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We are made of stories

I’ve heard that we are made of stories, not atoms. At school, where we study people both in biology and history*, I did think we could be both. Specially because there are people who are not biology anymore but are still history and even some people that have never been biology, but are definitely part of who we are.

Atoms fall short in representing the greatness of the human family. Beyond structure, what makes us human are the stories we’ve been told and the ones we choose to tell.

We meet to build trust among ourselves and then replicate the stories (and history) that we choose to replicate and also to decide collectively on the additions and subtractions we want to make on them. Trust is what feeds social conviviality. From trust derives the knowledge of how to be together. From knowing how to be together all other knowledges emerge.

Most of our gatherings take place for us to build and rebuild trust so we can continue to agree and disagree together. Gatherings are spaces to generate stories for the collective and are in them that we are made, remade and unmade.

As the future has been built from our actions, we are in the past the stories we tell, in the future the declarations we make, and in the present we are the meeting of both things, represented in the choices we collectively make in every moment.

If we are really made of stories we’ve got to nurture them more. Not the stories directly, since they are our mothers and can take care of themselves, but to nurture the spaces of trust that can feed them.



* In Portuguese, original language of this article, we use the same word for story and history.

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4 replies
  1. Catherine Beitel
    Catherine Beitel says:

    Thank you for the light you shine on this truth. Even the Fairy Tales told around the fires of our ancestors were alive with coding to create from for the listener and the teller. Robert Bly, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and Joseph Campbell are a few of the people of our history and present, who have communicated this. I remember a Lakota Medicine Man once saying that the people of Czechoslovakia were of the few people in his acquaintance who knew that the stories were alive, along with the stones and the natural world around them. The Great Web of Life is hung with so many beautiful strands and lights, connections and the very stuff that we are created from. Thank you for saying so in your way.

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