Links to my Books

Links to My Writings

Meditations on Maintenance for the Kindle
Memoirs of a Super Criminal for the Kindle, Nook
One Year in the Mountains for the Kindle, Nook
Adventures of Erkulys & Uryon for the Kindle and Nook

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fiction, non-fiction or ...

We seem to be very dualistic in our thinking. Things are either fiction or non-fiction. Fiction is all that made up stuff that does not relate to any fact in any real way, such as the Hobbit, or Cubism. Non-fiction is all those factual things like science, history or Cubism. Oh wait. I mentioned Cubism twice. Is art a fiction or a non-fiction? I think in our attempt at simplistic, black and white thinking, we are overlooking one other category which is neither fiction nor non-fiction and yet it is both fiction and non-fiction. That is the category of faith.
But what is faith? Faith is meaning.

Some fiction is just pure entertainment as it should be. But hidden in that category of fiction are also those pieces which speak to a deeper level, it brings meaning to life and to the heart and mind. Now you are moving into faith. When that deeper level is reached it does not mean the author is a great genius of psychological insights and depth. What it does mean is that the human experience is such that we share vast amounts of feeling, insights and thoughts. By tapping into that shared experience, depth is reached and faith is kept.

Within the realm of fact, or non-fiction, meaning is gleaned not from the accumulation of data and information, but from understanding. Understanding needs to develop into wisdom through application. Now you are moving into faith. When new discoveries force a paradigm shift within the scientific communities do the old theories then become fictions? Certainly they are invalidated but they have not lost their meaning. That was one way of looking at the data set and from it certain conclusions could be deduced, now a new way is needed to look at the data set which may or may not create new conclusions. Meaning is maintained. Faith is kept.

Some works are born in faith which straddles the line between fiction and non-fiction. Any attempt to force them into the category of non-fiction stripes it of meaning and make it irrelevant. And likewise to push it towards fiction is to remove the wisdom and understanding that it contains leaving it empty of value.

For me, the Bible is a book of faith. To attempt to use it as a guidebook to the past for historical studies removes its meaning and makes it an empty book. To chalk it all up to works of fiction erases the insights and meanings which it brings to being human. For me it is not a work of fiction, nor is it a work of non-fiction. Any facts it contains are incidental to its meaning. Any stories it contains are not just moralisms, but speak to real human meaning. It is a work of faith which should bring meaning to one’s life. To read it any other way is to not understand it.

For me Art is a work of faith. I am creating something real in a real place at a real time. All of that data about me, my artistic career, my place in history, etc. can be compiled and biographized and that is not a bad thing, but it is not my art. Art is not a fiction although it is created and holds a special place in my being, and perhaps only my being. But it is not make believe. It is real but not is a scientific, quantifiable way. It is real in the same way an experience is real. Everyone who rides that roller coaster leaves with a different experience. And yet it is a shared experience but not everyone likes it. Art is a faith thing because it transcends fiction and non-fiction into the realm of meaning, of experience.   

Learning to find that place of faith in our dualistic culture is not easy. Religions turn it into theology and legalistic judgments. Politics turns it into an “us vs. them” mentality. Science says “this is the only way it can be.” Faith is meaning and finding that meaning is a personal quest for each person. Some find it in family, some in sports, some in work, some in church, some in… well the list can as varied as the population. The important part is to break the dualistic thinking and realize that faith is not an either/or proposition but a both/and. Faith is that which brings meaning to you regardless if you find it in a movie, a book, a lecture, a community or a political party.