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Small Press Shakedown: David Rix of Eibonvale Press

George Lucas on Storytelling

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George Lucas interviewed by Dasha Zhukova (Garage, Fall/Winter 2016):

The art of telling stories began even before language, with images. Before humans could talk, we drew pictures. In the beginning, the pictures were of animals, because we worshipped animals. Our whole existence depended on an antelope coming at the right time of year. Our world was defined by these great mysteries, and the mysteries were shared through art.

Mythology has been the content of art for thousands of years – it’s a key component of the glue that binds a society together. Humans are, by nature, fearful, so they crave something that makes them comfortable. When we are faced with things we do not understand, we get very nervous, which creates chaos.

We needed something to help us comprehend things larger than ourselves. Religion and mythology helped us make sense of them. For a long time, nightfall seemed like the end of the world. People thought, “What if it doesn’t get light again – what if it just stays dark?” The idea that somebody – a god or goddess – was carrying a large torch across the sky in a chariot made us feel safer.

In order to build a society that’s bigger than one family, there had to be commonality. We collectively decided on a religion, on the rules, on why you should follow the king – because he’d done all these great exploits. To pull all these things together, we started telling stories.  

I suspect this will give any anthropologist kittens. But setting aside the pseudo-historical handwavery, there's something immensely powerful, and joyous, about the idea that that stories build commonality. Great (pop) cultural events pull people together - irregardless of background, demographics, politics, you name it. We may not be alike in any other sense, except that we love Star Wars. We have nothing in common, except for Harry Potter. That's why this stuff is important: fantasy worlds, built well, create new places for us to meet one another.

/steps off soapbox

/watches Rogue One again

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