Vonnegut does the reference modes of stories

Via NPR,

All of us, even if we have no knack for science, look at the weather, at our children, at our markets, at the sky, and we see rhythms and patterns that seem to repeat, that give us the ability to predict. …

Do any of us live beyond pattern? …

I don’t think so. Artists may be, oddly, the most pattern-aware. Case in point: The totally unpredictable, one-of-a-kind novelist Kurt Vonnegut … once gave a lecture in which he presented — in graphic form — the basic plots of all the world’s great stories. Every story you’ve ever heard, he said, are reflections of a few, classic story shapes. They are so elementary, he said, he could draw them on an X/Y axis.

Systems thinkers, watch for:

  • one big reference mode diagram
  • quantification without measurement
  • a discrete event, modeled with finite slope