Category Archives: Narrative

Jonathan Gottschall: THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL: How Stories Make Us Human

Here’s a nonfiction book from 2012 that I just read this past month. It’s one of three or four books I have (another is called HOUSTON, WE HAVE A NARRATIVE: WHY SCIENCE NEEDS STORY) that are about the idea of … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Nature and Human Brains; Science Fiction and Mental Resiliency

Scientific American, Caleb A. Scharf: A Failure of Imagination, subtitled, “Nature does not have to play fair with our puny human brains.” A favorite theme of mine: how there’s more to the universe than humans are aware of; how there … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Secrets of Success, the 2010s, Gibson’s future, History v. Narratives

Here are a few items from recent papers. 1) Nicholas Kristof: The Four Secrets of Success. Which are: 1. Take a class in economics and in statistics 2. Connect to a cause larger than yourself. 3. Make out. 4. Escape … Continue reading

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David Brooks on Myths vs. Parables

New York Times columnist David Brooks runs hot and cold with me; ostensibly a conservative, he’s too inclined to dismiss new ideas in favor of sanctified values, for my taste, yet he does read widely and responds to many new … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Storytelling; Religious Fundamentalism and Fake News; the Attraction of Conspiracy Theories

Time magazine, December 5, 2017, Jeffrey Kluger: How Telling Stories Makes Us Human [S]torytelling is a powerful means of fostering social cooperation and teaching social norms, and it pays valuable dividends to the storytellers themselves, improving their chances of being … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Fake News and the Narrative Bias

Tuesday’s New York Times Science Section has an article by Benedict Carey called How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media (it was posted several days ago online). Among the endless stories about fake news and books about the human mental … Continue reading

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Conservative Story-Telling

One of my themes here is about the nature of story-telling, how the human bias to understand things in terms of narrative is more widespread than we recognize, and how that tendency can blind us to an understanding of the … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Bannon’s historical cycles; the Myth of Main Street; Late Bloomers

Interesting stories and essays from Sunday’s New York Times. Bannon’s Worldview: Dissecting the Message of ‘The Fourth Turning’ A news article about a book that has influence Steve Bannon’s thinking about the world, a book by two amateur historians, that … Continue reading

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Winter Comes to Water As Well As Land: Gene Wolfe’s “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories”

Gene Wolfe, “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories” (1970) (~15 pp) Winter comes to water as well as land, though there are no leaves to fall. The waves that were a bright, hard blue yesterday under a fading … Continue reading

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Founding Father Thomas Paine and the Bible

I haven’t subscribed to Free Inquiry magazine for years, but I picked up the latest issue last week and was fascinated by a piece about Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, whom the modern religious … Continue reading

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