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.