Storytelling Explained

Storytelling is a broad, unwieldy concept to understand, let alone explain. On a surface-level, it seems easy enough to grasp; storytelling is the art of creating and telling stories.

That much is simple enough to grasp for anybody, but what may be overlooked is the effect it has on our society. Which is to say that storytelling, whether intentionally or by accident, has shaped human societies since humans were first capable of intelligent thought.

In ancient Greece, what began as a series of disjointed fables merged over generations to form a mythology which still inspires storytellers to this day. Back then however, the myths were also the religious backbone of their societies, influencing politics and philosophy just like any modern-day religion. Photo courtesy of

Why do people tell stories?

More often than not, people to entertain themselves, or even other people. In some cases, stories are also told to impart wisdom onto others. Sometimes, they are even used to mislead their audience, or to justify bigotry.

Keeping this in mind, it is important to remember that storytelling is not some art that can be neatly categorized as good, bad or even neutral.

Stories, and the storytellers who share them, are a reflection of their societies. People do not get to choose where they are born or what circumstances they are born into, but they can decide how they think about their circumstances.

To add another layer, people are also inspired by the stories they consume over their lives, meaning that even people from similar backgrounds can have radically different viewpoints depending on the stories they are exposed to.

This building in Tunisia was a former set for the 1977 science fiction film Star Wars. As one of the most popular stories in modern history, fans have developed many different but valid interpretations of the franchise, comparing the Empire to both the Nazis in World War II but also the United States during the Vietnam War. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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