Addicted To Plot

The famous quote by Anais Nin, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are,” speaks volumes about the way humans perceive the world around them. Every individual’s perception is influenced by their unique experiences, emotions, and beliefs. This subjectivity in perception makes it difficult to determine a definitive objective reality, as each person’s interpretation can be vastly different.

Our perception of the world is shaped by our experiences, which are unique to each individual. Two people can witness the same event, but they may have entirely different interpretations of what happened based on their individual experiences.

Plot technologies refer to the use of certain human interactions or behaviors in order to advance a particular narrative or storyline. These interactions may be intentionally crafted in order to fit a predetermined plot, or they may emerge organically as a result of cultural or societal norms.

Examples of plot technologies might include the use of a romantic subplot to create tension or drama, the inclusion of a villainous character to provide conflict

While these plot technologies can be effective tools for creating compelling narratives, they can also be limiting and formulaic at best and misrepresent reality at worst. They may rely on stereotypes or cliches in order to create a sense of familiarity or comfort for audiences, but this can also lead to a lack of diversity and originality in the stories that are told. The biases inherent in plot technologies have made many narratives seem outdated, past their sell-by dates, and unable to capture the complexities of our modern world. In fact, it seems that we have become unwitting pawns of narrative technologies, with plot devices dictating the stories we tell and the ways in which we tell them.

One of the biggest biases of plot technologies is the emphasis on a linear, cause-and-effect structure. This structure has been the backbone of many narratives, from ancient myths to Hollywood blockbusters, and it works by establishing a clear beginning, middle, and end. While this structure has proven effective in creating engaging stories, it can also be limiting, as it often fails to capture the complexities and nuances of real life. Life is rarely linear, and events often occur simultaneously, causing a web of consequences that are difficult to untangle. The emphasis on a linear plot can, therefore, make many narratives feel contrived and unrealistic.

Another bias of plot technologies is the tendency to prioritize certain types of stories over others. Many narratives are structured around a hero’s journey or a central conflict, often at the expense of more nuanced and character-driven stories. These kinds of stories may be popular because they are easy to follow and provide a clear sense of resolution, but they can also be formulaic and predictable. Furthermore, they often perpetuate a narrow view of what constitutes a worthy protagonist or conflict, reinforcing harmful stereotypes and limiting the range of stories that are told.

The rise of digital technologies has also played a significant role in shaping narratives. The internet has given rise to a new type of storytelling, one that is often fragmented, nonlinear, and interactive. These narratives may incorporate various media, from text to video to social media, and allow the audience to participate in the story in new ways. However, these narratives can also be overwhelming and disjointed, leaving the audience feeling disconnected and disengaged.

First is the idea of the individual which is a pretty personal notion and is a post-medieval concept legitimised by print. Second is the idea of the public or the did not exists before newspapers or broadcasts. There was no public, only people and communication was utililitarian

Third: The notion of an observing citizenry somehow sharing the governance of society. Plots are interchangeable parts and that’s an idea that comes from the interchangeability of letters in movable types, the first ones to utilize the concept of easily reformulated sub units.

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by Georges Polti is a fascinating categorization of every possible dramatic situation that might occur in a story. Polti analyzed classical Greek texts, as well as classical and contemporaneous French works, to arrive at his list of thirty-six situations. This work has become an essential reference point for writers, filmmakers, and other artists looking to create compelling stories.

However, while the Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations provides a useful framework for understanding narrative structure, it is important to recognize the limitations of this approach. The categories defined by Polti are based on a particular cultural and historical context, and may not be applicable to all forms of storytelling. Furthermore, the emphasis on dramatic situations may overlook other important elements of storytelling, such as character development, world-building, and themes.

One of the consequences of the increasing aesthetization of reality is that it affects fundamental structures of reality. Reality takes on a condition we associate with performance art, in which it is produced, changeable, non-committal, and subject to manipulation. This is particularly evident in the era of social media, where individuals and institutions can create and project their own narratives, often without regard for objective truth.

Moreover, the growing importance of performance in view of technological determination means that reality is increasingly shaped by the forces of spectacle and entertainment. This can be seen in the rise of reality TV, where individuals are presented as characters in a scripted drama, and in the increasing use of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to create immersive experiences for audiences.

Plot is useful in the service of an appropriate model of the universe but we should not create a model of the universe to service plot. A bad plot can rarely be overcome by more plot 😀

In the world of storytelling, plot is a fundamental element that can make or break a work of fiction. However, as the previous paragraph suggests, the overemphasis on plot can lead to a distorted view of the world, where reality is reduced to a set of predetermined narratives.

This is particularly problematic when it comes to the portrayal of complex social issues, where a simplistic or formulaic plot can obscure important nuances and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. A bad plot, in this context, can be more than just ineffective – it can actively contribute to social injustice and perpetuate harmful ideas.

Moreover, the overemphasis on plot can also lead to a homogenization of culture, where stories become increasingly formulaic and predictable. This can result in a lack of diversity and originality in the stories that are told, as writers and filmmakers feel compelled to adhere to established narrative structures in order to appeal to audiences.

As consumers of media, it is important for us to be aware of the limitations of plot and to demand more from the stories that we engage with. We should not be content with simplistic or formulaic narratives, but instead seek out works that challenge our assumptions and expand our understanding of the world.

At the same time, it is important for creators of media to approach their work with a sense of humility and respect for the complexity of the world around them. Plot should not be used as a tool for imposing a particular worldview or agenda, but rather as a means of exploring the complexity and richness of human experience.

Ultimately, the role of plot in storytelling is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires careful consideration and reflection. While plot can be a powerful tool for engaging audiences and exploring important themes, it must be approached with a sense of caution and humility in order to avoid the pitfalls of oversimplification and homogenization.

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