Monday, December 24, 2018

Writing Reality

I am huge fan of animated shows. I love Family Guy, Archer, Bob's Burgers, Futurama, American Dad, South Park,  and most of all Rick and Morty. You may notice that The Simpsons is absent from this list. Growing up, Mom did not allow me to watch the Simpsons. Unlike most things, I did not rebel against this as soon as I was out on my own. I just don't enjoy the show.
For those of you that may or may not know, The Simpsons have several times predicted the future. The predictions vary from Lady Gaga's performance at a Superbowl to Donald Trump becoming president and even things as simple as smart watches. Google it. Some of the results are spooky and cool.
Family guy also has successfully made future predictions. Stewie commented on Bruce Jenner being a "elegant, beautiful woman," years before the transition took place. A cutaway scene joked about the X-man character Iceman being gay. It is this last "prediction" that has me really thinking about things.
 
As a consumer of both amazing Family Guy episode and all of the X line of comics I know that the cartoon prediction came a decade or so before the defining of the character's sexuality. Instead of thinking that Seth Macfarlane has tapped into some sort of mystical powers, Occum's razor would suggest that it is much more likely that the episode of Family Guy put a subtle suggestion into the minds of the writers of the X-men comics. Maybe it was as simple as the Family Guy writing staff making a fairly obvious observation that has been in the comics for years, putting it into the show, the X-men writers seeing it and then deciding to make the change from the inspiration. Then again maybe not.
Carl Jung fathered the idea of the Collective Unconscious. As best as I understand the concept, the idea of the collective unconscious is that as a species we share a connection to one another imparted to us genetically that forms and shapes our lives through symbols and instinctual concepts. This all gets very high level, is somewhat metaphysical, and has not been provable by science.
My concept has two basic ideas. The first relates to the collective unconscious. I believe that all humans broadcast and receive thoughts and feelings unconsciously from one person to another all of the time. Different people are more or less sensitive to this and from this may be more or less aware that this is happening. I think of this shared head space as the dreamscape. Some people define this as being psychic. Others feel it as being empathetic. I think they are all different descriptors of the same concepts.
I chose dreamscape to describe this collective consciousness because our subconscious mind is the part of the brain that lets us interact with dreams (or at least that is my current understanding). The dreamscape may be a bad name because I believe that we are always connected to it. Robert Howard described his fiction more as being channeled from some other reality than him telling a story. In On Writing Stephen King comes writing to a form of telepathy through time and space where the reader is actually experiencing the mind of the writer. I chose authors as examples of this phenomenon because one of the most prominent ways I interact with my dreamscape is when I am writing.
If the first part of my idea is far fetched, hold on for part two. I don't believe that these cartoon predictions are really predictions at all. I think that enough people came to believe that these things were possible that they were brought into reality by the power of thought. The Iceman example is probably the weakest example to work from. It probably really was fiction inspiring other fiction. Donald Trump being President on the other hand might be a direct result of dread fascination with fantasy.
It goes like this. Bob is watching the Simpsons. He laughs at the impossible idea of Trump being President. The idea becomes a seed in his unconscious mind. He laughs about it with his friends. The seed is planted in the friend's mind. It spreads from one mind to another like a virus. It grows. It becomes more fantastic and at the same time the idea becomes more and more real. In subtle ways reality begins to bend to this idea. Trump really becomes President. It is Matt Groening's fault. (or whoever came up with that idea in the writing session.)
The truth is our communication network has evolved from the telegraph to the internet in just a few human generations. We are so busy figuring out what we can do with our power and technology that we don't ever really examine the repercussions of it. What if the thoughts and ideas of other can infect us? What if the power of human thought can manifest change in the real world? Imagine how many people pray at the altar of The Walking Dead. I sure have noticed a ton of Zombie Apocalypse Response Vehicle bumper stickers over the past 10 years or so. Don't say I didn't warn you when you are actually getting your brains eaten by ravenous undead brought to life from the imagination of Robert Kirkman.
All of this is a rather fantastic idea of my own. It is all probably just my own imagination correlating a bunch of unrelated facts and turning them into a logical horror story. I don't even know if I really believe it myself, but some part of me is taking little data points and constantly chewing on it and trying to figure out the chaos of human behavior. It pleases me to think that we might be causing our own difficulties by putting negative thoughts into our own lives.
The birth of this concept is why I avoid darkness and negativity in my life. I don't watch torture or gory movies because I do believe that you are metaphorically what you eat. I don't want to develop a tolerance to the psychic pain involved in watching another human be in pain even if the pain is only an affectation in a work of fiction. I still have some angry metal music in my library, but I also have positive uplifting stuff as well. I don't want to be metaphorically Moana anymore than I want to be House of 1000 Corpses.

Then again, maybe I am just crazy. I think it is more likely that I am just written that way.

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