Sunday, December 24, 2006

Story Telling in Counter Terror

Narration Analysis, the analysis of the story form through which ideologies is expressed and absorbed, is also the study of stories, of story telling, fables, legends, and fiction writing. Story telling is the oldest form of communicating culture since before writing hit the scene. “Daddy, tell me a story” is a phrase that brings warm cozies to the hearts of many a parent. It is the way children learn the roles, rules, and wreckage that happens when trouble this way happens.

The Old and New Testaments, the Koran, and many other religious texts are largely stories in which what is right and wrong is told and which serve as models to follow or avoid to remain in good graces. And it is those models and stories that inspire heroic action by a culture’s standards and which now send young educated Islamic men to blow up market places, temples, schools, and American check points and convoys by blowing themselves up as well.

Story analysis and writing is big business and tons of advice can be had for a price on how to win fame and fortune in fiction or not. Google “fiction”, go to Wikipedia or other Google search on “elements of fiction”, or “fiction writing”, and you will find more than you can afford in time and money in how to write the story. We, however, are concerned with reading someone else’s story with a mind to read their minds and with a chance of changing the story line to something less lethal.

We look to fiction as the real stories we like most fit the mold of fiction, real reality is more Old Testament than New, messy, tragic, and full of sex, violence, betrayal, triumph, and occasionally, redemption. These are elements of Plot which starts with a situation; a problem is introduced resulting in a rising of action to a climax and a resolution of the problem.

The stories of Christ, Mohammed, Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Jimmy Carter, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln regardless of flavor of virtue are Characters whose conflict with an opponent (Hero vs. Villain, Protagonist vs. Antagonist) is what Plot is all about. Joseph Campbell (Google) is considered the foremost experts on Heroes and Villains, what they do, the problems they get into and out of, written in many of his works such as “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” which describes what is called the Hero’s Voyage.

The Narration Analyst uses the tools of Transactional Heroes, Villains and role switches, Plots, Conspiracies, Inverse Attribution, and Stamp collecting to add meat to the bones of plot and character.

Hollywood, Bollywood, Broadway, and books, movies, TV, and comics have conditioned the modern citizen to story form, heroes, villains, plots, twists, climaxes, and painted backdrops galore and have created an unrealistic expectation that life should fit fiction. We believe in marriage till death do part, of retirement with gold watch and pension, of justice in court, and a level playing field when the reality is more Old Testament than New, more Soprano than Sainthood, without the resolution of Law and Order or CSI and more like Soap, endless, and pointless. Which is why we like good stories.

In order to effectively make war, business, and/or love, it is essential to know the stories of friend and foe. We need to know who are the counterparts of Paul Bunyon, Pecos Bill, Thor, Wodin, Ulysses, Snively Whiplash, Simon Lagree, Peter Pan, and Captain Hook.

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