STORYTELLING

God made man because he loves stories. —Rabbi Nachman

Stories, whether in the form of myths, allegories, metaphors, parables, or fairy tales, can be healing. Throughout the ages children have been told stories by adults at times when they need guidance in order to cope with a difficult life situation. Wisdom and insight are much more easily absorbed when presented within the context of a story. The right brain opens up to stories in a way our left brain can’t understand.

Stories are how we learn. The progenitors of the world’s religions understood this, handing down our great myths and legends from generation to generation. —Bill Mooney

The evolution of technology has changed the tools available to storytellers. The earliest forms of storytelling are thought to have been primarily oral combined with gestures and expressions. Rudimentary drawings scratched onto the walls of caves may also be forms of early storytelling. Ephemeral media such as sand, leaves, and the carved trunks of living trees have also been used to record stories in pictures or with writing. With the advent of writing, the use of actual digit symbols to represent language, and the use of stable, portable media stories were recorded, transcribed and shared over wide regions of the world. Stories have been carved, scratched, painted, printed, or inked onto wood or bamboo, ivory and other bones, pottery, clay tablets, stone, palm-leaf books, skins (parchment), bark cloth, paper, silk, canvas and other textiles, recorded on film and stored electronically in digital form. Complex forms of tattooing may also represent stories, with information about genealogy, affiliation and social status.

The story was the bushman’s most sacred possession. These people knew what we do not; that without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilization. Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own. —Laurens Van der Post

Traditionally, oral stories were committed to memory and then passed from generation to generation. However, in the most recent past, written and televised media has largely surpassed this method communicating local, family and cultural histories.

We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say-and to feel- ‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel it.’ You’re not as alone as you thought. —John Steinbeck

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