Stories are powerful. Possibly, one of the most powerful forces on Earth.
Don’t believe me? I’ve heard writers dismiss what they do as insignificant and unimportant. But we see the world in stories. The late Terry Pratchett called us pan narrans – the storytelling chimp. I think he was right. Stories are how we make sense of the world around us.
Stories make you buy things. Stories elect politicians. Religion is a story – whether you believe it to be a true story or not. Propaganda is the story in the hands of government.
Stories start revolution. And wars.
Martin Luther King was telling a story, a story of how the world might be. So was Nelson Mandela. And Gandhi. So, unfortunately, were Hitler and Stalin.
Stories change the world, but not all stories are good stories.
Like many things, this power can be used for good or evil. Stories free people. But they can also cage people.
Censorship exists because stories are powerful. If they weren’t, there would be no need to fear their message. But we must not allow censorship, because stories are sometimes the only light of hope in the darkness of oppression. When the world turns dark, stories tell us what life was, or could be, or should be.
Stories inspire. Stories make us see the world through the eyes of others. Stories make us better people.
And if we believe the story, if we fight for the story, we can make the story real.
Choose your story wisely.