a connection between unrelated things

So here’s a weird thing. I’ve always enjoyed watching professional wresting, though I don’t view that in itself as a weird thing. It’s popular for a reason, and part of that reason is that the basic storylines are the sorts of stories we like to watch.

I’ve been thinking a lot about story and our oldest stories. This is sparked by articles like the recent Atlas Obscura article, which are very much the sort of article that appeals to me and sparks my curiosity.

But the connection I made was not between professional wresting and the stories we tell from the stars. Rather, the connection was between professional wresting and the Commedia dell’Arte. Both after all are performances that are based around types, though I’ll admit it’s been some time since I’ve done any serious reading about the Commedia.

And this then starts to spark off other thoughts. To what extent are we bound by the types of characters in the stories we tell each other, and to what extent are our stories bound by these types.

Because this would shape all sorts of things. We are story telling creatures. We have always told each other stories. We have told each other stories to explain the world around us. We have told each other stories to chase away the beasts that prowl around in the night.

We have told each other stories to structure and pass along facts about the world expensively gained over time.

And what are the stories we are telling each other now. I recognize that I have drifted a bit off topic, but I’ve decided to follow the thought. We have started focusing our attention, not on the stories about the world as it is, but rather the stories we are comfortable with.

Perhaps one of the functions of story telling is to pass along the uncomfortable truths about the world. That, as we as mathematicians have learned to our benefit and interest over time, the world does not always bend to our will, however much we wish that it would.

And so this has sparked a project for the year to come. Let’s read the old stories. The oldest stories. And let’s start to explore the connections between these old stories and see where that takes us.

~ by Jim Anderson on 2 December 2018.

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