The Power of Story


THE STORY OF GOD

Image credit: National Geographic

Image credit: National Geographic

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
A six-part documentary miniseries
National Geographic

Why does God allow so much suffering? What is the meaning of our existence? This past Sunday, National Geographic aired their latest project, a six-part documentary miniseries entitled: The Story of God with Morgan Freeman. The documentary series, hosted by Freeman, takes a deep look at the evolution of religion and humanity’s existential search for God, meaning, and purpose. In an interview with Jon Huckins on Patheos, Freeman said of the new series: “I am a huge proponent of listening to and learning from those who view God and the world differently than I do. For me, I don’t find this threatening to my faith, but enlivening. In fact, I would argue that moving toward those of different faiths doesn’t compromise my faith; it reflects the very best of it.” You can read about Freeman’s experience filming the series here and watch a trailer for the film here. Have you seen it? What did you think?


LIVING ARTS & CULTURAL VITALITY

Image credit: moaroundtheworld.blogspot.com

Image credit: moaroundtheworld.blogspot.com


Why Culture is Essential for Conflict Recovery and Sustainable Development
by Cynthia P. Schneider
The World Post
A Partnership of The Huffington Post & Bergguen Institute

 
“Art is not able to change the world, but art can show the future and the past. We had to come back and deal with identity. You can’t rebuild a country without rebuilding identity.”
~ Rithy Pahn

In this article on the importance of cultural vitality, former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Cynthia P. Schneider poses the question: Does the revival of culture play a critical role in recovering from conflict and achieving sustainable development? Her answer is yes. Focusing primarily on Cambodia post-Khmer Rouge, Schneider illustrates the importance of cultural vitality through the experience of one refugee's return to Cambodia as a young adult, where he rediscovers his former homeland through the country's living arts of music, dance, performance, and rituals. More broadly, Schneider writes, this process of rediscovery has been vitally important to Cambodia’s restoration because it has “enabled young Cambodians who knew their country as a near ruin to understand its extraordinary history and living culture, and to find their own voices in envisioning its future.” What role, if any, do you see for art and culture in the healing process of countries, societies, and individuals that have undergone unspeakable tragedy and trauma?


ART & ACTIVISM

Image credit: Chicago Maroon

Image credit: Chicago Maroon

Art and Activism Intertwine in Thompson Talk
Posted by Kenneth Talbott La Vega
The Chicago Maroon

Artist, author, and curator Nato Thompson recently spoke at The University of Chicago about his latest book, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Twenty-first CenturyThompson's work primarily focuses on socially and politically motivated art. In 2007, after working as a curator at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, he became the chief curator of Creative Time, a New York City–based nonprofit arts group where he organized some of the most famous contemporary public arts projects in the United States. You can read more here about his art and activism and his critique of what he sees as the "overwhelming elitism that plagues political art."


THE STORIES INSIDE OUR HEAD

Image credit: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Image credit: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Rob Doyle: Getting out of my head
by Rob Doyle
The Irish Times

In this article, Irish author Rob Doyle muses about the agony of individual consciousness and the work it takes to free one’s spirit from getting too trapped by our thoughts and internal narratives.  He suggests the possibility that reading can “offer glimpses of transcendence, of liberation from what a particularly cracked philosopher, Nick Land, called the 'head case.'" He also suggests traveling and allowing oneself to wander. Does this speak to you? How do you free yourself from getting too bogged down by recurring thoughts and narratives inside your head?