Walter Fisher is a 20th century Philosopher that created the Narrative Paradigm Theory. His theory says that that all meaningful communication is a form of storytelling or giving a report of events, and that human beings experience and comprehend life as a series of ongoing narratives, each with its own conflicts, characters, beginning, middle, and end. He also explains how the elements of nature, beliefs and behaviors, culture, rationality, and choice all connect to the different ways of communicating and or story telling.
The theme of our SC4SC class has been to speak our minds and find ways to better the world through the power of social media. Walter Fisher’s theory explains why we discuss the way we do and the best ways to go about our communication. Fisher claims that all humans are story tellers. When we communicate, we do it in a way that tells a story or shapes our opinion in the best way possible. I could not agree more. After these stories are told, it is up to the listener to see which forms of communication and stories he/she can connect to that matches their values and beliefs. This is something that i find so special because it becomes so individualized and shows how different every person is, and that is why there is not only one form of communication.
All semester long we spoke about how we send messages by nature and every form of communication can be seen as story telling. It took a while for me to understand that because i never really thought of story telling as anything else than some person writing a book, or writing in some way or form to get paid. My mindset was definitely fixed when it came to this. As i started to think deeper about how every time i speak to another human, whether its my friends, or my parents, or my coaches i am always sending my personal message and the form of communication is one person story telling back to the other. This brings me to the point of slavery and how story telling has influenced the way we learned about it in this class but in school all together. I was set on story telling when it came to slavery only being what slaves passed down to their young ones, and what people who were alive during that time wrote about it, but that is not it. All of the famous chants, and songs, and art that was created during that time period was a form of communication, and more importantly it was a form of story telling. It gets passed down like tradition and every single person can have a difference experience or take on what happened. The way that all of this information can stick when we learn it is to find a way to relate, and that is what story telling allows us to do. It allows us to relate to other people’s stories and it makes our own stories distinct from anything else another human has encountered. We are the authors of what comes out of our mouths and we write the stories.
The next step of the paradigm is the element of beliefs and behaviors with intentions of good reason. This was simple to me because i remember so many times when i was younger and either one of my parents sat me down and told me stories about their pasts. They would point out the bad ones more so than the good ones not to make a point, but to explain their behaviors and have a good reason behind it so that i would not make the same mistakes as them. Every single action has a purpose behind it, and like we’ve spoken all semester, with the power of communication we can limit these accidents from happening if we can connect it with our peers the right way. This process does not happen over night however, and it did not click with me until i became older and more mature. I just took these lessons from my parents as something they wanted to tell me and not so much as something they wanted me to register to my own life. I am so thankful that i have them for that and i am lucky enough to have that information retained in my brain.
The third element is the element of culture. This is the way we story tell within the properties of our culture. This might come as the most difficult elements to deal with because in the world we have this issue of accepting other peoples cultures. It is what causes wars across the world, and other unfortunate events and it comes as the biggest obstacle for the story telling to overcome. Humans tend to feel more comfortable around people of their own cultures that they can relate to, people who have dealt with similar circumstances and what not and this is a reason why when we are forced to learn about or accept other cultures it becomes uncomfortable and hard. The main thing about other people’s culture is to always have an open mind to where they are coming from. That leads me to the next element of rationality. It is easy to change your narrative and become irrational when adversity hits and things get hard, and a lot of times people like to change their way of story telling so it helps them out and shapes the argument.
The final element is what i personally think is the most outstanding, it is the element of choice. Ultimately as human beings everything can be taken from us, but not our power of choice. We can listen to whatever we want, and comprehend in any way we would like. We can hop on one bandwagon of a narrative and immediately switch to another once we feel like we do not believe in it anymore and that power is simply amazing. That all circles around to the main theme of this course, which is how we see social media, and the wonders it can do for us. With the click of a button we can follow somebody’s narrative, or create our own, and there is nothing anybody can do to take that away from us. With social media, you can decide what it is you want to hear or what it is you don’t want to read, but at the end of the day you will always circle back to opinion and thoughts that connect with your own culture.
Thank you SO much for such an awesome course!!!