Saturday, 4 December 2010

What do you expect to get from a story? (Part 2 of 3)

What lesson can be learned from this flood of adventure, action, and everlasting hope? If you think that this is a meaningless phenomenon, please pause and make a list of the people you know who never watch such films, buy such books, or follow such stories on TV. Chances are that your list will be short. Here is why:

1. An important segment of the population draws their ethical convictions from popular fiction, whether in the form of novels, films, or television episodes. Intellectual approaches to morality, philosophy, and happiness are as rare as purely rational investors.

2. There are good reason why human beings prefer to take their ethical cues from fiction rather than from professional philosophers. If only because movies, TV films, and comic-books are more fun, cheaper, and more readily accessible than sophisticated moral discourse.

3. Amongst a wide variety of abstract ideas, it is difficult to tell which one is true. On the other hand, fiction can be quickly judged as entertaining or boring, satisfying or disconcerting. Well-constructed stories present self-contained value assessments that can be instantly apprehended.

To be continued in Part 3


[Image by joshDubya under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]