THE REASON YOU'RE ALIVE (A THEORY)
Think back...Way back. To when humanity wandered the earth hunter/gatherer style. Scientist say the global population was between 2-4 million. Today that number has skyrocketed to over 7 Billion!
It's easy to say that humans took over the world and rose to the top of the food chain because of their superior brains and this isn't technically the wrong answer, but I'd like to get more specific. Sure, we have opposable thumbs and big brains, but we're not the fastest, meanest, most resilient of creation. In fact, before the bicycle, we were the least efficient mammal on the planet. So how are we still alive?!
The human brain developed the ability to tell stories which organized clans, gave life a purpose, helped groups reach a common goal, improved the quality of life, and created hope that transcends even death!
Money, Ethics, Social Order, Justice, God, and any other intangible concept does not exist in our collective subconscious outside of the stories we've told.
Because of Story, you can take a worthless piece of paper and exchange it for goods and services, or rally a group of believers in a common narrative and do more good than you could have done alone. Countries, cities, cathedrals, and catacombs would not exist without a story to justify them.
Watership Down* is an excellent work of fiction that illustrates the power of story in a community. It follows a ragtag group of wild rabbits carried by the myths and legends of their ancestors beyond mere survival into a utopian society, which they create. It is an excellent example of surviving and overcoming oppression in all its forms.
As a society, as a family, as an individual, we must hold onto our stories if we aim to survive.
Those who wish to oppress a group of people, target first the artists and storytellers. A good oppressor does all he can to stop the spread of Story.
I recently heard of a story from North Korea where a woman was shot publicly in the street for watching a pirated version of Casablanca.
Those in charge know and understand the power of Story. A film like Casablanca could do great harm to the order of things in North Korea.
Starvation, oppression, and genocide do not start rebellions;
A story is all one needs to rise up and make the world a better place.
* I am a proud owner of a 1st edition signed by Richard Adams!