Why We Tell Each Other Stories
Humans are natural story tellers, but why? Author Jonathan Gotschall says we tell stories for evolutionary and cultural reasons. We even tell stories to ourselves—and call it our identity.
What's the Latest Development?
Author Jonathan Gotschall has written a new book examining why humans are such natural story tellers and what purpose those stories serve in our lives. At an evolutionary level, nature may select for good storytellers, who have a tendency to impress others with their 'gaudy, peacocklike displays of our skill, intelligence, and creativity.' Stories also help to bind society together by passing down invented situations in which moral thinking features heavily. "Stories socialize... Stories moralize. They help us figure out our values and whet our need for justice," says Gotschall.
What's the Big Idea?
We also tell stories to ourselves. Whether you are explaining the role of family in your life or how you managed a romantic breakup, the telling and retelling of memories helps to impose order and meaning in an otherwise chaotic existence. "We spend our lives crafting stories that make us the noble—if flawed—protagonists of first-person dramas," says Gotschall. "A life story is not, however, an objective account." When it comes to psychological therapy, it may be our ability to tell ourselves modified versions of the truth which aids in recovery from a traumatic event.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.
I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.