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    mikel.withers

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    wall of sloth

    Post  mikel.withers on March 31st 2015, 9:48 am

    Sloth is my enemy.
    I face a wall of sloth. It is terribly slow, and hairy, and it has moss growing on it, and it smells bad.
    If I stay here, eventually it will pass, but I think I’ll be dead at that point; as the saying goes: plenty of time to rest then.
    There is a ladder that straddles the wall of sloth. Its rungs are well-worn. The only problem: if I use that ladder, I’ll end up facing the same wall of sloth on the other side.
    I’ve tried breaking through the wall, but the hide is so hairy, the moss so clinging that I inevitably get stuck in the wall.
    I could turn and go the other direction, I suppose, but I’m just ignoring the wall, not solving it.
    The only solution I can come up with is “purpose”. I made my own, I have it with me. It is a couple sticks duct taped together. I’m not exactly proud of it, but even so I fear breaking it on the wall.
    Other people have given me their purposes, but it turns out they are hollow inside.
    So, I need a purpose greater than one that I or anyone else can come up with. I need a purpose so motivational that the wall of sloth will disappear; it will become so small that stepping over it isn’t even a conscious thought.
    How do I get that purpose?

    mindspike
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    Re: wall of sloth

    Post  mindspike on March 31st 2015, 2:27 pm

    The Lesser Scottish Catechism wrote:What is the chief end of man?

    I started here.


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    mikel.withers

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    Re: wall of sloth

    Post  mikel.withers on March 31st 2015, 7:22 pm

    Ah, well, yes, of course.
    I didn't quite mean it that way, though, or else this would be in "seeking truth".
    Rather, I decided to write my next story about a character plagued by sloth, and I was really getting into it when I realized the "point" of my story was that you had to make your own purpose in life*. ... that is far from the chief end of man, and so my story is mothballed, ready to be tossed if I can't come up with a way to rectify the situation. I wrote out my thoughts in this way and here to see if something from my subconscious would present itself, and to open it up to people who might have an idea on it. ...I just didn't communicate what I was doing very well.
    So, here is the stage: I have an inhuman protagonist who is so caught up in absurdist/nihilistic thought that it is incapable of action. ...as I once was to a non-hyperbolic degree. I was coming up with a bunch of reasons for it to act, when I realized that all I was doing was making it choose his own purpose in life. Why should it save the day? -because it might as well do something. The funny thing is, the character has a set purpose...it isn't even something it has to search for...if I go the route I have been thinking.
    I've been writing something akin to fairy tales, but I have an internal issue with ambiguity. It is very difficult for me to portray anything in a way other than very realistic. If you've heard my gnomes and the pit story on Untold, then you can see that I've remedied that by throwing absurdity into a very normal setting. For my current setting, I have an absurd setting where I am getting caught up on normalcy. I chose this methodology to challenge myself... or else I'd just stick to what I am more comfortable with.
    Although the protagonist has a similar hang up to what I did (thus "write what you know") it is not autobiographical in any sense.
    (See? I find myself running through options already by way of writing this out...) Perhaps I should inflict purpose onto the character and see how that works out... but what would that say about agency? I think I need it to decide to follow the purpose for which it was made despite its hangups... but by what method or McGuffin?
    * making your own purpose being the well worn ladder that only leads to facing the same wall.

    mindspike
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    Re: wall of sloth

    Post  mindspike on April 1st 2015, 12:55 pm

    I and my daughter both *loved* The Gnomes and the Pit. Thank you for that.

    You're right of course, I didn't look at the forum category of your post. I simply applied it to my own life and responded in a way I thought would prompt helpful action. As an aside, I think the question you pose is very relevant one, and that it could be developed for an in search of Truth segment.

    But as to the creation of purpose... have you ever read Stephen Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" books? Donaldson's antihero actively seeks to rid himself of the purpose that others insist on assigning to him. The whole thing is an inversion of storytelling technique that has somehow captured the imagination of geek culture for more than one generation. What you are describing sounds very much like Covenant's journey in Lord Foul's Bane.

    If you desire a real-world situation of what this kind of thought does to an exceptionally keen or creative mind, read a biography of Friedrich Nietzsche or of Robert Howard some time.

    If you are struggling with attempting to inject ambiguity, then don't try. Posit your fantastical character or situation and then extrapolate the mundane consequences. It's one of the exercises I use.


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    mikel.withers

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    Re: wall of sloth

    Post  mikel.withers on April 1st 2015, 7:24 pm

    Hmmm, thanks.
    I haven't read those TC books, but I might have to check them out.
    I have read biographical accounts of Nietzsche, but not his biography as such.

    And thanks for the favorable response to TG&TP, it hardly seems like I wrote it...I just released it from the keyboard, to butcher a quote.

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