Theory of Mind – Show the telling? No! that’s too transparent.

2012/02/27 § Leave a comment

Most of my experimental writing investigates and utilises perspectives and their (imagined) intentionality covered by the phrase Theory of Mind.

I.E. on the back and forth between the writer and reader, in particular, lately, trying, as writer to second guess the reader’s reactions and to re-work them.

Earlier, 20 years ago, when i was young, I was trying to take over the reader’s mind with a sedgehammer of intense revelatory prosepoetry, a bit like running a suite of hacker programmes trying to find backdoors and gain access as root to the reader’s mind, and gain totally control. PWNAGE. Literally a literary attempt to transpose my consciousness to the reader’s wetware via the text i had written. At least for the duration of the time it takes you to read the work.

While the Theory of Mind is at the heart of all writing techniques, generally writers wish to seduce their readers, or indulge them, though I would argue it still comes from a certain still and quiet megalomania.

Generally the Theory of Mind is taken for granted, you win no points for pointing it out to the reader. Literature might encompass the sharing and exposure of experience but generally it is not interested in plumbing the depths of that writerly technology which transfers experience and fantasy from the writer’s wetware to the readers’.

All those rules about “show don’t tell” or critiques based on “ego transparency” of the writer come from lessons learned in that more dishonest, self-deceiving war. English literature as edifying propaganda for the people who keep themselves nice. General pulp fiction as simply the gift telling good stories as entertainment.

It’s a war because it’s a drama, and drama involves conflict.

My experiment failed, except perhaps on myself, which is an own goal in any case. It is only on noticing my failure that I am able to describe it as a megalomania. Before then it was art, and therefore, necessarily, it’s own virtue.

Examples

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