Fascination with stories

 

It’s understandable that people, including me, sometimes want to know how a TV series – or a movie, book, or any story – unfolds and ends. At the same time, it’s slightly amusing since if it’s fictional, it’s all made up anyway, and the ending of the story is somewhat arbitrary. It’s an ending the writer or writers decided on out of many possible fictional endings. It doesn’t really matter how it ends.

It’s a reminder that our curiosity about the world, and how stories unfold and end, is built into us through evolution. It helps us survive to learn about the world. To learn about how people work, and how the world works, and how specific types of situations sometimes unfold.

Fictional stories sometimes depict a truth about human interactions and dynamics. Real life stories show us how things sometimes unfold in the real world. And any story is a reminder that they are stories. They are made up. They are our own interpretations and reflect our own backgrounds and viewpoints. They are not in any way final and they don’t reflect an absolute truth.

In our post-postmodern world, or whatever it is, that may seem obvious. And yet, there are areas of life where many of us sometimes don’t take it to heart. Any time we identify with a viewpoint, with an identity, with a story about others, the world, or ourselves, we haven’t really – and thoroughly – taken it to heart. Any time we take any story for granted and how it is, we haven’t taken it to heart.

Sometimes, we hold onto these stories because we are hurt and we think we protect ourselves through holding onto certain stories. Sometimes, we hold onto them because those around us do the same and we haven’t seen a need to question it. And sometimes, they are so basic and apparently obvious that we haven’t even thought of questioning it. (E.g. I am a man, a human being, content of my experience.)

Our minds are fascinated by stories. It may be because conceptual thought is relatively new in our evolution and we are still learning about it and how to use it and relate to it in a sensible way. It may be because this fascination has helped our ancestors survive (most likely it did). It may be because those around us are so we take a cue from them.

In any case, our current habit of identifying with thought does seem like something a young species would do. A species that is still figuring out how to use and relate to thoughts effectively. A species that currently is stumbling because it does tend to identify with thought and take them as more true and final than they are. A species that creates suffering for itself because of it, and may even bring about its own extinction because of it.

A species that, if it continues for long enough, may eventually learn to use thought as a guide of temporary practical value at most, and inherently free of any absolute or final truth. As a question about the world. And recognizing that all thoughts are like this – a question, a pointer, a temporary guide – including our most basic thoughts and assumptions about the world and who and what we are.

Note: It’s obviously only in fiction that stories end. In life, there may be chapters and storylines but no story really ends.

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Initial notes….

  • fascination with stories
    • a bit puzzled when see people wanting to know how a TV series ends etc. (e.g. GoT)
      • bc is fictional, can end any number of ways depending on what the writer(s) decide
      • doesn’t have an inherent value since is fictional
    • in general, can learn from fiction and real-life stories
      • real life – learn about people, life, and sometimes specific type of situations, and specific people
      • fiction – learn deeper truths / patterns in people and life (but specific stories less important)
      • and can learn from recognizing these as stories, made up, depending on our background and perspectives
    • ….

 

TV series. 

I imagine evolution has built into us a natural curiosity about how storylines in life evolve and end. It’s material for learning about people and life, and sometimes specific people. And that can be very useful for our survival.

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Many people to want to know how story lines in TV series (and book series etc.) evolve and end. But if it’s fictional, it obviously can end any number of ways depending on how the writer – and sometimes others – want it to end. So it’s not inherently very interesting. In real life, it is interesting to know how story lines evolve and end because it’s material for learning about people and life. I imagine we tend to transfer this natural curiosity, built into us through evolution, to fiction.

can also learn from fiction, but less important how it any one story evolves bc can happen in so many different ways (can learn truths about people and life even if the stories themselves are fictional)

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