The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research
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Personal Myths Bring Cohesion to the Chaos of Each Life - New York Times

THE ancient myths are not dead; they live on in the stories people tell about their own lives.

 

While the old gods do not show up by name, they are there in spirit, in the struggles and triumphs that people depict as the key episodes in their lives.

 

New work by psychological researchers shows that in telling their life stories, people invent a personal myth, a tale that, like the myths of old, explains the meaning and goals of their lives. In doing so, they match - quite unwittingly - the characters and themes that are found in the old myths... (click title for more)

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Understanding Mythology: Jeffrey Mishlove Interviews Joseph Campbell

Understanding Mythology: Jeffrey Mishlove Interviews Joseph Campbell | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

MISHLOVE: It's a pleasure to have you here. In your approach to mythology, you've come to take the view recently that mythology stems from the human body itself, from our own experiences -- that every mythological story or experience comes from our experiences as human beings in a physical body.


CAMPBELL: Yes.


MISHLOVE: I would think that would be quite contrary to an earlier idea that mythology is pretty much the product of fantasy or imagination.


CAMPBELL: Fantasy and imagination is a product of the body. The energies that bring forth the fantasies derive from the organs of the body. The organs of the body are the source of our life, and of our intentions for life, and they conflict with each other. Among these organs, of course, is the brain. And then you must think of the various impulses that dominate our life system -- the erotic impulse; the impulse to conquer, conquest and all that; self preservation; and then certain thoughts that have to do with ideals and things that are held up before us as aims worth living for and giving life its value and so forth. All of these different forces come into conflict ...(Click title for full transcript)

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The narrative is the thing: the art of corporate storytelling | ZDNet

The narrative is the thing: the art of corporate storytelling | ZDNet | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

A corporate narrative? Are you surprised? The 21st century demands that companies present themselves in new ways.  For example, old school product marketing, based on the exhibition of features and functions, no longer works or is even likeable in any way.  It now demands something akin to "a day in the life." How are the products going to affect the outcomes I'm looking for as my day proceeds?  In other words a narrative, a story.

 

Entertainment and corporate communications have intertwined for as long as there have been things to sell and stories to tell. Marketing has traditionally shown consumers what they want the consumer to see, but pervasive communications—the explosion of multi-directional media channels—has made this model obsolete. The age of broadcast is clearly dead. We are not just dealing with an audience, but an audience of audiences; people whose collective voice can have far greater power than any single television commercial or... (Click title for full story)

 

 

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The Critical Art of Storytelling

The Critical Art of Storytelling | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

Leading is about story-telling...

 

The English writer A.S. Byatt, whose novelPossession won the esteemed Booker Prize in 1990, observed in a piece titled Narrate or Diethat "narration is as much a part of human nature as breath and the circulation of the blood." Indeed, as human beings we are all natural storytellers... some more innately skilled than others, but we all have stories to tell.

But what stories? And to what end?

 

Stories are a powerful way to inspire, to influence, and to persuade. Think of the much beloved fairy tales of our youth and the... (Click title for more)

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How Our Brains Build Our Autobiographies | Antonio Damasio

How Our Brains Build Our Autobiographies | Antonio Damasio | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it
While our own personal histories happen one event at a time, our brains make sense of our lives by stringing these events together in an structured way.

 

Question: How do our brains construct coherent personal narrative out of our memories of experiences?

Antonio Damasio:  You do it in very interesting ways.  A first way is by taking the story as it happens.  You know, our biographies happened one part at a time.  There is a sequence of events in our lives and so there’s a temporal aspect to our experience that brings by itself, sense into the story.  In other words, you were not walking before you were born and you were not doing X and Y before you did something else first.  So there’s a sequencing of events that imposes a certain structure to the story.

Then there’s something that intervenes and is very important which has to do with value.  Value in the true biological sense, which is that contrary to what many people seem to think, taking it at face value—sorry for the pun—we ... (click title for full article)


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I've Got a Map in My Head - F. David Peat

I've Got a Map in My Head - F. David Peat | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

Since the time of the ancient Greeks Western civilization has be characterized by a desire to understand the universe. The early philosophers were concerned with that puzzling tension between The One and The Many, between constant change and static being. Today, as we look for patterns within the universe, the spirit of that quest is still with us. We desire to celebrate the universe, to come to terms with the existential fact of our own being in the world and to deepen our relationship to nature and the whole of society. And this desire is not confined to science and philosophy alone for has also been celebrated in art, music, literature, dance, drama, the rituals of religion and the great buildings of the past.


What is the deeper significance of the patterns around us? We are aware of the movements of the dance, of the architecture of buildings, the tensions of drama and the symmetries within the many natural forms that stretch from the elementary particles to the structure of the universe itself... (Click title for more)

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The Storytelling Animal

The Storytelling Animal | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

Have you ever been so absorbed in a novel that you just can’t put it down or watched a movie where you forgot you were in a theatre? Stories have the power to transport us to another world, often bringing up powerful emotions. Many of us spend a great deal of time engaged with stories. But, if you’re like me, you’ve probably never really stopped to wonder why.

 

Fortunately, we now have Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Gottschall, a literary scholar who teaches at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, shows how stories not only have the power to absorb our attention, they can make us more empathic, help us navigate our complex social world, and may even draw us together as a community—in other words, they may have an evolutionary purpose... (Click title for more)

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Significant Objects: How Stories Confer Value Upon the Vacant

Significant Objects: How Stories Confer Value Upon the Vacant | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

It turns out that once you start increasing the emotional energy of inanimate objects, an unpredictable chain reaction is set off.


The universe is made of stories, not atoms,” poet Muriel Rukeyser famously remarked. Hardly anyone can back this bombastic proclamation with more empirical conviction than Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn.


In 2009, the duo embarked upon a curious experiment: They would purchase cheap trinkets, ask some of today’s most exciting creative writers to invent stories about them, then post the stories and the objects on eBay to see whether the invented story enhanced the value of the object. Which it did: The tchotchkes, originally purchased for a total of $128.74, sold for a whopping total of $3,612.51 — a 2,700% markup... (Click title to read full story)

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Perspectives on Myths and Sacred Tales | Bill Moyers — PBS

Perspectives on Myths and Sacred Tales | Bill Moyers — PBS | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

In 1988 Bill Moyers' THE POWER OF MYTH debuted on PBS. This six-part series of conversations with renowned scholar Joseph Campbell explored the enduring, universal themes expressed in mankind's oldest stories and examined their relevance for the modern world. Far from being lifeless, timeworn tales, Campbell told viewers, the ancient myths remain "clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life.


Contemporary writers owe a great deal to the fecundity of such stories, not only as treasure troves of plot and character but as meditations on the great questions of existence: life and death, good and evil, freedom and fate. Authors and artists are forever foraging in the mythological garden, reharvesting these tales, contemporizing them, breaking them down and interpreting them anew in an attempt to translate the beliefs and values into intelligible modern concepts....

 

 

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Your Personal Mythology

Your Personal Mythology | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it
 

Myth. What is it? In its true sense, myth pertains and is limited to the gods while legend applies to humanity, the heroes. Such a distinction also applies to time. For the gods, time is primordial and unstructured; for mankind it is historical and linear.


The gods live in the mythical world though they occasionally come to earth and walk amongst us mortals, or at least so we’re told. But the lives of the gods and humanity are so intertwined as to be inseparable, so the term “myth” has popularly come to stand for both. As to the significance of these myths and legends, we can say that it is much more than just “stories.”


As Thornton Wilder put it:

…myth-making is one of the means whereby the generalized truths of human knowledge finds expression and particularly the disavowed impulses of the mind escape the ‘censor’ of acquired social control and find their way into indirect confession. Myths constitute the dreaming subconscious soul of the.... (Click title for full article)

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Why Leadership Storytelling Is Important

Why Leadership Storytelling Is Important | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it
Storytelling is an essential tool for leadership today.

 

A while back, a colleague asked me why leadership storytelling is important. I came up with the following list:

Storytelling is a key leadership technique because it’s quick, powerful, free, natural, refreshing, energizing, collaborative, persuasive, holistic, entertaining, moving, memorable and authentic. Stories help us make sense of organizations. Storytelling is more than an essential set of tools to get things done: it’s a way for leaders – wherever they may sit – to embody the change they seek. Rather than merely advocating and counter-advocating propositional arguments, which lead to more arguments, leaders establish credibility and authenticity through telling the stories that they are living. When they believe deeply in them, their stories resonate, generating creativity, interaction and transformation....(Click title for full article)
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The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains

The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains | The Power of Stories: The Institute for Narrative Research | Scoop.it

A good story can make or break a presentation, article, or conversation. But why is that? 


We all enjoy a good story, whether it's a novel, a movie, or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us. But why do we feel so much more engaged when we hear a narrative about events?P

It's in fact quite simple. If we listen to a powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated. Scientists call this Broca's area and Wernicke's area. Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that's it, nothing else happens.

 

When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but... (click title for more)

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