Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Theme-Plot-Character-Worldbuilding Integration Part 8 - Would Aliens Share Human Fallacy And The Religious Impulse

Theme-Plot-Character-Worldbuilding Integration
Part 8
Would Aliens Share Human Fallacy And The Religious Impulse?
Jacqueline Lichtenberg

A few months ago there was a Video going around where Yale students were asked to sign a petition banning the First Amendment (and they did it).

It was a hoax kind of thing, but the student reactions distressed some people because the First Amendment to the US Constitution protects the citizen's right to petition.

That's right, college students at a prestigious school with world class Law School signed a petition to eliminate their right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

After I saw that, I found this tweet on Twitter:
John Scalzi ‏@scalzi  27m27 minutes ago
John Scalzi Retweeted Alex
This is almost certainly likely to be accurate.  John Scalzi added,
Alex @Spazz676
@scalzi @ppppolls Ask democrats if we should ban food with agrabah in it and I guarantee its at least 30%. Stupid people are everywhere.
Ryan SteinbergHam BoneB J. WitkinBB-801Lars HarperAndy ClickHyrinaJohn HouckPaul M
8:55 AM - 18 Dec 2015 · Details

John Scalzi is one of the smartest people working in the fiction field today.  Google him!  Buy his books. Read them.

He's also all over social media.  He's seeing flows of posts from people I'm not following, and he's seeing something I have been trying to define.

I'm trying to define reasoning from fallacy.  The contemporary reader's cherished fallacies determine whether that reader will see your Characters, their conflicts, and the resolution that ends the conflict as "plausible."

If you the writer fail to identify the cherished fallacies of your readership, your byline will be dismissed and your work tagged ridiculous.

The contemporary reader's cherished fallacies have to be embedded in your Worldbuilding, which means they must be components of your Theme, your Plot, and your Characters (and their conflicts, especially internal.)

Now that does not mean you must adhere to the reader's fallacies, nor does it imply that you must advocate such fallacies as valid universe views.

The point of good fiction has always been to challenge readers' cherished fallacies, cognitive errors, or "normalcy bias" (the human tendency to assume that the longer a situation remains static, the more likely it will remain static, when statistically the opposite is true.)

Go reread the opening to the Hobbit for a lesson in how to handle that "normalcy bias" fallacy.

So we see a trend focused on the eager acceptance of the concept "ban" -- i.e. prevent the actions of others by force of Law.

Here's a book I have not read, and a quick excerpt of mis-used words that the book highlights


The article emphasizes that with English there is no "right" way to use or define a word, no central authority to dictate right language as many other languages have.

We may be looking at a trend taking hold under the umbrella concept PC (Politically Correct) speech, dictating by threat of verbal violence and screaming-pile-ons (like a flock of ducks attacking the crippled duck -- yes, ducks do that, and I've seen it; they kill their weakest) what may be said, what words or labels may be uttered, and what label will be plastered upon those who break that rule.

Is PC speech and its mob-enforcement a manifestation of a yearning for structure, for rules, boundaries, and organized authority?

Because of the violent pile-on enforcement, it becomes more socially efficient to talk like everyone else because functionally, the social matrix has "banned" a certain word or phrase, or application of speech.

Thus when you are creating dialogue for your characters, you have to take the reader's expectations into account.  You may challenge those expectations or even blatantly disappoint them, but first you must make it clear to the reader that you, the writer, knows the reader's expectations.

Then you can defy them, argue against them, hold them up to ridicule, bow down to political correctness so low the sarcasm drips, and handle all the reader's expectations any way the Art requires.

But first you must establish rapport with the reader and telegraph who the Characters are.  That's the core of the advice in SAVE THE CAT!  You introduce the protagonist you want the viewer to root for while he/she is doing an action that the viewer respects, applauds, and uses to "measure" the depth and strength of that Character's character.

So, would you open a College Romance with the entrapment into signing a petition to "ban" something (almost anything seems to do the trick.)

We seem to have released the basic human urge to control the behavior of others in the name of FREEING ourselves.  

Would introducing a protagonist embracing a movement to "ban" others from (whatever -- anything will do from owning or carrying guns, to abortion rights, absolutely anything is worthy of "banning.")

Our social structure right now appears to have abandoned "encourage" and "approve" for "ban" and/or "mandate."  "Encourage" and "Approve" are more related to Jupiter than Saturn. (see below for astrology discussion).

Absolute control of the behavior of other people seems to be a necessity of life for a lot of people.

Does it make you angry when you see me write that?

Good!  That is exactly the right mood in which to create a novel.  Go write something!

Now let's think harder about where this "banning" and "mandating" trend is coming from in human nature.

Once identified, that source can then be used to create an Alien Hunk for your Alien Romance novel.

There used to be a pop culture phrase with which to scorn and scoff at anyone you didn't like:  "Oh, he's such a Control Freak."

Wanting "control" was touted to a generation as a major character flaw that eliminated you from all social situations.  Control freaks were shunned, excluded, and sometimes beaten up on the way home from school.

What is "control?"  Regulation.  Boundaries.  All teens test boundaries established by their parents, and consider such boundaries immoral. But studies show that the only way to raise a teen into a responsible adult is to keep tight boundaries on the teen.

Boundaries establish norms of expected and sanctioned behavior.

You see the phrase, "I was raised to ..." and fill in the blank, "respect elders" "stand my ground" "refuse to be bullied" "keep my room neat" "keep my promises" "give to charity" etc.

That phrase reveals the structure of the boundaries the parent had imposed on the teen.

A more modern phrase is, "Such behavior is frowned on in this establishment ..." (e.g. don't run in the house, don't hit your little sister.)

The basic primate nature is to copy behavior. Parents must model correct behavior --  whatever behavior they model will transmit to the teen. Children learn to do as you do, not as you say.

If you need a Character with a hot internal conflict, give him parents who espoused one set of values verbally, and modeled a conflicting set of values in behavior. That will produce a troubled adult who does not realize he/she believes what the parents modeled, not what they taught. This produces the Character who is "his own worst enemy."

So controlling the behavior of others is just modeling the good parenting you recieved.

Your Aliens aren't going to be Earth Primates (well, you could go back in time like Clan of the Cavebear).

So when you invent an Alien physiology, you have to include this "banning" element if there is to be any hope for a Relationship of any sort across the Human/Alien interface, never mind hope for Romance.

Astrologically, the human Character gets the sense of structure and discipline, of boundaries and norms, from the position of the planet Saturn by House, Rulership and aspects.

But we all have a Saturn in our natal charts somewhere.  What do your Aliens have instead? What about Aliens (like Gini Koch's
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2016/03/reviews-24-by-jacqueline-lichtenberg-of.htmlwe talked about last week) born on Earth?  How would they differ from their counterparts born on their distant homeworld?

So "banning" and all the urges we experience to ban, clean, rid, expunge, control and GET ORGANIZED, is an expression (one of many) of the astrological symbol Saturn.

What else does Saturn symbolize?  Well, it rules the sign Capricorn, which can be understood as the Power Behind The Throne -- not the King which is Leo but the King's right-hand-manager, the "prime minister" (except today that title is equivalent to President or Head of State).

Saturn is not the Head of State, the policy maker.  The Moon in your astrological chart represents your Needs, and all your life-policies are methods (Saturn) of fulfilling those Needs.  Saturn organizes the various talents, attributes, and energies of your Natal Chart to fulfill the Needs as described by your Natal Moon (by Sign, House, Aspect).

Saturn is the organizing principle and thus defines what to exclude from your life so you can get organized. (Jupiter defines what to include).

So Saturn is about banning certain influences.

Capricorn, which Saturn Rules, is the Natural 10th House, the purpose of your life, your career more than the job you hold at the moment. Saturn represents what's "important" in your life.

So Saturn is associated with "Organized Religion."  This is different from the non-verbal "spirituality" that still pervades society.  Spirituality is represented by Neptune (rules Pisces, the 12th House).

Saturn takes the unstructured aspirations and ideals of Neptune (which denotes Romance) and imposes structure.

Saturn is the story of the lovers after the honeymoon, setting up housekeeping, allocating bedroom space, drawers, closet space, take-out-the-garbage and clean the bathroom chores. Who does the shopping, who picks the color of the window treatments -- that's Saturn in operation.

Saturn works in the scene where new husband brings home a puppy, and new wife stands up and screams, "Get that thing out of here!"

Saturn is also representative of "The Church" as opposed to communing with Nature on a hike and having a "religious experience."  Religious Experience is Neptune -- the third eye opens, the world seems different.  Complying with rules and regulations made up by men (and only men) thousands of years ago is Saturn.

Saturn "imposes" structure.

To have structure, there must be exclusion.

Today's modern religions mostly require adherents to go out and "preach the gospel" or "witness" or convert others.  Judaism is a conspicuous exception as Jews consider that you're fine just as you are, provided you live within the 7 Noachide Laws.

So why is Judaism so out-numbered by so many proselytizing religions?

There's that element of Primate Nature, the impulse to CONTROL THE BEHAVIOR OF OTHERS, by whatever means necessary, in order to gain freedom.

To codify and sanctify a basic animal trait of the human body -- the need to CONTROL others (but not the Self) -- into a Religious Doctrine gives that trait a force, a righteousness.

Judaism codifies and sanctifies, with the same do-or-die ferocity, the achievement of Self Control and a complete hands-off policy to the behavior of Others.  Of course, there are many sub-divisions of Judaism that codify forcing certain people to do certain things (such as a recalcitrant man who refuses his wife a proper divorce).

You see the "self-control" trait in some stringent Christian sects, too.

So the Primate trait of CONTROLLING OTHERS -- or Self -- has become codified into various religions, all for different reasons and to different degrees.

What happens to humans raised in an Atheist culture?

Does the absence of God in any form eliminate all need to CONTROL OTHERS?

What sort of Alien would develop an atheist culture and see it actually eliminate all inner need to control the behavior of others?

Does the presence of God as an axiom of a culture cause the ferocious and aggressive tendency to control others? Or is the God thesis an excuse to let loose a Primate tendency?

The answers to those questions form the basis of a THEME.  A theme is a statement which the rest of the work will explain and illustrate from various angles.  A theme is formed of the answer to a question, but presents to the reader only the question, not the answer.

You as writer must know what answer your Characters arrive at during the climax scene at the end of the book.  But the Character's answer is not your answer, nor is it your Reader's answer.  The important thing about a THEME is that it posits the question.

The question here is why are those born in the mid-1990's so eager to use the force of Law (the biggest bully in the room because being charged with something, even when innocent, can ruin your life) to ban almost anything?

Why would anyone want to ban the First Amendment cutting off Free Speech and the right to Petition the Government for redress of grievances?

What is it about the mid-1990's birthdays that connects Islamic suicide sects to Yale Students who want to BAN (almost anything people do).

I've done a lot of posts on PLUTO and how writers can use knowledge of its generational forces to target a readership, or explain one readership's proclivities to another readership (which is what STAR TREK LIVES! did, explain to parents why kids loved Star Trek).

Here's one post I did listing where Pluto was transiting since 1939, explaining a lot if you think about it.


In 1995, 21 years ago, Pluto moved from transiting Scorpio (which it rules) to transiting Sagittarius.  Pluto is now in mid-Capricorn.

Saturn rules Capricorn - Pluto is the upper octave of Mars, force and male sexuality.  Mars is a fist-fight while Pluto is World War.

Pluto is change, usually by violence.

Pluto is now bringing ferocity, determination, do-or-die, to BREAKING CONTROL represented by Capricorn. Capricorn is order, control, government, and Pluto is change, revolution, ruling Scorpio, the Natural 8th House, other people's resources (e.g. taxes) and sexual power (as opposed to love).

In one of the Presidential Debates in December 2015, Governor Jeb Bush labeled Donald Trump, "The Chaos Candidate."

All credible reports say that the objective of Islamic Extremists (another misnomer to add to the list of beloved fallacies) is to bring CHAOS because by doing so, they will trigger their version of the Messiah to come and fix up the whole world.  Creating CHAOS has some kind of appeal to these current 18-25 year-olds whose Natal Pluto is end-of-Sagittarius beginning of Capricorn.  Of course whether Chaos Creation has a visceral appeal that will cause you to be willing to sacrifice your life to achieve it depends on which House Pluto is in, and what aspects it makes, and what other transits you might be experiencing when you hear that message.

Very few will be susceptible, and not all who are susceptible to "let's create chaos for holy purposes" will have any connection to these positions of Pluto.

But a writer who is able to spot a manifestation of a major force working in the world, whatever you call it, however you define it, will be able to use it in fiction in such a way as to grab major attention.

Pluto transiting Capricorn stirs up the desire for revolution against existing structures, especially governing structures, structures that have existed for generations.

One such structure is national borders. Note the prominence of "defend our borders" or "build a fence" -- note how Israel has built border fences, and in the Balkans fences are being built to "ban" torrents of refugees from the middle East wars.

Note that the Middle East situation is a Religious War, and it is against the prevailing, existing STRUCTURE that has prevailed for decades. They are moving country's borders, and exterminating (banning) Christians, and "the wrong kind" of Muslim.

Most of that killing is being done by recruits who are 16-30 years old.  They are enthusiastic about dying for a cause. Do or die.  And their objective is the "ban" non-Muslim behavior.

Note what a tiny fraction of Muslims have any interest in any of that violence!  It's all confined to a very specific slice of humanity, but look closely and you will find that same impulse to "ban" or "control" the behavior of others not just at Yale, or in the Middle East, but all over the globe.

The need to "ban" behavior is about the anguished misery that must be cured by PREVENTING what others are doing to cause it.  The assumption is that misery can not be something you afflict yourself with -- if you are miserable, it is someone else's doing that causes it.
Therefore BAN with full force of law any behavior that makes you miserable.  It is all their fault, not yours.  Any child will tell you that is true -- because they are helpless victims of their parents' unreasonable rules.

The explosive decompression (Pluto through Capricorn) of this anguish is High Drama, and you can use it in almost any Alien Romance you can think of.  All human readers will understand the need to CONTROL OTHERS, regardless of what opinion they hold of what actions are permissable and which are not.

So, look at the urge to control others, at how it manifests in Religions (of all sorts), and then in Atheist society.  Most Atheists consider the ills of the world orginate in Religion, and especially loathe all proselytizing aimed at them.  Only religious nuts go around "banning" others from various activities.

See if you can find an instance of banning promulgated by Atheist tendencies.

Build your World around a Theme, and find a Character torn between two answers to the thematic question.  When your Character acts to "ban" whatever external situation is causing him/her anguish, you have the beginning of a Plot.

Plot is the because-line of a Conflict. Your Character sees something that needs banning, wades in and attacks it in righteous indignation.  Because your Character hit it, it strikes back.  Because it had the temerity to strike back, your Character hits harder.  That's a plot integrated with character, world and theme.

In the finished story, it will all be of one indivisible piece, and readers will not be able to factor it back into its components.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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