September 11, 2008

illuminating parables

While on an island off the coast of Sicily this summer, I took advantage of the hot midday after-lunch time to read a book that had been on my shelf for awhile, "My Name is Red" by the Turkish Nobel prize winning author, Orhan Pamuk. It is a sort of murder mystery set in the late 1590s in Istanbul among a group of miniaturists of the Sultan, but it is much more than a page turner "who done it" and adds to our cross-cultural discussion. I love his writing and am intrigued by the little glimpses I get of another mindset and way of thinking, reasoning, intuiting. His book, "Snow" was amazing for these insights.

Anyway, one observation I wanted to share.

The main character (a sort of detective figure in the plot named Black) visits the Master miniaturist to learn more about the three remaining miniaturists in his studio in connection with their fourth colleague who had been found dead. He suggested that the younger man ask each miniaturist three questions to determine "how genuine the young painter is". These questions were around the subjects of style vs signature, time and blindness.

Black followed his instructions and asked each miniaturist one of the questions. They all responded by telling three separate stories or parables. Black would then interprete the parables, connecting how each one built on the other to determine the miniaturist's beliefs and philosophy on the subject, and thereby illuminating his soul.

Not exactly a linear, clear, direct way of going about an interrogation, but quite effective.

Let's say a different communication style, in which context plays an important role, almost as much as what is left unsaid.

a domani (actually Tuesday),

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