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The Bias of the Current Dramatica Model (2020)

Wrapping your head around your head

Nothing means nothing until you assume a frame of reference. The sky is “above” the Earth unless you stand on your head. This same reality of psychology applies to stories and story structure. A Goal is meaningless except when placed in an objective context and paired with a Consequence. Without context, we fall into the trap of not understanding one another.

The Consequence of misattributing concepts of Dramatica is even more disastrous.

In the previous article on this series on The Science Behind Dramatica, I addressed this question:

4.What is the logical reason that Elements are the building blocks? Why not go down further recursively from Class? Or stop earlier?

Stopping earlier would result in an incomplete exploration of the mind. Going down further would only shift the scope of consideration. The Size of Mind Constant is immutable; you can’t hold more than four levels at once in a single state of awareness.

I decided to map out the recursive nature of the four levels of quads (Class, Type, Variation, and Element) in hopes of discovering a pattern.

An approach with an appetite for disaster—especially since you lack the basic understanding of the relationships between items in a quad. You can’t merely replace the labels with “ABCD” and hope to ascribe some relative meaning from them.

I stripped away the vocabulary used in all the quads and instead used only what I knew (or had assumed) of quads: that they contain a certain motion and a certain position.

This technique is why your exercise ended in disaster. Motion and position are your misinterpretations of the Dramatica quad structure; it’s no surprise your recursive journey ended in an overflow error.

Choosing a Bias to Model

As mentioned earlier in this series, every quad in Dramatica consists of the same base four Elements:

In the Super Class of Knowledge, where Knowledge is the reference point for all other considerations, the Class-level Domains transpose:

A Super Class of Thought or Desire would find an alternate set of semantics for a Class level appreciation. As Melanie Anne Phillips explains in her post “Illegal” Plot Progressions

The model of the Story Mind as seen in Dramatica is called a “K-based” model, because it sees everything from the perspective of Knowledge, rather than Thought, Ability, or Desire. You can see that this is the case because there are no words like “Love,” or “Fear” in the model. These words would be in the “Desire” realm.

As the sole developer behind Subtext, I can tell you that attempting to encode the latter “Desire” realm would be nearly impossible given current technologies. This difficulty is why Chris and Melanie defaulted to a Knowledge-based system for the first iteration of Dramatica. The other, and more important, consideration Melanie explains:

Why did we choose a K-based system? Because our primary market – American Authors – works within American Culture. That culture is almost completely K-based. Which is why most rooms have four straight walls, why language is linear, why products are put in boxes on shelves, why definitions are important, why contracts are created, why laws exist.

To a K-based culture, observable reality takes precedence over experiential subjectivity. The Universe is a constant proven by scientific observation. The Universe is what we Know. Physics play a part in describing the Universe process and, therefore, assume a Companion relationship with Universe. Physics describes the Abilities of the Universe.

Note the reference of Abilities in the Universe context; Universe is our chosen bias for this model. All items exist with that initial bias.

Psychology, or how we think, is something we can’t observe directly and is, therefore, something we can’t Know for sure. Psychology is something hidden, a dark art for one more comfortable with matters of yes or no.

This construction process of thoughts is entirely dependent upon the Universe; we envision models of Psychology that mimic and depend on our understanding of the world around us (see Dramatica, and its concept of Mental Relativity, and Einstein and his concept of General Relativity). And the Universe is dependent upon Psychology to make it a reality.

From this Knowledge-based point-of-view, Desires are a blob—“feelings” that are ultimately impossible to quantify. Desires rely on Knowledge just as much as Psychology relies on the Universe.

Lastly, and likely the most important given this conversation, is the Domain of Mind. When Knowledge is as indefatigable, our Minds deceive us, working against us to tear down what is right. How can Santa Claus continue to be known once we start thinking that Mom and Dad stay up late on Christmas Eve? Cognitive dissonance, a state of Mind, is the ultimate monkey wrench for any assumption. To have a better Mind is to think through prejudices, opinions, and “hunches” to unravel one’s limiting Knowledge-base.

Thought is the destroyer of worlds, in the same way that concentrated Energy shatters even the most stringent Mass. When Knowledge is known, Thought sits in direct opposition, functioning as Antagonist—the anti-thesis to one’s beloved thesis.

The Mind unravels the Universe.