What is a Home if not a place to discover yourself? When I return home, and even while I remain here at college, I contemplate the stories which compile my life. If we accept as true Rushdie and Kolvenbach’s claim in which language actively creates reality, I am immediately drawn to all the significant stories which I feel compose my time here on earth; or, all the roles I’ve assumed for all the various scripts which compile our cultural stories. And if we use the metaphor of our beings as composed of an actor playing a role in a larger script for an even larger story, on which level do I truly exist? Some roles in my life have been written—to keep with the metaphor—for me, while others I am constantly writing and creating. To some degree, discovering the difference between these two is a key into discovery. For example, I have been writing my own role as carpenter for a while but have been playing the role of son for even longer. What are the possible implications this holds for our lives; or more specifically, whose script are we playing for? Do we have a duty to act in our personal life’s script as well as acting in the scripts we didn’t chose to assume? In this way, recognizing our lives are entirely composed of stories gives me a certain peace because, no matter what I may do, my role is part of a greater story; a cultural story which is greater than my personal role in its script and yet isn’t because my personal role can expand our cultural story. I feel as though our lives simultaneously express our encompassing cultural stories as well as create our cultural stories; which in the final analysis, implies tremendous ability to create ourselves. Reading Potiki and seeing their way of perceiving relationships has given me insight into my own abilities to create and express stories in a positive manner.
The previous paragraph was inspired while reading and discovering the indigenous New Zealand way of perceiving the world. As an oral culture, they know themselves thoroughly through storytelling; and even more, they as a people see themselves constantly living for and expressing their cultural story. It seems as if the Maori people live through the cycles of their cultural story. For example, in a quote we discussed in class by Toko, “The seeds are a new beginning, but started from a death. Well everything is like that—that’s what my mother Roimata says. End is always beginning. Death is life…” Since they already perceive the natural cycles which all biological life cycles through, they realize their cultural cycle (the entire web of their cultural scripts) transcends the deaths and rebirths of the biological cycle through the art and gift of storytelling. To use a natural metaphor of earth and water, their individual stories resemble water; and the earth, which is shaped by and shapes the direction of the water, resembles their cultural stories. So, while the individual stories ebb and flow through the cultural stories, what remains important is the process of flowing and channeling. Each individual in their culture is a receptor of the cultural story, which defines the limits of their reality; however, each individual has the power to expand their culture’s limits of reality by creating their own powerful stories. In reflection of this perception of life, we should be excited in contributing to the stories which have defined the limits of our lives; in the hopes of one day expanding our cultural universe a little bit wider.