Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"We Read to Know We Are Not Alone"

IMDb imageThis quote, written by William Nicholson for his screenplay Shadowlands, seems to have struck a cord: it returns 15,800 hits on google. Interestingly, this statement is most often attributed to Shadowlands' main character C.S. Lewis.

I'd venture to say that the same statement could be applied to any storytelling medium, be it going to the theatre, watching a film, or blogging.

1 comment:

imputerate said...

Yes we do read to know that we are not alone. In fact, there are three
reasons why we read. Each corresponds to a level of storytelling:

1. At the primordial level of style, we employ words because they are
supernatural. Pre-literate humans used prayers and curses to imagine
that they were transcendent. In this way they confronted the anomaly of
Death.

2. At the level of plot, we literate, but imputerate, souls construct
linear cause-and-effect chains of "real life" situations. Here, we can
map good and bad and imagine that we control the inexorable, but somehow
just, roller coaster of time. This is how we confront the anomaly of
Change.

3. Finally, at the level of discourse, we global villagers use storytelling
to seek rapport, free of any recourse to tribal language or moral
status. Here's hoping we can confront the ultimate anomaly,
SOLITUDE!