Stories Surpass History to Influence Individual and Social Identities

Storytelling is a way of transforming knowledge from one generation to another. While histories are based on facts and historical data, stories may not be based. Mythologies and folktales are not history, they are stories, yet people believe in them; often they believe more in stories than in histories.

People care more about stories than histories, for stories tend to give an immediate answer to curiosity without extending to research and exploration. Symbolism and metaphor tend to satisfyingly give answers to people’s curiosity, for, as Cassirer says, man is an animal symbolicum.

While facts and data are based on rational findings, symbols and metaphors may be based on emotional attachment, and some tend to be irrational; for example, the figure of angels as humans with wings. These symbols influence the identity of persons and even nations. There are countries that use the symbols of eagles or lions, although these are either rare or nonexistent in their land. However, the stories of the brave and powerful eagles and lions are introjected within the people over centuries; they are not thought of within the course of history. This presentation discusses how stories surpass history in influencing people to carry on their belief system, thus influencing then, from the individual to national identity.

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Posted by IAFOR