30 January 2010

Story of an artist

"Day after day we seek an answer to the ageless question Aristotle posed in Ethics:

How should a human being lead his life?

Traditionally humankind has sought the answer to Aristotle’s question from the four wisdoms—philosophy, science, religion, art—taking insight from each to blot together a livable meaning. But today who reads Hegel or Kant without an exam to pass? Science, once the great explicator, garbles life with complexity and perplexity. Religion, for many, has become an empty ritual that masks hypocrisy. As our faith in the traditional ideology diminishes, we turn to the source we still believe in: the art of story.

The world now consumes films, novels theatre, and television in such quantities and with such ravenous hunger that the story arts have become humanity’s prime source of inspiration, as it seeks to order chaos and gain insight into life.

Some see this craving for story as simple entertainment, an escape from life rather than an exploration of it … To retreat behind the notion that the audience simply wants to dump its troubles at the door and escape reality is a cowardly abandonment of the artist’s responsibility. Story isn’t a flight from reality but a vehicle that carries us on our search for reality, our best effort to make sense out of the anarchy of existence.”

- Robert McKee, from his book, Story.

For kicks, here's the excerpt from "Adaptation." with Nicholas Cage as Charlie Kaufman and Brian Cox as Robert McKee.