Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fiction As Truth

Over on BeliefNet, I have been plunking away at posts regarding the Jedi. Yeah, Luke Skywalker and Yoda and all that lot. But in a way, not them at all.

The “Star Wars” stories worked, in my sometimes-garrulous opinion, because of the basic themes in them – Heroism, Justice, Humor, and Action. Basically, the first movie was good, but it was the inspiration of the Ideals of the Jedi, which made the films truly epic. At least, until Lucas decided to demote ‘The Force’ to blood chemistry, and imposed Jar-Jar Binks on us at the same time.

But fiction has always had its effect, and often for good purpose. Shakespeare’s plays were fiction, yet have been quoted at great length for centuries. Even people who believe the Bible is nothing more than allegory and symbolism, admit it has powerful lessons and moral value. And whole generations have grown up memorizing the signal lines from their favorite works.

I miss the writer Roger Zelazny, a peculiar man I did not agree with at all in his choice of faith and in many of his cultural assumptions. Yet he was a compelling writer, the sort of man who could tell you about his breakfast in a way that could mesmerize.

I liked the way Dusko Doder could create a complete image of Moscow, so you could feel the excitement of the first spring thaw, and feel a belonging to the communities in varying places.

I found Plato’s arguments compelling, written in a style which captured not only his reasoning, but the passion behind his convictions.

We live in a world obsessed with fact. Good fiction reminds us to watch for the greater truth, even when there is no fact at all in its source. You might laugh at Obi-Wan Kenobi, but to do so is an admission that he exists at some level.

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