Saturday, 19 May 2012


There are at least four levels of fiction:

(i) acknowledged fiction, requiring willing suspension of disbelief;
(ii) private imaginings and fantasies;
(iii) religious "higher fictions", requiring willing belief; (1)
(iv) everyday social fictions, including names, money, laws, rights etc.

I know my name because I remember that I have always been addressed by a particular sound which could have been different. Thus, the sound is arbitrary although I unconsciously identify with it.

It is notorious that, if everyone tried to take their money out of the bank simultaneously, there would not be enough. A bank balance is as fictitious as a comic strip. However, it does regulate real interactions between people called, eg, investors, employees and consumers. Marvel invests in a Thor film and I pay to see it. Thus, the investors control what a lot of people do and the consumers enjoy particular experiences. Hopefully, the production, presentation and appreciation of art including drama will in future be organised in ways that do not involve the problems generated by the fiction of money.

I have pension rights only because and as long as a lot of people agree that I have. We generate a social realm of laws and rights just as a theatre company generates the dramatic realm of Elsinore. The natural realm includes the laws of gravity and motion but no laws protecting rights or property. We live in the natural realm, imagine other realms, then live in them. We are amino acids with imagination. (2)  Catholics live not only in secular history but also in a "history of salvation". Having been brought up with Catholic morality, I now think that, if I imagine a sexual partner, then I engage in essentially the same fiction-building exercise as peasants visualising the Virgin. 

Some of us need to return to Pagan routes in order to come forward into...I suggest, Buddhist meditation and Marxist politics. Pagan and Buddhist myths can be acknowledged as meaningful stories. An Ysan character in The King of Ys: Roma Mater by Poul and Karen Anderson says, " not take ancestral myths for literal truth, as if we were Christians. They are symbols." (3)

As Indian philosophers say, we need to discriminate between the real and the unreal. We also need to recognise and value fiction and there may be a lot more of it than we realise. When someone spins a yarn not to deceive but to entertain, is this a fiction or a lie? When I am asked, "And you believed him?", I feel not that I have been lied to but that I have been stupid, have failed to discriminate between real and unreal.

(1) Alan Moore in conversation.
(2) Alan Moore in Promethea.
(3) Anderson, Poul and Karen, The King of Ys: Roma Mater, London, 1988, p. 326.


No comments:

Post a Comment