Wednesday, October 24, 2007

History is in the Telling

Recently I have had a number of conversations about story telling or the lack thereof. I continually express my belief in the power of each one of us relating our stories which also includes the open source behavior of passing on the stories of those with whom we have interacted.

Story telling is not something that is to be controlled or can be controlled. However, there will always be arguments about how something actually occurred or why an event happened; what is the “true” story. Writing a story down or filming it does not always come up with the answers and often times skews the story for all who only use one source. Therein lies one of the benefits of the internet in that there becomes multiple sources for determining for ourselves what is important, what happened, or why it happened. The human brain is remarkable in that it can seem to identify the wheat in the chaff.

In Ireland there is a rich tradition of storytelling with the storyteller going from village to village relating folk tales, history, and other happenings throughout the island. People of each community would look forward to the visit of the story teller, hungrily gathering together to hear stories that have been heard often before as well as those that are new to many ears. The stories themselves are important but the hearing in community also provides for the richness of the experience.

We and our communities live on through the stories that are told so it is important that we teach ourselves the stories both new and old. The new stories are grown out of the old; we learn from our mistakes only if we are aware of the mistakes of others in the community.

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