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Story Idea

February 5, 2012

Story Idea:

Start with the idealization of the “people” aka rural villagers by cityfolk disillusioned or propagandized into creating a “people” as a solidified, defined group. Resentment and disownment of their own “privileged city life” ensues.  This life is defined by the drive to consume more and more, and by the social goals that include the pursuit of greater and greater “economic growth”. There are also some remnants of tradition such as holidays, but the main characters do not actually enjoy them. They decide to go to the countryside (to a specific minority area?) to see what the “people” are actually like.

They are confronted with the stark realization that the rural people, because of their technological backwardness are utterly disjointed and separated from each other’s villages. It starts with a character who really gets into the grove of life in one village. He comes to “appreciate” their culture and customs and feels “enlightened”. It’s kind of like Dances with Wolves to this point. Perhaps he even marries a village girl.

However, the story turns when the character is confronted with the juxtaposition of his village to the next village over. Their customs are different and perhaps they don’t even speak the same language. They do some things very differently and with different justification. When all of the differences and conflicts come to light, his concept of “the people” becomes greatly shaken. His entire definition comes crashing down, since he fully accepted the ways of life of those in his village as the ways of life of “the people”.  In attempting to bridge the gap, he inadvertently causes a conflict between the two villages. He falls back on the rhetoric and anthropological definitions he built up inside his head while in the big city. The conflict arises because communication between the villages, although not nonexistent, happens infrequently and only when entirely logical and necessary for the well-being of both villages. His rhetoric, which he spreads intentionally between the two villages is thus interpreted not as a call to respect diversity and bridge differences (which is actually only the playing out of the conflict which exists inside his own head), but as a serious, life-threatening problem. In reality, there was no threatening conflict between the two villages to begin with. Thus, instead of bringing the two groups together, his rhetoric brings the two villages to the brink of war with each other, thus playing out the war that exists in his head into the real world.

War is only prevented (or ended?) when two shamans from each village independently have the same vision. They did completely different rituals, but they still get the same result, because the transcendental space they went to was the same. It is revealed that throughout history, the villages communicate in this way when their way of life is actually threatened. The vision portrays the stress that exists in the main character as the instigating force behind the conflict. The two shamans come together and then go back to their own villages, enlightening the villagers as to the nature of the conflict as arising from an outside poison. Because their future depends on preventing this kind of outside stress from penetrating their stable, non-demanding, fulfilling way of life, the two villages form an alliance. The main character is lovingly exiled, sent on a mission by the shamans to discover his own path to enlightenment. He resists at first, but eventually consents when he realizes that he will not be personally fulfilled if he stays in the villages. The shamans explain that they simply don’t have all the answers to his questions because their power only extends to the two villages. They don’t even have all the answers to the differences between themselves. They know he desires more and thus send him to find more for himself.

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