A New Story For This Time

By Celia Coates

Stories, so many stories. And, there are so many kinds of stories – myths, fables, fairy tales, parables, news stories, yarns, personal accounts, and more. Whether it’s one person’s point of view or a collective outlook, there’s always a perspective when a story is told.

Arthur Deikman, a psychiatrist and writer, published this personal account in 1976,
“Something is wrong. I’ve noticed it for a long time, as if there is something odd or unreal about the world. Most of the time I’m busy with what I’m doing and don’t notice, but sooner or later, that persistent nagging awareness emerges again, telling me something is peculiar about my view of things, and everyone else’s too

I don’t mean that the world seems to be collapsing – starvation, atomic bombs, pollution – it isn’t just those things, drastic as they may be. There is something still more basically wrong. It’s as if you went to the movies and there was something odd about the projector or something strange about the camera that was used to take the movies in the first place. The images themselves seem normal, but the way it is put together is out of sequence, or taken at different speeds, or the perspective keeps changing. That’s what I mean. There is something basically wrong with the structure of the world – as we have been taught to see it – but you might not notice it for a long while. It’s not until you really examine your experience that you catch sight of the peculiarities. It just isn’t the way you’ve been told.”  *

This is WINN’s point of view too. Many people have noticed that their experiences don’t always fit the structure of the reality that they’ve been taught. That’s one of the reasons for the great variety of stories you read here. Each post is about what someone has discovered to be real and important. Many of these discoveries come from “catching sight of the peculiarities” and finding that something doesn’t align with the current view of reality.

To quote Deikman again: the long-standing idea about the universe has been that it “…is a fascinating, orderly biochemical machine composed of electrical charges, but meaningless, purposeless, and indifferent…”, and that each one of us is, “…a highly sophisticated ‘bio-computer’ in a highly sophisticated ‘hyperspace’.” For many people this does not match our experience of ourselves or the world.

Deikman also included this poem by Rumi at the beginning of his book, “In the fullness of God’s earth, Why have you fallen asleep in a prison?

We are imprisoned by the constraining story about reality that most of us accept until we begin noticing things that are “impossible.” What happens if you dream about something that comes true, or have an incredible piece of luck, or there’s an unexplained recovery from a terrible disease, or you know you’ve been visited by someone who is dead, or you experience moments of beautiful union with all of nature, or you can see colors around people that are not “really” there? Often people have experiences like this and believe that they’ve imagined it, or that they may be crazy, or that other people will think they are crazy if they say anything, so they cover it up and go back to believing in concrete reality.

In 1976 I heard poet Wendell Berry call for a new story for our time. In the years since then I think we’ve been pulling bits of the new story together through two kinds of “research.” There’s the traditional form of research carried out by trained individuals using the objective scientific method, and then there’s the oldest kind of research (one that has lost respect in the last 300 years) – direct, personal experience. Each of us carries out this kind of research from our earliest years so we can discover who we are and how the world around us works.

As more and more information about states of consciousness and the multi-dimensional nature of reality is gathered from both kinds of research (both objective and subjective research), the more the new story comes into being. So if we now say, “Once upon a time….,” what can we say next?

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*PERSONAL FREEDOM by Arthur Deikman, M.D., Bantam Books, 1977

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