First, although I'm moving onto what might be a new topic (my copy of Therefore Choose is still on the way, so I can't be quite sure how much of a shift away from Therefore Choose this new topic is), I could not bear to remove the compelling cover, so am maintaining it as the top image for a few days yet, with a link here to the post on the occasion of the release of Keith Oatley's new novel.
In the meantime (while I await delivery), I'm still mulling over some comments made on my recent posts on sublimation regarding tensions between enjoyment of -- and desire for -- unmediated-seeming experiences, on one hand, and, on the other, the enjoyable complexity of thinking about and focusing on mediation itself. Up for discussion in the original conversation was the erotic, and the attractiveness of experiences that seem direct and straightforward, and that offer a sense of being there without having to think too much about how that experience gets formed, or made. (I acknowledge here that my thinking about mediation has been influenced considerably by Kanishka Goonewardena and Thomas de Zengotita, even if neither of them has been preoccupied by this fiction-oriented context.)
On one hand, fiction is highly sought after for precisely the clarity of its immersive experience: we lose ourselves in stories, and often judge them by the capacity they offer for this immersion. On the other hand, we also relish language for its richness, something that may support our experience of stories at the same time it draws attention to the textual character of a text. It's easy to say that perhaps there's a sweet spot of balance between the desire for beautiful text and the desire for encompassing story -- but I suspect that rather than some predictable balance, what we would find instead would be a range of different profiles of preference. An indicator for such profiles might be something such as how much a viewer was bothered by or enjoyed the violation of the 'fourth wall' in the film Magnolia -- a move that disrupts the realism of the film and demands that the viewer consider what is being constructed and not merely enjoy or believe in the narrative as it unfolds.
Recognizing that affection for complexity is a matter of both taste and capacity, I close this reflection on mediation with an additional recognition that I find helpful, if prosaic: the ways one encounters mediation (exploratorily, impatiently, delusionally, etc.) have a lot to do with the demands of the situation. Simple, direct ideas may leave more space for thinking, which in some cases is crucial or at least desirable. But it might be possible to categorize the desire to experience texts 'directly' or in an 'immediate' way as demanding. In contrast, complex layered ideas that demand consideration of their provenance, intent, and the conventions and tactics of storytelling at play in a given story may construct rich interactive affordances that reward a more generous approach, one that may require more bandwidth for reading (and particular features of personality?), but that has its own rewards.