Organization: SNRI Thiruvanmiyur
Event: A two-day seminar
"Man is in his actions and practice"; says Maclntyre, "essentially a story-telling animal. Myths are
encapsulated philosophies. They hold ‘cultural memories’ in symbolic forms and offer wisdom. It is
through stories and symbols that philosophical ideas have been passed on to us. Each story hides within
itself a particular world view of God, nature and the human world, certain social order, beliefs and
values held at that time. Many of these stories continue to be recalled in various ways- local
conversations, proverbs and sayings, narratives, symbols, words, etc.
Native wisdom found in our indigenous cultures- myths, stories, language, medicine, relationships (with
nature, humans, and Gods), literature (oral and written), worship, morality etc. are storehouses of our
philosophies and these needed to be highlighted again, for more than often, we seem to rely and
appreciate more ‘outside’ cultures and philosophies.
An important dimension that cannot be missed is the influence of stories on social discourses, political
directions, economic considerations, religious narratives. Controversies around stories, metanarratives
surrounding events that eventually acquire new meanings, sometimes cause impediments to community
growth and social harmony, and even inner peace. Stories are powerful and can create or destroy
individuals, social groups, and even nation states.
We are beings with memory and recollection, and there is a difference between these two. According to
Aristotle, memory involves the recall of what was at one time in perception, something that is past and
is now brought back to the present. Recollection is the process of placing this memory in a particular
order, it is a process of ordering the past, and this ordering, Aristotle notes, gives us a knowledge in a
causal sense. Stories help us to have this memory and recollection.
Memories and recollections are important to maintain communities and build values and hence the
importance of stories cannot be undermined. This two-day National Seminar has a special focus on our
stories and delve at their philosophical content beneath the layers of narratives, language, plot,
characters, frames, symbols etc. Considering stories as Philosophies, this seminar attempts at unearthing
philosophical elements hidden deep within stories.
Robin S. Seelan SJ