In the New Yorker, an intriguing article about the science of telling stories.
The interesting questions about stories, which have, as they say, excited the interests of readers for millennia, are not about what makes a taste for them “universal,” but what makes the good ones so different from the dull ones, and whether the good ones really make us better people, or just make us people who happen to have heard a good story …
… Good science is more like Proust than Mr. Popper’s Penguins; its stories startle us with their strangeness, but they intrigue us by their originality, and end by rewarding us with the truth, after an effort. It is the shock good stories offer to our expectations, not some sop they offer to our pieties, that makes tales tally, and makes comtes count. The story that tells us only that we like all kinds of stories lacks that excitement, that exclusionary power, which is the only thing that makes us want to hear stories at all.
Source: Can Science Explain Why We Tell Stories? | The New Yorker.