Why is the Talk to Strangers Campaign – an organization based around film, theatre, print, and other forms of storytelling – monikered the Talk to Strangers Campaign? There are a few reasons, but here’s one:
In the C.S. Lewis biopic Shadowlands, one of the characters says, “We read to know we’re not alone.” I’d say this applies to all the arts. When someone says, “I’m depressed,” we can only guess the subtleties of how they’re feeling. But when you watch an artistically successful film or play, or listen to a ballad, or read a good book – the feeling that any of these works communicate is both complex and subtle. In Feeling and Form, Suzanne Langer posits that the purpose of a work of art is to communicate a specific feeling or emotion that is brought out by that work of art.
And so each piece of art – if successful – forms a point of contact where you and I can both understand a certain feeling. That isn’t to say that everyone experiences a piece of art in quite the same way. But I believe it is through art and story that we come closest to really understanding each others’ experiences – and without that understanding, we are all strangers.