Interview of Jacqueline Lichtenberg
In November, 2016, Francis Carmody contacted me by leaving a post on my Facebook "wall" asking me to do an interview. I agreed, and he posted the following questions which I thought interesting to Science Fiction Romance Writers because he demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit that fiction writers (who are self-employed business people) need. Look at what Francis Carmody is doing and absorb that attitude of getting the task done. The numbered paragraphs are the questions he created and JL: is me answering.
----Francis Asked ----
1. The last time we talked together, you said that you “loved my spirit.” Why?
JL: This set of questions is a good example of why. The Major Media should do so well at formulating their queries! Fiction writers, likewise, plot by asking questions, presenting possible answers, confronting Characters with choices. Characterization is always rooted in "Why" -- "What does she see in him? Why did he betray her?" Much of this list of questions consists of prime thematic material. If the New York Times asked this type of Question (and got truthful answers), we'd be in much better shape as a country than we are today.
2. If you had to pick a single issue as the most important concern for the 21st Century, what would it be?
JL: I think Alvin Toffler nailed the issue, way back in the 1970's with his book (still available because it is a fine illustration of the problem). It is FUTURE SHOCK -- technology is causing the way we live life day to day and minute to minute to change faster than the human brain/nervous system can adapt.
The issue is how we configure the human/A.I. interface.
Inside that issue is the problem science fiction (and Romance Genre, too) has been gnawing on since the 1940's and before: The fully transformed world (Asimov's vision of Robotics, colonies on other planets, Caves of Steel here) will be able to supply all human needs with only a tiny fraction of humanity employed in paying jobs. What does everybody else do?
Gene Roddenberry answered that question in STAR TREK -- art, exploration, creativity. No pockets in the uniforms because nobody carries "money."
So our 21st Century must address the problem of how do we get from here to there and avoid the pitfalls Asimov (and Heinlein) so ably pointed out.
Science is now showing how a child's activities (or lack thereof) configures the child's brain with synapses often shaping the adulthood the child will live. This produces the "generation gap" issue where parents in the 1970's couldn't program a VCR and today adult children are dealing with parents who can't use a smartphone. Can't not won't.
The technological generation gap will become most apparent in the next few decades as kids who had smart(phones; toys) as 3 year olds (and yes, I've watched kids playing educational games on handheld smartscreens), grow up to deal with their 90 year old parents who can't adapt to the next innovation.
By 90 years from now, we will have self-driving cars and household robots, and other outgrowths of the 1940's thrust to create "labor saving devices." We may have Lunar and Martian colonies and be exploring way beyond our solar system.
At the turn of the 20th century, science postulated that it should be possible to distinguish humans by measuring their Intelligence and ranking them by capability and potential, thus allowing government to avoid wasting educational resources on the incapable.
Today, science is exploring genetics and brain function to the point where "intelligence" is being redefined and redefined. (Emotional Intelligence, Mechanical, Artistic -- whatever). Bottom line: we know NOTHING about ourselves (yet). But we will before this century is out.
We have CRISPR now:
And in 2016 word has come out that the Chinese are experimenting with genetic modification of human beings. Their "one-child" Communist Government imposed limitation is about to cause their country to "implode" -- and they realize they don't need all their people, but only those capable of contributing to this new, highly complex, technology based world.
So what it comes down to is Power, it's use and abuse, a big topic on this blog
Science is producing technology which lays Power into the hands of human beings who have not evolved to be immune to the psychological need to dominate other humans.
Science is also simultaneously laying the Power to modify humans into the hands of humans.
Therein lies the challenge we are facing -- the configuring of the interface between the human Spirit and the technology we produce.
Science Fiction Romance is a fiction genre uniquely suited to explore the possibilities, and create "What if ..." "If only ..." and "If This Goes On ..." models of the futures we must choose among.
This blog is designed to reveal the potential of Science Fiction Romance Genre as a problem solving tool of the 21st Century.
3. Today I see a lot of Christendom caught up in what I call the Disinformation Wars or even more simply the Apocalypse Fever. What do you think is going wrong in our churches, and why?
JL: I don't frequent Churches, so I am not qualified to comment on this question.
4. What is your spiritual orientation? I ask for the benefit of the audience...so the real question is, why are we NOT enemies?
JL: Actually, I've written 5 books that nibble around the edges of this question.
Jean Lorrah calls me a Mystic, and I'd guess that fits. My degree is in Chemistry (with minors in Physics and Math) -- however, I really majored in Science Fiction Writing but didn't tell the University that (because they basically despised it and held any fan in utter contempt.) I did not take a single English or History course in college, just passed tests to get the credit without attending classes (which was permitted and even encouraged for Math and Science majors).
To be a science fiction writer, one must know science. For that, University is essential because you need the expensive labs to do actual hands-on experiments and work your way through how all that we know was originally worked out, one tiny step at a time. You may not use scientific knowledge that you were TOLD -- you must PROVE IT for yourself, in order to possess it at a level where you can use it to create with.
Fiction, on the other hand, you can teach yourself easily and cheaply through Free Public Libraries (and now the Internet, with tools such as my blog.) To teach yourself, you only need the cognitive tools acquired through a University science education (wall-to-wall physics/math/chemistry) with an occasional bit of Archaeology or Linguistics, Paleontology etc so you know what to look up.
I wrote STAR TREK LIVES!
(see discussion on Facebook:
essentially to present my argument that the University Professors were wrong about Science Fiction, and I expect that is a gut-level reason Gene Roddenberry wrote Star Trek. Science Fiction is crucial to humanity surviving the next epoch, and survival means getting off this planet sooner rather than later.
Study of Science brings you an understanding of the physical matrix in which life is embedded. Study of Fiction gives you an understanding of the psychological matrix in which you live your personal Life.
Studying the interface between physical reality and psychological reality, we find grand and great Works (especially Romances about improbable Soul Mates) scattered throughout human history, spawning philosophies and religions galore. I've studied most of them in some detail -- and all that effort just led me back to where I started -- Kaballah, the Oral Tradition about the meaning of the collection or anthology we now call The Bible.
The traditional story goes that God offered the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) to all the other Nations before coming to Abraham. Sort of the same approach you've used -- try to peddle services to whoever is around, and then just do-it-yourself. He chose Abraham and then made of him a great Nation. And this is illustrated by the scattered bits and traces, the Ultimate Truths, you find in each and every civilization we've dug up or preserved. Every successful civilization has been fueled by a bit of the Torah.
I do not see a separation between the spiritual and the physical. I never have.
5. Part of the reason I created this ministry ( https://www.facebook.com/francis.carmody ) was simply so that I could teach myself how to be successful in earning my own living. Please name one service that my growing network of supporters and myself can do for you and Simegen.com that you would actually pay me for.
JL: Well, see that question is another reason I admire your spirit. THAT is the spirit that will fuel the successful negotiation through the coming century where we must create an interface between what is human and what humans create.
At this particular moment, Sime~Gen Inc. is not hiring and has no employees. That could very well change soon. We will need more Lawyers, Accountants, and Agents, maybe a Manager to interface with Hollywood. As the formats for tech delivery of text change, we may need techs to re-do all our books. And there is a graphic novel/video game project designed to take Sime~Gen into the space age. ( news breaks first on the Sime~Gen Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SimeGen/
6. What would you consider your ruling passion in life?
JL: Maybe an absolute greed for knowledge, to know everything, to understand everything. That's probably shared with most other fiction writers.
7. What about politics? What do you think of the upcoming Trump presidency?
I have to write a blog entry about this for the Science Fiction Romance Writers. I followed the election via Astrology -- many astrology websites predicted a clean Clinton landslide, and had evidence to prove their points. I, on the other hand, used a totally different analysis (it's that science fiction writer thinking - looking at life, the universe and everything as a STORY).
Point by point, day by day, throughout the entire year's campaign, all Trump's blurted mistakes and Clinton's failure to follow-through, or her dazzlingly gorgeous performances (the speech at the Convention was marvelous), all were easily traced by comparing various charts.
There was no astrological evidence about which candidate would become President.
That is the nature of Astrology and for that matter, Tarot. There is no "future" to "foretell."
There is no "power" to be attained by mastery of the Occult or any form of Mysticism. The future is determined by by the Creator of the Universe, and you may argue well in prayer and deed, thus altering His choices. But Free Will (of each and every one of us, plus all of us together) is primarily active in shaping our world and our personal destinies. So Astrological Natal Charts do now show "death" for example, because the universe goes right on spinning after you die. Tarot can't predict if you will succeed or fail, but only read your present emotional frame of mind and heart. Just like Astrology, Tarot can tell you only what you already know, (but sometimes don't know that you know.)
However, there are things you can learn that can be of great interest to fiction writers trying to craft a plausible plot.
Trump's natal chart has Relationships to the USA natal chart that are as distinctive (but different) as Obama's natal chart's relationship to the USA Natal chart.
And transiting Saturn is descending into the Obscure part of Clinton's Natal Chart, but Ascending into the Public (New Starts, New Career) part of Trump's chart.
But it was a Battle of the Titans, toe to toe, nose to nose, eyeball to eyeball. It is amazing it has not (yet) spread more destruction than it did. They are too evenly matched. And in the end they both "won" -- Trump the Electoral College (which is indicated by his connections to the USA natal chart), and Clinton the popular vote (indicated by her Natal Chart and derivatives of it -- she was at a lifetime peak of popularity and accomplishment but under a long transit that undermined her judgement).
So Trump is the man of the hour - on the hot-seat - has bitten off much more than he can chew, and is only now discovering that. He has much more humbling before him.
He will do very well indeed the first part of 2017, with disasters and spiritual defeats and sagging spirits maybe in February, but lots of blazing hot accomplishments up to maybe around August, and then a huge downsweep, overwhelming defeats -- and then up again into the end of 2017. We may not notice his sagging spirits or defeats. This reading is only about what's going on inside him, not what others see.
For the USA, his Administration is not a culmination but a prelude.
Look at the transits to the USA Natal Chart (I've done some blogs about this -- here's an index post to some blogs on Astrology Just For Writers) Pay attention to the two part entry called Part 6.
The USA has two distinct (equally valid) Natal Charts for the signing on July 4th, 1776, as two groups of men signed at different times. One describes the life-course of what we now call the Democrats and the other the Republicans. Those were not "Parties" but philosophies.
One chart is for 2:13 AM LMT, 1776, which I identify with our current "Republicans" and their philosophy of government (for various reasons in the chart's configuration). The other is known as (and mostly given much more credence) The Sibley Chart which is for 5:10 PM LMT, the second and final group of signatures. The Sibley Chart describes the philosophy of what we currently call "Democrats."
Saturn is going into obscurity for the Democrats, and rising above the 7th House cusp (into prominence) for the Republicans.
Trace back through History and you see the two factions (party names changing), which have different ideas about what Government is (especially the Federal Government, a government of governments), what it does, and what it is for, and see how well the transits of Saturn correlate to which party holds the White House and dominance in the Legislature.
What is worth watching during the Trump Administration is the transit of Pluto to both Charts of the USA -- Pluto is so slow that it's place is identical in both charts, but the house position is different. At the exact TIME of the 2008 mortgage derivatives collapse that gave the USA a financial Heart Attack, Pluto was transiting conjunct the Nation's 8th House Cusp (0 Deg Capricorn).
8th House in personal natal charts represents "other people's money" (a husband's income for example; parent's financial situation). It also represents not love but animal sexuality. And it is associated with the conditions at death, but that's difficult to assess.
My take on the significance of the 8th House in a nation's natal chart is that it represents Taxes, the public money trough at which politicians feed.
The USA natal Pluto is in the 9th House of that chart which predicted the financial crisis (and the connection to Obamacare is all there, too.) In BOTH political parties' USA Natal Charts, Pluto is in the same exact place. But in 1 it is 9th House (international affairs and philosophy of government; Natural 9th is Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, growth, truth, justice, rulership). In that natal chart, 0 Degrees Capricorn is the 8th House cusp.
Here's the thing.
Pluto is lining up to do the USA's first Pluto Return -- where transiting Pluto gets to the place where it was on that fateful July 4th. That will happen beginning in February 2022, again in the summer through December 2022 and sustain through October 2023. The degree to watch is 27 Degrees Capricorn. Pluto transits typically manifest after the final contact, but in the case of 0 Degrees Capricorn, the financial collapse was right on.
That Pluto Return would be a Trump administration second term mid-term election result -- major structural power upset. Or maybe we'll change Presidents.
To figure what that might be like you must delve deep into the significance of Pluto, of Capricorn and its Ruler Saturn, of the 9th House (which I peg as a country's Foreign Affairs and governing philosophy), Sagittarius, Jupiter.
I've discussed Pluto and its relationship to "accounting for taste" in fiction, to the varying tastes in fiction through the generations, and how to use it to construct a plot.
You don't have to know astrology to use astrology in writing. Most people use it just fine by consulting their gut feelings. Trump calls this "good judgement" and he has it in spades. He listens to his inner voice. He launched his campaign at the most auspicious moment for success (when he came down that escalator) and every turning point in the campaign was right exactly as it had to be.
Astrologers point to the moment he gave his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention as being inauspicious for success -- and in fact it was, but Astrology is tricky like that! It was his acceptance of the Party Nomination and it was very inauspicious for the Party Establishment which took a grand licking for months afterward.
I don't think Trump is using an astrologer as Reagan's wife did. I think he just listens to his inner voice.
People point to his business failures to say they disqualify him for the work of the Oval Office -- but I suspect it is through those false starts and the consequences of various bits of immoral behavior that he has learned to listen to that voice. Like Reagan, he has only one talent -- and is a disaster at everything else. He is a keen judge of people.
We all know that Reagan was not doing the President's job. He was failing badly after being shot. Everyone else around him, people he'd chosen via his judge of character, did the actual work of governing. That's not the first time we've had a figure head for a president, and it won't be the last.
People view Trump with such fear, but what they fear is a fabricated image having nothing to do with the real man. The real man is much scarier but for totally different reasons. He is just a prelude to the President who will take this country through our Pluto Return (which no human being ever lives long enough to experience; which is why I love Vampire stories!). He's the set-up. The real blow comes next decade. The backlash against whatever Trump does will be a new experience in this country's history.
Other countries have survived Pluto Returns -- we can, too.
8. What is your view of gay marriage, and why?
JL: On this and many related politicized "social issues" my view is that humans have to learn to mind their own business. That's a hard-hard lesson, and does not come naturally to humans. Just watch 2 year olds playing.
We don't come equipped to understand the borderline between Self and Other. That border is depicted clearly in astrological natal charts -- we have access to it in that gut-feeling level without knowing astrology. By the age of 5, we have begun to grasp it. But I think most humans only gain the ability to grasp this fine point of existence in their thirties. Whether they then learn it, or not, often depends on the marriage situation.
All that modern-technology/human interface discussion in a previous answer above pertains to this. Big Data deep diving has stripped away the privacy barriers (read Alvin Toffler's books). So it is assumed anything you don't make public must be secret and therefore nefarious.
People don't know the difference between privacy and secrecy (hence Clinton's email disasters). The philosophical relationship between privacy and individual identity, the importance of individuality to the group (1st House vs 7th House), has all been wiped away for this new generation who, at the age of 3 or 4, are already learning via smartscreens.
There's an old saying that could be revived. Don't wash your dirty linen in public. Which also has a corrolary - don't wash your clean linen in public.
Today, there is the saying, "Too Much Information" -- a cringe written as TMI in social media because it's such a common communications problem.
This is an "editorial" function, more than a writing function. How much to reveal, and when and to whom. Getting that correct means knowing that line between Self and Other, and secrecy and privacy.
This secrecy/privacy dividing line and a raft of related issues about Identity and the role of humans in a roboticized society (as discussed above) is indeed that Single Issue Of Most Concern you referenced.
This evolving civilization is in the process of redefining very fundamental issues. But those issues are so fundamental people don't want to think about them, even don't want to know they exist. Because of human nature, humans focus all attention on the most irrelevant matters to avoid confronting the issues that do matter.
9. Do you know and understand what a LARP is? For most of my life, the Christians around me have had a very negative attitude toward popular movies, “secular” music, and especially gaming. What is wrong with this picture, and how has the interview changed your understanding of what I am trying to do?
JL: yes as a long-time fan I know LARP. In fact, there has been a Sime~Gen LARP, and I think one based on my novels MOLT BROTHER and CITY OF A MILLION LEGENDS. The novels are designed to be played, which is why there very likely will be a Sime~Gen videogame fairly soon.
My understanding of what you are trying to do has not changed.
I wouldn't say there is anything wrong with this picture. As noted above, we are swinging into a Pluto Return -- 8th House is also mysticism as is Neptune (which also signifies the state of mind necessary for Romance). Right now Neptune is transiting it's own sign, Pisces. The "Gates" are open to other dimensions of reality. Few can tolerate that. The level of confusion, the paniced grasp at belief as the cognitive tool to understand reality will increase, and not abate until maybe 2025.
I did an essay, (it is on simegen.com somewhere) about the precession of the equinoxes and how that correlates to the way Earth's various populations view God.
Once you understand that the majority around you are viewing the Ineffable through the one window with the curtains open, then it shouldn't disturb you to discover that you are peeking through a crack in the curtains of a different window. All of us are looking at the same thing -- what is OUTside this reality. But we all see something different. It is the Blind Men And The Elephant problem - to know what part of reality is, is not the same thing as knowing the entire reality.
All those people who see what you do not see, and do not see what you see, are doing fine. Mind your own business and all will be well.
10. If I asked you to help me make a Star Trek Connection, would you trust me enough to do it? What about Wil Wheaton?
JL: I doubt Wil Wheaton knows who I am or "follows" me, though I follow him on Twitter.
These people are actors (or writers, directors, producers) of a commercial product. The people are not the characters they play or create.
Study Hollywood and you will learn that actors and writers are at the bottom of the pecking order, people of no consequence. Talent is cheap and plentiful and they are utterly replaceable from the point of view of the Industry that reaps profit from their work.
Actors and writers don't want to hear from you unless you have the power to pay them or increase their popularity. If you do have that power, your Agent or Manager will contact their Agent or Manager. If you attempt to contact an actor directly, you are telegraphing that you have nothing to offer them (except fannish adulation, maybe, which is often felt as intrusive or inappropriate), have no clue how the Industry works, and will never have any place in that Industry.
This relates to my answer above emphasizing Individuality - privacy vs secrecy. Who are you? If you're a professional in my industry and have a business proposal for me, then you know how valuable my privacy is to me, and you know how to contact me to present your proposal. That is one of the most widespread prevailing attitudes, and it is an attitude rammed into their heads by force -- because of the impact of loss of privacy due to fame (and/or infamy).
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