Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Story and myth

From Thomas Moore's The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life:

"The stories we tell with good intentions and with as much honesty as we can muster may be incomplete, like a statue of Venus without arms or a nose. We may be tempted to make up for the lack by adding plastic parts, unnatural and anachronistic, but ruins of statues are often more beautiful than the originals. Our partial stories may be complete in their imperfection and their refusal to be brought to an end or to have all the necessary and required parts."

and,

"Myth gives a person the sense of living in a meaningful story, the feeling that one's life makes sense and has value, and these sensations are the basis for self-confidence and stability, purpose and poise. Without myth, life has to be proven valuable every day and is lived from profound anxiety; but with the awareness that one's life is grounded in eternal stories and motifs, one's own personal story begins to feel enchanted, and this feeling gives rise to love of one's own life that is the cure for narcissism, insecurity and self-doubt."

11 comments:

Erin in Morro Bay said...

I found this quite interesting. So much of my work utilizes the old, the worn, that with missing pieces or parts. And, of course, the storiesthe art tells are thereby much more compelling.

Kass said...

This is the most wonderful, enchanting and healing thing I have read all day (and I've been reading A LOT of blogs. I just love this quote. I'm going to copy it, think about it all day and thank you here and in my heart for sharing it.

I love the work of Thomas Moore and Joseph Campbell. Our Stories. What else do we have?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - I turn to Thomas Moore because his way of seeing, of knowing, erases what I'd long felt was me doing it wrong. He writes of ruins as places where enchantment is strong...no wonder we are drawn to scraps of the past and the stories we build from them.

Kass - Joseph Campbell and Thomas Moore, my idea of clarity in uncertain (and aren't the all?) times. I gave up long ago attempting any sort of linear existence; I am renewed when reminded that sometimes fragments are preferable. So glad you found something meaningful here.

Laoch of Chicago said...

This was quite pithy.

angela simione said...

marylinn, i love this. thank you so much for these passages. definitely what i've been needing to hear lately. i will get this book, for sure. the compassion inherent to this outlook is something i am chasing after and these words help so much.

Penny said...

True. No story can ever be truly complete. If we try to fill in those missing pieces, it is no longer a story and it ceases to provide the magic needed.

Wonderful quotes. It is too long since I read him. Thankyou for the reminder.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Laoch - Thomas Moore's words, particularly as found in this book, have considerable resonance for me.

Angela - Seems we have both been needing similar affirmation, or direction. So glad I had the wits to post it.

Penny - I eventually return to him...especially when feeling that I may be going in the wrong direction. Perhaps there is no wrong direction. Glad to have offered the reminder.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Pondering myths brings up the question of spirituality for me. I love literature and art because I celebrate creativity and imagination. Yet I find deep personal spirituality within the natural world. I can see why so many physicists, for example, use terms such as "elegance" in describing the patterns and rhythms of the infinitesimally small and exceptionally grand.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - An elegant way of expressing the truth and spiritual connection we find in the natural world. What small knowledge I have of physics tells me that order exists, whether we recognize it as such or not, and we turn to myths for reassurance of that order and meaning. Your postings and comments always give me material for contemplation.

grrl + dog said...

ah..

This guy has things to say alright..

I'm off to love my legend, if only in my lunchbox.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - He always has something to say to me. Hah...we can all be legends in our own minds...at least for a while. xoxo