In a recent post (What’s it all about?) I spoke about frameworks (monads) and even named a few such as loved/unloved, dependent/independent, supported/supporter, and so on. One that has been made famous through its literary rendition is the love/hate story. You have two large groups feuding or angry with each other, a feud or hatred that has continued for decades. However, in the midst of all this, a member from each of the feuding factions meets and falls in love with each other. They defy their families to be together and it all ends tragically. Yes, I’m referring to the story of Romeo and Juliet. But Romeo and Juliet is a no-win version of the story.
There are other versions, such as West Side Story…at least in that one, only one of the lovers dies. In the movie, Angel on my Shoulder, there is a similar scenario, but in this one the lovers simply continue to meet secretly until well into their middle years when they are discovered by the new pastor. He defies the feuding families and marries the couple. Bittersweet pathos instead of all out tragedy.
James Cameron’s Titanic is another good example of a framework in action. In this instance it highlights the rescued/rescuer monad. In Titanic, the male lead not only physically rescues the girl, but also rescues her mentally and emotionally. I find this movie an especially good example of this monad, since most of these types of frameworks take a complete lifetime to fulfill, but by putting it in the context of this disaster, it speeds the monad up and makes it that much easier to spot (but without comprising the movie in any way). If anything, in this particular instance, the monad actually adds to the movie’s realism and tension.
Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman back in 1978, went through the supported/supporter monad. He got thrown by a horse and so became incapacitated and required support. He could have given up, and his wife could have left the other half of the monad (the role of supporter) for someone else to complete, but they didn’t. She could have given him just physical support and left him emotionally starved, but she didn’t. There were a lot of choices that both of them could have made. But he chose to be supported and she chose to support him, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In the Harry Potter books, Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter are actually fulfilling the father/son monad. Now, Dumbledore isn’t Harry’s father, and Harry’s not Dumbledore’s son, but they have created that framework around their relationship and that is how they are relating to one another.
The relationship monads (parent/child, brother/sister, sister/sister, brother/brother) do not require that you actually be part of the same family. It simply means that you each fulfill the emotional and mental equivalent of that familial role. So, while you might have a sister by blood, you may feel more sisterly toward your best friend, a co-worker, or your sister-in-law.
I use examples of movies, books, and biographies to highlight and speak to this information, because for most people it’s the easiest way to see and understand the concept I am referring to. Just as most plots (movie or book) are a framework, so is life surrounded by a framework. Most of us may not be able to see it, but that’s okay, because if you can see it in your own life, then you’re not immersed in the drama of your life. It would be as if you had suddenly awoken from a dream (Your Life) and now saw only sets and actors instead of “reality”.
Frameworks or monads are a two-person outline of a scenario that we (the players) want to participate in during our lifetimes. The number and type of frameworks is astonishingly huge, but they are only frameworks. The freedom to select how you will react and the choices you will make are all yours. It’s like being an actor with only the outline of a script: person 1 falls in love with person 2. Person 2 does not share this feeling for person 1. (unrequited love). That’s it, the rest of the action is up to the two players. Person 1 can moon around and never really make anything of their life; Person 2 can tell off person 1; Person 1 can stalk person 2 killing everyone that gets near person 2; person 2 can suddenly decide that they do love person 1; etc. The variations are endless.
So try to see the frameworks that comprise the story in which your favorite movie characters are acting, or that surround the characters in your favorite stories. Once you start to recognize those, it becomes easier to start recognizing the frameworks in day-to-day life, too.