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The Story Archetype

  • Broadcast in Psychology
Assisi Institute

Assisi Institute


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Experience is stored as story. All human beings throughout time, across space and culture, instinctively store experience instinctively in story form. Story is one way spirit takes shape in matter; psyche becomes conscious in us in stories. As I have written recently in my public journal on my website, human beings are hard wired for story and story telling. Our internal conversations are programed to speak in the language of story. What I mean is this. Our mental patterning, the we we store, process, plan and remember, is organized as narrative. It is often difficult to become present enough, conscious enough, to yourself to see what that story, that myth, is. For now, just consider that every experience a person has is stored in the form of a story. The rose on the dining room table has a story; what happened at school or the office today is stored and shared as a story; even a complex scientific principle, such as E=MC2 is telling a story. "Each of us has her or his story. One's personal myth engenders meaning, and grounds her or him in the center of her or his life as nothing else can. The problem is, many people do not know what their story is, or they know it only partially. In psychotherapy we work with stories...When we reflect on the great stories that have withstood the test of time, we gather the "prima materia," the archetypal and instructive background of the narrative structure within the inner story.