‘Many people don’t realize the extent to which stories influence our behavior and even shape our culture. Think about how Bible stories teach the fundamentals of religion and rules of conduct. Think of the fables and parables that molded your values. Think of how stories about your national, cultural or family history have shaped your attitudes about yourself and others. Stories are particularly effective in influencing the way our children think and behave, because they like to hear and read them over and over again. This repetition, combined with your children’s imaginations and the inestimable power of your presence, makes stories one of the best ways to influence their thinking.’

Lawrence Shapiro (1998) How to Raise a Child With a High EQ: A Parents’ Guide to Emotional Intelligence. New York: HarperCollins, p. 90
Lawrence Shapiro

‘One lesson we can learn from pre-industrial peoples is the power of storytelling. I am struck by how important storytelling is among tribal peoples, it forms the basis of their educational systems. The Celtic peoples … insisted that only the poets could be teachers. Why? I think it is because knowledge that is not passed through the heart is dangerous; it may lack wisdom; it may be a power trip; it may squelch life out of the learners. What if our educational systems were to insist that teachers be poets and storytellers and artists? What transformations would follow?’

Matthew Fox (1994), philosopher of the ecotheological movement
Matthew Fox

‘There is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.’

Carl G. Jung (1933), in Modern Man in Search of a Soul
Carl G. Jung

‘I will tell you something about stories,’ he said. ‘They aren’t just entertainment. Don’t be fooled. They are all we have, you see. All we have to fight off illness and death. You don’t have anything if you don’t have stories.’

Leslie Marmon Silko (1977), Laguna Pueblo author. Ceremony. New York: Viking Press, p. 2
Leslie Marmon Silko

‘We can keep from a child all knowledge of earlier myths, but we cannot take from him the need for mythology.’

Carl G. Jung (1912), psychiatrist
Carl G. Jung

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

Muriel Rukeyser (1968), poet and feminist activist
Muriel Rukeyser

‘The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in. That is a hard saying for hardheaded men to accept, but it is true. Stories are told, grow old, and are remembered. Battles are fought, fade out, and are forgotten –unless they beget great stories.’

Harold Goddard (1960), in The Meaning of Shakespeare
Harold Goddard

‘Our species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.’

Mary Catherine Bateson (1994), cultural anthropologist
Mary Catherine Bateson

‘I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men’s minds without their being aware of the fact.’

Claude Lévi-Strauss (1969), in The Raw and the Cooked
Claude Lévi-Strauss

‘The story was the bushman’s most sacred possession. These people knew what we do not; that without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilisation. Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own.’

Laurens Van der Post (1958), in Lost World of the Kalahari
Laurens Van der Post