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#5779 - 08/29/00 06:18 AM Stories  
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Avy Offline
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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…



#5780 - 08/29/00 12:24 PM Re: Stories  
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>"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.


#5781 - 08/29/00 02:54 PM Re: Stories  
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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.



#5782 - 08/29/00 03:01 PM Re: Stories  
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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 ______.


#5783 - 08/29/00 04:08 PM Re: Stories  
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>>"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.


#5784 - 08/29/00 06:09 PM Re: Stories  
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Thank you, sweet william, for putting into poetry what I
could only hint at. You hit the nail on the head.


#5785 - 08/30/00 07:55 AM Re: Stories  
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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].



#5786 - 08/30/00 10:58 AM Re: Stories  
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And isn't the Bible [see Creationism thread] simply a collection of stories embroidered over generations by many retellings?


#5787 - 08/30/00 03:25 PM Re: Stories  
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> 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?


#5788 - 08/31/00 12:09 PM Re: Stories  
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>>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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