Last evening, I caved and went to the first play since my pre-pandemic life. It was Chester Bailey. The story takes us on the journey of a man who lives in a distorted reality and a psychiatrist trying to return him to the real world. Naturally, it got me thinking: what even is the real world?
We are always creating stories. The narrative that plays in our head from when we wake up until when we go to bed isn’t really reality. If several people watch the same event, they will all walk up with different explanations for why it happened. Our brain comes up with stories. It tries to explain, tries to grasp what is going on. Maybe, it is simply trying to protect us from the fact that we have little control and that the world doesn’t live by the same morals that we live by.
Whatever the reason we do it, it’s human. But, do these stories bring us farther from reality or closer?
Scientists are obsessed with the objective, trying to explain our world in quantifiable data. However, they are not free from the attachment of the subjective. Their ideas, motivations, and actions all rise from their subjective experience. Moreover, they look for cause and effect. They try to find the correct story.
I don’t think it’s much different for the arts though, either. What is writing a book or painting a piece of art for other than to communicate some type of story? Some type of causality?
Moreover, why do stories matter and why do we tell them? That’s the question I am leaving with, today. Maybe, soon, I will have an answer.