January 2017

We Need Better Stories

what is your story

“God is dead,” wrote Nietzsche. To this day we still believe that ‘god is dead’, but rather than fixing the problem we have fallen deeper into its void. This isn’t to say we should fill our lives with stories about gods or ghosts, but we need to fill them with something.

Stories Help Us

When we think of stories we often think of entertainment and for the most part that is what they are. Especially when the stories come from books, movies, TV or video games. At times these stories are great, they give us thoughts to chew on. They give us something without inundating us with too many facts, making them easier to consume. Books are often split between fiction and nonfiction, which is to say, fiction is the original form.

Stories can be helpful when they introduce us to things that we haven’t thought or seen before. Stories can inspire and motivate us, they give us guidance to help us live better lives. On the other hand, they can be cautionary, they can warn us about what to avoid and where we should not try to go.

A great story about success can help us follow our dreams, by showing us a way that has worked. A story about failure that destroyed someone’s life, can help us avoid a similar fate.

People Need Stories

We shouldn’t expect stories to be the all and end all of everything, but they should at least be a part of our lives. We need stories and we should seek them out if they are missing from our lives. For a society as a whole, good stories help us collectively live better lives, unfortunately, without them the opposite becomes true.

If we look at the world around us these days, it is easy to get caught up in all that is wrong. It’s easy to watch the news and think that things are terribly wrong and will only get worse. This may be true, but I propose that the real problem isn’t what’s happening in the world, but instead what is happening in our heads. Our minds are in disarray because we don’t have enough great stories to guide us.

Our problems have complicated roots, but if we want to work towards solutions we need to start telling better stories. We need stories to inspire, guide and help us see the light in the darkness around us. We need stories that are easy to follow, have interesting plots, and most importantly we need stories that have a point. Too many stories these days are empty or so long that the point goes missing.

Stories Can Save Us

To save the world, we need to make it a better place and to do that we need to fill in the parts that are missing. We need stories that make sense and help us see a better possible world, from there our collective actions, will follow. What is missing, and what will make us great again is better stories.