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yes, filters: the art of the artifice
Episode 4110th October 2022 • PowerPivot • Leela Sinha
00:00:00 00:08:49

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Sometimes there's a reality in the fake that isn't in the real thing. We always craft our narratives- bringing forward some details, pushing other details back. This way we tell a story that feels real, without the distraction of all of the facts that complicate the thing and make it difficult for our listeners to know what is important, and what is not. When we are careful and when we are wise and when we are skilled with the art of carving a story out of a set of facts: that's when we move the world forward.

For more on Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, look here:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/97395/bird-by-bird-by-anne-lamott/

Transcripts

Leela Sinha:

What, what are we hiding? This is a thing I'm

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sitting with a lot these days, what are we hiding? What are we

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hiding from each other? What are we hiding from ourselves? How do

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we reveal and occlude things a little here a little there; one

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way than the other way so that people see the story that we're

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trying to tell. And I think this is important, because it's not

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necessarily wrong. We often imply that it's wrong to hide

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some parts while highlighting others. And I don't think that's

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true, because that's how storytelling works. And that is

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how storytelling has always worked. Always, always, always

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since the beginning of language and stories, since flickering

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firelight, and rising sun. Since children at their parent's knees

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it has always worked like that. Always. Our brains are always

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filtering the data that they get. Some of our brains do that

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better than others, some of our brains want everything to be

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important. But always, in order to notice a pattern, in order to

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move something forward, we need to be able to decide which

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details are important in this moment. So when you make a

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story, whether it's for marketing, or whether it's for

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your friend, or whether it's for your kid, or whether it's for

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yourself. Of course, you're going to decide which things are

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important which parts are important, which segments of the

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story you should bring forward and which you should let fall

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back. Where you should dodge and where you should burn. It's a

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darken some things, lighten

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others. And when we do that, what we do is we make the story

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that we understand, our perception of the world, of

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reality, of the thing, of the moment, more accessible. We make

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it easier to share, we share who we are. There is no such thing

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as unbiased storytelling much as old journalism would have tried,

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and did try. But our bias, even if it's just the bias for the

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storyline that we want to tell, is baked in to the choices we

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make, the choices of word,s of connotations, of breaths, of

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pauses, of speed, of inflection. Every single thing we do changes

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the story, shapes the story. We are the hands on the potter's

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wheel. It's the same clay. But everyone makes a different pot.

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And that's good. Because if I want to understand you, I have

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to understand the story that you're telling yourself. I have

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to understand the story that you think it's important for me to

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hear. Which details matter to you, which highlights matter to

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you which things you think are highlights, because what you

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think is a highlight, I might not be that interested in. And

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what I think is a highlight you might not connect to at all. But

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what you were almost gonna leave out but kind of tossed away in

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the corner there, might become the whole story to me, but might

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be the whole reason I want to talk to you, might be the whole

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reason that I become attached, not just to you, but to your

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company, to your brand, to your narrative, to the person that I

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hope that your thing will help me be. And sometimes it's really

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subtle, and sometimes it's not, especially in the world of hyper

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saturated media marketing. Sometimes it's right out front.

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Buy this, be sexy. Do this, be rich. But what if I'm not

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interested in being sexy? What if rich holds no appeal? What if

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what I'm interested in

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is the little kid? Anne Lamott tells this story in Bird by Bird

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where she's kind of walking the readers through a writing

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exercise. And there's this moment where she says, you know,

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you got to narrow down that playground scene. And so she

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focuses in on this one kid that's leaning against the fence

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on the side of the playground. And that kid becomes the whole

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story, even though if you zoom out, they're barely in the

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picture at all. All of this is just another version of filters.

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Instagram filters are just filters. They just allow us to

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show people what we want to show them. But we have to understand

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that it's always a story. It's it's always a little bit of

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artifice, and a little bit of truth. Always. Every word, every

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picture. But it's the art in artifice that allows us to touch

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each other more deeply, that allows us to reach each other

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more genuinely. There's sometimes a reality in fake that

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isn't in the real thing. It tells the story that feels real,

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instead of all of the facts that complicate the thing. Sometimes

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that can be harmful. We have to be aware of the power of

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crafting a narrative. But when we are careful and when we are

natural part of the process:

:

wise and when we are skilled with the art of carving a story

out of a set of facts:

that's when we move the world forward.

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