Viewpoints and Storytelling  BY Managing Director, Jim Skiba

The concept of this section is to encourage us to see others from a “circle view”, allowing us to have a greater understanding of the world. In the logo, we show 14 viewpoints which encompass a multitude of expressions and understandings.

Every person has a different viewpoint: a perspective based on lifestyle, family, history and each person is also shaped by environment and choices. I have chosen to honor certain viewpoints which I think are important for me. At times, these viewpoints may prove important for others as well.

In viewpoints, the plan is to simply share my own views or the views of others which I value, such as friends, business colleagues, and readers that have shared their viewpoints with me or my collaborators. In some cases, while I will not always completely agree with another viewpoint, I don’t plan to analyze and comment on them.

The views here — shared in images, video, music and text — are shared with heart and vulnerability, and are not here to be judged. Take what resonates with you and leave what does not without comment.

We do respect that we all have unique views.  And we cherish the right to express them through civil discourse.
We encourage you to engage and comment graciously on our social media platforms.

History of Storytelling: as early as 50,000 BC

The history of storytelling has been a long tradition for thousands of years, born out of the need for humans to connect with each other.

The term "storytelling" can refer in a narrow sense specifically to oral storytelling and also in a looser sense to techniques used in other media to unfold or disclose the narrative of a story.

Oral storytelling is believed to be one of the oldest forms, originating with the birth of speech estimated at 50,000 to 2 million years ago. It is still one of the most popular forms of storytelling. It has traditionally kept its formula and is still consciously injected into our daily lives.

Historically, the most well-renowned and longest-standing storytellers are the aboriginal Australians, whose storytelling rituals are believed to date back between 18,000 and 7,000 years. Their storytelling methods use voice and dramatization in delivering the story.

Storytelling predates writing. The earliest forms of storytelling were usually oral combined with gestures and expressions. In addition to being part of religious rituals, some archaeologists believe rock art may have served as a form of storytelling for many ancient cultures.

Visual storytelling kept evolving and has become a staple in human civilization. Art has been a medium allowing humans to pass on history and legends through images. Historical examples of visual storytelling have been found in Egyptian pyramids, on ancient Greek vases and frescoes, Chinese tapestries, statues, canvases, through photographs, and most recently made accessible through video.

Visual storytelling:
Cave Art as early as
35,000 BC

Cave dwellers used pigment to paint on walls with their hands to create stories and myths. The historical background of visual storytelling can be pinpointed back to 35,000 BC. Early records of art depicting everyday images were discovered in the Chauvet caves in southern France demonstrating man’s ability to reflect events. Another example would be the cave paintings in Brazil.

Cave painting at Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil. This art may be 20,000 to 32,000 century BC

Complex forms of tattooing may also represent stories, with information about genealogy, affiliation and social status.

Stylized pictures:
Pre-cursor of an alphabet: 13,000 BC

With the use of hieroglyphics, pictures are organized into columns for reading and have very little room for interpretation once the language is understood. When tales are only spread via word of mouth there is a huge amount of room for polluting or embellishing the story. The act of setting something in stone adds an air of credibility and has made it harder to dispute. The earlier creative license around enhancing storytelling is no longer applicable when it is written.

Hieroglyphs from the tomb of Seti I (KV17), 13th century BC

Writing is much more concrete and unchangeable, which allows the text to be more believable. This allowed stories to be recorded and transported globally. However, written storytelling, in its beginning, was an elitist art that required literacy. Since education was often for the wealthy, the power was often held by the same class of society.

The emergence of an alphabet:
3,500 BC

The earliest examples of human writing come from the Sumerians and Egyptians with their hieroglyphics, estimated to date back 3400 years. Writing changed the course of storytelling, giving it a new avenue to explore and a way of ensuring permanence.

Sumerian Cuneiform, 3,500 BC

The pictures slowly developed into an organized story with more symbolic notes and numbers, which slowly turns into an alphabet. One example is the Sumerian cuneiform alphabet.

Ancient Greeks use both oral and written language

Ancient Greeks carved their language into walls to tell how history was moving forward.

Greek tragedies aimed at allowing audiences to undergo catharsis. The Greeks were master storytellers and introduced the world to the protagonist, antagonist, and chorus. This structure can still be copied and seen in modern theatre, especially the Broadway industry.

The printing press makes writing accessible to all classes: 1,440 AD

There was a major shift in education and power with the invention of the printing press in 1440 and the first newspaper printed in 1690. Thereafter, written stories became more accessible to the average person, particularly as of the last hundred years when literacy rates increased rapidly.

Moving pictures - film and photography are the most recent evolution of visual storytelling, which has evolved into digital stories and social media outlets. New formats have allowed stories to be only a click away, combining still image, moving image, sound, text, and essentially enriching the experience for the viewer.

Many traditional stories have a hero who confronts a problem, survives and moves to a new level where the hero has been transformed. A good story is exciting and engaging – the listener can engage and remember. There may be new solutions to problems or best practices. Stories may often have the goal of teaching about history or culture, as well as values and lifestyles. The best stories may not have a designed goal – other than looking for an attentive listener.

In the case of the stories which we are sharing, we simply wish to celebrate the inspiration behind the books as they come to life when they are being read aloud to another person.

We have some stories to share and encourage you to join us and listen.