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Re: The problem with process

Walt, I very much like your point about the role of beauty. And I agree that
my discussion of message is cold and without any reference to the role of
beauty. Chalk that omission up to a desire for rigor. I am now developing a
new concept based on the "Protein" essay; the core idea is that the
delivered content of a story is not a single message but a mesh of
interrelated ideas.

I suspect that you're barking up the wrong tree in aligning the beauty issue
on one side of the process-data continuum. While there are manifold examples
of data-intensive beauty, I see nothing to suggest that process-intensive
beauty is obviated by those examples. You're right in pointing out that we
have as yet no good working examples of process-intensive beautiful
interactive storytelling. But surely lovemaking provides us with a
magnificent example of process-intensive beauty. And surely you can imagine
an extension of my old Grandpa and Annie example in which Grandpa produces a
beautiful interaction with Annie. This suggests to me that process-intensive
beauty is definitely within our reach.

There can be no doubt that process-intensive beauty is so new, so alien that
we have difficulty understanding it; I can understand a tendency to shy away
from it and revert to more familiar data-intensive approaches. Yet, what
point is there in exploring the well-known? What makes interactive
storytelling so exciting is the difficulty of it. If a flying saucer landed
in your back yard, would you insist on speaking English with the Little
Green Man, or would you not try to learn his language as the more
mind-expanding experience?

Refutatio: the evolution versus revolution argument. Surely it seems more
reasonable to tackle this challenge step by step, to proceed from the more
knowable data to the less knowable process. Yet I suspect that this may be a
case of punctuated equilibrium: a truly revolutionary situation demanding a
revolutionary approach. We are faced with a problem demanding new thinking,
and new thinking does not come by an oozing process; it comes only in a
grand leap, a flash of inspiration. That flash has not yet struck, but I beg
you not to lose faith; if we push ourselves hard enough, someday, one of us
will see the light.