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Re: Ch. 10 - Virtual worlds
Story telling and religion are aspects of our social world that are invariably taken for granted and both are unique to humans. (Mind you, I would class story telling and religion as one and the same thing.) Many aspects of religious ritual and story telling are extremely good at triggering the release of endorphins in the brain (just like exercise), and help bind a community together. I thought it interesting that analyses of Shakespeare’s plays closely mirror the size on natural sympathy groups (about 15) and wondered if this was the reason I felt so disconnected with Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad –there were just too many characters in it. I wasn’t surprised that chimps (like small children) have difficulty in holding back from an immediate reward but was amazed that ‘. . . when the food rewards were replaced by cards with the appropriate Arabic numerals, language-trained chimpanzees had no trouble choosing the smaller reward’. Chimpanzees can read? And count? Will have to look that up. He explains that good writers need ‘fifth order intentionality, and this represents the upper limits for natural human abilities’. But I also wondered why he talked mainly of writers, and not the oral traditions of story telling which still abound in barely literate societies. Religion, apparently, has a fourth order minimum intentionality, but to move from a social form to communal needs five levels. I intend (1) That you believe (2) That there is a supernatural being who understands (3) That I want (4) Him to be willing (5) to intervene when you refuse to conform. …’ So doesn’t this mean, as I thought earlier, that story telling and religion are basically the same process?
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