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Author Topic: Why Do People Have To Tell Stories?  (Read 13452 times)
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Last Login:December 18, 2012, 06:59:40 am
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Religion: Wiccan-ish pantheistic polytheist
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« Reply #16: February 10, 2009, 10:10:36 am »

The phrase that comes to my mind isn't "abstraction-specializing", it's "pattern-seeking".

That's not mutually-exclusive, though; I think there's a very definite relationship at the least, and they could be seen as two ways to say the same thing (what exactly is it that we abstract?  Patterns!).  But I thought I'd throw it in to the mix just to see if it was useful.

I definitely agree there's a relationship between abstract thinking and discerning patterns; I'm not sure they're the same thing. The thing I find interesting is that one can discern patterns in the world around us yet talk about those patterns without resorting to storytelling...and yet, so often, we do just that.

Presenting any set of facts, observations, or ideas as a story seems to make it more compelling for us humans, reaching us on a level mere recitation can't rival. That suggests to me that there's something deep in human psychology that predisposes us to storytelling/story appreciation.

Going back a fair way, I remember a lecture one of my professors gave in which he said something to the effect that humans use stories because we have an understanding of the passage of time.

That's a fascinating conjecture; I'll have to mull that one over some more.

Why humans, in general, tell stories, is far beyond my scope of interest and knowledge, and can only ever really be spoken of in the vaguest of terms, or in poetry.

Oh, drat. I was hoping you esp. would have some insight on this, Catja. Anyway, I *hope* we humans can delve at least a bit closer to the reason behind our need for stories...though you may ultimately prove correct, and it may be left to the realm of poetry.

There are absolutely thousands of reasons to tell stories, and I'm much more sympathetic to starting with the specifics, and then going from there, rather than starting with broad generalizations. 

Are there any general observations you would make regarding the human need for storytelling, based on your experience with specific storytellers, what stories they tell, and when and where they do it?

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