Humanities professor John D. Niles, in a book called Homo Narrans, puts it this way: “It is chiefly through storytelling that people possess a past.”
The human animal’s language ability allows us to import the past into the present moment. Those memories and language tend to solidify: we age, but the stories usually stay the same. Our past becomes a collection of sacred artefacts we carry with us. Imbued with the power of talismans or curses, these stories inform our present.
And so it comes to pass that, through our storytelling, not only do we possess a past – but that past possesses us, too.
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