Why Do We Tell Stories?


Why Do We Tell Stories?

Quora asks - "Why do we tell stories?" 

Here are 4 main reasons we imagine nurtured our storytelling culture - 

  • Evolutionary reason - As a species, we need to survive, thrive and procreate. Stories help us do that. In stories we pass on to the generations, some invaluable codes of knowledge - just like our genes have information and in those bits, there lie strategies and tactics that are necessary for us to exist, through generations. Stories become that carrier of the vital codes that are necessary for us to survive, thrive and procreate.

Stories simply become the reason we could live and thrive as a collective race. 

  • Imagining Immortality (personal reason) - One wants to imagine stories as a way to explore "immortality". In this quest we put our stories on the wall of a cave and draw a bison, trying to say - "Hey! I saw a bison and it looked like this". In this piece of expression the perspective becomes more important than the object (bison) itself for the teller. This is why I am writing this post - I believe someone will read this someday and even if I am dead, I will be alive when she reads this post.

Stories are first form of signatures humans imagined

  • Human (collective) reason - Stories are the only things that separates us from animals. Dolphins do not blog and Hedgehogs do not organise Open mics...at least not the way we do. We, as a race would want to connect with each other. We use stories for that. We know a certain story will make the other laugh or scared or leave the room. We expect a certain human level connection and emotional reaction to happen.

Stories our currency to connect with other humans

  • Superhuman (Ex-human) reason - We, as a race, somewhere deep down, believe we are not alone in this universe, and we want to somewhere connect with those who we believe are unknown to us. We are afraid that one day we will vanish from this universe without being noticed. This reason however can be seen as a corollary to the reason 2-mortality issues, however is a collective one here.

We as human beings, are hardwired to keep evolving as storytellers also - and search for more wider reasons to exist. Otherwise we will get bored and cease to exist as a race (at will). That's not the ending we imagine... hence we continue to seek versions of our hopes and fears in our stories.