We have no control over many of the things that happen to us in our lives but if we can make sense of what has happened, we will usually construct a narrative to explain it to ourselves. This narrative is more than just a story, it’s our escape hatch after trauma. It’s what we can use to help us to overcome whatever horrible disaster has befallen us. Climb over it. Make good our escape.
Dan Siegel maintains that people who have horribly traumatic childhoods make excellent parents once they can make sense of their own story – no matter how awful.
No matter what happens – once you can look it in the eye and make it your story it loses its power to control you.
We have told stories since forever which means they are commonplace in our societies. But common as they are, they are still essential to our well-being, safety and resilience.
We explain away myths and legends as primitive ways to explain the natural world – and they did indeed have a function in this regard – but it’s possible that they mean more than just that to us. It’s possible that they explain truths and experiences that are too subtle or difficult to approach in other ways and it’s possible that they allow us to construct narratives that function like ladders on which to climb out of the holes into which we may have been thrown.
If this wasn’t the case, then why do we still love to tell and hear stories? Whether it’s science fiction or vampires, rom-coms or action adventures surely our attraction to stories – myths – is because they are still fulfilling the same purpose for us that they have since time immemorial?
I’m no expert on Dylan Thomas but they say he wrote Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night about his father’s descent into old age and death. It is a beautiful poem and to me, as well as being about the inevitability of death, it is also about the need to try, to ‘rage’ until the bitter end. In everything. In the full knowledge that death is inevitably coming this is a plea not to surrender. Ever. To keep on going. Keep on raging. Until the absolute end.
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Given all the controversy in recent times about social action via social media, here is a very interesting initiative.
It seems like a great idea to me –
Especially as this is the response –
Here is an interesting newspaper article about this phenomenon –
And many thanks to Talesfromthelou for posting this in the first place –
- An Attempt to Prevent War: “Israel Loves Iran” (takefiveblog.org)
- The Future of Blogging (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Israel Loves Iran: a peace movement is born in Tel Aviv (newstatesman.com)
- Iran Israel – Iranians We Love You (sunnyromy.wordpress.com)
- Love Is… (godslovevisible.com)
- Ten ways Israel loves Palestine (altahrir.wordpress.com)
Here’s a very interesting talk –
And a very interesting example of her point –
The Red Wheelbarrow (William Carlos Williams)
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white