Have you noticed that we always surround ourselves with stories? Everything we do, everything we own has one. From the most unimportant thing to life itself, we create stories. We cannot live without them. Did you ever wonder why?
Let me tell a short one. In the beginning there wasn’t much. Life on Earth was simple. It was reduced to the essential. Nature was relentless. Strong ones survived, weak ones perished. Those who were left alone didn’t live too long. Everybody had to fit in somewhere. Tribes fought each other for territory and food. People hunted and were hunted. It was all about survival. It wasn’t pretty, so we started telling ourselves stories.
That was then. And it still is now, if you get down to the core. But more than survival, today we have stories. We have stories because we don’t want to admit that in the end it all comes down to survival in its purest form. Today we have so much comfort that we have forgotten about that. Today we have everything we need. Or at least most of us do.
In the past we assigned a story to all the things we didn’t understand. Because nature is chaotic, we invented tales about old men in the sky so we could be comforted when things went crazy. We invented rules, because we couldn’t accept the freedom and the responsibility that came with that freedom. We then kept modifying and adapting these tales as our lives changed across the centuries.
Today we still craft beautiful stories so we can comfort our not so beautiful lives. We use them to get over the fact that security is an illusion. We use them to justify our decisions of not really rising up to the challenge, of not facing the nature of our lives. We can create any story we want to. The only limit is our imagination. We then take from the environment whatever fits with our story and leave everything else to oblivion.
Everyday, we tell ourselves a story. Everyday, we work on it, we add something more, we delete, we modify and reshape. We delete unwanted details, and only keep what we like. We create an ideal image of ourselves, we modify the facts so we can feel good about our lives.
But you see, stories are excuses. Big ones. They are excuses for not facing our fears and insecurities, for our mistakes, for our inaction, for every decision that we take, for choosing one way or the other. Justifications. That’s all they are. Big or small, stories justify our beliefs, our actions, our lives. They simply justify our fear of not knowing what this is all about.
Today we continue telling ourselves the same stories just because it makes us feel better. It gives us a sense of direction when we don’t have one. It makes us feel somehow protected. Yes, nature is cruel. We are too. Life isn’t pink. Nobody is normal and our universe is chaos. But we don’t want to know this. We love to be comforted. To make ourselves feel strong when we are weak.
Only that stories don’t make us stronger. Facing what we don’t know does that.
Now try to get rid of the story.
Can you feel it?
It’s the fear of letting go of what made you who you think you are today. The fear of losing your identity, your sense of self.
But do you really know who you are? Who we are?
We are just stories, my friend.