Laura Hillenbrand: Author as True Other
Inspiring Quantum Resilience
“Steeled for the worst, we encounter the best. It is not only that some are strong at the broken places; it is also that, through trauma, others become strong, and discover they’re strong in ways they never knew. For sometimes trauma awakens extraordinary capacities that otherwise would lie dormant, unknown and utapped. Without the trauma, they would never see the light of day.” (Diana Fosha, 2001).
“You, in this thread and others, have helped us ALL to not only understand what is going on in Texas, in the context of our own local challenges (such as Hurricane Irene), and anniversaries (9/11), but to take stock of our personal legacies and resilience, the stories of how we came to be who and where we are, and why we are called to minister to others in distress, to elicit and ‘fan those sparks of courage’ (Ossefort-Russell) and resilience in them.” (emphasis mine) (Susan Walton, 2011).
Laura Hillenbrand is the best selling and award winning author of two non-fiction historical novels, Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001) , the story of a racehorse who inspired the nation during the Depression era, and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010), the story of Louie Zamperini: a delinquent boy turned Olympic runner expected to break the 4 minute mile, turned fighter pilot hero, turned survivor of 47 days adrift at sea, turned POW survivor, turned survivor of PTSD and alcoholism, turned national inspirational speaker who thrives to this day in his mid-nineties .
This review of Laura Hillenbrand’s novels is, true to AEDP ethos, less about the stories as it is a reflection on the phenomena of inspiration and resilience; not everyday resilience, but extraordinary, quantum resilience. The central theme of this review is that quantum resilience can and does happen in everyday life – propelling an ordinary person into acts astounding even their own expectations.
The second theme is an exploration into the True Other mind frame that is a necessary condition to both inspire and to receive inspiration. The receiver of inspiration must in some way experience the source of inspiration as a True Other. And, the receiver must be a True other in receptivity to the source of inspiration.
Hillenbrand’s work masterfully illuminates True Otherness, in all its variations: her tender sensibilities as biographical author, her writing that compels us toward a receptive willingness to be inspired, and the True Otherness among her subjects that fragrances every page.
Examples of how inspiration works its magic in the context of True Otherness is dramatized by a particular genre of resilience her characters portray in abundance – the entire arc of the natural course of volition that has been oppressed and then freed. Keenly targeted by Hillenbrand, volition (literally her subjects’ will or self-determination) is tracked and their inspiration embroidered from its beginning in the form of valiant defiance to surrender to a True Other, and finally into triumphant acts of mastery.
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