Monday, December 29, 2014

The Propagation of a Story

Suppose I tell you a story. Will you retell the story to someone else? Or will you keep the story to yourself, seeing no reason to retell it?

In writing this blog I am trying to tell a story, a story which I believe carries profound significance. I have told it a half dozen times before. But almost nobody gets it. The significance has been sensed by at most a handful of people. As far as I know none of those people has retold the story.

So I am in a quandary. Should I work to retell this story myself in a different format which might imbue more readers? Obviously since I have come this far with this blog I have decided that I should try. But how hard am I obliged to work on this? And what manner of storytelling should I employ for best effect?

I have noticed media, in that it is a "medium" which retells a story. Why would any medium ever retell a story? Well obviously, if the medium is a person or a business organization, I might expect the medium to retell a story if there is some gain in it for the medium. Also let us consider the end consumer of a story. I expect a person will want to consume a story from a medium if there is some benefit in the story for that consumer.

In the industry of storytelling I notice novels and love songs. Some stories are in so much demand that people get paid to make them up; other people get paid to transmit these stories. So in the entertainment industry it pays to color (to craft) a story carefully. But this coloring of stories to enhance demand goes on, as most of us now can attest, in mainstream news and academic journals as well as in the entertainment industry. That's life. So I should consider the coloring of my story.

I am soaking up philosophy of science as rapidly as my slow brain can take it in. Thinking about thinking does not seem to promise definite answers, but it is helping me guess where I might be now  in the landscape of storytelling. Last week I saw again an account that Darwin's famous thesis had been published earlier by another writer. Almost no one had noticed that earlier publication (ref. Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, 1995, p. 49). But Darwin's telling of that story resonated with media. Darwin's telling was such a hit that it propagated itself. Interesting.

Curious readers may find some of my earlier reflections on media, about mainstream media in a democracy and airline security.

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