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#5779 - 08/29/00 02:18 AM Stories
Avy Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/23/00
Posts: 724
I read this recently :
"The world is like the impression left by the telling of a story." Yogavashishta.
I immediately felt the opposite made more sense. But then I realized I was thinking from point of view of creating a story. And the sage Yogavashishta was talking about telling of a story. At the risk of tampering with his words, I thought put this way it makes just as much sense :
"A story is the impression left by the passing of a world".
I thought to start a thread to know people's ideas about stories - good stories, bad stories, universality of stories, current trends, and the effect of stories.
My ideas? I don't like the trend in Modern literature where simplicity is thought to spell stupidity and complexity erudition. "Haroun and the sea of stories" was like a breath of fresh air. Or maybe I am just sour that I could not understand Ulysses…



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#5780 - 08/29/00 08:24 AM Re: Stories
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
>"The world is like the impression left by the telling of a story."<
Hi Avy,
This is irresistible to me.
I am rather against turning the sentence on its head, even though we occidentals rather tend to do so.
I suspect the sage meant that when a story is told, each listener gets a different impression, yet these impressions are the closest we can get to the "real" story, i.e. the world. The phrase is an attempt to reconcile the existence of a single "reality" with the impossibility of ever knowing it in its original form: a task most philosophers have tackled in their youth, before getting entangled in the problems of ethics.


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#5781 - 08/29/00 10:54 AM Re: Stories
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Whoa, you two--this is exactly the kind of thing I meant in the post I just finished writing before I saw this one (about history being told from a male point of view).

wsieber, your take on the sage's meaning certainly makes a
lot of sense to me! Thank you. It is very true, no two
people seem to ever see the exact same thing. And the words we use to describe our world change the meaning of what reality is, like some experiments change the outcome just by the fact of being performed. Let me clarify with an example: can I convey the exact sense of the sky if I say it is blue, bleu, or azur? Of course not! No matter the language, it cannot replace reality. We have arbitrarily assigned specific sounds to certain things, but they are only representations, not the thing itself.
When I was a child and hurt myself, it used to surprise me that my mother could not feel the exact pain that I was feeling. Now, that would have been reality!

Re: stories, Avy--
I think all mankind has always loved stories, both as a way to preserve our history and thus ourselves, and as a safe means of escaping from reality, in too many ways to go into here. I'll just add that I love to be taken away into imagination-land.



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#5782 - 08/29/00 11:01 AM Re: Stories
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
>Or maybe I am just sour that I could not understand Ulysses?

try this on for size: your world is like the impression left by the reading of ______.


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#5783 - 08/29/00 12:08 PM Re: Stories
william Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 200
>>"The world is like the impression left by the telling of a story." Yogavashishta.

the world IS like the impression left by a story.
we live in a world of illusions, dreams and uncertain facts. the things we don't know outnumber the things we do. even the things we know are things we think we know. we celebrate going to the moon, as if the moon were far away. yet we still wonder if there's water there.
and what is the moon's meaning? we "know" it's a rock orbiting the earth, but who could ever explain our reaction to its silent light moving "as if it hardly moved at all" (hardy), and lightening the way for lovers to walk home through strange streets.
myths and stories reveal our deepest truths. when you see romeo and juliet, it's not just THEIR story that makes you cry all the way home on the tram. don't you feel it defining your own tragic love affairs? the love affairs you wished you could have had?
we arrogant present-ists enjoy pretending aloofness to these things, but they reverberate like a whale's call in the deep: a truth that echoes through the places we haven't explored, and sounds to us in dreams and moments of extasy.
the "facts" don't help at these times. only stories can help us trace the echoes of our emotions back to those felt by people in former times with the courage to record them.


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#5784 - 08/29/00 02:09 PM Re: Stories
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Thank you, sweet william, for putting into poetry what I
could only hint at. You hit the nail on the head.


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#5785 - 08/30/00 03:55 AM Re: Stories
Avy Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/23/00
Posts: 724
Thanks for the responses. They really made me think -

>it's not just THEIR story that makes you cry all the way home on the tram.
That was the meaning I wanted, when I turned the phrase round. I wasn't negating the words of the sage. I wanted the phrase to mean this: stories are born of emotions and experiences of a world. The world (age/era) passes by leaving behind stories as impressions, for those that come later to say - look they have felt the same way. William, you got that from the original phrase. So it looks like I turned the phrase round only to have it mean the same thing? Weird!

Two (good) books I've read are Joseph Campbell's "A Hero with a thousand faces" and Christopher Vogler's "A Writer's Journey". Both talk of the myth being the universal story of man - the journey of the search for self identity in which ever form - love, justice, happiness…

> I am rather against turning the sentence on its head, even though we occidentals rather tend to do so.
Wsieber - That leaves me out. I am as oriental as the express. [a big smile].



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#5786 - 08/30/00 06:58 AM Re: Stories
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
And isn't the Bible [see Creationism thread] simply a collection of stories embroidered over generations by many retellings?


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#5787 - 08/30/00 11:25 AM Re: Stories
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
> the world IS like the impression left by a story.
we live in a world of illusions, dreams and uncertain facts. the things we don't know outnumber ----

Very well put- the world we each know is made up of our perceptions of "reality."

But I have a problem here. Does this mean that the March hare was right and that we are all creatures of the White King's dream, to vanish when he wakes?

And does it make any difference if that is so?


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#5788 - 08/31/00 08:09 AM Re: Stories
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>we are all creatures of the White King's dream, to vanish when he wakes?

I read a science-fiction novel many years ago that had this same intriguing-yet-distubing theme: The Seed. A super-genius discovered that mankind was an experiment done by
some unknown, presumably alien, beings. The author
(whom I can't recall) likened us, with all of our history, to bacteria in a petri dish.

>>And does it make any difference if that is so? God knows.






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#5789 - 08/31/00 09:12 AM Re: Stories
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is also predicated on the premise that the earth was an elaborate computer that was being used to compute a more meaningful answer than "42," to the Q, "What's the meaning of life, the universe and all that".

Does it make any difference? I think this would call for some extensive sociological surveys among bacteria in petri dishes. How do you feel about take this on as a research topic, if we can arrange European Social Fund grants, Jackie?


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#5790 - 08/31/00 10:29 AM Re: the White King
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
>But I have a problem here. Does this mean that the March Hare was right and that we are all creatures of the White King's dream, to vanish when he wakes?
Not unlike existentialist philosophy or Calvinist determinism. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

And does it make any difference if that is so?
Not to me. I just keep doing. ...(BTW, your moniker is hilarious)


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#5791 - 08/31/00 10:56 AM Re: the White King
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
> You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
> And does it make any difference if that is so?
Not to me. I just keep doing

So you're damned if you will?

(Moniker is partly because I live in Rhubarb City )




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#5792 - 08/31/00 02:28 PM Re: Stories
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is also predicated on the premise that the earth was an elaborate computer that was being used to compute a more meaningful answer than "42," to the Q, "What's the meaning of life, the universe and all that".

Finally, a subject I know something about! The Earth was not built to compute a more meaningful answer than "42," it was built to determine the question to which the answer was 42. Here are some relevant excerpts:
"Alright," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question

"Of Life, the Universe and Everything ..." said Deep Thought.

"Is ..." said Deep Thought, and paused.
"42."

"I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that
quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite
honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the
question is."

"But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Life,
the Universe and Everything!" howled Loonquawl.

"Yes," said Deep Thought with the air of one who suffers fools
gladly, "but what actually is it?"
"I speak of none other than the computer that is to come after
me," intoned Deep Thought, his voice regaining its accustomed
declamatory tones. "A computer whose merest operational
parameters I am not worthy to calculate - and yet I will design
it for you. A computer which can calculate the Question to the
Ultimate Answer, a computer of such infinite and subtle
complexity that organic life itself shall form part of its
operational matrix. And you yourselves shall take on new forms
and go down into the computer to navigate its ten-million-year
program! Yes! I shall design this computer for you. And I shall
name it also unto you. And it shall be called ... The Earth."

Sorry, but HHGTTG is one of my favourite works of fiction. Please forgive me for indulging my passion.


"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of humanity" - Albert Einstein

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#5793 - 08/31/00 03:35 PM Re: Stories
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
>Sorry, but HHGTTG is one of my favourite works of fiction. Please forgive me for indulging my passion.

hehehe... sorry to tell you this, but you'll find several other Douglas Adams references among fellow fans here (couldn't resist... all in good fun)


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#5794 - 08/31/00 05:23 PM Re: Stories
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
hehehe... sorry to tell you this, but you'll find several other Douglas Adams references among fellow fans here (couldn't resist... all in good fun)

I would have expected nothing less from such literate yobs! For once, I am not apologising for rehashing old threads. The apology was proffered in connection with the length of the post, not its content, for which I would not apologise. I guess I was also apologising for having the temerity to correct someone, which is not something I am wont to do.

"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of humanity" - Albert Einstein

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#5795 - 09/01/00 11:09 AM Re: Stories
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
>Sorry, but HHGTTG is one of my favourite works of fiction. Please forgive me for indulging my passion

Not at all, Max - you are quite correct, of course - it is a while since I read it, and my daughter has "borrowed" my copy, so I couldn't check. Anyone who cites HHGTG as a favourite book has to be a good and honest citizen, worthy of the respect of all.
The main thrust of my argument is not totally destroyed, I believe - although misquoting a source does tend to lose you marks.


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