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Posts Tagged ‘nonsense’

The Power of Stories…

July 1, 2014 Leave a comment

I have been reading The Story Bible by Pearl Buck. It is The Bible, but without (most of) the “religious stuff”. What it does is recount the stories in the Bible in short 10-12 page chapters. And as I read, I realize that as a story, the Bible is quite interesting.

And in that, it is not alone. The Quran, at its heart, is a story. The Bhagawad Gita, is just a small part of an epic called the Mahabharata. And most religions are underpinned stories about key figures and their deeds.

And that says something about the power of stories. Most of what we remember has a good story behind it. A good movie, a good book, an incident you remember in vivid detail – there’s a good story behind it. Want to preach – Tell a story. The best adverts – tell a story. A successful sales proposal – dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that it chronicles a journey, draws a picture, tells a story. Customer satisfaction, brand recognition, are all about stories. Have you ever got tips on how to improve your memory? Chances are you’ve been told to connect disparate elements together with the wackiest story imaginable for the strongest recall.

I don’t know why. Maybe the human brain likes to fill in the blanks between disparate facts. Maybe connections between neurons are analogous to connections between facts. Maybe it’s that and the fact that human brains are the best pattern-recognition machines. If a certain group of “connected pieces” in a story are similar to something that we’ve experienced before, the brain just groups them together and invokes similar feelings to what we’ve previously experienced, making the feeling stronger.

Whatever be the reason – Plain simple facts are forgotten. A story endures.

And the best stories reinforce already existing emotional structures, enhance experiences. They need an “investment” from the consumer of the story, so they feel a part of it.

But as we move towards a world with limited attention spans and overload of stimuli, the window of this “investment” becomes shorter and shorter. What we end up with is a world of instant gratification – one that does not allow time to build “connections”, the one that isn’t built to endure. I wonder if the world seems a lot more ephemeral, the pace of change so fast, BECAUSE there is no time to stop and listen to stories. I wonder if life seems “incomplete” because we’re not part of a story or narrative – living life instead, as a series of transactions. I wonder if the lack of stories is what has caused this to happen.

Perhaps, what the world needs, is more connections, in more ways than one.

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Here We Go… Again

June 18, 2014 6 comments

So, I have decided that I’ll start writing again.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows how fits-and-starts my writing is (and has always been). You perhaps have already rolled your eyes, and decided to wait for this to fizzle out again. And you might be right. But, hear me out, dear readers (yes both of you (look at me trying to pretend like I actually have two readers)). This is going to be different (I think).

I’ve never taken writing seriously. To me, it was just an outlet of thoughts that sometimes stick around long enough, or are forceful enough to make me want to write. Most of my posts have been “vomited” out in less time than it takes to fire up my laptop. Mainly because I don’t spend a lot of time formulating blogposts. Things just come together in my head, and those are the ones that come out on paper. Until the point when that perfect post is formed in my head, it is not coming out.

However, on reflection, I have come to believe I’ve got this backwards. Writing isn’t about putting fully-formed thoughts on paper, or even putting my thoughts out there for everyone to see. What is important, is the process of writing itself. The process of forming and formulating the random half-formed thoughts into something that is much more meaningful. Of connecting the multitude of “dots” that already exist from the everyday life, to create a picture.

And isn’t that what creativity is? Creativity is just the ability to smash two already known ideas together. So, in effect, by waiting for “inspiration to strike”, I am relying on the sporadic twitches of my “creativity muscle” to produce something good, instead of forcing myself to make those connections, working the muscle, making it stronger.

And really, I find that not writing consistently takes away my capacity to reflect, structure and connect everything in my head. Ergo, not writing is possibly only serving to atrophy the creativity which is already in short supply. And by writing more, I hope to be able to reverse this phenomenon.

Now, I recognize that this is probably going to be painful for the readers, in that, the quality (lol?) of this blog will go down. There’ll be some days that will be atrocious, incoherent and random… But if my theory is right, the atrocious and random should decrease over time, and we should see interesting juxtaposition of ideas in later posts. And if not, it’ll be an interesting study of how my interests and writing evolve over time. (And maybe I can finally give up on thinking I write quite well. Which by itself, makes this an endeavour worth undertaking).

And so, I’m going to write. I’m going to write at least twice a week, perhaps more. About technology, about football. About life, the universe and everything. I’m going to write, like no one’s readin.. oh, wait.