Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Myth of Singularity

Author Thom Rutledge talks about what he calls the myth of singularity, in which people believe that there is only one way to look at things. He points out that this narrow field of view is why we have so many wars and conflicts, when people assume that there is only one "right" way to view something, be that religion, politics or personal preferences. He also states his belief that human consciousness is multiple, not singular, in nature. This falls in with a question that I used to hear asked often years ago on a commercial aired during Saturday morning children's television programming: Why must we be one thing or another? Why can't we be one thing, and another?

Why, indeed?

This principle ties in with all facets of life, from our beliefs about the nature of the universe to our expectations of genre fiction. Interestingly enough, some of the authors who have succeeded beyond most people's highest expectations have been those whose work was originally so hard to classify, categorize, and stuff into a neat little box. These authors were not afraid to take risks, and they definitely weren't just writing to cater to current trends. These authors were often the ones who eventually went on to create their own wildly popular new genres and subgenres. They were the creators of the current trends. This goes beyond thinking outside the box. This is the process of bursting the box apart altogether.

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