Friday, May 20, 2011

Indexed Values

Recently I subscribed to a blog post called INDEXED. Occasionally the creator, Jessica (whom I suppose a wannabe atheist (*) based on some of her posts), produces a Venn diagram or graph that touches eloquently on the conflict of values that we use in creating stories. While some will claim that her interpretations of things are not universal, I think they do, for the most part, connect generally with the human condition.

I also like them because they are mostly visual, which is what movies are all about -- show, don't tell. Pictures are worth thousands of words and her little index cards are great examples of this truth.  I hope you can see protagonists and characters carrying around these cards (figuratively) in their pocket, and at a particular turning point in their story, they take the cards out and study them.

The challenge, perhaps to my students, fans, and clients is this: Take your story and create a graph or Venn diagram for the Conflict of Values your protagonist faces. Put that card in YOUR pocket, and when you're waiting in line, or stuck in traffic take the card out and imagine that your character is in your situation at that moment, sitting next to you. How would they see your current predicament in terms of the conflict of values that is illustrated on the card?

(*) I call all atheists "wannabes" because logically they have no rational basis for declaring there is no God. To do so, they would have to be omniscient... an attribute assigned to the essence that knows all things perfectly without error or contradiction. You can't claim something does not exist when your knowledge of the universe and reality is microscopically small. I'll accept agnostic, but not declarations. Every human discipline offers only a spec of knowledge of what is potentially possible. Science and theology are no exceptions to this. Some of what was known as universal truth by science 100 years ago, today is bunk... and the thousands of Protestant Christian faiths that all disagree with each other suggests a similar uneasiness. I'm Catholic for a host of reasons, not the least of which the Church does not claim to have all the answers. It has always embraced mystery as a tenet. That there is mystery in the universe/reality,  is what makes stories, in part, work. We are bounded by time and space. Stories working through our imagination allows us to see reality from a perspective that transcends space and time.


I wrote the above on May 20. On May 25 Ms. Hagy posted this index card:


Justin West said...

I think you mean "the church doesN'T have all the answers," given your emphasis on mystery. Great post and good work!

Stan Williams said...

Ah... thanks for the catch, Justin. I fixed it.