Stories - Wormholes to Different Worlds

"I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant"  - Book Thief

Once Upon A Time..
Once Upon A Time..

I love stories. I get lost in a different world when reading a book or even watching a movie. I wish I could express my love for stories well. I have loved them all my life, absorbing them up and weaving some of my own in my mind, falling in love hopelessly with the fictional characters, desperately clinging on to the magical fictional world, getting disappointed with reality more and more as I read more.

After long time, I started reading a fantasy series again - The Inheritance Cycle and realized how much I missed them. My last fantasy series was ASOIAF. Eragon took me back to LOTR and ASOIAF. I stopped reading fantasy because I thought I should read something productive, non-fiction, books with bullet points, books that explicitly teach you something. I failed to see that fiction teaches much more that through it's larger-than-life-stories and essentially drills down the lessons to brain.

Non-fiction is great, but fiction is magical. There's a lot to take in, to imagine, to be awed- with every corner of your brain lighting up like a Christmas tree, to be in trance and numb to reality. There are lot of moments when we need to set the book aside with widened eyes and goosebumps to give time for our brain to process the whole awesomeness(or tragedy) - you may even want to lie down for a while staring at the ceiling.

A world full of dragons, elves, werewolves/direwolves, dwarves, magic, spells, an ancient language, adventure, kingdoms and war and an invincible villain against an ordinary boy who raises as a hero against all odds.

Now compare this to the world of your routine - wake up, traffic, work, traffic, sleep. The magical thing that can ever happen in this routine is probably "no traffic".

Imagine being all engrossed in a fictional world - the dragon rises into the air, losing the ground quickly...
Now the reality interrupts - Can we get a 3px space between two fields on UI?

Stories trigger, provoke and incite us. They are the closest we can get to the kind of lucid dreaming shown in Inception. We live those stories, we become part of them and they become a part of us forever. They make us believe in magic or supernatural or something that's bigger than us, despite our rational brains. The characters become real, sometimes they are too powerful that they make a permanent dent in your brain and start living in your head.

Of course, the side effects(awesome effects) of all these stories are wild imagination and even hallucinations. We start weaving our own stories - adding fictional elements to our reality, mapping fictional characters to actual people, seeing a battle scene in a board meeting - looking for ways to stay connected with the world we love.

As humans, we connect to stories better than bare facts because of the emotions involved. The key point of memory palace technique is to remember stuff in an orderly story form.
The most awkward memory I have from my school days is when I weaved a story to remember the formulas in Physics and my teacher who found about it, made me do the "story telling" in front of about 70 kids.

Long after the actual incidents happened, the stories stay back in our memories and thoughts.

No story is actually ever boring, it pretty much boils down to the way it's told. One of my friends explains even the most dull scene in an elaborated and animated way. Even the routine "stuck in traffic" has its own story.

Stories can be explained just as combination of words - be it written or spoken. But the right combination of words creates magic - a collective imagination of the entire population(that is, apart from religion- wait, those are stories too). Sapiens book explains the importance of story telling in our early human development - passing knowledge and values from generation to generation through folklore, strangers cooperating with each other just because all of them believe in the same story and even gossip being very important in forming groups.

The underlying theme of most of the stories is an underdog making it big. We have been listening to similar themes - A monomyth ,the Hero with a thousand faces- starting as kids huddled around campfire to being adults and catching up with other worlds from time to time in a busy world. They give us hope, we see ourselves in them - those uncommonly common heroes.

At the end of our life, we will end up with stories and after we are long gone, our stories are what will remain.

A word. Few more. A sentence. Letters magically appearing over the white screen, being edited and deleted over and over. Blinking cursor waiting for you. Before you know, there's a paragraph - made from a zillion connections firing between your neurons. Tell the world a story - your story.



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