Roach Creative

Media & Film Production

Story as Illusion

One of the natural creations of human beings are stories. Of course before language was fully formed and humans were challenged with basic survival, grunts and groans were likely limited to dire circumstances. Today we communicate about everything we encounter, generally speaking, to each other directly, across social media and using various technologies. We’re learning to use puppets that mimic human beings to do things for us – in spite of having more humans without work or opportunity on the planet to day than ever before – but that’s another matter.

The other day I listened to quite rich and successful man tell me the there were no legitimate churches here in Austin. He travels about 200 miles to the only one that’s valid in his view. The man is exceptionally intelligent and among many achievements he wrote much of the code for the New York Stock Exchange to move from the old manual system into a computer based trading system. However, the point here is that we’re all susceptible to story. He’s done his homework on the stories that have been passed down about religion to cull and refine a viewpoint. Although I respect that view, I don’t necessarily agree or feel the need to opine about it. It’s a viewpoint. Religious leaders have taken the channeling from various ancient sources that have been passed down for years, from generation to generation, through institution after institution, from groups of presumably well meaning or even power hungry parties for years. My concern here is that we note the potential for our own false sense of security based on stories passed between people because we are obviously seeing, especially with today’s transparency, the motives and lack of care, lack of humility in efforts to control and influence the masses over the course of history.

Just recently the Pope denounced the Doctrine of Discovery which was widely used by the most dominant beings on the planet to conquer, enslave and take the possessions of those who were at that time not even deemed to be human beings because of the color of their skin or the alternative lifestyles inherent in their cultures. The stories, or the narrative about our history are tainted by today’s standards. It’s not just the names of our road, statues and buildings that herald or celebrate what would be viewed today as disgusting, it runs through the veins of our courts, laws and even our language. It runs through the premise of the very questions we ask, our daily routines and the structure of life most certainly in the US and much of the Western world. Obviously this meager WordPress article is not going to move the dial much, but maybe if I get my point across and you share this, it could get some momentum. The world can and must be moved the the sincere, truthful and deliberate efforts of individuals moving in concert, but beginning with one at a time before a critical mass is obtained. It may very well begin at home.

Having watched eight children closely as they matured into adults in my own personal life, I can’t help but marvel over the time each of them came home from their first movie with friends (apart from their mothers in particular). The pattern was remarkably similar. They run in and seek the full attention of their mother. I’ve watched this scenario in other families too, but haven’t totally ruled out that I could be a factor in the circumstance. But the real point here is that the child is excited to relate the story they’ve consumed back to person who they relate to more closely that anyone else in the world. It’s not about the movie. It could have been “Jaws” or “The Wizard of Oz” or “Bambi”. The words are actually irrelevant. It’s the emotion and the intention. The child is relating a new experience to their caretaker. The caretaker, we hope, is not overly concerned that the child got the explanation of plot just right or has the correct political bias in the story they relate. Hopefully the healthy caretaker is receptive and excited to build the relationship, to add this new twist. It’s just the beginning of letting go, but the formative step here is positive. They are coming back home to a caretaker and seeking to validate and relate.

I’m fortunate to have had good mothers in this sense as partners. Certainly life would not be complete with every encounter being reported or explained by the child when they arrive home, but for the most part a healthy pattern held true through these early formative years in my three households. Although my upbringing with a masterful detective father and a deeply connected mother skewed my view more toward “what are they not saying”, at least five of these eight were much less extreme than I had been at their ages.

Following the reporting of movies to mama, the next wonder, since 2007 or thereabouts, was to watch kids and their friends venture into adolescence skating across the social media platforms and the emerging online educational host environments. Add hormones, competition and parents with some pretense, and the next thing you know the movies that we used to see are relatively mild. The drama that explodes across the posts, unregulated and in some cases without any parental supervision, exposes all our humanity – sometimes like getting life through a firehose, as one person in shock over what their child had done, confided to me.

So we’re naturally inclined to bend our stories to our benefit. So what? Nothing new, right? That’s exactly true. The old natural limiters, be it access to the direct pipeline between millions of people, or social values that used to mute or promote humility or discourage gossip, today’s standard overwhelms a human being with more that the senses can conceivably adapt to or understand to respond responsibly. So there’s an inherent in-authenticity creeping through the stories we tell. They must be quick and enticing to hold our attention, or we just move on.

The newer generation of caretaker is not going to get the kid coming home with a story about the movie they just saw. Our relationships are being, or have already been disrupted by technology. Our stories are more rooted in what we’d like them to be than what they actually are, fundamentally. It takes time to nurture fundamentals, which is seemingly just not necessary anymore. And who am I to say? The new ways are sweeping our reality. We’re not far from tech driven births that will likely dismiss as myth, the copulations of couples and make a reference to a Petri dish seem so antiquated.

So all this sounds and feels quite shocking. On the positive side, all the gossip and high band width between more human beings that ever on the planet has exposed motives. We’ve seen into the power plays by institutions and those who have had advantages over others. We’re learning to protect ourselves from the stories that mislead. In so doing, we learning to develop a heightened sense for the truth, although as we’re mostly reacting to the deep pain we feel rather than smart, preventative medicine, more and more of us are realizing story has always been about superficial illusions, but more importantly they are relating our deeper needs which have often been veiled by antiquated social power dynamics.


Mark Roach Avatar

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