Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stories and Believing

I've taken to listening to podcasts at the gym, and two of my favorites are This American Life (obviously) and Radio Lab. I am not at all orderly or timely about listening to them, so I'm always behind and out of order. The Radio Lab I listened to over the last 2 gyms visits was from January, the "War of the Worlds" episode.

There's a lot about the topic that's intriguing, but what I've taken away is the question of why people can fall for this sort of thing again and again. After conversation with a psychologist Robert Krulwich said:
"People are suckers for stories; we just cannot help ourselves. . . . The thing is we do go in, we all fall into these stories, he says, it's just the way we are built. For hundreds of thousands of years, our memories, our friendships, our sense of family, our kinship, we build our identities form stories. Stories that we tell, and stories that we hear."

We seem to be built to believe in things. Because it's hopeful. Because who wants to go around not believing? Even if it's believing in small things, not big ones. We'll fall for things because we learn so much from the stories that saturate our lives, perhaps. Stories show us that there's always something to believe in.

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