A highlight from The power of storytelling a cautionary tale

Future Tense


And gentlemen gather around. I would love to share with you a story stories. What our lives might opt. Storytelling is joke. Telling i am a storyteller and this is my story. We are all unreliable. Narrators of our own lives point is that these are stories that we can listen to. These are stories that we can learn from in the end. That's all we really are outrageous stories. You can think of today's episode of future tense as a kind of story. A caution retail if you like about the power and prominence of storytelling stories like opinions have become an acidity of modern life. Everybody is encouraged to have an opinion and everybody in the vernacular of countless motivation speakers is encouraged to be the hero of their own story. Hello antony fennell here. Welcome to the program. There's nothing wrong. With a good story. Of course stories can be a very effective means of communication and entertainment but are we in danger of making too much of them if the story form becomes the central device so much of our communication. Do we risk losing our sense of objective. Reality all of our guest today. Communicators and storytellers themselves in one form or another so. Let's see their perspectives. I'm nick morgan. I'm president of public words inc a communications consulting company. Dr morgan describes the story as ms sensual. Human tool what a story is good for. is that it places. A map essentially unreality places structure on reality. The philosophers tell us the reality is is chaotic and not guaranteed. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. We think we know and we tell ourselves stories that help us make sense out of our lives and Create structures for us so that we can sleep at night and we can get up in the day and go to work thinking that we're part of a plan a story that we're telling ourselves so the limits of story are you need to realize that it is just that it's a story. It's a in effect a supposition or an argument. That you're making the world. It may or may not be true it may or may not come true the simple example the student who graduates from high school and decides to go to college because he or she thinks getting a degree is a worthwhile activity. That's a story you're telling yourself you're you're saying i'm the hero this story i'm going to go on a quest to achieve diploma and i'm going to get something valuable out of that. Well you don't have as much control over the next four years or or however long it takes as you'd think but it. The story helps us get through those for years. Nick morgan argues. The human mind is structured to remember stories. Not facts now. The world is full of worry concern and potential conflict. So does that help. Explain why there's been a rising talk around the importance of stories and storytelling. The rise and negatively in the rise in concern really has a number of factors. I think some of them have to do with storytelling. Are some of them. Give rise to a heightened interest in storytelling. Some of them have to do with the increase in speed in modern life. The increase in the amount of data. We have to make sense. Of every day we we feel information overload. We feel that things are a little chaotic. And you add on top of all the trends that which already existed a year ago you add a pandemic on top of that and the result is we feel a bit under siege and so We use stories to make sense of that. Chaos to try to bring a little order to the chaos and the alternative is to think or to try to remember in terms of lists and concepts and to try to organize our mind. The way textbooks organized. Let's say and that doesn't have the same effect for us. Because it doesn't give us that sense of security that comes from the emotion that storytelling famously. Of course many people at the moment are wary of facts and of expertise. Is there in your view. A connection between that and the rise of the idea of of of the stories as a preeminent form of communication. That's the sort of dark side of storytelling. isn't it. If we can spin a yarn that appears to cover the facts as we see them than that's one thing but if we're just making up the facts or avoid them altogether that's another. Unfortunately we seem to be living in a fairly a fact free zone these days least many of us do and so any kind of storytelling will do. But there are a number of aspects to that that are important. Such as in a public sphere in a political sphere. Were trying to operate a democracy. Say here in the united states then facts are very important to our storytelling and we let go of those. And we're in dangerous territory indeed but does the emotional and persuasive side of storytelling. Make it harder for people to distinguish between stories based on fact and stories by stone fiction striking

Coming up next