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The Drama of Rules: What Storytelling Can Teach Us About Human Nature

The Drama of Rules: What Storytelling Can Teach Us About Human Nature

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Stories are a cultural universal — there isn’t a single country... that isn’t steeped in stories and storytelling. If something is universal, there’s a good chance it’s the product of evolution, not culture... stories, despite all their variety, contain some common essence ... Think of the structure as a bony skeleton that we rarely notice…stories can be told only in a limited number of ways... are almost always about people (or personified animals) with problems...
Just about any story — comic, tragic, romantic — is about a protagonist’s efforts to secure, usually at some cost, what he or she desires....Story = Character + Predicament + Attempted Extrication... what does that tell us about human nature?...
we don’t have a clear, final answer... Gottschall argues that stories may function as “flight simulators”...intense simulations of problems that run parallel to those we face in reality. And like a flight simulator, the main virtue of fiction is that we have a rich experience and don’t die at the end...
Another universal feature of stories is that they seem to involve breaking the rules... show us what happens when we break the “rules” and what happens when we follow them... Though the stories we like often contain violence, the violence tends to be moral... most violent crimes ... committed by people driven by a strong sense of moral righteousness...

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See also: Content Strategy , Communications Tactics

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