I thought we were talking about how Flash Fiction works?
In flash fiction, the soil is the brain of the reader and the associations held in it, and just as the farmers’ in the 1390s needed to know about the conditions of the soil to get their crops growing, a writer of flash fiction needs to understand the brain into which their work is going. To begin, it is necessary to understand how the brain is when life begins.
However obvious it might be to anyone that they do have a brain; the native state of it is still a somewhat unanswered question for the field of psychology. There are however, two major yet completely opposite camps to use as departure points – it is empty when we start or it comes preloaded with inherited knowledge/memories. Empty is clear enough, there is nothing there and a person simply acquires information via their senses through stimulus from, at first, elements of their environment and then later also through exercising cognitive reasoning with previously attained knowledge to create new understandings of themselves and/or their surroundings. This theory of the brain is commonly known as tabula rasa and has been in existence at least since the writings of Aristotle in 4 BC (Aristotle, 1936). The other theory, perhaps most popularized by Karl Jung, is not as easily defined, as there are a variety of theories pertaining to both the suspected content and the commonality of the preloaded knowledge or memories within each individual. In the case of Jung, he believed a person has access to a collective unconscious within which there exist archetypes or ideas, which assist a person to shape, their beliefs towards and understanding of, the reality they inhabit (Cherry, n.d.). Taking this or any of the other prominent theories currently in season in the field of psychology related to the native state of the brain, there is one premise constant among them all – some amount of knowledge is inherent and is not learned but rather discovered by the individual. So there it stands, empty, ready and waiting or influenced by one or more eternal notions but ready to get more nonetheless.
Here though it does not matter; the amount or content of any pre-existing knowledge does not impact on how flash fiction works, just as it does not matter if there is something there or nothing there when someone is born. What is fundamental is that regardless of what any theory states concerning the native contents; all theories agree that new information is acquired through time. Furthermore, these theories all suppose that this new information does not rest in a state of isolation – it mixes with what is already inside the individual to create a new knowledge base. This means new knowledge connects to old knowledge, which existed before it and through this process becomes more than a single, isolated piece of data; it becomes associated.
Aristotle, On the Soul (De Anima), W. S. Hett (trans.), pp. 1–203 in Aristotle,Volume 8, Loeb Classical Library, William Heinemann, London, UK, 1936
Cherry, K. (n.d.). Archetypes: Jung’s Archetypes. Retrieved from http://psychology.about. com/od/personality development/tp/archetypes.htm