Today I want to talk to you about one of the topics that passionate me the most, one of the activities that I’ll never be bored of, storytelling. Although this word is having a large success in recent times – in Italy, for instance, it is now associated to cool marketing strategies – this process has been part of human life for a very long time. Building narratives is a natural way that our brain has to make sense of what happens around us and, at the same time, socialize.
“Narrative is like life, it exists in itself, it’s international, transhistorical and transcultural” Roland Barthes
We use stories to communicate, express our feelings, release our tensions, share our experiences, affirm our ideas, give support, educate, entertain, discuss and, ultimately, to define who we are. From the ancient Greek tragedies to the web series, from the nineteenth-century romance to contemporary poetry, narratives are an essential tool to build our identities. Here’s a note that I found in one of the sociology books I have in my personal library, “Common stories” by Professor Paolo Jedlowski:
– identity is the result of a self-development work that the individual acts on himself using the symbolic resources that he founds in his social context –
To understand what we are, we need to tell a story. Sometimes the personal novels that we create in our minds and that we tell to explain our lives help us to grow up and find a way to redefine our identity. The bed-time stories that we listen to in our childhood and the books we read every day are strategic in the process of building and re-building a personality through time.
Some sociologists like Jedlowski say that the contemporary community is now losing our oral tradition and slowly losing our ability to tell good stories. I would rather say that things are changing, we now use many different mediums, but we still tell stories. The problem is that we have so many stimulus that often we can make a story of what we are not very interested in, and we desperately need to prioritize our stories, make order before heading to the communication step.
Like it or not, we are all minstrels, wandering on the edge of our thoughts and making show of ourselves to create our comfortable place in the world, either if we write or not. With social networks, we all have a ready-to-use opportunity to share something about us. Even a simple “like” expresses something personal. Think about it. What is the story you are telling now?