The events of recent days — from the bombing of the Boston marathon to the explosion of the fertilizer plant in Texas — should remind us of the power of stories. In a daily sense and over the course of human evolution, stories help us survive. But how?
We discussed this during our most recent writing chat. Our conversation was informed by the work of Brian Boyd, a scholar from New Zealand, and the author of an important book: “On the Origin of Stories.” The title evokes Darwin and evolutionary theory. It works this way: Our brains evolved to give us language; and that language gave us the ability to tell stories, even fictional ones.
We would not have that capacity, if stories did not help the species survive in these ways:
1. Stories enrich our experience. If experience is a teacher, consider how much more we learn, from inspiring and cautionary tales, about the nature of the human condition, its triumphs and tragedies. Read more