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June 19th. Suspense

Get off the Sofa, says the Owner.

You always say that, I say.

And you never Get Off, says the Owner.

Then why do you Keep Asking? I ask.

Because I hope that you will Learn from your Mistakes, says the Owner. Just because you got it right Yesterday, does not mean you will not Get it Right Today.

I cannot get off, I say. I am Hiding Under the Cushion.

Why? Asks the Owner.

I cannot look, I say.

Yes, you can. says the Owner.

I am too terrified to look, I say.

You have Seen It Before, says the Owner.

It does not matter, I say.

The Moral Dog must know that Mr Disney would not have made a Family Film about a Hundred and One Spotted Dogs if they were turned into a Coat, says the Owner.

Mr Disney may have been Having a Bad Day, I say. Perhaps a Spotty Dog had weed on his Foot and he was Seeking Revenge, I say. I cannot Bear the Suspense, I say.

What suspense? Asks the Owner.

The One at the Back always Gets Eaten, I say. Look what happened to Samuel L Jackson in Deep Blue Sea, I say. Look what happened to the Dog in War of the Worlds, I say.

Nevertheless, Suspense requires Uncertainty, says the Owner. How can the Moral Dog be Uncertain when he knows that Pongo and Perdita lived Happily Ever After Yesterday?

Do not Spoil It, I say. I am Not Listening, I say. Lalalalala, I say.

You are making no Sense, says the Owner. I thought you were too terrified to watch.

I can Look through my Paws, I say. Nothing is quite so Frightening when Viewed through the Paws, I say. I am afraid that she will catch them, I say.

Then do not Watch, says the Owner.

I am even more afraid that if I do not watch she will catch them, I say.

You know she does not, says the Owner.

Lalalalala, I say. Do not spoil the Suspense, I say.

The Moral Dog appears to be caught in a Paradox of Suspense, says the Owner. It is a Philosophical Puzzle. Suspense is a state of Uncertainty. In a Film this involves Uncertainty regarding unpleasant outcomes, usually for a character for whom one has Sympathy.

Imagine, then, how magnified it is when one feels Sympathy for One Hundred and One Characters, I say. No wonder the Moral Dog is Scared, I say.

You have missed the Paradox, says the Owner, which is that if Suspense requires Uncertainty, how can a Moral Dog who knows the Ending still feel Suspense?

A Woman with Black and White Hair is Chasing a Hundred and One Spotty Dogs and you can ask a Question like that? I say. Have you Even got a Heart? I say.

Perhaps, says the Owner, True Uncertainty is not necessary for Suspense. The Theory of Imagined Uncertainty suggests that Engagement with the Story produces Imagined Uncertainty, which feels the Same.

I am not Imagining Anything, I say. The Situation is Terrifying, I say. There is Nothing We can Do About it, I say.

You are referring to Desire-Frustration Theory, says the Owner, which holds that Suspense does not actually require Uncertainty, just the Frustrated Desire to Intervene.

You Must be Joking, I say. Even Superdog would Hesitate to Get in the Way of That Woman, I say. I do not want to End up Part of her Coat, I say. You may have noticed that I am also a Spotty Dog, I say. For a Moment I fear I have Said Too Much, but the Owner appears Not to Notice.

You will not end up as a Coat, says the Owner. You are here with me. Or almost with me, given that you are under the Cushion.

That is what They Want Me to Think, I say. My experience may not be real, I say. I cannot Trust my Memory, I say. I may simply be a Brain in a Vat, I say. 

Then you would not make a Very Good Coat, says the Owner. But interestingly, the Forgetting explanation says that the Moral Dog simply Casts Aside his Trust in Memory when seeing the Film again. Evolution has possibly Programmed Us not to Trust in Memories of Safety if we actively Perceive Risk. We therefore leave our Trust at the Cinema Door.

Perhaps I left mine in the Vat, I say. Perhaps she will come and Get me Out, I say. I will be like the Pudgy One at the Back, I say. Unable to Escape, I say.

Ah, says the Owner, you are demonstrating Emotional Misidentification. This accounts for the Paradox of Suspense by suggesting that the Moral Dog has Forgotten who he is, instead identifying with One of the Characters.

If I was one of the characters I would not be the Pudgy One, I say. I have been Working on My Core, I say. None of your explanations make sense, I say.

Why not? Says the Owner.

Well, I say, you are suggesting that the Film is Scary because I am imagining it, because want to be In It, because I have Forgotten what Happened yesterday or because I think I am the Pudgy One at the Back. The Clever Philosophers have missed the Obvious Explanation.

What is that? Asks the Owner.

The Film is Terrifying because Cruella de Ville also Remembers Yesterday, I say. She will have Learned from Her Mistakes, I say. Just because she did not Win Yesterday that does not mean she will not Win Today. There is Every Possibility that she will Get it Right Eventually.

I think you may have the Wrong Idea about Mr Disney’s Films, says the Owner. Mr Disney only made One Version of the Film. This is it.

Lalalalala, I say.






Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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