© 2022 Stephen R K Fender

Opening Notes

O

The Storied Path is our path to living a meaningful life. Just as we take the juice of the grape and ferment it into wine we take the fruit of our experience and turn it into narrative and story extracting meaning from our living. Just as the ingredients for the creation of wine is held within the elements of the grape, the elements of a meaningful life are held within our lived experiences. Motion, time, and appearance are the ingredients of meaning. We live as events in an ever-changing event. Objects are temporary entities created by our stories.

The machine is rising and if we are not careful, we will be eaten by it. We will loose the ability to tell stories.

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stephen’s Note

Facts tell you little about the purpose of existence. I have come to the conclusion that only a poetic spirit can discover what it means to be human. And being human is, at the end of the day, what it’s all about. Knowledge broadens our horizons, helps us see further into the fogs of mystery but that’s it. Knowledge doesn’t really help when you ask: what lies beyond the fogs? My name is Stephen. I am a writer and poet. I live in the same darkness, and I am surrounded by the same mystery as you, my dear reader. I know that the meaning of life is not discovered in books or in some complicated plot of a great novel, the meaning of life is discovered in living out our own story. If our story needs to be written down and anchored to some part of history then that must be done very carefully and creatively. For just as one can only see a very small part of an iceberg, most of an individual’s reality happens out of the view of others.


Reimagining Life

R

I have undertaken this project for those people, like myself, who want to believe that their lives are innately meaningful. Many people shudder at the thought that existence is without purpose and that it may be, at its core, utterly meaningless. Our fearful response to such thoughts is not always related to a concern for our own mortality but to a deep sadness that our lives, our actions, our beautiful inventions, mean nothing.

Religion has often become the refuge for those who seek to place meaning at the heart of their experience. Religion provides an understanding of the world that chases away the abyss of meaninglessness that surrounds the more secular and scientific understandings of existence. But religion is far from perfect. Most religions are growing frailer because of their inability to evolve. Religions are often obsessively attached to their founders and their original writings that they have become overburdened with history and interpretation. This may not have been too problematic when the world was big and there was little or no information on competing theories of existence. Today, the world is small and information is everywhere.  

Our entire life fits within one small moment. It is difficult to establish just how big this moment is. We live between the edge of the future and the beginning of the past. We occupy this boundary our entire lives. We can move neither into the future nor into the past. Our experience of this moment is all we have. This single moment of experience slides through time with us as its passenger. As we slide into the future it becomes the present for a short while before becoming our past.

Our moment is furnished throughout our lives by a variety of people, objects and events. It is littered with artefacts form the past: books, ornaments, photos, memories… and ideas about the future. We live surrounded by stories embodied in our collected relics. It is in our one moment that we encounter the divine. First as a stranger and then over time, as a friend.


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