Reading List, January 2023
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 → Veeram (वीरं): Heroism. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour: saffron. Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green
Archetype → Everyperson
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.
Below is a list of art, literature, research and knowledge that inspired us in the making of this story;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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