Friday, 14 November 2014
Levels Of Pretense
"To condemn psychodrama, even in its enhanced form, would be to condemn human nature." (p. 24)
A psychodrama is an elaborate enacted fiction. We distinguish three kinds of statements:
true, intended to be believed and to inform;
lies, intended to be believed and to deceive;
fictions, intended to be disbelieved and to entertain.
Children must learn the difference between a lie, which is untrue, and a fiction, which is also untrue. I was concerned when a teacher denounced a comic strip that I read as "Lies!" Lies were bad. He possibly meant that "Luck of the Legion" presented an inaccurate or inauthentic image of the French Foreign Legion.
I wonder whether there is a fourth category of statement:
yarns, intended not really to be believed but to entertain, almost fictions but not quite.
A friend told me a tall tale from his time in India. When I relay such a tale to others, they say things like:
"Art tells a good story!"
"And you believed him!"
"You didn't believe him, did you?"
When I receive such a response, I am annoyed not at Art for deceiving me but at myself for being taken in. Surely I should have realized that this was a joke or entertaining yarn to be taken "with a pinch of salt." He has not deceived me about anything important as if, for example, he lied about having paid a bill. The accomplished yarner might be amused to reflect that naive or trusting friends believe his stories whereas others merely pretend to and others again say, "Come of it!" The naive have enjoyed the story and have not been harmed by it. I have yarned and it has not felt like lying. Do some friends disbelieve but play along with a semi-psychodrama?