Booker Prize winning author, Ben Okri, says of human beings: “we’re homo fabula. We are story telling beings.” We make meaning of the world around us through stories and it is the stories we tell – as individuals, societies and nations – that shape how we see and how we are seen by the world. It is through stories that we’re tutored in the ways of humanity.
Yet stories can also be defective and so skew our understanding of the world. In a TEDTalk that is a few years old but still inspiring, Nigerian writer Chimanda Ngozi Adichie speaks of the danger of what she calls the single story. “The single story” she says, “creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story”. Apt words for today’s world.