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Thread: Your opinion: Why do we need fiction?

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    Default Your opinion: Why do we need fiction?

    Meaning stories of all kinds in all sorts of common (or uncommon, private) media outlets. Why do you think that fiction is necessary to you and the life of others?


     
    As a first point, fiction occupies the role of the role. That means: It serves as a tool of orientation. Whether that's during our time when we grow up or in later instances. To me, reading or watching stories on the Internet or TV would be a source of knowing "where I stand", so to say, so it has a lot to do with identity and fitting in. I know I compare myself to an illusion, yet I relate to characters that way. Part of "the role" is also displaying role models. Whether those are positive or negative ones does not matter as much as what the gist is, and what I - we as a collective - can learn from it, especially as fiction draws and crosses conscious boundaries in all possible senses of the word.

    A second function of fictional contents as I experience it is insight into human nature and psychology. The way we write, draw, narrate, and how reality surrounds that as well as builds the textual body via the human perception. It also helps me to imagine and spin things around in my own mind by their incentive. It's like the story lives in and through me. That's why I can't watch a movie made out of a book, I already created my own world while reading. Sometimes I like to write prose in private which seems to have its roots in other "fictions" or people I know, so it's interesting to see how everything intertwines, sort of by chance, within my thinking.

    Thirdly, and that combines paragraph one and two, fiction is cathartic, i.e. helps us see new points of view to heal. I found an example that's very touching and a reminder of how much we need fictional contexts to broaden our horizon.

    My face has changed, my heart is moving
    But my camouflage will hide it



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    thehotelambush's Avatar
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    I don't really get into much fiction anymore but it's usually used as a way to escape or for catharsis, or to explore experiences and emotions that we might not otherwise get to.

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    People need to dream and express themselves - it is meaningful in itself, but it also allows you to explore realms you might not quite be able to in actuality. It heightens emotions, and allows ideas to be conveyed that might not otherwise show themselves.
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    It's a good reminder that you should spend time doing something completely unimportant and inconsequential just because you can.

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    - Fiction is art, art is culture. Culture is what makes us different from animals.
    I guess you could say telling stories is what makes us human. IMO even our ego, our subjective view that there is something in our head that qualifies as the "me" is a story that we tell ourselves. Without that we would not be able to function as what we call a human being or a person.

    - Science Fiction is a starting point for real science. Like mobile phones in Star Trek or interstellar exploration in Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" in 1865

    - Serves as a reflection of our society (for example 1984) and popular science like
    Jurassic Park (Human Genome Project in the 80s and 90s),
    Limitless and Lucy (Neurology, Human Brain Project 90s - now),
    Matrix, Ghost in the Shell, Ex Machina (Artificial Intelligence),
    Minority Report (Big Data)
    I'd like to add that these movies like to overestimate the accomplishments and dangers of some scientific fields. Especially when it comes to the Human Genome Project. But that overestimation is in fact the reflection of our society. It's what the masses see and what the media portrays. New and exciting fields and early accomplishments may lead to inappropriate hype that ultimately ends in our works of fiction. These works can be seen or read by later generations and show them our values, hopes and fears.

    - and as a reminder: The boy in the striped pajamas, Downfall, Shindler's List
    Last edited by Cosmic Teapot; 04-20-2017 at 10:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chae View Post
    Meaning stories of all kinds in all sorts of common (or uncommon, private) media outlets. Why do you think that fiction is necessary to you and the life of others?
    Well, for starters it's the best way to explore philosophical concepts. Fiction is philosophy in my mind. This insight even impressed my professors in college. I told them that, if we boil it all down every work of fiction is also, at base, a work of philosophy. I think they just clapped along to get along (pretty sure they were a bunch of Alpha's) but some things transcend typology and one of em' is truth. At base, I'm right. J.R.R. Tolkien ought to be considered in the same ranks and Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. The big-N wasn't theistic but he might as well have been, and Tolkien wasn't exactly a protestant but you get the idea as it were. In a sense the three would hate each other but, in another sense, they'd all be best buddies drinking away at a local pub relating their ideas to each other in a way that inspired mirth amongst them all.

    Furthermore Identity>Culture>Politics. Fiction=Culture. Therefore Identity>Fiction>Politics. What everyone therefore tends to both read and identify with *will* affect policy in the political arena. To get really cynical about it all Fiction=Religion which most definitely equals politics, fiction, and identity. So yeah, it is SUPREMELY important. One could say it is the most important thing as it is, as stated, essentially synonymous with culture and that flows directly from identity (which is the MOST important thing when all is said and done).

    So yeah, very friggin' important. Just as important as any significant works of philosophy and religion. I'd rate Plato's "The Republic" in the same strata as "The Holy Bible" and "The Lord of the Rings". You really won't "understand" European people until you get why those three things are loved on so hard by those people. Ya just won't. Period. End of argument. If you hate any of them on a visceral level then you're essentially in a blood feud with them and the only answer to blood feuds is bullets. As I don't like where that goes I implore anyone to try and "get" them as it were. I am so sick of the endless slaughter...

    I mean, my side will win, or at the very least make your victory Pyrrhic and that your history books *will* record that very word and concept as apt will be in itself a very bitterly ironic pill to swallow for even in our death you appropriate our concepts, language, and history but you get the point. Even in our failure we *will* be remembered in fiction. As either a servant of the divine or the demonic will make little difference. We're either the ultimate evil or the ultimate good... or a primordial force, a "precursor" civilization. In it all, we're pretty damned important, as all significant fiction ultimately is

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    Human society is inherently evil and soulless, and rigged for the worst of the worst to win and the best of the best to lose. It's Satan's game. Fiction transports you to another world that gives you a natural break from that, it's a way to fight evil. The natural world is beautiful, humans can be beautiful. Society is ugly. And fiction can make the ugly beautiful. We can't truly make the ugly beautiful without work and effort, but fiction can perhaps inspire us to do that. And good fiction probably has stopped me from killing myself.

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    Moderator Reficulris's Avatar
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    To answer your question one would need to demarcate fiction from what is not fiction. The process might show you the answer or at least why the answer isn't clear cut.

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    "Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it."
    -Lloyd Alexander

    “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
    -Neil Gaiman, paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Director Abbie View Post
    "Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it."
    -Lloyd Alexander

    “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
    -Neil Gaiman, paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton
    I like this a lot.

    Also: "Fiction gives us a second chance that life defines us" - Paul Theroux
    My face has changed, my heart is moving
    But my camouflage will hide it



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    Quote Originally Posted by Reficulris View Post
    To answer your question one would need to demarcate fiction from what is not fiction. The process might show you the answer or at least why the answer isn't clear cut.
    You're up to something there. Can you give it a try?
    My face has changed, my heart is moving
    But my camouflage will hide it



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    Moderator Reficulris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chae View Post
    You're up to something there. Can you give it a try?
    Well, my point is that philosophy has been trying to figure out where the line between "fictional" and "true" things lies. From there you can go from fiction to communication, as we started telling each other stories to either communicate some practical information or confer some societal expectations and norms. Fiction then can communicate something abstractly that might either be not convincing if told factually, or that gives an extra layer of meaning in the story form.

    Romeo and Juliet gives us an understanding of love in a different (i'm not saying worse or better) way then a brainscan.
    Establishing authoirty is easier when it's accompanied by a story of how god gave down tablets of clay with laws. (Bible)
    Explaining the general conception of "good" is easier in a big illustration (what is the good state) then in the small illustration (what is a good human) (Respublica)
    Explaining and promoting slave mentality (we are all powerless hobbits but it will be ok) is easier when doing it in a fantasy world with pathetic fake-dwarves as main characters (LoTR)


    The "purpose" or "use" of fiction, or the why I at least personally need it is because it gives the "meaning" to experience. Almost everything, from the self-talk we do to the hypotheses of science can be seen as "fiction" (at least in the case of science, untill the entirety of experience has been fully explained).

    Fiction can also be a trap, as some have pointed out in the case of escapism (or is it a trap?)
    Examples of that are for instance Trucks' communication here on the forum where he's devided the world in campy gays, straight jocks, mean girls and everyone else who he ignores. It is a picture that is in some form describing the world but it's limiting in scope of what it can explain.
    Another whay fiction can serve is as a shield. "I'll just watch one more episode of Black Sails and then read more Augustine" is a fiction, that I tell myself to make me momentarily feel better in lue of not doing what I set out to do. (What I set out to do, or my goals, themselves are a fiction in the same way). I shield myself from some self inflicted pain.
    Similarly for instance my giraffe shtick here on the forum makes me feel more relatable, happy and bouncy then I'd normally be considered, shielding me from external pressures on sore spots.

    So to give a TLDR

    Fiction is everywhere, we tell ourselves fictions, we tell each other fictions, it's not "what is the use" that is the real question but "could there be talk of "use" or "need" if there was no fiction"?


    Edit: only now scanned your OP; I think we're on the same page.

    Edit: Another thing I'd like to point out is the stories about stories that I'm telling in the above post, and also what stories / fictions I make up about End's post and Trucks life.

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    I agree that fiction is a tool . Maybe often people need help with figuring out how we can use it and where to avoid it. A while ago I came across work regarding reconstruction of personal narratives . First was David Boje's work with war veterans (Embodied Restorying Processes (ERP)) but he also does it on organizational level. https://davidboje.wordpress.com/2017...process-model/

    these people do similar work as narrative psychiatry
    http://dulwichcentre.com.au/reconstr...gaye-stockell/

    maybe we can never not have fiction if personal cognition leads to personal reality
    Last edited by kalinoche; 04-29-2017 at 12:24 PM.
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    Fiction is a more rationalized manifestation of our imagination. It is a mix of our subconscious and conscious philosophical perspectives that combine emotion, rationality, and possibilities from the perspective of the author, or the projected perspective of another by the author's perspective. Fiction is an art; a conduit for connecting minds together into a pool of human understanding.

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    Life imitates art. Without fiction, we'd be stuck in some sort of eternal recurrence type thing without even any weird metaphysics. People think up fictional scenarios by accident all the time, so it seems impossible to me not to have fiction. Life just demands that we think of different possibilities, and by the time you're at two, one of them is already not real. Fiction is just really fleshing it out in-depth, and that's bound to happen as long as people are thinking of different possibilities.

    The GIF with the little boy losing his arm and saying that he isn't worried because Luke lost his hand is a huge part of it. Aside from the "escapism" thing that a lot of people lean towards, it also lets us mentally process things that actually can and do happen. That's why I liked and still like to read a lot of literary things like Kafka and Poe, because those kinds of stories let you basically mentally and emotionally process events without them actually happening to you. I mean no one turns into a bug or meets a talking raven that I know of, but there are more abstract themes that you definitely encounter that are just embellished in those kinds of stories, like alienation and dehumanization and fear and rage, and if you process those at a distance in some quiet time, when they really pop up (which they will), you at least have a basic idea how to handle it. That's also why many/most people seem not to like those kinds of books, since even if it's something obscure that no one really reads in school, "it's depressing!" Things like Harry Potter and even Star Wars involve a decent amount of real themes too even if it isn't as intense or challenging, so little boys can relate to Luke losing his hand and feel awesome like Luke instead of just like a disabled person who needs a prosthetic hand. It's great that life imitates art, since as long as you take in and/or make good art, you have a good life, no matter how much your conditions might objectively suck. That's also why authoritarians make sure to attempt to get rid of the old artists and intellectuals first and install their own artists and intellectuals instead, and why dictatorships require so much censorship in general. Everything people do and think is pretty much because of fiction along with music, images, etc.
    Last edited by Wyrd; 04-29-2017 at 10:11 PM.
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    Art is a lie that makes us realize truth. -Picasso
    'Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.'

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