and those who Receive do not have Power.
"Beggars can't be choosers."
"It is more blessed to Give than to Receive."
If your school takes government money, you must then adhere to government regulations. A wife who doesn't bring in a salary is viewed as a "Dependent" by the tax code.
Only Giving bestows Power, and thus Honor and the right to behave Honorably (i.e. the right to self-respect).
So, what's the difference between a real convention (such as the La Femme Nikita convention discussed last month) and a show done by For Profit Promoters?
At that show, people paid to RECEIVE fun -- to revel in the illusion of a connection to the source of their fun. The transaction was between the Stars on the stage Giving, and the people in the audience passively Receiving.
At a real convention, everyone who comes brings something to give, and thus leaves with much more than they gave. They bring joy, fun, interest. They bring excitement, possibilities, projects, creativity. They bring fanzines, stories, artwork, costumes, skits, videotapes and players for room parties, used books and fanzines to sell so they can buy others -- they bring what they treasure most (enjoyment, passion for a FUN THING) and give it away, entice others to share that passion for this wondrous fun thing they love.
And that Magical Energy leaps from person to person and creates a group mind that kindles JOY in everyone there.
That doesn't happen at a show or a singles bar because the people don't work all year to prepare something to bring. But that joy is what they went there to get -- only nobody brought any.
The Stars are there to entertain - and they get paid to do that. They didn't come to give away their greatest, most personally significant joy. They come to do their job. Some of them do, in fact, find certain TV roles a source of joy, and some find the fans of those certain characters energizing. But that isn't part of the stage-audience paradigm. That joy-exchange between actor and fan happens in the hallways, the dealer's room, passing on the escalator, in the Art Show and at room parties. The "show" doesn't have those places where the Stars can mingle with the fans without being mobbed.
So what did that episode of Angel depict at that singles bar? A large group of people all striving to "make a connection" -- to find someone special. Every conversation opener was a paraphrase of "I want" and "Give me" --
None of the conversation openers were of the sort overheard in elevators and restaurants at a hotel filled with a real fan convention, paraphrases of "Look what I found!" and "I'd put out that fanzine if only I could find someone to do the artwork," (reply, "I'll do it!) and "I found this wonderful website with great Nikita stories," and "I'll trade tapes of this British show, for the last ep of Buffy." Or, "Oh, I love your T-Shirt. That's my favorite show!" And "Where did you get that fanzine?!!" (answer, "Back left corner of the Dealer's Room - they had three left an hour ago. Come on, I'll show you!" Which is the opening line of a lifelong friendship.)
In other words, Loneliness happens when the Giving-Receiving paradigm is broken. If you Give too much, or the part of yourself you can't afford to give, or you only Give, you'll be lonely. If you only Receive, and keep what you Receive, you'll be lonely. If you expect to get from the person you give to, you'll be lonely.
Acquaintanceship, friendship, confidante-hood, best-friendship, love, and espousal happen to people who engage (Swords/Air) other people's emotions (Cups/Water) in projects, events, organizations and activities (Pentacles/Earth) and to people willing to let themselves become engaged in other people's projects -- and then spin off projects of their own which engage other people.
Why does it work that way? It's inherent in the structure of the Universe. CUPS (emotions) is connected to PENTACLES (equity in RELATIONSHIPS) via SWORDS (activities). Emotions can never result in a Relationship without Activities to transmit the emotions.
Some have a Talent for creating Ideas, and some for Materializing Ideas, some for building community, and some for organizing the community's efforts. Consider, in Honor, what part of your Talent you can freely offer the world.
If, during this culminating Holiday Season, you don't like the way connectedness is working in your life, you may have the opportunity (because of the prevailing Grand Cross formation) to change your life-direction by changing the Giving-Receiving paradigm that you're living.
Give what you're most desperate to Receive.
If you're desperate to "meet someone" -- then let them meet you. Start a project or volunteer to work on a project that captures your imagination, that you see as something immensely significant to the world. Share what you love most, which will show the world who you really are and, over the next few years, the world will send you a hundred acquaintances -- one of whom will become a friend.
Send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, POB 290, Monsey, N.Y. 10952
Send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg,
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Reviewed by Jacqueline Lichtenberg