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Word Count: 1,111
Stories do not need to inform us of anything They do inform us of things From The Epic of Gilgamesh for example we know something of the people who lived in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the second and third millenniums BCE We know they celebrated a king named Gilgamesh we know they believed in many gods we know they were self-conscious of their own cultivation of the natural world and we know they were literate These things we can fix -- or establish definitely But stories also remind us of things we cannot fix -- of what it means to be human They reflect our will to understand what we cannot understand and reconcile us to mortalityWe read The Epic of Gilgamesh four thousand years after it was written in part because we are scholars or pseudo-scholars and wish to learn something about human history We read it as well because we want to know the meaning of life The meaning of life however is not something we can wrap up and walk away with Discussing the philosophy of the Tao Alan Watts explains what he believes Lao-tzu means by the line The five colours will blind a mans sight The eyes sensitivity to color Watts writes is impaired by the fixed idea that there are just five true colors There is an infinite continuity of shading and breaking it down into divisions with names distracts the attention from its subtlety 27 Similarly the minds sensitivity to the meaning of life is impaired by fixed notions or perspectives on what it means to be human There is an infinite continuity of meaning that can be comprehended only by seeing again for ourselves We read stories -- and reading is a kind of re-telling -- not to learn what is known but to know what cannot be known for it is ongoing and we are in the middle of itTo see
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