The Librarian

The story “The Librarian” shows a metaphor for the cooperation of conscious and unconscious thinking and represents a useful viewpoint of how memory functions. It is useful in any context where learning and gaining access to memories and capacities plays a role…

Do you sometimes try and think of somebody’s name and it just doesn’t come? And then you do something else and don’t even think about it any more and then suddenly – hey presto! – the name pops up! Isn’t it strange that you sometimes don’t find the solution while you are looking for it, but indeed and very so often, afterwards? How is this possible? There is only one answer…
A friendly librarian works in the brain that manages the stockpile of your knowledge. He sits in the service area on the ground floor near the lobby. The most frequently used books and folders he has nicely to hand and clearly presented in this zone. He has well ordered long shelves in the basement for the material that is rarely required. Sometimes when a book is out of place or your request does not meet the specifications of the registry, he needs more time to research. Because you’re not used to waiting, you are likely to think that he has forgotten you. But as the librarians are not like that, they are in fact very service-oriented and extremely meticulous! With your request in his hand off he goes through all of the basement rooms. He hunts and searches and finally: “Aha! I’ve got it!” With the book in hand, he comes up the stairs. He brings you what you need.


This therapeutic story can be used for supporting learning in general, as well as re-learning abilities after a health problem. For example, it can be applied quite beautifully with stroke patients. Obviously, it is also indicated as a story supporting change and developement with anyone who has got a strong biographical link to Africa. Of course, instead of Africa, other continents or regions of the world can be used, in order to adapt the story to individual needs. The reason why I chose the mapping of Africa as the key focus of this story is, that on maps Africa has the shape of a head or scull and thus points to brain functions.

Maps have existed for millennia but there a big differences between modern maps and those from dating from earlier centuries. For example, three hundred years ago, if a publisher printed a map of Africa, it had big white patches on it. ‚Terra incognita’ was marked on it; unknown territory. The coasts were then largely free of such white spots, but the interior of the continent was still a single, large white patch. However, many researchers undertook trips into the heart of Africa and what they learned there, they reported to the cartographers who diligently recorded everything. Land and water routes were discovered. The turns of each river were researched and drawn. The names of the settlements were recorded and the names of the tribes written down. The white patches on the map became smaller and smaller. The parts of the country that were explored and known steadily grew. Finally, the white spots disappeared completely. The whole of Africa was mapped.

Le gramophone

J’ai un phonographe à la maison. J’y fais passer des chansons comme « Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen » – Seulement ne pas pleurer à cause de l’amour et « Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n » – Je sais qu’il y aura un miracle un jour. Zarah Leander chante ça avec sa voix basse – c’est magnifique ! Puis j’écoute la voix de corbeau de Louis Armstrong, et pour moi c’est une rencontre avec lui-même, avec lui tout personnellement. J’écoute Caruso, il chante avec son vibrato depuis la nuit des temps : « O sole mio… ». Leurs voix volent vers moi des rainures du disque, sans électricité. Elles arrivent vers moi comme les voix de ces personnes même. Quand leurs voix retentissent du pavillon, les chanteurs sont des hôtes dans mon temps. Je les rencontre dans la même pièce. Puis le gramophone se tait, leurs voix retournent dans cet autre monde séparé du notre, là où habitent les anciens possesseurs de ces voix.

Margarita y Lucía

En la rendija de un muro vivían dos lagartijas, Margarita y Lucía. Lucía estaba todo el día echada en el muro tomando sol. Margarita pasaba la mayoría del tiempo buscando insectos para sí misma y para sus hijos. Cuando veía a Lucía echada en el muro, se enfadaba.
“¡Tú cómo gastas el tiempo! Si fueras lagartija decente, por fin te preocuparías del bienestar de tus hijos. ¿Qué es lo que haces todo el día allí arriba?” Lucía pestañó y dijo: “Recupero energía. De esta manera sí que hago algo para mis hijos.”
“Lo veo diferente”, gruñó Margarita. “Y un día te llevará el águila ratonera o el halcón.”
“Esperemos a ver qué pasa”, opinó Lucía y se desperezó en el sol. Margarita prefiría buscar presa en la sombra de los arbustos bajos. Pasaba mucho tiempo cazando hormigas. A menudo parecía cansada. Su vida estaba cada día más amenazada: Ya no tenía nada que contraponer a la rapidez de los gatos y a la de las comadrejas.
Los hijos de Lucía se volvieron fuertes y despabilados, todo como ella misma. Pronto empezaron cogiendo las arañas más gordas, los cárabos más rápidos y aun grandes libélulas. Pero lo que les gustaba lo más era echarse en el muro al lado de su madre y estirarse a la luz del sol.

Everything Else

In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.

Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.

Horse and Rider

I watched a rider training a horse. The lady was short and dainty. The gelding she rode was full of energy. He could have thrown her off his back any time, but this was not what it was about. Two souls were wrestling with each other. “Who is in the lead?” This question filled the air. The woman took her time with the horse. She wanted to tame the horse yet not break its spirit. She wanted its respect and trust. In the end she won the wrestling match and I believe they were both happy.

Safety Measure

“Good morning everyone. On behalf of the captain and the crew I would like to welcome you all on board of our flight 714 from Frankfurt to Madrid…” The friendly voice of the flight attendant introduced us to the safety regulations on the plane. As requested I put my seat upright and buckled my seat belt. I looked out of the window where the runway seemed to move backwards at a slow pace. I heard the friendly voice say “In case of loss of air pressure in the cabin, oxygen masks will fall from an opening above your seat. You can adjust the mask to fit by using the elastic strap. Press the mask tightly to your face and breathe deeply and calmly. Travellers with small children: Please put your mask on first, then that of your child.” I looked at the seat next to me where my two year old girl sat nestled into her blanket, and I wondered: “Would I follow these instructions?”