This last week, my wife and I were taking a bus ride between two cities and the bus had a movie going. I recognized the movie as Inkheart, but couldn’t hear any of the sound as the earphone jack was not functioning. My resulting, rather loose, understanding of the movie is that the main character can read books and bring them to life — the result, a bunch of characters from all time trying to stop some bad guy, or at least, that’s what I put together. Turns out audio significantly helps in the comprehension of movies. 🙂
Nevertheless, I have been thinking about how each of our lives is a story in and of itself. Similar to novels that have several plot lines going on in parallel at the beginning only to bring them together as threads that eventually are woven into the tapestry of the story, our lives and the lives of our friends, and the lives of complete strangers are all threads of a grand narrative.
We all reflect back on our lives in a narrative form. How often do you think of yourself as a fact and figure or as a statistic? When picturing your birth do you just picture the fact of the location, or have you synthesized a picture of a hospital based on your knowledge of your birth. Even engineers don’t live their lives in the abstraction of facts and figures, we live them as an ongoing story with plot lines still left unfulfilled. And when we close on one part of the story, it is inevitable that a new part is opening up. We communicate with stories to share experiences with our friends and we listen to and enjoy many stories in books and movies. Imagine a movie of facts and figures…
We watch our lives as movies, we reflect on them as narratives and what is amazing is the billions of stories that have gone on before we were even born and the billions that are going on even now with all of us around us. As we share our lives with each other, we feed the tapestry of life.
This strong connection to stories should resonate with any one desiring to communicate with their team, with their customers, with their friends, but many have slowly given control of this art form to the television, movies or YouTube. Stories are the bedrock of comprehension for us as humans and as such, we should become talented at this increasingly lost art.