Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Thesis - Antithesis-Synthesis

In my recent course on Advanced Storytelling at East Tennessee State University, we discussed a variety of ways to organize story programs. One such way, is to use Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis as a schema for a storied discourse. [This dialectic is often mis-attributed to the philosopher, Hegel, and seems to trace back at least to Kant.]

One of our storytellers, who works in a corporate setting, sent me the following query:

"What appeals to me about this one is that it seems to exemplify one of the critical skills of collaboration - that of reconciling (synthesizing) two seemingly contradictory positions (thesis and antithesis, of course).

I've got a business workshop concerning Adaptive Skills coming up in a few weeks, and I've been asked to talk about "The Power of Storytelling".  I was thinking of launching into a T-A-S story as an illustration of the kind of behavior we're looking to encourage.

So – I was wondering if you can direct me to any stories (or collections!) that have this sort of organization?"

In answer to this request, I suggest that you consider any story as being maleable enough to serve a storyteller in any way he/she wishes.
To paraphrase Humpety Dumpety:
"When I tell a story it means exactly what I want it to mean, neither more nor less."

So, take a fable and turn it into an exercise for Thesis-Anthesis-Synthesis. Here is an example:

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