‘Story of Your Life’ – Short Story by Ted Chiang

Jack recommended a short story by Ted Chiang entitled ‘Story of Your Life’, available for purchase on Amazon…

Jack said: “…it offers a very interesting take on time and the structures of language, and it’s also a beautifully crafted story, in which story and ideas support one another.

What I enjoyed most about the story is the way it demonstrated, in the telling, how past present and future are experienced in the present. The narrator/mother tells the story of the daughter by using memories of past and future tense even though the daughter has passed away. And there was also the narrative of the story of the task of communicating with the aliens in shifting time. And as both of these stories move through shifts in time, they arrive at a mutually knowledgeable or understandable resolution at stories’ end, as past present and future catch up with each other.

Another aspect of the short story was about the development of language. How the ‘telling’ of the story of attempting to ‘communicate’ with an alien species, and the way physiology determines physical embodiment of how to be aware, or the manifestation of consciousness. It had me thinking of humans attempting to commune with dolphins and other species.

There were moments as I read the story that I found my usual boundaries, the ones engendered by under-the-surface expectations, would suddenly dissolve leaving me feeling unsupported, perhaps a little adrift. They were open moments of wonder at the unknown as I drifted in the context of the author’s story-world, as it leaked into my world. I found this exhilarating, which added to my enjoyment of this piece…and…of simply just being alive.

About David Filippone

For more than 25 years I’ve been a 'student' of the Time, Space, Knowledge vision (TSK), not a teacher. And I write from an inquiring student's perspective neither proclaiming nor declaring. I figuratively sit in awe at the feet of a master, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche. For the past 12 years, my personal TSK guide has been Jack Petranker, Director of the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages, and the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI), past dean of the "Tibetan Nyingma Institute", and author of "When It Rains Does Space Get Wet?", "Inside Knowledge", and other TSK related books and articles... I've also received TSK instruction from the late, Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Retreat Center... As a volunteer for the past several years, I've been curating the often TSK focused, CCI Facebook page at... https://tinyurl.com/ybyfolcf
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1 Response to ‘Story of Your Life’ – Short Story by Ted Chiang

  1. michaelg says:

    I appreciate how you emphasis–in a story with much that could be emphasized–the human dimension of a mother who tells her personal story, including a personal trajedy, as one coherent body of time. Like the alien language, which depicts the activities of mind and life as if they were a single inhalation and exhalation, perhaps one day we will all see our lifetimes as one coherent exhalation of knowing.

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