What's the World Coming to?

Storytelling and the search for meaning.

Posted December 1, 2017


It seems prefer simply yesterday I was listening to my parental fees lament the alters that were happening in culture. “What’s the people coming to?” were words that stuck in my mind as I was thriving up. At the moment, particularly throughout my teenage years, I didn’t really understand or appreciate their issue. My paleas were simply old-fashioned and, to me, didn’t gain it. Well the times have changed and I guess I’m currently old-fashioned as well bereason I save asking myself, "What’s the civilization coming to?"

Let’s consider the social elements of tv as an example of what I’m referring to here. In my youth, watching television was connected through many type of negative points, not the leastern of which was my mother’s constant warning that I’d lose my eyesight from watching too much TV or gaining too close to the television collection. I also remember many type of pejorative terms for tv, including referring to it as the boob tube. If tright here ever was a time when television could even more accurately be dubbed the boob tube, then this have to be it. Leaving bit to the creativity, television programming in the 2first century has actually gone far beyond anypoint that I have the right to remember watching in my developmental, character-structure years.

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Whereas I was glued to the tube (it literally was a tube at the time!) watching such provocative reflects as Leave It To Beaver, My Three Sons, and my favorite, Cheyenne, the initially original television series produced by a major Hollywood film studio, Warner Brothers (I even acknowledged its star, Clint Walker, likewise well-known as the Big Guy in the movie, The Dirty Dozen, in our book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, for his meaningful affect on my life and for analysis our book), the youth these days are constantly bombarded by programming that, in my individual and also professional opinion, leaves a lot to be preferred. It not just robs viewers of all ages from making use of their imaginations in means that actually increase society’s individual and also collective intelligence quotient, however likewise deindicates what it implies to be human—and also all of the potential that comes with it.

Alas, as my parents provided to say, what is the people coming to? Are the 15 minutes of fame afforded characters on reflects like the so-called Real Housewives really worth our attention and also time? Does fact TV provide even more benefits than it does costs, and also maybe collateral damage, in regards to its ultimate affect on society and humanity? How far are we willing to go and exactly how far is enough in the pursuit to capture audience industry share? And what is the deeper interpretation and also objective of such efforts? Do we know? Do we care? Do we also ask? Does this type of programming reflect what world-renowned psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl referred to the will to meaning, that is, the authentic commitment to meaningful worths and goals, or is it even more the reflection of a superficial and fleeting will certainly to pleasure? Do the messages and underlying stories conveyed by such mirrors assist to bridge the generational divide, foster systematic readjust, and also develop a healthier society? Once aget, what’s the human being coming to?

Behind the electronic camera if not in front of it, I firmly think that the search for meaning will proceed to unfold as a mega-trend of our times. And I feel that it is vitally important for society—at all levels—to perform some severe soul-browsing before we each make our exit off-phase. Who are we? What have actually we become? What are we becoming? What and who would we like to become? Fundamentally, these are existential inquiries that have been asked for centuries, inquiries that still beg meaningful answers.

I’ve additionally learned that there is remarkable power, and deep interpretation, in storyinforming. Indeed, the stories that people tell serve as the container that provides definition to their stays and that holds their civilization together. Storyinforming, among other points, invests our lives via more meaning and also connects us more vitally to others. Stories also render our lives more memorable and therefore carry out an efficient way to transform the “Law of the Forgaining Curve,” a principle discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus, a 19th-century Germale psychologist that pioneered the speculative study of memory.1 Due to our natural inclination to forget things over time, storytelling provides a platdevelop and tool for retaining indevelopment that requirements and also should be kept.

In this means, one of the powers of storyinforming is that it offers both a lifeline and a storyline. Thus, it likewise offers us a bridge, if you will certainly, to attach occasions, milestones, and so on, across generations, giving both a living background and also a mythology that are vital for sustaining social identification, stimulating continuous discovering and advancement, and also planning for the future. Storyinforming has actually even been found to have actually healing powers, as well as administer pathmeans to spiritual enlightenment.2 Imagine what our civilization would certainly be choose if we did not have stories to tell, tales to share through others? Undoubtedly, where would Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, be if he had actually been unable to craft his stories, each fable fitting a definite moral?

Stories, of course, come in all kinds of shapes and also sizes. In this regard, I came throughout a Texas-based storyteller years earlier who divided stories with true meaning into four categories: “Ha-Ha!“ (stories that are funny); “Aha!“ (stories that surprise or delight the mind); “Ahhh...“ (stories that touch deep emotions); and also “Amen“ (stories that move the spirit). As a handy exercise, attempt placing the television programs of yesteryear and now right into one or even more of these categories? Can you perform it? If not, what’s the world coming to?

Many readers, on the various other hand also, can surely resonate with the deeper definition of stories that need to carry out via their household, ethnic or cultural group, or religion. To be sure, we’d be shed without them (and also I’m not referring to another TV display here)! Most indigenous societies, in truth, count greatly on storytelling as a way of maintaining heritages and also their lifestyle over the periods, and of bridging what we currently sadly describe as the generational divide or "generation gap." I also understand many innovative organizations that usage storyinforming to orient brand-new hires and also spark the artistic soul by going ago to the future and also connecting them meaningtotally to the company’s history, society, and also legacies.3

Indeed, the art of storytelling is central to humale nature—to our exceptionally existence and also humanness. Importantly, stories offer the potential of being both a lifeline (to the past and present) and a pathway (to the future) in the huguy search for meaning.

1. Ebbinghaus, H. (1964). Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology. New York: Dover Publications. Originally publimelted as Über das Gedächtnis, Leipzig: Duncker and also Humblot, 1885.

3. See, for example: James Holtje, The Power of Storytelling: Captivate, Convince, or Convert Any Business Audience Using Stories from Top CEOs. New York: Prentice Hall, 2011.

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About the Author


Alex Pattakos, Ph.D.

See more: Translation Of Came To Light In Tagalog, Definition Of “Translate”

, is the coauthor of two books on the human quest for meaning, Prisoners of Our Thoughts and also The OPA! Way.