The Storytelling Animal [Tell Your Story]

Have you ever come out of the movies like me, filled with excitement and felling totally exalted? Like your brain is on fire? Well Congratulations. You have just given your brain what it desires most in the world. An Awesome Story. Or have you skunked down in the sofa to see some brain-dead action in the hopes of turning your brain off? Not so. It can’t be done. In fact it is when you are in this state that your brains is the most perceptible to hidden messages and meaning in the story. Your brain never switches off. Think off what messages you are receiving when trying not to. Even when you are sleeping your brain is doing what it likes the most. It is making up its own stories drawing from your vast library of stored stories. And why is your dreams is so often filled unrealistic and magical events? Because your brain can’t tell the diffidence. That’s why your dreams all seem so plausible when you are in them. So Dream on …

This is your story

As you read this your brain is telling a story for you. Namely your story about you. If your brain is a healthy one you are the protagonist in this story. Your own personal hero. What if you can help your hero on the way? Let’s find out how you can help your hero along and use storytelling power to change the world.

Exit light, Enter night, Take my hand, We’re off to never never land

Many believe the brain separates fiction from reality. In “reality” the brains stores everything as stories. Humans are creatures of Neverland. We live in Neverland because we can’t not live in Neverland.

It’s best put into a story by Terry Pratchett in thees words by DEATH when he talks to his granddaughter in the novel Hogfather or as dramatized below:

YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME? — DEATH

Storytelling is the heart and the soul of human nature. I have recently been reading “The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human” by Jonathan Gottschall. And it has been a 10 year-long wait to read anything inspirational about storytelling since I read “The Science of Discworld II: The Globe“. To say the least, it’s a must read! Or listen to in this excellent audio book 🙂

YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME? — DEATH

YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME? — DEATH

Why does we like storytelling so much? It’s because our brain runs on stories. Our brain is basically a pattern recognition machine. It likes patterns. And stories are just very big complex meta patterns that our brain can identify and relate to. Our universe does not contain any Narrativium like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld but we humans acts as if it does all the time. That everything that happens for a reason and everything has a purpose and a destiny. This is what makes us humans so special and this is something we should treasure.

It is always the present

The Past like the future does not really exist. They are both fantasies created in our minds. The Future is a probabilistic simulation we run in our minds in order to help shape the world we want to live in.
The Past unlike The Future has actually happened. The Past, as represented in our mind, is a mental simulation too. Our memories are not precise records of what actually happened. They are reconstructions of what happened — Jonathan Gottschall from The Storytelling Animal

Most of us believe our memory is filled with reliable info we can access at will. Not so. But memory isn’t an outright fiction. It is merely a fictionalization of what took place. Memory is an unreliable self-serving historian. It’s there to help us make decisions that help us along for the bumpy ride that reality is.

Perceptions

Here is favorite quote from Emily Thorne in the Revenge tv-show. From the episode “Perceptions” of season 1:

“Years ago, I met a boy who introduced me to a book, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. In it, William Blake writes, ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as infinite.’ But in reality our perception is often clouded by expectations. By experiences. As of late I find my perception is blinded by only one thing. — Revenge”

“Truth is a battle of perceptions. People only see what they’re prepared to confront. It’s not what you look at that matters but what you see. And when different perceptions battle against one another, the truth has a way of getting lost. And the monsters find a way of getting out.”

This captures in a great way how our brain works and how we live our life inside our own little Matrix. Experiences and expectations are all part of our perception of the past and the future. Our place in the story we are telling about our self.

Pan Narrans

Storytelling has been around for as long as we have been humans. And it’s the storytelling itself that first made us into the storytelling chimpanzee we are today. You must embrace fiction. It will make you more empathetic and more able to navigate life’s problems and dilemmas.

Fiction pulls us together and unites us with common values. It’s the core that makes us into a groupish vehicle for our genes to pass down to our offspring as I discussed in my previous blog The Duality of Man [Can we work together?]. We use them to set a shared Moral Matrix for the group.

Epilogue

As result of how successful stories have made us, we are also slaves under them. And they can easily be used to manipulate and mold us. If you want to burrow a message into a human mind. Work it into a story. But if we use the power of story for good, we can use it to change the world to the better.

But you must also use caution when confronted with stories and the “Truth” that many will want to tell you. As you know by now, the truth can never be told but a mere “Truthy Tale” of what happened in the past. Many will believe that their opinions are facts, when they are just that: Opinions.

This also means that we should be tolerant of the myths of all the cultures in the worlds as the bearers of these myths, are most certainly under the spell. Be vary of conspiracy theories as they are often the fiction of a storytelling mind who find patterns all to easily.

The truth is depressing: We are going to die. We are tiny insignificant dots on a tiny planet in a tiny galaxy. We need self-deception to keep depression at bay.
We are Figments of our own imagination. Until the day we die we are living the story of our lives. This story is constantly changing and evolving. It’s being edited and rewritten by an unreliable narrator and this story are more truthy than true.

Enjoy it while it last and make it a good one!

The power of Storytelling

“With great power comes great responsibility” — Stan Lee

Now that you know more of the power of storytelling, will you stop loving stories so much? No, on the contrary, you will be able see life for what it is and enjoy good storytelling even more.

Day dream often! You and I are going to tell a greater story together how life on planet Earth will be in the Future!

/LordSillion
Holistic Thinking Ninja

Prime Your Brain

Visions of The Future [Part 2 of 3]

We all need visions for the future. By playing a simple trick on your brain you can “Prime” it to look out for events that will seem like serendipity to you. And since your brain can’t separate fact from fiction. You can tell stories to your brain and it will try to make them “True” 🙂
This is Part 2 of 3 about Visions of The Future.

“It doesn’t matter what you pick. It just matters that you pick. The reason people don’t wanna pick is, because then they have to claim it. You pick that? You didn’t pick this? Better to pick nothing.”
Seth Godin, #GoodLifeProject 

[011]
Use Storytelling [It’s the only way to remember anything]

Jenny Åkerman

Jenny Åkerman – Talking Brain Science

I have been on an interesting seminar in Gothenburg. We started out early with Jenny Åkerman giving a free public speaking about how we can use the brain to achieve what we want. She is a Swedish Brain Scientist who gave a very entertaining speech about the brain. She goes briefly into what I talked about before. That the brain stores everything as stories. It can not tell apart fact from fiction. You know when you dream and all the crazy stuff seems so real. Even flying that I do from time to time feels so normal in your dreams. I also met a new good friend on the train up and recommended the book “The Storytelling Animal” by Jonathan Gotschall to him. This is one of the best books that I have listened to. It gives you great insight into how your storytelling organ inside your skull works. Jenny mentions how use simple bizarre story to remember everything on a shopping list.

The Brain stores everything as Stories – WE just need to help it by telling better stories

A story like this can’t be ordinary for the brain to remember it. The brain remembers all new stories it are exposed to. It’s what the brain are made for. It’s what the brain lives for.

Can you be Leonardo Da Vinci? [Seven steps on the road towards an awesome mind]

Can you be anything like Leonardo Da Vinci? Jenny Talks about the myths and truths of using both sides of the brain. We should use as many centers in the brain at the same time when doing everything. We may not be as genius as Leonard but here are 7 steps that will take you closer to becoming great. They can be found in my blog: How can you be a modern Ninja. and in the audio-stream from SXSW: Design Like Da Vinci: Leonardo’s Sketching Lessons.

genius


7 Steps to Everyday Genius

1. Be curious.You should be constantly learning new stuff.
2. Test knowledge. Learn from your mistakes.
3. Improve your own experience. Make it multi-sensory.
4. Embrace ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty
5. Whole-brain thinking (science / art, logic / emotion)
6. Know the physical world (grace, dexterity, fitness)
7. Use system-thinking. See interconnections

Do Sketches and Write a Journal every day. Sketch by hand or blog online like I do 🙂

Sketch

Step out of your Comfort-Zone [That’s when Creativity and Courage happens]

Jenny spins it further by saying that:

“All new knowledge and progress is preceded by confusion” — Jenny Åkersson

It is when the brain is confused that it steps out of its comfort-zone and try solve things in a different way that it is used to. The Brain actually likes being confused. It feels good. Think about that the next time you feel confused. This is what Peter Sengie calls Creative Tension.
The gap between vision and the current reality is called the Creative Tension. This is the space on with the magic of creativity happen.

You must be willing to leave current reality. Step out of your comfort zone towards an unknown future. A future only visualized in a dream. You must expose your art to others. Thus becoming vulnerable. Only then does creativity and empathy happen. Both Brené Brown and Seth Godin explains this well 🙂

See my blog-post on empathy: The Way of Empathy [The Beast with 2 Hearts]

Brené Brown on Vulnerability and Courage

Brené Brown on Vulnerability and Courage

In all her 12 years of research Brené Brown can not find a single example of Courage, Spiritual courage, Moral courage or Leadership courage, when someone didn’t first step out of their comfort zone and became vulnerable.

Have the courage to do what is possible. Just not convenient.

Prime Your Brain [Tell your story to your brain]

Like Jason Silva says: “You can Prime Your Brain towards a goal you want to reach”. As your brain can’t separate fact from fiction: Everything that you or someone else tell your brain makes sense. Because the Brain even can’t tell the difference between someone else talking to it or you doing the talking yourself.

Your brain is a goal achieving machine. Your subconscious is hard at work on achieving your visions and dreams of the future. So start priming your own brain, by telling your brain what visions of the future it should have in mind.

Serendipity is just that. Filling your mind with patterns on your path. To be on the lookout for. And then your subconscious mind will be on constant watch for these patterns and make them happen. So here is what you can do:

1. Start by thinking about where you are a year from now.
2. Start backtracking ever step that you took to get there. Think about the big events on the way.
3. Now think about the first step you took a year ago.
4. Start Walking, Running, Jumping, Climbing and Flying to get there!

Live Your Legend - Scott Dinsmore

Live Your Legend – Scott Dinsmore

Live Your Legend [Be true to yourself]

Scott Dinsmore among many others all say how important it is to be true to your inner self. You owe it to yourself to find your own truth in this world and live that truth. He has a project called Live Your Legend. There you can find 2 free toolkits to set a year-long plan or your weekly goals.

Be the Person, You can’t not be — Scott Dinsmore

See Scott Dinsmore on Good Life Project or find him in their podcast. And see his TEDxGoldenGatePark talk: How To Find And Do Work You Love.

Look to the Moon

Look To The Moon – Run To The Hills

It’s Prime Time! [Look To The Moon & The Stars]

Who are  you a year from Now? Should we really ask questions like this? I think we must! We should not dwell on the past. But we should revisit it from time to time in order see the contrast to our present. Most of us should focus on the now. To keep things moving and operating. But some of us must make it our mission to study the past. And others must fantasize about the future and create stunning Science Fiction to inspire us all. We need all these skills.

The Past like the future does not really exist. They are both fantasies created in our minds. The Future is a probabilistic simulation we run in our minds in order to help shape the world we want to live in.
The Past unlike The Future has actually happened. The Past, as represented in our mind, is a mental simulation too. Our memories are not precise records of what actually happened. They are reconstructions of what happened. Most of us believe our memory is filled with reliable info we can access at will. Not so. But memory isn’t an outright fiction. It is merely a fictionalization of what took place. Memory is an unreliable self-serving historian. It’s there to help us make decisions that help us along for the bumpy ride that reality is.

Jonathan Gottschall from The Storytelling Animal

But even people who focus on the present benefits from priming their brain in some way. Because we need a larger goal for our modern society than Consumerism. Something to aspire to. And as we all need to be part of this vision, we all need some connectedness and some priming with the environment around us. We are not just the Animal who collects food or money on a daily basis. We are something more. And we can become so much more. We can put a Dent in the Universe!

We all need to look to the stars! Together! — Lord Sillion

@LordSillion [Michael Sillion]
Holistic Thinking Ninja

A Rim Vision of the Future

This is part 2 of 4 of for the Big Summertime Storytelling I do this summer with Man of Steel, Wolverine, Pacific Rim and Elysium.

Also check out my Storytelling post on Cloud Atlas, Iron Man 3, Oblivion and Princess of Mars.

[005]
Pacific Grim [A Rim Vision of the Future]

We must use Storytelling and Science Fiction to envision a new Future. And to raise important question for an ongoing dialog about the future and where we are going. We should draw parallels to our past and present to give us better picture of who we are and how we build our society. Why do we go forward?

I am a Mech Lover. Somewhere in my heart I just love big moving robots. I don’t know why but maybe you do? So that’s why I had to go and see the latest Mech Movie: Pacific Rim. It starts out great. The first 5 minutes we get a fast walk-through of the events leading up to current situation in the movie. This really feels like we are going to see an epic Sci-Fi movie with great visions of the future. And then… We get nothing of the things promised…

Don’t get me wrong. The Mechs are just awesome and the Action is superb. Expect that apparently they have a sword that is super effective in the fights, but it’s not used at all until the very end. And if this a popcorn movie where you are supposed to leave your brain at the door… Sorry, no can do. I am my brain and so are you. All movies weather are dumb or smart is all about storytelling and it affects us all in some way. There is no excuse to make a dumb movie ever. Storytelling is the ultimate learning and visionary tool and we are using it wrong.

“Storytelling is about Profound lessons that you should internalize.
sugar-coated in an entertaining ride. That are not to challenging but are embedded with deep truths” — Jason Silva

I’ll talk about some of the things missing in the movie below and how it should be.

CoyoteTango

Mechs are cool! Gigantic Mechs are Awesome!

Social Media [We will just not drop it]

Come on it’s now 2013 and we’ve been using social media for many years. Are all Sci-Fi movies and television shows from now on set in an alternative universe where Social Media didn’t happen? It’s so Sad that they all have to be this way. And it will not be like today. It will have evolved to a whole new level. Try using your fantasy to imagine it for us 🙂

The Future is a Team Game [Only together can we save Earth]

In the opening there is this great mention of that all nations came together. And then nothing. The science department is a one man show. We are now really starting to see that the future will be a collaborative effort. We are beginning to Crowdfund and Crowd-develop all sort of things at an exponentially growing rate. We are not going to stop that just like that, when a crisis shows up. It’s exactly then that we going to put these tools to really good use. I can see that the design and construction is the effort very large collaborating teams all over the world. We would all join up and contribute to our favorite Mech Design. With this new gigantic Metal Gods we would all bow to them in Awe.

We would proudly fly the team color of our favorite Mech Team.

And speaking of Games. In a future with gigantic Mechs, every aspect of them are going to turn into a game. We would have large virtual simulation games of the Mechs. That way we are going to find the absolute best pilot teams as the winners of massive eSports tournaments. Not the pathetic sparring they have in the movie.

All this should be in the movie…

Storytelling FTW [Let’s Gear Up for Joint Tomorrow]

Movies like these should be an awesome experience in creating a vision in what Mankind is capable of when put under the threat of extinction. We should leave the theater in an absolute astounding sense of awe of what we can do if we all work together against a common enemy. Not just pointless stuff to earn more money. I know that ComicBookGrl19 calls this “The one original film that came out this summer”. But not so. For me this feels like a standard action movie made in the 90-ties.

Storytelling has been around for as long as we have been humans. And it’s the storytelling itself that first made us into the storytelling chimpanzee we are today. You must embrace fiction. It will make you more empathetic and more able to navigate life’s problems and dilemmas. — Jonathan Gottschall

Stories pulls us together and unites us with common values. It’s the core that makes us into a groupish vehicle for our genes to pass down to our offspring. We use them to set a shared Moral Matrix for the group. They create our culture and our entire existence. — Lord Sillion

This is what Storytelling has always been about. Not a whimsical nonsense without wisdom and visions. The Wachowskis showed us with The Matrix over 10 years ago that you can make a cool action movie with deep truths, embedded with philosophy and thought provoking, meaningful visions of the future. As did their main inspiration: Ghost in the Shell before them. And they did it again now with Cloud Atlas.

Read Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal to find out more about how our brain thinks all its thoughts in stories. And read my blog about Storytelling.

Why is this Important? [What we can Imagine –> We can Build]

BackToTheFuture

We don’t need a Time Machine to redesign the Future

Because what we can Envision and Imagine we can build together. It’s how the brain works. It runs on stories. Particular the visual ones. We must stop treating movies and television as dumb entertainment and use it for what it really does. All things we see and experience affects us in some way. We are constantly bombarded with visions and messages. Let’s make them something we can be proud of and aspire to.

It’s time to take the future back. We start by building a common vision of the Future.

I’ll soon talk about how to build a common vision…
And tomorrow I will go and see Elysium. I put my hopes up for Elysium and the Story it will tell.

Read about Elysium here.

@LordSillion [Michael Sillion]
Holistic Thinking Ninja

Life is a Story #Blogg100

#006 [VI]
The Age of Storytelling [We are the Pan Narrans]

We are living in the age of Storytelling. Never before has we been surrounded by so much storytelling. I just love to engulf myself in a good TV-Series. And now Storytelling is even becoming a thing when building you personal brand or in marketing. In a sort this blog is my Storytelling about who I am and what want to do with my life.

I usually see some TV-Series before blogging each night to get my brain spinning. Some of my current favorites include Game of Thornes, Revenge, Suits, The Borgias, Americans, Boss, House of Cards, The Newsroom, The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries and Continuum.

If you have not read Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal yet you must do this. It’s available as a free audio book as well if you sign up for Audible.com using this link: www.audibletrial.com/D6G

the-science-of-discworld-ii

The thing that Sparked my interest in this 10 year ago was the book The Science of Discworld II: The Globe

Read my 2 previous blogs about Storytelling as well:

Engage in Storytelling – If you want to change the World. Use Storytelling!

Your story – This is your story

OH, YES. A VERY SPECIAL KIND OF STUPIDITY. YOU THINK THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IS INSIDE YOUR HEADS.
’You make us sound mad,’ said Susan. A nice warm bed …
NO. YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME? — DEATH

@LordSillion [Michael Sillion]

Do you have a Contingency plan? #Blogg100

#079 [LXXIX]
Why Hearts and Minds?

“Hearts and minds… Far more effective than bombs and guns…” — Continuum

I have been watching 6 episodes of Continuum so far. In the future Mega-Corporations has taken over the role of nations and rule all without insight. A small group of rebels travel back in time make sure that future does not become like this. I like Science Fiction that makes me think. And now they started to whip up a message in this one too.

We need to hold everyone who plunder the world for their own personal or corporate gain accountable.

It’s time for a new society. How can we get this message across to those who don’t want to listen? By hiding it in stories like this 🙂

“If you want to burrow a message into a human mind. Work it into a story” — Jonathan Gottschall

I blog more about this in my 2 other blogs:

#21 Engage in Storytelling and This is your story

Shaping the Future

Continuum is also about shaping your own future. There is a META discussion about this in the show. How the time travel perspective can make you think about shaping your own future. It is all very interesting and philosophical. It presses all my buttons as a Futurist (I am two parts Future-Philosopher, one part Strategist, one part Network Ninja and one part Change-Agent).

Do we have any Contingency plans for our future? Do you?

The Quest for our Fututre. Do we have a Contingency plan?

The Quest for our Future. Do we have a Contingency plan?

@LordSillion