Hi, Followers, it’s the end of the year. What better time to talk about fixing problems?
Specifically how fiction chooses to do it, and how it just might be a key to real life.
I wrote a post a few months back about The Resurrection Arc, in fiction, and how it works and how it can be used well. (link here: https://wordpress.com/post/drybonestruth.wordpress.com/16361)
One thing I said in that post was that: “Resurrection means restoration.”
I’ve been thinking since finishing that too-oft-named Anime, Naruto, that Restoration is actually a big part of anime, and other shows too.
Also, it’s not just fiction, G. K. Chesterton said that:
“In history there is no Revolution that is not a Restoration... all the men in history who have really done anything with the future have had their eyes fixed upon the past.”
Restoration, it’s used a lot in Church, many people might just associate the word with what you do to an old building, or an original version of a movie. (My mom wishes they’d restore the original Star Wars movies to the pre-CGI versions.)
Here’s a dictionary.com definition of Restoration:
If you go by what Christianity, and a myriad of other religions, teaches, then anything Mankind does right would have to be a return to its original state.
Deep down, human beings feel this longing to return to former glory, sometimes we call it Nostalgia. A wish to return to innocence. Innocence is glory.
We also feel a desire for new things, but new things tend to be just old things in a different form.
All Revolution calls for a new thing, but an honest look at the past would reveal that the new thing is something people did long ago.
The American Government was supposedly new, but it was based on both Roman and Hebrew systems, one found in the Bible quite clearly. The Biblical Law was one of the earliest known to not have a king or ruler in charge of the people. Until they demanded it later. (A tale as old as the hills, historically speaking.)
Chesterton also had the thought that Human Beings, have grown older than God our Father, we grow tired of doing the same things, and that is why we have to package Goodness into so many new forms. We don’t like to play the same game, hear the same song, over and over again without a new change of pace.
But it is possible God does not get tired of Good Things. And those things are, in the end, what we keep coming back to.
In the Bible, when someone strays from the path then turns from their wicked ways, it is always called a Return.
Notably, in fiction there’s a common thread that the way to fix things is to go back to a state of being. In Modern Fiction, the Ideal tends to be a normal human society, not a robot, or communist, or barbaric society. While in older fiction, the ideal was more likely to be a heavenly society of some sort, something higher and purer than just ordinary people’s interactions.
We’ve all seen the story-lines where the MC has to return some special item to some spot, and that will restore the land, the proper power, the true heir to the throne, etc. Sometimes the item has to be destroyed to restore because it is cursed.
Whether the answer is destroying or returning, the end result is always a restoration.
Can you think of happy ending that did not include a Restoration? Go ahead, try, I’ll wait…
Anime is rife with this theme of Restoration. Usually it is through defeating the Big Bad at the end of the arc, and the land will magically heal. I watched the Naruto Movie: The Stone of Gelel today (It had the best boys in it, so I thought why not?), and it had the same thing, the trope where the land is healed all at once.
The Lion King has it too, though its over several months in that one.
I know I have readers from outside America, I may not know them, but you’ve definitely already got stories in mind that end this way. Every culture does.
In fact, it’s been noted that there is really only one basic plot in writing, even in nonfiction writing.
A problem is introduced, and a way to fix it, to restore us back to some ideal.
C. S. Lewis’s Pilgrim’s Regress is actually based entirely on the idea that any going forward, morally, is a going back. In it John, the Pilgrim, travels his land in search of an Island that ends up being the back of a mountain by his home. He comes full circle.
That is what the Eastern idea of Cyclical time is really about, that everything returns to its initial state, (we just disagree about what that state is.)
The important thing to understanding what the Restoration was is to keep in mind it can be either a symbolic physical act in the story, or it can be an emotional restoration, even a spiritual one.
Some stories will have a healing, where someone will have a physical problem fixed. Breaking Curses, undoing creepy science experiments, remedying a plague, all that falls under this category.
Other times the restoration will com in the form of finding a family member, finding a homeland, finding a title or position.
It’s more widespread for it to be an emotional restoration. From romances to kids shows, that restoration has to happen. Someone finds true love, remembers what’s important, learns what it is like to be human, learns the power of a certain virtue. And it restores them to who they are meant to be. Often who they once were, at the beginning of the tale, before the bad events took it from them.
Isn’t that what we all want in our lives, some of us want to be able to want it again.
All of us have an idea of a good life that we once had, or could have had, and we feel we missed it.
We’ve been told that the good life is in the present, yet we want to go back still. Be young again, be married again, have kids again, have that job again, like that thing again.
“Like constellations imploding in the night; everything is turning, everything is turning, And the shapes that you drew may change beneath a different light, and everything you thought you knew will fall apart, but you’ll be all right“–The OH HELLOS, Constellations.
Today is the last day of 2019, how often have we thought that this year? Or in previous year’s. Maybe we had a good year, but even in happiness there is often a nostalgic feeling, at least for me. Like “Ah yes, this is how I used to feel.”
But when I was a kid, I wasn’t often happy. The nostalgia is an illusion. I am really wanting to go back even further. To a different time, one before I was even born.
But those ages had trouble too. I’ve read enough to know they felt the same.
We have to go back further still, before the Fall.
Stories communicate that in their own way, by settling on one disaster that really changed it all for the worse, and must be undone. On Naruto, it was the battle of two friends, and two brothers, that begun the whole freaking mess. Supposedly it is undone by Naruto and Sasuke coming to peace. Rather like Cain and Abel.
In real life, people rarely narrow it down to one thing that’s wrong with the world–or their lives. You could list a half a dozen right now, if I asked.
As Rich Mullins sang “Everybody’s always saying they need just one thing, but what they really mean is they need just one thing more.”
In stories, a value like love, friendship, courage, or honor, tends to be the One Thing we MUST NOT LOSE EVER, AT ALL COSTS.
I’d like more things to be good in the world, and my life, sure. But I’m with Mullins. God is my One Thing.
To wrap this up, I guess my final point is that at the end of the year, the end of the story, the real question is: What is that One thing you need restored to you? Or maybe you need to be restored to it.
To find a new thing is to find an old thing.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this send-off post, it’s been an interesting year for me, and I wish you the best in 2020. Happy New Year everyone⌚⌛☺–until then, Natasha.