Narratives will Always Trump “Facts”

The writer makes what is really an obvious point if we think about it. If you are older than 21 and think about your life experience, rarely do “facts” or bits of information change people’s minds regarding anything significant (Yes, it may change their minds if the argument is about how far the sun is from the earth, but rarely if the argument is over gay-marriage or what is moral). Narratives and stories change people’s minds.

A “fact” means nothing and no one cares about a “fact” until such is woven into a context, a story, a narrative that gives the “fact” meaning and significance such that it moves the person’s heart. The people who will change the world are story tellers. The people who will follow are the “fact” citers.

Does this mean one side doesn’t know the “facts” and the other doesn’t know how to tell stories? No. It means that the story tellers know the “facts” but also know such is not enough. The “fact” citers are unaware they are actually story tellers. Since they think they are just telling us the “facts” and are clueless as to what they are really doing (telling a story), they invariably come off as my-way-or-the highway type jerks (After all, how can you argue with the “facts?”). We see these people on both extreme sides of the Left/Right political divide and among religious and secular fundamentalists. They are the “know-it-alls” whom everyone tires of at a dinner party and spends most of their time trying to avoid…as they make their way to the story-teller in the room.

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