Man is in his actions and practice, as well as in his fictions, essentially a story-telling animal. He is not essentially, but becomes through is history, a teller of stories that aspire to truth. But the key question for men is not about their own authorship; I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’ We enter human society, that is, with one or more imputed characters - roles into which we have been drafted - and we have to learn what they are in order to be able to understand how others respond to us and how our responses to them are a part to be construed... Deprive children of stories and you leave them unscripted, anxious strutters in their actions as in their words. Hence there is no way to give us an understanding of any society, including our own, except through the stock of stories which constitute its initial dramatic resource. Mythology, in its original sense, is at the heart of things. Vico was right and so was Joyce. And so too of course is that moral tradition fro heroic society to its medieval heirs according to which the telling of stories has a key part in educating us into the virtues.
Myth is the software, the cultural DNA, the unconscious information, the meta-program that governs the way we see 'reality' and the way we behave. By providing a world picture and a set of stories that explains why things are as they are, [mythology] creates consensus, sanctifies the social order, and gives the individual an authorized map of the path of life. A myth creates the plotline that organizes the diverse experiences of a person or a community into a single story.
If a man builds a better mousetrap than his neighbor, the world will not only beat a path to his door, it will make newsreels of him and his wife in beach pajamas, it will discuss his diet and his health, it will publish heart-throb stories of his love life.
You tell us that baptism is absolutely necessary to go to heaven. If there were a man so good that he had never offended God, and if he died without baptism, would he go to hell, never having given any offense to God? If he goes to hell, then God must not love all good people, since He throws one into the fire. You teach us that God existed before the creation of heaven and earth. If He did, where did He live, since there was neither heaven nor earth? You say that the angels were created n the beginning of the world, and that those who disobeyed were cast into hell. How can that be so, since you say the angels sinned before earth’s creation, and hell is in the depths of the earth? You declare that those who go to hell do not come out of it, and yet you relate stories of the damned who have appeared in the world - how is that to be understood. Ah, how I would like to kill devils, since they do so much harm! But if they are made like men and some are even among men, do they still feel the fire of hell? Why is it that they do not repent for having offended God? If they did repent, would not God be merciful to them? If Our Lord has suffered for all sinners, why do not they receive pardon from him? You say that the virgin, mother of Jesus Christ, is not God, and that she has never offended God. You also say that her Son has redeemed all men, and atoned for all; but if she has done nothing wrong, her son could not redeem her nor atone for her.
Children who are not spoken to by… responsive adults will not learn to speak properly. Children who are not answered will stop asking questions. They will become incurious. And children who are not told stories and who are not read to will have few reasons for wanting to learn to read.
We are on the brink of a historic convergence as novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers move toward multiform stories and digital formats; computer scientists move toward the creation of fictional worlds; and the audience moves toward the virtual stage. How can we tell what is coming next? Judging from the current landscape, we can expect a continued loosening of the traditional boundaries between games and stories, between films and rides, between broadcast media (like television and radio) and archival media (like books or videotape, between narrative forms (like books) and dramatic forms (like theater or film), and even between the audience and the author. To understand the new genres and the narrative pleasures that will arise from this heady mixture, we must look beyond the formats imposed upon the computer by the older media it is so rapidly assimilating and identify those properties native to the machine itself.
Stories are the maps of the geography of a human life, showing us where to find the important things. Stories remind us what to look for when we are frightened or lost… To have someone know the story of how we came to be here, how we came to be this way… no single story is ever large enough to hold us. After we have told our story once, twice, or ten times… it ceases to be a practice of awakening; it becomes a performance. While it may elicit certain levels of sympathy and support, it does not move us along the path of healing, and it does not open our eyes. In fact, it closes our eyes to anything that does not fit into our story.
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.