One of my favourite developers wrote a post worrying about compelling fiction in political narratives. I think that fiction can also convey philosophical messages. My friend fears that truth will become politicized, and fascists will popularize fictional realities to subvert the universe of discourse from a logical critique of reality to a propagandist critique of nonsense. My reply is that this that politicians already use fiction to bolster their popularity, yet let’s analyze how they do it! I want to talk about how we internalize new concepts. New ideas are difficult to learn without imagery, and so the role of fiction is to visualize thought experiments. Philosophers and scientists need storytelling as a way to map semantics onto something tangible – the imagery and characters in a story. Deep philosophical concepts and criticisms are embedded in the characters and plots of popular fiction. Our understanding of poverty and social justice relies on our lore. When a philosopher wants to share an important concept to society, they sometimes ask writers to write about it. A masterpiece in fiction is like a classroom thought experiments designed to teach students a new concept. Yet rather than objects, fiction uses living characters to embody philosophical positions, and then the writer lets the setting play out in order to analyze the philosophical positions in realtime, under extreme circumstances. Here are examples of masterpieces which taught me new concepts:
Oliver Twist taught me about poverty
The Odyssey taught me about consequences for our actions
Nausicaa taught me about imperialism
White as the Waves taught me about prey
Time Machine taught me about predation, and War of the Worlds taught me about speciesism
His Dark Materials taught me about relativism
The Dragonling and King of the Wind taught me about interspeciesism
A short sci-fi about a robot taught me about existentialism
Qualia in the Purple taught me about physicalism
Joscha Bach taught me about virtualism, where our consciousness is like a hobbit on a quest of self-discovery, and asks what would Frodo do when he realizes he is a character living inside someone’s imagination? (I wish Princess Tutu had covered this better.)
Terry Pratchett taught me how to let people invent concepts, and has Tiffany Aching series talks about self-awareness and introspection.
Otherland and Dresden Codak taught me about posthumanism
A Miracle of Science taught me about parallel processing
The first environmentalist book I réad was about a genetically modified colonist and her robot father teaching colonists to coexist with the planet.
Historical nonfiction taught me about colonialism and slavery
Literature lets us visualize new worlds, and a good writer will let the characters live spontaneously according to their own beliefs and desires.
I think the most important theme in my blog is my wish to feel pretty, and I hope that every reader feels pretty after reading my captions. I write to give my personas a tangible existence and craft realistic worlds where we can embody our ideal self. A reality where I can be myself.
I’ve been writing a lot this past year. More than ever. Yet I’ve been very private about my experiences because I’ve been devoting all my energy to fulfilling my partner’s desires. I want my partner to feel loved, so my mission this year is to pamper her with all my soul!
My messaging is that she’s the most adorable girl in the entire universe. I’ve been helping her write, and if you want to read her literature head over to ai21.com!