Category Archives: Narrative

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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Links and Comments: Narrative; the Limits of Rationality

I seem to have not yet mentioned yet another essay about how narrative is taking over the world. James Murdoch (CEO of 21st Century Fox) a couple weeks ago in Time Magazine: Storytelling—both fiction and nonfiction, for good and for … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Conspiracy Theories, Cognitive Biases; Changing Minds; All Stories

Catching up on links and comments from this past week. First, a couple book reviews in last Sunday’s NY Times Book Review. First, a review by Adrian Chen of Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories, by Rob Brotherton. Subtitle: … Continue reading

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The Yearning for the Golden Past

The Conservative Grand Narrative, according to Jonathan Haidt (mentioned in my discussion of his book The Righteous Mind in this post) is about “the struggle to return to a golden past” — a theme we hear echoed in Republican presidential … Continue reading

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