A Place for ''Hypocrisy''
by TCcookie
(Drama, 1111 views) - 10/3/03
(recorded 10/3/03 @ 8:04:59 PM)
Amen! Excellent point, Phil! I totally agree! There truly is so much good out there and happening; surely we can afford to focus more on it.

(Phil’s recent musing accusing “Hypocrisy” inspired me to write a quick note of agreement, but I think it works out better as a musing.)

I think that often it is easy to focus on the negative because it is by nature so emotionally charged, and good writing is all about eliciting emotion. But, I also believe that consistently writing about negative feelings is the path of least resistance to achieve only the lowest degree of this status of "good." In a forum such as this, where postings can be created instantly and instantly be published, I imagine people also seek to some degree instant creative gratification, and this is most easily achieved through broadcasting simplistically charged negative emotions.

Although this manipulation of negative emotion can be and certainly is abused, I strongly believe that it is a critical component of the highest form of art. This high and most beautiful form does not, however, allow the manipulation of negative emotions as an end in itself, rather it uses the technique to contrast and emphasize the innate “positiveness” of life. A good, simple example of this technique is seen in the movie Life Is Beautiful. In this movie, a little Italian-Jewish family goes through indescribable suffering at the hands of the Nazis, which moves the audience to a sense of sadness, yet that sense of sadness is not the intended end of showing such atrocities. The focus of the movie is on how the father helps his son and himself maintain a happy existence despite the horrors surrounding them. Any movie could show a father playing make-believe games with his son, but it would not necessarily be particularly inspiring. When, however, the exact same situation is shown against a backdrop of cruelty and oppression, the true significance of the loving familial relationship is drawn out, and we see simple, every-day actions for what they really are: triumphant and powerful.

This technique, although fundamental, is incredibly difficult to master. A few times I have tried to consciously use it myself, and I have found that it is deceptively easy to stray to and linger too long on the negative side of the expressive spectrum. As the artist expends his creative energy on the instantly emotionally gratifying negative, he slowly loses his will to do the extra work on the positive required for the greater, complete prize. This may seem remarkably unintuitive, but think about your own creative experiences and see if they line up with this model.

None of us, probably, is quite up to the task of correctly using the powerful tool of negative emotion in his writing at the level to which he aspires. I say that “getting out the bad stuff is” NOT “best in writing,” at least not when it is done for its own sake. In the end, we are all trying to create a “good story”; we just don’t quite know how to go about it.

I applaud Phil’s decision to approach this matter, and I echo his call for a “good story.” In fact, I think I will write a glaringly positive journal entry, or perhaps a musing celebrating all the things for which I am grateful. Continually writing as I grow and mature, I will make the positivity glare less harshly, but with my new understanding and the power of retrospect I will understand better how to interpret and portray my experiences in their true context as chapters in the highest, most positive, and most true artistic work I am capable of shaping: my own human life.

© 2003 Trevor Cook
All Rights Reserved

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   [noprotein (J :: M) 10/5/03 11:12 PM]

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