May 24, 2022

The need for a story

A movie. A book. A simple narration from the lips of someone known or unknown. If the subject intrigues us we become preoccupied with the development of the story. And this is not accidental. It is the result of man's need for imagination and inspiration.

Imagination, which peaks during childhood, isn’t solely to do with dragons and magical lands as we think it is when we’re adults. It’s to do with storytelling, when all you have is yourself and something that piqued your interest. From a young age we imagine being a part of the fairy tales that we are told. We embark on exciting adventures, in which we are the protagonists. We pretend to take part in epic battles and fights in which we always come out winners, in events where we’re the centre of interest… In a life far from reality. In a life that fills us with joy and excitement and disperses the dark clouds that represent reality.

As we grow up, it’s a fact that our imagination runs out. The reality that we decide to wear on our backs as adults leaves no room for children's fantasies. Thus, we abandon the games that we methodically collected and ignore the "children's showtime" (6am to 1pm every Saturday and Sunday on Star) that we were dedicated to on television. Even so, once in a while, we look forward to reliving this carefree life. And what a pity that when the little cousin we are babysitting wants to see the new Disney movie… not that we needed an excuse.

We can't, however, go through life with children's fairy tales. At some point they lose their beauty because they are simplified, for the ears and eyes of those who are much younger than us. Even then, the need to get lost in their excitement remains. And that's where the stories come from.

In order to create a story (or even to learn a new one), it needs to be something exciting and different. I emphasise these two adjectives because I don’t want to be confused with the fact that a story has to present something better. This isn’t the case. Certainly, we prefer stories with a happy ending, but a story without hardship would not be a story. It is the collection of the central character’s experiences that make us want to experience their life, even momentarily, through their eyes. Something so different from our everyday life that it makes us forget our frustration with it. For a few minutes we get to be in the shoes of the protagonist and our mind is occupied exclusively with the question: "What would life be like?". We are thirsty for this feeling and this thirst seems to be unquenchable.

I mentioned two reasons why people turn to stories. Yes, people look for the imagination that adulthood drained from their lives, but they also look for inspiration. A reason to continue. They look forward to hearing about a life they would like to have, in order to make adaptations in order to pursue a similar one. To hear about someone who overcame the obstacles they found on their way and by doing so, get the courage to do the same. Because "if he did then why can’t I?".

Life isn’t always beautiful or magical. It often gets boring and ordinary, and everyone needs a break from it. Our own hardships often drag us into a dark well, and the heroes we are told about, real or not, light the way back to the surface with hope.

Without stories, our hearts would have broken into pieces from the harsh reality of the world.

Photography by the Photography Team of TEDxAUTH 2022

Eugenia Manolidou Chatzi

They call her Jane. Despite the namesake she has nothing to do with ministers and she is far less cringe (well, the bar was already low). She studies Physics in AUTH and, as expected, her mind is burnt out. She likes music and literature. She is often said that her eyes shine when speaking about something she likes (particularly the characters of the book she keeps postponing). She looks scary from afar, but once you meet her you understand the appreciation she shows to her friends and that she overthinks their birthday presents.

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Samuel Pechlivanis-Olagoke

Born and raised in London, his life story has seen him move to Canada, Cyprus, and now Greece. Supposedly he studies medicine but most of his time is spent discovering the hidden gems thessaloniki has to offer, such as cool cafes or cheesecake bakeries, and reminiscing his childhood through finding the snacks he grew up with at the pantopoleio.

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Dimoka Maria Eleftheria (Mirela)

A 21-year-old translation aficionado, lost in her own chaos, plans to find herself in every part of the world. A language and nature lover who finds peace in art and adventure. Following favorite verses of romanticists and gothic writers you may find her on mountain peaks and cat neighborhoods. Her greatest passion: to learn new things and live every moment to the fullest!

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