The Universal Story

The most noteworthy aspect of storytelling that we have studied this semester is the universal, underlying “most important theme.”  Every story has its own agenda–its own theme; yet, somehow they all tell an aspect of the same story.  This story is our story; it is the story of humanity.

Each story is a by-product of the search for ourselves.  We attempt to answer some of the greatest questions ever to be posed: Where did we come from?  Is there a God?  Does love exist?  How can we define eternity?  Noteworthy authors and artists have turned over another pebble to reveal a tiny facet of this plot.

We are selfish beings.  We read and ruminate over the things we can relate to.  When I think about the books I have picked up in the last month…

It becomes quite clear that I picked up these books in selfish pursuit of myself.  As we evolve, the means of storytelling does as well.  In this age of rapid technological expansion, digital storytelling has prevailed as one of our most successful means of communication.  My favorite websites tell the story of someone or some company, yet somehow, they have come to define me as well.

These are the places I go to escape–into cyberspace–to follow the aspects of life that I enjoy.  Essentially, we define ourselves with snippets of other stories.  Storytelling is much more than a means of communication–it is a means of defining self-worth.

The art of storytelling is an integral part of the way we learn, the way we connect, and the way we discover.  After it is brought to your attention you begin to notice it in almost every facet of your life.  For example, the yoga instructor at the studio I go to always begins class with a story; my chemistry professor tells us about her experiences as a college freshman to try to wake us up.

I have always said that if my memory gets erased, I can look at the photos on my camera roll to remind myself of the person that I am.  They each represent moments–a story frozen in time.  Somehow, all of these memories make up who I am.  Perhaps we are all by-products of stories themselves.  We cannot live independent of memory.  Story is the common thread that weaves through each of our lives and connects us together.

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