Mythic Ways of Knowing Quotes

“The stories we tell about our lives are not necessarily those lives as they were lived, but these stories become our experience of those lives. A published narrative of an illness is not the illness itself, but it can become the experience of the illness. The social scientific notion of reliability – getting the same answer to the same question at different times – does not fit here. Life moves on, stories change with that movement, and experience changes. Stories are true to the flux of experience, and the story affects the direction of that flux. If calling stories true requires some category of stories called false, I confess to being unsure what a ‘false’ personal account would be. I have read personal accounts I considered evasive, but that evasion was their truth. The more reconstructed the story, the more powerful the truth of the desire for what is being told, as the corrected version of what was lived. Hearing the desire in the story takes me back to the need for a different level of attention to stories.”
–Arthur Frank, The Wounded Storyteller, 1995. p. 22.

“‘My grandmother taught me respect for the environment and the old Navajo way of discipline and about the Beautyway. She said that all Creation begins at the center from within. If you look at the center of a loom, the colors of a new design will show themselves to you and each design will come only once. She said that the yellow poles that hold up a loom must be strong or the loom will sag and the rug will be crooked. A human has to live between the yellow poles of his life, too — not too poor, not too rich — to stay in harmony.'”
— Navajo weaver Jesse Monongye, cited in Enduring Traditions: Art of the Navajo, by Lois Essary Jacka and Jerry Jacka. 1994. p. 157

“The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding.  ‘Live,’ Nietzsche says, ‘as though the day were here.’  It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse.”
— Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1949, p. 391.

Return to the Mythic Ways of Knowing page.