Perception and Redefining Reality in each Individual
This year I intend to write posts on the gulf between Perception and Reality, and how this shapes books, and how we read them, and how we seek to find readers in the melee of false perceptions, pre-conceived , limited, both pre- and proscribed. Almost every writer starts out with an idea of what they want to accomplish. What intervenes, what compromises they make, what barriers they encounter, are the subjects of a blog emphasizing the gulf between perception ( their own or that of others, or the market for ideas) and the reality of a deep sense of identity.
To kick the first high ball into this arena I have asked Alexander M Zoltai to give his responses to some questions that will be related to this theme and its difficulties. Alexander runs a generous blog—exploring Reading, Writing, and Publishing—called Notes from an Alien. That’s also the title of one of his books—recounting the struggles of three planets to find lasting peace; which, in itself, presupposes he has wrestled with much of this issue.
I shall call these interview posts.
Minding the Gap
Alexander, what is the most important (to you) activity you engage in on this planet?
Well, Philippa, being nearly 69 years old, part of my most important activity is to stop doing certain things that could shorten my time left on earth…
But, my Work or Mission is to help fellow members of the Human Family realize our Oneness—not just some fuzzy, warm brother/sisterhood; but, solid, lived Oneness, which embraces and depends on honoring differences—Unity in Diversity.
How did you arrive at the point which defined that as your priority? (Notes from an Alien would suggest you feel you have something of value to convey. What is it?)
I’ve spent over 26 years studying what I consider the basic principles of Oneness, accompanied by a great load of struggle to live the principles. My source material was the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith.
As far as Notes from An Alien is concerned, that short novel took eleven of those years to be birthed (there were about four false starts) and is my major contribution toward helping folks, by portraying the struggle for Peace, which can only be attained once Unity is firmly established.
Most people have the idea that Peace comes first, then Unity can prevail.
Yet, how can even two people have Peace unless they find some common point of Unity?
What difficulties do you encounter in the exercise of that unique vision/mission and how do you solve those? What survival mechanisms help?
One difficulty has already been mentioned—helping people overcome the false idea that a patch-work peace can somehow lead to unity.
The other difficulty—what might be better called a challenge—is to promote Notes from An Alien so more folks can experience how Unity leads to Peace.
And, that challenge has a supportive challenge—blog five times a week about Writing, Reading, and Publishing and hope folks notice the offer of a free copy of the book in the side-bar (naturally, they can also buy the book, if they must…).
I also have my blogging platform pushing links of my posts out to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus—I long ago gave up trying to “engage” folks in those venues…
And, since Notes from An Alien isn’t a particularly genre-type book, I’m hard at work on another novel in the same universe as Notes—something that will potentially attract more “mainstream” readers and lead them back to Notes…
As far as survival mechanisms, I have to say that staying in the work is a great aid—persistence to provide meaningful and helpful blog posts and getting the second book in the series finished.
Beyond that, prayer is very important to me…
What are the rewards of pursuing your Mission?
I don’t focus on rewards, except those experienced while doing the work.
Yet, perhaps one “reward” of pursuing these goals is that I’m constantly cleaning the dust off the mirror of my soul…
Have you distilled what you have learned in some kind of personal philosophy, and if so could you outline its essential qualities?
I didn’t have to distill a philosophy since the Bahá’í Faith has over 300 books that cover every contingency of what it will take for humanity to finally reach it’s Golden Age—an Age of undisturbed Global Peace.
And, lest folks think I’m just a parrot for some religion, I should state that all the years leading to my finding this source material were a constant and multidisciplinary investigation of philosophy, psychology, literature, and what is called the occult.
Also, one of the root principles of my Faith is The Independent Search for Truth—no borrowed tenets, no inherited rules—individual thought and personal responsibility.
I feel I should list a few of the other essential principles that must be put into action for Peace on Earth:
* The abandonment of all forms of prejudice
* Assurance to women of full equality of opportunity with men
* Recognition of the unity and relativity of religious truth
* The elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth
* The realization of universal education
* The establishment of a global commonwealth of nations
* Recognition that true religion is in harmony with reason and the pursuit of scientific knowledge
I’ve shown most of those principles in action in Notes from An Alien and will do it again in my next book…
How easily do you find fellow travellers in sympathy with your philosophy? What draws people to you? Or what do they avoid?
I’ve found many people who can sympathize with some of the principles I attempt to live by; but most people have problems with a few of them, or feel some other plan would work better, or are so battle-fatigued from living in our current culture they don’t care…
And, since I spend most of my time in my small cave-apartment, not many people have a chance to be “drawn to me”—though, many are drawn to my blog…
Avoidance by others? Usually when I bring up the “hard” stuff, like we’re really more alike than we’re different from each other…
Are there things you regret? Or might have done differently? If so what and how?
No regrets are left—my actions before I fully woke up to my Mission were a sort of scortched-earth-policy—regrets burned as bridges were consumed—me walking away into my Valuable Years
To what extent do you see yourself as a product of your upbringing or early life ( either conforming or repudiating?) Did it ‘set the stage’ for what followed, and in what ways?
I was a total and horribly mixed product of my minister-parents and the prevailing society.And, even in my attempts to repudiate my upbringing and its social warping, I was ensnared in both…
Since I feel one of the most dangerous psychological activities is to look back and say, “If only I’d______.”, there is nothing I could have done differently, even the corrective measures I took once I found a rational Plan…
As a writer, what do you hope a reader will get from reading your books?
Perhaps a small glimmer of hope for Humanity—a spark that won’t die and might lead to a blazing determination to help…
What do you look for when you choose a book to read?
These days, it’s what can massage my mind in ways that will help me write the next book.In general, I seek good fiction—one might call it literary—with real characters living-out some form of Mission
If you had limitless influence how would you use it?
I would use it by giving it away…
Is there anything else you would like to add about this topic or yourself?
One thing. I think far too many people haven’t realized the truth about religion—hence, the common, “I’m spiritual, not religious.”. I think the reason for ignorance about religion is that folks take at face value what the believers in various religions tell them it is.
History shows clearly that every Messenger has had their Message distorted by the believers—one reason there have been so many Messengers…
Still, humanity has slowly grown up and is fast approaching its maturity—though, I doubt I’ll live long enough to see it from the perspective of this physical world…
Please provide links to your books ( with brief introductions) and to your website.
My blog is at: http://notesfromanalien.com/
Folks can get a free copy of my books, too.
Poetry: http://notesfromanalien.com/poetry/ — Is Your Soul In Here? A Poet’s Struggle with God.
Fantasy: http://notesfromanalien.com/friday-fantasy/ — 31 Tales of Mystery & Wonder.
Notes from An Alien: http://notesfromanalien.com/about-our-book/ — A Message for Earth — Three Worlds’ Transition from Greed and Superstition to Lasting Tranquility and Peace.
Thank you so much Alexander for agreeing to be interviewed, and also for all you do for authors on the lonely road. I am interested in your belief that humanity is approaching maturity and all this strife maybe the pangs of a new birth, and the resistance to it is fighting its final death rattle. I hope you are right.
20 thoughts on “Interview with Alexander Zoltai.”
Lovely to meet Alexander in the context of this enquiry. I like the principles towards peace he lists.
What I question is Peace on Earth as an end in itself often percieved as some kind of comfort-in-the-womb state. (Alexander may not define peace in that way.)
LIfe entails change, so (in my experience) the desire for peace acts as a dyamic means towards the expansion of consciousness, impossible without conflict.
A great comment and I very much hope Alexander elaborates in answer to it. I share your instinct that womb like serenity does somehow echo an endless heaven of harps. After this week in France it is difficult to outline a possible future for peace with enough dynamic for growth and expansion. For me an absence of jealousy would be a start, sexual, religious and material! Even that is seemingly vain hope!
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Isn’t it the imagined heaven of harps (a refuge of complexities) that empowers a certain kind of fundamentalist thinking? And a non-acceptance of the shadow in the collective human psyche that also resides in each individual, if they dare to look for it? In that sense self-knowledge and education must seem threatening.
Agreed. Simplistic adherence to uniformity is what empowers fundamentalism, and allows its vehement consequences! I always look for the indications of what vehemence points towards, and I can’t help believing it is the diversity ( and liberty) that is the threat to simplistic ‘truth’. In that context what is happening world wide may be what Alexander believes, that we are at a turning point and this clash will be to the death of one or the other. What confuses the issue is the (legitimate) contribution of poverty, and inequality, as though those provide an excuse. Reasons are never excuses, merely contributory factors! I find the emphasis on enlightened Islamic eras in the 8th and 9th centuries a sort of plea hat no longer cuts the mustard. Political correct ‘tolerance’ is unhelpful. True tolerance requires fighting intolerance, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali so clearly expressed yesterday. Christian faith schools do not propose cutting down unbelievers. Essentially it is the distinction between liberty and licence and in the West we have confused the two!
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I would never define World Peace as a “comfort-in-the-womb state”…
I would also never state that war must always exist…
If one looks carefully at human evolution on earth, it’s a cycle of grow a bit, organize a bit better, stub our toes…
The organization has proceeded from family to clan to tribe to city state to nation state and will continue toward Global organization.
Along with that physical human organization has come more and more Truth about our spiritual capacities…
Basically, what I’m trying to say (as I battle this cold in my head) is that even in a Global Society with complete International Peace, individuals will still have an arc of struggle and suffering leading to knowledge and inner peace…
I’ve tried to keep the answer short (as suits a comment in a blog) though I could write volumes about it—in fact have written one and am working on another 🙂
I agree when you say … Along with that physical human organization has come more and more Truth about our spiritual capacities …
When I witness these capacities and insights belittled by science or sidelined by politics, it challenges me to listen, analyse, envision, find the right words … dream up new stories 🙂 I wish for peace, and occasionally find it inside, but wonder if it can be realised collectively in the material world, where all our unique differenes along with their contradictions, and conflicts, are a function of reality – notwithstanding the unity underlying diversity … the invisible beauty.
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I’m sure, at each phase of collective unification—tribe, city state, etc.—there were those who would “…wonder if it can be realised collectively in the material world…”.
I’ve added a link to this interview on my Author Interviews Page—Monday, I will do a post about it, hoping more folks come over here…
btw, I’m very excited about the new direction your blog is taking 🙂
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I also am pleased to be moving towards talking about what matters to me, and you and others will make it more meaningful. I suspect that your answer to Ashen ( obscured by cold) might have mentioned the unity in diversity component, so we get a few deeper resonances for all those harps! It seems to me that the world of social media has become afraid of causing any offence, a simple reservation brings about a sudden silence. I hope that here at least that won’t happen. If peace has a strong respect for individuality, eccentricity, even wackiness then it will not have to be dull!
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Absolutely, Philippa 🙂
Really great immersive, thoughtful interview… and a wonderful blog. Thank you, Philippa and Alex. For me unity and world peace pivot around equality for all peoples… to be able to understand in our hearts that we are all human beings and that there is no other ‘race’….an ‘absence of jealousy’ would certainly move that forward for me – I love that term 🙂
Lovely to find a new visitor Jane. Thank you for calling out. Please come often.
“immersive, thoughtful”, eh, Jane?
You have this knack of stretching my mind 🙂
What a most interesting interview so learn what makes this writer tick. I particularly liked that “It is psychologically damaging to look back on what ifs, or shoulda woulda coulda.” Alex is a very interesting man indeed!
Thank you, D. G., and I wonder how many younger folk would agree that it’s dangerous to linger on “What if…” ?
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What if? Could be better employed to address the present, and then it might be dangerous, but very worthwhile!
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Yet, Philippa, if feel it would be much less “dangerous” than focusing on the past 🙂
An impressive share! I have just forwarded
this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this.
And he actually bought me breakfast because I stumbled upon it for
him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your web site.