"If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we both still have one apple. If you have an idea, and I have an idea and we exchange ideas then we both have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Myths, Legends and Truth

     Why do we make stories about extraordinary people?  People who have abilities that could never happen or people with ordinary abilities that do extraordinary things?
     I began to think about these questions after watching a movie about wizards and magic.  People all around the world from the beginning of time have created legends and stories about incredible people and incredible deeds.  From stories about gods and titans to fairy tales to stories about completely average kids who have an unbelievable adventure playing baseball and facing a nemesis known as "The Beast".
     I believe it is because we are searching for something.  Two things actually.  We are trying to find something greater than ourselves, and we are trying to find out who we are.
     A quote from a movie says "I had a professor once who liked to tell his students there were only ten different plots in all of fiction.  Well I am here to tell you he was wrong.  There is only one. . . 'Who am I?'"  Every story we tell is simply us trying to find out who we are.  We make up stories to explore ourselves and the world, values and morals in order to find what resonates with us; what feels right; what will give us a clue as to who we are.
     Our stories give us a chance to escape.  For a time we are free.  In the world of our imagination we can be whoever or whatever we want to be.  There are no rules.  It is the perfect place for us to explore life.  If we try one set of ideas and things don't work then we know that that is not who we are and nothing is lost.
     Inside each of us there is a yearning to make sense of life.  We long to understand, not only who we are, but why are things the way they are.  Is there any rhyme or reason?  Is there a plan?  Is there anything beyond what at times seems to be a dreary and tiresome journey?
     We all hope that there is, and though we can't explain why, we all feel that there must be something out there if we could only find it.  The Greeks made stories of gods who ruled the world and created man.  Other cultures made stories of powerful beings full of wisdom that were able to give guidance to those who sought it.  In our day there is an infinite variety of ways to imagine something that is better than what is around us.
     The bottom line of both questions, "Who am I?" and "Is there something out there that is in control?" comes from the same feelings that make us create all forms of art, to make something better than it was before, and to try to do good things for others.  We know instinctively that we must have come from somewhere, and wherever that somewhere is there must be a something, whether it be some great unknowable power or a being much like ourselves, but all powerful, that guides the universe.
     My goal here is not say what is out there ruling the universe or to tell you how to find the answer to any questions.  I only say that there must be something out there and there must be answers to all of our questions.

I recommend the reader read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis.  I also recommend the reader investigate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That is the church to which I belong, and which I believe to be true and able to answer all of life's questions.