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Cemetary with neat lines of headstones.

Life Stories

I am in no doubt that telling stories about ourselves is the most characteristically human thing we do...story-telling is the way we try to make sense of the world, and we seem to have being doing it since we started to speak.

Richard Holloway (2004)


Not unreasonably (as a Christian bishop) Holloway is particularly interested in one grand story, Path between trees. On the way that stories give unity. and how it can unify the facets of experience; for life comes to us as endless particulars, Shafts of light on the landscape north of Sa Pa in Vietnam. A little on particulars
and stories make it whole - although maybe not for everybody ‘holy’. Most of our tales are internal, and die with us, they may or may not involve language, Mist forming up the valley among the trees of Ae forest. On the far from simple relation between language and thought. although when they do emerge, and we test them out with others, we ‘translate’ them into language. The pivotal story in all our lives is not the one that Holloway has in mind, although in social and cultural terms his is an example of The Greatest Story Ever Told, but rather the un-told story of our own life. The burgeoning, multifaceted, thousand sorrow, A spider's web between stalks. An eighth century poem echoing
down the
green isle Looking out across the sea to the Fleet Isles. Setting aside what is not here gives us relief from those vicissitudes. strewn, roller coaster we identify as ourselves. My journey. Man on horse looking back. Change as
the basis of life
- rather than its subversion.
The world we feel we live in is not made up of facts, nor indeed of things, but of something more akin to stories.

The quote is from page 64 of Richard Holloway’s book Looking in the Distance, Cannongate, Edinburgh. That the world was made up of facts, rather than things, was an idea canvassed by Wittgenstein at paragraph 1.1 in his Tractatus (1918/1922), but which does belong to a specific philosophical approach.

Marking the ending of many stories, St Cuthbert’s Kirkyard lies just north east of Kirkcudbright town-centre in southern Scotland. The name of the town is formed from The Church of St Cuthbert on the Bay: Kirk-Cuth-Bright/Kirk-cud-bright.

Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 3rd September 2022

Murphy on duty to this site