We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.— Jonathan Gottschall
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The average daydream is about fourteen seconds long and we have about two thousand of them per day. In other words, we spend about half of our waking hours - one-third of our lives on earth - spinning fantasies.
The brain stays up all night telling stories while we sleep. We just call them dreams.
Humans simply aren’t moved to action by 'data dumps,' dense PowerPoint slides, or spreadsheets packed with figures. People are moved by emotion. The best way to emotionally connect other people to our agenda begins with “Once upon a time
We are creatures of story, and the process of changing one mind or the whole world must begin with 'Once upon a time.'
The top fighters spar hard. They're really sparring for two reasons: One is to improve their technique, but the other, which is just as important, is to build endurance, toughness, and courage. They want to practice as realistically as possible so that when they go into a real fight, the transition isn't as jarring.
Story is where people go to practice the key skills of human social life.
The storytelling mind is allergic to uncertainty, randomness, and coincidence.
It is addicted to meaning. If the storytelling mind cannot find meaningful patterns in the world, it will try to impose them. In short, the storytelling mind is a factory that churns out true stories when it can, but will manufacture lies when it can’t.
We are a species addicted to a stories.
I watch fights and I often feel morally compromised by it.
I feel like I'm morally culpable for what's occurring because I'm the spectator and ultimately footing the bill for the spectacle.
I don't think people are reacting primarily to the danger of the sport.
There are many other activities that are truly dangerous that we have no inclination to ban.
In my profession more generally, it's not an exaggeration to say that masculinity is viewed as the root of all evil. If you were to take a literary theory course, you might think it would be about literature, but it's really not. It's about all the various forms of oppression on earth and how we can see them playing out in literary works. And behind all these forms of oppression is a guy.
I think the proper attitude toward fighting sports is one of ambivalence.
You can be drawn to them, but you should also be repelled by them.
If someone breaks into your home when you're there - that is, they don't wait to be sure that the house is empty - it's a bad situation. Honor doesn't come into it at all. Anything you need to do to survive at that point becomes A-OK.
If I do get a handgun, I can take it to the sheriff's department, and in about as much time as it would take me to order a value meal at Wendy's, they will give me a concealed-carry license. There will be no screening at all to see whether I'm qualified to carry a gun in public - which I absolutely am not. That's one of the reasons I haven't gotten a gun in the first place: I don't know how to use one.
We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard.
It's an empirical question whether training makes one more or less likely to get in a fight outside the gym. In some ways, I'm probably more likely to get into a fight, because I feel more competent, and I know what it's cost me in the past to back down from fights, and I don't want to feel that way.
My reason for arguing against abolishing these types of sports isn't some kind of lofty, philosophical rationale. It's just that I did it and I liked it. It comes down to a libertarian issue for me. I feel that if I know the risks and I want to take them, I should be allowed to do so.
Whenever I was confronted in the schoolyard, I found some way to avoid the fight. I ran for it. I backed down. Psychologically and emotionally, that isn't a low-cost course of action for most boys. You avoid a physical beating, but you pay a real social and psychological cost for it. Those moments of walking away from fights, even though I knew it was the rational and civilized thing to do, cost me tremendously.
Part of why I was attracted to the idea of owning a gun was self-defense, and part of it was that I've been fascinated by guns since I was a little kid, and I want to play with them. It seems like a lot of fun.
Fighting is really, really rewarding.
I truly enjoyed it. I got feelings from fighting that were bigger than those I had experienced in almost any other realm of my life. It made me feel awake in a way that I had never been awake. Those kinds of big emotions and big experiences may come with a heavy price tag.
Don't despair for story's future or turn curmudgeonly over the rise of video games or reality TV. The way we experience story will evolve, but as storytelling animals, we will no more give it up than start walking on all fours.
People like head trauma. They love knockouts. The crowd is silent, silent, silent... and then a knockout happens, and everyone goes native. There would be far fewer knockouts without the gloves.
Commentators frequently blame MMORPGs for an increasing sense of isolation modern life. But virtual worlds are less a cause of that isolation than a response to it. Virtual worlds give back what has been scooped out of modern life. The virtual world is in important ways more authentically human than the real world. It gives us back community, a feeling of competence, and a sense of being an important person whom people depend on.
Until recently we’ve only been able to speculate about story's persuasive effects. But over the last several decades psychology has begun a serious study of how story affects the human mind. Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by story. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence.
I think what bothers us about fighting sports isn't the damage to the athlete but the fact that you win by doing more harm to your opponent than he does to you. It just seems ugly.
Bull riding is probably the most dangerous sport in the world in terms of head injuries.
Human minds yield helplessly to the suction of story.
No matter how hard we concentrate, no matter how deep we dig in our heels, we just can't resist the gravity of alternate worlds.
Getting punched in the face with a padded glove doesn't really hurt your face.
It doesn't hurt your skull. The only thing it hurts is your brain. You can feel the brain injury happening. It's an instant headache.
I think that a lot of people who like training with guns are probably drawn to it not only for practical reasons, but also in that same restless quest for physical excellence that draws people to a martial arts dojo.
In an effort to civilize combat sports, authorities mandated padded gloves and instantly made the sports far more savage. Granted, putting gloves on the hands seems like a nice thing to do. If you were being punched in the brain by a powerful man, wouldn't you rather he strap a pillow around his fist? But the glove doesn't do anything to diminish your brain damage.
A boxing contest is a brain-damage contest.
Who can give out more brain damage and who can absorb more of it?
Fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape.
If you want to burrow a message into a human mind. Work it into a story
What you do in a fight gym is learn how to be brave.
You're learning how to punch and kick in a proper way, of course, but above all else, a fighter is someone who's got courage, who's dead game in a fight. Most guys don't come into the world that way. You learn to be brave through that process of getting your fear and timidity beaten out of you night after night after night.
I have this little neighbor next door.
He comes over and tells me about playing Call of Duty, and he's talking about, 'Aw yeah, I slit this guy in the throat and then I stuck a grenade up this guy's ass.' He's describing it in all this detail, and that makes me uncomfortable. I don't think that's good for him.
When you spar in boxing, the only thing that gets hurt is your brain.
Everything else feels pretty good.
I'm living in the heart of gun culture, but I'm not a gun guy.
I didn't grow up with them; I was never a hunter; my dad was never a hunter.
I can walk into a gun store in my town and buy military-grade weapons.
You'd be shocked by the amount of firepower you can buy - 50 caliber sniper rifles and the same shotguns the Marines carry in Iraq or Afghanistan. It doesn't matter whether I know how to use these things - I can just walk into a store and buy them.