Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stories We Need to Know

Author:          Allan G. Hunter
Published:    2008
Publisher:     Findhorn Press
Paperback: 240 pages

There are many people who suffer from soul starvation at some point of time in their lives. Soul starvation is a continuous feeling of boredom, discontentment and a sense of disengagement from the world.  
According to the author the remedy to overcome this malaise lies in reading and benefiting from the wisdom embedded in our literature - folk tales, stories,myths, legends.
These literature through their characters,  suggest that as we go through our lives each one of us can expect to come across six distinct stages of personal development, which always occur in the same order. Each stage needs to be well understood to achieve peace of mind. 
The six stages along with their main attributes are:
  1. Innocent - defenseless, undefending, trusting, accepting, loving and feeling loved
  2. Orphan - sense of abandonment, looking for someone to take care of us, or someone to identify with
  3. Pilgrim - trying to find out what one's capabilities are
  4. Warrior-Lover - passionate commitments to one's own interests,values, family, etc. and fighting to sustain them.
  5. Monarch Pair (the King and Queen) - serving and protecting something larger than one's immediate turf with a balanced mix of pride and humility; toughness and softness.
  6. Magician - making things happen while seeming not to do anything much at all
In this book the author discusses how each one of us can embark on our own journey through these six stages and what are the pitfalls to watch out for as we do so.
To support his discussion, he explains the archetypes of each of these stages drawing examples from three thousand years of Western literature.
Just to cite a few of those - 
  • The Odyssey, The Illiad - Homer
  • Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus - Sophocles
  • Oresrteia - Aeschylus
  • The Bible
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Plays of  William Shakespeare
  • Dr.Faustus - Christopher Marlowe
  • Novels of Charles Dickens
  • Books in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowlings
The book is structured systematically and  well written in a manner which fairly easy to understand. But it may not appeal to those who are on the lookout for a conventional self-help book or to those who are not much interested in English Literature.

It was an  interesting read for me nevertheless !

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