What evolutionary purpose does storytelling provide that has helped humans survive and thrive on Earth?
The survival mechanism that stories provide is as a delivery system for meaning. What does it mean to be human according to your tribe? And how to live those shared values. Humans needed cooperation, tom live in family and tribal groups, to survive. Stories showed how. Stories helped humans to survive.
Pre-history, humans looked at the sky with awe and wonder and made meaning from the stars. Connected them into the shape of animals and archetypes, and gave us mythology.
Mythology is the most powerful form of storytelling.
American mythogy is compelling. George Washington, father of our country, could not tell a lie. Abraham Lincoln, as a clerk, walked for miles to give a customer her change, a single penny. And the frontier, and the wild west, and world wars, and industry! We explore, we extract, we erect!
The earliest humans looked to the sky. Today we look at our phones.
Once you realize our mythology no longer protects us from danger or holds us together, we then look elsewhere. We find meaning in nature. We make meaning in small gestures of kindness to each other. And many, according to box office numbers, look to MARVEL. Yes, the comics. Larger than life characters, fighting epic battles, overcoming enormous obstacles, for the highest stakes imaginable. Avengers: Engame had us looking up into the big screen cosmos and asking the same question that our ancestors asked staring at the Milky Way–what makes being human worth the struggle and the loss?
What’s you story? Is it clear what you stand for? Are the stakes high enough? While human civilizations are much advanced, humans remain tribal.
If you don’t know what your story is or if it connects, let’s talk. Your ability to be inspirational, or even memorable to your clients or donors might hinge on it.
The American story is being rewritten as we speak. Change your story before the story changes you.