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Exit: June, 2015 Archive

Recordings are-not stories.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 by Holy at

Exit: 1000 years & counting

Source: SALT mailing list, words are Stewart Brand’s.
(Catch it while you can, it will probably be removed shortly. For free that is.)

Stories are alive. The one that last, Gaiman said, out-compete other stories by changing over time. They make it from medium to medium — from oral to written to film and beyond. They lose uninteresting elements but hold on to the most compelling bits or even add some. The most popular version of the Cinderella story (which may have originated long ago in China) has kept the gloriously unlikely glass slipper introduced by a careless French telling.

“Stories,” Gaiman said, “teach us how the world is put together and the rules of living in the world, and they come in an attractive enough package that we take pleasure from them and want to help them propagate.” Northwest coast native Americans have a tale about a beautiful woman and young man whose forbidden love was punished by the earth shaking, and black ash on snow, and finally fire coming from a mountain, killing many people. It stopped only when the beautiful woman was thrown into the burning mountain.

That is important information — solid-seeming mountains can suddenly erupt, and early warnings of that are earthquakes and ash. As pure information it won’t last beyond three generations. But add in beauty and forbidden love and tragic death, and the story will be told as long as people live in the mountains.

Continued: Recordings are-not stories.

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