As we look around, we find that all individuals around us are made up of stories. We often witness people’s eyes lit up when they narrate an incident close to their hearts, and we often end up empathizing with them. Igniting this feeling of empathy, connecting people to each other, making people develop a mutual understanding is exactly what stories and storytelling have done. We humans are social creatures, we can neither survive nor thrive without interacting with others. Peter Singer quoted, “Human beings are social animals, we were social before we were human.” How do you think this was possible? How did human beings interact with each other when reading and writing didn’t exist? The answer is, stories and storytelling. The history of stories and storytelling goes back to thousands of years, when humans lived in caves. They painted the walls of the caves with incidents based on their daily lives, such as hunting and gathering.
Stories have contributed up to a large extent to bring us where we are today. From history and politics to religion, there’s not a single sphere of life where stories haven’t influenced minds. In history, we can see how stories and storytelling helped in the unification of completely different communities, how they created big revolutionaries, how vast empires got vanished all because the king heard a story from a saint and decided to give up his kingdom. In politics, we still witness people using stories to encourage both, the good and the bad. The very foundation, beliefs, and teachings of almost all religions in the world revolve around stories. Our social behaviours too, are influenced by stories as stories connect us from our respective cultural backgrounds. Even in the world of science and business, storytelling is emerging as a powerful tool of enhancing performance. These contributions of stories and storytelling in every sphere of life may sound a little weird, but are completely justifiable when one realises that our lives, itself, are stories. Stories have been inspiring us and shaping our beliefs since centuries. Something as simple as telling about your day or something new to someone is also storytelling. This is why biographies of big personalities are written, because they don’t only gives insights on how they lived or are living their lives, but their thoughts, struggles and choices are capable of changing the reader’s life.
All these examples prove that stories and the art of storytelling have always been crucial for human existence. Stories are sometimes our escape from the reality, and sometimes the reality itself. We often fail to identify how they impact our daily lives, but the truth is, all of our choices, every decision we make, are in one way or another, impacted by some or someone’s story. It would not be wrong to say that stories and storytelling is as old as the human race. Stories have basically evolved with us, from basic to complex. From comprehending pictorial descriptions on cave walls to reading one of the greatest works of literature on kindles, stories and storytelling have come a long way.