Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Theme-Plot Integration Part 4: Fallacies and Endorphins

If you're reading this on New Year's Day, stop and come join us for our annual Sime~Gen New Year's chat -- info and instructions on the Sime~Gen Group on Facebook and/or http://out-territory.blogspot.com

Then come back and read about how to use the basic Theme and Plot techniques I've been harping on in these Tuesday posts to avoid expository lumps.  Yes, that's what this is all about -- avoiding boring the reader by telling rather than showing.  Put all the information into the substrata of the composition, into the structural elements.  This is an advanced lesson, combining two techniques, Theme and Plot. 

Previous parts in this Theme-Plot Integration Series:
Part 1 http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2012/12/theme-plot-integration-part-1-never-let.html
Part 2  http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2012/12/theme-plot-integration-part-2-fallacy.html
Part 3  http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2012/12/theme-plot-integration-part-3-fallacy.html

Before we continue with all this criticizing and negativity, let me just point out that the reason we harbor so many fallacies is that our brains are structured to arrange information in such a way that we are most likely to find what we need to know to survive -- and to do that, we just ignore stuff that doesn't seem to pertain to our lives.

This brain structure quirk has kept our species alive but it isn't necessarily pro-individual survival.

The key is of course choosing your fallacies wisely, and ditching the ones that impair your survival, and your ability to accomplish your particular purpose.

The process of ditching a cherished fallacy even has a name which has become a touchstone of writer-craft structure.  This is a very specifically formulated moment in film or novel, a singular moment in the entire life of your Main Character. 

This exquisite moment is called The Epiphany and it is the main climax of the Story, but not usually the Plot.  It is the moment the Main Character realizes where he/she has been oh-so wrong about something, that there has been a fallacy in reasoning, and/or a failure to ask and answer a question, to discover a key fact. 

The Epiphany in a Romance is usually the moment that one character finally understands why he/she has been doing these ridiculous things, taking irrational risks to save someone else's butt, or attacking some other person out of virulent dislike that nobody else can understand.  The Epiphany is "I Love You." 

Religious Enlightenment stories pivot around the Epiphany "God is Real." 

Betrayal stories pivot on "My Best Friend Is My Worst Enemy." 

Constructing a good epiphany requires first laying down a really plausible fallacy. 

One good source of dynamite fallacies is the lies everyone believes.

Here's a blog post on the business of Film Making - and Screenwriting pinpointing 4 lies that have been sold as truths to the unsuspecting.  If your main character is trying to break into an industry that markets art (any such industry from oil-paintings sold at street fairs to High Fashion in Paris) these 4 lies are wondrous sources of Fallacy to harbor and Epiphany when the fallacy is shattered.

http://www.raindance.org/hollywoods-4-biggest-lies/ 

The thesis in that article is that Hollywood is a film MARKETING industry (not film making industry).

For the purpose of studying Fallacies and how they are used in our real world so we can use them in fictional worldbuilding, we need to consider that Marketing is based on PR (public relations) which is, thanks Bernays - (as mentioned previously in this series, see Links above) a science. 

I've been talking about writing as a performing art and the business of writing as a marketing problem here for years. 
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2009/09/marketing-via-social-networking.html

http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2012/03/marketing-fiction-in-changing-world.html

And there is the 7 part series I've done on Editing that has helped a lot of beginners get their start.

This has links to the prior parts all listed at the top:
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2010/09/what-exactly-is-editing-part-vii-how-do.html

Marketing now runs on commercials and sound-bytes, YouTube videos and Endorsements.  It used to be jingles and slogans when all they had was radio and B&W magazines.  But since Bernays came up with his herd-instinct idea driven by fear of the behavior of other humans (a wondrously fruitful fallacy for writers to explore), Marketing has been a Science. 

We have had blockbuster TV shows set in Advertising Companies or revolving around a character who writes advertising for a living.  Those characters are always rich -- there's a reason for that.  In real life, those who've mastered Advertising Copy Writing and TV Ad production are a lot richer than any mere novelist. 

Does Advertising work for Marketing because humans really do have a herd instinct?  Or does it work for another reason? 

Are humans who are conditioned to behave as individuals, who don't need or want a "Leader" because they aren't followers and therefore don't prize Leadership, who aren't subject to any herd instinct or tendency, actually dangerous? 

To whom are they dangerous?  What exactly is the danger?  Who would take damage if humans got loose?  The answer to each of those questions could be used to form that Epiphany Moment in a film or novel.

Some of the best romance stories pivot on the subconscious fear of love, leading to the Epiphany that Love Is Not A Threat, that fear of love has a fallacy at its root. 

That type of fallacy novel is about the lies we tell ourselves. 

See the post on Weaponizing Lies
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2012/08/dialogue-part-4-legal-weasel.html

Here is a website devoted to videogames made by Bioware and Lucasarts (now part of Disney) based on Star Wars. 

http://www.swtor.com/info/setting

Note, the whole Star Wars saga is based on the current-world's most cherished fallacy -- and nobody, but absolutely nobody, ever identifies this fallacy: that "peace" can be achieved by the process of "fighting," fighting to the death. 

This is such a whopping huge Fallacy that once you have that Epiphany that it's utter nonsense, and you no longer wonder why all these millennia of fighting for peace have not resulted in Peace On Earth, then suddenly the whole world becomes incomprehensible.  Why would you hire a politician who wants to "fight for you" -- before you have this epiphany, it's so reasonable to want to vote for the Champion who can win your rights for you, and afterwards it becomes clear how Advertising has perpetuated this particular Fallacy. 

There's at least a series of novels in finding out who benefits from perpetuating that fallacy. 

Star Wars must be the single biggest marketable product to come along selling the "Fight For Peace" fallacy as necessary in the "War Against Evil." 

Star Wars  may be bigger than Star Trek by now. 
Star Trek is based on "when we become wise" (as Gene Roddenberry always said in his speeches at conventions) we will have peace.  Peace achieved through acquiring wisdom is the theme.  But Star Wars out-sells Star Trek. 

Fighting is more fun than becoming wise.

Fighting is fun because of that endorphin addiction noted in
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2012/11/dialogue-part-5-how-to-write-liar.html

Endorphins are create by the body, relaxing and triggering a pleasure response. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphins

----------QUOTE WIKIPEDIA --------------
Endorphins ("endogenous morphine") are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.

The term implies a pharmacological activity (analogous to the activity of the corticosteroid category of biochemicals) as opposed to a specific chemical formulation. It consists of two parts: endo- and -orphin; these are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean "a morphine-like substance originating from within the body."[5]

The term "endorphin rush" has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress,[2] supposedly due to the influence of endorphins. When a nerve impulse reaches the spinal cord, endorphins that prevent nerve cells from releasing more pain signals are released. Immediately after injury, endorphins allow animals to feel a sense of power and control over themselves that allows them to persist with activity for an extended time.[citation needed]
---------------END QUOTE-----------

Humans can achieve this kind of response just from imagination.  So indeed, the "fallacy" of "fighting for peace" seems on the surface, from personal internal experience to be a "no brainer."

You FIGHT: You feel pleasure. 

Just as in the post on Liar Dialogue, Part 5 in the Dialogue Series:

You lie: You feel pleasure

You exercise power over others: You feel pleasure.

The book, You Can't Lie To Me by Janine Driver, illustrates how basic it is to the human animal to feel a rush of endorphins when exercising power over other humans.  Lying from a position of power, tricking others into doing what you want by reshaping their idea of reality, produces an addictive rush of endorphins -- it's addictive because you become immune to the effect and thus require a bigger rush or endorphins to get the pleasure hit.  You need more and more power over more and more people just to feel normal. 

Think about that concept -- read up on the science -- then think about "who" Bernays was, what his biography was, where inside him did the idea of humans as a herd to be controlled by lies come from?  Why are humans running loose without anyone controlling them dangerous?  To whom are they dangerous -- really, to whom? 

How many plots with dynamite epiphanies can you create by trying out different answers to those questions? 

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com

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