As a professional analyst I never take anything on faith, especially when it supports my own beliefs. If I am to truly have an open mind, which is essential in order to see the truth, I must constantly question those things that most support my point of view, for those are the things easiest to gloss over and accept as fact. In analysis, the first thing you learn is that everyone is biased, no matter how open they try to be. We all have blind spots, and the best way to minimize the bias within ourselves that we cannot see is to be most skeptical of any data that agrees with our predisposition.
From an early age I had a bent toward revolutionary politics. In my youth, however, I was more focused on giving love, meeting my responsibilities, and avoiding harsh or abrasive emotions.
Now, such inhibitions are gone, and as a senior citizen I find myself becoming the young radical I always should have been.
I’ve often fancied that dark energy is self-awareness. As I understand it, dark energy was not present immediately after the big bang. So perhaps, it came into being as the physical manifestation of the actual, tangible self-awareness of the first thinking creatures. And as more and more sentient creatures came into being, the force of dark energy increased, leading to the accelerating expansion of the universe we have measured today. Probably poppycock, but an interesting notion nonetheless.
I’m as annoying as Charles Dickens. I’m just not as popular.
When you start out, you practice being annoying in the hopes you’ll prove to have the talent and the breaks to be another Dickens. Sure, that’s the dream… But as I approach my 67th birthday without having achieved any of that success, I’m on the verge of being forced to admit to myself that, in the end, I’m just an asshole. And you know, I can live with that.
Some artists are driven by angst, others by desire.
Angst is the emotion of lack – that things are unfulfilled, unsatisfied, not as they should be. And the work of art driven by such feelings is designed to fill the hole, to satisfy the need, to put things right.
Desire is the emotion of eagerness – that opportunity exists, untapped, and holds promise. And the work of art driven by such feelings is designed to seize the moment, actualize the potential, and fulfill the promise.
Some say stories must be driven by a problem, and though this is one way to inject drive in a narrative, the alternative motivation of desire serves equally well to propel the story forward.
Either source of propulsion for a character creates a goal – that expected conclusion in which things are better than before. But regardless of whether the character tarries from angst or desire, the experience along the path to that goal may be a positive or negative one.
Overcoming obstacles and meeting requirements might be felt as progress toward that better future, or as a drain that threatens to outweigh the benefits that would be gained from achieving the goal.
These four factors – positive/negative drive and positive/negative experience create a quad – a group of four elements comprised of two bonded pairs with one pair pertaining to the sate of things and the other to the process.
This particular quad is represented in the Dramatica theory of narrative structure by Goal/Consequence and Dividends/Costs.
Goal is the desired end state, consequence is the angstful state that either currently exists or will come to exist if the goal is not met. Dividends are the positive byproducts or collateral benefits either obtained or enjoyed during the effort to achieve the goal (and avoid the consequence), whereas Costs are the negative byproducts or collateral detriments that become attached or must be experienced during that effort.
Narratives and real life. Each operates with the same dynamic system. The structures of fictional narratives provide guidelines to help us cope and prosper when faced with similar dynamics in our own worlds.
For some time, I have wanted to create a category on this blog just for quick notes – those transient notions that explode or settle in the mind, are savored or simply masticated for a spell, then spat out of one’s consciousness in favor of the next new thought.
Often they are worthy of further consideration, though I seldom return to provide any. This has frustrated me for once the idea has dissolved, like a sand painting, its ilk will likely never pass this way again.
And so, on this Winter Solstice (occurring just an hour and a fraction ago) and having accomplished little else of import today, I begin this one new thing that, hopefully, will grow with the lengthening of the days (and then be smart enough not to whither and shrivel and die when the days once more recede).
C’mon you can only carry an analogy so far…