MasterClass – LeVar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling
Power of Storytelling
LeVar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling : LeVar believes that what we imagine, we create. In this lesson, LeVar connects storytelling to the ability to imagine a better world.
[MUSIC PLAYING] – I believe that two of the most important words in combination in language are “what if” because by accepting that invitation into the what if, everything becomes possible. And so after that question, in the exploration of that question, all things become possible, right?
What if we were able to build a spaceship and travel to other stars? What if we were able to marshal the resources on this planet and demonstrate that there is plenty for all of us? What if we were able to bridge the divide that separates us ideologically, intellectually, emotionally? What if we were able to do that?
– There’s a tendency that we have as human beings to encourage an investigation into the what if when we’re children. But we remove permission as we get older to imagine and to investigate that what if, I believe that we need to maintain contact with that inquiry. We need to maintain our contact with our imaginations as we grow up and grow older.
I love reading aloud. It’s one of my favorite modalities of storytelling. On my podcast, I read a different piece of short fiction in every episode. And one of the reasons why I do that is because I know that my generation is leaving a world full of problems behind when we leave. And I believe that it’s going to be incumbent upon this upcoming generation to solve these problems. And chief among the tools that they will need is their imaginations.
We can’t have a just, equitable society unless we can imagine one. For me, our imagination is a muscle, right? It’s an ability. I guess it is kind of like a bicycle. You never lose it, but it’s not in tiptop condition unless we exercise it, you know?
And so the idea of nurturing our imaginations, actually nourishing that part of ourselves that is naturally creative, is what I’m talking about. And for some reason, we equate in this culture the– the need and necessity to leave behind, as it is said, those childish things in order to become a functioning member of society is kind of ass backwards, as far as I’m concerned.
I think in order to become a productive, functioning member of society, you need all of your gifts front and center. And certainly, you need your imagination. Again, nothing that has ever been invented did not begin as a thought in the mind of a human being. That’s the absolute truth about the power of our imagination. So it’s essential that we nourish that aspect of ourselves because chief among, I think, any other facility we possess, it is our imaginations that is going to sustain us through good times and bad as we move through life.
Reading is absolutely the gateway to our imagination. Because when we’re reading, we are automatically projected into a space where we are creating and cocreating with the word the reality that we are experiencing. When we read, we make the pictures in our heads. We make the movie in our heads.
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