New Theory

Okay, so I think I asked the wrong question.  I had asked: what does Twig Creature want?  I even thought I had an answer: I was convinced that Twig Creature would want to procreate.  That would create this great circle, from the birth of Twig Creature to the next generation; it would show hope, and connect us to the Creature by way of making us ponder the succession of generations onwards through prehistory to history to modernity to we, the audience, sitting there in the theatre.  I imagined, as was suggested by Terminator E and Libidoless I think, a succession of tragi-hilarious obstacles thrown in our hero’s way, and finally, victory, somehow or other, I guess through finding a mate and having a new kid.

However, what we really want to figure out is: what is Twig Creature’s dilemma?  That’s how we make it all engaging.  We’re not just watching a little cave-person enduring various trials, we are, as Neandertaler suggests, seeking to hold opposites in tension, or as Urvater suggests, trying to pose dilemmas, which we, the audience, also feel intensely.

I think the objective of art is not to teach — by which I mean, to have a philosophical objective, to make a case for a perspective.  If we go in with an answer, we’re propagandists.  We want to go in with a question.  And leave it unanswered.

The ideal artistic dilemma has two or more solutions, both of which entail sacrifice and success.  Like in life — there’s never one direction that doesn’t destroy other possibilities.  Or, at best, like Urvater’s Kohlberg’s dilemmas, which are only answerable insofar as one applies different frames of reference — clan loyalty, constitutional ideals, and so on.  But from a different frame, a completely different solution would be the right one.  (I think the different frames are held in constant tension in life, and that in actual truth none actually supersedes the other — they are simply in conflict.  See A Theory of Evolution for more babbling about this.)

My point: something about cave-people presents some kind of question.  What’s the question?  How can that question be dramatized?  Maybe Twig Creature is presented with a technological innovation that will make the tribe more comfortable (less ignorant) but that also entails a great loss of vitality, or something?  (That’s a terrible idea, I think, but I threw it in there because at least it seems to echo some of the thoughts people have been having about what we’ve lost, how we’ve lost it, since prehistory.)

Is there something to what I’m saying?  Or do I need to finish my coffee before I start posting?

About Judd Trout

Judd Palmer is one of the Old Trouts.

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8 Responses to New Theory

  1. Urvater says:

    Dear Libidoless;
    Forgive me. A personal note. I couldn’t get an email address to work. But thank you for leaving me the Shostakovich. I will grab it as soon as I can and enjoy its further fulfillment of my Slavophilism.
    But I also write to note that it is now possible, due to the invention of The Palmer Neutral Gender English Pronoun, to bypass the awkward “him or her”, or “he or she”, etc. You can now simply write “e” for a neutral subject, “es” for a neutral possessive, and “en” for a neutral gender direct or indirect object. Not for male or female pronouns. Just for neutral ones, when you don’t know or don’t want to say which gender is involved.
    OK, Site Supervisor: no more personal notes. I swear.

  2. libidoless says:

    Damn, I just started reading a book on Alan Turing who broke the enigma code and commit suicide by taking a bite of an apple laced with cyanide,,, Apple denies that their logo holds a reference to the man who inadverdantly created the computer. Great book, IF YOU ARE A 3RD YEAR STUDENT OF ADVANCED MATHMATICS,,, it’s all relavent, there is a paragraph that is pure ignorance thru thew heart of understanding. I will post it when I get home.

    I keep coming back to the thoughts of an outsider,,, typically we tend toward the mass agreeing of something where in our hearts we know the minority of 1 is correct,,, maybe twig boy/gal is the outsider, performing the truths via cavepupetteer, along the lines of drawings by children that show their hells at home.

    What if a very good stooge was not included in a cave segment and twigboy tossed to her or him as an expression of contempt. For it is contempt of truth that seems to spur us onward (wikileaks, Iraq/Afghanistan, Sarah Palin, et al),,,,

    C, Rye is better than coffee when you haven’t had a nip of it in 3 weeks.

  3. Neandertaler says:

    Somewhere in all these postings someone suggested an artist Twig Creature. I think there’s something in that… In spite of all the Mack Truck endings, humans have always tried to construct their own Deus ex Machina experiences, whether for fun or in earnest, out of joy or despair. And by discovering that they, too, could create, recognized themselves to be images of the imagined Gods. Which had great consequences, good, bad or both.

    I love the French scientist in this episode of Alice Roberts’ The Incredible Human Journey. Sporting the classic beret, he is an odd crossover between scientist and artist, and has spent much time trying to figure out how the old caves were painted. Watch this for some inspiration on what to do with your coffee grounds. The segment starts about 4 minutes in:

    (Sorry, I don’t know how to link in a comment)

  4. Neandertaler says:

    Obviously, some excellent ideas get posted before the coffee is finished, the bottle is empty, or the night has been slept away…

    If I were Twiggy, here’s some of the things that might go on in my head:
    – I would definitely want the girl, or the guy; but “e” might well turn out to be someone completely different than I thought e would be–like a different subspecies (Romeo and Juliet, there we go again!)
    – Why did we ever have to leave Africa?
    – Something vague in the distance might lure me: a star? a glow in the dark? a glint from an island out of reach? a strange repetitive sound I hear echoing across the plateau? or something left behind that is just impossible to figure out: scratchings on bone, unidentifiable food scraps, charcoal on a rock face… Nobody in my tribe shows the least bit of interest in these signs, but I feel a terrible, irresistible urge to investigate.
    – I experience something absolutely terrible: my family gets killed before my eyes, or someone horrible gets the girl or the guy I’ve always wanted; so I invent Voodoo, magic, prayer–a last ditch effort to wrench the Universe off its course, towards the fulfillment of my desire or the execution of my revenge. But by doing so, I break all the taboos, including my own, so nothing will ever be the same anymore.
    – I’ve befriended an animal unlike any others. It eats out of my hand; it sleeps at my feet; we play together. But one day, when we are all too weak with hunger and too exhausted to go on, I must make a sacrifice I don’t want to make. And I become my friend.

  5. Urvater says:

    I think it would be good if, when the cavepersons are sitting around the fire, with piles of raw meat and bones and stone tools and weapons all around them, seriously discussing issues (in grunts and gestures), they are all holding coffee mugs.

  6. Urvater says:

    A. Coffee, of course, is vital.
    B. The New Theory here seems to touch on something critical. We are wrestling with Free Will versus Fate (whatever Fate is). This is indeed a great Master Theme. Yes, Kohlberg’s allegiances — contexts — are aspects of this. Critical aspects. More specifically, Twig Creature might have the finest ideas in History, and still get squashed by something bigger — physical, mental, spiritual. He also might die before the story of mankind can unfold in its entirety. But, maybe J. Trout is asking: what, if anything, can Twig Creature DO, to make any difference in the fate of es race? (The human race. Fate. Evolution. History.) Does Twig Creature make any difference at all? Maybe the play, Ignorance, should be a re-analysis of The Bible as Truth. And/or, back to Tolstoy (forgive me!): does human activity have anything at all to do with what actually goes forward in life? (Conscious activity, that is. Or conscious ideas.) Bill Kinsella, author of the novel behind the movie Field of Dreams, who taught writing in Calgary years ago, said one should avoid what he called “Mack Truck endings”. It’s where the characters devise a wonderful thing that the author can’t resolve, so, Fate. A Mack truck, out of control, sweeps through the garden and kills all the characters. In the course of human history, there are many Mack trucks out there. But, maybe, The Trouts could re-define the Mack truck. A Mack truck for Our Time. Or, review the way the Mack truck affects us. Maybe the umpteenth glacial freeze to come along — no more oil, no more gas, no more electricity, maybe there’s a positive side to it, eh? Kind of what you might call a “silver lining around the darkest cloud”, or, speaking in purer theoretical dramatic terms: “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”. Something like that. Wouldn’t it be fun if Twig Creature sensed this crisis, but nobody listened, Cassandra style! But Twig Creature, being The Leader, gets everybody doing stuff to prevent the crisis. They blindly follow, rolling their eyes at what an asshole e is. E covers every loophole. And then, what happens? A Mack truck. Shit. How can you win, eh? So, at the end, Twig Creature, the worse for wear, just sits, stares at the audience amid the ruins, and shrugs. Final message: We’re fucked. Now THERE, you see, is an unanswered question. One everybody can relate to, be stirred by. That will stimulate thought, which one might consider a valid theatrical objective.
    C. Coffee is good. VERY good.

    • Terminator E says:

      maybe a giant rhino could fit the purpose (as a mack truck, not a coffee sustitute).. whenever a visionary cavemyn comes up with a uplifting new paradigm, and the music swells and the new dawn of humanity appears to be breaking, that’s when the giant rhino trampling happens.

      i’ve heard that our diminuitive modern rhinos instinctively stomp out campfires? anybody here have this happen to them?

      the repeated tramplings, though generally amusing to the bystanders, were recognized as a negative influence, and our ancestors realized that they were spending days at a time talking about innovation without coming up with any new ideas. if our ancestors were to achieve full creative fullfillment, they first had to address the giant rhino problem.

      so somehow (epic quest?) they fix the giant rhino problem, and release our species from ignorance. I would like to see a be-careful-what-you-wish-for twist at the end of the tale, with a you-can’t-reverse-the-thing-they-did-to-the-giant-rhinos.