Mad Genius Club

Regular readers have probably seen several posts on the topic of humanity as storytelling animals – stories are so much a part of human life that there’s no way to escape them. For my money, this is the distinction between clever ape and human. A clever ape can learn, but a human wraps stories around the learning.

Storytelling is ancient – beyond ancient. I suspect our distant ancestors were telling stories to each other almost as soon as they got a handle on this ‘language’ thing, and possibly drawing pictures of them before that. When you look at different cultures (particularly those that developed in isolation), you see the same general trend. The oldest myths are explanations of how things came to be the way they are, usually wrapped in a cautionary tale of some sort. These are the “just so” stories, how the leopard got his spots, why the…

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