Anyone who is mildly curious has tried, at least at some point, to make sense of the world around and has attempted to look beyond first appearances; a curious mind asks questions – I guess this is what curiosity is mostly about. Questions can concern why things are the way they are, and why people behave the way they behave. Of course, a young and curious person is unable to go far in answering such questions without the help of people around him. And so, in the first steps of the momentous task of answering this type of questions, the young and curious relies on what people in his immediate environment, his parents, his siblings, his teachers, and his friends tell him; he accumulates their tales, and he adds to them some of his own with time. As he grows older, more people contribute additional tales; some of such people are living individuals, while others are passed away; some are immediate contacts, while others are known only indirectly; all, however, participate in one way or another to his general understanding of things. Numerous tales get forgotten with time (or at least one thinks so); others evolve; and all get mixed together somehow.
If the curious person is percipient enough, she notices, rather quickly, that what people tell her or have told her does not always work well with what she, for herself, can observe; of course, much of what they tell her is also quite contradictory in itself. Moreover, she notices that what she tells herself does not work that well with what she observes either. And if the curious person has practiced science, in one field or another, or, in other words, if she has learned to test and verify the validity of statements told by others or created by herself, then it becomes all the more apparent that most of these statements, by her and by others, do not hold well together. Following such difficulties, many curious minds give up and simply enjoy life; some may specialise their search in one particular area and focus less on the rest.
I have few things I may be able to say about this challenge, although I will not claim to have resolved it. I find that the difficulty arises not necessarily in how things of the world are, but, rather, in how they are told and why they are told in certain ways; the challenge is in what is being told. Having considered these difficulties for some time now, it is clearer to me that the crux is with the stories we form and trade. The influence of stories may seem obvious to warrant too much thinking; only, what may not be as obvious is to what extent stories influence our lives.
You may have suspected by now that I am building up to some kind of announcement so, despite my general rule of seldom using this blog for marketing purposes, I will go ahead and say it: I would like to share with you first, followers of this blog, that I am about to publish a new work on the Story. In fact, I have been dedicating energy over the past years to thinking about the Story under many angles and about its impact on all that is around us; this work has now reached a level where I find it appropriate to publicly share some of it. My work on the Story will be published in three parts, and each part will treat this subject in a different manner. I call it a trilogy; only, it is not a fictional trilogy but a mixed one. The first part of this work will be published this summer, and the two other parts will hopefully follow separately over the coming several months.
Below are extracts of the description of The Story in Three Parts:
What if all the world around us unfolds in certain ways while we, human beings, constantly tell ourselves different stories about it? What if what we call human understanding is nothing else than stories we make up about some of the world’s events, stories that are for the most part either flawed or incomplete? And if that is the case, to what extent do we do so and why do we even do it? What if we have always been living more in our stories than in the real world? These are some of the important questions John H.T. Francis addresses in his new trilogy The Story in Three Parts. […] Each part of this Trilogy highlights the central role of the Story to human meaning and understanding in a different way: simply through a story (Part I); in a theoretic-philosophical way (Part II); and in a practical way (Part III).