My group is responsible for the counterargument of Brian Boyd’s text On the Origin of Stories.  This book is an evolutionary look at how stories, particularly art itself has unfolded and shaped the world we live in today.  Although I only read Part 2, the other sections were skimmed to ensure that I was not contradicting myself by thinking certain things about Boyd’s writing only to realize he explains it further in another part.  However, even with this technique, there were moments where confusing and frustration set in because of the lack of linear flow; even with the understanding that everything cannot happen this way.

Many of the thoughts that the author provided seemed to be borrowed from theories that had come before (cultural, behaviorial, and many others).  My understanding is that we should be doing this in order to become proficient thinkers and writers, but ultimately only a shell of a new idea was created by Boyd.  He talks of evolutionary art that influences human behavior, teaches our mind, and enlightens the world to culture, but we never see the full idea come to fruition (what exactly is evolutionary).  There is a chance that I missed the boat on this one, but he always seemed so close to the point, yet never really drove it home.  It reminds me of a piece of music that never resolves itself.     His ideas are there and when I first read the introduction things were looking up that this would be a great read with lots of new concepts that challenged my previous understandings of the world.

The book did provide many concepts that had me thinking if I truly wanted to commit myself into believing them.  However, in the end, about 90% of the book could be rationalized with a previous theory or could be contradicted with examples.  My feelings on the book are mixed in that I understand where the author wanted to go, but became disappointed when I did not see him take it all the way.

Advertisements