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Our monthly stories are productions looking to connect people to the magic of stories.

We create supplementary reading lists as a way to give you an insight into the inspirations and thinking behind our monthly stories. These reading lists take you behind the story, revealing the process of its making.

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Rasa → Veeram (वीरं): Heroism. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour: saffron. Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green


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Archetype → Everyperson


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To belong is to know that someone else has the same wants, fears, regrets, joys and hopes as you do. To belong is to have a people or a place that you can walk home to, no matter how strange the world gets.


This desire to belong is universal; but according to Carl Jung’s theories, this need is profoundly requisite in the personality archetype known as the ‘Everyperson’. Although named ‘the orphan’ in Jung’s theories, and later called ‘the citizen’ and the ‘everyman’, we refer to this personality archetype as the ‘Everyperson’ when we use Jungian archetypes as a storytelling tool. This is the archetypal everyday person who wants to find belonging and connectedness with his fellows; in its shadow self, this archetype does anything to fit in, at any cost, unquestioningly following societal norms and popular beliefs, often to their detriment and complete loss of identity. But, in its light, the Everyperson is a larger-than-life force quietly permeating our everyday life, holding up the simple aspirations and ideals of the common person—a job, a partner, a house, a family to belong to—with illuminating earnestness. The main character of this month’s story, Sunil, was created using this archetype.


This story was designed to trigger two moods; desire, and heroism. Our storytelling moods are derived from the eastern performance art theory of Rasa, which typifies moods created in all works of art. Desire (sringāra) is the spectrum of moods connecting to sensual enjoyment; it’s a recurring mood throughout this current story series exploring human desire. The other dominant mood heroism (veeram) is from the rasa spectrum hosting states of mind connecting to valour. It’s a mood created by determinants such as the presence of mind, perseverance, diplomacy, discipline, strength and assertion.


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Below is a list of art, literature, research and knowledge that inspired us in the making of this story;



January 2023


  • The 2021 World Happiness Report found that people who experienced an increase in connectedness with others during the pandemic had greater life satisfaction, more resilience, and better mental health. Having a strong support system helps people overcome challenges more easily and maintain a state of mental well-being.

  • 1995, Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin: Baumeister and Leary’s landmark paper, was the first to establish ‘belonging’ as a universal human need, ingrained in our motivation as a species and stemming deeply from our ancestral roots. The paper resulted in a significant change in our understanding of belonging especially as it relates to our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Tackling loneliness, caring for an older population, and school violence are just some of the problems that this research had a significant impact on. Since then, research on belonging has played an essential role in responding to these problems and offers great relevance to educational psychology.

  • Retrieved January 2023, Everyman. Wikipedia: The Everyperson character is defined by an intent that most audience members can easily identify with. This character is distinguished from the ‘hero’ character because archetypal heroes are always prepared and respond readily and rapidly with action when there is a crisis; whereas an everyperson typically avoids responsibility and action or reacts ambivalently until a situation demands a reaction to avert disaster.

  • 1985, Small Town, John Mellencamp. Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC: This song from John Mellencamp’s album Scarecrow paints the beauty of ordinary dreams in an extraordinary light. In 2013, Mellencamp told Rolling Stone, "I wanted to write a song that said, 'You don't have to live in New York or Los Angeles to live a full life or enjoy your life.' I was never one of those guys that grew up and thought, 'I need to get out of here.' It never dawned on me. I just valued having a family and staying close to friends."

  • 1970, Working Class Hero, John Lennon. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Apple Records. Lennon’s autobiographical song captures his story of growing up in a poor, post-war area of Liverpool, and reflects his roots in making music that was so appealing to ordinary people. He joined ‘the folks on the hill.’ He said in a 1971 Rolling Stone interview: “I think it’s for the people like me who are working-class—whatever, upper or lower—who are supposed to be processed into the middle classes, through the machinery, that’s all.”

  • Flawed and challenged yet, honest, practical and humble, the everyperson archetype is the antidote to the overtly pretentious narratives of grand heroes and sweeping romantics.

  1. 1964, It Ain't Me Babe, Bob Dylan. Another Side of Bob Dylan, Columbia Records. Originally from Dylan’s fourth album, this song captures the distinction between the hero and lover archetypes from the everyperson.

  2. 2016, Something just like this, The Chainsmokers and Coldplay. Memories...Do Not Open and Kaleidoscope EP. Disruptor/ Columbia Records: Many love songs are about finding the ideal person. In this song, the search isn’t for perfection, but flawed and ordinary. “I’m not looking for somebody / With some superhuman gifts / Some superhero / Some fairytale bliss.”

  • 2022, Pandey, P., Tripathi, R. & Miyapuram, K.P. Classifying oscillatory brain activity associated with Indian Rasas using network metrics: This neurocinematics study explores different brain processes and mental states while watching movies. In line with this, neuroaesthetic is the field that involves the study of esthetic processing in the brain while watching a structured video pertaining to a set of emotions. Veeram (heroic), rasa was identified as a pleasant emotion, triggering brain waves in the delta and gamma bands; it concluded in similar states to sāntam and sringāra and generated patterns markedly different to bhībhatsam (disgust).

  • Agriculture bears a strong connection with the everyperson archetype as well as the heroic rasa. The most basic and standard representation of the simple working human tilling the earth for food, farmers have embodied the everyperson archetype in the collective psyche for millennia. As the providers of food and nourishment to humankind—something we are acutely reminded of in the thick of crises like war and pandemics—stories of honest farmers induce a heroic mood in us.

  1. Dr. Vandana Shiva—an Indian scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and anti-globalization author and Farmer Rishi Kumar—a small-scale farmer, sustainability educator and consultant speak about how people can connect with regenerative gardening and agriculture.

  2. The character William Wallace in Braveheart is presented as an economically and politically marginalized farmer Memories...Do Not Open and Kaleidoscope EP—as one with the common peasant, and with a strong spiritual connection to the land which he is destined to liberate. The character ​​Isabella of France is shown being fascinated by the stories of this Scottish commoner, giving us an insight into the allure of the everyperson archetype, especially when used with the heroic rasa.

  • 2020, This is why. SickKids VS. Toronto, Canada: SickKids VS was the most successful healthcare campaign in Canadian history, raising over $1 billion in just four years. This is an inside look at the realities SickKids patients and staff face daily. “The VS campaign has been recognized around the world as a bold shift in tone for a children’s hospital. With SickKids VS, we celebrate the resilient spirit of our patients, families and staff, and showcase the good 'fight' that goes on at the hospital each day,” says Lori Davison, Vice President, Brand Strategy & Communications, SickKids Foundation. “Our goal was to shine a spotlight on what goes on behind the doors of the hospital, the life-or-death battles taking place every minute of every day that not everyone gets to see or appreciate,” says Craig McIntosh, Executive Creative Director with Cossette.

  • 2021, Keep Moving, Jungle. Loving In Stereo, Caiola/ AWAL: This song, about moving on and moving through hard times, is a mantra ‘to not worry about stuff too much but to be hopeful instead’ according to one of the band’s founders, Josh Lloyd Watson. Signifies community, love, and spirit themes, alongside the strong message "I could live with it", as a reminder for us all during challenging times.

  • Instances, where the everyperson archetype and the heroic mood come together, are public campaigns designed to speak to the masses, communicating the power of people, action, and communities working together.

  1. 1988, Just do it, Nike: Just Do It or JDI for short is a trademark of the shoe company Nike, and it is one of the core components of Nike's brand. It channels the heroic rasa (Veeram). The Just Do It campaign was highly successful, with the company defining the meaning of being both "universal and intensely personal." One of the campaign's objectives was to target all Americans—regardless of age, gender or physical fitness level, and it allowed Nike to further increase its shares and worldwide sales.

  2. 2018, To the greatness of small. Alibaba: Launched as part of its 10-year partnership with the Olympics, Alibaba used emotional sports stories to drive awareness of its support of small businesses, showing how ordinary, small entities can be mighty powerful with the right support.

  3. 2008, Yes We Can, Barack Obama presidential campaign: Political campaigns have long relied on slogans such as Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can” as a call to action and a rallying call for supporters. Similarly to brand slogans it is used as a promise. The “Yes we can” slogan was used by Harris who borrowed the slogan from Obama, who borrowed the call from Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta who used the Spanish version (“Si, se puede”) to mobilize the United Farm Workers in the 1970s.


>> Read the previous reading list


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Our monthly stories are productions looking to connect people to the magic of stories.

We create supplementary reading lists as a way to give you an insight into the inspirations and thinking behind our monthly stories. These reading lists take you behind the story, revealing the process of its making.

-

 


Rasa → Śāntam: Peace or tranquillity. Deity: Vishnu. Colour: perpetual white. Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green


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ArchetypeCaregiver


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Although loving ourselves is easy to dismiss as self-help book junk material, it's at the root of learning to care for anyone or anything else. Self-love, when explored beyond the self-help fodder, is quite a difficult form of love to cultivate without conflicting with widely accepted ideas of humbleness, selfishness and what it means to be part of society.


It’s a form of love that calls us to be blatantly truthful, which opens the potential for it to become deeply uncomfortable. But, what does, after all, loving ourselves even mean— particularly if we’re aspiring to be unselfish and generous, and to outgrow the ego bubble that we’ve grown accustomed to calling the self? Why is it more natural to some people than others? What happens when self-love manifests in its physical expression conflicting with our deep-seated guilt and shame of selfishness?


The December 2022 monthly story explores some of these ideas through a character and a fictitious place. Together they channel ‘the caregiver’ archetype from Jungian psychology which we use as a storytelling tool. From another storytelling tool we use—the eastern performance art theory of Rasa, this story was constructed with the moods sāntam (tranquillity) and undertones of sringāra (desire).


This reading list will take you through the ideas, incidents, people, films, music and research that inspired us through the making of this story.



December 2022


  • Autosexuality was coined by sex therapist Bernard Apfelbaum in 1989 to refer to people who have trouble being turned on by someone else sexually. But, feeling turned on by yourself is common; some experience it more like an orientation, feeling more aroused by themselves than by others.

Autosexuality

Autoromaticism

Autoeroticism and owning your own orgasm


  • In the cautionary Classical Greek myth of Narcissus, we are given an insight into the dangers of solipsism and self-obsession. Narcissus, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope, was prophesied to live to old age, only if he never looked at himself. He gained many female admirers, entranced by his beauty, but rejected them all. Narcissus falls in love with his reflection, having chanced it in a river, at which he stared until he wasted away, and died. The word ‘narcissist’ derives from this story.


  • There is an almost immediate and automatic connection assumed between autosexuality and narcissism, for obvious reasons. But, the two are very different behaviours, almost contradicting one another. So, no—autosexuals are not necessarily narcissistic. Autosexuals are more comfortable in their own company, unlike narcissists who crave outside attention & constant validation. Autosexuals can be pleasers & daters who still prefer private personal sexual experiences, which contrasts with narcissism. Auto sexuality starts with self-consolation & going out alone before it becomes a preference.

What does it mean to be autosexual and does this mean you are also narcissistic?

Being your own sex object

Autoromance to autosexuality—the spectrum of self-satisfaction


  • 2013, Archetypes: A Beginner's Guide to Your Inner-net, Caroline Myss, Ph.D. : Archetypes are universal patterns of behaviour that, once discovered, help you better understand yourself and your place in the world. In this book, Myss writes about ten primary feminine archetypes that have emerged in today’s society: the Caregiver, the Artist/Creative, the Fashionista, the Intellectual, the Rebel, the Queen/Executive, the Advocate, the Visionary, the Athlete, and the Spiritual Seeker.


  • 2015, I arranged my own marriage; Arranged marriages and post-colonial feminism. Pande R., Newcastle University: This study of the practice of arranged marriage among women of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin resident in Britain is interesting because it examined the traditional approach to nuptials within a very different cultural context which is the UK diaspora. It examines the conflation of arranged marriages with forced marriages and the assumption that arranged marriages are examples of cultural practices that thwart individual agency.


  • When the stunning gold-gilded, brass statue of Tara arrived at the British Museum from Sri Lanka, it was seen as too dangerously erotic and voluptuous for public display; and it could be viewed only by scholars on request. But, Tara is a religious being, from Sri Lanka’s old Buddhist tradition that has no difficulty in combining divinity and sensuality—a concept perhaps alien to many cultures like those in Britain and even to current post-colonial Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka.


  • 2010, Turquoise in the Life of Native Americans, Oksana Y. Danchevskaya Moscow State Pedagogical University, Proceedings of the Eighth Native American Symposium: In many ancient philosophies connecting minerals to self-healing, turquoise holds a particularly revered place. Turquoise is believed by many energy healers as the stone for self-care because of its ability to induce self-forgiveness and self-acceptance when a user achieves resonance with the natural vibration of the mineral. Native Americans’ ideas about the metaphysical properties of the turquoise stone may have played a significant role in developing this reputation around the mineral as an element of self-care.


  • 2019, Objects of Despair: Mirrors. Meghan O’Gieblyn. The Paris Review: No common object has inspired obsession and satisfaction as much dread, confusion, and morbid anxiety as the mirror. Ever since their invention, mirrors have shaped our idea of the self, self-worth and identity to startling degrees.

  • Caribbean poet and playwright Derek Walcott—the 1992 Nobel laureate and a writer of such extraordinary poetic prowess—addresses the beauty of self-love in a poem titled “Love After Love,” found in his Collected Poems: 1948–1984 (public library). On an archival On Being episode titled “Opening to Our Lives,” mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn reads Walcott’s masterpiece—undoubtedly one of the greatest, most soul-stretching poems on self-love ever written.


  • 2021, Abdallah Ghazlan, Tuan Ngo, Ping Tan, Yi Min Xie, Phuong Tran, Matthew Donough. Inspiration from Nature's body armours – A review of biological and bioinspired composites: Mother-of-pearl, or nacre which forms pearls, is key for some shellfish to protect and care for themselves; it’s one of the most fascinating and beautiful protective materials in nature. Mother-of-pearl makes up the inner shell lining of pearl mussels and some other mollusks. Pearls themselves are made of the same material. Scientists have been studying how molluscs use this material for self-care and protection so that we can understand its extraordinary resilience and shielding quality. Some of these findings could help create a blueprint for engineering tough new materials in the laboratory.



>> Read the previous reading list



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Image Angela Roma

Rasa → Śāntam: Peace or tranquility. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: perpetual white.

Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green,

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As Jamila stepped onto the cobblestone floors, a reassuring composure welcomed her. It was her favourite villa at the old Dutch fort. Although a sunny April sat outside, it felt as if she had just weathered a storm. Feeling her phone vibrating again, Jamila held down the power button without looking at the screen. Her former fiancé, his family, and her family drove her crazy—collectively and individually. She just had to shut them out.


Jamila drank in the space hungrily while being checked in. It was a spectacular seventeenth-century hospice building turned into a villa. Although she had covetously dined at its restaurant, and religiously liked every single picture that they posted, Jamila had never stayed here before. In fact, she had never stayed anywhere alone before. Her right leg shuddered, twitching unstoppably under the reception desk. The old hospice walls reassured her that everything will be alright. Surrounded by its wizened beauty—holding the centuries within limestone pores, bearing countless stories of broken minds and bones that healed between these walls—Jamila couldn’t help but trust this place.


As soon as left alone in the room, she turned the bathtub tap on and started to undress. Seeing her body emerge from the clothes—thighs, stomach, arms, breasts–Jamila felt her heart rate quicken. Her pubic hair shone black bronze caught in a streak of southern sun sneaking between the curtains. Arching her back, Jamila savoured the vision in the generous mirror.


For as long as she could remember, the thought or sight of others’ bodies or their beauty didn’t quite excite Jamila. But, the effect that her own body had was almost immediate; carefully hidden secret pleasures would escape her effortlessly, seeping uncontrollably. But, living in a world where passion was predominantly a phenomenon to be shared with another, Jamila could never quite love herself without feeling guilty.


Her fingers stroked the ripple on the belly— a secret caress she had grown used to when longing for herself at stolen moments behind the work desk, or when she got the corner seat in the office commute, whenever Netflix got boring… But today, she didn’t have to stop there. Jamila let her fingers stray down to trace the pleasure fields in the folds and valleys of Venus.


Between flashes of parting the skin like petals and grasping at the ebb and flow of lines and curves along the body, Jamila felt her mind fill with something like music. Behind her, the bathtub was filling in unison. Lifted into the air, with the world drowned away into insignificance, Jamila soon found herself suspended somewhere in the zenith of the sky. Then, with an incredible release, she wept.


Finally emptied, Jamila wiped her face and turned the tap off. She lowered herself into the bathtub and felt the warm water surround her with liquid grace. Jamila realized that her insides had been brewing a storm since the arranged marriage was confirmed last year. And, when it finally broke out in lashing rains and thunder yesterday, she called off the engagement and didn’t return home to her parents after work. She came to the villa instead. Coming dangerously close to getting locked into a default life that wasn’t hers, Jamila understood that without making room for who she is, there will never be space for happiness. Yes, passion for self had no biological purpose; but, does everyone have to contribute to this frenzy to propagate? Jamila had no answers.


Everything will be alright, the old limestone walls assured her.



Read the previous story

Go to Reading List for this story.


 

The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.



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