15 July 2009

A New World Order

In the 60s, Curtis Mayfield sings of a new world order, a change of mind for the whole human race. Marie Elena Gaspari dances to it in the 90s. The old world order falling away.

Isn't that what the Universal Story form is really all about? Okay, go ahead. Roll your eyes. But stick with me here. 

The old world order (ordinary world) falls away at the 1/4 mark. The story launches into a new world order (exotic world of the antagonists / the Middle 1/2).

Antagonists from each of the Five Standard Antagonists serve to trip up the protagonist on her way toward her life goals. Rather than break down the secondary characters into the traditional archetypes of mentor, ally, etc, I focus here on the concept of all characters serving as antagonists because, for the most part, ultimately all the characters test, hold back, interfere with the protagonist achieving her goals. Some secondary characters may shapeshift from ally to antagonist and back, but nearly all the characters challenge the protagonist in one way or the other. 

Each of the characters hold up a mirror for the protagonist to better see herself. Yes, even the antagonists. Especially the antagonists.

I am a devout student of plot, the elements of great fiction, the Universal Story form, Character, Action, and Theme. I also am a devotee of physics / the study of energy. Forgive me when I interchange the two. 

The energy of a story pretty much ebbs and flow like the energy of our lives. It takes until the Crisis (3/4 mark) before the protagonist comes to understand what the antagonists represent in her life. For us? Sometimes, it takes until the very end of our lives before we finally understand what the antagonists in our own lives really represent to us and about ourselves. 

In the end, the character and, in turn, we come to understand that the antagonists, be they someone else, society at large, nature, machines, time, ego, is nothing more than a reflection of us giving up our own individual power to what we perceive as having some sort of authority over our lives.

In real life, we can play the victim. 

Not possible in stories. No matter how insecure the protagonist may act, or fearful, no matter how small they play their parts, how much power they relinquish, how poor, how weak, the protagonist in a story never allows herself to be victimized, at least not for long. Ever. 

An interesting message.

The Crisis causes the protagonist to rethink life as she has always known it and earns the protagonist a gift, a special skill, consciousness, enlightenment (thanks to the very antagonists who caused her the most grief).

In the End (1/4)(old), the protagonist goes back to the Beginning (now new). What she brings back ultimately, because of her transformation, also transforms and allows for a new world order to emerge. 

This is the work of heroes and heroines in stories... and of common folk, like you and me...