To see the truth of yourself and your own life you could look in a mirror. But that might not tell you much. Better to look in a story. It’s all there.
Because there’s a hidden code in fiction, a secret intended to help you change your life.
In stories, the heroes are stand-ins for ourselves. We place ourselves in their shoes, in their adventure, their dilemma. We feel their pain and joy.
But they are more than that. Their situations provide lessons for us in how we should face life. And this is the secret to the true power of fiction.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and face all kinds of foes and challenges. They have many faults to overcome. They need to find their courage, grow from being a child to an adult, take responsibility, learn to forgive or to love or to forget.
But there is one overriding fault all heroes possess. One overarching change they all must make.
At the start of a story, a hero lacks self-awareness. Their change, their revelation and epiphany comes with a moment of self-insight. They realise for the first time that they are the root of their own problems, that their own emotions or thinking or attitudes have betrayed them, that their actions have been wrong.
Now they can change. Now they can defeat evil and win the battle or the heart of their beloved.
Self awareness. Self knowledge. Realisation. Awakening.
That’s what fiction is all about. Because that’s what life is all about.