Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thoughts on Brothers Grimm

"Have you blogged today?" asks my wife. "Have you met your ob-blog-ation?"

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I just watched The Brothers Grimm. One thing that struck me about it is the theme of rationality vs. supernatural that gets played out in countless stories in popular culture. What's most interesting about it is that it doesn't always play out the same way. Sometimes you get the Scooby-Doo plot: a seemingly supernatural thing is revealed by rationality to be hoax. And sometimes you get a Brothers Grimm, where the hubris of rationality is kicked in the teeth by some Real Magic. And sometimes you get an X-Files, where both sides duke it out and you're not quite sure who's winning. What's going on here?

Psychologically, I think there are more people who fall on the side of the magical. We suspect, and want to believe that there is more in this world than is dreamt of in our philosophies. Somehow we know that a world that is entirely explainable is somehow too small to be worth the trouble. On the other hand, rationality is power and control, the Known versus the Unknown. We would prefer to live in a world that is predictable and controllable, in spite of the knowledge that we know it isn't, and that ultimately we have the ultimate loss of control, which is Death. So we huddle around the fires of our rationality, not because it's the only truth, but because we know that there is Something terrifying out there. As C. S. Lewis said in Till We Have Faces: "Holy wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood."



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