Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Story Behind the Story

So again, I have been thinking recently. About a lot of things, but mostly branching off from my last post and Karina's rebuttal (Tale As Old As Time). If you haven't had a chance to read our discussion, you should. It's interesting and makes you think. Why wouldn't you want to do that?


Anyways, going along with the dangers of Romanticism. It's true that it can distort your view of the world, IF you let it. As Karina said, "you can find whatever you are looking for in a good book." Literature is so dependent on what the reader brings to the book. Someone who doesn't read a lot or is exposed to a wide variety of learning won't make all the connections that someone else will. I guess this is what it means to be literate. This does not mean that you can read. Being literate is so much more complex than just knowing what the words on the page mean. It means knowing the backstory, the references and allusions that would take a lifetime to explain. Being literate means that you can carry on a conversation with anyone in any major regardless of your interest or expertise. This means that you know things and are willing to learn more. And literate people are the best people to be friends with and talk to because the breadth and depth of your conversation is so much greater than anything else in the world.

However, even if you feel Romanticism has ruined life as you know it and there are no real happy endings anywhere, then you need to look again. All stories have underlying values and meanings. Regardless of what happens on the surface, if you can get to the center of the story then that is the lesson that needs to be learned. An example of this is folklore. I went to a lecture about Hugh Nibley and folklore. Most people tend to group folktales, myths, legends and fairytales all under the same umbrella of untruthfulness (with varying degrees). The lecturer had a different way of looking at it though.

Every person is unique and every story is the same way. Even though everything is unique and separate, it is held together by a common center. Call it universal truths or what you will. But these stories always tell the truth. "Just because something didn't happen doesn't mean it isn't true." ~Leonard Arrington Stories always provide a faithful representation of what the teller believed happened and these stories are a mirror of the cultural value sphere that the listeners live in.

So in that sense, all the stories are true. And if you were to find the central truth, the thing which each story is trying to convey, than you would find a happy ending of your own creation. I believe that everything that is good, beautiful and true comes from my Heavenly Father. So when I find truth in the little things around me (even in my fairytales) I can take that truth, incorporate it in my life and in the end come out a better person than I was before.

Which, I think, is the general purpose of this life.


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