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Old 12-15-2006, 01:26 AM   #57
The Solomon of Sarcasm
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 207

You argued that a story is not a story unless it features conflict. I was defending the minimum working definition of story, which is also what dictionaries try to do. You must realise that what you have been taught about storytelling consists of a set of cultural constructs that have no limiting force outside that culture. If someone claims that a story has to have such and such in addition to fulfilling the minimum working definition, they are only promoting a prejudice. It may be a very useful approach for a writer who wants to be published, but it is still just one way of looking at it.
I suppose I've been going about this the wrong way. As a story is an abstract concept defined by humans and humans alone, there really can't be a universal definition. You're never going to change my opinion on what a story is, but by that same token I can't change yours, nor can I claim the right to do so. I don't agree with your definition of story, but seeing as there is no neutral observer with ultimate power over the ultimate decision, I can't claim it as universally wrong. It's just wrong to me, and to the people who taught me this definition. Likewise, my definition is wrong to you. I disagree that it's based around a prejudice; I think it's an idea that is no more or less prejudiced than yours.

Do you mean to say that if the creator of the manga did not think in terms of conflict at all, on any level, that conflict still exists in their work? Meaning it is fair to impose one's own interpretation on the worldview of another and claim it as more authoritative or correct than their own? Then we are back to my analogy of blood vessels and veins. If I write a story featuring nothing but the interaction of blood vessels and veins, would you also see conflict there? That is what I disagree with: interpreting everything in terms of conflict, reducing it to the level of warfare, an awfully limited approach. It has implications far beyond the way we look at stories. If we insist on looking for conflict as always our primary consideration, how could that not affect the very way we experience the world around us?
What I was asking was if there was some sort of conflict present that you might not have perceived. I was not saying that conflict imposes itself automatically, nor was I attempting to impose my worldview over someone else's. The view's of a work's creator always take precedence over the views of the work's observers when that work's meaning is concerned, and that's a view I've always held. If the creator avoided a conflict entirely, there would be no conflict, but to me, that wouldn't be a story; he could tell me it was a story all he wanted to, but under my personal definition, it's not. To him, maybe it is, but his definition would be a completely different entity than my own.

So causality is not the universal constant it was once thought to be. Or maybe there are many types of causality rather than only the logical cause and effect we expect to find in stories. According to this theory, B does not necessarily follow even if A is present. Yet we still accept only the single type of (logical, positivist, analytical, left hemisphere) causality.
I wasn't talking about causality on the quantum level, I was talking about on the everyday level. Man drops his keys, keys fall, keys crush a beetle, goop gets on keys, man wipes his hands after picking up keys. The goop from inside the beetle can't get on the keys before the beetle has been crushed. The progression of one event to another is what happens in real life. Show me a place where a man dies of a gunshot wound before the gun is fired, and I'll change my views. In reference to events, like the above key-dropping scenario, A does follow B. On a particle or quantum level, things might be different, but that's not the level I'm talking about here.

By the way, in regard to the "left hemisphere" thing: the "left-brained individual" vs. "right-brained individual" view of personality is a myth. All humans use their left and right hemispheres equally; if someone's brain is using one side more than the other, that person has a severe brain disorder.

I once felt a drunk philosophy major in a university dormitory.
I once drunk a philosophy major made of felt.
Before you ask, "Nemel Chelovek" is from a Russian fairy tale about a dragon, his uncle, a princess, and a heroic pageboy. Nemel is the uncle in question.

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