Learning, Story telling and the Origin of the Universe

Some scientists suggest that what made our species special, and what caused it to explode and dominate the planet is our ability to understand and tell stories. I heard this while watching this lecture on artificial intelligence last week, it did not make immediate sense to me. However now after reflecting on what a story is and what we do when we interpret the world, I think that we are constantly looking for stories out in the world, we want to find the stories and tell other people about them.

cloud of dust

Take for example Cosmology, when we try to understand the origin of the universe, we are trying to tell a story about the entire universe, who/what caused it and how did it evolve over the course of it’s history, how important characters like galaxies and black holes started to play a role, and how we came out of a cloud of gas. If you have the answer to these question, you would have the urge to tell everyone about them in story form, and few people would be so uninterested that they wouldn’t want to hear the story of our entire world! (except if their schools made them associate too much pain to hearing things like that).

The key take away point I’m making is that our brains are wired in certain ways: We are social creatures and we understand things in story form, which suggests re-designing some of the things we want to teach in story form to put the learners in a position to understand even the hardest topics, and make a switch in their head that this is an interesting thing and not a boring thing.

It would be a great story for civilization, if more people got together to re-design learning material in more captivating form, If more people started to learn and help each other learn. We will be happier, more reasonable human beings, more capable of advancing civilization, we will understand each other better and more importantly the story of our species will be one were we end up exploring the universe, spreading love and understanding who we are.

That’s the story I wanna be a part of!

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