People who read history books – be it fact or fiction – try to identify and relate their own personal time-frame to the story. This allows them to personally locate themselves in a narrative. A story has the power to help us find connections to the past and find meaning in our present lives. But it is not powerful enough to simply encourage us to collectively act for the distant future, for such action needs exceptional imagination, critical thinking, and a sense of responsibility. Humans understand the world as a story, but we do not often experience our own lives in that large cohesive a narrative. Rather, we create it when we look back on our experiences later. So, our own story is an afterthought.
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