• OK, it's on.
  • Please note that many, many Email Addresses used for spam, are not accepted at registration. Select a respectable Free email.
  • Done now. Domine miserere nobis.

Every Story Ever Told

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Yesterday 1:33 PM
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
9,093
-->
Every story ever told has been about the battle between order and chaos, between control and freedom.

There are two visions of utopia, in every fiction the author chooses a side and we see the conflict from that side's perspective, in stories where the author has chosen order/control it is a battle against those who would tear down the safety and security of civilization. This is pretty much every setting where the bad guys are trying to wreck everything, they're not trying to build something, they're not trying to do something, they just want to wreck everything, this is presented as a bad thing and they need to be stopped. The Zerg attacking the Terrans, the literal forces of Chaos attacking the Imperium of Man, the armies of orcs and goblins attacking Middle Earth, the Titans attacking the city in Attack on Titan (maybe, I dunno I haven't really read into it).

In these settings civilization isn't without its flaws but it's always better than the alternative.

Then you have settings where the good guys are the underdogs, they're a ragtag bunch of oddballs and miscreants united against a civilization that just wants to get rid of them, they're the Rebels against the Empire, the team of suave bank robbers against the authorities, the crew of the Firefly or Cowboy Bebop. The underlying philosophical difference here is the belief that freedom is essential for happiness, that there is no utopian civilization but rather utopia exists in the absence of civilization.

Which side are you on and why?
 

The Grey Man

Denken ist schwer
Local time
Yesterday 7:33 PM
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
700
-->
Location
Canada
I think everyone, at the very core of their being, is on the side of unrestrained free will. We are ourselves the warp of which the world and civilization, laws both eternal and man-made, are the weft; we can no more identify ourselves with order than we can trade places with the external structures and institutions that restrain us. Nietzsche and the Marquis de Sade both understood that laws were an appearance concealing "Nature, red in tooth and claw." This concealment is typified by our shameful donning of clothing, which serves to hide our intrinsic appetites from each other, and, thus, both thinkers understood that we are, in a sense, fallen; however, their contempt for Christianity left them little room to write stories about anything besides the will to power, whereas some stories are about more than just appetites.

Some stories are about what may be hoped, in spite of the Fall.
 

The Grey Man

Denken ist schwer
Local time
Yesterday 7:33 PM
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
700
-->
Location
Canada
Do all stories have to be about Utopia? When did fiction become so socialistic?

I guess my vision of Utopia inheres rather in the moral character of its inhabitants than in their system of government. A law that does not echo in the hearts of those whom it governs is no law at all. Put another way, a man-made law that does not harmonize with eternal law is hubris. This is why I admire Coolidge, who spoke of the need for politicians to discover laws, rather than make them. The defect of socialists is that their Utopias are Procrustean beds into which they try to force society.
 

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Yesterday 1:33 PM
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
9,093
-->
Do all stories have to be about Utopia? When did fiction become so socialistic?
Fundamentally we all want the same thing, we all want the world to be a better place, it's just that our definitions of "better" are different so when I say "utopia" I mean what is the better world you strive towards? I also think it's important to visualize and understand it, for example in the "Flight Of The Conchords" song "The Humans are Dead" there's a line where they say in the future there's no more mistreatment of elephants only to clarify that's because in the future there are no elephants, such is the danger of getting too caught up in achieving a vision without considering what must go into achieving it.

I guess my vision of Utopia inheres rather in the moral character of its inhabitants than in their system of government.
What is this moral character?
 

The Grey Man

Denken ist schwer
Local time
Yesterday 7:33 PM
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
700
-->
Location
Canada
Part of my point is that such questions cannot be answered generically. Dreaming up a Utopian society a priori and forcing people to conform to it is precisely the socialistic Procrusteanism that I condemn. You say everyone wants a better world, but what it means to improve the world is unclear, nor is it clear to me how it is possible for us to improve the world at all, given that we are immanent in it, not transcendent gods who might uproot the foundations of the earth and start a new creation. Rather than involve myself in engineering one-size-fits-all solutions to social evils that trivialize the historical differences between nation and nation and ignore personal preferences, I prefer to let people discover their laws for themselves. I suppose I'm a liberal, for want of a better term.
 
Top Bottom