Monday, November 18, 2013

The Purpose of Fiction

            Fiction is more then just a set of stories. The goal of a good reader is to find the hidden meaning in these stories. The reason that the reader looks for the hidden meaning is because good writers hide truth in fiction. The movie the Matrix was a movie about a non-caring machine that plugged everyone into an illusion that caused them to become the batteries that powered the machine. The machine sucked the life out of the people, but they lived in a fantasy world created by the machine to keep the people blinded from the fact that they were a useless and replaceable number. The reality is that this is just a story. Anyone that reads anything into this can easily hide behind the concept of "it's just fiction dude". However, the careful artist hides insight he cannot prove inside of stories, and the careful reader sees the insight that is hidden. Is the matrix a fun story - for most it is. Or, is it a metaphor for the modern world of apathetic business that works people all their lives and sucking the life out of them? Is the quote about people being so hooked on the machine's illusion that they will fight to defend it refer to a machine in sci-fi or a reflection on people in society? It's just a story, right?
            The point of these fiction novels is that people do not pay attention to other forms of communication. Granted, there will always be authors that write to pay the bills instead of inspire or enlighten. However, the quality authors write well and hope that someone finds their meanings hidden. Sure, people can spend a life time studying economics or politics, but is that really the best way to spend your time with a family to feed? The majority of the masses do not have the time to read through all the latest articles about what is going on in the world. Plus, who wants to read these boring articles after a hard day at work? The information about how the world works is completely out there. However, the world rarely changes. The reason that the world rarely changes is because those reading these articles are mostly at University due to coming from a social class that could afford it, which means they come from a social class that has little incentive to change a system that helped their families achieve that social class. Sure, we peasants could go to the public library and figure it out, but that would require time that is normally needed to earns wages to buy things like food and rent. I hear homelessness is a real bitch! Now, I know what you're thinking. And no, none of this is a master plan of some secret society. A professor once told me "if you have to pick between incompetency and conspiracy, then always assume that it's basic human greed and stupidity and they are just covering their ass and you'll win most of your bets". (how true) Study economics and history long enough, and you'll realize that greed and stupidity are the cause of most suffering. So, what does this have to do with fiction? Simple, insight cannot always be shared openly when these insights could be unpleasant to those that don't want you to see behind the curtain (wizard of oz reference).
            The irony of capitalism is that is can commercialize even hatred against it, which is why it cannot be defeated. Let's look at some of those artists that have successfully done it and made millions off the system while they were at it! George Carlin did HBO specials about how the system is rigged by ruling elites and everyone praised him endlessly for standing up to the man (the truth is that there is no "the man" there is society, economics, incentives, etc - that's it!). He sold millions of DVDs on his specials, but who do you think produced and profited from those DVDs? The V for Vendetta masks that everyone is wearing to protest "the man" are made in sweatshops in China, then sold by Warner Brothers. The artist that came up with the graphic novel and the character made millions. Children walk around all the time with shirts that say "independent" that were made in sweat shops and sold at the mall (the forum of capitalism). The reason capitalism cannot be defeated is that it is just a system of buying of selling, and that will always exist. However, sometimes there comes a time when the system becomes oppressive or injustice becomes normal. So, that is why these artists begin to rise due to the demand in the market for discontent or rebellion. Where there is demand, then there will be a supply. If the population demands art that shows rebellion, then someone will supply that desire. See how flexible capitalism is? They use the very system itself to get their message across. "Uncle Tom's Cabin", "V for Vendetta", and the "Matrix" are just stories. However, there is so much more to them when you look beneath the surface. The reason why fiction is so needed is that it can make people feel in one graphic novel, movie, or novel what would take academics years to study and convince people of. Academics argues from the point of logos, but the true artists of society are the ones that argue from a pathos point of view. Granted, some stories are written just to entertain (artists have bills too!). However, true art is a pathos argument about society in disguise. The key for readers is to find these truths and hidden pathos arguments hidden under the mask of "just fiction".

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