Part of the series God: From Magic to Motivation
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton from Pixar shares some ideas on the roles and promises of story.
Storytelling is joke-telling, knowing your punchline, promising the pay-off will be worth the set-up, and sharing something meaningful between storyteller and audience.
There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.
The most important role of story is to “Make me care.”
The storyteller needs to hide the fact that he or she is making the audience work for what they want.
When it comes to our own personality we need to learn to recognize it, and own it (be responsible for it).
Storytelling has guidelines, not rules.
We all live conditionally. We are all willing to live by the rules as long as some things are met. But if those things aren’t met, all bets are off.
The best stories invoke wonder. Can you invoke wonder?
The main point for me is at about 2:30 when Stanton says the role of story is to “Make me care.”
This is significant, I think, for the future of things like culture and religion, and how we manage our collective motivations. Stories play on things like what we value, how we value, and what lines we draw when it comes to feeling things like empathy.
Religious stories can no longer appeal to things like authority. The arguments just don’t make sense anymore, really. But at the same time, stories need not depend on truth or reality either. Stories can be entirely fictional, unreal, and wholly inspiring. What matters is what the story makes us care about.
Religious and cultural boundaries are drawn with fuzzy lines usually based on groups that share a story. Instead of holding to a particular story as complete and true, people are instead sharing and listening to other people’s stories (slowly, but it is a start). And we are finding things in other people’s stories and lives we feel compelled to care about.
What do you think?
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If our identities are just stories… what does that mean for our lives, our memories, our mental health? Our sense of well-being is based on the tone of our internal narratives rather than the stories themselves.
~ Jonathan Adler