Are there some stories that are innate, that are built into our genetic code, stories that we all knew before we were ever told them? Are there stories that we have heard many times but have known them all along? Just as a bird knows how to build a nest or a silkworm knows how to cast its cocoon are there bits of information that are locked deep in our evolution that manifest themselves in such stories?
You know them already, stories of a virgin birth or of a great flood, tales of a god sent down to live amongst the mortals or a mythical fire-breathing creature or a sword with mystical powers and fables about a poisoned apple or the wicked step mother.
They are stories of vengeance and destruction, hope and forgiveness, suffering and survival, gods and daemons. They are the background to human existence, a narrative that explains who we are, how we got here and how we manage the great struggle of living in a world that has always been beyond our comprehension.
These stories are told around the world by many cultures and in many guises. They have been adopted and adapted, transcribed into words and moving images, set to music and dance, retold over and over again. But we knew them already. We knew them before we opened the book and we knew them before we went into the theatre because they are the chapters of our own human story.
We know that the child will grow up to save us; we know that the flood will cleanse the world of its sin, we know that there are mystical powers that are mightier than any monster and we know that evil is lurking never far away. And we know that love will always conquer.
But how? How do we know these stories? These stories are woven into our fabric because we are a twisted double-helix of parable, folklore, myth and tradition. They are who we are.