Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Redrock12

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have been thinking about the culture in these novels, those 'values and rules' you mentioned. In comparison to the world I grew up in, its highly regulated. The examples are legion. Unwed girls may not walk with a man alone. There is a specific Season of balls and garden parties which is in part designed to 'bring out' eligible young men and women for the purpose of finding mates. And of course, there are rules of esteem and honour that many times force a marriage to prevent some sort of scandal. And on and on.

There is a social standard that everyone in these books has to contend with - whether they like it or not. And whether they're a man or woman, old or young, these customs give their lives sense and meaning, something to push against or been drawn towards, to navigate, to discuss, ponder - something to live for. Although incredibly heartbreaking and difficult, as the authors in this thread display, it is these customs that form a sort of ground that the characters walk on in their lives.

When I was growing up through the teen years (or trying to, at least), there wasn't anything even remotely like this. So what follows is that many people of my generation have had to contend not with the necessary problem of standards, per se, but the bewildering state of an almost complete lack of any social standard - particularly when it came to dating, sex, finding a partner, and how a lifelong and loving relationship could be cultivated between two people. For many people born in the last 30 years, there has been no solid ground to stand on - no healthy culture to guide young minds towards good, lasting relationships.

I mean, when you're 16 years old, pumped full of hormones, discovering your sexuality for the first time and you know you can watch all the porn you want for free - what incentive is there to sit patiently and listen to an elderly Aunt to discuss potential brides, and how one must comport oneself to be worthy of one?

So in all of that, I see the cultural poverty of my (and our) historical moment. And in reading these books, I get a kick out of letting my imagination run - not just in terms of what a real relationship may be like, but also towards some sense of how life in a healthy culture would feel.
The lack of any standards or norms to shape and inform relationships between the sexes was even becoming quite prevalent in my generation. I was quite surprised at all the sanctions and rules imposed on young adults in Balogh's novels. If I would have had these rules to go by when I was in my early twenties, things might have been a whole lot different.
As it is, better late than never, and I'm finding it quite refreshing, even fun, realigning my behavior based on what I've discovered in this reading project, particularly about the fairer sex, and what they expect from us guys.
So, onward and upward to the new reality fellas. Let's keep reading.:lkj::read::cool:
 

Voyageur

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I'm not sure our ancestors would be pleased with us if they saw the mess we are in.
Was thinking when finishing the last series, that for some people here, those times depicted in these stories were only 130-years, give or take, prior to their own birth - a few great great grandparents down the roots of their own family trees. Perhaps in a way, considering reincarnated ways, reading these stories brings up the mess of those times growing exponentially to our times now, and the possibilities of higher natures in either. Back then, it was a mess in France during the Terror, a mess of disease and the horrors of the Napoleonic wars, a mess in India, Africa, China and upon the shores of America itself (and hope). Abject poverty the norm. All during those times, rape murder, theft - crime and political crime were present, and it was not a large leap from the likes of a Lord Marlborough to George Soros and all the petty tyrants in between, so yes, the mess continued and it is now as messy and more.

In the same breath, though, and as people like JBP reminds, there are a lot of amazing things that we have been achieved that our ancestors would be beside themselves over, yet there is much simple loss, too.

For many people born in the last 30 years, there has been no solid ground to stand on - no healthy culture to guide young minds towards good, lasting relationships.
Yes, hear what you are saying. And it is an agonizing reality for those born in the few decades after the war (II) who, basically fell asleep, becoming inculcated to unfit ideology, Hollywood Rakes, materialism and greed - many became horrible 'childminders', as Paul might say or, things around them became so ponerized that it was not even noticed (education systems for instance). Thus, providing future generations with a poor leg-up to carry forward better possibilities - better leadership that fostered higher natures. Of course, it is complex and nuanced.
 

Voyageur

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Came across a few things. One, wanted to see the differences in Quizzing Glasses. Had a mind of what they were, and had also presumed them to be miniature mono-binocular type devices. Well, they are here to see from a site called Regency World.

Noticed also from the same site, a Regency Glossary. So if you want to read and see what A-Z terms and items are (e.g. a Barouche, Cabriolet, Curricle, Patent Landau, High-perch Phaeton or Post Chaise), this is the place. Word terms are likely much more common for the English folks here, yet for others, from General · Slang · Women's Fashion · Gentlemen's Fashion, you can find it all here.
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
J'ai commencé hier " La robe écarlate d'Anna Campbell " et je l'ai terminé hier soir à 23h50...
Captivant...
Je vais commencer "L'inaccessible d'Anna Campbell", c'est le dernier,
j'en attends encore 3 autres " Anne Gracie Les sœurs Merridew Tome 1/3/4 "

I started "Anna Campbell's Scarlet Dress" yesterday and finished it last night at 11:50 pm .
Captivating...
I'm going to start "Anna Campbell's Unattainable", this is the last one,
I'm waiting for 3 more " Anne Gracie The Merridew Sisters Volume 1/3/4
 

Mariama

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
When I was growing up through the teen years (or trying to, at least), there wasn't anything even remotely like this. So what follows is that many people of my generation have had to contend not with the necessary problem of standards, per se, but the bewildering state of an almost complete lack of any social standard - particularly when it came to dating, sex, finding a partner, and how a lifelong and loving relationship could be cultivated between two people. For many people born in the last 30 years, there has been no solid ground to stand on - no healthy culture to guide young minds towards good, lasting relationships.
So in all of that, I see the cultural poverty of my (and our) historical moment. And in reading these books, I get a kick out of letting my imagination run - not just in terms of what a real relationship may be like, but also towards some sense of how life in a healthy culture would feel.

These are very good points and almost makes me long for the old days when there were standards, even though if we can believe the romance novels men (and women?) still had a wandering eye or had their mistresses set up in a separate home including children who were born at the 'wrong side of the blanket' and were left to fend for themselves without the protection of the man of the family.

I think the 'solid ground' you talk of disappeared earlier than 30 years ago. I can think of a few instances of witnessing or hearing about very loose sexual morals that made a profound impression on me, but left me feeling rudderless and without any standards to live up to myself. Looking back I realise how important it is to set a decent and healthy example for the young ones and how loose sexual morals are a wrecking ball for the unity of families and society, which of course we know already, but still it's a painful realisation for me at least.

Edit: grammar
 
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Rolae

Padawan Learner
They that hath seeded, do but breathe. Fresh or sour, pungent or tasteful, that which follows end to vanish. Do sincere in thoughts the half wording that ties a knot. There are lovers and there are haters and they never seem to get along. Substitute or disguises bring strings of them, lay sorrow in another hath wonderful and dreadful a net. To Euclid tessellation what unforseen not yet aired or seen what tangled fun, from what perception. The body is the sufferer a hard casing. How close it came how should it rain with clouds or sun tillongs of light and structure underneath lays ahead. Fate is no conscious bearer nor friendlier. I struggled with a monster and had not survive. I could have cried and been sadden but the struggle was not I. A mis identity would not let me see and clever the dark for misplacing thee. Where was he , wily standing with thee not doing. Crafty the light. A diagnosing yielding a younger. I have never seen love rescue to end thy inner suffering. Have not artist and writers wish it to be true. Will many stories of happiness alone bring about a turn. Only the lessons learned will be faithful beyond our own.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
They that hath seeded, do but breathe. Fresh or sour, pungent or tasteful, that which follows end to vanish. Do sincere in thoughts the half wording that ties a knot. There are lovers and there are haters and they never seem to get along. Substitute or disguises bring strings of them, lay sorrow in another hath wonderful and dreadful a net. To Euclid tessellation what unforseen not yet aired or seen what tangled fun, from what perception. The body is the sufferer a hard casing. How close it came how should it rain with clouds or sun tillongs of light and structure underneath lays ahead. Fate is no conscious bearer nor friendlier. I struggled with a monster and had not survive. I could have cried and been sadden but the struggle was not I. A mis identity would not let me see and clever the dark for misplacing thee. Where was he , wily standing with thee not doing. Crafty the light. A diagnosing yielding a younger. I have never seen love rescue to end thy inner suffering. Have not artist and writers wish it to be true. Will many stories of happiness alone bring about a turn. Only the lessons learned will be faithful beyond our own.

Again, Rolae, it would help if you could write in complete, comprehensible sentences with properly placed subjects, verbs, and modifiers. I mean, really, what kind of sentence is this: "The body is the sufferer a hard casing." Or this: "Where was he , wily standing with thee not doing." Or this: "A diagnosing yielding a younger."

Those strings of words are utter nonsense as is almost the entirety of your post above.

So, again I ask you: what is your age and educational level? Perhaps there is a way you can be helped to organize your thoughts into coherent language.
 
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Andrian

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I've finished reading the Gilded Web, the first book of Mary Balogh's Dell series and I agree with Alana and with others who mentioned that the depth of the main characters is really remarkable and astounding.

While reading, almost from the beginning I've identified myself with Alex and James due to very similar dynamics i had with my own father. Don't know, maybe I still miss something regarding my own lessons and I may sound too judging but those who try to smash your soul deserve no pity, no hate, no judgment and no mercy. It's a tough one, hard to explain but who will be reading the book I think will get what I mean.

Another important aspect that touched me to the core was the fundamental importance of respecting everyone's free will. To act and treat everyone according to their nature and their actions, without judging, hating, without pity or mercy and with respect.

Time to start reading the second book of the series, can't wait for it ;-D
 

iamthatis

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
These are very good points and almost makes me long for the old days when there were standards, even though if we can believe the romance novels men (and women?) still had a wandering eye or had their mistresses set up in a separate home including children who were born at the 'wrong side of the blanket' and were left to fend for themselves without the protection of the man of the family.

I think the 'solid ground' you talk of disappeared earlier than 30 years ago. I can think of a few instances of witnessing or hearing about very loose sexual morals that had a profound impression on me, but left me feeling rudderless and without any standards to live up to myself. Looking back I realise how important it is to set a decent and healthy example for the young ones and how loose sexual morals are a wrecking ball for the unity of families and society, which of course we know already, but still it's a painful realisation for me at least.

Yeah, I hear you on both points. I'm not idealizing the Regency Era by any means, moreso using these books as a touchstone for thinking about how to live a principled life (rather than flail around in a cultureless void, praying to be saved... as fun as that was for me, it clearly wasn't panning out).

The values of that era definitely don't translate so easily into today. But it's designed that way:

"As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensating to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope and movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate." - Aldous Huxley

I bring up the 30 year mark because that's my age range - I haven't known how it was for older generations. But you're quite right - 'the ground' started to crumble long ago. My first unveiling to that effect was from Nietzsche, who didn't mince words in warning what happens when the central, organizing code of conduct is uprooted - the wretched fall of the nobility of the human spirit into meaninglessness and nihilism. It seems that the psychedelic and sexual 'revolutions' in the 60's was an expression of what Nietzsche and Huxley both feared - a sort of feel-good-at-any-costs orgasmic self-tickling that totally blasted other values like modesty and chivalry, courtship and commitment, almost totally out of existence.

It's been such a fascinating learning curve for me reading these books, and then to reflect on sex, history, patterns, relationships, who I am, and who we are, at this point in time. We are obviously intended to be 'products' of some sort - human-shaped objects with a design function and use-value, either cogs or food, or both - and our true awesome potential resigned to oblivion. Being born into this culture, asleep, and then beginning to wake up, and little by little tracing backwards to find out what the heck happened to make the world as it is - it has been quite the trip! The wonder gets even deeper when reflecting on The Wave and SHOTW and thinking about the Maidens at the Wells, and the uncorrupted ancient shamanic Goddess culture before the arrival of the bloodthirsty linear-time God. I am so very grateful for these teachings.

Why? Because I don't have to seek a backwards route in linear time to a romanticized good ol' days. Something can be rescued from the past eras and brought with us, yes. But as the mess of this past year turns and dies, we have another chance to make good choices and live good lives, to commit to an STO path and live anew. For me, this cyclical understanding of time opens the road to love.
 

Neil

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I'm not hugely enamored with the Regency morality as I've read about so far and have a pretty cynical view of it. While some of it seemed like it was initially instituted to dissuade women from being taken advantage of by "rakes" and give men cause to consider the gravitas of their choice, I view a lot of it as a fleshmarket for fathers to ensure their daughters are only sold to the highest possible bidder. The more interesting stories bend the rules quite a bit, but those that focus on the ballroom circuit leave me with the impression of walking into a posh car dealership with a quarter million dollars burning a hole in my pocket to buy a fancy car, except in this case I'm here to purchase a woman. The people running the dealership, the parents of the young nobles, know that all young single guys are lonely, horny, and desperate at least to some degree, and so if you want one of the more exquisite models you better have the cash to back it up. The woman's concerns are largely secondary, she is only a transactional item to be negotiated over. I imagined myself as one of the "lower tier nobles" that some of these stories seem to be about, whom while titled, is not particularly wealthy or prestigious, and came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't even bother with this foolishness. If I married at all, it would likely be someone far below my station, as her father would be thrilled to death that his prized possession received a greater bid than he ever imagined. Of course, I would probably have to listen to my family and members of Society gossip about my distasteful and unfortunate parochial esthetic but...to hell with them. Certainly this is a central plot conflict that many stories parlay into the notion that "love conquers all," or they found each other despite having to contend with the strictures of this regimented system. I don't really believe there is a place for love in such a contrived, constricted, and pretentious system, and even in a lot of the stories love only comes to the fore by breaking the rules a bit. I suppose that if I did fall in love I might endure all of the BS to marry a high-class lady, but as I see it now it isn't/wouldn't be worth participating in.

Then there's the scandals. Oh my, God forbid our couple breaks with the official courtship procedure and they make out in some semi-private place. God forbid the transactional value of the woman is lessened when the other men find out she is doing the same thing with Mr. So and So as they do with their mistresses. God forbid the woman tries to marry someone she actually likes, oh no. Please. That whole aspect reminds me of how the media had a freakout episode over Trump's "locker room talk." While he was a bit crass about it, he was explaining what is a simple fact of life for many people. The culture of outrage has been around for a long time and there is really nothing new under the sun. What has a veneer of high ideals and family values is really just a cloak for hypocrites practicing something altogether different. Thus, in terms of "the system," I don't see what existed then to be any better or worse than what exists now, just different. Back in those days, I can see where the PTB may have supported a system that maintained some semblance of familial cohesion. They needed lots of warm bodies to fight their wars and work in the sweatshops so that the empire would continue to run. The PTB of today can just build robots and manufacture humans in test tubes, so families are kind of irrelevant. The main journey the couples seem to make in the stories is that they embody the noble ideals that the dating system supposedly represents, while shedding the ponerized and caricatured version that is commonly practiced by the elite.

I guess that is the main difference between the Regency system and the current system. In the old system a lot of lip service was paid and pretense was given to upholding family values and treating a lady right. In the new system it is made obvious to all but the hopelessly romantic that you're just a piece of meat and you better get whatever you can get today, because tomorrow the NWO may determine you are unnecessary and your existence will be terminated. The new system has ultimate freedom of choice, but has rendered most of those choices meaningless. Generally speaking, it isn't worth participating in either.
 

Ina

The Living Force
The new system has ultimate freedom of choice, but has rendered most of those choices meaningless.
A.
Grace Stamper:
Listen, Harry, A.J. is my choice - my choice and not yours.

Harry Stamper:
He's the only one in your age bracket, Grace. That's not a choice, that's a lack of options.

"Armageddon Quotes." Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 31 Dec. 2020. <Grace Stamper: Listen, Harry, A.J. is my choice - my choice and not yours. Harry Stamper: He's the only one in your age bracket, Grace. That's not a choice, that's a lack of options.>.

—————-
B.
Colonel Brandon:
I have described Mr. Willoughby as the worst of libertines. But I have since learned from Lady Allen that he did mean to propose that day. And so I cannot deny that his intentions towards Marianne were honourable, and I feel certain that he would have married her. Had it not been...

Elinor Dashwood:
For the money.

"Sense and Sensibility Quotes." Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 31 Dec. 2020. <Sense and Sensibility Quotes>.

—————-

I agree with your arguments, and your conclusion, however, my question is what does the system use in order to achieve conditioning in the type of relationships we seek.
Is it A. the boxes of our beliefs created by insufficient instruction and experience or B. perpetual societal rules? Or maybe it is the hierarchy, which springs as a natural tendency/characteristic in any evolving system?

Perhaps Lev Tolstoy, brings a solid argument and answers my question in War and Peace, where he describes romantic relationships determined by events of a deteriorating even collapsing system. In the end, when dust has settled, boxes of belief are lost and hierarchies lie crumbled, the system through its absence allows most unusual relationships to be formed based on most simple and humble values such as compassion, love, trust, joy, honesty, sincerity....

just saying,

Happy New Year!
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In the old system a lot of lip service was paid and pretense was given to upholding family values and treating a lady right.
In addition to my previous recommendation to you of Heartless (Mary Balogh), I also recommend that you read The Perfect Rake (Anne Gracie's Merridew Sisters).

As far as the broadcast of societal values, I would rather have lip service to family values and treating a lady right, so people can orient themselves to something right, even if we are all imperfect and often fail.
 

John G

The Living Force
I guess that is the main difference between the Regency system and the current system. In the old system a lot of lip service was paid and pretense was given to upholding family values and treating a lady right. In the new system it is made obvious to all but the hopelessly romantic that you're just a piece of meat and you better get whatever you can get today, because tomorrow the NWO may determine you are unnecessary and your existence will be terminated. The new system has ultimate freedom of choice, but has rendered most of those choices meaningless. Generally speaking, it isn't worth participating in either.
Upholding family values and treating a lady right are good things whether done within or against the system. This forum exercise is kind of a personal karma thing so the individual relationships are kind of more important than the system backdrop. Here is a short story of sorts someone on Facebook (and likely a forum member given the mutual friends) posted that seems related to the personal karma battle:

Two Girls In a Bar.

So I had a fight with my wife. It is always the same, you forgot to do that, or you didn't do that. Didn't I remind you three times and you still ignored me...

Yes, I did, but I must have had a reason. We always do. In any case, I got really upset this time, and rushed outside, grab the taxi and asked the driver to take me to the bar in the next town, the one my friend, the old-timer, told me about. You know, the place which always has some activity going on. Serving like a middleman or something. Whatever you need, they can get it for you.

I didn't need anything special this time, just a drink. Irish whiskey that they served was good and cheap, so I ordered another one. At that moment I began to look around and noticed two highly attractive women sitting in the corner, and it seemed that they were looking at me as well. So I grabbed my glass and mastering all my balancing power, walked toward them. Hi, I say, I don't really like to drink alone.

Sure, just sit on the other side of the table, one answered. Her voice was husky and with a slight accent, that immediately conjured up in my mind some cobblestone pavements, wooden shutters, and smell of freshly watered streets. And then she said, please to meet you. My name is Nostalgia, and this beautiful girl here is my sister, Depression.

Nostalgia's smile was so alluring. I could not take my eyes off her, and immediately began to develop the strategy of separating her from her sister and taking her somewhere where we could enjoy each other company for hours on end.

As if reading my mind, Nostalgia said to me: Depression is my twin sister, and we are so close, that we never get separated. So by your looks, you are a person who has something interesting to share with us. And we'd like to spend time with you, but it have to be both of us.

To be honest, as much as I liked Nostalgia's demeanor and looks, I didn't want to share her with anyone. I just wanted to spend a few nights with her. Furthermore, there was something empty and cold in the Depression's eyes. It was as if she didn't really see me --more preoccupied with the wall behind me.

Suddenly, I noticed that my glass was empty and walked to the barman for refill. Great ladies, he said. I'll tell you, Mister. I've seen them here before, and I've noticed how Nostalgia was staring at you. You are her type of a guy. And don't mind Depression. She usually sits in the corner and stares at the wall. Of course, if you pursue her with all your heart, she might answer in kind, but I hear, she is very jealous type, and does not like to let anyone out of her embrace once she gets intimate with you.

Somehow, the idea of being constantly embraced by Depression didn't appeal to me, mesmerizing as the embrace of her arms could be. I was still hoping to do things with my arms, rather than tying them up by embracing Nostalgia and Depression.

As I began to sober up contemplating my options, I've heard a familiar voice. "Darling, I've been looking for you everywhere, please come home, I promise to be more spare in my demands and reprimands." I raised my eyes, and saw my wife. My dear Daily-Routine. Never thought that I would miss her so much. Her familiar features looked so sweet, so reassuring. I followed her and didn't even look back at the two beauties sitting in the corner.
 

Rolae

Padawan Learner
I'm going back to numbers. Even they kept good odds for a single fellow. Past time to play in spelling b contest I'm told old and the teenager are going to make alphabet soup out of me . I know my place amongst the upper class. Hey Rolae how's the Ganache, yes it's one of our exquisite delicacies. Did you take care of the miniature lawns along the side of pavilion. And don't miss the garden hedges or else it's your lips in a frying pan!. So Sí Señor un poco menos. And keep your eyes of my daughter or it's, see you on the menu.
 
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