The Power of Narrative – Example by a musical letter from Fred to Sweet Lorraine

Many people seem to believe that "myths" - not necessarily scientific narratives perceived as meaningful by many - are to be found only among religions. Nothing could be farther from the (now scientific!) truth: As Jonathan Gottschall showed in his great-to-read "The Storytelling Animal", we human beings evolved a hunger for sharing myths in order to be able to survive, to cooperate and to reproduce. In fact, your personal identity is a myth you are repeatedly and constantly trying to uphold in order to successfully navigate your social world.

Lacking narratives of your background, name and endeavours, you wouldn't be a person able to fit into human social life! No wonder even those of us perceiving themselves as non-religious are frequently enjoying myths in books, movies, games and talks.


I did a University course about the subject in Cologne last summer, including a German eBook as a reader. But I didn't have that YouTube-meme ready that is currently sweeping the Internet as a perfect example, featuring a song called "Sweet Lorraine". Granted: This line has been used by other songwriters and the song is short and, well, nice. But it is the narrative that is moving hundreds of thousands to see, to listen and to buy: The story of a romantic 96-year old husband who wrote a song to his beloved wife after her passing away. Actually, this special narrative moved the studio to produce the music in the first place!

See for yourself, enjoy - and let's ponder the power of myths in our everyday lives!

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