Re: Outliners/agenders LO2824

jack hirschfeld (
Thu, 14 Sep 1995 23:35:05 -0400

Replying to LO2812 --

Kent Myers declared:
>I figure that a presentation that couldn't have been given in another
>order, and that doesn't jump back on itself, is probably a story that
>reduces systemic reality (through serial simplification) to create order
>and certainty. This may be necessary for persuasive speech, but
>understanding suffers. (I realize that this statement apparently
>contradicts our prior dialogue on understanding through stories.)

Maybe it helps that I'm not a very analytical thinker, but I don't see the
contradiction you mention here at all, Kent. I agree that the function of
a formal presentation is to give the appearance of order (and perhaps even
serial logic) to ideas, plans, or information that is really a lot
messier. The most common narrative form (this happened, then this
happened, then this happened) seems to be related, but I don't think it
is, and stories certainly are not. The best stories digress repeatedly,
and the 20th century has seen the creation of narrative styles which try
to capture the non-linearity of experience. (As if Tristram Shandy and
Don Quixote were not enough!)

Stories may be linear in form, but when they end up being "presentations"
they cease to be stories. Even biographies and histories differ from
chronological tables in the most dramatic ways.

To me, what is addictive about this list is that - in spite of the many
simple excahnges of information - so few of the posts are simply
"presentations". The imaginative component which informs all stories is
present at least half the time in what are often otherwise mundane
exchanges, and sometimes so deeply present (especially when cast in the
form of a story) that I find the impact on my own mind virtually stunning.

Jack Hirschfeld                               How long has this been going on?