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Why story?

Why are they so important?

Why do they affect us so much?

What is a story anyway?

Before we begin, I think it is important to define what story is. Of all of the reading and research I have done into it, the best definition of story comes from Kendall Haven “A detailed character-based narration of a character’s struggles to overcome obstacles and reach an important goal.” 

For over 100,000 years we, us humans have told stories. We’ve told them for longer than we had language through pictures and symbols. Pictures on cave walls, Egyptian hieroglyphics, aboriginal dreamtime paintings. The spoken word, language is a ‘new’ invention that has allowed us to express story concepts. 

Oral stories and songs became the ‘mode du jour’ way to share history, news, values, culture, heritage and attitudes. We shared it person to person; generation to generation; culture to culture.

This 100,000 year reliance on story has genetically hardwired us to tell stories. We are, as Jonathan Gottschall eloquently puts it, “Storytelling Animals”. We are addicted to them - we code information in our head in symbols, metaphors and stories. And we constantly update our internal representations with new information and symbols. Even when we are asleep we are immersed in story. 

Story induces an altered state of awareness and enables someone to achieve an expanded awareness. As with hypnosis, story allows people to be more receptive, less analytical and more connected to their unconscious and imagination. 

Philosopher Isak Dinesen said “to be a person is to have a story to tell” 

The story of human existence is...STORY.

Quote of the Week

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” 

 

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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