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Truth & Story

This posting on truth and story made my day. I read it on Serious Play this morning shared it this afternoon and then learned -- made friend of a friend connections. Immediately new touchpoints were created amongst three people. Very cool. And I'd add a new FOAF perspective for all of us.

Gory Ressler shared this story from StoryCon 2002 on Serious Play today and I later found it perfect when asked for “our courage stories” today. First the story then some observations:

The Story of Truth and a Story about Truth

At the closing session of the meeting, after the remaining speakers and attendees had cleared the hall of tables and created a giant story circle to discuss and process the last five days, Tim Sheppard, who flew in from England to attend, told this story. He said he did not know who wrote it. He gave permission to pass it on.

Truth walked into a village. The local inhabitants started cursing at him. Spewing epithets, they chased him out of the village.

Truth walked along the road to the next town. They spit at him and cursed and spewed epithets, driving him out of town.

He walked, lonely and sad, down the empty road, until he reached the next town, still hoping to find someone who was happy to see him, who would embrace Truth with open arms.

So he walked into the third town, this time in the middle of the night, hoping that dawn would find the townsfolk, happy to see Truth with dawn's light. But as soon as they townsfolk's eyes lit upon him they ran to their homes and then came back throwing garbage at him.

Truth ran off, out of town, into the woods, and after crying, and cleaning off the garbage, returned to the edge of the woods, when he heard laughter and gaiety, singing and applause. He saw the townsfolk applauding as STORY entered the town. They brought out fresh meats and soups and pies and pastries and offered them all to STORY. Who smiled and lavished in their love and appreciation.

Come twilight, Truth was sulking and sobbing at the edge of the woods. The townsfolk disdainfully ignored him, but STORY came out to see what the story was.

TRUTH told STORY how all the townsfolk mistreated him, how sad and lonely he was, how much he wanted to accepted and appreciated.

STORY replied, "Of course they all reject you, "STORY looked at TRUTH, eyes a bit lowered to the side. "No-one wants to look at the naked truth."

So STORY gave TRUTH brilliant, beautiful clothing to wear. And they walked into the town together, TRUTH with STORY. And the townspeople greeted them with warmth and love and appreciation, for TRUTH wrapped in STORY’s clothing is a beautiful thing and easy to behold.

And ever since then, truth travels with story, and they are always accepted and loved. And that's the way it was and the way it is and the way it will always be.

I found it very powerful. It took a little courage to share it with the group I was with and then I was rewarded with their comments (not completely in context) that I particularly appreciated and are repeated below.

Hmmmm....this may be one of the differences between those who search the truth (i.e., discovery, development and deployment) as opposed to those who learn more from case studies and best practiced.

Too often we use the truth to put people down, rather than as a fulcrum to lift them up. If I connect "story," then I am probably trying to leverage their understanding, and this way TRUTH and STORY belong together

There was some time ago a very interesting series of paradoxes. One was about truth, is it good to 'put it' out there as you see it or 'hold it'? Depends on what it is and who is speaking as well as who is the listener.

These various leads also turned up another short one by David Bohm. I’ll now have to spend a little more time reading.

From time to time, (the) tribe (gathered) in a circle. They just talked and talked and talked, apparently to no purpose. They made no decisions. There was no leader. And everbody could participate.

There may have been wise men or wise women who were listened to a bit more -- the older ones -- but everybody could talk. The meeting went on, until it finally seemed to stop for no reason at all and the group dispersed.

Yet after that, everybody seemed to know what to do, because they understood each other so well.

Then they could get together in smaller groups and do something or decide things

Comments (1)

The "Truth and Story" tale, as best I know it, comes from the Hasidic and other Jewish-tradition tales that include "The Preacher of Dubno" and other classics. I first heard it from Doug Lipman, and then from Steve Sandberg, at various National Storytelling Festivals more than 20 years ago. As I understand it, the stories themselves date back from Eastern Europe back hundreds of years ago. Just FYI...

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