[Summary: A look at the story-telling tradition that came from the Ariyan culture, as it developed into modern day tv/movie scripting. Blogged in advance of Richard Rubachers upcoming talk on Hollywood and the Buddha, at the WBU on Sun 2nd March]
The Ariyans were a nomadic race that scholars believe to have developed on the steppes of Russia, who carried with them a great ‘campfire‘ tradition of story telling. For the Ariyans who settled in northern India this story telling tradition became entwined with the indigenous culture and grew into the highly developed Brahmanism, with its Vedas and scholarly (recitation) tradition. Recitation is a more accurate form of record, better even than writing. But it tends to become rather dry and necessarily dogmatic and scholarly after time. The Ariyans however were not really scholars, despite their complex proto-Sanskrit language. Other than India they swept across Europe in several waves, founding the Greek and Roman civilizations by absorbing the Etruscan and Old European settlements. Here too, their penchant for story telling quickly developed into the Greek and Roman Mythologies, focusing first on the Gods and Demi gods, and later on ‘Hero’ stores such as Oedipus. This is in striking similarity to the Nordic mythologies. The Nordic people were also of Ariyan origin, unalloyed by the proto-European races of the Mediterranean. Other Ariyan tribes, especially the Celts, inhabited the Atlantic coast from Spain to Britain, again taking with them a strong tradition of story telling – evolving tales such as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The Fairy Tale, a highly advanced form of psychology and spiritual record, is a remnant of this nomadic tradition that recorded its wisdom and culture in stories. This is in stark contrast to the Indian method of record which was a highly developed form of recitation, or the late European reliance on the written word. It is also a very different tradition to the Judaic one with its complex system of symbology (see Emmanual Swedenborg for some insight into this).
In Fairy Tales, the characters are exaggerated aspects of ourselves and our families, and undergo trials which are exaggerated forms of problems we battle with at different points in our development. Mostly they relate to children’s development, but in some cases the themes are very adult – which we will be looking at in the near future. By seeing how the characters deal with the problems, we gain confidence in our own capabilities. We, as human beings, like to see others battling with our own problems, and finding answers circumstances similar to our own. Modern day Hollywood centres around this – a form of storytelling that is in contrast to the Armageddon style of the Judaic story, or the metaphysical considerations of the Latin stories and myths. It is certainly in contrast to the focused record of Indian Buddhism.
The format is, as non-striking Hollywood script writers will tell you, to present a character, give them a problem, solve the problem, and show how the character has grown as a result. This is standard character development – a direct (and coarse) adaptation of the Ariyan-descended Fairy Tale. The alternative is a tragedy, where although the main protagonist tends to fail, we can still find encouragement in identifying their mistakes, so that hopefully, we will not make the same mistakes ourselves. Tales of this nature tend by design not to carry deep spirituality. Their goal is to look at standard developmental problems that we all will face rather than to peer beyond the norm at a spiritual goal that lies beyond the ordinary experience. The Buddhist message, and indeed the Judaic one, is of something that lies utterly beyond the realm of the regular person, which takes a special journey. Hollywood, and standard movie/play scripting of the modern era can hardly conceive of such goals. If the message of Enlightenment rests at the head of the Ariyan culture as it developed in India, the Hollywood obsession with vicarious problem solving of daily problems lies at the Ariyan Tail.