Last week, I wrote on division based on generality. To give you a quick summary, I discussed how separating people into groups by generality, or using a Us vs. Them mentality, is one of the worst ways that we can divide people. This is present throughout history in many different circumstances.
Today, I write about story and the power that lies within story. I brought up my previous article because the power that is behind story relates directly to this division by generality.
Now that we know about divisions by generality, we can discuss how to best combat these divisions. I discussed in my previous article about how seeing people as individuals or as humans is one of the best ways to stop this sort of division. But this is not available for everyone.
What, then, can be used to combat these divisions? My answer is story.
As a writer, I enjoy writing fiction more than any other type of writing. When crafting a short story, I always make sure to pay attention to the littlest of details so that the reader can fully grasp the depth of the story. This is known generally as Hemingway's iceberg principle. Just as only a fraction of the iceberg is visible above water, there is only a portion of the actual story visible on the page. The rest of the story, or iceberg, is felt by the reader through the details that are present in the story. Not only can the readers see the visible story, but they can feel the "realness" of the story because of all the details. In other words, while the story may not be very intricate, the hard work and close attention to details on the part of the writer result in the reader understanding seeing the story as a "real" story.
This creates a particular moment in the eyes of the reader. The story often takes a more general topic and creates a specific moment that represents that. This means that many people can relate to a story even if they have not experienced the specific moment that is on the page. As a result, we gain the same sort of effect that comes through seeing people as individuals instead of as a general group.
Overall, the power that is behind story is the ability to take a topic that is not specific and present it through a very focused and detailed moment. As a result, stories can help their readers relate to other people through these specific moments. This then can be used to combat divisions that arise by generalizations and help people see others as individuals and humans.
Now, this may not be true of all stories but there are stories are written by or about people that may be of these divided groups. In these cases, stories can and do build bridges across these gaps.