AS THE WORLD CRUMBLES….
I am a writer.
Many people who are not writers read and learn the stories written by others and their relationship with writing ends there.They accept and live the stories someone else wrote. Sometimes losing sight of the writer and story itself but living and breathing the story as their own real life. A writer can not do this. A writer accepts the stories of someone else as what they are; a story someone else has written. But a writer does more. A writer writes their own. A writer takes lessons from those stories and makes their own from it weaving in new knowledge and experience. It keeps things alive; growing. They live outside the stories never forgetting stories as something separate from actual living on the planet which is a space that has no story until some human puts it there. John Berger says a child sees before it speaks. There is a space where there is seeing without words; without stories.
Each society has their own embraced set of stories that become the ‘official’ ones and authorities in society that are not writers themselves and do not write stories then try to control both the kinds of stories acceptable to the society as well as what stories the citizens can hear. They also force citizens into the official stories. They usually chose their favorites claiming them as the ‘real’ and only valid ones.
Same conduct is similar with the so called ‘sacred’ images. Each society got their own favorites.
As a result, writers and artists become mysterious to people because these creators do not live in the stories that the people in the rest of a society do. And artists and writers fall into conflict with social authorities as they struggle to bring forth their creations at the same time their creations are rejected wholesale at the start simply because they disrupt society’s stories as they were given to the present generation. When a story is liked, it is embraced and received. It’s usually an emotional process based on how one feels in the context of specific circumstances which can change at any given time. Stories therefore really come and go.
Younger generations and/ or open minds, however, who are still growing and learning are not so attached emotionally to the ancient stories and images and therefore are more willing to accept new and different ones and despite all efforts to hold on to the old stories from those who need them, cultural evolution happens because it is that the dynamics of the world can not run on any one human story. Humans and their stories are limited creatures in the vastness of the earth and the universe which feels to us as it has no end. It is infinite and so it is with text and image making.
And that is the real key; to recognize that all stories are human created and limited. Of course, some humans, some writers and some authorities want their own stories to count more than any others and thus some believe in their stories so much that they assign them to a God or for a God. They position themselves as superior humans and superior human stories. This human conduct causes suffering for all of us.
In monotheistic religions, the stories are about only one God and it becomes a rule of the story. You can only have one God. And unfortunately, when you only have one God, you really limit the ideas of what can happen. In comparison, in polytheistic religions, there are stories of many Gods. It kind of follows the idea that one country can only have one King.
Polytheism in contrast produces stories and behaviors multiplied in ways that are not part of monotheism. In America, the monotheistic religions and their stories are dominant. We live in a world where the idea of a real King is rejected but still haven’t given up the fantasies and stories about kings and kingdoms as we play out in a new way different than the old ways – but much is the old story.
And so many people believe in these stories with not one single doubt or question, that consequentially, they then live in a very narrowed existence and have no way to comprehend where they are in the stories they have lived because the stories they believe in do not match their lived lives – or even their own bodies. The response to that is often grief and an attempt to force themselves and their lives to fit a story. Story was never meant to be used as a tornique for a ruptured, storied life. Our beliefs must have a foundation elsewhere and we must at some point use our own words, not a writer’s words or have access to a writer that puts words to our lives that fit.
Creation stories, of course, are among the most powerful because they give a beginning story.
A story of where one starts. It’s purpose is to give order to their world and their lives. Unfortunately, this order, although quite useful to calm
insecurities and fears of living on the earth, is a false, artificial order based on writing rather than living on the planet. A reliance on a story for assurance can not satisfy a soul ultimately and permanently and thus often religious followers try to squeeze more and more reassurance from their religious stories like trying to get water from a wet stone that has long been dry while throwing the rock at anyone who points out to them what they are doing.
There is something totally reassuring and secure about coming to understand, like a young child growing up, that the stories can help our lives, but they can not BE our lives. The child grows up and goes into the world to learn about the world and to live in the world with his senses beyond the stories we teach them, why don’t adults do the same? In fact, that is the natural state of a child born; a body and life without stories.
It is thus natural for humans to live, at times, beyond and without stories. We often call it being lost or losing oneself instead of seeing ourselves as creatures tied mythologically to stories.
When a marriage ends or becomes a life that doesn’t fit the story, it is often our resistance to the fact that our lives don’t fit the story we want for it. This can cause more grief than the actual grief over the conflict with the marriage partner who seems to be this unruly human that simply refuses to live according to our story!
With our new technologies from the camera to film to the computer, we not only live within our stories in a way humans never did in all of history, but we live within our technologies. Our technologies become the framework for our relationships and our understandings of the world. Life and relationships become redefined by them. Unfortunately, we aren’t our technologies either and we will inevitably not fit the framework. Too many people live in an isolated sense of shame as if they are some kind of failure with the illusion that other people do indeed fit when in reality, no one does.
Those who grew up in a time without computers have a completely different frame for their relationships in the world than those who are now born into the computer world we have. It is easier for those born without to understand a world that is not framed by computer, but for those born to it, they have no experience outside of it. It’s like how does one live with modern transportation when you only know how to live with it, you know? We lose other ways of functioning based on the conditions we were taught to live within at the time we are living.
Most importantly, our stories, our images, and our technologies have done severe damage to who we are as people connected to the planet Earth. We no longer live with the knowledge of the planet Earth despite any ‘experts’ and no matter how many years of schooling one gets because the experience of living with the walls of text is never the same as living in relationship to life beyond the text. We have no one at this time who has ever lived beyond the walls of text. That is why there are always ‘new’ discoveries and always will be until we understand our true relationship of the planet to knowledge making which is a more respected, sophisticated form of story given as a privilege to some more honored people. Yet when boiled down, it’s simply another story.
Often, We become experts through text which then has absolutely no experience of that which is suppose to be their expertise. It’s like a car enthusiast who read books on cars but never drives a car or works on an engine compared to a car mechanic or motor head who read no books but has had his hands on a steering wheel and in the engine for decades. It’s like the mother whose cared for tiny humans their whole life but never had one course on child development developed from people who never spent their lives caring for tiny humans in comparison to those who have studied child development or wrote about it from intermittant studies about children and sat behind a desk talking to clients but never raised a child or spent daily living with them. The knowledge produced comes from different experiences with the subject.
Each occupation, as a result of the inventions and stories of men created before us, has created a world where the specializations of texts cause a woeful fragmentation in knowledge of the world and with each other. Blind spots. Specialization is fragmentation. It is this fragmentation of knowledge and experience that has caused the severe corruption of our society because no one living within our society, despite any form of education, has a solid foundation tied to the planet itself or enough knowledge beyond their own special world to get a comprehensive analysis. We are all interrupted in that relationship to the Earth by stories and images that do not bring a unity unless we release them. Instead of the cultural wars as if there is one true story to behold and make official for everyone, we need to be releasing all stories and text and technologies for what they are – a severely limited framework for any basis of truth. This is not to say there isn’t truth to find. It is to say that our society is crumbling because our society is not built on it at the present time. It’s built on the ignorance of the very things are society is counting on to sustain itself – which isn’t working.
We are living the fruits and maturation of an old literate society which relatively is a completely new idea got people to live on. That is, One built on writing.
Whether it is law, government, education, religion, science, philosophy, math, or art, all we know is built of writing. It is writing itself that is our foundations. And writing as a foundation of a society does not sustain a people. It crumbles when life’s forces can not be contained within it. Writing does not clothe us and feed us yet uniquely backwards to our society, we give the highest honor and pay to the work of those people who do not clothe and feed us but instead we destroy them. We give the least amount of honor and respect to those that do the work that sustains people’s survival. A society of people must have a foundation in the basics of what humans need. We can’t eat and sleep and live by our writing, images and it’s advanced technology alone.
Like the computer and the dizzying technologies of mobile texting and imaging, humans have been dazzled with the benefits of the literate culture. No doubt of it’s validity of worth and it’s benefits.Through 2000 years, writing has grown step by step to usurp societies in the clutches of image and writing and it’s matured refinements. Seduced by it and never questioning it, and on top of it, illiterate societies have been perceived as less than, substandard, and primitive because the invention of writing and image making and it’s endless sophistications has been so honored that they are driving all we do against our own wellness and survival. It is what is left behind in illiterate societies that we need and we need to learn about. In the last century, we have created a society where it is normal for a child to spend the first 12 years of their lives sitting behind a desk mostly learning the results of previous writers in all it’s glorious proliferation of our complex society of writers by categories, but we fail our children in teaching them.
With the computer which is the epitome of the end result of where writing has taken us, we need to step back and breathe and see this world we live in. We need to look at the screen and the text with some questioning. We need to not totally throw out the ingenious inventions of man, but we need to put them in their proper perspective to our individual and collective survival. We need to take time to learn what might exist for us all if we just open up to something new and different in our lives. We might even find all of what has been lying dormant within us and find a new joy of living. A joy of living that comes simply from being alive – beyond all our society’s doings. The world is not in as much peril as our stories tell us. In fact, it is our stories that are in the most peril and that is a good thing.