The “why” of storytelling

Maria Popova hits one out of the ballpark again with this “animated essay” on the importance of storytelling.

Two essential quotes from a great article.

In the first one, she describes in a very clear and concise manner the difference and the interrelation between information, knowledge and wisdom:

At its base is a piece of information, which simply tells us some basic fact about the world. Above that is knowledge — the understanding of how different bits of information fit together to reveal some truth about the world. Knowledge hinges on an act of correlation and interpretation. At the top is wisdom, which has a moral component — it is the application of information worth remembering and knowledge that matters to understanding not only how the world works, but also how it should work.

She then goes on to define what the contribution of a great storyteller should be:

A great storyteller — whether a journalist or editor or filmmaker or curator — helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great storyteller dances up the ladder of understanding, from information to knowledge to wisdom. Through symbol, metaphor, and association, the storyteller helps us interpret information, integrate it with our existing knowledge, and transmute that into wisdom.

Spot on. I would extend this to anyone who is responsible for translating the amazing amounts of information available today into wisdom, such as data analysts or anyone who stands up in front of a group to assist them in making sense of “the data”.

Go ahead, watch the video and read the transcript. It’s excellent.