Literature Is About Seeing
The goal of literature is to enable us to see our own limitlessness in the life of another. As such, literature might be thought of as the imaginative extension of compassion, procured by detailed, painstaking methods. The enormous success of this art form speaks volumes about the strength of our desire to see.
Paradox of Fiction
The paradox of fiction has befuddled philosophers – how can we become emotionally invested in characters we know, beyond a shadow of doubt, do not exist? Our emotional attachment is clear, as a great novel can alter our mood for days, or longer. It might even “change our life”.
We endure fictional characters. We care about what happens to them. And we know, all the while, that these characters are not real. No one knows why this is so. Attempts to solve the paradox of fiction have been problematic. Literature can draw us so deeply into paradox because it exploits the ability to see ourself in the other.
A Good Life: Philosophy from Cradle to Grave
When you are authentic, you know yourself deeply and trust your ability to shape your life in ways that align with your heartfelt interests. You have clarity about the conditions as they currently exist, both within and outside yourself, and understand how best to develop and utilize resources.
Living with Purpose
Living authentically enables you to shape a life of purpose, an ultimately meaningful life in which you experience participating in something greater than yourself. Experiencing yourself as authentic, you more readily recognize new opportunities, welcome them, and utilize them.
Lisa Kentgen, PhD
Myths, legends, and folktales are narratives in prose – referred to as prose narratives. This distinguishes them from proverbs, riddles, ballads, poems, and other verbal forms.
Myths are prose narratives which, in the society in which they are told, are considered to be truthful accounts of what happened in the remote past.
Characteristics of Myths
- Accepted on faith, taught to be believed, and can be cited as authority in answer to ignorance, doubt, or disbelief.
- Embodiment of dogma, usually sacred, and often associated with theology and ritual.
- Main characters are usually not humans, but they often have human attributes – they are animals, deities, or cultural heroes, whose actions are set in an earlier world, when the earth was different than it is today.
- Account for the origin of the world, of mankind, of death, or for characteristics of birds, geographic features, and phenomena of nature.
- Recount the activities of deities – including their love affairs, family relationships, their friendships and enemies, their victories and defeats.
Legends are prose narratives which, like myths, are regarded as true by the narrator and his audience, but they are set in a period considered less remote, when the world was much as it is today.
Characteristics of Legends
- More often secular than sacred.
- Principal characters are human.
- Tell of migrations, wars and victories, deeds of past heroes, chiefs, and kings, and succession in ruling dynasties.
- Include local tales of buried treasure, ghosts, fairies, and saints.
Folktales are prose narratives which are regarded as fiction.
Characteristics of Folktales
- Not considered as dogma or history, may or may not have happened, and are not to be taken seriously.
- Though they are often told only for amusement, they may present moral truths.
- May be set in any time and any place, and in this sense they are almost timeless and placeless.
- Fairies, ogres, and even deities may appear, but folktales usually recount the adventures of animal or human characters.
- Have been called “nursery tales” or “fairy tales.”
Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth
Edited by Alan Dundes
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
Don’t fight against your old habits by thinking about what you’re missing. When you feel deprived, you’re focusing on the wrong thoughts. You’re making your journey unpleasant and more difficult.
Instead, focus on how the changes will bring you the success you desire – that’s when you’ll build your new life instead of fighting your old one.