Previous parts of this series on Soul Mates linked into and through the HEA are:
Part 2 starts with a list of related posts and the Index post to the series of Believing in the Happily Ever After.
I'm posting this 4 minute cat video about origin of domesticated house cat, and the world view of the domestic house cat because I discovered it "by accident" the day after I wrote the Part 3 of this series of posts.
That Cat Video, if you don't see it here, is on this website: https://www.chabad.org/3968315
The previous Soul Mates and the HEA post tackled the issues surrounding defining Happiness.
Romance fans generally assume that joining with your Soul Mate automatically creates Happiness in you, and not the sort of spike to a peak and equally steep decline to misery that Happiness usually is associated with.
We try to sustain the PEAK experience - thinking this is the proper mode of function and an achievement. Falling off he peak experience is felt as failure, or as proving that what was experienced was not happiness.
Language fails to capture the nuances of human experience in the defined denotations of words. Fiction must step into the gap and evoke emotional tone-poems in readers to explain how what is going on inside of you is also part of the experience of life felt by others.
Yet at the same time as we are all alike, we are each individually unique.
So the teen's view of "nobody ever felt like this before" is true, at the same time it is false. Everyone loses virginity in some aspect of life. It isn't always sexual virginity that is lost -- but the experience is the same. You can't do it for the first time again.
Firsts are unique, but everyone experiences their First. Your First will differ markedly from the First of other people.
So, we might further refine our definition of "Happily" in "Happily Ever After" as FREE ACCESS to the best sex, ever.
Remember, in Part 3 of this series, we focused on the necessary but not sufficient condition for happiness as being Freedom, but noted how many types of freedom there can be, how unique to an individual's life-pattern the sense of freedom can be, and what responsibility has to do with feeling an optimum level of Freedom so there is a chance at Happily Ever After.
So if Happiness must include some sort of sexual experience (for some people that might not be true), and the sexual experience must be "peak" or "the best ever" or "optimized for this individual" then the fiction writer must portray the various parameters that combine to create "the best sex."
There is a principle in Magic, "As Above; So Below" -- or the material world mirrors its supernal counterpart.
Or, for example, the Laws of Thermodynamics apply both to the material world and to the supernal world(s). (In Kabbalah there are 4 Worlds, us and three Worlds previous in the creation process which is ongoing).
Do you see how the World you build for your fiction defines Character, Story, Plot -- and let's you choose among limited bundles of Themes? For example, if Magic is real in your Fictional World, then your Characters have one set of problems. If Magic is not real, doesn't work, can't intrude, in your Fictional World, your Scientist Characters (lead Characters in Science Fiction Romance) have a different set of problems to solve.
In our real world, there are those who see the world interlaced with something supernal -- G-d, Supreme Architect, Creator, Little crazy-gods raised in dysfunctional families, demons, angels, etc. -- and those who see only the hard-surface of Reality (with or without quantum theory).
We all seem to live in the same World -- but large groups select clusters of rules and theories to believe in, or to explain what they observe about Life.
What is the truth about Reality - the reality your reader lives in?
As with the virgin who is convinced by personal experience that no other human ever in all history and pre-history has ever-ever-ever experienced THIS (peak sex, or whichever sort of virginity is being lost), the truth about the nature of Reality is both true and untrue at the same time.
Usually, by the word "true" we mean to refer to a binary view of reality, an Aristotelian view, a duality view -- and the only other value that can exist in that World is "un-true."
But, as with the Virgin, human experience is not yes/no, on/off, clean, clear and defined. Human experience is more often a spectrum.
Those with some sexually active years behind them understand how wide a variation of experience is possible with sex and how complex that experience is.
Writing for a readership that is sexually Virgin, has just lost Virginity and is blown away by it, or has a gaggle of rug-rats to wrangle because of sexual activity (both judicious and injudicious), the Romance writer must choose a theory of how sex works, why it works, what is good and desirable, and what causes Epic Fail Mode to engage.
Then, the writer has to convince the reader that this choice is a valid one for this particular Character in this particular World.
In real life, the reader probably knows that sex can lead to the ultimate misery in life -- but believes with all the heart a human can muster that sex is the gateway to the HEA.
Sex is a necessary ingredient in Happiness for most people (keep in mind, not for everyone).
As a writer, you get to choose a definition of Happiness that your Characters start out believing, choose Events that disabuse them of that notion, and choose a new definition of Happiness they settle into at the HEA (and by that point it is not "belief" that shapes their emotions, but "understanding." )
This series on Soul Mates and the HEA is working out one such set of premises that work for fiction.
We established that Strength of Character is rooted in the signal/noise ratio of the energy flowing between the Soul and the Body.
When the Signal is high, intense, loud, the Soul is in command of the body so the body experiences Emotion energized by the Soul.
When the Noise laced through the connection disrupts communication from the Soul, the Body is left to become "feral" -- reverting to the Wild.
If you haven't watched the cat video yet, (it is about 4 minutes), do play it to the end.
It pretty much defines "domestication." The most prominent characteristic of domesticated animals is not compliance with human wishes, but rather that humans have taken command of the species' breeding. We breed dogs for certain traits, and cats for others -- chickens, cows, etc.
In other words, domestication is genetics -- and we do this with plants, too.
We now know that experiences alter the way genes "express" in a human being. You might have wild genes, but living civilized will reshape how they express in your body.
So where, in human nature, does "experience" reside? From what part of human nature does assessment of the intensity of an experience arise?
How do we know it was good sex - good enough to marry?
You might build your fictional world around the "truth" that emotional experience arises from the Soul, but is evaluated by the Body.
That bit of Worldbuilding would lead to one bundle of Themes.
You might build your fictional world around the "truth" that emotional experience arises from the Body, but is evaluated by the Soul.
That bit of Worldbuilding would lead to an entirely different bundle of Themes.
Your main Characters might journey, stepwise, through many novels, from the World where emotion arises from the Body to the World where emotion arises from the Soul.
What would it take to make that transition? How many different ways can a couple experience sex?
Humans seek Happiness -- and envision achieving Happiness and staying happy for the rest of their lives.
Can you write a series of novels starting with a couple forming and experiencing intermittent happiness, lousy sex and good sex and great sex, and no idea why this variation occurs, all the way to the same couple discovering why their performances vary and how to change the way they live to create reliable, ever-after peak happiness sex every time?
How many world-structure theories would they have to explore - one per novel? Atheist and humanist all the way to some of the less popular strict religions -- and a wide variety of philosophies like Buhddism or Hinduism, and the whole panoply of Neo-Paganisms.
Each culture has a view of where in a perfect life sex belongs -- and what makes for Great Sex. The current readership believes that the Body rules, emotion originates in the body and sex done right is simply a matter of yielding to urgent physical needs.
In fact, the current readership is dominated by those who have been taught it is unhealthy to resist such urgent bodily needs -- and it is actually impossible to resist the body's urgings.
And that is true, too. If the connection between the Soul and Body is frayed, full of noise, corroded away, it really is impossible to resist the rulership of the body.
However, humanity has produced whole cultures that feature individuals who have complete control of the body -- Fire Walkers, staying warm in icy-snow without fur wraps, reducing oxygen consumption, walking on nails, -- and they are not tightly focused on the Judeo-Christian view of God.
Something about humans is able to control the "life-functions" of the dependency on food, clothing, shelter, and sex. In your fictional universe, is that something Soul?
Neuroscientists have measured differences in brain functioning among humans who pray, and those who don't -- or those who aren't praying at the moment. Holistic Health professionals activate that mechanism in a vast variety of ways. Tantric Sex is all about control, conscious domination of the sexual energies -- the exact opposite of, "I can't resist you."
The "truth" is that in the real world, "I can resist you, but I choose not to," is the way it has to be said. Being overwhelmed by Bodily demands is a CHOICE - not a defeat.
So, if one chooses to be overwhelmed by the Body, does that choice lead to Happiness Ever After?
THEME: Never resist bodily urges because it is unhealthy.
If the majority of experts believes and teaches that Theme insistently, just as physicists have insisted you can't travel faster than light, the science fiction writer takes the opposite assumption
THEME: It is unhealthy to let Bodily urges rule behavior.
and explores "what would happen if ..." you successfully set Bodily Urges in their proper place? Star Trek's Vulcans do this with Logic -- but get punished for it when the body rebells and defeats Logic.
What of humans living on another planet? What of human cultures exposed to Alien cultures? What if there is an Alien culture (full of sexy hunks) where the HEA is a minimum expectation -- and there is much more beyond mere Happiness?
Are humans intrinsically designed to "look up to" Something like domesticated cats? Is that why we keep cats as pets? Does it matter which Something we look up to? Must we "look up to" a Something that provides the Happily Ever After?
What could possibly be better than pure Monkey Sex?
If Tantric Sex is sex that doesn't involve the body, a pure Soul orgasm, what would a balanced combination (Soul connection to Body wide open) of Body/Soul Monkey/Tantric sex feel like? After years of common Monkey Sex, would a human who experienced Body/Soul sex feel like that Virgin who is convinced no one ever had a First Time like hers? Would that human be correct, or have humans always had people who live the HEA with balanced Body/Soul sex? Is there a way that is known, or do we have to marry an Alien to experience this?
Is a sexual orgasm a phenomenon of the Body that does not touch the Soul? Or a phenomenon of the Soul that does not touch the Body? Or are Body and Soul a joint task force targeting Happily Ever After?
The writer has to choose answers to these questions and use those answers (themes) to build a world for the Characters who will live, grow, learn, and adopt various answers to those questions.
Writing Science Fiction Romance does not require you to "get the right answer" to those questions, but it does require (like Science Fiction) mastery of the process of finding questions and posing them in a way your fictional Characters will be able to answer satisfactorily.
Watch that Video and think about those cats. Why are cat pictures so common on the social networks?