Previous parts of this series are indexed here:
More on how to incorporate Headlines that are current news into fiction plots, themes and Characters aimed at a possible future audience is here:
In Part 7 of Soul Mates and the HEA, we delved into the esoteric theories of how a Soul is structured and why science can't locate, identify, or characterize a Soul.
In Part 8 we looked at the Science behind the HEA, citing the most recent Harvard study, an 80 year project, that came down to steady life infused with happiness (by the study participants self-assessment of how happy they were with their lives) is most likely to be achieved by those who establish and maintain solid Relationships.
Relationships are key?
For this we need science?
An 80 year study? How much did that cost?
So let's explore how Aliens (in our Alien Romances) might view happiness, and how that might cause a Conflict with humans they could fall in love with.
On this blog, in the Tuesday posts about writing craftsmanship, we're discussing the Romance Genre and the respect it garners (or does not garner) among the general population.
We've focused on how to convince skeptics and disbelievers in Romance that this genre actually contains value for them, personally.
There are so many urgent problems in our general society, that would, it seems to me, be more easily solved if everyone read Romance novels in their spare time. You can take any Genre - Western, Mystery, Action, Intrigue, Suspense, Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy - and insert a Love Story. From there, to a hybrid-Romance sub-genre is a matter of adjusting the Plot so that the usual genre content is carried on the Story while the Event-Sequence focuses on the stepwise development of the Relationship.
If Relationships are the key to Happiness, and therefore to Happily Ever After (THE HEA), and if as noted in Part 8 of this series of posts, the disruption of the family and its ties to local community has left a generation bereft of the brain-development necessary for Relationship Building, then it seems to me Romance genre is the key to healing society.
In Part 8, we also noted the epidemic of Loneliness now officially noticed by sociologists.
This Harvard study
says many important things and links to other articles in Inc. Magazine, but this one stands out to me because it's mentioned only in passing:
From a pure physical health perspective, researchers say loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
That's from US government statistics.
Here's the thing. Tobacco use became a huge government focus, forcing warning labels with black borders onto packages, raising prices with huge taxes, litigating to bar smoking in public places without consent of others there (so now we have outdoor areas designated for smoking breaks).
So tell me, why isn't there government action targeting LONELINESS?
This same article in Inc. Magazine puts forth the cure for Loneliness. It says people have the most success breaking out of the prison of loneliness when they VOLUNTEER -- to help others, just do something for free.
In Part 7 of this series we looked at theories of the intricate structure of the Soul as described in articles posted on chabad.org
That's a Jewish religious organization, the fastest growing one in recent decades. People drift into it, feel comfortable, and just linger or return.
One core message of Judaism that has communicated to both Islam and Christianity, and which has arisen to prominence is all the other world Religions, is that doing a Charitable Deed benefits you as much (sometimes more) than others.
The leader of Chabad (called The Rebbe) often prescribed some act of Charity for the woes people brought to him.
Doing an act of Charity almost always changes a person's life direction, mostly for the better.
Mostly, it doesn't matter what the motive is. GIVING initiates a cycle of interaction with the world that is different.
We talk of Giving And Receiving -- always with giving coming first in the sequence.
Is this a magical principle, a religious principle, a scientific principle, or some social or political principle?
Some might say the demands of "socialists" to strip wealth from the 1% and level the income distribution curve (nobody ever says to what slope we need to level it) is flat out wrong because it's stealing.
Others might say that the insane profit margins that "capitalists" demand are stealing.
Maybe they are both correct?
Maybe money isn't the root of all evil, but rather is the source of happiness?
Most religions extant today insist that money can't buy happiness.
Maybe they're wrong? Maybe happiness can be evoked, instilled, triggered, or initiated somehow only by GIVING. To give, you have to HAVE what to give.
Maybe the monetary transaction that transports happiness from one to another is not "purchase" at all?
Aliens with a different view of what a Soul is, and thus a different experience of Romance, Bonding, and all Relationships, might consider money (the artificially created coin of a realm, such as a dollar) a medium of exchange, but not one of "giving."
That is, Aliens might view Charity as every sort of Giving except the giving of money.
One can give Service, Respect, Honor, handicrafts, skills, education, information, and sometimes the Performing Arts can give entertainment.
If giving Charity, or as the article in Inc. Magazine noted, Volunteering, is the one thing securely happy people do, and happiness depends on secure Relationships, and Relationships depend on volunteering (e.g. giving) why isn't government focused on the Public Health Benefits of free will giving?
Giving, by definition, has to be a chosen action, a free will choice, without any coercion or requirement or form to fill out to prove you did it.
It's not a tax deduction.
What would these Aliens who think of Charity as everything but money see in us, today?
Today, government has become the largest Charity institution -- and has labeled many of its Charitable institutions "Services." But all the Services are provided by people who are paid money (coined and regulated in value by that very government).
The money the government sends out to people who can't support themselves is likewise coined and valued by that government, but it is taken (by force of taxation) from the people who would benefit by giving it to the poor.
After having been fleeced by the government, these people don't have any money to give as Charity.
Small wonder loneliness is a spiritual plague sweeping the world.
What would the Aliens who don't see money as something you can give as Charity make of us?
Catholics still pass a plate at services, to collect donations, and the givers who put money in the plate gain in virtue.
When natural disasters strike, our first impulse is to establish a FUND, so people can GIVE MONEY. Some organizations still collect things (food, blankets, shoes, laundry detergent) to distribute to disaster victims. But that has become too inefficient to be useful in today's world, so organizations ask you to Message a certain number to donate $10.
It's a wonderful feeling to be able to help out others without getting mud on your own shoes -- but suppose our Aliens held us in contempt for that, and blamed the use of money instead of personal effort as the source of our misbehavior as a species.
Suppose we were deemed ineligible to join galactic civilization because we regard giving money as giving while at the same time the money we are giving has actually been TAKEN from its rightful owner?
Government TAKES from tax-payers. Every cent government gives in disaster relief (or social services) it got by taking from its citizens. Even coining money reduces the value of money people have saved, (that's hard to grasp, but it's true), so coining more money to distribute for disaster relief is another form of TAKING.
Taking doesn't have the same Soul-level effect as Giving does.
If the Aliens we're talking about regard Humans as having kindred Souls, as we noted in Part 7, G-dly Souls, and therefore regard humans as potential mates, potential Soul Mates, but see human Souls as somehow unable to mate because of trying to do Charity in impossible ways, what sort of Conflicts would you construct for your Alien Romance?
Humans might be regarded as infected with a Loneliness Plague (which could be deemed contagious) because of this abuse of Money.
The Loneliness Plague is deadly because it reduces lifespan measurably. Humans know that, but ignore it and keep on (insanely, the Aliens would think) taking money by force and then giving it instead of real Charity.
Do you see what I'm doing with these Headlines?
The headlines combine into a Theme: Giving and Receiving
From the THEME - a world is built. A strange world inhabited by governments that take money by force. Who ever could imagine such a thing?
The point of view Character has emerged, confounded by the specter of humanity and human insanity. He's looking at a global civilization morally impaired by misbegotten beliefs and no valid concept of ownership, what it means, where it originates, what it's for, and what dangers it presents.
Humans are either idiots or proto-intelligences. There's something very wrong with Earth. It's toxic.
But his job is to infiltrate and map this global civilization.
So he puts on his human-disguise, lands in a remote location, and proceeds to infiltrate -- oh, say Los Angeles where the stranger would not be noted.
He's scared to death, but doing his job.
And he meets his Soul Mate. She's out collecting Charity donations for Earthquake victims in Japan.
What is she asking for? Money, bills or coins.
He's met his Soul Mate, and she's a raving lunatic who thinks Charity has something to do with money, especially government coined money.
What happens next?
Or take the set of Headlines we've discussed in Part 7, 8, and 9 and rip out a different theme, something having something to do with Loneliness, Happiness, and Volunteering. Design your postulated Soul-Structure differently, so that your Theme, Conflict and Resolution speak about something other than Giving and Receiving, and Charity.
Find another answer to the question: "Why is government not addressing the Loneliness Plague as a disease caused by substituting Taking for Giving?"
That answer is your Theme.