A Dangerous Story

dalai lama on paths

We may believe that stories are only stories. That they are fantasies thought of by innovative, clever minds.

Myths, legends and folklores are used both as educational aids and as past time entertainments listened to mostly by children. And we think these stories are harmless. To children with pliable minds, stories could be easily outgrown and discarded; thus could be harmless.

Adults, however, are different. Unlike children, many adults have fixed mindsets. They are hard to outgrow and let go of stories told  to them by formidable authorities. Out of fear or ignorance, adults tend to stubbornly stick to certain stories – for years, for lifetimes, for generations, for eons.

Stories are only stories, but when you give a man or a woman a story, he or she can become dangerous. Not only that stories are used as weapons but are also the source of much bigotry as when a singular story is glorified, defended, upheld as the one and only true story. People swear to fight for it, and die for it.

Stories are born of people’s actual experiences, as well as their delusions and fantasies. There exist all sorts of stories as there exist all sorts of people with all sorts of experiences. However, in the course of human history, there are a group of people who took upon themselves the authority to select certain stories and make these the “official” stories for all humanity to believe in. Their gods have become the official gods; their rituals are the only sanctioned rituals.

This select group of people act as the grown-up leaders to the rest of us who they regard as mere children to be herded. In order to propagate only one story, the story that serves and sustains them, they killed other competing stories. They burned ancient libraries, distorted the Teachings, and silenced and demonized other storytellers.

The singular story is being preached in pulpits, broadcasted in the media, and taught in schools. It gained so much influence and many mouthpieces that it became almost impossible to think beyond its contents. Any other story that diverged and conflicted with the official story is branded as madness that must be destroyed before it spreads and poses a real threat.

As long as we keep believing in only one story, we are tuned in to only one limited frequency, which continues to trap us in a singular, limited reality. This reality is an invisible prison. This is why, in spite of our “authorized freedom”, many of us feel like we are not truly free.

Yes, stories are more than what we think they are. They are not only for entertaining children and the unsuspecting masses. Myths, legends, epics have always been cleverly used as mediums of control and manipulation.

So never take stories for granted.

 

public education

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