Moulton Lava

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Location: New England, United States

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Unsolved Mysteries

This morning, NPR's Living on Earth was devoted to holiday storytelling. All the guests were fabulous storytellers, recounting their best stories of all time.

At the end of the show, one of the remarks summed up the nature of good stories: They are about loss, and fondly remembering what was lost.

Freud and Jung spent a lot of time examining how we manage our fears and wishes. Jung found that stories were especially powerful tools for processing our fears and wishes.

Yesterday, at the Museum of Science, I was watching a particularly serious and intent young boy work a puzzle. His conscientious deliberation was matched by his anguish and perplexity, for he had taken on an especially challenging puzzle.

In solving puzzles, what is often lost is hope, when time runs out and the train of bright ideas one searches for to solve the vexing puzzle at hand fails to arrive on Track #9. More often than not, for most people, the long-awaited train fails to arrive at the station.

It's hard to tell a good ballad about this kind of loss. And yet it must be a very common, if heartbreaking story.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Chaos recollected in tranquility" makes for excellent stories as well. Sometimes it even leaves the door open for a chapter on redemption, a class of stories born of loss that's been transformed by love.

2:39 PM  

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