I remember when I met an acquaintance at the Rideau Centre many years ago. He was a comic book fan whose interest bordered on obsession. I liked it him for it. I'm always happy to learn about people's passions. But when I asked him if we was going to Ottawa Comic-Con, he said he wasn't. It had become too commercial. It's not about comic books anymore. TV celebrities, he claimed, contaminated the event along with other non-comic book events. I agreed at the moment, but with some afterthoughts. It wasn't Comic-Con I thought about as much as comic books in general. Are comics of such a high quality that they couldn't share the same space as TV and films? Perhaps it's not what my acquaintance was getting at, but it made me thing about the literary quality of comic books. It can be quite high, but in some cases, it could definitely be better too.
Story. What is it a good for? Apparently, it's good for a lot of things - especially war. Stories could very well make us love war because stories usually have a villain in it. That's why we're always at "war" with something like War on Drugs, War on Christmas or War on Sugar. So why is that the case? Remember D.A.R.P.A's storytelling theory which states how our brains can't help but visualize life in the form of stories? This thinking/perceiving mode means we'll always see an adversary of some kind waiting to get us. Every story has conflict, after all. Does this mean our story-brain dooms us to perpetual war with others? I think it does. As human beings, we're always telling the story of our lives as if something or someone is the enemy. Not good.
D.A.R.P.A. is the defense department in the States responsible for some of the craziest Cold War experiments. Some of them became worldwide successes such as the Internet and GPS while others failed miserably like Project Orion, the attempt to land men and women on Jupiter. Not every project was hi-tech. Some involved the use and dissemination of propaganda. Hence, the research on stories and how they work on the human brain.
Human beings would never have taken over the world if it weren't for the ability to get organized. We're not like the other animals insofar that scientists say that our brains evolved to remember more of our kin than not. I think the number is around 150. This ability allowed us to get together in groups and accomplish more than anyone on Planet Earth. In truth, we have taken over the planet. That's why scientists call this the Anthropocene Age.
The myths of today are made exclusively from multi-million dollar production warehouses in sunny Los Angeles. These productions are laden with formula and award-winning focus groups. Big Business storytelling takes care of its bottom line first. Stories, like cattle, are being heartlessly manufactured, butchered and cut up like prime beef steaks for public consumption. Some of us like it while others do not. We want something deeper. We lament: Our stories don't come from the prophets anymore. Instead, writers work tirelessly with formulaic writing loosely based on ancient stories meant to lift us to higher dimensions. Our stories are consumed like household products. We spin them like yarn, but not from our homes or farms, but from vast entertainment factories that homogenize content for the worldwide audience.
The Story Influence Theory says a lot about humanity's struggle with the truth. We evolved from prehistoric hominids living in caves to contemporary humans boasting an Anthropocene Age. Yet, we've done it with a brain that's more prehistoric than contemporary. As tool-making animals, we've learned many skills necessary for our survival, but it is the ability to influence people that is probably one of the most sought out skills in life and business.
|Who Can't Love|
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