The past few months of intensive studying about stories and storytelling led me to understand one thing very clear. Story is a community in itself. It belongs to a group of people and a group of people belong to it. That makes storytelling a religion in itself. The modern day and yet the eternal religion. The individual yet the global religion.
Humans are wired for stories. One of the greatest virtue of the human race is memory which remains at the center of storytelling. Memories make stories. And stories make us who we are. Science says that if the brain of a certain individual human body A is replaced by that of a dead human body B, then it is no longer B who is dead. It is A. Because the body of A with the brain of B is still the human B. With different physical features, yes, but it is the same person A because these physicalities run the same way they would be run by A. So memories are who we really are. And memories are stored in us in the form of stories, by default.
Stories. The constellations of the brightest stars of our memory-sky. Just like the infinite black sky holding infinite number of stars, we also have a series of infinite moments we have lived that become memories. Every breath that we have breathed is oxidation, burning of our fuel, like the stars burning far away in the night sky. But it is only the stars that are the closest and the brightest that we see. They define our memory demographics and thus our individual stories.
One of the oldest traditions of storytelling says that in every grain of sand there is to be found a whole universe. Science interprets it for you that the complexities of natural worlds do not diminish with our zooming in. The galaxies, stars, solar systems, each planet, each continent, each community, each human brain – are all placed in reducing order of physical size but equal in the breadth of their complexity.
So I guess it is safe to say that each human brain is complex enough to have a night sky of its own. And thus we have our own biases for the stars that are closer to us or brighter in general. They make the constellations of our skies, defining what the world means to us. That also makes me wonder that we each definitely have our unique and yet very very very limited view of the universe. The memories (stars) that make up the constellations of our night sky, are infinitesimal compared to the universal pool of memories (universe, as a whole). At any given point of time the whole universe (literally) is open for us to look at. But we are essentially limited by our physical limitations – size of eyes to capture distance, size of brain to capture number.
We live in our limited shells of biases and beliefs in things that we hear, touch, taste, smell and even see. While the truth is what we see is not even comparable to a drop in the ocean of all there is to see and know. The Dark Parts of our night sky (gaps in our memory and experience) are in reality filled with other worlds and stars and fire and gas. We are just not able to see them.
And it is in moments of catching a glimpse of something different from our night skies, from the memories that we have made, from the experiences that we have lived – of another world, another planet’s night sky, another person’s story from across the globe that we come closer to realizing who we really are. The truth of ourselves. How tiny we are. How infinitesimal we are. How, nevertheless, a part of the Whole Game we are. How we are all sands with universes packed inside ourselves.
Here is a glimpse of one of the greatest gifts of science and technology to the world of storytelling – Google Search. It has single handedly brought the global culture of sharing stories to be just an appropriate sentence and a click away. A click away can lie a world entirely, devastatingly, hauntingly different from yours. A click away, can also lie, a world that is a lot like yours.
Love is out there. Search on.