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Humans are Predisposed to Believe a Narrative

by on Aug.09, 2012, under The General Pursuit

This interesting article on cracked.com discusses how humans inherently take to stories to receive information. It is called, 5 Ways You Don’t Realize Movies Are Controlling Your Brain. Here are some excerpts:

Ask yourself: Why do we go watch superhero movies? After all, variations of these stories about brave, superhuman heroes predate recorded history. We used to tell them around campfires before written language even existed.
They were created as a way to teach you how to behave.
Thousands of years ago, when your ancestors were living in tribes and hunting gazelles for food, nobody knew how to read. Even if they could, paper wasn’t a thing, parchment was rare and precious. They had no written historical records, they had no educational system that could devote years to teaching history to the kids.

Stories Were Invented to Control You

So while we use the word “myth” these days to mean “a lie that needs to be debunked,” often the myths were simply more efficient versions of the truth. They’re easier to remember, they don’t take as long to tell and they eliminate a lot of the messy ambiguities that can confuse the point. Also, they won’t bore the listener to tears. The point is, this is why stories were invented — to shape your brain in a certain way. A guy named Joseph Campbell wrote whole books about it, you should read them. These basic stories, these myths of the hero overcoming the odds, the great man who sacrifices himself for the greater good — they’re what make civilization go. In a society, the people and the buildings and the roads are the hardware, mythology is the software.
And while your ancestors had their heroes that they heard about around the campfire, you have Batman, and Luke Skywalker, and Harry Potter.

More on Myths by Joseph Campbell:

Watch Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers Promo on PBS. See more from pbs.

The Power of Myth PBS Documentary

Click here to watch the 6 part series.

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