Great writing about the significance of story and the (incorrect) belief in academic circles that the argument is the most sophisticated of all genres.
Narrative and voice are somehow misperceived as non-academic. Somehow argument and non-fiction narrative are often misperceived as academic. And academic is often considered "objective" and, as a result, sounds voiceless.
What I didn't say about They Say, I Say's power (beyond their scaffolding and examples) is that once you're personally responding to a person (Them), even in the frequently deadly argument (and dreaded voiceless research paper), the writing can become alive and a conversation among people, not just a dry monologue with "objective examples."
As I read Consilience this week for homework for this class, I am struck by the nuances in scientific voices. We imagine that a scientist doing an experiment logically set out hypotheses, took clear and deliberate steps, and came to a clear and logical conclusion. When I read science, Wilson, Feynman, and even the Ascent of Man, I am struck by the trial-and-error, the intuitiveness, the illogical moment of truth when the scientist is NOT thinking about his hypotheses. Art and Science have grown hand in hand through our history, yet we've given the arts emotion and taken emotion from science. When I read Carl Sagan as he described the universe, his awe is so delightful because I imagine he tries to surpress his emotion since I imagine he's a controlled, unemotional scientist.
We have divided our world's complex and overlapping reality into humanities and the sciences in our division of the (academic) world into sometimes warring "disciplines."
We know from all the recent brain research that our emotions HELP us to make decisions and that objectivity for people is impossible. And that's wonderful.
It's our stereotypical thinking that drag us back in.
I think the MOST complex form of writing is the fictional narrative, the story. Short stories and novels can be far deeper than any esoteric argument. However, the argument has been privileged in the academic world. We take orals, defend our thesis, all using the argument.
We pass on our wisdom with stories. For me, fiction and non-fiction suffer from the oversimplification of definition that calls one false and the other true.
I just read a brain study about how our brains with all the reality coming at them make sense. There's a narrator who tells us a story and "makes sense" of reality even if it's not true. Thus, even those sworn to tell the whole truth have to deal with their own unreliable interior narrator!
At the bottom of these discussions is the possiblity of a transformation, Susan, that will have an impact on writing and reading and literacy and the relationships among the academic disciplines and even (I really hope) our somewhat deadly educational process.
I know this is lengthy. Please forgive me; I'm one of the northeasterners who lost power and (even worse) contact with the world for a few days.