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Monday, July 02, 2007

The Power of Narrative

The story captures our imagination in a way that no other means of passing of information can. It engages us. It draws us in. The story involves not just our mind but our emotions and imagination as well. Principles and propositions need to be illustrated. They are dry and dead without a story to bring them to life. Ideas need to be given application, showing how they affect our personal storylines.

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Stories prevail. For generations, it has been the story that has been passed down. It is the story that gets told around the campfire and at family reunions.

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The movie Signs has a powerful depiction of the power of the story. When the aliens are seeking an entrance into the family home and Mel Gibson's character is frantically trying to keep them out while also keeping his kids' calm, he does not resort to principles and propositions. Instead, he tells each of them the story of their birth, describing what they looked like, how their mother reacted, and how much he loved them at their arrival into life. The children find comfort and hope in hearing these stories for they speak of their own resilence and life.

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Stories are memories. I do not remember many of the specific principles and propositions I learned in college. Of the thousands that were downloaded to me on a daily basis, I might be able to come up with a few dozen if I tried. But I could tell college stories for days. I could tell you about my friends, our highjinx, all of the things that would have gotten me kicked out if I had been caught. I could tell you about the characters and the relationships and the laughs. I could tell you about the broken hearts and the misunderstandings. I can't remember the propositions, but I can remember the stories.

1 comment:

A said...

highjinx, now that's a good word for most of what we did.

bdfdfdsl: other stuff we did