Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Personal myth

I finished reading 'The stories we live by' the other day, and even now, I'm not sure about it. The author speaks of cultivating our personal myth as a way to understand the self and share the self with others. I've read this book before (about a year ago) and it blew me away then. After a year of thoughts and looking at the world through semi-Buddhist eyes, I'm not sure I am able to put together a personal myth. The author speaks of creating said myth, regardless of whether or not it is illusion. I'm not looking for illusion, but 'reality', so wouldn't following this concept be defeatist for the path I'm travelling? I'm not obligated to do this, and for now, the question is mere rhetoric. I'm not saying this wouldn't or shouldn't be for everyone. If cultivating your own personal myth brings you closer to a better understanding of yourself, go for it. I just don't think it would work all that well for me.
I first came across the concept of the 'personal myth' while reading 'The manticore' by the late, dearly-beloved Robertson Davies. One of his characters underwent therapy and he and the therapist constructed his personal myth over several weeks, starting from his childhood and going all the way up to the present. The personal myth concerns discovering all the facets of one's personality (characters) and influential people in one's life (also characters, to a lesser extent). Keeping a diary will also help this process, for then one's established a sort of timeline and illusion can be anchored by 'historical record'.
I have said that I doubt very much that my beliefs would let me get away with cultivating a personal myth. Also, I might be a little too young for such an activity. Most people, those who put such an idea into play, have lived for several decades (in their late thirties, at least) and are trying to understand the meaning for their journey, be it very painful and difficult or easy as pie and smooth as silk. I'm at thirty's doorway, but not over the threshold yet, so I think I'll just stick with my diary and my own explorations. Perhaps a time will come, in the not-so-distant future, when I will have a sit down with a therapist and recount my history as I know it in an attempt to cultivate my personal myth. Just not right now.
Very good book, however. Informative and worth a read. Au revoir!

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