Fabulist Manifesto

Formed in unknowableness, imbued with self-awareness but not self-understanding, humans, and the societies we’ve built, invariably attempt to reconcile our being-ness by constructing myth-narratives to explain the inexplicableness of our received realities, inventing hypothetical (fantastical) situations extrapolated from the given elements of the material world. Passed along as cultural tradition they inflect our experience of the mysteries of our existence and our surroundings with ostensible explanations, placating our existential dread.

Myth-narratives are formed by exaggerating the human, creature, and object worlds into metaphors for the social forces that our social relations are constructed around. These exaggerations are a form of speculative thinking in which the lines between these worlds become porous: people shift shapes, can communicate with animals, static objects transform and are transformative. It is a world rooted in magical thinking that cross-projects asynchronous states of being, enchanting reality.

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Children wonder; they live in states of wonderment. Being newer to being-in-the-world, they ask fundamental questions to adults who, having already asked such questions, and having accepted given explanations, relay this information as convincingly and as assuredly as possible. Adults utilize myth-narratives to substitute lived experience with metaphors, mistreating wonderment as gullibility. This is how cultures automatically and perpetually self-replicate their belief systems.

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All of our attempts at explaining the world are fundamentally hypothetical. The intention of hypothesizing can be scientific (to determine the most likely explanation) or fantastical (to determine the most exciting explanation) or ideological (to determine the most politically convenient explanation).

Faced with the cruelty of our reality, we naturally ask is this all there is?. Myth-narratives respond with a re-assuring no!. However, their ability to be flexibly interpreted, and their implicit alibi of innocuousness, perforate them with holes allowing sinister players to inhabit and animate them. Mobilized by ideology, myth-narratives maintain the alluring cloak of the fantastical while dancing for a different cause. Ideology answers look, there is more, and then uses them to mitigate questioning altogether. Fear eats the soul.

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Fables, fairy tales, and parables are used as ways of indoctrinating, normalising, and replicating life within social conventions, moral codes, and governing systems. In the mouths of ideologues, they are used to teach us about systems of rule, social castes, work ethic, moral expectations, romantic and familial prerogatives, property lines and rules, and the dangers befalling those who deviate from expected behaviours therein.

Ideologies disperse themselves through these narratives. Narratives and ideologies may take the form of objects, but they are not objects. They are rather like viruses that spread through host-bodies. Viruses need to be studied to be identified, understood, and utilized.

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We believe that by examining their ideological intentions and suspending their ideological imperatives we can re-enter, through the form of the myth-narrative, the base elements of our own experience of existence while opening a space for hypothetical thought that does not pacify or condescend, within an intention of facilitating a relationship to our world based in both a rational connection to material reality and a spirit of wild, unencumbered speculation as to what our world is and what it can be. The fantastic can be used to imagine a way out of the inevitable.

Ideologues weaponize truth to make it indistinguishable from untruth, but their fictions are counter-fantastic, designed to mitigate hope. So the fantastical must be approached scientifically, and science fantastically: identification through replication, understanding through examination, utilization through re-configuration. Vaccines contain disease.

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We are dwelling in badlands. Centuries of Trojan Horses are scattered in our fields and buried below our feet. What shall we do with them now?

– Studio for Propositional Cinema

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