Our lives and our selves are our personal stories. Each perspective is a reality, composed of a narrator, a setting, characters, and a plot. As one of my favorite philosophers of consciousness, Daniel Dennett, describes it:
“Professional novelists, like con artists, create narratives with cunning and deliberate attention to the details. The rest of us are talented amateurs, spinning our tales cleverly but (in the main) unwittingly, rather the way a spider spins a web. It is nature, not art. It is not so much that we, using our brains, spin our yarns, as that our brains, using yarns, spin us.”
-Daniel C. Dennett, Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking. Page 339
Stories compel us because they push the boundaries of our imaginations by giving us a proxy viewpoint through which we can live out another life. They allow us to experience conflict through a temporary, internal space that we can step out of at any time. Unfortunately, we often forget that stories are reflections of our interactions with each other and the universe as a whole. This means that many people do not effectively make use of their powerful positions as “the story teller.”
I have been writing on this blog for some time now (thank you, dear reader, for your patience since my last post over a month ago), and I’ve sketched out my ideas on a pretty solid number of topics at this point. If you are a patient reader you may already know that eightstep me is my personal theory of consciousness as the interface of motivation and fulfillment.
Recently, I was going through a box of books when I found one that took me by surprise. My guess is that my ex-girlfriend borrowed it from Mary Brady, a published author and the mother of my oldest childhood friend. She’s one of the wisest and most loving people I’ve ever known!
This book that took me so off-guard is aptly titled: Goal, Motivation, Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction.
The power of this simple recipe is evident from this specific copy of the book, which is full of sticky notes and has a simple message inscribed by the author and addressed to Mary on the first page:
What so surprised me was the similarity of this simple recipe to what I have previously written about consciousness! Admittedly, Debra Dixon is a much better writer than me, and she formalized these guidelines with so much more grace and simplicity than I have. However, I feel so legitimized by the parallels between this book and my newfound philosophy.
According to an expert in authorship, the best fiction is written using the fulfillment of a goal, the movement of motivation, and the interface of conflict that rests between the two.
According to an expert in consciousness, our selves are an ever-expanding narrative.
According to me, the most balanced life is achieved by combining these two ideas and applying the concepts of effective story-telling to your own personal story!
Now go out there and write your story 🙂