L. Devar

We all know that if people can learn anything at all, they will learn by experience. The knowledge gained directly through rewards, bruises, and bare escapes probably form the strongest part of the foundation of how we perceive the world. However, and most likely fortunately, we cannot learn all that we need first hand. Therefore there must be efficient and judicious ways to pass on vital information. We refer, of course, to that which aids survival and not the luxury of academics.

Now I suppose that a parent could hand down a list of dos and don’ts. But how effective would that be? What we seem do try to do instead is to pass on our own experiences not by lecture, but by story. This recounting of the past events can create at least an indirect experience for the listener that, with empathy and imagination, approaches reality. Clever or inaccurate rascals that we are, we find that purposefully emphasized or embellished facts may serve better to transmit our point. And, taking the logic one step further, we may find that fabricated facts may be even more useful, more powerful, and more beautiful.

Hence, we are a species of storytellers and story-lovers. Fairytales, fables, history, biographies, Dick and Jane, scriptural mythology, romances, plays, epics, jokes, profound literature, yarns, and even lies are all variations on the same theme; disseminate a perception and influence the world downstream. Our world is defined by stories, from personal anecdotes to collective beliefs. Every great movement and every genocide has a story at its origin. Populations can be swept along in a story’s momentum, or a soul inspired by its depth. Therefore, may your stories be wise, compassionate, and useful so that you and yours may be the same.