I took my children to the British Science Museum in London yesterday and had a great time recounting the stories of some of the greatest scientific inventions and how the world they know was studied and harnessed. Sometimes for the good of humanity and sometimes at its expense. In all the different sections of the museum, stories were told but the psychology section caught my eye with a section on Storytelling. One of the exhibit panel had the this written on it.
“The limits of my language are the limits of my world” Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Once upon a time, it was believed that stories merely recorded what happened in the world. But some modern psychologists have come to regard stories as having an almost supernatural power. What we call “human nature” is now thought to be created by language, conversations, narratives, folk-tales, songs and poetry. We literally talk ourselves into existence.