“Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help! ” (1)
Tell me a story! Please! Help me remember my grandmother’s craft of telling a story.
My grandmother was my teacher until I was six. All day, everyday, was school; every instruction was a story with a lesson. Remember: “The Grasshopper and the Ant”? (2) or ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes” (3) or “The Little Train That Could”? (4) The lessons in those stories are as true to me as the sun rising every morning.
Laura Grace Weldon recently reminded me of the value of using a story to help make my point. I met Laura after reading what I have labeled a Classic: “Are You An Anthropocentrist?” (5) Laura’s post is a totally persuasive case for the qualities we share with animals and the unity of life. I’ve “lifted” the following quote, as an example, from Laura’s text:
“Let me push it one step farther, to compassion and even spirituality [in animals]. We’ve been told that only humans have evolved beyond survival-based selfishness to establish ethics and morality. We’ve been taught we’re the only species to perform rituals as we mourn the passing of our departed, the only ones to meditate in silence, the only ones to experience a sense of awe akin to reverence. Apparently not true either.
Altruism? There’s plenty of evidence. A dolphin saving a beached whale and its calf. Gorillas working together to dismantle dangerous poachers’ traps. A pod of sperm whales adopting a disabled dolphin. Rats gnawing through cages to help other imprisoned rats. A bear assisting an injured crow. Lions chasing away an Ethiopian child’s kidnappers and guarding her until human help arrived.”
If you are fond of a dog, a kitten or a horse, you must read the entire article. Once I read it, I had to introduce myself to Laura and, with Laura’s permission, reblog the article on The Rogers Post.
Leonard Shlain, in Leonardo’s Brain, asserts that Leonardo DaVinci’s genius came from a unique creative ability that allowed him to understand and excel in a wide range of fields because of an unusually strong right brain as well as left brain. . Most of us now know that there is a split between the right and the left side of the brain; the left primarily controls our rational mind, the right our emotions. There is more integration between the left and right brains than previously thought. For millennia before written language, wisdom was handed down from generation by story telling. I think the strength of these stories required both sides of the evolving Sapiens’s brain to get the story right. (7)
Back to my post; I’m asking that you, yes you who is reading this, write me, in the comments section or e-mail, and tell me a story which you or your children have loved. Write me and tell me how you learned to tell a good story. I will acknowledge the source. Thank you so much.
“Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, help!”
(1) The Beatles,Song and Album, “HELP”, Released: Aug 06, 1965
(2) Aesop’s Fables – University of Massachusetts, Amherstwww.umass.edu/…/content.php
(3) Hans Christian Andersen : The Emperor’s New Clothes
(4) In Search of Watty Piper: A Brief History of the “Little Engine …
University of Illinois at Chicago
(6) Our Storytelling Minds: Do We Ever Really Know What’s Going on Inside?
By Maria Konnikova | March 8, 2012 |This post has been modified and expanded from a draft of my forthcoming book on Sherlock Holmes, to be published by Viking in 2013.
(7) Leonard Shlain, Leonard’s Brain, Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding da Vinci’s Creative Genius …www.amazon.com/Leonardos-Brain…/149152983