Do we actually need science to validate storytelling?

By Limor Shiponi

All the links being tossed around the web lately about science proving the effectiveness of storytelling doing this or that, would usually make me think, “really?! You don’t say?!” But observing storytellers hinging onto those bits and pieces of scientific reports makes me angry. Angry because even the people who know very well all this information is only beginning to scratch the surface of what storytelling is about, demonstrate the fact that most of the western world has turned enslaved to science as the source of validating something and turning it into “the truth”. If science says it’s so, it’s so. Anyone else who said anything ever before about an issue later scientifically proven, was only suggesting a possibility which was not necessarily the truth and could therefore be cancelled out as not serious enough.

You know what it reminds me of in a way? Do you remember some years ago we woke up in the morning to learn that there was cholesterol in the world? Later we learned that there was good cholesterol, there was bad cholesterol and that the good one comes from plants. A short while later the “oil” section in every supermarket was suddenly heavily stocked with “soybean oil – cholesterol free – scientifically proven”. Soybean oil was cholesterol free from start. Only now, because science has “revealed” this new quality of life, everything that could join into the buzz was suddenly brought in. Science says – we obey, Science says not – its “soft skills” or a mere suggestion/ nice to have/ old women’s tales.

My dear colleagues, you are giving up on the validation created through thousands of years of human experience. Does it really matter if science says so in the case of storytelling? I know many think that now it will be easier for storytellers to “break-in” into mainstream. Well, it just might be that mainstream is going the wrong way or really wants something different than what we think it wants. Some people say to me – if you can’t fight them, join them. I would if I thought I was doing the right thing or giving up my principles just a little to meet someone in the middle of the bridge. But hey, this is a wrong direction and my main question still stands – what for? Even if one day science will be able to prove everything, do we actually need everything proved? What will we do with that information that we can’t do now?

After being in this for so many years of struggle I truly think the best way to achieve what it seems all this storytelling passion around scientific approval is trying achieve is by telling stories and doing it very well. Nothing can beat that and when you experience great storytelling nothing has to be beaten anyway.

And to all the “others” who are looking for scientific proof about storytelling: what do you need it for really? In most cases all you have to do is experience storytelling and allow yourself to experience yourself at the same time. You’ll get all the proof you need. Are you looking for a way to make others understand what this is about? Send them to hear storytelling and they will understand. I find it hard to understand why you need a scientific paper in the middle…

2 thoughts on “Do we actually need science to validate storytelling?”

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