One of the powerful reasons for storytelling by the way is sitting on the lap. Now, the minute you have a child on your lap or up against you and nested up to you and you’re telling a story two or three things happen. The field surrounding the body, you can call it anything you like but certainly there is one, the two fields are overlapping. The reason the child must be given a face pattern at 6-12 inches away at birth is because they can only perceive within that 6-12 inches. That has to be, if you don’t mind the word, subtle field, their subtle energy must be invaded by the parent. That is the parent must be within that field as they certainly were with the child when it’s in-utero. And I think the bedtime story, we’re down very close to the child, we’re very close in, a close distance or the child is on our lap.
I remember my mother, my grandmother storytelling, I was always on their lap and it was partly the sonority of their voice and resonance of their body as it resonated their voice, and above all their connection. So there’s an enormous amount of exchange their and bonding as we’d want to call it, the continual reinforcement of that relationship, as well as if both, if you enter into the inner world fully because they’re shared in the worlds and effect. So, the difference of inner worlds, the inner world of imagination, the ability to create a marvelous inner scenarios is not just socially acceptable, it’s the way to go. The model is the way.
M: You have said that this unfoldment of the imagination is the foundation for all higher learning. Help me understand what you mean by that.
J: One of the first things you find a child does, we’ll start and do with a story has become very familiar with them, the reason for them wanting the same story over and over and over. As we say we know it’s not to learn the story because they’ll correct you on the second time you tell them if you mess up. So it’s not that. It’s because the enormous challenge to the brain of creating a series of moving images all connecting together, challenging every facet of the brain, and you’re having to build new neural connections between fields, establishing field connections at a very rapid rate and finally they stabilize and that particular story becomes a, it’s image flow which can then be distinct from story. You’re not talking about that. You are simply here to establish new rules, structures, stimulate them, brought them into play, the connection with all the rest of the neural fields needed in the brain system which most neural matter is being created in the brain as a response of the challenge.
Now once that stabilizes then the child has at their disposal, you see, a whole inner world and their immediate desire will be to project it onto the external world. Look momma, look daddy, in effect. And so, what they’ll do is they’ll want to act the story out or play the story out in their external world and they do this by projection. They take the inner image and they project it onto an external image and then modify, because all this is internal brain operations which in the self-organizing system, they modify the external image by the internal image and play in a modulated world, so to speak.
The parent becomes parts of The Three Bears story and the soup on the table can be porridge and so on. They’ll project onto their immediate surroundings the story that they have created an internal image. So that completes the circuitry. They find that the can be impressed by this story, they create the inner world and then they can change their external world with it. If the parents will cooperate and go on and be the big bear and mamma bear, then the child finds that their internal capacity for this image making can profoundly affect their external world and here their will-power and self-esteem and feeling of being and having some dominion over your world as its foundation.
Then we get into, this will lead you right in to the later forms of imaginative play. When the child sees an activity going on in their adult world or their models out there and they want to emulate it. At this point they will create an internal image of an external event and then take the internal image and project it onto some object that they can control in their external world.
I always use the example since it’s very real to me and having undergone it of seeing the great machine running down the road, mashing everything flat, building the road when I was child and the road roller was the most impressive sight of my life and I was blown away by it and it burned its way into my brain. And then looking around I had no road roller, we had very few toys, and finally a little spool in my mother’s sewing kit and holding it up and immediately it was the target for my projection and I saw it as this beautiful road roller. It became that. And for hours I was making all the appropriate noises. I’ve observed this in my own children in every conceivable way. I was seizing a little clothespin and draping some things around, here’s a beautiful princess and the matchbox becomes a bed, the nail or truck and boat and so on and so forth.
Now the ability to see one object in another object is metaphoric, symbolic thinking. It’s the foundations of both metaphor and symbol which underlies all alphabets, mathematical systems, philosophical notions, and so on and so forth. Even religious systems on and on they go, chemical form and so on, all rest on that simple capacity of seeing one thing as another. So, the thought if we can look at E = MC2, which is a meaningless batch of hen scratches and right meaning into it. E stands for energy, here are the signs for equality and M for mass and so on and so forth. If we can tear up the whole world with it. If we can then then take that idea and manipulate our world with it. So the foundation of all metaphoric symbolic thinking is in that critical seven year period, the first seven years of life which all the child wants to do is play or be told stories. What is that play and storytelling? It’s building the foundations of metaphoric symbolic thinking.
If we shortcut that, again it’s a form of intellectual interference or separation from the natural intelligence by forcing the child into premature metaphoric symbolic thinking of a highly abstract nature such as the alphabets and so on. Some children will be ready for it early. Some precocious children can do it. Some children can do it but at a great price, you see. The price is whole in its fullness. The rest of the system being met with its necessary environmental stimuli. So it’s much better to put off all of the abstract applications of metaphor and symbol only until that developmental period is complete.