Sheldon, part 28

“First of all,” said the cat, addressing Charlotte’s mom, “I disagree with your basic premise.”

“Which premise?”

“The premise that a fictional character cannot be at fault. An author cannot simply dictate actions. Characters must be free to make good choices and bad choices. Otherwise, how can they learn and grow?”

“But wait,” Charlotte said, “isn’t it actually the author making those choices?”

“I’m surprised at you Charlotte,” said the cat, “You are the one who studies PolySocial Reality. The ‘you’ who interacts with me is not the same ‘you’ who interacts with your mother. So it is meaningless to speak of a single person, let alone a single author. PolySocial Reality exists just as much within us as between us. As Whitman said: ‘I am large. I contain multitudes.'”

“Or in other words,” Sheldon said, “it’s turtles all the way down.”

“Yes, exactly. It’s all described very well in Minsky’s ‘Society of Mind’. The reader recognizes within the author’s characters that same fragmentation and multiplicity of state that she sees within her own mind. Why else would she ever care what a character does, and why would she bother to keep reading?”

“Well, there’s plot!” Charlotte said. “I mean, Sheldon is a ghost. Wouldn’t a reader be a little curious about why?”

“I’m certainly curious about why,” Sheldon added. “And that has to count for something. If you’re such a smart cat, tell me why I am a ghost.”

3 Responses to “Sheldon, part 28”

  1. sharon says:

    I’m starting to wonder if the cat belongs to a Mr. Schrödinger :)

  2. sharon says:

    Whoops! Was just reading through some earlier posts and saw that you already had the Schrödinger reference. I forgot about that (at least consciously).

  3. admin says:

    Well, the cat’s name might also be Heisenberg, but it’s hard to be certain. 😉

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