The World Is Made of Stories

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Overview

In this dynamic and utterly novel presentation, David Loy explores the fascinating proposition that the stories we tell—about what is and is not possible, about ourselves, about right and wrong, life and death, about the world and everything in it—become the very building blocks of our experience and of reality itself. Loy uses an intriguing mixture of quotations from familiar and less-familiar sources and brief stand-alone micro-essays, engaging the reader in challenging and illuminating dialogue. As we come to ...

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The World Is Made of Stories

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Overview

In this dynamic and utterly novel presentation, David Loy explores the fascinating proposition that the stories we tell—about what is and is not possible, about ourselves, about right and wrong, life and death, about the world and everything in it—become the very building blocks of our experience and of reality itself. Loy uses an intriguing mixture of quotations from familiar and less-familiar sources and brief stand-alone micro-essays, engaging the reader in challenging and illuminating dialogue. As we come to see that the world is made—in a word—of stories, we come to a richer understanding of that most elusive of Buddhist ideas: shunyata, the "generative emptiness" that is the all-pervading quality inherent to all mental and physical forms in our ever-changing world. Reminiscent of Zen koans and works of sophisticated poetry, this book will reward both a casual read and deep reflection.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The latest from Loy (Money, Sex, War, Karma), religion and society professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is more than a collection of inspiring words pulled from literary sources as diverse as Nietzsche and the Grateful Dead, though such pithy inspiration can certainly be found. The author proposes a large theory: the world consists of stories that make the universe. Loy succeeds at what could be a tough abstract sell, thanks to his convincing arrangement of and dialogue with the sources he selects. Stories are viewed in the broadest sense; he defines them as "an account of something," be it myth, culture, history, or self-identity. Brief authorial essays between quoted passages breathe life into the world-as-story premise and also unlock deeper questions. The biggest unknown: if our stories are everything, what lies beyond them? To answer, Loy discusses koans (paradoxical statements in Buddhism that he calls "stories to free us from stories") and shunyata, a Buddhist conception of formlessness. Throughout this challenging but readable study, the driving concerns of philosophy and religion are shown to be not far removed from one another. Loy explores the amazing, sometimes bewildering unfolding of the human story with dexterous scholarship and surprising wisdom. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

The World Is Made of Stories is about the Master Story; how we are its telling, untelling, and retelling. David R. Loy delivers freedom straight-up in a delightful, variegated collection of wisdom quotes and commentaries. This book is great fun.”—Barry Magid, author of Ending the Pursuit of Happiness

“Drawing on a broad range of religious and secular sources, David Loy’s compelling story about stories reveals through a series of clear and penetrating reflections the inescapable presence of narrative in human life.”—Stephen Batchelor, author of Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

“In this slender but powerful book Loy draws the reader’s attention to the power of words. He shows how stories have spoken us into existence, how each of us story the world into existence, and how these different stories inform and transform themselves, each other, and us. I consider Loy one of the most important spiritual thinkers of our day.”—James Ishmael Ford, author of Zen Master WHO?

“An inspired, sustained, poetic, and not-quite-linear contemplation of the nature of mind. David R. Loy leads a merry, twisting chase.”—Kate Wheeler, editor of Nixon Under the Bodhi Tree

“Please handle carefully! Some readers may be profoundly unnerved by this book, others will find it deeply liberating—no one, I think, will go away unchanged.”—Kurt Spellmeyer, author of Buddha at the Apocalypse

Barry Magid
"The World Is Made of Stories is about the Master Story; how we are its telling, untelling, and retelling. David R. Loy delivers freedom straight-up in a delightful, variegated collection of wisdom quotes and commentaries. This book is great fun."
Stephen Batchelor
"Drawing on a broad range of religious and secular sources, David Loy's compelling story about stories reveals through a series of clear and penetrating reflections the inescapable presence of narrative in human life."
James Ishmael Ford
"In this slender but powerful book Loy draws the reader's attention to the power of words. He shows how stories have spoken us into existence, how each of us story the world into existence, and how these different stories inform and transform themselves, each other, and us. I consider Loy one of the most important spiritual thinkers of our day."
Kate Wheeler
"An inspired, sustained, poetic, and not-quite-linear contemplation of the nature of mind. David R. Loy leads a merry, twisting chase."
Kurt Spellmeyer
"Please handle carefully! Some readers may be profoundly unnerved by this book, others will find it deeply liberating—no one, I think, will go away unchanged."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861716159
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 732,924
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David R. Loy's previous books include the acclaimed Money, Sex, War, Karma, The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory, and The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons, a finalist for the 2006 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award. He was the Besl Professor of Ethics/Religion and Society at Cincinnati's Xavier University.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 3, 2011

    Brilliant

    Anyone with an interest in postmodernism, narrative therapy, semantics, or Buddhism will find this book powerful and delightful. If you liked Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, you'll love the World Is Made of Stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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