Next up is Change vs. Commitment Results. Another name for this concept is Justice vs. Time Results. The Balance of Justice over time is Mercy.
A Change Desire is something our MC wants that is different from what she has right now. It is about changing herself or changing a relationship that she is in. In more religious terms, this is where Repentance comes in. Repentance is about change, turning around and starting again. It is about breaking certain commitments and making others.
A Commitment Desire is deciding to stand steadfast in certain commitments even when other characters in the story, events, or adversity try to convince her to stop keeping them.
A Change Cause is flexible and adaptable. He is someone who gives our MC time, holds back the law for a time, and works with her or trains her to develop the ability to satisfy the law. He is an expert in the transformation process that she needs to undergo to develop the necessary skills. The transformation process is the Repentance Process. It is a purification process, where our MC has been involved in an imbalanced commitment relationship or circumstance and now needs to separate and heal from that. This process isn’t easily done alone, so a Change Cause assists her through the transition. In religious terms, this is a Redeemer. It is part of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Specific Causes can serve as a Redeemer in the name of Jesus Christ.
If our MC has to break commitments or habits that she has at Point A in order to travel to Point B, a Change Cause gives her the time and helps her through this transition.
A Commitment Cause is a Justice Cause. It is someone who asks for a commitment and expects the MC to be exact in the Law – the Inherent Process. It isn’t because he is abusive, angry, or mean. It is because he knows she must be exact in order to obtain her Desire. He is not involved in the transformation process other than representing the law that needs to be obeyed or he may be the judge that evaluates the MC’s Process and skills level. Without a Cause like this, the story becomes too wishy-washy.
The Justice and Change Causes (Time Cause) must work together to help our MC achieve Successful Results. She needs to understand their roles and her relationship with them.
The Inherent Process is the Law. It is the Process that must be engaged in to obtain a Desire. For example, if the Desire were to buy a house, we would say that this house has a set of requirements that must be met in order for it to retain its value.
If our MC wants to retain the value of the house that she purchased, she needs to maintain it, repair it, and pay the monthly mortgage payments. If she does not, the house will fall into disrepair or go into foreclosure. If she does not care for it properly, the house ceases to be as valuable as it was when she first purchased it and she will most likely not like it as much.
Thus the Commitment Process is about making and keeping commitments. Understanding the purpose for law is crucial for the MC. Every character and resource has a law that must be obeyed to a certain level in order for that character or resource to retain value. And sometimes it’s more about finding the law of a character and engaging in it so that they can become the very best that it is possible for them to become. They can fulfill the measure of their creation.
The Change Process is about remodeling the house. It is about restoring something to Balance. It is about officially breaking down and rebuilding walls or discarding/repairing old broken down furniture that are not serving their purpose.
We can take this metaphor to evaluating dysfunctional relationships between two or more people. We can also evaluate relationships that have been established between our MC and substances such as drug and alcohol abuse or even food addictions. It is about breaking bad habits and replacing them with new balanced processes to establish good habits. It’s a time to say we’re sorry. It’s a time to go back to the drawing board. It’s a time to start over.
It’s hard to separate the Commitment Process from the Change Process because they interweave together. But it’s important to see their individual value. Sometimes the our MC’s Process needs to be steadfast in her Commitments. And sometimes she needs to change her Commitments.
Conflicts may arise when our MC tries to stand steadfast in her commitments in relationships with characters that aren’t keeping their side of the commitment. This creates an Imbalanced Result.
Conflicts may also arise when our MC won’t make a commitment to another character in the story or she won’t commit to a certain choice. She may keep changing her mind and trying new things and new relationships, but never be able to know if a given choice is right for her because she doesn’t stay with it long enough. When the going gets tough, instead of working to resolve conflicts, she leaves.
How does she know how long to stay to work out conflicts with other characters and when enough is enough? This is a very difficult decision to make and requires her to stay in some imbalanced relationships at least for a time.
Too much of a Justice Process is when our MC stands steadfast in commitments, habits, or relationships that she needs to separate from.
Too much of a Time Process is when our MC won’t make and keep commitments or develop relationships with other characters that she needs to.
We say “needs to”. What does that mean? It involves her Desire and the Inherent Process required to obtain it. What is the law that she must obey in order to obtain what she Desires? This is the need. If a certain commitment, habit, or relationship is preventing her from obeying that law, then she needs to separate from it. If it is a relationship with another character, then she needs to give him or her time to voluntarily Change, while she stands steadfast in the law as well as empathy for the other character’s choices.
Going through the Change Process is a type of sacrifice. Our MC can expect to experience pain and sorrow because of that. These are NW Effects. But if she is breaking commitments, relationships, or habits that she needs to in order to establish new and better commitments, relationships, and habits, then she will feel an overarching Peace about this choice. Having continued in a Commitment Relationship or along a pathway for a time and experienced the continuous Effects of stress, confusion, and conflict, she can now differentiate when she moves in the opposite direction. If it is difficult and painful in some ways, but that Peace is foundational, she can know she has made the right choice.
She experiences sorrow because she is breaking the law of her past commitments, habits, and relationships. Even though she is experiencing Imbalanced Effects and Results in these relationships, there is usually portions of Balanced Effects as well. And this is what causes the pain.
But when she is experiencing that pain at the same time as a deep, more satisfying peace that comes from the Process of making and keeping new commitments, establishing better habits, and developing more compatible relationships, she can know she has made the right choice.
It really comes down to our MC being able to interpret her Effects. She needs to be in tune with her General Cause. This is because new relationships may feel peaceful in the beginning but over time will end up in similar Imbalance and Conflict. She can’t make judgments based on conflicts that arise in every relationship. She has to develop the ability to differentiate between Effects that are temporary and Effects that are eternal.
Justice Effects are Attraction and Repulsion. These cannot be directly manipulated or controlled. They just are. Our MC can’t force herself to be attracted to someone or something. And if she is repulsed by someone or something, she can’t force herself not to be. She can decide that she won’t act on those feelings, but she can’t decide to feel them or not.
When our MC engages in a Commitment Process, by continuously making and keeping commitments to a certain person, career, life direction, etc., she will feel Justice Effects. For example, she will be able to “taste” the Effects of another character to whom she has committed herself. And she will either experience Attraction or she will find herself wanting to separate from that character, which is Repulsion.
Repulsion is a strong word. We could use other words like reticence or just say it is not to our MC’s preference. She finds this character distasteful, not her vibe, etc. It would probably be better to find a less aggressive word for Repulsion because of its connotation. She has the desire to separate from another character, a situation, or a thing.
Change Results are the direction our MC is heading in regards to being on and off the pathway to obtain her Desire. Is she closer to the Inherent Process or is she further away. She may be working in her NW Zone in a Process that is not the Inherent Process. This uncovers the importance of identifying the Inherent Process as a primary part of our MC’s story.
This is a Purification measurement. When I think of Purification I think of a deviation from the pathway between Points A and B and then returning to it. It is Repentance. But rather than defining Repentance as a Process that a character with Toxic Shame has to do or thinking that it is only for characters who are Processing in their Extreme NW or NE, we can think of it as a daily (or chapter-ly) check of a metaphoric GPS system. It is a measurement of how Balanced our MC is with the Law or the set of Commitments her Cause has instructed her to keep in order to obtain her Desire.
This is restoration or digression.
Justice Results are measurements of the vertical progression our MC makes along the pathway between Points A and B to obtain her Desire. They are the outcome for consistently keeping commitments to her Cause and other characters in the story.
Of course, she may also regress along that same pathway – one step forward and two steps back. If she is consistently keeping commitments to a Conflicting Cause or to other imbalanced characters in the story, her Results will be undesirable. She will get further away from obtaining her Desire.
This is a Sanctification measurement. It is when the level of Resources increases or decreases. It is when knowledge increase or decreases. It is when abilities increase or decrease.
This is progression or regression.
Your exploration of Change vs. Commitment Results, also known as Justice vs. Time Results, adds depth and complexity to the character development and narrative structure of your story theory. Here are some key takeaways:
Balancing Justice and Change: The concept of Mercy being the balance of Justice over time ties these ideas together, emphasizing the need for both commitment and change in the MC’s journey.