Storytellers Inherit the Future24 Oct 2013
Aristotle understood that in any society, it’s not the smartest or the brightest people that win the hearts and minds of future generations, it’s the story tellers. In America we can see this more clearly now than in any other time in our history, the bulk of modern American’s get their values and beliefs from the books they read and the movies or TV shows they watch.
When the storytelling goes bad in society, the result is decadence. -Aristotle
Whether good or bad, what teaches the next generation about the values they should hold dear too are not parents, authority figures or school teachers who tend to teach cold hard facts or try to win over people with the truth, it’s the people telling a story, any story that reaches people most profoundly. This is true in religious scripture, most people who understood the concepts that people like Jesus were teaching got them from parables which used stories to explain what he was trying to say in a unique way.
So what should we do? As an engineer I tend to be very black and white, very logical in nature and much of what I believe both spiritually, politically and pragmatically no longer seems to be what American society as a whole values anymore. My world view comes from 8 years of war experience, it comes from dealing with people and studying societies not just modern but ancient cultures, yet what I’ve learned is that I can have all of the historical evidence I need and it won’t make a bit of difference, nothing teaches people better than a story and most are so hooked to that principle that you can’t get anything across to them in any other way.
So because of this I’m forcing myself to blog every day, not sure if I’ll succeed, not sure how well I’ll do but my goal is to always tell a story, aside from the things I normally talk about relating to code or business, I need to start relaying the stories behind much of what I’ve learned in my life and Aristotle had it right, people like us who live and breathe off of facts and statistics can’t expect people to understand our beliefs and views without some form of story or narrative to get them to that point.
The future belongs to those who tell good stories, and with this the religious, political and total views of those story tellers will be passed on to those who read or watch the story they tell. So in business if you want to dominate your market, you need to stop giving customers facts and figures, you need to start telling stories. In coding if you want to convince your company to use the right tools or languages than you need to stop giving them a list of preferences and you need to start telling them the story of a company that used your process and succeeded. In politics we need to stop getting people to do basic math in their heads as to the cost of government programs and we need to start telling stories that are true to life and reveal a greater, deeper truth. In family I need to stop telling my kid to do or not do something and instead I should tell him a story about the why.
Storytellers are the ones with the real control, unless we become story tellers ourselves we end up just coming along for the ride but never steering it…