The importance of Storytelling
Since the birth of humankind we have been telling myths, tales and stories to each other, and while doing so transmitting learning and meaning from generation to generation. Sharing stories is a central part of our collective experience, immortalised through cave paintings, poems, songs, myths, books, photographs or films …through which we may understand better, what it means to be human.
We naturally and intuitively observe life within the framework of tales and stories, sequences and chapters, characters and storytellers, patterns and plots, … We move from chapter to chapter as we move form day to day always yearning to grow, through the connections we individually or collectively create, experience and share with one another.
I am not yet able to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things.
SOCRATES, 469 BC – 399 BC.
Knowing the SELF
Who am I, isn’t it interesting how difficult it is to answer this simple question?
I wonder, how we can understand our path as a human species, if we hardly understand our very own ‘Self’ or the personal stories we tell and collective myths we live by. What we do understand however is the importance of ‘self-awareness’ and its connection to our values, actions, our independence and quality of life.
It seems we have lost this perspective which challenges us to observe ourselves and the norms we live in. What happens when we don’t know ourselves well enough, is visible in a globalised world where our values seem conditioned and confused, and our human actions, born from an unaware self, have become selfish and destructive.
I don’t learn to know more, but to ignore less.
– Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 1651 – 1695, self-taught scholar, philosopher, Nun, poet, writer.
Anima is Carl Jung’s term for the unconscious feminine aspect of a person, the inner part of the personality, or character, as opposed to the persona, or outer part. In Latin it means air, breath or spirit, in Ancient Greek: άνεμος ánemos means wind. For me ‘Anima’ refers to an inner ‘unconditioned’ aspect of the self, which guides us through life.
Beyond the notion of Identity
Long before I learned the word identity I was taught I belonged to my cultural heritage. Belonging and identity are strongly guiding elements in our lives, but the paths of life have made me question whether these concepts are truth.
In one of their conversations, carried out in the twilight hours of a rainswept day, Kafka tells his young friend: Life is as infinitely great and profound as the immensity of the stars above us. One can only look at it through the narrow keyhole of one’s personal existence. But through it one perceives more than one can see. So above all one must keep the keyhole clean.
In order to become aware of the reality we create on the surface we must know the myths within our human minds and bodies, as both realities are obviously connected. Some fundamental experiences stay with us, they shape us, leave traces on our minds and hearts, reminding us to question who we are and the concepts of identity, home and other ideas which define our lives.
All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there. – Rumi