"Great literature is stories that teach truth.
Great Literature is how culture is transmitted.
According to Ken Wilber, in A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING, for every individual there are at least four truths.
The first is one’s own internal truth or one’s internal self-identity.
The second is that self as it is expressed in action, our behavior in the world.
The third is the internalization of culture as taught by parents, self and society. And …
The fourth, is culture as the individual in society expresses it, the actual individual’s behavior in the real world of one’s society.
These are the truths that storytelling is designed to transmit. It takes all four types of truth to make up the whole truth. And truth is very much like beauty; it is in the eye of the beholder.
Great authors understand this and construct stories to convey the wisdom they, their society, and their era have accumulated. These truths are embedded in a story that entertains the conscious mind while the underlying truths are conveyed directly to the subconscious mind. Thus are culture and wisdom passed from generation to generation.
Storytelling is one
of the major creations of human culture, the agent of evolution for the
The telling of stories is such a pervasive aspect of our environment that we sometimes forget that stories provide the initial and continuing means for shaping our experience.
Indeed, without stories our experiences would merely be unevaluated sensations from an undifferentiated stream of events. Stories are the repository of our collective wisdom about the world of social/cultural behavior; they are the key mediating structures for our encounters with reality.
The words "narrative"
and "story" can both be traced back to an original meaning of "to know."
It is through the story that people quite literally come to know -- that
is, to construct and maintain their knowledge of the world. Through
a story, an individual creates meaning
out of daily happenings, and this story, in turn, serves as the basis for anticipation of future events.
The psychologist George Kelly has described how our personalities grow out of the stories we have chosen to construct from our perceptions of what has happened to us, and how these stories influence our future expectations. Similarly, sociologist Peter Berger has emphasized the importance of stories in shaping social realities, showing how people's characteristic stories change as they progress from one life theme to another.
The structural analysis of narratives uncovers the basic social-psychological tasks that people confront during their lives -- issues of dependence or independence, selfishness or sacrifice, birth or death."
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