I talked about how it can be almost dangerous, in a way, to think about life too much like a story, because the things that happen to us, events in the real world are not laid on us like a carefully designed, orchestrated, prepared story made by a storyteller.
At least as far as any notion of what our stories are like.
I mean, we can imagine maybe it’s like a story, but as long as we don’t expect it to behave like the kind of stories that we’re familiar with.
And another way in which our lives are not like stories is that, in most stories, there is a need to protect the main characters, the important characters, from disappearing.
Especially when it’s a long extended story with a lot going on.
Of course, anything could happen in a short story.
You could have you build up characters and then they’re all gone.
But, you know, if you’re in the middle of a long story, you in most cases can expect that the main characters will not suddenly die or somehow be eliminated from a story.
So there’s this built-in protection that all the so-called “important” characters have.
And this combined with the need to have exciting things happen, dangerous, tension-filled adventure moments: so it’s good for all these dangerous, deadly things to happen to these characters, but then they also can’t actually die.
So this is the phenomenon referred to as “plot armour”, because it’s like they’re wearing armour.
Because anybody who’s considered important to the plot has this kind of special protection, where they can endure all sorts of deadly events without dying.
So here’s another case where, well, if you apply that to real life, that might not go so well since we don’t seem to have any plot armour in the real world.
Just like minor supporting characters in a story don’t have plot armour.
Characters that are considered minor and supporting, they can just disappear, be killed off at any moment.
Maybe it would even increase the sense of danger and excitement that is felt for the main characters to have characters around them dying off.
You know, they’re going on the expedition, and you know, one of them falls into the crocodile’s mouth.
OK, now we have to be careful about crocodiles.
There’s that extra sense of tension and danger.
But the main character is not going to fall into a crocodile’s mouth, unless somehow that character can find a way to survive it.
May be the last moment is like the stick: somebody puts the stick in the crocodile’s mouth, so the crocodile can’t closes its jaws on the main character.
You know, something like that, that would be a great example of plot armour.
You have the dangerous, exciting thing, but no death.
Of course, in the real world, maybe from our own perspective, we could each kind of think that well, I’m the main character of my story, so I should have plot armour in my story.
But at the same time, we’re also supporting characters in other people’s stories, and so, you know, if there really are stories going on, we can’t all be main characters in the same story, so maybe we’re all supporting characters, and then we can all be killed off at any time.
You know, it’s really like that very kind of egocentric view of the world to think that like the world, my life, is a story in which I am the main character.
There’s a sense in which that’s true, because the decisions that we make, our power to make decisions, is centered around ourselves.
But fate and what happens in the world certainly does not seem to favour certain people as main characters.
So we look at all these characters and all these stories that we love, and we love all these main characters, and they all have plot armour.
So they’re all doing these incredibly dangerous, difficult, amazing things and surviving.
So when we compare ourselves to them, it seems like, you know, we’re kind of puny characters.
I mean, we’re not doing any death-defying survival, and you know, if we are, it’s incredibly dangerous and we’re rolling the dice every time.
So comparing ordinary life to the lives of main characters in stories really seems to be a losing comparison, where real life will always seem to be falling short.
So I wonder what it would be like to not be a main character, to simply not think about ourselves as main characters in stories.
Are we like supporting characters, where maybe we have no plot armour, no protection? w at the mercy of whatever story might happen or maybe we’re not like characters at all.
I’d love to hear how you think about this.
#plotarmour #notacharacter #reallife