Eckhart Tolle would not like Dramatica

Okay, I have no idea if that’s true, but let’s talk about living in the NOW.

In life, the conversation is usually something like this:

“Your problem is too many expectations, you should have no expectations. Just live in the now.”

Fine and good, but we all know that the answer to expectations is determination, so how do we translate life into dramatica?

Problem: I’m determined to have everything go just the way I foresee it
Solution: No Expectations

Problem: I keep getting let down by all these expectations!
Solution: I’m determined to live in the now

Only half of either of these feels right to me.

Feels right to you? Or is what you see happen in the world? I’m guessing it’s a matter of phrasing…

Problem: Expectation do nothing but leave you disappointed
Solution: I am determined to never be disappointed, therefore I have no expectations.

If this is true, that means Dramatica (or this particular idea) comes down to semantic games, and I know that semantic games are not how stories work.

I’m going to throw another attempt up for good measure:

Problem: confusing expectations with what will really happen leads to disappointment
Solution: determining what really makes you happy allows you to focus on them

(This time, I read the dictionary)

I’m probably not understanding the point of this thread, but from what I remember of Eckhart Tolle I would put that kind of thinking in the “contemplative” bottom right elements. Especially because The Present is what it’s all about.

How about translating this to:
Problem: trying to make too much out of life, trying to build it up into something it’s not (Production)
Solution: stop worrying about everything else and just reduce all of life down to the one single moment that you’re in (Reduction)


I love this take on it. (This thread has nothing specifically to do with Tolle, only living in the now.)

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This is an interesting observation.

It seems like a large portion of stories with a Problem of Expectation are about the problems that come with living up to other people’s expectations (Dead Poet Society, Spiderverse, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Devil Wear’s Prada, Romeo and Juliet) and/or problems that come because of assumptions one makes about what other people will do (Romeo and Juliet again, Wild Wild Country).

The first thing I would ask you what relationship do you believe exists between “having expectations” and “living in the Now”? If Eckhart Tolle decided he had to go to bed early, because he had the expectation of having an early business meeting the next day, would that mean that Eckhart Tolle had lost his “enlightenment”?
In truth, everybody lives in the Now because it’s the only thing that exists. The problem, however, is that mentally, most of humanity is habitually identified with thought-forms, many of which are conceptualizations of “future” or “past”, but these though-forms, of course, can only occur Now because as I just asserted nothing else exists. The identification of one’s self with these thought-forms is a form of unconsciousness. So the problem isn’t that we all aren’t all already living in the Now, but that most of humanity has only a low level of consciousness while doing so. This relative state of unconsciousness creates suffering. We could even call it a “sin“ in the sense that living in such a state of unconsciousness is to miss the mark of human being.
The solution for the person who is determined to have everything go just their way, isn’t with their expectations but with their identification with a constructed pattern of thought-forms in which that person is identified. So the solution isn’t being determined to live in the now (since they already do), but again, to recognize the that dreaming about the future or dwelling on the past they’re identified with a thought-form.
As for the other part, I would say that Dramatica theory is a wonderful model for how the mind produces Samara, and if Eckhart Tolle cared to learn about theory then I don’t see why he wouldn’t come to agree with that. Everything in the storymind, for example, is happening in the Now as a manifestation of Dark-Enigma birthing ten-thousand inequities, to conflate Taoist and Dramatica terminology :slightly_smiling_face:

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  1. “Stop having expectations” may just be another way of saying “make a determination not to have expectations”.

  2. “Stop having expectations” may only be half of a solution to a problem of expectations. “Stop having expectations, but also start making determinations”.

3A. Changing from an abundance of expectation to a lack of expectation might be missing the point/solving the wrong problem/not actually a solution.

3B. Suggesting a change from abundance of expectations to a lack of expectations isn’t a structural change, but seems like it probably is a dynamic change. While it’s not a structural solution, it may be that a dynamic shift (a change in perspective, or a change in goal) is a solution of sorts in that it throws the balance of the original problem off. By changing the dynamics around expectations, you move the irritation to a new place that might be easier to deal with and no longer experience conflict from the original irritation. In short, it may jist

  1. I had one more but forgot what this point was before I could get through 3b. Leaving this here as a placeholder in case it comes to me again. Something about the dynamics between problems and solutions, or focus and directions, or…:man_shrugging:
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Hey Mike,

I wanted to explore this statement a little further. It’s been bothering me all week.

Semantics as I want to discuss it here means: The meaning or the interpretation of a word, sentence, or other language form:

I’m going to use the word honorable. And the move Battle for Terra (just cuz it’s fresh in my mind from watching it last night)

Honorable to one faction meant saving the human race at any cost - even genocide of another race.
Honorable to another faction meant being worthy of survival by not committing genocide, even it it meant the extinction of the human race.

Those are entirely different interpretations of what it means to be honorable. That interpretation is semantics. Indeed, I would say that conflict is based on different interpretations making semantics integral to storytelling.

Anyway, just my thoughts on this.

I’m with you that “stop having expectations” feels like the halfway point. When I clicked into “determine what actually makes you happy” felt MUCH better.

As for 3B, I think this change in perspective probably means that “expectations” isn’t the problem element, and might be more like what @mlucas said – it’s a shift from Production to Reduction.

I agree with everything you are saying. I was aiming for something else.

What I meant was… let’s take Pursuit. We know the solution to that is Avoid. What it isn’t is another form of Pursuit that I can twist up and describe using the word Avoid.

Lets say you want the solution to “I am being pursued by a ghost” to be “Pursue the cursed amulet” (which don’t work in Dramatica). It still wouldn’t work if you wrote it: “Avoid using anything but the cursed amulet.”

That’s what I meant.

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Just realized I had both a weird typo and an incomplete sentence at the end of 3b. That should have said something to the effect that the kind of change being discussed was basically trading out one problem for another. So yeah, I think you agreed with me and I with you.

And yeah, if we can’t typically see the problem, then expectations probably wasn’t the problem. Expectations might be the focus rather than problem. Or it might even just be the storytelling for a problem. As in “I keep getting let down by my expectations because I keep trusting my expectations, or because I keep Trusting other to live up to them. My solution to this problem is to stop having expectations, by which I mean I need to Test others before setting a standard for them.”

This could be a Focus and a Solution.

Or it could be a steadfast character that grows from being pursued to pursuing. That’s not a dramatica solution because it’s not Avoid, but if it lessens conflict, it would be a solution in the real world. That doesnt really feel like the best way to make that work, but maybe a 2 hour screenplay could give it the right context.

I kinda think that “too much expectations to too little expectations is Steadfast” might have been where my 4 was going. Not really sure. But that still bothers me.

It bothers you that you blanked on what 4 was?

yep. Some people are obsessed with the number 23. I’m now obsessed with seeing things in fours. Wonder why that is???

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Concerns and Goal share the same element. A Concern of too much Progress may have a Goal of less Progress. Or a Concern of too much Being might have a Goal of less Being. So when someone says “I have too much expectations” and someone else says “you need less expectations” maybe they’re talking about methodologies (Concerns and Goals) rather than motivations (Problems and Solutions).

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If someone says, “You spend too much time trying to live up to promises you made yourself years ago. You need to learn to let go of that and live in the NOW” – is that too much Past, or too little Present?

Or, if it’s a problem of How Things Are Going (not the way I expected), maybe it’s easier to see if we put it in the MC throughline, contrasted with an IC who seems to always be acting spontaneously …

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Assuming it is Past, maybe …

Is a Concern of too much Past while

Would be a Goal of less Past and

Would be a benchmark of The Present?

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