Lumina Blog Post

Storytelling - making sense of the 'pseudo-modern' world


Once upon a time, there was an enchanted world where everything made sense. 

We are born into, and out of stories, and from the time before we are born we are listening to stories. 

Since the down of time storytelling was a way of understanding the world and our place in it, and connecting to the great sea of human destiny.
While differently constructed, fairytales and folklore permeate every society. Traditional fairy tales have their roots in our oldest myths and legends, in those primal tales that were formed when human beings first began to speak, in the folktales that were and sometimes still are told in the oral tradition. Through the ages, and within different cultural contexts, fairytales and folklore have taught children and adults socially acceptable behaviours, consequences of good and bad deeds, and the essence of human condition.

But the fairy tale, as an agent of meaning, is a living form. What started as traditional oral tales, in the last few centuries got written down (or at least in most of Western societies) & illustrated, giving us a chance to reconnect in our own time.  Then it got reshaped again. No longer did we have to create for ourselves images of lost worlds and maidens in distress: there were films retelling the tales for us on screens as powerful as our own imagination, accompanied by music and visual effects.

And then came the 'Brave New World' of social media. Our reality became fast, fragmented, comsumed instantly and thrown away. The amount of clutter became overwhelming (just check your inbox, or your Facebook/Twitter feed :)), preventing us from understanding, while giving us the illusion that we do. We feel connected, always online and on call, messaging, emailing, chatting, tweeting, reading instant headlines and forgetting about them few seconds later. Our brains are being re-wired; our attention spam shorter and shorter. 

But even in our 'pseudo-modern' (Kirby) society, as humans, to be truly happy we still need to emotionally engage, to physically connect, to make sense and create meaning. That's why storytelling needs to be re-discovered as both an art & a tool to organise our experiences and create memories; to escape the shallowness od our instant, direct participation in culture via likes, cliks, downloads; to see the forest and the tree. 

As Beckett says, ‘Life is not a story but rather a collection of pieces waiting to be told as a story'.

Jonathan Harris: Today

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