The Dark Side of Stories

One of the main current marketing trends I perceive is storytelling. Whether they are visual or written, whether the target group are everyday people, economists or permaculturalists, many influential players have backed from numbers and cold facts, but provide something to believe in. And who wouldn’t, if you can ask double the price for a piece of chocolate with a picture of a happy farmer on it, than for the same piece without picture.

Stories speak to the imagination. They lift us, carry us, and drop us on a different place. Marketeers understand quite well that emotional release triggers the willingness for a financial release. They are parallel things. It works in the same way as the hot girl next to a car, which makes a guy want to show off and buy it. Marketeers know, better than ourselves, how to trigger us. And so they take over the role of journalists. Controlling our minds by shaping our realities.

At this point, I should ask myself: what am I doing? Am I writing a story to convince you that you should not believe in stories? Is this where I make it personal, just to draw you even deeper into my own little fear of being manipulated so that you will buy my constant disagreement with society and make it your own? The answer is yes. But let’s move on to Freud and Jung. I feel they can bring back some general credibility.

The way I understand the disagreement between Freud and Jung, is that Freud thought Jung’s worldview was a story in his head. He did not support Jung’s tendency to guide people into the belief of a supernatural world of synchronicity, explaining experiences as going beyond the limits of the individual existence. According to Freud, Jung cured people by showing them the error of their own beliefs, then making them believe in his own. He deemed this ethically wrong. Jung, on the other hand, believed that Freud did not engage his clients to develop their full potential of personal transcendence. Both of them were great psychiatrists.

Stories connect separate events into a coherent whole. One cannot show the entire series of events, just that small selection that happens to be remembered. Or chosen strategically. All stories are lies, yet they inspire us with a sense of looking at a bigger whole. As if we grasp reality better through the stories we believe about it. A piece of chocolate is not just a piece of chocolate and a car is more than a car. We buy them, and are happy that way.

I could use a coke…


9 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Stories”

  1. That was wonderfully written & I agree with you in this. Even if stories aren’t real, one enjoys reading them. But sometimes, the person goes the wrong way. Anywho, thanks for the post.

  2. Story telling enables the creation of relationships. When someone feels the need to relate first and explain later a story can be very every effective.

    I am wary of politicians and corporations using story telling though. Then I am “specifications and requirement or out!” Maybe I am too Dutch to trust people I call “salesmen/women”…

  3. If well said, and you are my hero in that sense, stories are important supporter as they confront us with personal beliefs. Who wants to grow, digs deeper, and who doesn’t want it, stays where s/he is. And everything is fine somebody would tell. Maybe yes, but I admire storytellers as it is significant art of civil courage which will always have my support.

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