The Storyteller is a god of both Order and Chaos

There’s a comfort to the idea of omniscience – that everything at once can be consciously apprehended by someone, even if our own minds are too limited.

A story – a movie – tends to work when there’s a series of consequence (rather than merely subsequence). Human minds like consequence – this happened therefore that happened.

Drama asks for a “but.” This happened, but then this happened, therefore we did this, but that happened, so therefore we did that, but they did this so we therefore did that…etc. down the line. Thanks Trey Parker and Matt Stone

But the god-view is almost without the “but.” In the universe of pure order, everything is “therefore.” Everything is determined. There are no surprises, for the omniscient view sees everything coming.

It’s almost as if drama IS the very idea of order interrupted by chaos, then returned to order again. In classical comedy, order is restored by marriages and treaties, social bonds that were in danger of being lost or broken are healed. In classical tragedy, the descent of the hero leads to chaos, only restored by the death of the tragic hero. In a modern hero story, order is restored when the hidden, mature inner need of the hero triumphs over his or her superficial want – and the order of the world follows suit.

People can debate over whether the order-imposing structure of narrative is the imposition of a construct or a reflection of some underlying reality, but the point is, for storytellers, this is at the core of our work: this idea of threading together consequence. And the point isn’t to create a perfect representation of the world – otherwise most of modern dialogue would be stutters and ums.

It’s to say, in our own way, “life is something like this” – and then show people something that gets them nodding (or laughing, if we’re going for gold).

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