The next concept we will evaluate is Paradoxical (Altruistic) vs. Self-Centered (Ascetic/Hedonistic) Effects.
If our MC is engaged in a Paradoxical or Altruistic Process, she experiences the flow of Energy through her soul. She receives Peace from her Altruistic General Cause as well as Altruistic Specific Causes (if there are any). This Peace can take specific Physical or Spiritual forms, but it is the essence of exactly what she needs and desires to satisfy her soul, even while she is sacrificing at the extent of her abilities. Usually, our MC is making a physical sacrifice, taking upon herself heavy burdens, while also experiencing an immense Peace from her Altruistic General Cause.
But it is also true, that sometimes an MC must also sacrifice Spiritual Peace for a time. For example, Jesus Christ sacrificed both Physical and Spiritual Peace while in the Garden of Gethsemane as well as on the Cross. This was necessary for him to gain the Empathy required for every form of human suffering. I have also heard that people who have to fight in wars to protect other people undergo an extreme lack of Spiritual Peace while they are performing an intense Physical Sacrifice for a time.
Our MC experiences Ascetic Effects, which is Pride, when engaged in Ascetic Processes. This is when she is sacrificing for self-glory or self-aggrandizement. Pride is a real and intense feeling. It has been the source of many wars. To think of one’s self or one’s nation as better than another or to attempt to prove one’s self or nation better than another’s is a Process that returns the Effects of Pride.
Pride could be described as a Process. It could be a thought Process. But it is also a feeling. Being swallowed up in vain glory is the Desire to be loved for one’s Resources alone. It is not the Desire to use one’s Resources to help others. It is the desire to accumulate wealth, land, riches, and power just to be esteemed as superior by one’s community. It is the Desire for others’ to envy them.
Our MC experiences Hedonistic Effects, which is Pleasure, when engaged in Hedonistic Processes. Pleasure, as I’m using it in my story theory, is short-lived, divisive, and mechanical. It paradoxically ends in undesirable Results, specifically numbness, increased weakness, and pain. But that’s getting into Results. Focusing on the Effect of Pleasure is evaluating the immediate rewarding comfort it provides. It makes our MC feel good in the moment. She has the choice to live from one Pleasure moment to the next.
A Hedonistic Cause uses Hedonistic Processes and Resources to tempt our MC as well as other characters in the story that she relies on or is responsible for.
There are other Ascetic Causes who protect Hedonistic Causes, by saying they have a right to choose how their souls will be nourished. The mixture of these Causes reaps all kinds of havoc for our MC.
Thus Hedonistic Effects are Temptations. Pleasure at the expense of Sustainable Joy. It is this type of Effect in combination with Ascetic or Prideful Effects that usually cause the MC to make mistakes, break her commitments, and lose her way.
We used Lotus Flowers as an example in a previous description of a Hedonistic Process. Lotus Flowers are a perfect metaphor for Hedonistic Effects.
If we used a metaphor for Ascetic Effects, the characters would be priding themselves on how much of something of value they acquired and proudly (or even subtly) displaying this value to draw attention to themselves.
You’ve provided a detailed and thoughtful exploration of Paradoxical (Altruistic) vs. Self-Centered (Ascetic/Hedonistic) Effects. Your descriptions help to clarify how these different processes and their associated effects impact the MC’s journey and the overall narrative.
It’s clear that you’ve put a lot of thought into how these concepts intersect and influence the character’s experiences and choices. As you continue to develop your story theory, remember that clarity and simplicity are key. You’re building a framework that can be applied to various stories, so finding a balance between depth and accessibility will be important.
Can you reiterate my explanation as you have the other explanations I have given?
In the context of your story theory, Paradoxical or Altruistic Effects are experienced when your main character (MC) engages in processes driven by altruism and genuine selflessness. These Effects manifest as a flow of positive energy through her soul, imparting a profound sense of peace and contentment. This Peace is sourced from both her Altruistic General Cause and any Altruistic Specific Causes she may have. It’s a deeply fulfilling and soul-satisfying sensation that aligns with her Sacrifice Process, even if it involves significant challenges and sacrifices. This spiritual and emotional contentment serves as a counterbalance to the physical sacrifices she makes.
However, it’s also worth noting that there might be instances where your MC sacrifices her Spiritual Peace temporarily for a higher purpose, just as historical figures like Jesus Christ did to gain empathy for human suffering. This showcases the complexity and depth of the Paradoxical Process.
On the other hand, Self-Centered or Ascetic Effects emerge when your MC indulges in processes motivated by self-centeredness, pride, or the pursuit of personal glory. These Effects are epitomized by the feeling of Pride, which encompasses the desire to be esteemed superior by amassing wealth, power, and status for its own sake. It is a divisive and potentially destructive feeling that can lead to conflicts and turmoil.
Similarly, Hedonistic Effects occur when your MC engages in processes of hedonism, seeking immediate pleasure and comfort. Pleasure, in this context, is short-lived and mechanical, offering temporary satisfaction but lacking the depth and sustainability of true joy. These Effects can lead to Temptations that divert her from her true path, often resulting in mistakes, broken commitments, and a loss of direction.
The distinction between Paradoxical and Self-Centered Effects is crucial in your story, as they represent the choices your MC makes in her Desire Obtainment Process. The Effects she experiences serve as indicators of whether she is aligned with her altruistic goals or being led astray by self-centered desires. This dynamic interplay of Effects shapes her character’s journey, driving her either towards a path of growth, empathy, and sustainable joy or into the pitfalls of pride and hedonism.
In summary, the Effects your MC encounters in Paradoxical (Altruistic) vs. Self-Centered (Ascetic/Hedonistic) Processes are integral to her character development and the overall narrative, reflecting her choices, motivations, and their consequences as she navigates her journey towards her desires and commitments.