Freedom of the Mind

A capture from “Mr. Gregory’s Time Capsule”. He looks back fondly at his life with Margret.

Storytelling accomplishes many things.  One of those things, at the top of my list, is for a story to enable greater “freedom of the mind”.

As a kid, I fell in love with Greek Mythology.  Funny enough, that love grew out of “Made for TV Movies” or MOWs.  I developed an addiction for “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” starring Kevin Sorbo.  It started out with the MOWs, and then I quickly moved onto the tv series.

The tv show was cheesy as hell, but it introduced me to a whole other world.  That show, along with “Xena Warrior Princess” became a weekly tradition.  It didn’t take long before I branched off into the original greek tales.

When it came to storytelling, the Ancient Greeks left nothing out.  Any activity or behaviour, engaged by man or woman, found its way into lore.  All virtues and failings found their place.  Love, adventure, greed, lust, loyalty, betrayal, jealousy, corruption, friendship, honour, and courage.  Their stories told of a pantheon of immortal gods, and every one of them was as individual, complex, and flawed as the average joe.  They had their good days, and they had their bad days.  Zeus’ bad days often involved striking people and places with bolts of lightning.

Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey” had an impact on me.  They spoke of the complexities of politics in war, when so much is at stake, and there are no simple answers.  These tales put “Game of Thrones” to shame, although GOT is still awesome.  My favourite character was Odysseus the “wisest of all men”, the great strategist and King of Ithaca.  He opposed the gods, claiming that mortal men and women should be the masters of their own fate.  He paid for his defiance and had to fight endless perils in order to return to the life and people he cherished most.  A smart guy, who made a lot of dumb mistakes.  I can relate.

Stories are a beautiful thing.  They provide us with different perspectives on the world and the people who occupy it.  Good stories present us with specific characters dealing with specific challenges.  It’s up to us to decide how we feel about these characters.  We are free to agree or disagree with the choices these characters make.  The themes can take us to places we didn’t expect to go.  What all these stories do, is help to free our minds.

Freedom is a powerful word, and not one to be taken for granted.  Freedom comes not just from choice, but from the awareness of the choices we have.  Storytelling helps us to learn about the world, and the people in it.  It opens our minds up to the possibilities.  Stories inspired explorers to traverse the world and the seas, and eventually space.  They can inspire us to try new things, or interact with different types of people.  Stories inspire us to dream, to ask questions, and to appreciate.

It’s easy to generalize, to try and explain life and people in the simplest of terms.  Stories, through drama, humour, and excitement, help us to transcend beliefs born from fear and frustration.  Entertainment engages us in a positive way, so we feel free to open our minds to new ideas and complex situations.  We end up enjoying the process of exploring the human condition, and are left wanting more.  Diverse, surprising, and unpredictable stories help to expand our comprehension.  Comprehension itself, leads to greater freedom of the mind.

When someone preaches their sermon about “How the world works”, and you’ve seen evidence to the contrary, feel free to answer “Have I a story for you!”  The truth is rarely as simple or as straightforward as we expect, and stories – real or imagined – help to remind us of that.  Stories remind us of the possibilities, and lead us down the path to greater freedom.

You can learn more about the author, Chris Griffin, at About Me.