About our Mystery!

Scientist, mathematicians, philosophers and many everyday people are curious and look deeply into subjects that consume them.  Then, we step back to take in an overall grasp of the subject. We create shortcuts to get a handle on the bigger picture. We use simpler terms to explain our findings to our friends and others who might have a passing interest. To hold their interest or sell them on an idea, we must keep it simple. We put our understanding in story form.

To create a good story you must simplify – and maybe dramatize. You want to hold someone’s attention, especially your own. There’s a much smaller audience for a detailed inquisition of the minutia and detail of any subject. Almost any idea can be brought to life with exciting, but somewhat simplified, characters that we all recognize. We love the hero and often the underdog. We love to watch the lovers and manipulators in a soap opera. We spend hours in front of a TV watching the news, action and game show to see who comes out on top or root for our hero. We need a frame of reference. That frame usually comes from our tradition and our experience.

A big problem that overwhelms our society is that we too easily accept oversimplification. We overindulge in so many tempting treats like sugary or salty foods and adrenaline filled spectacle. While a certain amount of simplification is necessary for consciousness, overindulging in simplification is deceptive, even destructive.  Let’s face it. To some extent, consciousness is a simplification. However, it is easy, especially in a group, to get so wrapped up in emotional oversimplification that we mis-simplify and become a virtual – or actual – lynch mob. 

We can easily get so wrapped up in the story that news creates. We often fail to cleanly and logically distinguish between actual detail and the mis-simplification the story form provides. The story moves and flows. The story lulls our thoughts with a sort of rhythm like a hypnotic mist. The ability to control that storyline gives some degree of control over the person or group that consumes that story.

We often accept a good story before we accept cold facts because we get wrapped up in the image and melody of the story. A well told story is very appealing. Literature is filled with great stories because they are so satisfying. They can make us cry or laugh or wonder out loud. What is this magic and where does it get, and manifest, its power?

In this blog, I try to make my own sense of story. I like to look between the cracks of story creation and ask what holds it all together. I try to understand “Understanding.”