A TV commercial rarely just says that a laundry detergent works well, it shows that it does through a story about an overworked mom, rascally kids, and a laundry room triumph. We are, as a species, addicted to story. The most conservative estimates suggest that we dream in a vivid, story-like way for more than six solid years out of a year lifespan.
Anyone who has wondered why stories affect us the way they do will find a new appreciation of our collective desire to be spellbound in this fascinating book.
Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. It focuses on the protagonist, usually the dreamer, who has to overcome obstacles to achieve his or her desires.
That all children act out the same kinds of stories, whether they grow up in a slum or a suburb? In this delightful and original book, Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. We devour novels, films, and plays.
And they are liberally peppered with breaks where we are given more story. Children pretend even when they are hungry, even when they live in squalor. Yeah, I think natural is really the right word.
Research in this is really fascinating. For instance, she tried forcing the boys to play in the doll corner and the girls to play in the block corner. But as Melvin Konner demonstrates in his monumental book The Evolution of Childhood, there are reliable sex differences in how boys and girls play that have been found around the world.
I see something quite hopeful. It makes us vulnerable to conspiracy theories, advertisements, and narratives about ourselves that are more "truthy" than true. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival.
These are movies in which you get to be the lead character.
They are our identity. It was harder to let the boys be boys, but she did. It grips the reader with both stories and stories about the telling of stories, then pulls it all together to explain why storytelling is a fundamental human instinct. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you.
Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. It was fun, I appreciate it. Most successful stories are moral—they teach us how to live, whether explicitly or implicitly, and bind us together around common values.
The games allow us to be the rock-jawed hero of an action film or a fleshed-out character inside interactive role playing games RPGs like The World of Warcraft. Why is story so central to our lives?
Of course, our story instinct has a darker side. We spend most our lives wandering inside imaginary worlds.
National myths can also be terribly dangerous: The gift for the example is everywhere. Of course, our story instinct has a darker side.
And it is a chronicle of spectacular and amusing failure. And, like a novel in process, our life stories are always changing, evolving, being edited, rewritten, and embellished by an unreliable narrator.
If you start adding up the hours that you spend in imaginary worlds you get to a pretty astonishing figure. Like the magnificent storytellers past and present who furnish him here with examples and inspiration, he takes a timely and fascinating but possibly forbidding subject—the new brain science and what it can tell us about the human story-making impulse—and makes of it an extraordinary and absorbing intellectual narrative.
We spend four hours a day watching TV, our children make-believe, we spend hours and hours, actually about 8 hours per day, lost in day dreams, we dream in stories.
Well, a lot of people look on the landscape of story and the future of story and they see something very bleak. Conspiracy theories -- feverishly creative, lovingly plotted -- are fiction stories that some people believe in.If you had a technology that allowed you to live any story you wanted, why would you ever come out?
Why would you ever want to stop being god? Jonathan Gottschall is the author of “The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
He is an English professor at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. The Storytelling Animal Quotes (showing of 31) “We are, as a species, addicted to story.
Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal and explains how stories can change the world for the better.
We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us. This is a quite wonderful book/5().
“Stories are the things that make us human, and this book's absorbing, accessible blend of science and story shows us exactly why.” Minneapolis Star Tribune “A fascinating and riveting account of why we all love a story.” Michael Gazzaniga, UC Santa Barbara “The Storytelling Animal is a delight to read.
Humans are storytelling animals. We thrill to an astonishing multitude of fictions on pages, on stages, and on screens -- murder stories, sex stories, war stories, conspiracy stories, true stories and false. We are, as a species, addicted to story.
But the addiction runs deeper than we think. NPR coverage of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall. Explores the latest beliefs about why people tell stories and what stories reveal about human nature.Download