The Story of Story

Stories are our flight-of-fancy simulators for a dangerous world. Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human explains the how and why of it all in a magnificent detail. Using pages, stages, and screens, Gottschall points out, we have sealed ourselves in a biosphere of fictions and factions.

Naturally, as stories are an inexhaustible natural resource, people quickly learned to make a living selling them. Story Worldwide is one of the more thoughtful companies that have seized the power of storytelling for marketing. They have found a way to plot commercial narratives along a three dimensional graph measuring interactivity, density of information, and size of target audience. (Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.They are not paying me. I found them while surfing YouTube)

Developing grids to categorize stories is a fascinating exercise. When you have a free weekend, try to come up with some of your own axes. (There’s a pun in there about mathematical graphing and chopping but I’ll pass over it in silence)

As I discussed in One Continuous Media, advertising and entertainment have blended like cream in coffee and even David Bohm’s implicate order rheostat couldn’t unmix them now.

I have just recently come to accept that storytelling and marketing are symbiotes. Indisputably, both were born at the dawn of human consciousness because both have defined our species. To create a story is to understand a process, like the return of spring or migration patterns of prey. To market an idea is to convince, cajole, or compel cooperation which allowed individuals to become clans. Sasha Viasasha put it best in her Compete Like an Animal blog:

Cunning, wile, guile, secrecy, and a certain reptilian creepingness can be witnessed across the panorama of biological life, so it can be no surprise to note their presence wherever we find human congress.

These traits, essential to survival against the monumental indifference of Nature, comprise the seeds of storytelling and marketing. That’s why tricksters were our first heroes in myth and continue to captivate us across all media. We just can’t and won’t live without them.

End of story.

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