People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around.
Stories exist independently of their players. If you know that, the knowledge is power.
Stories, great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling... stories, twisting and blowing through the darkness.
And their very existence overlays a faint but insistent pattern on the chaos that is history. Stories etch grooves deep enough for people to follow in the same way that water follows certain paths down a mountainside. And every time fresh actors tread the path of the story, the groove runs deeper.
This is called the theory of narrative causality and it means that a story, once started, takes a shape. It picks up all the vibrations of all the other workings of that story that have ever been.
This is why history keeps on repeating all the time.
So a thousand heroes have stolen fire from the gods.
A thousand wolves have eaten grandmother, a thousand princesses have been kissed. A million unknowing actors have moved, unknowing, through the pathways of story.
It is now impossible for the third and youngest son of any king, if he should embark on a quest which has so far claimed his older brothers, not to succeed.
Stories don't care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats. Or, if you prefer to think of it like this: stories are a parasitical life form, warping lives in the service only of the story itself.
Terry Pratchett & Stephen Briggs. The new Discworld Companion.
History is what people believe; therefore, what people believe is history.
History, in order to happen, has to be observed by people who know they are observing History. Skilled people, in fact. It’s no good just anyone being here. It is well known that vast areas on planet Earth had no history whatsoever until explores turned up and brought History with them. Geography is similar in this respect; the fact that some lake, waterfall or continent is known to millions of people who live there is really of no significance compared to the arrival of an explorer who knows what Geography is.
Как обычно у Пратчетта – шутки шутками, а методологически очень продуктивно – для изучения исторического нарратива в том числе.
Ах, да. И еще одно:
With magic, you can turn a frog into a prince. With science, you can turn a frog into a Ph.D and you still have the frog you started with. (Science of the Discworld, by TP, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen)