Monday, July 09, 2007

Psychologists and Novelists

I just recently came across this quote which, at first, made me chuckle. And then in the middle of my chuckling, I found myself saying..."Hmmm...""

"Theories lie more readily than stories. That is why our psychologists tell us we are good but our novelists tell us we are evil." (Peter Kreeft)

I love the "over the top-ness" of this thought. Of course the contrast is an exaggeration. But within the exaggeration you'll find some truth. So many psychologists (and others involved in similar professions) seem to rely on an anthropology that tries to tell us all we're bascially OK, if perhaps a bit victimized. But our greatest storytellers seem to understand the fundamental truth that we're broken and bent and sinful. Of course, I would also argue (and I don't know where the rest of this quote goes, so perhaps Kreeft would too) that our very greatest novelists and storytellers also see our capacity for goodness. Not that we can dredge up goodness. But if we realize we are loved and that grace and help are available, that love and grace and help can begin to shape us into people who can then respond even more fully to that grace. And so we can sometimes do things -- even heroic things -- which seem to go beyond our human limitations.


Erin said...

Interesting quote! And I certainly agree that stories are often uniquely equipped to convey deep truths. The best usually seem to offer characters who are both deeply flawed and noble.

Beth said...

Well-said, Erin. So glad we've got so many good stories to read...