In my previous blog post I posited the idea that every moment in one’s life maybe is as remarkable as the next. But even if this were the absolute truth, it doesn’t change the fact that most of us simply don’t behave this way. We are emotional beings and so it’s not surprising that in times of great joy, sadness, anger, excitement (or what emotion we might be feeling in the extreme) those moments are going to make a stronger impression. The physiological response is immense when we feel emotion very strongly and the fact is, certain things are always going to “stick out” in our memories more than others.
Going beyond the biology, I think that humans have a real attraction to stories. I wrote a blog post on this importance of stories so I will not repeat myself
here, but I think that it is safe to say that we are all rather attached to the story of our own life. We really want our lives to have a good story. Some people embellish things to make their own story better. Some people don’t think much of the story of their life compared to ones they read in books or see in movies. I guess I might be that type of person. I often worry about what kind of stories I will tell my son about my life given I was always fascinated by my own father’s stories of how he left India and traveled across much of Europe along his way here. And of course there is also a bit of an art to telling stories. There is an art to drawing an audience in and perhaps it always requires a little bit of embellishment as well (A good movie concerning this is Big Fish starring Ewan McGregor. Great movie!). In Patrick Rothfuss’ book A Wise Man’s Fear (his series, The King Killer Chronicles are really a celebration to stories and storytelling) the main character tells a story of a poor hungry beggar who has no luck finding compassion amongst many of the cultural groups in his world until he finds a group of people that are the main character’s origin who are traveling musicians, performers, and story tellers. They offer the poor man food and a place to sleep and even invite him to stay and join with them on their travels. The man finds it hard to accept for he has nothing to give back for their generosity. They simply reply that he has a story to tell, the story of his own life, and thus a story they have never heard before. They value stories and thus to them it is more than a fair trade. So I think we would all do well to remind ourselves that we really all do have at least one story to tell…our own. And that story is like no one else’s.
I wonder if there is a connection to what we think about the story of our own life and our self-esteem?
Regardless of what we think of our own story, I think that inside we really want our story to be amazing and so we have a tendency to look at something like
the chain of events described in my previous post as amazing, improbable, and perhaps as though we are playing are part in a fate that has been laid out by a supernatural being given how amazing and improbable the events are. Personally I think that existence as a whole is likely improbable, but here we are anyway. Love is probably the most intense and wonderful of emotions we experience and so it is no wonder that are desire and attachment to stories involving love are so strong. Whether it is love lost or love found, it doesn’t matter. This is a story we can all relate to since it is such a strong part of the human experience. I think that our attraction to the love story is ultimately why arranged marriages and on-line dating are ultimately unsatisfying, because even if those do end up in love, the beginning of the story seems probable, mechanical, and thus uninteresting.
I shall leave you with a wonderful song about stories that lead to love. I hope you all think about your story today, and I hope you find some good in it. The best part about our own stories is that we really never know how it’s going to end. If we knew, that would take all the fun out of it. 🙂