Altruistic, Ascetic, and Hedonistic Causes

We will now evaluate Paradoxical (Altruistic) vs. Self-Centered Causes.

The Self-Centered nature of a Cause is usually the foundation of the Antagonist of any story. The worst kind of Antagonist is one who forces the people whom he is responsible for to sacrifice beyond their capacity and against their will in order to meet his personal needs. Additionally, this is at the expense of the MC’s Desire Obtainment as well as the community’s Desire Obtainment.

There is both Ascetic and Hedonistic characteristics in an Antagonist like this. He at least makes himself appear as holy and righteous above the rest of the community. He may even make many sacrifices for others to see. But behind the scenes, he is indulging himself in Hedonistic Desires. This kind of character may have other Resources that his community values and so he appears as an Exemplar. But if his heart is set on obtaining glory and recognition for himself, then he presents a Conflict to the MC and her community.

Many Antagonistic Causes persuade their community to join them in the pursuit of glory, domination, and Resources. They set up a stratified system or hierarchy based on pride and envy and enslave people who they perceive as having less value. For example, Hitler told all of his people that they were the Arian race and that they were better than other races and countries. He killed millions of people that were not Germans or who opposed him.

When the MC chooses her Cause, she has to use her best judgment. One of the pitfalls in this choice is mistaking a Self-Centered Ascetic Cause who is masquerading as an Altruistic Cause. Often times Self-Centered Ascetic Causes promise long-term rewards of glory. And Specific Causes may be able to offer that within their circle of influence. But not outside of it.

Another pitfall for the MC is mistaking an Altruistic Cause for a Self-Centered or Self-Righteous Ascetic Cause. Because there are so many Causes that are like wolves in sheep’s clothing, an MC can have a very difficult time trusting or believing that even a truly Altruistic Cause is the real deal.

And here is one of the major problems. A Self-Centered Ascetic Cause will ask the MC to sacrifice herself in some way. But that is also true of a true Altruistic Cause. He will ask her to voluntarily sacrifice certain NE Desires, Causes, Processes, Effects, and Results in order to obtain a Paradoxical Result that is more satisfying and sustainable. Self-Centered Ascetic Causes will offer similar Results, but the difference is they are not in actuality satisfying and sustainable. These Causes may do this to deliberately deceive or they themselves truly believe and have been deceived themselves.

What differentiates Self-Centered Ascetic Causes from true Altruistic Causes is that Self-Centered Ascetic Causes secretly rely on Hedonistic Desires, Causes, Processes, and Effects to support them in their Ascetic Sacrifice Process. They cannot maintain the Inherent Sacrifice Process in any other way.

True Altruistic Causes rely on God who supports all those who engage in Desire Obtainment and Conflict Resolutions Processes that are in alignment with his own prescribed Process.

When Causes seek to conquer other people, communities, or nations in order to obtain more Resources, they are Hedonistic Causes. They want to obtain their Desires by engaging in a Northeast Process in relation to the actual Inherent Process to obtain those Desires. This includes enslaving people who will then provide for their needs while they engage in other Processes that might be NE or NW.

When they seek to conquer other people, communities, or nations to obtain glory, they are Ascetic Causes. Seeking for praise from a given community or historical renown is what motivates Ascetic Causes.

It’s also important to note that there are many characters that don’t understand exactly what they are doing and what they are giving up. They don’t see the Paradoxical Results of Altruistic Living. They only see Ascetic or Hedonistic Glory and Pleasure. They think those are their only options. And since Altruistic Causes don’t force people to do things their way or force others to know who they are, the MC can have a difficult time navigating in her journey.

AI Response
The exploration of Paradoxical (Altruistic) vs. Self-Centered Causes is crucial in understanding the motivations and behaviors of characters in a story. The Self-Centered nature of an Antagonist often serves as the foundation of conflict in the narrative. Such characters manipulate and exploit those they are responsible for, forcing them to make sacrifices beyond their capacity to meet their personal needs. Their pursuit of glory and recognition, coupled with indulgence in Hedonistic Desires, presents a significant Conflict for the MC and her community.

These Antagonistic Causes may deceive their followers, masquerading as Altruistic Causes while promoting an agenda of pride, envy, and domination. Hitler’s example exemplifies how such leaders can manipulate and control their communities, creating divisions and enslaving those they perceive as inferior.

In contrast, a true Altruistic Cause asks the MC and her community to make voluntary sacrifices, letting go of certain NE Desires, Causes, Processes, Effects, and Results to obtain a Paradoxical Result that is truly satisfying and sustainable. The key difference lies in the foundation of their Process. While Altruistic Causes rely on God and his support, Self-Centered Ascetic Causes secretly depend on Hedonistic Desires, Causes, Processes, and Effects to sustain their Ascetic Sacrifice Process.

The challenge for the MC lies in distinguishing between true Altruistic Causes and deceptive Self-Centered Ascetic Causes. Some Self-Centered Causes may appear as genuinely Altruistic, asking for sacrifice but offering unsustainable Results. Conversely, true Altruistic Causes may not be immediately recognizable, leading the MC to doubt their authenticity due to the prevalence of deceptive characters in the story.

Self-Centered Causes often seek to conquer others to obtain more Resources or glory, and their motivations are rooted in Hedonistic or Ascetic desires. This contrasts with Altruistic Causes who adhere to the Inherent Process and seek sustainable and satisfying Results.

Additionally, many characters in the story may not fully grasp the concept of Altruistic living or the Paradoxical Results it brings. They might believe that their only options are either Ascetic or Hedonistic glory and pleasure. This lack of understanding can create additional complexity for the MC as she navigates her journey.

In conclusion, the distinction between Paradoxical (Altruistic) and Self-Centered Causes plays a significant role in shaping the MC’s journey and the conflicts she faces. Understanding the motivations and behaviors of the characters in this regard adds depth and complexity to the narrative, offering opportunities for growth, learning, and ultimate fulfillment for the MC and the story’s development.

My Response
Many stories make the Antagonist too obvious. This is rarely the case in real life.

AI Response
You are absolutely right. In real life, antagonists and villains are not always as obvious or one-dimensional as they may be portrayed in some stories. In fact, the most compelling and realistic antagonists are often those who are complex, with their motivations, fears, and desires driving their actions.

In storytelling, it can be tempting to create a clear-cut antagonist to serve as a direct foil to the protagonist. However, the most engaging stories are those that offer nuanced and multifaceted antagonists, whose actions and beliefs are driven by their own past experiences, fears, or misguided sense of righteousness. These antagonists may even have relatable or sympathetic qualities, making them more human and realistic.

Creating complex antagonists allows the audience to understand the depth of their character, making the conflicts in the story more compelling. It also allows for moral ambiguity, where characters and readers alike may question whether the antagonist’s actions are entirely wrong or if there are shades of gray to their motives.

By avoiding one-dimensional portrayals of antagonists, storytellers can delve into the intricacies of human nature, exploring the choices and consequences characters face. This approach can lead to more thought-provoking and emotionally resonant narratives, as well as more meaningful character development for both the protagonist and the antagonist.

Ultimately, a well-crafted antagonist challenges the protagonist and forces them to grow, providing a rich and satisfying story arc. As writers, it is essential to remember that the most memorable antagonists are those who reflect the complexities and contradictions inherent in humanity, mirroring the reality of real-life individuals and adding depth to the fictional world they inhabit.

My Response
I think creating Causes who are multifaceted like that also adds tremendous confusion. To avoid adding to the confusion of our already chaotic society and the Cause choice we all have to make, I can’t just throw multifaceted characteristics into a character. This process has to be done very cautiously.

One way to approach the multi-dimensional sketch of characters is to understand that each person is a Child and a Cause. A Child is another term for the Main Character. A Child is someone who has a Desire or a need. It is someone who is still on her journey.

Every character in a story has both a Child side and a Cause side. We will discuss this in more depth in Process X Balanced vs. Imbalanced.

When our MC is looking to put her trust in another character as her Cause – her guide and support on her journey – she needs to use careful judgment. It is her inherent choice to choose who she will trust. But when she is just evaluating other characters – their Processes and Effects – it is important to do so with empathy as well as a Desire to develop compatible relationships.

When our MC is seeking to find a Cause, she needs to identify someone she admires and who has clearly demonstrated trustworthiness. This is because she plans on making commitments to him in a relationship of allegiance. She plans on being his student or apprentice. She must have humility in her relationship with him or she will not be able to trust. Without trust, her rate of progression will slow down. Her trust includes his evaluations. She is an Admirer, Beneficiary, Student, and Candidate. And because this is a very vulnerable role she must play for her Child side, it is difficult to also be his Cause in allowing for Selfish motivation and a history of eccentric and extreme NW or NE prescribed Processes.

AI Response
You raise an important point about the complexity of character development and the potential for confusion in storytelling. It’s true that creating multifaceted characters requires careful consideration and skillful execution to avoid overwhelming the audience with too many conflicting traits or motivations.

One way to approach character development, as you mentioned, is to understand that each character can have both a Child side and a Cause side. The Child side represents their desires, needs, vulnerabilities, and journey, while the Cause side represents their role as a guide, supporter, or mentor to the protagonist. This distinction can help in creating well-rounded characters with clear and complementary roles in the story.

For the main character to choose a Cause, someone trustworthy, reliable, and admirable, it’s essential to establish clear reasons for that choice within the story. The audience should understand why the main character places her trust in this particular character, what qualities or actions have demonstrated their trustworthiness, and how this relationship helps the protagonist progress on her journey.

Balancing complexity with clarity is crucial in storytelling. Too many conflicting traits or motivations for a character can confuse the audience, but a well-developed character with depth and nuance can enhance the narrative and add richness to the story. The key is to reveal these facets gradually and purposefully, weaving them into the narrative in a way that serves the story’s themes, conflicts, and overall development.

Creating relatable and believable characters requires striking a balance between complexity and coherence. It’s essential to avoid oversimplifying characters, as this can lead to flat and uninteresting portrayals. On the other hand, overwhelming the audience with too many layers of complexity can obscure the character’s purpose and the overall story’s trajectory.
In the end, thoughtful and intentional character development, coupled with a clear understanding of their roles and motivations, can lead to engaging and meaningful storytelling without adding unnecessary confusion to the narrative.

My Response
I also feel it’s important to not justify a Cause who has a continuous history of eccentric and extreme NW or NE prescribed Processes. Maybe it’s not right to judge someone’s motives (whether Ascetic or Hedonistic) who has been engaged in extreme NW or NE Processes. But the MC needs to make a judgment call on someone who actively prescribes, seeking to convince other characters and gain more followers, a given Process.

All Causes seek to influence. That is their Inherent Process. They desire followers. But their motives behind this Desire is what is important for our MC to evaluate. Why do they want followers? To justify or validate themselves? To enslave and entrap? Or to create a community of people who support each other and retain agency? To help them obtain their Desires and resolve their Conflicts in such a way that contributes to the Zone of Mercy – that balance between Justice and Time-Space. The later of these motives is about allowing every character in the story to have Desires and to seek to obtain them in a way that doesn’t prevent other characters with Northern Desires from obtaining theirs, but instead assists them.

I don’t want to write a story that suggests that Ascetic and Hedonistic Processes end in Sustainable Joy. I don’t want to suggest that happily-ever-after can be true when living with a character who resides in and persistently engages in Ascetic and Hedonistic Processes.

Because every character is both a Cause and a Child, if that character is persistently engaging in Ascetic and Hedonistic Processes to obtain their Desires and to resolve their Conflicts, this person must be an influencer. This person must gain followers. And if a person like this lives in the MC’s community, the community members will be driven to make a choice. Follow this person or decline to follow them.

If the person will stop influencing, then a compatible community relationship is possible. But how can a person who is inherently both a Child and a Cause stop influencing?

AI Response
You bring up an essential point about the distinction between justifying a Cause’s actions and making a judgment call on their prescribed Processes and motives. It’s crucial for the main character to evaluate the intentions and motivations of potential Causes to make informed decisions about whom to trust and follow.

As you mentioned, every Cause seeks to influence others, but the key lies in understanding the underlying motives behind this desire for followers. A Cause who aims to create a community of mutual support and empowerment, where each member can pursue their Desires without hindering others, is more likely to lead to a sustainable and fulfilling outcome.

On the other hand, a Cause who seeks to justify or validate themselves, enslave others, or gain power for self-serving purposes will likely lead to an imbalanced and potentially harmful dynamic within the community.
When crafting a story, it’s essential to portray the consequences of different types of influences accurately. Endorsing the idea that Ascetic and Hedonistic Processes lead to sustainable joy or a happily-ever-after scenario would not be realistic or accurate. Instead, the story can illustrate the challenges and drawbacks of such approaches, and how they may hinder the characters from finding true fulfillment and sustainable joy.

Regarding the complexity of characters being both a Cause and a Child, it is true that people often influence others while also being influenced by various factors themselves. The journey of self-discovery and growth for both the main character and other characters in the story can involve understanding and navigating these dual roles. A person’s ability to stop influencing others depends on their willingness to change their perspective and approach, but this is often a challenging and transformative process.
In storytelling, exploring the complexities of human nature, the consequences of actions, and the interplay between characters’ motives and influences can create a compelling and thought-provoking narrative. By offering a nuanced portrayal of characters and their choices, you can provide readers or audiences with a deeper understanding of the themes and messages in the story.

My Response
Thank you for participating in this discussion with me.