Sunday, May 19, 2024
Editorial

Ageless

Can something like storytelling ~ that started in the caves ~ be relevant in the digital age? The internet is ubiquitous and almost everyone has access to all the information they need. No more can leaders lead on the basis of having more knowledge than others. Thus, knowledge acquired through experience is no longer a leader’s strength ~ if only for the fact that it’s accessible to all now. We now work with bytes in the digital age. This change has brought speed and complexity. Just think of the news. Not that very long ago, it took time to get the news. But in the digital age, stories get published in seconds and can go viral in hours. This is the age of instant gratification, bite-sized content and information overload. Amidst all the technology advancements, we face a growing threat: the slow death of the art of storytelling. The patience and imagination required to truly appreciate a well-told story are becoming increasingly scarce. This ancient art that took birth inside the caves ~ once a cornerstone of human connection and understanding ~ is being eroded by the relentless onslaught of digital distractions and the dwindling attention spans of a generation wired for speed. This decline is not only a loss for our individual entertainment but also a threat to our collective cultural understanding and empathy. Storytelling is more than just a form of entertainment. It is a powerful tool for transmitting knowledge, values and culture across generations. It allows us to see the world through different eyes, to understand complex emotions, and to connect with others on a deeper level. However, the increasing dominance of technology and social media is fostering a culture of fragmented attention and instant gratification. We are constantly bombarded with information, forced to flit from one digital stimulus to the next, never allowing ourselves to fully immerse ourselves in the deeper joys of a well-told story. And how can we not mention the rise of social media and the curetted, often shallow narratives presented on these platforms that contribute to a culture of superficiality. We prioritise the outward display of our lives over the deeper exploration of our inner worlds, hindering our ability to connect with others on a meaningful level through storytelling. The decline of storytelling has significant consequences. It leads to a lack of empathy and understanding, as we become less able to see the world from another person’s perspective. It weakens our bonds with others, as we fail to connect on a deeper level through shared narratives. And it diminishes our ability to learn and grow, as we lose access to the wisdom and knowledge passed down through generations. It is not too late to revive the art of storytelling. We can start by making a conscious effort to disconnect from technology and create space for reflection and imagination. We can support and engage with local storytellers, artists and writers. Most importantly, we can prioritise the act of listening, truly giving others our full attention when they share their stories. But all is not lost. There is still a strong appetite for good storytelling, as evidenced by the success of well-written novels, films and television shows. The key is to find ways to make storytelling more accessible and engaging for modern audiences. Let us not allow the slow death of storytelling to claim another victim. Let us raise our voices and champion the art that has shaped us, connected us and guided us through the ages. Let us keep the stories alive, ensuring that their power continues to illuminate the human experience for years to come. Storytelling may have had its origin inside caves but remains relevant even in the digital age. Let’s not forget that despite access to more information and technological devices today, we have never stopped working with humans. And for as long as there are humans, there is storytelling ~ in the caves or in the digital age.

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