How Our Love For Stories Can Be Problematic (1/4)
Part 1 — What is the narrative fallacy
What is the narrative fallacy
The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them, or, equivalently, forcing a logical link, an arrow of relationship upon them. Explanations bind facts together. They make them all the more easily remembered; they help them make more sense. Where this propensity can go wrong is when it increases our impression of understanding.— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
We love stories.
Stories make everything simpler, better, and easier to understand. And they are everywhere. The ones we tell ourselves. The ones we tell ourselves on other people. The one on how the world should work. The one about how love and relationship should work. And much more.
Narratives are at the center of our life. They dictate what to expect in life, but also the unexpected. They direct us to choose what to decide and what to avoid. They are unavoidable.
They are so powerful they can control the way we perceive ourselves, the way we perceive others, and the way we perceive the world. What is a society if it’s not a glorified, well-constructed story a lot of people believes in.
Stories control the world. They bind fact together. They bind people together. They make us understand the world. But stories are inherently misleading, unprecise, and simplistic. They do not perfectly represent reality and are always bias in someway or another.
We are biased toward ourselves believing our success is earned by our ability and effort while failure happened because of some external factors.
Or the bias toward believing other people have a way better life than you, because you are unaware of their complete lives.
Stories are not wrong nor right. Stories are just stories. They can be fun or sad. Pleasant or unpleasant. Life-saving or destructive.
It’s the way we use them that can be harmful. Because stories, as much as we like them, can be misused and exploited against you or against others. By you or by others.
And our lack of ability to see outside our own perspective can lead to many problems like a false understanding by seeing pattern that might not exist or not be related.