Humanity’s Need for Stories

Mountain Gap Books is located in Jonesborough, Tennessee, the home of the International Storytelling Center and the International Storytelling Festival, which takes place this weekend (October 4th-6th). As such, and especially since some of our staff will be attending the festival, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on humanity’s need for stories.

If you ask one-hundred people why humans need stories you’ll receive one-hundred different answers: comfort, educate, ensure morals, traditions, culture, escapism, occupy the mind… Insert your own answer here.

There are hundreds if not thousands of articles in both online and print formats that address this topic; any search engine will show you this, but those articles seem to possess an overarching theme: humans tell stories to show that they’re not alone.

Stories are history, love, hate, pain, life, death, speculation, desperation, wonderment, fear – they encompass the entirety of human thought and emotion. Stories address where we’ve gone, where we are, who we are, and where we might go. In short, they reflect our souls.

But perhaps Katherine Lampher explains what a story is best of all. “I believe that stories are the connective tissue of the human race… at the heart of every issue is a human element that leads to the three most beautiful words in any language: What happened next? And if you answer that question you are a storyteller.” (“Why We Need Stories”)*

Connective tissue. Hmm. Yes. Stories are something that always have, and always will bring us together because every culture, every society has their stories and those stories do indeed overlap.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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