Stories make us human. – By @carlyillston
By Carly Illston
Stories make us human.
As I’m on the tail end of a cold, my wisdom levels are running quite low, so I thought I would borrow a bit from my dad.
When contemplating human mortality, as one often does on a nice sunny morning, we think to ourselves, what is the point of life? My dad would say “to make stories”. After all, when you’re gone, you are remembered by the stories you told, and the connections that you made.
The scale on which we interact with people is larger than any point in human history. With the combined forces of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Tinder, and countless others, we can reach thousands, if not millions of people through a single tweet, photo, or video. As a society we have become Voyeurs, becoming increasingly more and more comfortable seeing into the most personal parts of people’s lives (think Naked Attraction). We measure the success of a piece of communication in impressions, but are these real connections? Out of those hundreds of people you stumbled upon on the Instagram explore page, how many of those people have made such a lasting impact on you that you will remember them in 20, 30, 40 years time?
Storytelling is an intrinsic part of human nature that preserves history. It teaches us to celebrate the victories of our elders and learn from their mistakes. From archaic drawings in caves, to hieroglyphics, Quipos, religious texts, fairytales, and newspapers. With the evolution of man came the advancement of technologies that made storytelling far more accessible and shareable. But as Peter Parker once said, with great power comes great responsibility. We need take advantage of the technology we have been given and make sure we are using their powers for good. We can reach a person at any corner of the globe at any given moment, yet we waste it watching Kim Kardashian getting another round of botox.
We need to harness the power of the technology we have been given and stop underestimating the power of human connection. After all, it’s simple. Stories make us human.
To end this blog post I’d like to leave you with one of my dad’s many stories from his youth.
It’s Bermuda, 1997. My 29 year old dad is on his way home from football training when he gets a call from his boss saying that the office has been broken into. So as my dad is en route to the office on his moped, he spots a Leicester football fan giving directions to some lost tourists. Seeing a Leicester fan brave enough to wear a shirt in public was rare enough as it was, so naturally the man caught my dads eye. The man turned to leave and revealed the name on the back of his shirt; Pillston, number 8. Now for those of you who aren’t football superfans, Pillston was not, or has never been a member of Leicester football team. Pillston is my dad’s nickname and 8 is his number. At this point he can be sure to the point of absolute certainty that only one of these shirts exist in the entire world, and here it is being worn by a big guy carrying a duffel bag. So my dad drives his moped up onto the pavement (possibly the most badass entrance ever) and with the help of his friend, manages to put the guy in a headlock and walk him to the police station, as to make a citizens arrest. They are mere minutes from the police station when a car with blacked out windows screeches up next to them and a few equally big guys jump out, asking what my dad was doing with his cousin. Luckily a police car was driving by at this point and amid the chaos, decided to arrest everyone. As soon as my dad explained the custom Leicester shirt situation, the police charged the guy with theft, using the shirt as their key piece of evidence. During the court case, the attorney argued the shirt was “rarer than DNA”. Guess being a Leicester fan can come in handy sometimes.