Isn't it funny how a "novel" idea today used to be common practice by most cultures all over the world? Still is for many folks. When people of old gathered, there'd often be a fire they would gather around and have exactly the kind of experience being suggested here--people sharing their stories and listening to one another around an open flame.
Maybe all we need to do is turn off the TVs, the iPods, the cell phones, and a thousand other distractions. I think people are still telling their stories--there's just too many distractions around for them to be heard. Try sitting on a plane without something stuck in your ears and I guarantee you it won't take long to strike up a conversation with people next to you. What a great time to listen and speak to one another. Some of my best friends are total strangers!
Thanks for the thought provoking reality that we all could be more mindful of getting back to the basics of being human.