a) I think I'm alive because I'm in limbo (MC in Universe)
b) I'm in limbo because I think I'm alive (MC in Mind)
Try this thought experiment: if the Dramatica model allowed for two throughlines to be in the same domain, would you still be absolutely convinced that the MC for Sixth Sense was in Fixed attitude (Mind)?
If your answer to that question is yes, keep in mind that people were equally absolutely sure about Sixth Sense when the MC was in Situation (Universe) before.
I would argue that it's at the root of these conversations because it's the thing that's actually real – it's on the screen – which makes it very different from the idea of a theoretical abstract structure underpinning the movie that the interpreter is projecting onto the movie.
I'd also make the argument that the point is not subjective: the IC's role only exists in terms of their influence on the MC. Until that point in the movie (when Cole is in hospital), the external reality of him seeing ghosts has never had an impact on Malcolm – it's always been Cole's belief that he's haunted that's impacted Malcolm.
Again, we can go back and forth on this till the cows come home, with me identifying things happening or being said in the movie and you telling me they're irrelevant to the objective structure because they're happening from the point of view of characters, but that objective structure exists only as a though experiment in the mind of the interpreter if it can't be identified through the things that are actually on the screen and – most importantly – the impact of those elements on the audience.
I'll try to explain it better
No, in this context it's the storyform for which the implied choices (which is a somewhat dubious term here – implication by definition requires subjectivity for interpretation) more accurately portray the source of conflict in the story within the bounds set by the current version of Dramatica.
That conviction that there must always be all four domains uniquely represented across throughlines means you're automatically excluding explanations in which, for example, both the IC and MC are in situation. I'm not saying they should be, or that it makes a movie equally good, but simply that it's entirely possible that many if not most finished movies or books don't perfectly conform to any one storyform, and thus that more than one storyform can have a near-equal probability of being the foundation, engine, or whatever other metaphor we might choose, for creating that finished product.
At which point what happened? You went to Chris, presented the new storyform, and once he agreed, it became canon. That's the definition of there being a single authority (nothing against Chris here – I'd happily pick him as a sole authority for many things). An objective fact is not dependent on any ultimate human arbitrator but rather on the empirical replicability of that experiment. I'll say it again, and a thousand times more if needs be: it's whether multiple trained people consistently and independently arrive at the same measurement.
A group coming together to revisit and then redefine the single true objective storyform for a movie isn't an objective process – it's a conclave. It's how they elect popes and change church doctrine. It's a response to changes in interpretation, but not the interpretive act itself. That's the thing I'm getting at here: the interpretive process for arriving at a storyform using Dramatica as the microscope, and whether people trained to use that microscope will consistently see the same thing independently.
We're talking about the difference between philosophical reasoning and empirical measurement. The former is about identifying possibilities that make logical sense, the latter about measuring external reality. When you assert that there's a single absolute objective storyform to be found in each finished movie, you need to demonstrate that empirically, not through argumentation. In other words, you start with the hypothesis: "We surmise that every film or book containing a complete story is based on a single, objective storyform that conforms to the Dramatica model." You then devise the experiment that would confirm or deny the hypothesis.
My hypothesis is that there are multiple Dramatica storyforms that can account for a finished film or book. The basis of this is in the way that when multiple users discuss a particular movie on the forums, they generally come up with differing storyforms. That's in no way conclusive, but it does provide a reason to question the idea of there being a single objective storyform.