Stories Essay

1610 WordsMay 2, 20127 Pages
Stories Most of what we know, or think we know we have never personally experienced. We live in a world erected by the stories we hear, see, and tell. Unlocking incredible riches through imagery and words, conjuring up the unseen through art, creating towering works of imagination and fact through science, poetry, song, tales, reports and laws - that is the true magic of human life. Today that age-old process faces enormous and insidious challenges in the form of entertainment violence that wrecks attempts to promote a culture of peace. The following article explores what might be done to diversify, pacify, democratize and humanize the mainstream story-telling process that shapes the cultural environment in which we live. Through the magic of stories, we live in a world much wider than the threats and gratifications of the immediate physical environment, which is the world of other species. Stories socialize us into roles of gender, age, class, vocation and lifestyle, and offer models of conformity or targets for rebellion. They weave the seamless web of the cultural environment that cultivates most of what we think, what we do, and how we conduct our affairs. The story-telling process used to be handcrafted, homemade, and community-inspired. Now it is mostly mass-produced and policy-driven. It is the result of a complex manufacturing and marketing process. The situation calls for a new diagnosis and a new prescription such as Revelation, description and advice. The stories that animate our cultural environment have three distinct but related functions. These functions are (1) to reveal how things work; (2) to describe what things are; and (3) to tell us what to do about them. Stories of the first kind, revealing how things work, illuminate the all-important but invisible relationships and hidden dynamics of life. Fairy tales, novels, plays, comics, cartoons,

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