Stories are more real than matter! Here's why...

LilyoftheLake
Stories are more real than matter! Heres why...

When I was young, I once read the quote "Fantasy doesn't teach us that Dragon's exist; they teach us that Dragon's can be beaten." I thought it very interesting at the time, and it came up again in the light of me discovering a new philosopher, Jordan Peterson.

I don't agree with everything he says, but he brings up some very interesting points, this being one that I happen to agree with. But I digress.

In a recent philosophy class I took, we learned about the Problem of the Premise. Essentially, it boils down to say that logic cannot prove logic correct.

On a more dramatic note, David Hume established what was, in essence, a massive logical proof of empiricism, ultimately concluding that if you can only believe in your senses, your knowledge is limited to the fact that you are CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING what you BELIEVE to be (fill in the blank).

This bothered me. I had turned to solid science after a religious falling out, only to be forced to question why I believe what I do. I finally concluded that, above all else, one must choose to believe in something or choose to believe in nothing at all.

Then it becomes an experiment, running on the premise that if you act in accordance with Truth, things turn out the right way (such as the premise that if your car won't start it must be out of gas being rewarded by turning on when you put gas in the tank. If this premise were false, the car wouldn't start).

How does this relate to stories? Essentially, Truth seems to boil down to what we can perceive internally, not externally. Socrates said something along those lines, and it matches up with the Christian belief in the Holy Spirit.

For example, murder is wrong. Most people agree with that sentiment, but when asked why, they become a bit confused. Is it wrong because society says so? No, more than that. Is it only due to religion? No, most atheists believe the same. "Is cannot imply ought," as Hume said, so it can't be science.

So ultimately, we can recognize truth when we see it. But how to tell the difference between wanting something to be true, and sensing it to be true? I've concluded (for myself, at least) that they are different. It takes effort to distinguish between my heart and my soul, but my soul knows better than my heart.

Great, but how can I find the truth? Doesn't everyone have different opinions? It occurred to me that it would be nice if we could sift somehow, unconsciously, through a large number of ideas, using a large number of persons. Present them with opinions and thoughts, and see how they react to it on an internal level.

Behold, stories. I watched Peterson's analysis of The Lion King, and I have to say he makes some good points. There is incredible truth buried at the center of the story, unknown to the conscious mind of the writers. But it was incredibly popular, not because it agreed with everyone's ideologies (as in, crafted ideas that make sense but are ultimately detached from central Truth) but because the soul responded - quietly and subtly.

Stories that survive the test of time are stronger, represent more deeply held truths. The Bible, real or not, has some VERY INTERESTING principles guiding it throughout the book, aside from the more arbitrary commandments. After all, people have gravitated towards it for millennia - but why? It's not a very NICE book. It doesn't promise you that life will be easy and pleasant, that all humans are inherently good and would never do anything to hurt each other. Heck, it says outright that humans are TERRIBLY FLAWED and STUPID.

I digress. Other stories teach similar things, though not necessarily with the obvious morals. Is Beauty and the Beast a piece of propaganda pushing women to accept surly, cruel, and unattractive men? If so, why do we like it?

The difference between the Beast and Gaston was that the Beast suffered for his pride and cruelty, while Gaston didn't. When she talks back to Gaston, he dismisses her, while the Beast is cowed and considers his position. He changes into something acceptable over time, while Gaston, no matter how handsome, remains ignorant and proud until the end.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in my search for truth, I firmly believe that looking to true mythology will help more than facts. Stories teach us how to act, what we should and shouldn't do. Little else in the world (other than religion) can offer us such lessons.

Stories are more real than matter! Here's why...
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  • Xtendable

    Very academically written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
    As for societal standards, couldn’t it be argued that those myths and stories are reflections of those said standards?
    I do agree however, that we do connect to stories on a subconscious level and they speak a lot more deeply than to our hearts.
    If the story just relayed the message to our hearts, or feelings, then those feelings can be swayed by the next story. As you said, we are fallible and fickle by nature.
    But, if the story spoke to us more deeply, to who we are, the subtle morals and message would be far more indelibly imprinted on our identity. Hence why folk stories, fairy tales, myths and legends are often culturally-centered and based, giving substance and basis to people groups globally.

    Is this still revelant?
    • Social standards, when built by long-standing (and somewhat Darwinian) methods, are based around truths that helped those societies grow strong and survive. Though I see where you are coming from...

      For example, there is not a culture alive that finds a liar and cheat HONORABLE. Some may have a higher tolerance for it, but it is never seen as a positive moral. Why? Because societies that reward cheats and liars crumble!

      Similarly, I would argue that societal standards, when longstanding, are more often built around these Truths than vice versa.

    • Xtendable

      That’s absolutely correct, which I think is the reason for such tales and stories, not just to entertain but to teach, much like Aesop did.

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  • markml

    Somewhat related, an interesting phenomenon is that models don't have to be correct to make the correct predictions most of the time:

    (*) A recent example that comes to mind is machine learning, which has made significant progress in developing AI applications. The learning algorithm often used involves an optimization technique called gradient descent that has no guarantee of reaching a global optimum. In fact, it's very likely that you will hit a "local optima" rather than the true optimum, and yet the results are very good. We're now seeing AI that can perform as well as humans and sometimes better. This is evidence that human intelligence likely works much the same way -- we have models in our head for how the world works that may not be correct, but statistically give good results. Of course, because the model is not perfect, there's always the possibility of a bug in the mind producing a maladaptation, which is probably where most psychological problems come from.

    (*) Newton's Laws work very well, even though physicists no longer believe that they correctly describe how the universe works, given contradictory phenomena discovered in the 20th Century. People are often mistaken in thinking that science is about getting at the truth, when really it's the opposite. Science is about falsifiability. Science only applies to the realm of things that can hypothetically be disproven. If you make a statement that can't be disproven, it doesn't mean it's not true, but it's not science. Quantum physics provides counter examples to Newton's universe, thus requiring a new model to fit the new observations. But the old model, the one that was only known in the 19th Century seems to work well enough, that most people aren't at an extreme disadvantage if they missed out on 20th Century physics lessons.

    (*) Pure logic and mathematics seems different than empirical science, until you get down to the level of axioms. Axioms can not be proven, but have to be accepted at face value. The choice of axioms thus requires some debate. Ultimately, axioms get chosen based both on how natural they seem and the ability to prove things that most mathematicians already believe to be true. In that sense, choosing a set of axioms is very similar to choosing a scientific theory or a machine learning model. We choose axioms that predict what we already expect to be true. Using that model, we are able to prove things that we aren't sure if they are true. But there's always going to be some doubt about the correctness of the model. For instance, some mathematicians oppose the Axiom of Choice, because it leaves to some results that feel paradoxical, or defy our intuition. Others insist it must be included, because it also leads to results that are deemed practical. And finally, you have statements like the Continuum Hypothesis, which is shown to be independent of the accepted axioms. That means our model can't prove it true or false, even though we believe that logically it must be either true or false. And of course, Godel showed that no matter what set of axioms you choose, there will always be statements that can't be proven. This means we won't ever come up with a correct model.

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  • monorprise

    Stories are indeed the key to understanding a culture they are in fact the language of what defines them. This is why when people try to control a culture they tend to alter the stories.

    Fortunately we have old books and the ability to access a wide range of historic information from around the world so it is more possible than ever before to know the original stories that once defined us.

    One thing I find particular interesting is how much more relevant some of the original versions of stories were than the ones most commonly told to us growing up. For example the Original Aladdin rather than being a thief was actually a lazy boy who lived with his mom.

    Clearly some problems never change, nor is the original lesion that such men can and grow up with an opportunity to be come good men worthy of a princess most relevant to how to handle current problems in our culture.

    Instead because of how the story was changed too many such men see being a thief as a way to make it big.

    Reply
  • ArtemisSilver

    Interesting read. But you're missing a satanic subtext with beauty and the beast. The beast represents a man with demons or possibly a nephilim hybrid. Such creatures are damned and bared from heaven, except perhaps through the redemptive love of a human, hence his late transformation.

    Note that the beast is a noble, his otherworldly power has granted him wealth through bloodline and martial power. The movies intention is to teach women that this is desirable.

    On the other hand Gaston represents a champion of mortal men. He is portrayed as foolish, low and bestial, like a stag in rut. The wolf like form of the beast shows this man to be his prey.

    Gaston, despite the way he has been jilted, sees the beast for what he is and tries to confront him, but lacking in other worldy power, owing to his lack of spirituality, he is slain like most mortal men would be without a connection to the devine.

    In short it's a fun movie, but with very dark satanic symbolism. Which is nothing new for Hollywood.

    Reply
    • However, the beast isn't otherworldly in origin! He is a man, and a tortured one, not committed to his beasthood in any sense. She refuses to accept him when he is ACTING like a beast, only showing interest as he learns to become a human in the truest sense.

      You have an interesting take on it, but ultimately I disagree with certain aspects. Gaston is in no way depicted to the viewer as wise or insightful, rather taking a very low stance on physical aspect - not demonic action.

      Similarly, the Beast takes no repercussive action to slay him, permitting the death to come UNTIL Belle shows up and insists he fights! Then the Beast does not even slay Gaston - he falls to his death, not overcome by the power of the beast, but rather by his own folly.

    • Haha, well it's been a while since I've seen it. But I still stand by the satanic subtext.

  • supercutebutt

    Yup. I watched an old movie called Porky's a few years ago. In the film, Porky was a bar owner and made to look like a villain all because he had rules in his bar. The film tried to make us root for the teen criminals but I didn't fall for it. I was on Porky's side the entire time :)

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  • 19magic

    I really like it while someonr saying something doesn't mean a lot, if someone were to tell a story it resonates a lot more in your soul. If you were going through s tough time sometimes that can help and heal your inner feelings and subconscious more than other things.

    Reply
  • Jamie05rhs

    Nice MyTake!

    I think Beauty and the Beast gives us 2 lessons:

    1. To not judge a book by its cover.

    and

    2. The redemptive power of love.

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  • athlete_7

    Yep stories do teach us stuff they put us in situations with chars we can relate to or not what discisions would have been right or wrong. Tbh stories that are popular or appeal masses is usually based out of common situations people face.

    Reply
    • athlete_7

      I do disagree fairy tales at times tho. Or with the perception of the fact that everything has to be picture perfect like the fairy tales are supposed to be. Real life and humans aren't perf and they are flawed nothing goes as it should. People fail not everyone is a hero and a sucess

    • athlete_7

      Not everyone is a villan too. Even villans have some situations.

  • JustiReno

    Why hasn’t this witch been burned she sounds like a god damn Freemason

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  • Alex8736

    I guess it comes down to the serenity prayer that states, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference" 😇😇

    Reply
  • RoseJ123

    Totally agree with you. This is an outstanding take!

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  • Chazmatazz269

    Myths, legends and fables were likely originally told as an interactive teaching method. The teller works through a story that fantastically portrays one or more dilemmas relevant to the human experience. When the listener reacts to the story, the teller can learn what values and morals to deliver through that story or the next. That’s why stories mean so much to us now. We evolved from people who likely wouldn’t have survived without these essential teaching tools. Peterson’s reflection on how the bible informs our understanding of truth and order is fascinating, but his explanation of it for the cheap seats is dangerously brief. Unfortunately, zealots and the ignorant aren’t likely paying to take his courses.

    Reply
  • bean2k21

    So, this is one of the main reasons I studied computer science, because it's essentially philosophy. I was fascinated by things like you can create an entire universe that operates inside of an infinite loop, and that that loop is infinite simply because you have a condition that always remains true. And what is that true statement? Well in a computer game the true statement looks something like:
    while (true == true) {
    //play the game here
    }
    or, you could simply say
    while (1) {
    }
    leveraging the reflexive property that a thing is always equal to itself. That being said, I think logic if a finite set of discrete values and you don't have to really prove it because those discrete values prove themselves because one cannot exist without the other
    while (false) {
    //do nothing
    }

    Reply
    • bean2k21

      Or more concisely, couldn't logic prove logic like this, or am I missing something?
      1 == 1
      0 == 0
      1 != 0
      1 AND 1 = 1
      1 AND 0 = 0

    • bean2k21

      This has officially fucked with my head for the last two days, on and off, because I thought I understood the cosmos until now. If there is no truth value, then there can be no infinite loop because and infinite loop depends on a true statement. And if there is no infinite loop, well then there is just nothing. But this cannot even be possible -- you can't have nothing without something. So the condition of any logic, then is just what, null? Wait, there is a third value, isn't there? Null. Holy fuck.

    • :D lol it messed me up bad

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  • Deserter

    Fictional characters matter more to us than 99.999999% of people. They have more ofan impact on our lives

    Reply
  • IsoUser

    To be perfectly honest I actually always preferred Stephen King, Clive Barker, John Grisham Grisham etc.

    Reply
  • loveslongnails

    I have to say that while I enjoyed watching your thoughts unfold, I don't arrive at the same place. I don't accept the idea of "true mythology" - it's a contradiction in terms.
    I do however agree, that humans are very flawed and terribly, awfully stupid in many respects, yet capable of great inventions.

    I also do not understand your analogy with the car being out of gas. It's befuddling.
    "My car doesn't start, therefore it must be out of gas", is really a hypothesis, not a premise. The difference is a hypothesis needs to be test, whereas a premise is something you assume, or think, is true.

    In the end, I like that you even think about such things. :)

    Reply
    • They hypothesis becomes an assumed premise for action (The car is out of gas, so I must fill it). Sorry for not clarifying.

      Mythology is the word Peterson used, and I admit I find it trivial. It's more along the lines of patterns across our lives, even across generations that we find to be true.

    • Yes, Peterson's choice is trivial at best, but every writer tries to create their own lexicon in order to sell books. LOL

      Ok now, back to the logic! My point is, "the car is out of gas" doesn't become a premise until you KNOW it's out of gas, or decide you can NOT know it's out of gas but then hypothesize "that's the most likely reason it's not starting". At that point, it becomes your "actionable premise", so to speak.

      But the initial process, or it should be is "The car doesn't start - what are the most likely reasons".
      To say it "MUST" be out of gas is --- a hypothesis. Maybe it's semantics, but most of philosophy often is just that. See my message :)

    • Premises are ASSUMED, not KNOWN. Admittedly, semantics is correct, but I hope my main points still stand.

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  • JohnK123

    Whoa great think question…
    it’s just the same as “nothing was wrong until there was right”…..

    Reply
  • SamuelTray

    You make some really good points. Thinking about it, you’re right.

    Reply
  • Whatever2929292

    Interesting

    Reply
  • Avadarling

    Interesting take hun!!

    Reply
  • larry69

    This is well written.

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