When new narratives meet old brains

2010/11/17 § 1 Comment

New Scientist is currently running a Storytelling 2.0 theme. Well worth a look.

I think many people focus too much on the shortness of each individual tweet.


But this is what really caught my eye.

“State-of-the-art neuro-imaging and cognitive neuropsychology both uphold the idea that we create our selves through narrative.” When new narratives meet old brains.

This is why they are so important to organising institutions, like the state, the church, it’s all about the software. Also explains why, perhaps, fantasy novels follow a sports team sized group of characters in righteous support of some protag’s familial entitlements. Our brains find this easy to follow, especially if you’re coming off a low base of starvation, violence, and latterly, early access to brain-bending drugs.

Republican ideals, even of the Enlightenment’s economic ideals of the ‘free labourer’ citizen of butchers, bakers and candle-stick-makers (which is an improvement on medieval systems, let’s face it). Is just way too hard for most people’s brains to handle. Certainly explains the simplistic extreme of Ayn Rand’s super-individualistic ‘objectivism’ too: inadequate processing power? reduce the resolution, reduce the colour palette, make it black and white.

To avoid techno-feudalism, augmented processing power will have to be more or less evenly distributed to our humans brains, so we can all understand more complex stories, in counterpoint, and not just mindless propaganda. There is certainly no point offering more complex formats if the human brains at large can’t cope. This is why the Tea Party can only win, and their only natural control is a societal, economic collapse, once their stupidity is finally played out.





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