This is a distinction about stories.

Stories are multidimensional creatures. I wouldn’t dream of trying to pin them down.

That said: We can still talk about them.

Some stories are what I’ll call: “relevant.”

“Relevant” as in the sense of: “Relevant to the discussion at hand.”

What discussion? Well, that depends.

It has to do with TheTimes?:

Whether people are talking about the the situation or not, people are holding certain thoughts, certain ideas, in their heads. At the very least, there is a discussion happening, within people’s heads, within themselves.

A story that addresses that discussion is what we call: “relevant.”

Some properties of a relevant story:

I won’t pretend to have clarity on what the word “meaning” means. If someone has it, and can tell it, I welcome the explanation. I am operating purely by intuition in this matter.


I have far more questions than answers. The idea of a “relevant story” invokes deep thinking.

These are deep questions, but we may actually be able to find some sensible answers to them. By “sensible answers,” I mean: “Answers that we could entertain and sustain with some DefeasibleReasoning?.” I don’t mean iron clad bulletproof answers, impervious to argument.

Sensible answers can inform aesthetic, life decisions, choice of stories, and our sense of who we are; Our identity.

Seeing Backwards

A relevant story can be known by looking backwards. “Does this story no longer make any sense?” If the story doesn’t make sense any more; When you can’t tell “why would somebody tell a story like this?”, that’s a sign that the story was relevant.

That said: A story that invokes TheEternal? may well be perpetually relevant.


Further, some stories become Simulacrum: They take on a life of their own, independent the original situation that gave them life.

Suppose that the Lord of the Rings were once some unique commentary on that particular time. (I’m not saying it was, and personally believe that it wasn’t. But let’s just suppose that it was.) However, today, it does not mean that. Instead, today, it means itself. It is about it’s own world, and people love it for reasons of it’s own appeal. This would make it a “Simulacrum.” It no longer refers to events around the story; It exists purely as it’s own thing.

Some Relevant Stories

(contributed by LionKimbro: )


Some people argue: “It’s a movie, dammit. It’s just entertainment.

This is a very naive view of the world, and it’s a very naive view of why a story is interesting, or captures somebody’s interest.

Most things that are interesting are interesting for a reason.

People prefer one story to another story. “Why?” What is the meat there? What is the substance? There is a reason. The question is whether it is “meaningful” or not.

I’ve met people who have expressed betrayal, or what appears to be horror, at the idea that there are substantial ideas, expressed in their media. “No! No! No!” “You don’t get it. I watch these things to get away from it all!

What are we to make of this? Especially when the story of interest undoubtedly contains meaningful expressions. One possibility is that the person is censoring the meaningful expressions from their mind. Another posibility is that part of the big value of stories, is that they allow us to think things through in a way that is intimate, comfortable, and largely unconscious. (But unconsciously assented to.)

I doubt the claim (preferred by the invokers of TheEntertainmentDefence) that the story is censored. I say this because I see the people’s values and choices, and I see that those values and choices are reflected in the story they chose to watch. I don’t believe they are brainwashed, (though it’s entirely plausible that the relationship is two-way,) rather, I think that the story develops their thinking along premises that they already have some agreement with.

Stories may represent an unconscious processing.

See Also


I have a ton more to add; it’s just more “ranty,” less organized, and it’s not pastable yet… I had written a lot more about the “cylically relevant.”

I’m not entirely sure yet why I’m writing this page; it’s just something that has been on my mind a lot: I have discovered that I have dramatically decreased tolerance for all things irrelevant. Things that used to interest me, I can hardly care for, now. “Yes, but what’s the point,” I find myself asking myself. But something that I can connect up with present day realities strike me like a lightening bolt.

Many anime and games that I used to love now strike me as boring: They hold no relevance. Is this “growing up,” and a rejection of the mediums? Is it all print for me now, baby?

No, of course not. Let’s not get silly. Print stories that are irrelevant are worse than irrelevant comic stories.

No, what happens now is that I just read / watch / play only what I consider to be relevant.

WarrenEllis?, (who writes relevant stories,) wrote a quote that has stuck with me: “Make. Me. Feel.”

Define external redirect: DeepTime CoryDoctorow DefeasibleReasoning TheEternal TheTimes WarrenEllis BuildingIdentity