Tag Archives: Editor: Kenneth Weene

Award Winning Strangely Different Short Stories

First there was Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road. These are strangely different MediumFrontCover.jpgmodern/literary stories meant to break the boundaries of the genre. Edited by Sassy Brit and C.C. Bye, it placed 4th in the P&E Readers Poll for anthologies in 2012

Then there wThe Speed of Dark Front Cover Beta Versionas The Speed of Dark. This is a collection of strangely different horror stories. It picked up eight awards, including an honourable mention in the 84th Annual Wrtiers’ Digest Writing Competition.

Today we are releasing a fine collection of strangely different, genre busting, western stories. The anthology, The Nettle Tree,  includes some of the authors from The Write Room Blog, as well as some fine talent from Canada, the U.S. and the UK. You can order your copy through Amazon or directlly from Chase Enterprises Publishing.

Front Cover

The Evolving Communal Mind by Martha Love

Martha LoveWe may hear some people complain that our propensity toward using social networking and cell phones, particularly when we are in a public or social situation, are signs that we modern humans are a bunch of disassociated people who don’t know how to sit in the same room together and relate to each other anymore. But wouldn’t it be a calming thought to think of this behavior as also being indicative of a new human skill we are fervently developing through the use of such devices—the ability to bond with others from a distance—as taking baby steps toward telepathy and intuitional intelligence that could bring us all even closer together than we currently imagine. Let’s explore this!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I happened on a discussion on my Facebook feed among some of my “friends”—one of which is a prominent author—who were all rather puzzled at the fact that they had so many feelings for “internet friends” they had known for a couple of years but never actually met in person and how they felt sad with a heavy feeling of loss because one of them had deceased. It was a virtual communication cluster of humans who had never met in physical form but were sharing an actual experience of mourning, grief, and were comforting each other over the loss of another someone they also had never met in physical form. Something very important around bonding from a distance had been learned by these friends. As far as social scientists know or have recorded, this type of skill in relating with intimacy from a distance is a fairly new species behavior in modern human history that is growing globally in occurrence with our advances in telecommunications and social networking. To a social scientist like myself, it is worthy of noting and speculating upon where it could take us and how it could affect our human condition.

If we are learning that we do not need to be in the same locality together, that we do not need a close proximity and physical relationship in order to feel close and to share thoughts and feelings, to comfort each other emotionally and feel intimate in that sense, and to feel accepted by and care for each other, then is this fundamentally changing us and our psychological competencies and functions as human beings? Of course it most likely is, even if it is a very slow, almost unrecognizable, transformation of our species. So perhaps we can speculate where it is taking us in the long run and just relax and enjoy the ride.

We could speculate that the internet and cell phones are our training wheels for learning to connect to the Noosophere and then develop telepathy in the further future as a species. And if so, will we one day develop telepathy through the use of something kin to implantable cell phones and/or eventually make structural adaptations more naturally by learning to use our higher faculties that are already within our potential consciousness? Professor Miguel Nicolelis of Duke University has recently announced that his lab has created in rats the first brain-to-brain internet communication called “organic“ computing as a precursor to telepathy. The potential of this discovery may all sound horrid to us now, cell phones in our heads and with telepathy we could be so transparent that people know everything that we think and feel. But many of us remember also when the idea of just having a cell phone seemed horrid—the idea that by carrying a cell phone and people could call you anytime anywhere you went, seemed for many of us like it would be a completely unwanted invasion of privacy (and I still leave mine home on peaceful walks to the park or beach).

To explore these questions of our telepathic future, we first need to look at how telepathy could be a progressive necessity for us as a species and what value it would have to us psychologically. It would surely alter the nature of human interactions and relationships as we know it today and, in fact, the leanings we have toward becoming telepathic appear to already be doing so.

Many of our families of origin have spread themselves all over the globe with a common scenario of grandma in Ohio and her children in Seattle, Tampa, and Houston, with her grandchildren now in Bangkok, New York City and Hawaii. We have scattered our seeds and diversified, stepping into new environments spread wide apart, surrounding the globe. We now have so much to hold together in relationships and it is so much work to stay connected as a family of origin, to keep in communication. We have needed to diversify our families and adopt more local extended family members in order to have immediate community to fill our human need for intimacy. And some of our adopted, extended family members are not local but are ones we have never actually meet in the flesh, only in virtual time through social networking.

We know through science that nature in its workings, including our human nature, is conservative, and it does not waste energy. Nature does not try an experiment or make a change in a species without a necessity or survival reason for an adaptation and without an underlying principle to follow. It has been my life work in psychology to explore the intelligence of our human nature, and in doing so I have discovered that we human beings have two instinctual needs—acceptance (intimacy, attention, security and containment) and freedom (control of our own responses to life) that we strive to keep in balance from moment-to-moment. If we accept that we have an innate striving toward the balance for our needs of acceptance and freedom, then we can view this new skill in bonding and intimacy at a distance as an attempt of our nature to bring ourselves into balance of these two needs. Working off this theory of inner needs, it would seem logical that we would have reason and motive to learn telepathic skills as an adaptation to the isolation of the social environment we have created, with families spread out in distance around the globe. Telepathy would undoubtedly increase our communications and intimacy with others and be one way we could balance our need for acceptance with the vast freedoms we have already taken or may take as a species in even further reaches interstellar.

Throughout history, a species, plant or animal life, will assure its continued existence and arrest its very extinction by biologically diversifying and by adaptation to the changing environment in which it inhabits. Seeds cast themselves into the wind to spread and diversify and must adapt to sometimes hitherto uninhabited territories. This causes necessary changes in the species. If you accept science, then the history of humankind shows we are no different than other animals in this adaptation process (although note that both our reasoning ability and spirituality distinguishes us), as we are not the same humans in our biological functioning abilities that we were thousands of years ago. Even if you agree with those scientists who view humans and Neanderthals as possibly two separate species, you can see that humans have adapted and changed in their communication skills and consciousness through the ages. Taking into account the need for this adaptation process, it is perhaps then no accident that we have created and embraced technology on all fronts to include the ensuring of the accessibility of international air travel and the use of computers and telephones to a point that we have widened our worldview to include all people. And we are still working on widening this worldview to include a more complete global consciousness.

Perhaps the growth of becoming more telepathic as a species is a necessary tool to help us break down the communication barriers on the path to our real Human destiny of truly becoming conscious of the fact that we are one Human Family. For now I leave you to think on this, but then if I am asking these questions then maybe the communal mind or Noosophere has communicated through the global electromagnetic field and you too are already pondering these possibilities.

“We reflect upon the vastness within us but like the outer universe, cannot know it’s parameters…”

Martha Char Love, author of “What’s Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct”

website: http://careerstorefront.angelfire.com

blog site: http://instinctualgutfeelings.blogspot.com

Crossing the lines of culture – My experience in Iran by Lori Foroozandeh

If you writIrane a book about something that is little known, you have to be prepared for questions. Some will be silly and trivial, some will be deeper: but there will be questions. I wrote about Iran. Immediately I learned that many Americans know little about that country and its culture. Many of the questions I have been asked have been about the women of Iran. They seem so different from the women of America, so different and so very hard to comprehend.

The mere mention of Iran invokes suspicion. Backwardness, fundamentalism, and terrorism were some of the words that seemed to immediately spring to American minds.  Iranian men are seen as bearded, militant, hostile, and chauvinistic. The women are assumed to be veiled, oppressed, and submissive. Shrouded in their traditional black chadors (the ultimate symbol of their oppression), Iranian women shown on television appear angry. Holding their hands in the air and chanting anti-American slogans, they are more than willing to join the men in a fight against the United States.

Is the anger and anti-Americanism of the Iranian woman real? Are these so-called truths only media propaganda? Are these mass images a reflection of “the people,” or are they just manufactured collages that deprive the individual Iranian woman of her personal humanity? Exactly who is the Iranian woman?

While her appearance seems to typify inferiority and the oppression of the “second sex” that is so prevalent in that part of the world, I beg to differ with the stereotype. Having lived in Iran and having been in day-to-day contact with many of these women, I know them to be wise, proud, and highly intelligent. They are also tactful if not downright manipulative as they deal with the male dominated society around them. They are in many ways truly heroes.

The true Iranian woman may be oppressed, but underneath she is rebellious. She is subjugated but unruly. She is controlled and at the same time defiant. She may seem hushed and subservient, but she is strong in her faith—a true believer—and ready to fight for it. However segregated and oppressed she may be, the Iranian woman is a revolutionary, a fighter, and willing to die for her nation. Yes, she is a loving mother and a dutiful wife, but she has the heart of a warrior and the soul of Persia beats within her.

In short, there is a contradiction between the submissive and the fierce sides of these women. Westerners tend to see only the passive and subservient side. Perhaps that is because Western observers have been so fascinated by what they have seen as so different from their own cultures. Certainly the conflict with Western values has highlighted the anti-feminist aspects of Iranian culture and Islam. In part the revivalism of modern Islam has fortified these traditional values and appearances.

However, having lived in Iran for three and a half years, I have seen the other side of Iranian women. Oriented very much in the here-and-now, Iranian women are pragmatic and are often looked to for advice. Most Iranian men were closer to their mothers than their fathers.  Of course, older sons have a sense of responsibility for their mothers and sisters should anything happen to their fathers. Also, because women are removed from men in the common run of things, they may seem somehow more enigmatic, some one who has to be understood—especially after an arranged marriage, when the man is suddenly expected to take on the role of husband, a role for which he has had so little training.

It is interesting to see how greatly Iranian women change when they come to the United States, especially those women who come by themselves. Without the pressures of family, Iranian women who immigrate to the U.S. frequently give up the chador. They wait to marry. And perhaps most importantly, they continue their educations.

While the women who come here with their families and husbands continue the traditional ways (or perhaps are pressured into doing so), the women who are on their own quickly adapt to this land of new opportunities. Perhaps the most immediate sign of that adaptation is the change in their clothing. The drabness of traditional dress is suddenly replaced with color. But underneath that exuberant change, they are still some of the kindest people you will ever meet.

To read more of my experiences in Iran, visit http://www.loris-song.com/