There are two types of storytelling: Subjective and objective. What is the difference?
Subjective storytelling is the me story. “I did this,” or “That is what happened to me.” A personal narrative, the point of the story is to entertain through one’s own experiences and events. If there is a moral to the tale, it is usually related as the lesson learned by the teller of the tale. If it is an historical tale, a story about how the teller lived many years back, or what they saw as a witness to an historical event, then it is an oral history story. This story passes on knowledge of the past.
The me story is all the rage in the modern world. Moth specializes in this sort of storytelling. Sometimes the stories can be quite good. Mostly, they are amateurish as the tellers do not have a clue about genuine storytelling.
Objective storytelling is the us story. “He did that,” or “That is what happened to them.” It’s the epic or historical narrative, the point being to entertain by relating a hero’s journey. The epic is there to pass on wisdom, not knowledge. The historical narrative also instructs, obviously. It is told to give us knowledge of the past. Historical fiction is a combination story, in that it gives us the historical narrative on a personal level.
The us story is not so popular in the modern world. It was the rage in the days before popular culture became so focused on the individual instead of heroes and deities.
It is true that there is a part of popular culture, in the form of movies, and a few TV shows, that is centered on super heroes. These comic book characters are, however, too one dimensional to be taken seriously as a device that transmits wisdom. Super heroes can be like some of the Greek heroes that performed super human feats to save the day. These heroes were part god. Or it would be rumored that they were the child of a god. Or, in some instances, like with Psyche, they were invited up to Olympus to become a god.
Psyche earned her place in heaven. Believe me.
George Lucas is one movie maker who does take the idea of the hero and his, or her, journey seriously. That is why his stories are not peopled with super heroes. They are real people caught up in circumstances that we can recognize as human. Star Wars doesn’t offer super powered mutants to save the people. They must save themselves. And therein is the main point of the epic story. It informs us on how we can save ourselves. For there are no super heroes to do the job for us. We must perform the tasks needed to better our human condition. And the grand stories of yore give us the wisdom we need to make our world a better place.
Science fiction in general is more related to the myths of old than me storytelling or super hero stories. The difference is that super heroes have inhuman like powers. Super heroes, I suggest, are the gods of the modern world. They do not have powers because they are sacred. They have powers because they have the best technology to be had.
Personally, I’ll take my sacred gods over technological gods any time. They aren’t perfect beings, but there are no devils among. As Ben Jonson noted in his play, “The Devil Is an Ass,” human beings can be worse than devils. Perhaps that is why we need many gods.