The above link is to an interview with Sir Ben Kingsley. He said something that struck me which I wanted to share.
Sir BEN KINGSLEY (Actor):
I think that the role of the (writer), perhaps at its simplest and its purest, is one of the tribal storyteller, and that if you were to transport me back maybe 3,000 years, I'd be sitting around the fire at night with the little tribe, reassuring them about their past, hoping that they will sleep through the night, and comforting them about their future, and try and build those bridges of empathy - particularly aspects of life that are baffling and frightening.
... I think I'm getting closer to a madman at the bonfire, telling stories. I think it's just very important to embrace tragedy as a real part of our lives. David Mamet, in his book "Writings in Restaurants," defined - let me slightly paraphrase and say Western civilization. Western civilization is a civilization determined to outlaw tragedy. If removed, the interpretation of tragedy, and the presentation of tragedy, promise shaman, who's sitting by the bonfire - you're telling the tribe nothing of real life. And it doesn't prepare us as adults. It's infantilizes us, and it dodges an enormous responsibility.
And all great mythology that we love and respect has included loss and tragedy, as well as great moments of salvation. It is braided in.