There was a fabulous toy store I used to frequent in Woodstock. One or twice I picked up a Sigmund Freud doll. I love funky dolls and this one was pretty cool, but I didn’t resonate enough with its subject to pull out my checkbook. This morning on a silly whim, I googled “Milton Erickson doll.” The father of modern hypnosis, now that’s a guy I can relate to!
So, what comes up? No doll. A bunch of photos of the eminent man, a swinging pocketwatch, and this photo of two 50’s sitcom stars. A Wolf persona and Catwoman. Seemed more Freudian than Ericksonian, but it made me smile anyway, which met my need for fun. The goal was of no particular importance, except as a means to explore and enjoy the world of amusing images and ideas.
In screenwriting, the protagonist has a goal of which he is very much aware. He also has a need, about which he is clueless, but which the audience sees clearly. ET’s Elliot needs to develop empathy, for instance. In a story, the goal may or may not be important and may or may not be achieved. But the need, for audience sataisfaction, and to satisfy our need for meaningful myth, must be met.
Personally, I like those stories in which the protagonist achieves his goal AND meets his needa nd that’s what I like to facilitate. For really lasting positive change, this must happen. The two are inextricably intertwined. If I had a talking Carl Jung Doll and pulled his little cord, he’d say about this, much as he said in his famous letter to Bill W. that to accomplish the much desired goal, one must “walk a path that leads to higher undertanding.” It’s one of my favorite paradoxes that that inner peace happens to be a by-product a lasting goal acheivement!