The issue before any narrative or story or theory is one of believability. That is, there must be some connection between the author's reality and the audience's reality. A completely absurd and non-sensical narrative finds no connection and is quickly dismissed into the pile of other things that are not things to an audience.
And so what is the nature of believability? this connection of reality to reality? Doubtful there's any common, easy notion to elucidate here but surely it swirls in some notion of shared experience (shared context, culture, events, language, image). And it is likely beyond a single shared instance of experience the repetition of the experience is a key aspect. For me to believe what you say/do I must have a reference point of my own or from seeing others having done/say what you say. Perhaps that's a valid concept... it still leaves open the issue of the INITIAL step towards believability. How does the initial introduction of a narrative catch fire? How is the initial expression not immediately snuffed out in indifference or ignorance?
I believe what we think is the narrative and the atomic aspects of a narrative/theory/story/proof/argument is much smaller than we think. That is, what it is that draws connections (the engine of believability) can be divided into infinitesimal chunks and only a very few recognizable chunks of connection are needed to spark engagement.
A chunk might not even be the words or art someone thinks they expressed. A connection might form by the smell in the air that an artist and audience might jointly experience during a demonstration. Incidental chunks are as much a part of belief forming as the intended chunks. All shared context that gets encoded into the individuals and the social dialogue and the works of expression themselves.
But was there an initial spark? Way back at the onset of language? way back with the first cave painting?
There does not need to be an originating moment or gesture or act. Even a seeming nothing is an originating chunk of believability, of connection. Probably more practical is to assume we can never really know.
We ask the question of origination because after all these thousands of years of trying to know, to understand and our infinite origin myths of everything under the sun and the sun itself we still carry with us the idea that to know the origin is to believe the entirety. Where did this art come from? where did you the artist come from? what's the authors story? what's the story of this building? was this work of fiction based on a true story?
And that shared experience of wanting to know the origin of anything and everything is also part of the activity of believing. Let us ask together.