Blog 29. The Real, the Ideal, and Stories

Underlying every social tension there is a gap between the real situation and the ideals of the society. For example, American law espouses the ideals of equality, justice, fairness, and popular consensus. However, our politics and our business are based on competition, domination, manipulation, exclusion, and political spin. This gap between the real and the ideal generates both outrage and a malaise of helplessness.

On September 24, 2013, please go to my guest blog at Terry’s Place, where I discuss how fiction—a story—can illuminate the gap between the real and the ideal, sometimes making it permissible to discuss the unmentionable elephant in the room that is otherwise politely ignored.

Stories inform and motivate people. Lectures often bore them. A plea for action usually gets lost among the blizzard of spam, junk mail, and solicitations each of us receives daily. Thus, I believe it is possible to impact social issues through fiction, to make a difference by telling a story.

Merely telling a social issue is like offering a newspaper account, whereas a story can give the reader a gut-level experience, albeit vicarious. In the guest blog at Terry’s Place, I offer specific suggestions on how to put significance into stories. Please join the discussion on Sept. 24.

In Blog 31, I’ll comment on spin—which is manipulation by neither lying nor telling the truth.