TRANSMISSION OF KNOWLEDGE
“Let’s not forget that it was the oral tradition of storytelling that carried human civilization forward before books, films and television were invented.”
This is because every art is basically storytelling told in another medium.
A painting tells a story, a song tells a story, a film tells a story, a dancer or a mime artist when they are moving are telling a story and so on. Even a cook when is preparing a meal or an artisan when is making an artefact are telling a story, though to the onlooker or to the non observant person it may not be apparent. To sum it up everything that one does or says is a story which means that anyone’s dailoy life is a continuous auto-biographical diary or book being told.
Communal oral storytelling was practiced since primitive times when people sat together on the ground while eating or after a meal in front of a fire, if it was winter, telling each other stories.
It was through storytelling that the rich tapestry of human civilization was weaved generating myths, religions and ideas to form what it is today. Without storytelling there would have been no civilization.
Traditional oral storytelling began to be less practised with the mass productions of books, which in itself wasn’t a bad thing at all because it made reading and education available to everybody irrespective of their wealth and status, but almost totally died out with the invention of television and the internet. So nowadays instead of relating orally stories to each other most people sit passively for hours everyday in front of a screen watching programmes, films or interacting in social media.
Even this is not bad, but since it’s easy and often requires no effort whatsoever many people tend to indulge in it becoming addicted, thus shunning more and more face to face interaction with each other. The result is that they contribute to create a society that is impersonal, withdrawn, selfish and asocial. It’s because of this lack of face to face social interaction that today there are many people suffering from depression and many other mental disorders.
Storytelling is very important in the Mneme9 method and is practised in many ways that aim at making the brain more elastic and connect it to the body while boosting emotional intelligence, empathy and social interaction.
Mneme9 has several of its own stories that it uses in its method but it also uses stories from different cultural traditions that have something valuable to teach.
Stories that are pure entertainment without any substance, though they may be used too, are not considered relevant. This latter is a very important point because nowadays we live in an era rife with pure entertainment that eventually, when it is overdone, leads to superficiality and shallowness.
Here below are two traditional stories used by Mneme9 that are given as a reading example.
THE PROBLEM OF KNOWLEDGE
In order to see it many people were going, every one, into that darkness, and as seeing it with the eye was impossible, each one was feeling it in the dark with the palm of his hand.
The hand of one fell on the trunk: He said, ‘This creature is like a water pipe.
’ The hand of another toughed its ear: to him it appeared to be like a fan
Another handled its leg and said, ‘I found the elephant to be like a pillar.’ Another laid his hand on the back — he said, ‘Truly this elephant is like a throne.’
‘Similarly, when anyone heard of the description of the elephant, he understood it only in respect of the part that he had touched. On account of the diverse place of view, their statement differed: ‘One man entitled it ‘Dai’, another, ‘’Alif’. If there had been a candle in each one’s hand, the difference would have gone out of their words. The eye of sense perception is only like the palm of the hand: the palm hath not power to reach the whole of the elephant.
This lovely perceptive tale by the great 12th century Persian Sufi philosopher-poet Rumi shows clearly why people never agree on many things, a problem that often leads to misunderstandings and conflicts of all types.
nce upon a time there stood a poverty-stricken village at the foot of a mountain. On top of the mountain was some hidden treasure, which would solve all the villagers’ problems, but the treasure was guarded by an enormous giant, who bellowed so ferociously at anyone who climbed the mountain that no villager dared to do so.
The villagers remained poor, existing on what little they could grow in the mountain’s shadow.
Then one year, disaster struck — the harvest failed. Therefore out of despair the villagers turned to their king for help. Unless the king could bring back the treasure they would all starve to death. With trepidation in his heart and the last loaf of bread in his knapsack, the king set of up the mountain. As he climbed the giant suddenly pounced from behind a huge boulder. Sure enough he was enormous! He roared horribly and tried to terrify the king out of his wits.
He nearly succeeded, but instead of running away, the king braced himself and took a tiny step towards the giant. Was his imagination playing tricks? Or had the giant shrunk an inch? He took another step forward and the giant seemed to shrink a little more. The diminution continued until the king, upon reaching the giant, was able to hold him in the palm of his hand. ‘You don’t look much like a giant now,’ said the king. ‘We’ll have to call you something else. What is your name anyway?’ In a weak feeble voice the giant replied, ‘My name is Terror!’
The point of this story is that terror is all in the mind. Facing one’s fears is the first step anyone can make toward conquering them, and is also to discover a real treasure is the freedom from fear and anxiety.