Tell me a story, Daddy! A proper story has to pose a problem; the characters have to have a bit of a hard time. Drama and conflict. In real life, we also have trouble, heartbreak, even crushing defeat. So there's parity between what we live and what we call entertainment. Why do we indulge in stories when there's already plenty of woe in our own experience?
The characters' problems are not our problems. We get to take a break from our own problems. Or maybe the characters' problems are way worse than ours, so there's a feeling of relief there, of appreciating the comparative mildness of our own strife. For certain categories of stories, everything is always going to work out well for the characters. We read, listen, or watch because we know this. No matter how shitty or scary it gets, it's gonna be OK.
I've been wondering about what our stories say about us. What does our choice of stories reveal about being human, or even the existence of stories in general? This podcast has explored the perspective that we're in a sort of story, a story that changes depending on how we tell it. Which is maybe an unusual perspective; casual observation suggests that a lot of people believe reshaping reality requires beaucoup energy and time. There's not much consensus on whether attitude and emotion make any difference.
This is relevant because there's a few months yet before Daughter of God is done, and the plan is to podcast right on through. Is there any story left to tell?
What if there were significant obstacles standing in the way of completion? That would be dramatic, right? Could I leverage those supposed obstacles to make the podcast more intriguing? Should I? Would a dramatization, an emphasis on the struggle still ahead, threaten the completion? Focusing on problems rather than solutions in order to tell a more gripping story?
Do I have to choose between an intriguing podcast and a robust completion of a compelling feature? Certainly not. They are complementary, though I might not yet know how.
That's some magic right there, deciding that apparently opposite outcomes are complementary. AND maybe deciding is the key to how the podcast can be gripping and jibe with completion.
Let's say we get in jams so we can clarify what we want. Which ultimately gives birth to superpowers and magic, when we are open and receptive. This happens behind the scenes, usually, beyond our attention. What if this podcast acknowledges huge obstacles in all their ominousness, and then we just choose to feel great anyway? What does a decision to feel great look like, when confronted with scary shit?
That's the Daughter of Godcast going forward. Deciding to be fully alive. Love is the pain of being fully alive, sayeth Joe Campbell. Just to keep things a bit translucent and flowing, like watercolors. Reveling, basking and deep appreciation are all we need to realize a movie that surpasses my standards for amazing. So there you go.
I want to share evidence of magic, evidence of a more delicious existence, demonstrating this to myself, mostly. We are all gurus for ourselves. This podcast is both a document and a discovery of what's worth knowing, what I think of as the fundamentals, the owner's manual for the human body, for the human game.
Elon Musk says his Tesla cars are chock-full of Easter eggs: strange and wonderful features that are not generally known. Like dancing, cars that dance. There's no owner's manual for being human because we get to decide what our features are every day. We get to write our own owner's manual, consciously or un-. We choose the features, we hide the Easter eggs.
I am not going to try to convince anyone, to sell my viewpoint. You're into the Daughter of Godcast because your own life experience hints at the veracity of the writing-your-own-owner's-manual premise. We don't need to go into whether it's rational or sane to entertain a magical perspective. We've had anomalous experiences, and so we wonder about the implications. We trust that we're in the sort of story where everything works out well.
In prior episodes we talked about magic, but my awareness is evolving, so let's get current. Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Fugi Spilt's Postulate No. 1: The human body is the most advanced technology on the planet, short of the planet itself. Here's a review of what I mean by advanced: able to run on leaves, thrive in extremes of hot and cold, consistently upgrade performance virtuosity, (this) and so on.
There are rumors about emerging artificial intelligence being able to redesign itself, revise its own code, implement upgrades, and eventually become a God, in comparison to us puny humans. Or better said, in comparison to the puny self-conception that some humans indulge in while playing with duality.
Could this fascinating and scary idea of a self-upgrading machine intelligence be a fun-house reflection of who we already are? Are limitations important to our story? Maybe some cultures are more limitation-philic than others. Conceptual limitations define what we are willing to try, even the questions we are willing to ask. Magic then, is the willingness (eagerness) to slip beyond conceptual limitations about what is supposedly possible.
There's a wonderful opportunity to upgrade our own code, hack conceptual limitations, perhaps find the easiest path around my most resistant thoughts. Coming up is Season Four, the unknown, a mystery season. The first two seasons of the Daughter of Godcast were about what has already happened. Season One, The Gentle Release, was a historical recounting of DOG's origins and evolution. Season Two, Crowd Creation, was a request for feedback on (slightly tweaked) existing scenes. Season Three, Summer Vacation, was a freewheeling improv that wasn't trying to be anything but fun and random reportage. Now we're entering uncharted waters. I don't know what happens next. We're going to invent the completion of this project.
This is why I started this episode talking about story. We're about to tell a story that doesn't have an ending yet. How I choose to tell the story is going to influence both our experience and the outcome. Is the story about huge obstacles and my struggle to overcome them, or am I about to invent another kind of story telling, where the telling is the ending. The movie that's making us, the choice to be made, remade, upgraded. Let's find out.
That's the Daughter of Godcast, Season Four. What shall we name this Season? Mystery Upgrade? What about Luxuriate? Or The Basking? How about Choice? Choice implies both choosing and excellence. How about that: two key ideas in the same word. So Welcome to Season Four of the Daughter of Godcast, Choice, and this is Episode 116, Telling. Telling rhymes with spelling, which denotes both the arrangement of letters to form words and what witches and wizards do. Both are apropos. Thanks to Joe Cissell for the witches and wizards angle. For a guy who's deeply anchored in a pragmatic commonsense reality, Joe comes up with some real zingers.